Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.
Psalm 63:3

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Living in a petri dish

I disclose our location in faith that no one reading would want to do anything untoward to our property. If I underestimate, you are scheming a way to help yourself to my precious thrift store furnishings and valuable dirty laundry. Good luck with that.

While you're there, if you see any cats around the house, please do something untoward...harm them, I mean. I beg of you. A little aside: We have a a neighbor cat in the throes of desire and plenty of male strays {thank you, Crazy Cat lady....Hoarders will surely be knocking on your door soon, methinks} who are willing to oblige. 

So, we all ended up with Bean's bug...even Bug {although his was a less virulent strain.} There was the day Bean slept in front of the fireplace...the next day, that's all I wanted to do. Grandma J was a dear and came down so that I do just that...under my electric blanket. When I spoke to Sweet Man yesterday, I had just awoken him from his day-long tell him we were making the trip. He even stayed home {hotel} from work...which, for him, is a big deal. Poor guy, I don't think he even remembers the conversation, he was so out of it. 

We made it to Bloomington in record time....despite the coughing, sneezing, and hacking. Listening to Car Talk and This American Life {my fave} made the miles fly by. Here we are, joining Sweet Daddy in a space where there isn't room to swing a cat.

Tomorrow...back to possibly my favorite church ev-ah...armed with plenty of sanitizer, of course.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yarn Along

I'm joining Ginny at small things to celebrate the loves of reading and knitting. 

A friend {with birthday upon us,} will be receiving this mitten {and its mate, if I can get my act together.} She knows already...I slid a prototype on her hand last week. Nope, no surprises for her.

{blurry pic, sorry}

I'm going to give this new book a go. The same friend had a post-holiday, book-swap, girls' night...really fun idea. I couldn't make it, but she swapped this book in my stead. I'll let you know what I think.

And currently, our bedtime {or anytime} reading is Alice in Wonderland. I wasn't sure if B & B would  appreciate the absurdity and silliness...but they seem to. They still giggle about the tea party scene in which a watch and then the dormouse were each dipped into cups of tea. Silliness. And Bug had already begun to learn this poem for school, so when it came up in the story, he, too, had gently smiling jaws.

How Doth the Little Crocodile
by Lewis Carroll
How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every shining scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin, 
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in 
With gently smiling jaws.

We're laying low today. Bean has a fever and sore throat. She's sleeping in front of the fire to get those germs out of her little body. Poor thing. I'll knit when I'm not busy cuddling.

And in case I don't get back here for a few days, the kids and I are hitting the road again soon. Need to get my act together for that, too. Lists, laundry, and packing. We'll be celebrating Bug's birthday in Illinois with Sweet Daddy. More on that later. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mermaid Partay!

She wanted an Ariel party...I balk at princesses, remember...and mermaids in, we compromised on a mermaid/under the sea party. Ariel did make a few appearances, however.

Her girlfriends looked so cute in their new crowns. 
{I don't really know what crowns have to do with mermaids...and yes, there's the princess thing. I am consistently inconsistent...but it was a fun project for me.}

Not the prettiest cake in the bakery, but again, I had fun making it. 
{See that purple bikini? Bean first handed Ariel to me without it... but cake toppers cannot be topless.}

Will she remember my lack of activity organization? 
The frenzy of corralling 11 little mermaids? 
My sweaty brow during the party?

I have sweet memories of my 4th birthday party...and I hope she will remember only the magic of her 5th. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bean's birth

You ready for more? We just celebrated her 5th birthday with a blowout party...{the very reason we don't do it every year} so let's start at her beginning. getting this in print...if you enjoy it, all the better.

Cruising right along, we were thoroughly in love with and enjoying our baby boy Bug. What a sweet baby he was...he was easy on my parental naivete. He was a good nurser, had an intoxicating giggle, a perfectly round head and the beginnings of red curls. I felt {and still feel} immensely privileged to accept this new position of mom and be able to stay home with him all day, every day. I continued my tutoring, but had a student coming directly to my house while Bug was napping. Worked perfectly...most days. 

Just after he became a year old,  his nursing was less frequent. I was sad, but I suppose I wanted my body and schedule back a little. We traveled on a retreat with our church's youth group and once we arrived home, he was pretty much finished. That was April and he was 14 months old.

You know what happened next...within a month I suspected I was pregnant. It was a weekday morning when I got up and took the test and I snuggled back into bed with a listening ear tuned in to the early morning murmurings of my little man. I think I even fell back asleep. Sweet Man was getting ready for work and he brought the test back in to me with a smile. Bean was on the way. 

So different than last time. It seemed my body was primed and ready for this pregnancy. I made sure to visit my chiropractor and began taking my progesterone supplement again.

Her pregnancy was fairly uneventful, except that I was so tired and couldn't sneak off and nap while I had my one year old on the loose. I remember coming up with a plan to let him play in our spare bedroom/playroom and sleep in front of the door to prevent escape. Well, his escape would at least wake me up. I was big faster than before and probably uncomfortable earlier. This time I didn't develop carpal tunnel, but she was sitting on my sciatic nerve....youch!

I saw the midwife who delivered Bug only once to have an ultrasound. I told her then that I was slightly disappointed in my hospital birth experience and surprised that she used medical intervention so readily {this is me, not so good at confrontation.} I left stating I would be having this baby at home. Back to Kathy I went. So exciting. 

Visits with her at her home were relaxed with Bug toddling around, playing with toys.  There were no internal exams...very little intervention. Just checking heart rates of me and baby, measuring of my belly, protein screening, and stepping on the scale. My protein was always low...{this is me, a carboholic.} Like our first, we did not know the gender of the baby.

The birth: Contractions began on a Friday. Very bearable and irregular. I cleaned and nested...clothes were tucked away in the dresser, cloth diapers organized, co-sleeper next to the bed. We had collected everything for our birth kit...towels, heating pad, plastic sheets, chux, etc. I splurged and bought raspberry candles for the birthing room. {And new toilet brushes for all 3 bathrooms. Very important.} The re-rented birthing tub was set up and ready to be filled.

Things continued that way through Saturday. Kathy and I had a couple of conversations. I didn't eat much, thinking that anytime my labor would really kick in. By the time Saturday Night Live was on, I was starving. Sweet Man made a huge bowl of kettle corn. I ate it. All. Fantastic idea. I slept off and on that night. 

By Sunday morning, things were happening. My midwife arrived before Bug was up. She asked me questions and was concerned that the little I had eaten the day before would not sustain me though the rest of the labor. She made me eat eggs and a couple cups of yogurt...again with the protein. We arranged for Mimi {my mom} to come and get Bug and deliver him to Opa {my dad.} Somehow, once he was safe and sound somewhere else, my body knew I could concentrate on the task at hand. 

Kathy and I took a walk in the frigid January air...I remember feeling silly waving to my neighbors as I was doubled over in a contraction. Back inside, my sweet friend and doula, Bekah arrived and my spirit immediately calmed. I rolled around the living room on my birthing ball as she filled me with labor tea. Kevin was upstairs filling the tub. Kathy gave me nasty-tasting herbal tinctures under my tongue to keep up my labor momentum.

I remarked how normal I felt...having a lovely conversation with friends, laughing...except this intense cramping would interrupt us. That and the fact I was in my underwear. Bekah encouraged me to go low with my vocal groans, from my belly...amazing how much that helped get me through the intensity.  I wouldn't even call it pain. Labor was so different this time.  Kathy examined me and declared me ready to get in the water.

Soon my mom returned, followed by my pregnant cousin, Carrie, and another dear friend, Molly. I was already upstairs in the tub. My contractions were strong and within 5 minutes of each other. Candles were lit in the dark room, Sarah Mclachlan was playing in the background, towels and receiving blankets were warmed, Bekah was reading scripture and taking pictures. Kathy's calm voice was reassuring and directing me. Sweet Man's strong arms helped me change positions and his touch made me feel safe.

I can't explain the difference I felt in my spirit with Bean's labor in contrast with Bug's. There was an assurance that I was made for this very experience. I never felt like I could not endure another contraction or had a fear that labor would go on for hours. Very different from Bug's birth where the pain was so intense I didn't want to face the impending agony of the next. With Bean, I was concentrating on one wave at a time and {kind of} enjoying the ride.

In a contraction, I would kneel against the side of the tub and when it was over, I would sit back against the heated wall. Changing positions in the water was so much easier than on dry land. Someone called down to the waiting ladies and they gathered in the room just behind me. It was time to start pushing. Everything started happening very fast.

{Here's where it gets a bit graphic...sorry. Or I could just post pictures...if you want. Ha!} I pushed through 2 contractions and Bean's head was out. As I waited for the next contraction I wanted to lean back again, but was afraid to sit down. My mom, Carrie, and Molly held their arms out and supported me as I leaned back  and bore the next contraction. Precious moment. 

And then baby girl was out...into her Daddy's waiting hands. He scooped her out of the water and lifted her to Kathy, who handed Bean to me. So perfect and peaceful.

A girl, born at 1:15pm on 1/15/06! We were immediately smitten. Sweet Man nuzzled into us and whispered his agreement to name her the name I had chosen. {He wanted another until he saw her.}

God had given us a birth experience more magical than I ever imagined. And a beautiful daughter through it all.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bug's birth

So, by the time I was pregnant with Bug, I was working full time again...subbing as a music teacher {I know, crazy...} and right before the stick showed two lines, I accepted a fourth grade teaching position for the following year.

The first couple of trimesters were a breeze...I only became sick once...from operator error. The manufacturers say take prenatal vitamins on a full stomach for a reason. I took mine one morning before eating anything and then panicked and ate about 2/3 c. of black bean hummus. It revolted on me...revolting.

I continued taking my hormonal supplement...morning and keep my progesterone level up for baby.

Knowing that I wanted to mitigate medical intervention, I met with Certified Nurse midwife who is included in a hospital practice locally. I liked her. I felt she listened to my concerns and encouraged me to come up with a natural birth plan.

At the same time, I was becoming more familiar with the practice of home birth and was very intrigued. From my incredible chiropractor, I received a name of a local lay midwife who did home births. We met with her in our home and liked her immediately...sweet, motherly, much birthing experience in hospitals and homes.

I continued seeing both women for prenatal visits {felt like I was cheating on both,} but knew I would have to choose home or hospital birth sooner or later. Still feeling unsettled in my spirit, I chose hospital sometime in the fall and said goodbye {for now} to Kathy. However, I did rent a birthing tub to use at the hospital. Our hospital had never had a woman labor or give birth in there was some red tape, but we were cleared to use it.

By November, I was beginning to be uncomfortable. I developed carpal tunnel and was BIG! Bug also had the habit of kicking me while I was standing up in front of my students...they thought it was funny when I would say, "oof." 

My due date was Feb. 8th, so I was able to finish the semester in the middle of January and had a couple weeks to spare for nesting before baby. Those weeks, of course, were a blur.

February 4th, was a Thursday (?) and I went to bed as usual...too late. I woke up around 2 with cramping and went to the bathroom. Shortly after, my water broke and the fluid was brown...which indicated a possible concern. We gathered up and went to the hospital. 

Our midwife came in and checked me and assured me I was still in early labor. I was her only mom at the moment. She stayed until 9 or 10am and had to leave for a conference about 30 minutes away, but was easily accessible by phone. She knew it was going to be a while. The morning and early afternoon were pretty uneventful...contractions irregularly, some strong, some not. Sometime in the morning, we had the tub filled and warmed and I wanted to get in. I wasn't 5cm dilated and had an IV port, but got in anyway. The nurses came in to see the novelty of a woman laboring in a tub. I'd get in to relax and then back out to rest on the bed. I know now that I was too relaxed and getting into the tub slowed my labor.

Gosh, the chronology is all hazy in my memory. At some point, my midwife came back. Because of the dark amniotic fluid, my midwife ordered a saline wash (?) to wash the baby off while he was still inside me. Weird, huh? It wasn't too uncomfortable, but I was hooked into a contraption of IV and IV stands...couldn't get into the tub during that procedure. My labor was still not progressing.

By 5pm, after getting in and out of the tub, little sleep since 2am and still contracting, I was pretty tired. My stalled out labor caused my midwife to suggest pitocin to pick things up. I was 5 cm. dilated. She said, "I can give it to you now and get things going or we can wait another 12 hours and I can give it to you then." Again, now I know that her language was the time, I was uncomfortable enough...I wanted hope of some relief. My birth plan was crumbling. The thought of another 12 hours or so of labor scared me. Sweet Man and I discussed it and agreed to have the pitocin administered. No more tub for me as I would be hooked up to an IV. 

Almost immediately labor got stronger. I labored for another 3 or 4 hours that way....more and more painful, and I felt more and more out of control. Exhausted and in pain, my midwife offered me something to take the edge off...Nubane. I took it. It made me feel drunk. I was asleep until a contraction came. I'd wake up, get through it and fall back asleep. I was aware of voices, but was not able to talk or walk. I was moved into a delivery room. Sweet Man was with me the whole time. Once it was time to push, I was able to stay awake...I pushed through 3 contractions...although I remember pushing even when not in a contraction. I really wanted to have this baby. 

Within minutes, the baby was out and she checked him over and handed him to the nurses. Sweet Man followed him...declaring him a boy. I said, "Are you sure?" because I was so sure through my pregnancy that I was having a know, heart rate, dreams, a sure name choice...all that.

Baby Bug was in the world just after midnight on Feb. 6th and I was a momma.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Baby Bug's story

Oh my, I haven't really let myself relive this memory for a while, so this will be fun. And if you enjoy it, too...well, that's a bonus.

Do you want to know how Bug came to be? All of it? No, not all...but there were some circumstances that made it more interesting. 

Sweet Man and I married in August of 1999. We lived, we loved. Life was fun together. Of course, soon I wanted to have a baby. We bought a house in May of 2001 with the plan that I would not be working soon but staying home with a bundle. For my birthday in August of 2001, Sweet Man handed me an envelope with a slip of paper saying he was ready to become a dad. Happy Birthday to me. Officially, we wanted a baby.

Surprise...pregnancy is a many things have to be just right. After all the scare talks from parents and teachers, I thought it would take just one time. I mean my body frame is built to support at least one other person. But pregnancy wasn't happening. I was riding the rollercoaster....thinking I might be and then being assured by my body that I was not pregnant...every month, over and over, for more than a year.

We discussed options, but decided to trust God for the kind of family He wanted for us. It became clear quickly that we were united in the decision of not taking any further medical measures with his body or mine. Adoption? Certainly an option. I even came to a place where I was excited about spending my life just with Sweet Man...we'd have boatloads of fun and a fulfilling life together, just us. We were going to be okay.

Spring of 2002, I resigned from my administrative position at a local private school. I began running an eBay business from home and tutoring privately to fill the blank spaces of my day and our checkbook.

On a January, 2003 afternoon, on my way to a tutoring gig, my suh-weet little Honda Civic was rear-ended  at a stoplight by a truck. Car was totalled...I was whiplashed and stunned. 

The following week I made an appointment to see a chiropractor, who also happened to specialize in electrodermal testing as a diagnostic tool. As my treatment continued through the months, I made an appointment with him for the the end of the waiting list in May.

Life went on. My back and neck healed. I attended a ladies' retreat in May with one of my dear friends. The journey is always the destination...and about 15 minutes into the road trip I was a puddle on the seat, lamenting my infertility of almost 2 years. She cried with me and told me she just knew somehow I was going to be a mom.

At the retreat, a sister spoke about Queen Esther; her obedience to God in a challenge and her boldness. The speaker gave a spiritual challenge to offer something to God that we had been holding on to. A sacred sin or attitude. I knew immediately what God wanted me to offer; something I'd held on to so tightly that I had subconsciously defied God to take it from me. I knew with everything in me that God was waiting on me to confess and ask for help before he would release the blessing of a baby. For me, this sin and this blessing were divinely connected. It was as if my sin had created an obstacle. He would not give me a baby until this was finished. Don't misunderstand; I don't believe God is conditional in His love...but in my experience He is specific in His requests of us...and we have the choice to be intentionally obedient or disobedient. This time, I did what He asked of me {wish I could say I did that every time....}

I asked a woman to pray with me and was able to talk and cry and pray with this complete stranger {aside: I highly recommend that...very liberating.}

Lighter in spirit and liberated, I returned home to my loving Sweet Man and my normal life at home. 

A few days later, my EDS appointment came up. I went, excited to receive some concrete answers about my body...fertility was one, but not the only, question. Among other things, Dr. Orr found that my adrenal system works at a deficit. Because of steals energy from other organs in the same thyroid and my ovaries. The problem manifested itself not in my ability to become pregnant, but my inability to keep a pregnancy. He suggested the possibility that I had conceived, but lost the baby very quickly. Looking back, I could remember two times I felt sure I was pregnant and had atypical cycles. He offered me a supplement to begin taking on a certain day of my cycle which would help me maintain a pregnancy when one happened again. That very day was the suggested start of the supplement. I began to take two at night and in the morning, that evening.

A week later, I was a couple of days late, but not getting my hopes up. Making myself wait a few more days, I took a pregnancy test on a Saturday afternoon. Sweet Man was out cutting grass, but I hollered for him to come inside. Two lines on the stick!!!! It just so happened {wink, wink} that I was a few days into a pregnancy when I had my EDS test, but didn't know it until I two weeks later when I confirmed my body signs. And that was Bug.  I remember we went to a graduation party that evening and I wanted to tell everyone, but didn't. We waited another week, until Father's Day to tell our parents.

To God be all glory...Hallelujah!

His birth story is next. I won't get too gory...promise.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Links I love

I love words...and I'm striving to use them more intentionally and thoughtfully. Only what is kind and necessary and true, right, friends? The necessary is what gets me...sometimes it feels necessary...but when I play back the tapes, my words were oh so not necessary.

These links surely do say it all well.

To you JJ Heller peeps! {And if you don't consider yourself a JJ Heller must change. That is all.} My friend, Julie found this treasure.

She also linked me to everyday projects to re-purpose things you have or recreate things you've seen others have. I've already made a camera strap cover with her and cute.

Look at these adorable cuties over at small things. She's having a giveaway...and the consolation prize is a tutorial. I know one little girl who is about as gifted as she's going to be for a while, but the dolly is so cute.

The thrill of the I feel about hunting wrapped up nicely...especially the fact that she notes hunters' and fisherpeople's {shush...don't want to leave the sisters out, 'kay?} care and respect for God's earth.

Beautiful words about may not agree with everything, but she explains some complex emotions I have of my momma's death as she describes her experience with her own parents' deaths.

And before I took Sweet Man to the airport this morning, I walked and listened to a Mars Hill sermon from 1/2/11. It was a guest speaker, but he quoted a desert monk who said, "Society is a shipwreck from which you must swim for your life." For some radical reason, I love that concept. In the world, not of it. He also encouraged us to become gospel artists...continuing the story God has unfolded before. You're just going to have to listen to it. 

Now to swim a little harder and faster...and a little more JJ love.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Jellybean's birthday ramble

She woke up this morning and knew. In our house, balloons next to the bed signify a birthday. Finally, she said. 

Bean's birthday. She told Sweet Daddy {who is home after 2 weeks for too brief a visit} that she thinks her arms are longer today and she can jump know, now that she's five.

Her gifts were opened leisurely throughout the frenzy, no tossing aside. I finished her skirt in time to have it wrapped...and I can tell you, she will be able to wear it for years...yes, a generous fit.

Her big brother, whose birthday is 3 weeks away...was extra sweet today...letting her choose what games to play, her choice of a show at screen time, helping with presents, singing to her at random times.

At bedtime, she wanted to hear about the day she was born. I'll tell her magical story as many times as she wants to hear it. {Perhaps I'll blog about it.}

I made an effort to relax and enjoy her...and play Pollys' or Elefun.

{But the messes...arghhh...most of them mine...piles I've ignored, books, projects in different stages, food to prepare, cakes to bake, Daddy's travel stuff. How did we fill this empty house up again? Ah, yes, one necessary trip to the store, one irresistable yard sale, one generous a time. It's time to start taking bags out of this house. Please remind me to stop scurrying and can she be five already?}

Somehow a shirt that says Daddy's little princess stowed away in one of those bags and ended up in her clothing pile. Honestly, I have no idea how it got here. I have nothing against princesses per se...but the attitude that comes with the title...I can do without. We've discussed selling the shirt away or making it into a nightgown dress. She'll have none of it. She will keep it and she will wear it out in public.

The concept is stuck. Tonight as she whispered her wish before the candles...I want to be Daddy's princess.

From the day you were born, Mimi described you as enchanting.
Oh, Jellybean, we are enchanted by you. Happy birthday, sweet and spunky girl.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


It's cold. It's snowing again.

In an old, drafty house, with a girl who kicks her covers off within the first half hour of the night and doesn't want to wear pants...I needed a solution.

I came up with this. A cozy nightgown dress {her part of our vernacular.} And since I don't dig on the character couture out there, it leaves little to choose from. But a thrifted shirt and a hunk of remnant fleece...we're good to go. Cozy.

I made the ladybug gown for Christmas Eve and the pink camo was whipped together last night. 

I attempted Christmas pj pants for Bug...but my measurements were off...tried to make my own pattern. He has some junk in the trunk...the cutest pair of buns ever...and the first pants didn't fit. Take two, I used a pair of pants that fit him to make the pattern. These flames should keep him cozy. {Little tidbit: I know there is such a thing as pattern paper, but I never have it. In a pinch, I used wrapping paper...cutting out one leg pattern and using it to cut four fabric pieces...sturdy enough.}

Told ya a trip to the fabric store would brighten my day.

Disclaimer: Fire-retardant fabric is required/suggested (?) for children's pajamas. Not used in this case, though.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

joy returning

extra time with my Savior
 a fruit smoothie
some fun things on the calendar

thinking I still need a trip to the fabric store 
to clear the summit of Mt. Funk

here's hoping...

everything's gonna be all right

Sunday, January 2, 2011

happy new year

{perhaps I should rename my blog...prone to plight...and, consequently, yours}

we've had such a perfect holiday week...

 naps with my love
reading with my babes
Christmas movies, just because
solo erranding
rich and real conversation {don't have use for much else}
walks with friends {yes, AKMR, you are my friend} 
...or even walks alone

purging the old, before the flood of new
coffee all day, with toffee stuck in the bottom of the mug
new socks for me!!!!
generous gatherings with family
easy gatherings with friends
oh, so talented cousins, entertaining us
{and spying the reactions of the matriarch of the family...riotous, pee-your-pants fun}

good food...oh my, too. much. food.
hollyberry candles
a sweet man who looks for ways to bless and surprise
{who, by the by, knocked it out of the park with my gifts this year...yes, this year in which I've tried to eschew my worldly desires, I received many just-right-for-me lovelies}

our family being together in our merry & bright home
counting our blessings
snow... with cleverly-crafted, but now melted ice luminaries on the porch

hope for a new year
grace for me and you