Monday, October 10, 2011

Progress here, progress there, a little progress everywhere...

The carpet has been installed in the new master bedroom.  There's still a bit of trim needing to be put up--there are no baseboards yet, and the door trim needs to be nailed up.  One of the window frames needs to be painted, and a little bit of paint here and there on the walls needs to be touched up.  The handles on the doors haven't been changed, and in fact, the doors don't stay closed at this point.

But--I absolutely could not wait.  We moved the bed in on Thursday, thanks be to God!

Before My Darling picked up Frog and Pickle from cross country on Thursday afternoon and returned home with them, I had moved the bedside tables and lamps, my striped chair and footstool/ottoman, Gingersnap's little bed, and all of the bedding.  We were able to move the bed easily, and I very soon had it made up.

Over the weekend, we moved the credenza into place, hung pictures, and brought in the little things that make it the quiet, welcoming, relaxing place I need it to be.

There are still a few things that need to be moved, but for now, I am very pleased.  Five years is a long time to wait and plan and work toward a specific goal!

One thing I've been thoroughly enjoying is the decision-making during shifting things into the new room.  What things do I truly need/use/want/enjoy?  What things have I been holding onto out of habit, sense of guilt or obligation, or greed?  What things could benefit someone else, or be used to make someone else happy as a gift?  I'm trying to simplify, to not hang onto the false need of having something in every corner, nook and cranny.  We are so blessed--blessed in abundance, for Pete's sake, and it's a fine line between abundance and excess.  I don't want this beautiful room to be turned into a storage unit, so I'm taking the time now to discard junk, donate things I don't need, and remember to give thanks for the things we have.


This past Saturday was the last cross country race of the season.  The kids were satisfied with their performances--which were a bit slower than the week before, because the week before it was cold (which is perfect for runners), and Saturday was hot.  The team has a banquet coming up on Friday, where they will receive rewards and recognition.  It's been an incredible thing to watch my children learn, improve, meet and surpass goals, and constantly challenge themselves.  It's been difficult in some respects--watching them give every ounce of effort they can and sprint at the end toward the finish line, dripping with the sweat of their effort is bittersweet.

One of my favorite things about these races, though, is seeing the kids who don't finish in 17 minutes or 20 minutes or whatever is the average.  The kids who take 30 or 35 or even 40 minutes, but stick it out and still finish the race, are the ones that really get me teared up.  Those kids are pillars of the virtue of perseverance.  They're not in fantastic shape, and they cross the finish line after everyone has left the course sidelines.  Their teammates have already had their shoes off and their water bottles refilled again and again.  But when they come toward the finish line, everyone gathers again by the chute and hollers and whistles and claps and cheers for them as they finish!  And that's their goal--not to shave of 10 seconds from last week's time, but just to finish, for Pete's sake!  It's incredibly humbling.  It's also a reminder that I don't even have the guts to start one of those races...

...until now?

At some of the events, after the various heats have been run, and while the time judges are tallying the results, there is an open race--open to coaches, parents, spectators, basically whoever wants to run--and some of us Mamas decided that we want to run next year.

This is a very silly thing for me to commit to.  I cannot run.  I do not run.  I walk very quickly when I need to get somewhere fast, but I do not run.  I used to run.  I used to do lots of crazy things.  But I am in no shape to run.  Especially not the course in question: it's fraught with hills, and is definitely among the more challenging of the courses for the year.  There is no way I can do this.  I don't have the guts to even stand behind the start line.

But that's kind of the point--I'm not in good shape at all.  In fact, I'm not in any kind of shape.  I'm just kind  That's not good.  I'm tired, I'm sluggish, and Sloth has gotten hold of my ankle and is yanking with strength.  Pile on the guilt factor, and it's just not a pretty picture.

So I spent $10 and bought the 30 Day Shred video.  I've heard good things about from people I actually know.  I've seen some tremendous results from those same people, and I'm hoping that it will help me, too. I don't know how much I weigh, because we don't have a scale.  But I do know that I could stand to lose some inches just about everywhere.  I figure I can hack a 22 minute workout--at least time-wise!--and hopefully it will give me the boost I need.

I definitely need the endorphin boost that I know exercise will provide, too.  Even if my body aches and my muscles scream in protest, if my moods improve, it'll be worth it.

And so, as soon as my little ones are asleep for Quiet Time, I'll open the box that's had me trembling since Wednesday, and see what I can do.  I might even do "before and after" pictures.  I'll wait to post those though....


Prayer requests:

*In thanksgiving for the Ordination to Transitional Deaconate for Deacon Mark!  Thanks be to God!!

*For the conversion of our neighbors, who increasingly call us to patience and forbearance.  Thank the Lord we have someone who draws out virtuous effort on our part, all for our sanctification.

*For Joshua P. who is desiring to feel the warm embrace of Jesus as he struggles with terminal conditions, and for his family, especially his mother, who so desperately wants to see her son's suffering end...even though it means she will bury him.

*In thanksgiving for the joyful news of our dear friends, who find themselves preparing to welcome Baby Number 11--with eight safely in their home and two little Saints praying for them in Heaven.

*For a renewed effort to promote respect for all human life, from conception to natural death, during this month of October (Respect Life Month).

*For a renewed passion for Our Lady's beautiful prayer of the Rosary, and for many souls to be brought nearer to her Son, which is all she desires for us...

*For a very specific intention, dear to my heart, which is known to the Holy Spirit and does not need to be given in detail here.  He knows.

I thank you graciously for your prayers on my behalf and for those I love and who are dear to me, and I bring to Our Lord all of the prayers of your hearts, too.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

For everything there is a season

I'm trying to ease back into the early morning rise routine.  It's actually been easier than I expected it would be, given that nights can be unpredictable and filled with many moments of staring at the clock, wondering when my little Gingersnap will allow sleep to be victorious.  What I've discovered, though, is that the waking up and getting up part is not the challenge: it's staying awake through the afternoon  that's giving me fits.


This Wednesday will usher me into my 38th year, thanks be to God.  (Or for a more common way of putting it, I'll be 37, for Pete's sake.)  I thought I'd feel older somehow, though I'm not certain what that means anymore.  I do remember carrying my little Squash and really feeling like I could never have another baby--he was definitely my last baby!!  HA!  And look what God really had planned!

I have found that with each passing year I find more joy in this season.  The stunning colors peeking from every possible crevace absolutely thrill me in a smiliar way I once felt about fireworks.  And how could it not?  The carpets of muted golds and browns of the fields fairly glow when the sun hits them on the hills.  The velvety red of the sumac is my favorite, but the surprising colors on some of the trees are astounding.  Japanese maple leaves that turn purple at the edges and simmer into a golden syrup toward the center...the plum in my very own front yard which darkens and darkens, from a deep violet to nearly black...the brilliant gold of the birch leaves...the red of the ivy vines, climbing everything in sight and providing such an abundant variety of reds (and I know they're invasive and choking, but they are still quite lovely)...and the noble oak--dropping acorns and a veritable carpet of oranges, browns and persimmony orange leaves--which seasons such a scent into the air that it permeates every breath--how could anyone look upon these things and not be overtaken with praise and thanksgiving for the One who deems us worthy to behold them?

The Saturday morning cross country races have meant that we, as a family, rise very early in order to drive our runners to their venues.  And where we live, we go through very hilly country, providing incredible views.  The early mornings these days always mean sunlight filtered through fog (except for the couple of rainy race days in there for good measure).  It's been inspiring to have so many moments of such beauty before us.

One particular morning as we drove toward the southeast, I was drawn into something of a meditation.  There were layers and layers of fog settled over fields of corn, soybeans and wheat.  The trees still have enough leaves on them to give a full silhouette, and the profiles of houses, barns and silos were prominent in some places, and obscured in others.  The first layer was softened, as though peering through the screen of an open window.  The next layer was like steam-covered glass.  The next was even more obscured, like trying to look through tracing paper.  And the next was like parchment.

I thought how our souls see Heaven was so similar...we have an idea of what Heaven is--everyone has their own idea of what the Beatific Vision will truly be like.  We see in our mind's eye what we think it will be.  And as we learn more and more truth in what Holy Mother Church teaches us, we realize how far removed our ideal is, like the second and third layers.  What it will actually be is so far obscured, like trying to peer through the thick layers of fog.  We can sense the light through the parchment layer, but nothing can be clearly seen through these frail human eyes.

God is good.

Prayer intentions:

Please keep My Darling's Grandma in prayer.  She is old and tired, and some days would dearly love to go Home.  God's ways are the best ways; His timing is always perfect.

Please continue to pray for Joshua P.  He has had some extraordinary days of energy and healing and feeling really good, but then contracted a cold...which can be devistating, or even deadly.  Please continue to pray for miraculous healing, on whatever terms God wills for him, and for peace in the hearts of his family.

Please pray intently for our Holy Father, for our dear Bishop, and for an increase in vocations to the ordained and consecrated life.

And I humbly beg for your prayers for my own needs and intentions.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Moving along...

I keep neglecting my blog.  I know this, and there's been no help for it save for me to put some strict limitations on other things that have kept me occupied in ways I perhaps should not be.  Prudence, self control, and the other good virtues in which I seem to be lacking these days, have nudged my shoulder.
This is a good thing.

Interestingly, though, I seem to have lost the list of blogs I've been following all along--I'm not sure why this has happened.  But I wonder if it's something tied to my inability to comment on any blogs as well.  There has been a lot I've wanted to say in response to some excellent entries over the past few months, and every time I have attempted to do so, I'm hit with the "choose an account"--and when I do, nothing happens.  It's as though I've no account and am thus unable to sign in at all.

Home schooling is going better these days.  My little ones are loving their binders, which I've outfitted with plastic page protectors covering pages of letters, numbers, shapes, names, and words for them to trace or color or circle or outline.  My Squash is reading, however haltingly, the short stories which begin with Dick and Jane and Sally and Spot and Puff and Tim...and of course, Mother and Father.  It's what all of my big kids learned with, and Squash seems to really enjoy himself when he realizes he can recognize a word from a previous page.  I love this stage!!

Even Cuppie is enjoying tracing the things in her book, and naming the shapes and colors, and learning the letters in her name, and counting things all over the place.  I was thrilled to find some math manipulatives in the dollar section at Target, and scooped up a bunch of different colored foam shapes for sorting, counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, making patterns and so on.  Cuppie and Squash have loved using them.

And Reepicheep, as my last big kid at home, has been working on things like sketching, investigating botany, reading like a fiend, knitting, and writing stories.  I know she'll learn whatever she needs to know as she needs to know it, so it's been a blessing just seeing her gravitate toward things which truly interest her.

We're also working very hard toward temperance.  I think it's the virtue left behind sometimes; it's almost as if it's expected for a "tween" to be sassy and short-tempered.  What a perfect time to work even harder at holding one's tongue, carefully thinking before speaking and acting, and always with charity as our goal!  It's definitely not without challenges, and I've found myself having to grit my teeth mightily more than once.  We'll get there, though.

My little Gingersnap grows at a pace.  She has begun to get beyond even squunching (which some people call creeping, but we've always said "squunching") to nearly crawling.  She's been saying "Mama" quite intentionally for weeks now, generally when she is not in my arms and wants to be.  And I have on my hands my very first ever baby who fits into the size clothing which manufacturers deem age-appropriate: at not quite eight months old, she fits neatly into 6-9 month sizes.  She's loving whatever we give her to eat, but only if she is allowed to feed herself.

Having my two eldest both in school at the Wonderful Catholic School which we are so incredibly blessed to have available has been a true mixed blessing.  On the wonderful side, they are learning so much from an incredible faculty!  And the focus that is required, the self-discipline and time management--that's all definitely fantastic.

They are also both running with the cross country team, and doing unbelievably well.  I've always known that junior high boys are ridiculously fast--like fleas, really.  But I had no idea how, with some intense coaching and conditioning, that my Pickle boy could be hearing things like, "You have the ability to become a truly great cross country runner."  I had no idea that by watching my boy run, I would be so inspired that my entire understanding of who he is and what makes him tick has changed dramatically.  And watching the Frog improve her time, meet after meet, mile after mile, has been inspiring, too.  She has been able to change her attitude from, "I'm running well and that makes me happy," to, "I'm running well, but I know I can run faster, so I'm going to work really hard toward that."  That inspires me, too.

We've been going to all of the meets as a family, which enables us to spend a great deal of weekend time together.  We have a family habit of praying the Rosary whenever we're in the van for any length of time--which is usually the case, since we're roughly half an hour from most of our destinations.  It's been truly bonding for the kids, to cheer for one another, to know that their family is literally backing them every step of the way.  And it's been one step in this stage of life which sees us with kids in junior high and high school who have found a niche where they are more than comfortable, they excel.

We bring our big water coolers and a little folding table, two big canopy tents with sides and tarps for the ground, and a few camping chairs.  We get to the meets early, which really does mean early--most meets are on Saturday mornings, with the runners needing to report in time to walk/jog the course, stretch, warm up with their team, and prepare mentally and physically...which means they're usually arriving about 90 minutes before their race begins.  We get things set up for them so that when they arrive, they can relax, get into their warm up shoes, and stay warm while they wait to run their respective races.  Last year, when I was carrying my little Gingersnap beneath my heart, I stayed home with little ones (or sometimes alone!!), and now I see what I was missing out on.  Even with a very small team (we have about 15 runners all together), the kids have a wonderful time.

And so we're all just going along, day by day, trying to hang in there with the intensity that beginning the school year brings with it.  Some activities have been set on hold until a good pattern is established, or until cross country season is over, or both.  Some activities have been stopped all together in the interest of more family time.

Though I've said it before, I really do hope to come back to writing here with some increasing frequency.  I've written many posts in my head, and at some point, I need to make room for other thoughts.  :)

Prayer requests:  Please keep in your prayers:

* Kate and her family, who are dealing with a terminal illness within their family.

*Mary and her family, who recently welcomed their fifth child.

*Our neighbors, who could just really use some prayers--and I'll just ask the Holy Spirit to use those prayers in whatever ways are necessary!

*My Grams, who celebrated her 96th birthday this month, thanks be to God, and who is just always wonderful.

*All those suffering from depression, anxiety, stress, or any other mental ailment, especially those who are negatively affected by the change of seasons--those silent sufferings can be so terribly crippling, even though the one bearing them does not look sick.

*All those suffering with health issues which result in seasonal flare-ups, like arthritis, fibromyalgia and others--for the same reason as above.

Always know that I pray for those who ask me to do so.  Your intentions are always brought before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament when you ask for my prayers.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blogger has changed things since my last venture this way.  I have, too.


I've decided that I'm not going to finish writing about my birth experience with my little Gingersnap.  She is beloved, precious to me, and gives me cause to smile every day.  I've thought and prayed and processed over and over the things that happened after her birth, and though I may change my mind in the future, for now I'm going to just move past it.  It was traumatic and transformative, and that's enough for now.  I am well, my health is good, and it's been a long road...but God is endlessly good.  I thank you for your patience and your prayers, and always know that when someone asks me for prayer, I do remember and pray for them as well.


Things are moving forward at a pace around here!!  We have a bank inspector coming this week to see the nearly-complete addition!  We've all been busy, and my projects are mounting.  I've been thrift shopping, recovering, refinishing, sewing, stuffing, and painting.

My Darling is hanging drywall today.  The Pantry Room is the last room which needs finishing, and it's getting the attention it's been needing at last.  Eventually, the floor will be tiled, there will be a row of cupboards (on a narrow wall, so we're using upper cabinets on a pedestal) with counter top against one wall, and a large closet-style pantry cupboard against the opposite wall.  The room will be our entry room, but will no longer be where we hang jackets and shuck boots.  That's what the Mud Room is for!!

The Master Bedroom has been completely painted; light fixtures have been installed, and subfloor has been laid.  We're waiting to make the final decision about flooring...the walls are a delicious suede-chocolate brown on the bottom, and a beautiful elegant blue on the top, with a white chair rail around to divide them.  The light fixtures have an oil-rubbed bronze finish, and I'm going to have to replace the door hardware.  The French doors we have for the bedroom were from the Habitat for Humanity Restore--they were a bargain for $200!  They are 15-light doors in a beautiful maple, with the gorgeous grain of the wood showing through the protective coat of polyurethane.  The hardware on the doors, though, is in a brushed nickle, and the door does not latch.  They were initially installed in an office, and I think they were not intended to close securely. So anyway, when we replace the hardware with the same finish as the lights, we'll get them to close, too.

My projects for the bedroom have included reupholstering a chair and a little bench, spray painting the frames of some mismatched mirrors for one wall, and refinishing the top that was taken out of the dresser which is now the vanity in the laundry room/bathroom.

Oh!!  The laundry room!!  Good heavens, it's pretty!  It's a truly pleasant place to do laundry, thanks be to God!  We did not go all-out with the size of it, but we have made it work beautifully for our needs.  Because it's upstairs, and just 'round the corner from the family closet, there is plenty of room to work getting things folded and put away.  And because My Darling is my builder, I've been able to customize every little bit about it all.

I need to shoot over to the photobucket site and upload my pictures this week.  I also have a bunch of sewing to do, and I need to finish the trim on the chair that I reupholstered.  I wanted to make an effort to get over here, though, and to say that I'll be back again very soon.  I know this has kind of been all over the place--I apologize.  There's been a lot going on, and I'll get it all sorted in a jiffy.


Thanks again for dropping in to read, for your prayers, and for leaving comments.  :)

Monday, June 13, 2011


Yep, I'm still here.

Nope, I haven't abandoned my blog.

Yep, I'm still processing my little Gingersnap's birth, and all that I have been through since.

Yep, apparently it has affected me more than I'd initially thought.

Yep, I'm ok. Mostly.

Nope, I just haven't found the right words. Yet.

God is Good, and works all things for good for those who have faith and are called by Him. I'm clinging to that daily.

Hang in there with me, folks. Please keep me in your prayers...I covet your prayers. Know that I am keeping you in mine, too. Thanks for your patience with me. I'll be back very, very's been a long road, and I'm trying my best to keep the rubber on the road, keep it between the ditches, stay right of the center line and all that good stuff. I'll get there. Just bear with me.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Gingersnap, the Entrance

Sunday, January 30th began like every other Sunday does in our home. We are gentle in our waking on Sunday mornings...the children emerge from their rooms on a natural schedule, rather than being rousted. Mass isn't until 11:00, and we leave here at 10:00 to get there in time to calm ourselves and prepare our hearts.

Somewhere around 7:45 or so, My Darling and the Squash begin making the pancakes. Squash pulls his youth chair over to the counter near the stove. My Darling hauls out the cast iron griddle, which takes up two burners on the gas stove. They mix the pancake batter in the old Tupperware pitcher, and joust just the littlest bit with their spatulas--"tings" Squash calls them, because "ting" is the sound they make when their flat blades collide. He helps Daddy to flip the pancakes on the griddle, and then flop them into the stoneware bowl from which they are served at the table.

That Sunday, I was feeling a bit nauseous, and couldn't eat even a bite of the delicious pancakes. I think Squash was a little sad about it, but he was cheerful nonetheless.

As I dressed for Mass, I was just not feeling quite right--a little off, but not enough to make me think I shouldn't go to Mass, for Pete's sake. Mass is the one time I get out of the house these days, and I wasn't going to miss it for the world!! The drive in was mostly uneventful--My Darling took us past the scene of the Great Truck Roll, and we could clearly see the imprint of the truck door and window, and we could see the place where the mirror would have been...

I was very uncomfortable all during Mass. I could not concentrate very well, and I could not sit still. Things were beginning to happen, and I knew I was in early labor. I rejoiced, thinking, "All of the saints and angels are here, and I get to begin the joyous work of meeting my baby here at Mass!!!!" What an incredible blessing!!

I had to get up and move a little bit. I used the ladies' room, and then stood in the back of the nave, just swaying from side to side...just a little, subtle dance that I was sure no one could possibly notice.

That's not really how it works though, is it? In a parish with so many large families, there is always someone who knows. And in our parish, there are midwives, doulas, and Mamas of Many--and their husbands, who have watched their wives go into the beginning dances of labor. It nearly surprised me when, after Mass, my dear friend who is Mama of Eight asked me, "You're in labor, aren't you?" Actually, she didn't really ask me, so much as she made a statement of observation. I said, "I am totally in labor!" We grinned about it, and as she hugged me, she said, "My husband pegged that about five minutes into Mass."

So much for subtlety!

We intended to shop for groceries after Mass, but I informed My Darling that we had better reconsider. It took him forever to head for the parking lot to drive the van up to the door--the parking lot, being a block away, was not in the cards for me. The entire ride home, I found myself having to very quietly vocalise through each contraction, and the timing of them and the intensifying of them told me that this was true labor, that it was moving along very well, and that it would likely be just as wonderful and enjoyable as my labor with the Cuppie had been.


When we got home, I went upstairs and spent some time dancing around in the bedroom...swaying, rocking, lunging--just as I had done on Thursday. After a fashion, I thought, "I'd better get a little rest. I'll lie down for a bit, and then I'll fill the tub," which was, after all, where Gingersnap was going to be born.

I did lie down for a bit, and since I hadn't really felt a ton of movement through the morning, I poked and prodded my belly a little bit. I talked to my baby, saying, "I get to meet you today! I finally get to see your sweet little face!" I was a little gun-shy about it, since Chris' comfort level for a home birth is normally 36 weeks 4 days, and at that point I was only 36 weeks 3 days...but I knew she wouldn't split hairs over it.

As I was going in to fill the tub, I felt a big thudding movement from the baby--and that was the beginning of the drastic change in my labor.

I filled the tub and got into the deliciously warm water. Good thing, too, because the contractions changed and became more intense...and began to radiate way more into my back than they had initially.

I suppose it was around 2 or 3 in the afternoon when that happened--I don't really know, because though I'm sure I glanced at the clock as I passed it, there isn't a clock in the bathroom, and that's where I remained for most of the labor at that point. My Darling came and went between me in the bathroom and the kiddos downstairs. I had no idea what they were up to, but he let them know what was going on, and they seemed to be just as good as gold. Don't know what they had for supper, or what movie they watched...don't know what time the boys went to bed--the girls stayed up for the duration.

What I do know is that by the time My Darling called the midwives and they arrived, it was about 6:30 in the evening. They were cold and so comforted by our heated tiles in the bathroom! They brought in their equipment and put things where they needed them to be. They began chatting with My Darling a bit....

.......and my labor slowed tremendously. I moved between the tub and the loo, and really thought it was *time*--but when Chris checked me, I was only at 2 cm.

I was so frustrated. It was about 10:00 in the evening, and this had officially become my longest labor...and I was only at a 2?

I sat on the edge of the bed and cried...and breathed through a few contractions. They were really spaced out though. Chris said to lie down and get some rest...maybe things would pick up again in the morning.

The midwives left.

I tried to lie down, and got gobsmacked by a contraction. And another one. And another one. And good grief did they hurt in my back!!

I got into the bathroom as quickly as I could, but had two contractions between the bed and the tub. By the time I got into the water and had it warmed up again, the contractions were like sledge hammers smashing against my spine.

So much for the peaceful, enjoyable labor I had envisioned. This was serious work, and having had two back labors before, I knew it wasn't going to be any easier until it was time to push.

With each contraction, I would squat and lean forward and grab onto the water spout. I sang a very loud song of opening, and tried desperately to focus on anything. After a few contractions like that, I began hanging onto My Darling's hand with each pain. I squeezed the very lifeblood from two or three of his fingers...I figured it was the least he could do. ;)

At one point, during a break between the pains, I slept. Actually, I slept what felt like a good bit between each of them, though My Darling says I only had about 30 seconds between the end of one and the beginning of the next. But at this particular point, Our Lady came to me. She said to me in the most beautiful voice, "Look you see my beloved Son? Do you see His suffering? I am bringing you to Him, to His cross. Be there with him in your suffering and know that He suffers with you, for you. I will remain here with you." I have never experienced anything like this in my life....and I will never forget it. No song could ever be as sweet as her voice was. It was like the scent of heaven, but in a sound...and to even try to explain it with words makes it sound coarse and jagged.

I was also beginning to see, in the tile on the wall, the face of a lion. The face was gentle, but strong, with an open mouth and eyes. Something in my spirit said, "As with the Lion of Judah..." and I began to think, "I can roar my baby out like a lion." I really needed to--the pains were so incredible, so powerful, so much bigger than anything I had ever experienced, I could not help but roar.

My Darling called Chris to come back at around 1:00 in the morning. My labor had begun 13 hours earlier, and I was lost trying to get from one pain to the next. My Darling held the phone out as I roared through yet another contraction, and Chris said, "Tell her she needs to calm down...I'm on my way!"

This time when the midwives came, my labor did not slow. When Chris checked me, she let me know that I was at 6 to 7 cm, with a bulging bag of waters. It wasn't too long after that that I needed to give a push...and the bag burst. It was such a strange sensation, one that I could never adequately describe. It felt like a balloon bursting in my lungs, or something near to that. There were about 2 or 3 contractions after that during which I felt relatively little pain--Gingersnap's little head was descending from where it had been floating in her watery world...and when it finished descending, the pain came right back again.

The time came to help her to leave her little warm home and come into our big, open world...there was no position I could find that felt good or right. The world was entirely pain. Everything was pain. I could not believe the amount of pain I was in. It felt like my body was being torched with a fire that burned but did not consume. An unbelievable amount of pain which I never imagined existed was now banging against my back. I kept trying to see Our Lady and her beloved Son, and it was all I could do to keep that vision in my mind's eye.

I begged for an epidural. My Darling said, "I left the stuff for that at the shop..." I implored them to just knock me out. One of the midwives said, "I don't think that's a service we offer..."

Well, then, somebody get this baby out, because I can't!!!

Finally, Chris suggested that I stand. I did, and I leaned over her shoulders and gave a mighty push to help my baby's head come forth. Chris had me lower back into the water, and as I did, there was my sweet little Gingersnap. She was looking right up into my eyes, which is, of course, why my back had felt during my entire labor exactly like forty-two legions of soldiers were marching up and down my back, as though it were a battlefield, and stabbing their spears into my spine with every step.

2:34 in the morning, January 31st, thanks be to God!!

She was so tiny--and I was so surprised that she was a girl! I really thought there was a little boy in there!

Oh, she was so beautiful, and so very, very tiny...I could barely feel the weight of her.

Reepicheep and Frog and Cuppie came up from the downstairs to see...I believe Reepicheep was the one to cut Gingersnap's umbilical cord, which had a true knot in it. By the time I was ready to get out of the tub, Frog was holding Cuppie, and My Darling was tucking Squash back into his bed (he and Pickle had made a cameo appearance to lay eyes on their baby sister) or something--so Reepicheep was the first one to hold my little Gingersnap for a minute.

The midwives got me and Gingersnap tucked into the bed for a little while so that they could clean up the bathroom, get my herbal bath ready for me, and prepare for the newborn exam. As I soaked in the tub, Chris readied to measure and weigh my little Gingersnap. I had already guessed that she wouldn't even come near six pounds. But she was pretty long--I couldn't wager a guess at how long she was. Chris measured her, and scrunched up her face--"That can't be right!" she said. She measured again, and looked at me with a puzzled expression. "Twenty inches long?!" she exclaimed. That's my longest baby yet! "Maybe she'll surprise us with her weight, too," Chris said.

Five pounds, four ounces. Tall and thin!!

She scored well on her apgars, 9 and 10 I think.

She nursed beautifully, and pooped even before the midwives left.

By 5:30, we were all tucked into our respective beds, my girls finally collapsing into their beds, although I'm fairly certain Reepicheep didn't sleep until late that afternoon.


Everything went very well...until Thursday, when I began to feel so low I could have crawled underneath a snake's belly wearing a top hat. Every single muscle in my body was doing it's dead level best to remind me what I had done on Monday. My back and my legs were in a screaming match, and the rest of me felt like so much jello.

Thursday night, I was beginning to notice a twinge in my side. It seemed to come on with the after pains, which were pretty substantial, but not unendurable. But by Friday mid-morning, this twinge had begun to hurt. By lunch time, it had begun to throb. And by early afternoon, it was getting so severe that I was getting a little scared about it. I began to feel feverish, and my gut told me that this was something substantially wrong.

I called My Darling to come home. He did come just as soon as he was able, and by the time he got home, I could not stand up on my own. I couldn't straighten out, couldn't lower my right knee from my chest. We got Gingersnap dressed, and My Darling brought me pants and socks.

We headed out to the hospital just like that.

Gingersnap, the Overture...

I know this is a long time coming. I just feel like every time I sit down to think about my little Gingersnap's birth story, someone needs me, someone climbs on me, someone wants to nurse, someone needs a referee...but that's just life in a big family.

So it happens that I am curled up on the couch with some Norah Jones soothing me with her sultry voice, Gingersnap snuggled in and sleeping deeply, and the house is sweetly quiet. I'm tired, but I need to get this written...


The week before Gingersnap was born was eventful. That Thursday, the 27th, I spent much of the day laboring quietly. While the little ones napped, I paced in the bedroom, rocked, danced, swayed, lunged, and just generally moved in whichever way felt the most natural with each wave that came. I didn't really think it would progress much that day, which is unusual for me. My more common response to obvious signs of early labor is, "YES!!! Come on home, Baby, we're gonna meet the next one!"

For some reason, that just didn't even occur to me on Thursday. Friday wasn't exactly the same--a bit of labor here and there through the day, but nothing remarkable. My Darling was, of course, going to work in the evening, which is the way of it on Fridays. He almost always calls me on his way home to see how the night has gone, and to let me know that he's on his way. The only time he doesn't call is when he's coming home earlier than either of us expected....then he just likes to walk in early and surprise me. I don't mind a bit.

But on Friday the 28th when he called me, and I said, "So how was your night?" he answered with, " rolled the truck."


The scoop was that we had just received a couple of feet of new snow, and on that night it was snowing/sleeting/freezing raining/crapping from the sky. Well ok, it's February--we expect that. The county in which he was, where the restaurant is, uses a different mix of concrete and blacktop for their road surfaces than the county in which we live. They also treat their roads differently, and tend to use a lot more salt in crud weather like we were having. That's a good thing, for Pete's sake. So as he drove into our county of residence, My Darling did what he always does on cruddy roads: he waited until there weren't other cars on the road, and he checked to see how much traction he had, by way of letting the truck slow way down and then giving a light tap to the breaks.

It was a good thing he was going so slowly. The truck began to slide, and then to turn--he ended up facing the opposite direction in the opposite lane--almost a slow-motion half-donut-U-turn. The truck slid all the way over to the shoulder, where it stopped....but as it came to a stop, the wheels on the passenger side came up against the berm of snow left behind by the plow, and it was just enough to top the truck onto its side. My Darling said it all happened in such slow motion that he had time to hang on--he didn't end up with a single bruise, cut, or scratch--nothing, thanks be to God!! No windows were even so much as cracked. The bumper was dented, and the passenger mirror snapped off. I suppose that's to be expected, for having landed on its side in the ditch.

Well of course I completely freaked out. There was no way I would believe that he was fine, as he kept insisting. I could not see him with my eyes, so I could not believe that he was unscathed. A county sheriff had come to process the accident, and My Darling waited in the back of the cruiser for the wrecker to come haul the truck out of the snow. Even as he spoke with me from the warm shelter of the police car, I could not make myself believe that he was ok.

To make things worse--after the wrecker came to My Darling's rescue, they were only able to get about 5 miles down the road before the dispatcher contacted the driver of the wrecker to let him know he was needed urgently on the Interstate. He had to drop My Darling off at a gas station on the highway--which was, of course, closed--and I had to venture out to pick My Darling up. The wrecker driver was needed for a 5-car accident...apparently, another car had slid off of the road (terribly common that night, sadly), and he was ok...until he got out of his car. And then he got hit by a car. And then other drivers smashed all around. I don't know how that man fared...but we definitely prayed for him.

The drive to the gas station to rescue My Darling takes, on a normal trip with clear, ice-free roads, takes about 5 minutes. But on that evening, it took about 15 minutes. It was horribly slick out there, and I was so incredibly happy to see My Darling that I practically vaulted out of the van to hug that boy's neck when I got to the gas station. He drove us home, and I was glad he did...I was shaking.

All the while, I had asked people for prayer for My Darling, and of course, got the comments saying, "Now don't you let him scare you into labor!" Being nearly 4 weeks ahead of my due date, I knew that some labor was normal for me, and I actually did expect to go early--but not that early!

Saturday was quiet. No labor to speak of...perhaps a few contractions here and there, but nothing significant. My Darling worked on the laundry room that day, and I stuck around the bedroom, napping, puttering, and just being near him in general.

Saturday night, I had a few stronger contractions, but again, nothing that made me think that true labor was imminent.

Aaaaaaaaaand then Sunday came.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

So.....I've been a little busy.

I'll write the full story later, because I'm still working on processing it all................

...............but my little Applelumpkin--who is now called my little Gingersnap--arrived into my arms at 2:34 AM on Monday, January 31. She was precicely 36 weeks, 4 days cooked.

Gingersnap measured an incredible 20 inches long, and weighed only 5 pounds, 4 ounces. She's a tiny little thing!

I am falling maddly in love with her with every passing second.....
We are fit and hale and healthy, and working on learning how to get the milkies to increase the pudge.

The big kids, which now includes the Cuppie (!!), are all in love with her, too. Everyone clamors around for the most part, wanting their turn at holding her. Cuppie checks in regularly, including in the dark of night, wanting to count Gingersnap's little toes. Squash keeps smooching her nose "so it doesn't get empty." Reepicheep is like a helicopter, hovering and grinning. Pickle has held her all of twice--I think he's afraid that he'll drop her or squish her or something along those lines. And the Frog, who LOVES school, was happy to miss it on Monday, sad to go on Tuesday, and thrilled that she has a snow day today, on account of the gigantic blizzard we're in the middle of.

Thanks be to God!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I don't spend a lot of time here on my little cyber-home talking about our lives as a home schooling family. I suppose part of that is that it's just so much a part of our day each day that it doesn't occur to me as something to write about.

A friend of mine on a social networking site made a comment about the school of one of her children just not working out well for their family, and I mentioned that this was one of the big reasons we made the decision to begin home schooling our children four years ago.

Someone known or related to her made this comment in response to mine:

"As flawed as our education system is, it builds social skills that can not be built at home...I have seen this many times over...home schooled kids are less likely to be socially adjusted

"also I feel leaving the education system is not really... solving the issue, become involved, get other parents involved and you will be surprised of the changes that can happen.

"And i sure the comeback will be that "MY Kids" are very social and are doing great..Unfortunately you will not see the damage until they are older....which I have seen too many times....They can not make it because they have been sheltered.

"I personnally am glad my kids are in public school...and yes we are involved in the changes that need to be voice of change a be active in your schools....I see too many times, people who complain, but do not get involved in their schools and still expect change to happen...

"get involved and see what happens...

"As E. knows, I am very passionate about my beliefs. And if you truely want change and/or advice, feel free to contact my wife or myself and hopefully we can get you some good info to get you started in your schools.

"My wife is the PTO President at our school and I volunteer my time at our school also...and we have spearheaded many changes at our own school..."

Now, without being nit-picky and taking this comment apart bit-by-bit, I responded in kind:


"Tell that to my kids, who have been home schooled for four years now and have markedly better "social skills" than their public school educated peers. If you think my kids or any home schooled kids for that matter) aren't socialized..., you don't understand modern homeschooling. It tells me that if you do personally know any families who home school, you likely either do not see most of what goes on, don't know them very well, or know a very small sampling of homeschooling families.

"Please don't assume that I was not involved with my children's education while they were in a building school. Our eldest was in the fifth grade when we made the decision to begin homeschooling, and it most certainly was not for lack of effort on my part, the parts of other parents, or our kids to make the most of the classroom model of education. Very simply put, it does not work for many students, and the ones for whom it does not work are marked as failures, as learning-disabled, as disruptive--when that's not usually the case at all.

"I spent many long days volunteering in their three different classrooms--three days each week, assisting teachers, and helping in ways that most parents would never take the time to do.

"Colleges and universities LOOK for home schooled students because they know that these kids know how to apply themselves academically, generally have good independent work ethics, and are not afraid to set a good example for their peers. I know dozens of home schooled college students and college graduates who have been very successful and are incredible testaments to the dedication that their parents had to their education.

"My children are not "sheltered" from much of anything. They are very involved in many aspects of their community, active in ways that they would not be able to be if they were tied down to the current model of education.

"Please don't assume that homeschooling families are hick know-nothings who could care less about education or are interested only in "sheltering" their kids from "real life." The fact is, very many of us are college-educated, and see the downfalls of the public education system, who work in effort to change it, but who realize that changes happen very slowly, and that had we not made the decision to home school our children, they would have fallen victim to a system which frequently fails kids. Had I *not* been actively involved in my children's' classrooms, I likely would not have seen this in action"

.......and just because I can't keep my big mouth shut (or in this instance, can't keep my busy-bodied fingers from typing), I continued:

" I really want to elaborate on something very specific--the social aspect of schooling. Kids who begin in pre-school and continue toward graduating high school in a classroom setting are not being educated in a way that shapes them to interact well with anyone outside of their specific age group--yet once they reach college (if that is their goal) or the work environment, they are at once thrown into a place where not only are they expected to be responsible for completing tasks under their own motivation, but they are also expected to deal immediately with people of different ages, educational backgrounds and work experiences. These are the types of situations my home schooled children encounter on a very regular basis, through volunteering, participating in activities during the day or evening which encourage them to interact with others who are not necessarily within their peer-group, and which would not be available to them if they were in a classroom from 8 to 3 every day.

"My kids are able to participate in activities structured toward learning actively about government, learning about their faith, learning the history of their community, caring for the poor and needy, tending to the aged and infirm, observing many different professional and vocational callings, and in general, helping them understand that life is not entirely about them and their friends.

"My kids do not have to worry about competing with kids their age over ownership of *stuff*, over "who's dating whom?" (and the accompanying societal peer pressures to get into things they have no desire to make priorities in their lives), over who is involved in more after school activities. They know how to sit down and talk with just about any person of any age, and it's conversation with substance. They can talk with their grandparents and great-grandmothers about family history and learn their stories. They can talk with me and their dad--and do, frequently--about their thoughts and dreams and fears and hopes. They can even talk with the parents of their friends about what's going on with them, what's happening in their lives, their schooling, and their families. They can talk with kids younger than they are and even *play* with them appropriately, without the fear of being laughed at by their friends. They are capable of performing just about any household task that is asked of them. They are able to go to work with their dad and see first-hand what makes the family business run. They are learning to be responsible for more than just getting their Math and English work done!

"All of these things have helped to enrich our children in ways that could never be accomplished in a classroom setting, and each element of their day-to-day living and learning here at home is helping to build great character in each of them.

"I don't mean to imply, so please don't infer, that children who attend building school don't have character or are not capable of building character...but there are many dozens of lost opportunities for learning when you put a child into a classroom for seven hours each day and expect them to fit into that district's idea of the mold of a model student.

"E. is right--there are some children who just do not fit into that mold. Public--even private-- classroom education is not for everyone, just as homeschooling is not for everyone...but for some families, homeschooling can make the difference between a very bright, successful adult and one who has been marginalized by teachers and peers alike throughout their schooling experience."

Now, I didn't get into all of the reasons that went into our decision to home school. There are, for starters, simply too many. But what I've found is that it really doesn't matter, fundamentally, to anyone but us--and the fact of the matter is that the biggest reason we made the lap from building to home education is that it is, plainly, what God was calling us to do. Most people don't understand this, and it would be frustrating and fruitless to try to explain it.

Because we are strongly anchored in our Catholic faith, and because we knew that God was calling us to more fully live that faith, we knew that allowing our children to daily remain in the hands of people who are disinterested in instilling the truths of our faith in every aspect of their education was not only not in the best interest of our children, but for all intents and purposes, quite frankly, to their detriment. Why would we daily immerse our children into a system which undermines the moral values which we have instilled in their hearts and souls since their births? Why would we choose to put them into situations which would make the question the decisions and foundations of their parents? Why is it seen as "healthy" or "good" or "normal" to put children into situations which cause them to have to question the authority in their lives which ought to matter most?

Well, we decided, along with many other parents, along with Holy Mother Church, that it is not healthy, good, or right at all. Parents have the right to educate their children, and the moral responsibility to do so to the best of their ability, and so we took that right and responsibility seriously and began on our home schooling journey.

What do we have to show for it?

I'll let my comments above speak for themselves on that, and perhaps I'll ask the kids to start writing the occasional entry for my little cyber home here at God Will Provide.

I would encourage those of you who have chosen to educate your children at home to chime in with your thoughts--why did you begin home schooling? What have you found to be the positive aspects--and what have you found to be the greatest challenges? Do you have the support of your family? Of your friends? Of your church? Of a home schooling support or cooperative group?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Patience? A virtue, you say?

Patience has just not been one of those beautiful gifts with which I have been blessed. I have had to work for every little bit of patience I have ever possessed (thanks be to God, perseverance is one of the gifts I've been blessed with!), and the results are not always what I would call virtuous. Perhaps I judge myself a bit harshly, but then...don't we all?


The snow is blowing and coming down at a pace. A blanket three to five inches deep is what is expected by nightfall, and I'm convinced that I'm the only one perfectly fine with it. I don't mind a bit being snowed in, especially this winter, while I wait for the small Applelumpkin to make a decision about a birthday.

The weekend wasn't super-snowy, but it was cold and bright, and afforded wonderful light by which to work on the quilt! AND--I FINISHED IT!!!! I am so thrilled to have this part done, and now I truly feel that I can just..........wait.

You know, patiently.

Pictures? You want pictures?? Well, I HAVE pictures!!

First, the co-sleeper. I was very fortunate to spot a listing for a co-sleeper on the infamous craigslist, for a fantastic price. We happened to have some Christmas money just waiting for some special use, and between the two of us, My Darling and I decided that this co-sleeper would be a wonderful gift for our little Applelumpkin.

Now, usually, we would side-car the crib--that is, remove the front side of the crib (which is very sturdy, heavy, OAK even, and can withstand having only the three sides by merit of the fact that it is a convertible crib and meant to be used as a toddler bed down the line), raise the mattress height by adding a second crib mattress, butting it up to my side of the bed, and taking certain precautions to ensure that there is absolutely no gap between the two. It's a lovely arrangement, really, because it gives the baby plenty of room, and means that our queen-size bed does not begin to feel like a camp cot, for Pete's sake.

The downside of this arrangement is that, well, the crib is gigantic. Once it's in place, we don't move it until we're ready to transition whoever is sleeping in it to a room with a sibling, which means it's in our room for about a year. Because I like to have my bedside table handy--for my reading lamp, my glass of water, a place to put my book--you know, the whole reason one would have a bedside table...anyway, the crib is generally centered alongside my side of the bed. This means that my access point at the foot of the bed is only about 18 inches. It's doable, for certain, but it's not in the least bit ideal. Plus, with the size of our room being what it is, and walls not being movable, there are about FOUR inches left between the back side of the crib and the wall. Noooooooooot a whole lot of wiggle room there.

Enter the co-sleeper. It's the length of a bassinet, plus about 6 or so inches. It's the width of a bassinet, plus about 6 or so inches. It is a lovely proportion, and will allow Applelumpkin to be directly beside me, just as though the crib were there, though perhaps not for quite as long. But the good news is, hopefully (she said to herself, secretly praying in earnest that it was a legitimate hope...) the new master bedroom will be finished not too long after this little Applelumpkin makes an appearance--and then the room will be so gigantic--cavernous, even--that having the crib side-car arrangement will not be an inconvenience!

So, in the meantime, I give you...............the CO-SLEEPER!

See the lovely plaid fabric on the back there? It's just for decoration at this point, but I need to find a way to incorporate it. I'm not sure how I'll do that just yet. It's actually a small tablecloth which was found in My Darling's grandmother's cedar's ridiculously soft, both in texture an the beautiful muted colors. I have a *thing* for antique fabrics and linens, so this fits my bill quite nicely. And as you'll see, the colors are perfect for our needs as well.

When we bought the co-sleeper, I had looked at many reviews of it, and noticed (too late) that several owners reported that the "sheet" which came with it was scratchy, thick, and if laundered in washer and dryer ( else would I launder it??) would shrink in such a way that it would no longer fit the mattress. If I had gotten the full-size co-sleeper, a sheet made for a Pack & Play would fit. But the mini? Well, no standard sheet of any kind will fit.

BUT--a standard pillow case does the trick! I used a flannel case, and secured the open end with three diaper pins. Problem solved!

This is where the co-sleeper will eventually be placed. In the very, very beginning days (and nights), Applelumpkin will probably just sleep on My Darling's chest, for that is how all of our babies have begun. And with the number of feedings and diaper changes which happen throughout the night, it's really most convenient. But the day (or night) will come when Applelumpkin will begin to put on the pudge and become squirmy...and need a place to sleep...and that is when the co-sleeper will be employed.

This is my side of the bed. The little plaques with lambs on them hung on the wall at Grandma's house, in what was Aunt M's bedroom. I remember the wallpaper in there was a similar color to my bedroom walls here, and covered in beautiful birds. I'm almost certain, though, that the lambs got their start over my mother's crib back in 1942.

Grandpa made the little wall chest. He loved to craft things out of wood--all of them have this same finish and color. There are bookshelves, sewing organizers, and tables which he made. Grams gave me this little chest and one of her sewing organizers when she moved from her little house. I am honored to have this on the wall in our home.

My bedside table is my holds my glass of water through the night, and I always have some worth-while reading there. The book on top at the moment is Jan Karon's In This Mountain, and just underneath that is Pope Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth. Both are wonderful, and I pick up the one most suited to my mindset. The little shelf next to the table holds more books--the Mitford books are on top, and there is another shelf packed with all different books, from the Mary Poppins books by P.L. Travers to books by Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

I've frequently talked about The Basket. This basket is where my mother, her sisters, my sister and brothers and I, our four maternal cousins, and each of my children have slept in infancy. When I was a baby, Pop rigged hooks on the ceiling and a way for Mom to hang the basket to keep my brother's sticky hands off of my face. I like that I can put it on the kitchen table, or on the gigantic ottoman, or wherever I need to. I can pop it in the back of the van and take it with us to family gatherings if necessary. And for the moment, I like that it so neatly holds all of the things Applelumpkin will need, from tiny t-shirts to receiving blankets to sweet little gowns.

The Towels are there, too. There, on the left, is the towel which will be warmed up in the dryer while I'm busy holding our little Applelumpkin, so that when the time is right, My Darling can hold his youngest child for the first time. That towel, I promise you, is impossibly soft and will be delicious when it's warmed so nicely.

By comparison, here is the Squash as a baby, lying in the basket and playing with his little elephant rattle:

And the Cuppie, barely awake, snuggled into the basket:
The Bug in the Basket

So snuggly and cozy that I almost want one for myself.

Well then--a glimpse of the quilt.

I made six nine-patch flannel blocks, ran strips of creamy colored chenille between the blocks, and backed the quilt with the chenille. To finish the edges, I had pondered using a satin binding, but opted to just turn the chenille and tack it around the edges with a decorative zig-zag stitch. I love the way the chocolate brown and the aqua blue work together.

I also found the adorable polka dots in the same aqua and chocolate, and pieced them with the aqua pea pods....I love the print!

The finished product is pretty big--I have it spread across our bed, and it nearly covers the surface of the queen-size mattress. Definitely big enough to snuggle beneath! Oh--and check out the blanket underneath the mother-in-law must have had some divine inspiration while she was Christmas shopping. She gave me this king-size plush blanket as a gift for me and Applelumpkin. I could not believe it when I saw the color!! This plush blanket will go in the dryer after The Towel comes out, to be warmed up and then wrapped around me and the little Applelumpkin as we're tucked into bed together. I cannot wait!!

I am definitely not a professional quilter, but my babies don't seem to mind. I am very pleased with the way this quilt turned out, and am very eager to snuggle my newest little one in it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wishin' and prayin' and hopin'....

Really, I would love to be asleep, but that's just not been the way of it lately. I catch bits and snatches of sleep here and there as I can, but mostly I'm resigned to the pattern of being tired, dozing here and there, and knowing that in just a few short weeks I'll be tiredly awake and staring at a beautiful, pudgy, sweet little face. That'll do, for now.

Since the Squash loved hearing, many months ago, that the baby was about the size of an apple, he started calling it Little Apple. Several months later, we told him the baby was the size of a pumpkin, but he said that name was already taken (because that's what we called Cuppie for so long!). Now, he's settled on a mishmash of the two words: Applelumpkin! I *lurve* it.

I sent out a notice yesterday to our home school group that I am looking for a Mother's Helper to hire, just a few days each week, for about the first 3 or so weeks after the little Applelumpkin is born. I did this because with the Frog away at school all day and My Darling not being able to take days off from work, I know that I will need some extra hands, feet and eyes to help out with the Squash and the Cuppie. Reepicheep and Pickle do a great job, but for Pete's sake, they are kiddos themselves. They do so much by way of helping to keep the house running (because in a big family, everyone pitches in...), and to expect them to help me do what needs to be done for Squash and Cuppie while I snooze with the Applelumpkin...well...that's just too high an expectation by my estimation.

I've gotten a couple of very encouraging responses: one from a Mama whose daughter would probably be able to lend a hand here and there, and another from a Mama who has many contacts through the friends of her older kiddos who are in college rather locally, and who would likely be able to come up with something! I am greatly encouraged by this, because this issue in particular has been the source of a great deal of anxiety. My Darling reminds me: GOD WILL PROVIDE (seen that anywhere recently?!), and that things will fall into place. My intense need, my instinct to have everything in place before the baby is actually born is just part of the nature of Mamahood, I think. It's part of nesting. It's part of protecting my territory and being sure that the perimeter is sound and secure before I bring my sweet baby forth, and not waiting until I am needing to rest, recover, snuggle, nurse, and get to know every beautiful square millimeter of my newest baby.

I have everything else in place--almost. The list of supplies that has served me for the past two births has been stocked and restocked, save for only two remaining items. They are on My Darling's "to pick up" list. The baby clothes have been washed and folded and tucked into the traditional wooden basket in which three generations have slept. The only thing that remains is that quilt..........which I have still not even begun, save for in my head. I have come very close to making peace with the possibility that I may not get it finished--but that's not really satisfactory, now is it? Perhaps even writing about it will give me the giddyup to move on it.

After I sleep.

Which I dearly hope happens tonight.

Did you know that on the Hallmark channel, beginning at 1:00 AM, "I Love Lucy" runs for three hours?

Found that out the other night.

Did you further know that if a pudgy little foot encased in a sleeper kicks your eyeball smack on the lens and you are wearing a contact lens because you were too stinking tired to remove the contact lens before you finally fell asleep, you will be jolted most rudely awake, but your eye will survive?

Found that out last night.

I'm hoping for exactly ZERO odd revelations tonight.


Monday, January 3, 2011

......aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand the New Year starts with a bang!

Well, ok...that might be an attempt to make things sound more exciting than they truly are.

The New Year started with the January Thaw coming a little early...meaning temps in the mid 40's, lots of the beautiful snow melting, the grey, slushy stuff increasing, lots of puddles forming, mud seeping, and then.......a freeze. You know, ice is really nifty, when you're opting for the crushed variety from the door of the refrigerator. It's not so nifty when it's stretched across the driveway, the streets, into intersections, and no help for it--because the salt has all been washed away by the rain. In December. In Wisconsin. Um..........ick. A lovely summer rain? Why yes, thanks. A December rain? I'd rather not. So really, the New Year started with more of a "drip" than a *BANG*!

On New Year's Day, it was supposed to snow. But it didn't. The good part of this is that fresh snow on top of fresh ice is bbbaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad....very, very bad. The sad part of it is that it's still kind of ugly out there, visually speaking. And now it's cold again. So, it feels like January, but it looks like November. Ew. As I tend to say in November, "If it's going to be cold, at least let it be pretty!"

There was one pretty part of it--with the warmer temperatures for a few days, there was a tremendous amount of fog. When there is fog in the winter, and the temperatures plumet overnight, in the morning comes the hoar frost...and that is beautiful stuff. Would that I had the camera on those mornings and could have gotten a couple of really was beautiful, thanks be to God.


The other *BANG* (or nearly that) is that once again, I find myself hovering between low levels of activity and nothingness, because if I get up and do too much, my belly misbehaves. Boo! Or as The Crescat would say, "Hiss!Spit!Growl!"

The trouble with this is that I never really know ahead of the need--sometimes things kind of sneak up on me. The contractions--well, those I'm used to. Even the ones that are productive, even this early. It's happened in all of my pregnancies, so why not this one?

The part that takes me by surprise is when my blood pressure and my blood sugar bottom out at the same time. The result is that I end up drenched in a cold sweat, shaking, and nearly passing out. When it passes, I am completely exhausted and end up needing a nap--like, a two hour nap. It happened yesterday, even after having been up and moving, even after having eaten breakfast, causing me to stay home from Mass. I hate missing Mass. I know that it's permissible when a person's sick, but I still hate missing Mass. The family left at around 10, as usual, leaving Reepicheep behind to make sure I had anything that I needed, and came home at around 2. I slept almost the entire time they were gone, waking only to eat a bit more and keep well-hydrated.

It happened again this afternoon, too. The good thing about the timing today was that I was already taking it easy, had nothing planned, and it was nearly nap time for Squash and Cuppie, so I just snuggled with the two of them. I'm not keen for it to happen again tomorrow--consistency is not always a good thing.

I know that this, too, shall pass. Sometimes it feels like it'll be forever until that day comes, even though my brain knows that it's only a matter of a few more weeks. I've never claimed to have been blessed with patience as my reigning virtue (if I have any virtues at all, for Pete's sake!), and the end of pregnancy is always a test of what patience I do have!! I guess that even if consistency is not always a good thing, in some ways, it's...well, constant. Ha! And double ha! HA!!

It's good to be tested this way, I think. The patience that I will learn from this, as with all of the others, will benefit both me and the sweet little baby I await.


All of the things for the baby are washed and ready to go. The towels, always chosen so carefully for their velvety softness are ready to greet a brand new velvety baby, fresh from birth. Sweet little diapers are ready to cover a soft little bum. Receiving blankets are ready to receive. Tiny hats are prepared to sit atop a sweet little head. Adorable t-shirts are ready to envelop a pudgy little body. And my arms are more ready than ever to hold all of it. But--it's a bit early, my little love. Do not be so impatient, my temperamental belly.

So......I will fill the remaining days by scheming up a sweet blanket. I make one for each of my babies, and I have the fabric ready to go for this one--this, and this, and this (but in a coordinating aqua blue), and this (in a lovely cream). Once I figure out how I want to block it, it will only take a couple of days at most to get it made so that I can snuggle with it.

Then, I'm going to make one of these. Is it not absolutely delightful?? And simple?? I am going to make it a little differently--I'll use fusible interfacing rather than adhesive, since I think the adhesive part is a tad bit overkill...but it will be incredibly adorable!! I will use scraps from the quilt, along with various scraps of coordinating materials that I have from other projects. I think it's a simple enough project that the kiddos will be able to help with it, too, which will be fun.

And I really need to get some pictures updated--here, through e-mail, and just in general. We kind of usurp the Frog's camera, since the only other cameras around here either take film (*gasp*!!!) or are phone cameras with not-so-spectacular quality. I've yet to have any belly photos taken with this wee one, and here we are, almost done! And I need to get fresh photos for the kids' frames on the living room wall. The one of the Squash, for instance, dates back to when he was eight months old. Yeah, an update on that is overdue.

I'd like to get some pics of the Christmas Tree while it is still decorated and lit, and of each of the Nativity scenes which grace the living room and sun room. Come to think of it, I should post pics of the sun room!

At least I have things to keep me busy--in addition to keeping the kids involved with their lessons (not a seriously difficult chore, but they do definitely require direction, for Pete's sake!).