Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gone Baptizin'


Interestingly, she cried throughout the prayers and was quiet and alert after being doused with the holy water.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

And What Time Is That, Exactly?


Me: What time is it?

First Son (glancing casually his dad's watch, which he's wearing upside-down, responds immediately): Forty-two eight.

Thank Goodness It Fits


Second Daughter's baptism is tomorrow. I'm a firm believer in quick baptisms (with First Son at 10 days and First Daughter at 7 days), but we had to wait a while for Second Daughter in order to coordinate with the priest we asked. Finally, tomorrow is the day! I pulled out the baptismal gown that was so kindly and beautifully made by my sister's mother-in-law back before First Son was even born, praying it would still fit -- and it does!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

And Oh Yes...

We bought a house today!!

Right up until the end we weren't sure everything would work out. The underwriters had to go through our flood insurance work again (we don't need it, but had to document it because the creek is a flood zone though the house isn't in one) and their office was in the line of one of the hurricanes so the work had to be transferred to another office and was delayed until this morning. It all came through on time, though.

We took the kids with us and they were remarkably good, especially considering First Daughter missed her nap. (All of the parties were very considerate of the minor chaos created by the kids.)

Would you believe we didn't drive down tonight? We were exhausted after a full day and decided to just get the kids home, fed and in bed. I've already started a box of cleaners and supplies for a trip down tomorrow, though. There's lots to do so we must be busy busy busy!

Keeping the Librarians Busy


This pile shows most of the library books we have at home right now...and there are at least five more waiting at the counter for me to pick up.

I love the library!

Proud Papa


First Son wrote his first words today. Kansas Dad spelled out his papa's name and First Son wrote the letters (without even looking at an example) on this page he colored. We'll have to get it in the mail soon!

Fajitas!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Looking on the Bright Side

We're unlikely to forget Second Daughter in the car. She screams about 95% of the time we spend there. First Daughter will then repeatedly inform us that the baby is not happy.

It's going to make those 20 mile trips between town and home a great joy.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Browsing for Treasure

Yesterday, First Son insisted for 45 minutes he did not want to go to the library. Since I had a video due (which couldn't be renewed and couldn't be put in the drop box), I dragged him there, along with the other two.

Of course, once we were there, neither of them wanted to leave. (Second Daughter was sleeping in the carrier and would have probably also voted to stay rather than be strapped back into her car seat.) So while they browsed, I browsed, and came across a great find in the new books: Living Color.

It's full of gorgeous pictures and loaded with information on animals and color. It's my favorite Jenkins book so far and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The New Christmas Story

First Son read the Christmas Story to me today. I was surprised to hear that Mary and Joseph traveled to Heaven on a donkey. I was even more surprised to learn Mary and Joseph "looked into the stable and found Jesus lying in a manger."

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lessons From a Power Outage

Grammy took the two older kids to the zoo. Kansas Dad headed to the office for a few hours, preparing for his first class tomorrow (yes, Saturday afternoons). I decided to try to get Second Daughter to nap in the swing so I could catch up on laundry and pack some boxes. About five minutes after everyone was out of the house, I had the dishwasher (loaded by Kansas Dad, to give credit where it's due), washing machine and dryer all running. (I like to run them separately, to decrease our electric load, but with a one month old, cleaning must happen when she's happy, so I've been loading and running whenever I get the chance.) Second Daughter started to cry and I picked her up. Just as I stepped into the living room, silence filled the house. We'd lost power. I gazed in dismay at the kitchen full of non-functioning appliances and did what any woman would do in my circumstances.

I ate a bowl of ice cream while I considered my options.

Packing boxes in the August heat without air conditioning with a baby strapped to me didn't seem like the most comfortable option, but I decided to try it out since it was still cooler in the house than outside and I'm not sure how often I'll have the opportunity to pack. (Luckily, the power was only out for about half an hour.)

I learned two important lessons:

1. Second Daughter does not like to be in the BabyBjorn while we pack boxes.

2. It took seven boxes and an entire day to pack most of our fiction.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Own Time

I left Second Daughter today for over an hour, the longest I've been away from her since she was born. Did I get to do something fun? Absolutely not.

I had a filling replaced.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Just Some Pictures


Reading Highlights

As I'm back to nursing a newborn, I've found having a few books near-by means I get quite a lot of reading done. I do not, however, have much time to report back on them. Here are some brief reviews of my recent reading.

"Just a Housewife": The Rise and Fall of Domesticity in America by Glenna Matthews - A very interesting review of the cultural views of homemaking in America. I was most intrigued by her analyses of the "deskilling" of housekeeping. As technology was added, cleaning and cooking became less interesting and less challenging. Ms. Matthews claims this deskilling led in part to the decrease in respect for housewives. I found it interesting because of my own increase in interest in such things as laundry when I started to challenge myself to make my own soap, decrease our energy and water usage, and tackle stains without harsh chemicals. Hopefully, I find the same applies to cooking if I can ever gather the energy to take the brunt of the meal preparation off Kansas Dad's shoulders.

A Morbid Taste for Bones: The First Chronicle of Brother Cadfael by Ellis Peters - I don't remember where these were suggested, but I've already read through the first two chronicles and was hooked. I'm working my way through all of them from the library.

A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter - A lovely book of times past that has changed forever the way I view moths.

Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell - Kansas Dad's parents introduced us to the sermons of Rob Bell. They've actually visited his church. I highly recommend his Nooma videos and this book. They are well-written, well-produced, though-provoking and enlightening. Amazingly, they're also enjoyable.

A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother by Rachel Cusk - I don't really recommend this book. It's not the kind that mothers would find uplifting or encouraging in our quest to be better people, mothers or wives. I know I've often suffered from my desires to have my own time, my own accomplishments, but I think I am happier in life when I chalk those frustrations up to selfishness and focus on the task at hand (usually involving some wayward Veggie toys). I did like this quote, though:

"Birth is not merely that which divides women from men; it also divides women from themselves, so that a woman's understanding of what it is to exist is profoundly changed. Another person has existed in her, and after their birth they live within the jurisdiction of her consciousness. When she is with them she is not herself; when she is without them she is not herself; and so it is as difficult to leave your children as it is to stay with them."

It's true that I often find myself wishing for time away from the kids only to be thinking of them the entire time they're away (or I'm away).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tummy Time

Comment on Carriers

I took the kids to the new park near us today. It's a fabulous collection of swings, sand, water contraptions and slides designed to be accessible for all children of all abilities. It really is wonderful. I found myself, though, surrounded by moms in a way I haven't experienced much before, being a working mom. They all seemed very nice, from what I could tell. I was a little overwhelmed by their stroller baskets full of snacks and child paraphernalia. I left my diaper bag in the car and carried the baby in one of my handy carriers. The other two just ran. I will admit, it would have been nice for all of us to have something to eat and more to drink, but I will remedy that next time with a little cooler in the van. I just can't imagine tackling the park with Second Daughter in a stroller. How would I play with the older two, keep her happy and keep the stroller in sight the whole time?

I really think it's easier to have her in the carrier and can't help thinking it's more fun for her, too.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Revealing the Richness of Scripture

I know you've been eagerly anticipating my first review for The Catholic Company. I had every intention of reading and reviewing the book quickly as I scanned through it before dinner the day it arrived, but Second Daughter had other plans when she arrived just a few hours later! I've finally had a bit of time to read and consider the book.

Disclaimer: This review was written as part of The Catholic Company product reviewer program. I have not received any payment for this review, but I did receive a free copy of the book, The Sensible Scripture Study by Steven Kellmeyer. They were also kind enough to share a copy of the Magnificat Magazine with me.

Mr. Kellmeyer walks through eight sessions on discovering the four senses of Scripture: literal, allegorical, moral and heavenly. It's a book meant to be used in a group setting for Bible study and I loved reading through one dedicated to a Catholic study. (I think this could be used by non-Catholics, but it would probably be best to have either all non-Catholics or all Catholics in the group.)

My husband, being a theology professor, was well acquainted with all the senses and examples in the book. I was seeing everything anew myself and was amazed at what I've been missing all these years. For example, I don't remember hearing any priest give a homily on the story of the Good Samaritan where the injured man represents all of humanity (injured by sin and saved by Christ). (My husband suggested I just didn't remember it, but had certainly heard it. That's a definite possibility, especially since we've had little ones in church as I'm very often sadly distracted.)

I read most of this book while nursing Second Daughter, so I think I missed out on some of the wonderful opportunities to really delve into the Scriptures. While the verses themselves are presented in the book, it would be most useful to read through them with a Bible handy for tracking down references. I also think a lot could be gained by researching historical contexts (which I would do online). Once Mr. Kellmeyer started pointing the way, I could see many avenues for further study. In fact, the depth of the examples is much greater as the sessions advance, befitting a study that's actually teaching the reader to uncover the four senses.

I'd love to participate in a group study with this book. I think it's a great tool for Catholics who may not have done many Bible studies (true of many Catholics). In addition to the insight into the four senses of Scripture, the book provides questions for reading and discussion and suggestions for praying Scripture (with references). I also appreciated the excerpts for individual readings from St. Augustine, C.K. Chesterton, and others.

I do think, though, that this book would be best used in a study led (or at least including) at least one person already comfortable with the four senses of Scripture. The complexity of the examples in the eight sessions could overwhelm a group. I know I needed to give much greater attention to the latter sessions than the earlier ones (and truly did not have enough attention to give for the fullest value). Also, my husband was able to add insight as I read. For example, in the first session, Mr. Kellmeyer encourages us to delve into the Scripture and find the symbols present in the story of the Good Samaritan, "As long as your solution does not violate a doctrine of the Church, it is perfectly acceptable." While Mr. Kellmeyer's goal is to elicit responses from those who might by shy or insecure in their suggestions, my husband was able to clarify that we must not add meaning, but uncover what is already there within Scripture. Some answers, while not heretical (violating doctrine), may still be incorrect in that they are not present within the Scripture.

Finally, a brief note on the Magnificat. I've never had a chance to read through a copy of the magazine and was delighted. I loved the prayers and mediations for each day. I can see how it would be easy to carry the book along to work or in the car to pick up and read through the morning or evening prayers in time that would otherwise be idle.

Remember to check out The Catholic Company for more information or for the book The Sensible Scripture Study.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Photo Shoot



Four Week Weight

Just shy of four weeks: 11 pounds even.

Yikes.

Everything is going well. The older two had to join us for the appointment. They weren't too excited to be in what was obviously a doctor's office, but seemed to get along alright with the PA, especially when he gave them each a piece of candy and didn't try to take their temperatures.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

You're Doing It Wrong

I'm walking around the house bouncing Second Daughter a little bit. After about five minutes, First Son says, "I think she needs the baby holder."

First Daughter's House


These WEDGiTS were a Christmas gift for First Son last year and have proven a favorite with both kids. First Son likes to make the frog that hops. First Daughter makes these houses and fills them with the white pieces. I think they're her little people.

In case you're wondering, I'm sure I folded and put away those clothes in the laundry basket right after taking this picture. Immediately.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

On Our Own

Today was the first day I was alone with all three kids all day. I was a little nervous, but everything went very well. When Kansas Dad arrived back home, everyone was reasonably well-fed (given that dinner-time was approaching), reasonably clean and had even napped. I had made a loaf of bread (in the bread machine, of course), done most of the dishes and even ran a load of laundry (gathering wrinkles in the dryer, but at least they were clean).

I can definitely see that I need some sort of schedule with them. I also wasn't quite brave enough to tackle a trip anywhere with all three of them, but I know getting out to the park would be particularly good for the older two.

The highlight of the day: At lunch, we spotted a hummingbird enjoying our front garden!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I Love Baby Carriers

I can't help it. I do. You might think it's because I'm such a great mom, dedicated to baby-wearing or attachment parenting. I think, deep down, I'm just lazy.

Babies like to be held. If you don't have a baby of your own, you might think we parents can just plop them down anywhere and they'll play or wiggle or just go to sleep. I suppose there might be babies like that somewhere in the world, but I'm not sure I've ever met one.

So, babies like to be held. I spend a lot of time the first few weeks sitting and holding a baby. After awhile, though, I start to want to do things like...brush my teeth or...fold clothes. To be honest, baby gets a little tired of just sitting, too. Second Daughter in particular has made it clear that she prefers to be in motion. Translation: Hold me and walk around and around and around and around. Being the lazy mom I am, I use a carrier so my arms don't get so tired.

Another great benefit: When we're out and about, I still have one hand free for each of the older two kids.

We have four different carriers right now. Here's my favorite:


It's one a friend made for us when Second Daughter was born. Later on, I'll also be able to use it on my side or my back. This carrier puts some of the weight on my hips, which is lovely for my wimpy shoulders. It's all cloth and folds up really easily to stuff in the stroller. You can't buy this because our friend designed it herself, but if you're very ambitious, I think she'd be willing to sell the pattern and you can make your own.



Of course, we also have a BabyBjorn. This carrier was our lifesaver when our son was born. He detested the stroller, but loved the Bjorn. He practically lived in it for months. (I think we took him out to eat and when we finally went to bed at night.) Kansas Dad still likes the Bjorn and I've been using it outside at the park because I feel like Second Daughter's arms and legs hanging out let her cool down a little more. (It's hard to say, because I'm not sure the air flows as well to the rest of her little body.) It's rougher on my shoulders, though. It's also not nearly as comfortable if you want to sit down because baby's legs are right on top of mama's legs.



This is the carrier we bought right after First Daughter was born. We didn't have our custom-carrier yet and First Daughter hated the BabyBjorn as much as First Son had loved it. She did not like her arms and legs hanging free. So, we bought this carrier and she loved it. We used it everywhere. I can even nurse while baby is in it. We've also found baby can be switched from one person to another while in the carrier, which is handy if baby is asleep and parent #1 is tired, though the manufacturer probably doesn't condone the hand-off.

Finally, we have a Kelty carrier, kind of like this one.



We bought this before our trip to Kauai'i and used it every day we were there while hiking. First Son loved it, and so did we.


We really should pull that out and take all the kids hiking. (First Daughter would adore being up on her dad's back like that.)

We used to have one more, a fabulous EllaRoo wrap.



I bought this as our second carrier, when First Son was weighing my shoulders down too much but before he thought the stroller was an acceptable form of baby transportation. I wore it (and him) all over New York and even to weddings and fancy dinners. It was easy to use and beautiful and I loved it, but it's not nearly as easy as the carrier our friend made and I found I never used it to carry First Daughter. So I passed it on to someone else.


For any would-be baby-carrying parents out there, I'd recommend taking baby to a store full of carriers and trying a few out. (The fancier stores will allow this; they'll even help you get baby settled in the carrier.) You could also borrow some from other friends. That way, you'll be sure to get just the right one for the way you want to carry baby and the way baby wants to be carried.

Your arms will thank you. Baby will be happier, too, with a better view and within kissing range (at least with those front and side carriers).

Smiles on Camera!



Yes, the onesie says "Caution: May cause sleepless nights" but she doesn't...usually.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sleepy Swing


It turns out the swing is one of those products I'm really glad we have. Our swing is almost five years old, but you can find similar ones from
Fisher-Price at Amazon, of course. (We had a great experience when part of our swing broke. Fisher-Price sent a new part immediately, didn't ask for any money for shipping and didn't ask us to send the old part back.) Every once in a while, Second Daughter will nap in the swing (while the older two are well-supervised, of course) for an hour or so. It's the only place other than arms or a carrier that she'll nap. It's nice to be able to hang out with the other kids or load the dishwasher in the mornings.

And, yes, I know she should be buckled.

She Just Can't Resist

Monday, August 4, 2008

Just Past the Two Week Mark

Things I wish I'd remembered:

Recovering from pregnancy and birth is hard. As soon as one part stops aching, something else starts up. For me, the worst of the swelling is post-birth. (I actually only weighed 6 pounds less when I came home from the hospital even though my baby was well over 8 pounds because I added so much water weight!) Now that Second Daughter is two weeks old, my body is getting back to normal. I'm still trying not to do too much (having a rough recovery after First Son's birth), but I think I could get back to a normal schedule. The whole nursing thing is going very well by now, too.

I'm not sure I've ever suffered from the "baby blues" but I certainly am weepy after the birth of a baby. It's not sadness, though; it's an acute realization of the fleeting nature of a baby and family life, the ache of love for my children as I watch them wander a room and seek out activities or the sweetness of a head bent near mine over a wonderful book. (First Son is currently enthralled with One Morning in Maine (Picture Puffin), which is indeed wonderful.) Kansas Dad is often dismayed to look over and see tears running down my face, but I just shrug and blame it on the hormones. It makes sense the body would suffer some withdrawal after nine months of all those extras coursing around. I will be glad when I'm through it, though. Thornton Wilder knew what he was talking about when he said people can't handle really experiencing life every moment of every day.

Having three kids is hard. I asked Kansas Dad to remind me how hard it was to have a newborn with two others running around when I start dreaming of having baby #4. (I'm such a sucker for the four- to six-month-olds, I'm certain the urge will come.) He laughed, since we've already agreed not to discuss anything until Second Daughter is a year old, and suggested that perhaps First Daughter is making it so hard because she's just a bit more demanding of our time than First Son was, what with her propensity to seek out all areas of danger. It is difficult to tell if it is her youth or her personality that make newborn #3 more stressful than when she was born. First Son is much more easy-going about everything and always has been. Of course, the whole "buying a house" thing probably isn't helping.

Storytime

Smiles!

Second Daughter smiled at Kansas Dad today - a real smile in response to his smile. It's a great moment for parents when that hard physical labor of the newborn stage starts to get rewards like smiles!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Friday, August 1, 2008

Second Daughter Goes to the Doctor

Second Daughter and I made the trip to the doctor today. In the past, I've always had a three day or one week visit for a nursing baby weigh-in, but our current family doctor doesn't seem concerned, with nothing scheduled until two weeks. They like to see babies back up to birth weight by the two week mark.

Second Daughter is 9 pounds, 9 ounces - just one ounce shy of a whole pound above her birth weight! I guess that's what happens when you eat every 90 minutes, day or night.

The doctor asked how often she nurses and for how long and I had to admit that other than a rough guess I didn't really know. By baby number three, I just nursed her when she seemed hungry and didn't pay attention to the time. (We also don't have a clock in the living room or one I can see in the bedroom.) He said whatever we were doing was working so he wasn't worried. We go back in two more weeks for another weigh-in.