Friday, August 28, 2009

Six Round Our Table

It began as a bite here, a lick there. A nibble of Daddy's banana...then no more for a week. A suck of juicy peach...then a return to Mama's milk. Testing. Trying. Experiencing.
Then food began to taste good. Really good. Mama could no longer follow the "introduce new food every three days" rule as you were tempted by new taste treats at most every meal.
Nothing pureed for you, no sir! You inhaled chunks of broccoli, carrots, squash, onions, and roasted peppers. You devoured plums, blueberries, papayas, melons, and strawberries. You sampled shreds of chicken and beef, peas, cheese, yogurt, rice, pasta. Glorious flavor!
And while Mama still enjoys the snuggling and sharing at day-time meals, Daddy suggested you move to a chair and have your own plate for our nightly family dinnertime.
Welcome to our table, Benjamin.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Friends

"It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer."
~Charlotte's Web

Anyone who is a hobby blog reader knows that after awhile you develop a kinship with these women.
You get to know their families, their hobbies, their beliefs and passions, their ways of life. You rejoice with them and you cry with them. When you are cooking dinner far from your computer screen, you think of them. You offer up prayers for them. You consider them friends, though you've never met.

But sometimes it works in the reverse. There are the friends you often see face to face. They are the ones you meet up with at the movie theatre or the park or invite over to chat. The friends who push each other's kids on the swings while swapping midwife recommendations. The friends who visit when you have a baby is born to bring dinner and a smile. When these friends start blogs of their own, it is a double blessing!


Allyson was one of Brian's and my friends during our college days. When we were planning our wedding on a budget, she gladly pitched in as one of our wedding photographers. When we were a newly married couple, I remember her attending a Christmas party at our apartment and I remember going out to dinner with her and two other friends (one being my future sister-in-law, though at the time she was not dating my brother!) a few weeks before Gavin was born. Then we lost touch.

I ran into her in Target a couple of years later when she was engaged. I admired her ring, and that was that...until I ran into her again at the library (where else?) last year and we began to rekindle our friendship. Both being pregnant and due the same week, we had a lot to talk about in person and through e-mail. Not long after I started this blog, she started one, too, and how fun it was open her blog one morning and read that she had beat me to the punch and had her baby 4 weeks early!!

Allyson, her husband, Tim, and their two (soon-to-be three) children announced recently that they are moving out of state so Tim can finish his degree. I'll be keeping up with their family through their blog, though, and so can you. Visit Allyson at


Then came Molly. I first met Molly through Craigslist when I was pregnant with Benjamin. I was cleaning out my stash of slings and she responded to my "for sale" ad. After a few e-mails, we discovered that we were both local homeschool graduates who had very likely had a unknown meeting in the past. (You know, those instances when you don't know someone, but later realize you were in the same place at the same time...) When Molly started a blog this spring, I cheered for the chance to get to know her even better. You can get to know her, too, by stopping by


Next my mom followed suit. My mom is the one introduced me to blogs in the first place. She got me reading "Humble Amy" before I even knew what a blog was! She has read my blog from the beginning and now she has started her own. I have the privilege of sharing phone calls and visits with her, and while you can't do that, you can at least peek at her world now, too, though her blog at


The latest recruit to the blog world is my friend Raya. Raya and I first met at a La Leche League meeting when my Gavin was 4 months and her Shiloh seven weeks younger. She reminded me the other day that the first time we got together outside of the meetings, our boys looked at each other and then went to sleep. Six years later, they do much more than look at each other. Now they run and whoop and laugh and make as much noise as possible. Usually they rope Owen into their games in an effort to increase the decibel level! A few weeks ago, Shiloh asked Gavin, "Why do you act so crazy when I come over?" to which Gavin replied, "You act crazy, too!"

Last year, Raya and I found out we were both expecting and we spent many hours talking about back ache and Braxton Hicks and birth. Her Anikah was born at home exactly seven weeks before my Benjamin made his debut. Now our conversation revolves around vaccines and first steps, and also math lessons and sewing and yardsales and books. Raya is one of my closest friends and I'm happy to introduce you to her. Visit her at

Raya's Shiloh, Molly's Peanut, & my Maddie


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Something New

1 quiet summer afternoon + 1 fleece remnant + 1 pair of scissors + 2 vivid imaginations =

new outfits for beloved bunnies

Gavin (6) and Maddie (5) have been begging to try their hands at this for months, but I put them off, fearing it would end in multiple frustrations. However, the opportunity presented itself this lazy afternoon and a few snips later, I was in awe of their results! (Keep in mind, this is their handiwork, not mine!)

Gavin's Benjamin Bunny, fitted with a feather hat and vest

Maddie's Flopsy Bunny, in stunning vest, cape, and hat


Something Blue

She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. Proverbs 31:13

Somehow I imagine the Proverbs 31 woman taking less than a year and a half to finish her yo-yo pillow, though!


Monday, August 17, 2009

...and Rejoicing!

Part 2 of Owen's Birth Story, continued from Celebrating...

When I arrived at the hospital at 5:30 am, I went through the standard urine sample/fetal monitor rigmarole to see if I was "truly in labor". I didn’t hit it off with my nurse.

“So is this your first?”

“No, this will be my third.”

“Hmmm…you’re a glutton for punishment.”

The nurse checked me and declared I was only “a stretchy 3 centimeters” and, with contractions spaced apart, decided I was not in active labor. Knowing the distance I had traveled, though, she gave me the option of going back home or staying “for observation.” Though I was slightly embarrassed that my hopes of an immediate birth had been dampened, I didn’t feel it was wise to return home with obvious labor signs. The nurse then informed me that my midwife was not on call that weekend since she was—at the beach. (Maybe I should have gone into labor on the sand like my grandmother feared!) The doctor in the practice would be attending instead. Having only met him once, I was nervous about this, but knew he shared my midwife’s non-medical, hands-off approach to labor.

The contractions continued to come 4-11 minutes apart and despite being tied to the monitors, I was able to breathe through the pain and stay relatively comfortable. At one point, I asked to go to the bathroom and when I returned to the bed and sat down, it collapsed under me at the point where it breaks down. The nurse nearly had a heart attack, but aside from being shaken (and a little annoyed that the nurse had not secured the bed), I was fine.

The nurse continued to imply that I may be sent home, but when Dr. J arrived around 7 am, he wanted to do a check himself. Despite the spacey contractions, I was now 6-7 centimeters. The doctor had me admitted and, free from the monitors, I was moved to a LDRP (Labor-Delivery-Recovery-Postpartum) Room. I was still very comfortable. The contractions were painful and I had to relax and concentrate to get through them, but in between I felt fine. I walked around the room, skimmed a few baby magazines, talked and joked with Brian, while sipping on some juice my new nurse (hooray for shift change!) brought in. Dr. J returned, saying he had talked to P (my midwife) who had returned from the beach the night before. He had asked if she was willing to come in for my delivery, knowing it was what I wanted, and she agreed! In the meantime, he said P wanted him to break my water and hopefully, put things on a steadier pace. (Looking back, I wish I hadn’t agreed to this since my labor, however slow, was progressing.) Brian called my parents and his mom to let them know that Dr. J had broken my water and, as I was still upbeat and in control, we were expecting labor to continue for awhile.

I was at a 7-8 at this point and since I needed to be monitored for a short while after the procedure, he suggested I eat something. A nurse in the hall overheard and called in, “You are going to let her eat?” to which he responded, “If she feels like a steak, it’s okay with me.” Transition pressed in before I had a chance to consider food. It was no more painful than before, but very intense. I would get hot flashes at the end of each one, but be cold by the time another began. P arrived while the contractions were coming 2 minutes apart. We tried discussing our trips to the beach, but there wasn’t much break. I knew it wasn’t long before we would be meeting our baby.

Only an hour after my water was broken, I felt a strong urge to push. The nurse and P had both stepped out so Brian ran into the hall to summons help. I’ve heard other women who have had natural labors say that the pushing stage was a relief because they could feel the progress, but for me, it was the first time in my labor that I felt l was losing control. It was so much more intense than I’d imagined, but less than 10 minutes later and with only a few pushes, Owen Baxter entered our world. Brian was standing at my side as the tiny body emerged, but at P's gesture, Brian helped deliver and I reached down and brought our new baby up to the toasty blankets on my tummy. What an awesome experience! Owen weighed only 7 pounds, 12 ounces, much lighter than my first two babies. P commented that had he waited the extra 2 ½ weeks until term, he would have been quite a whopper!

I was on such a high after the birth. The nurses were all impressed by how easily the labor had progressed. Once it was all over, the pain was gone. I wasn’t even sore, simply fatigued. Hooray for natural labor!

Thursday, August 13, 2009


It is my precious Owen's birthday today! Time has soared along as he has moved from tummy to toddling to tricycle in the past THREE years!

In honor of his birthday, I am sharing his birth story...

The pregnancy got off to a rough start, bringing terrible morning and all-day sickness. I felt nauseous throughout the entire day, and I couldn’t find relief while I slept because the sick feeling would waken me. I was still ravenously hungry so I ate, but often my stomach rejected it afterwards. The frozen fruit sold in bulk at Sam’s Club was my lifesaver. It tasted so good and agreed with my digestive system, too. Thankfully, it was Brian’s off-season at work so he was home to help care for the Gavin and Maddie (then 3 and 1½) as I was barely functioning some days! I remember at some point around nine weeks thinking it would be impossible to get through the rest of the day, let alone several more weeks! By sixteen weeks, the severe nausea passed and the rest of the pregnancy was a dream. I had no swelling or back ache and was full of energy into the third trimester. Time passed quickly with small children to occupy.

I was due on the 29th of August (my mom’s birthday) and since each of the other kids had been born late, I was purposely waiting until the last minute to wash baby clothes, install the carseat, and pack for the hospital. I had learned that having everything done far ahead of time and then waiting for something to happen was frustrating so I decided to save the work for the final antsy days.

We went out to dinner for our fifth anniversary on Friday, the 11th. Gavin and Maddie stayed at home with Brian's mom, so we took the opportunity to browse a few stores after dinner. My back started aching while we walked. More than a heaviness from being on my feet, it was a muscle-tensing ache. I tried to walk through it, but eventually we decided to go home and after the kids were in bed, I lounged on the couch with a heating pad.

On August 12th, I began to have signs of more change in my body. Light contractions had woken me in the early morning. They were stronger than my regular Braxton Hicks but I knew it was too early to be true labor. We had a family beach outing planned for the afternoon/evening so, on the off-chance this was real labor, we decided to take a stroll around the neighborhood. The typical humid, oppressive heat of August had mellowed making for a lovely day, and my lack of continuing contractions convinced me we were okay to go ahead with our plans.

By lunchtime, I felt a bit nauseous, but with only slight hesitation, we left for the beach around 3. My two sisters rode with us and I discreetly timed a few contractions on the way. In the forty-five minute drive, I had two, but during the evening campfire and cookout by the ocean, they continued to come about 30 minutes apart. My grandmother knew I wasn’t feeling well and was especially worried that I would go into labor on the beach, but I attributed my discomfort to toting towels and toddlers uphill along the sand dunes! I was in denial that I could possibly be in labor this many days (seventeen!) before my due date. I was in the mood for another walk so Brian and I left the kids with my parents and took a walk down the beach. During our second long walk of the day, I had a contraction or two that stopped me in my tracks, but I was able to recover and move on quickly.

I was exhausted by eight o’clock so we headed home to bathe the kids and put them to bed. After taking a glorious shower, I lay across my bed to watch TV and the contractions slowed and eventually died out. Thankful that I had not gotten my hopes too high, and thankful we had gone ahead with our day’s plans, I turned in around 11:30. However, at 1 am I awoke with painful contractions. I wasn’t comfortable lying down, but when I sat up or walked around, the contractions petered out! I went downstairs for a glass of water and a game of Boggle on the computer. When I started to feel tired again, I began my ascent up the stairs. Mid-step, I had a powerful pain grip me and my doubts vanished.

At 3 am, I called my mom to come stay with the kids. I wanted to make sure we had plenty of time since the hospital where my midwife practices was an hour away. While waiting for my mom to arrive, I packed my suitcase. Having made a list ahead of time, it was not difficult to gather what I needed between contractions which were now—finally—coming regularly.

During our drive, I began feeling hungry and not being sure what I would be allowed to eat or drink once I arrived at the hospital, we stopped for a snack. Being the middle of the night, most places were closed so we settled on a convenience store. Riding had stalled my contractions so I decided to join Brian in the store where I proceeded to lean over a refrigerator case pretending to look at a sandwich while having a whopper contraction!

Part 2

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Love...

Eight years

Two hearts

One love

One Savior
 And isn't He the reason we sing?
 Love you, Brian, today and always!


Edited to add: Thanks for the compliments on the picture. Can you believe the photographer was our one and only Gavin?!

Friday, August 7, 2009


One of summer's pleasures: waiting for the icecream truck
I'm dusting off the phonics books and the history guide that were stacked on the shelf at the end of May. I'm bringing the school bags back downstairs from their summer stay in my bedroom. I'm picking out art prints and sharpening pencils. I'm thumbing through the new Bible story book and missionary biographies that arrived in the mail last month...

For the school year begins at our house on Monday. 
My pulse has quickened and my mouth has gone dry. I'm more than a little nervous. This is the first year with two in school and two more to occupy (a pre-pre-schooler and a pre-pre-pre-pre-schooler, I like to say!).

How will I adequately teach two math lessons and not feel like I'm neglecting the youngers? How will I engage all four in our history reading? How will I have time for nature walks and still give naps and prepare meals and keep the house tidy?

I don't know...and it scares me.

But my husband has wisely reminded me that it will not always be this way. This is a season. A Busy Season. A Season of Adaptation. A Season of Letting Go of Expectations. A Season of Relying on HIM.

It He has called me to this homeschooling journey (and I believe He has), then He will smooth the path in front of me and light the way. "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

So we begin. Hesitation and fear mingle with excitement and new beginnings for there is much in which to find joy. The summer has been mild and happy, and brimming with friends and visits and sand and bikes and chocolate chip cookies. My baby girl with the sheep-bleating cry who once lay helpless in my arms will now pick up her pencil to begin kindergarten! And the babe who joined our family in the previous school year can now grin through wide-spread teeth as he knocks over brothers' block towers.

As I tiptoe to the edge now, my eyes are closed in prayer and anticipation.

I'm diving in.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Cheerful Giver (Summer Giveaway #2)

UPDATE: The winner is Commenter #60, Sarah Robbins!

As my family has grown, we've slowly eliminated baby clutter. I'm not a "keeper" so extra stuff bothers me! Out went the baby bouncer. Out went the play mat. Most recently, out went the baby bathtub! And I'm contemplating tossing the big, bulky highchair.

But my baby carriers have stayed firmly in my grip!

Slings, pouches, mei tais, what have you, are great for new and veteran moms, moms of infants and moms of toddlers...and they make wonderful gifts!

You have the choice of the following (click on the product name to read my review):

The Rockin' Baby Pouch in a S/M (fits 5'3"- 6' and 120- 220 pounds)

Oasis Fleece Baby Sling by Hotslings in a size 3 (fits 5'1"- 5'10" and 131-150 pounds) Autumn is coming!

Down the Garden Path Mei Tai (one size fits all!)

There are three ways to earn entries:

  • Earn 1 entry by leaving a comment telling me which carrier you would choose if you won.

  • Earn 1 entry by blogging about this contest! (Feel free to use my button in the right sidebar to link back to me.) Don't forget to leave a separate comment with the link to your post.
  • Earn 1 entry by sharing this contest with your friends on Facebook. Again, be sure to leave a separate comment telling me you did so.

Contest ends Friday, August 14 at 12 noon EDT. Open to US residents only.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...