February 12, 2009

Unconditional Love

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:43 am by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

It’s been a busy, busy past few days… To begin with, my mom turned 50 last Saturday. I wish I could have made a bigger deal out of it than we did, but she did have a little party, lots of food, two cakes and some gifts. And she still doesn’t look a thing like 50, which is probably the coolest ‘gift’ a 50-year-old woman can have anyway. I only dropped the ball on one thing that I meant to do for her birthday – write a mushy letter telling her how much I love, admire and appreciate her. Maybe it’ll be a bigger surprise if it’s random. At least the birthday card made her cry…it made me cry too, in the middle of Target, and that’s how I knew it was just the right one.

On Tuesday, my little girl turned five years old, which seems preposterous to me. She was just a tiny little thing, and now she’s a smart, independent little lady with a vocabulary greater than half of the adults I know. As if having a birthday weren’t special enough on its own, she also lost her first tooth while eating lunch that day! Exciting, yes – not so much so when she swallowed it. (Sparing you the grisly details, the tooth has been retrieved – and now I have to find something really terrific for my husband for Valentine’s Day.) Anyway, Rachael was thrilled when the Tooth Fairy left her $5.00 (I’m assuming that the first tooth is worth more than the others), a note asking her to please have Mommy or Daddy help her pull the next tooth so it’s easier to find, and a generous sprinkling of pink glitter fairy dust to show where she’d been.

Her actual birthday party is happening this Friday night – six little girls for dinner, hair, makeup, nails and pictures! Two of them will sleep over afterwards, and I’m not even dreading it the way you might think. They’ve both stayed here before, and they all kind of focus on annihilating Rachael’s room and leave everything else alone. She can’t wait for her party, and for the gifts that she knows are coming…although I don’t think anything can top the trampoline (complete with huge safety net) that we gave her!

Okay, so I talked digi scrapping in my last post…and that quickly (!!) found, applied to and was accepted onto the Creative Team at Late Night Scraps. Anyone who knows me at all will immediately see the relevance there – as the majority of my accomplishments are made between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.  The first of her new kits that I was allowed to work with is called Unconditional Love – shifting the focus to Milly for a moment:

It’s a great little kit – and was an easy enough place for me to start, since love is a simple concept to scrap. Here’s a peek at what else is in the kit:

If you’ve never tried digital scrapbooking and want to give it a shot, quick pages are a great place to start – and I’ve attempted my first one with this kit. The page is already made for you – you just insert your picture and go. Give it a try (and let me know if it works) – just click on the image to download!

No worries, every post isn’t going to be scrapbook-related…but I do appreciate your input if you see something you like. Or hate. Hey, I know I’m still learning.

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December 9, 2008

One year ago today…

Posted in Baby Talk, Happy (Insert Holiday Here) tagged , , , at 4:57 am by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

It was Friday, December 7, 2007 – ten days past my due date of November 27, and I was rapidly approaching miserable. I was supposed to go visit my midwives that morning, and had every intention of begging them to do something to help coax my stubborn little girl into the world. All week, I had been upset and weepy, on top of hormonal/evil and the mommy guilt that comes along with that. And my back hurt. And it hurt to sit, stand and lie down. In short, I was over being pregnant and ready to meet my little cupcake.

My plans to beg for help were nixed by the weather, though – while it wasn’t doing anything at home, there were reports of sleet, freezing rain and snow between my home and Tomi’s, my senior midwife. My mom had called to tell me about all of the accidents being reported on the radio, so I decided it would be best not to risk it, and called Alicia (my main midwife) at home. She agreed that we should postpone the visit, and said that she and Tomi would come to me on Monday morning if baby hadn’t arrived already. The thought of enduring another weekend with no baby was nearly too much to bear, so I explained how I’d been feeling and asked if she had any suggestions. Although she wasn’t worried – or even eager to discuss alternatives before the 42 week mark, which would be the following Tuesday – she told me to research and decide for myself about a castor oil induction, although she would not specifically tell me to or not to try it.

I was online in a matter of minutes for a refresher course, and it didn’t take me long to call dear sweet hubby at work and tell him he’d be picking up some castor oil on his way home.

I mixed a concoction consisting of two ounces each castor oil and orange juice after dinner, and somehow choked it down just before 7 p.m. – all the while remembering how I had tried the same thing with Princess, only to spend a miserable evening in the restroom with no baby to show for it in the end. I had vowed that I would never do the castor oil thing again. But I did…and then I waited. I fully expected for it to do what castor oil is intended to do, but never did find myself running for the bathroom. Instead, the contractions I had already been having off and on for weeks started to become more frequent; this was apparent by 10:30, when I started to pay attention to how far apart they were. By 11:30, they were five minutes apart – and a trip to the bathroom scared me when there was bright red blood on the toilet paper. I called Alicia and confessed to my castor oil experiment. She told me that the blood only meant cervical changes, and that the contractions would probably begin to space a little further apart before becoming any closer, and asked me to call her back around 1 a.m. with an update. In the meantime, she said, she would load up her car and get a bit of sleep.

After talking with her, I told DH to start straightening up the living room and making sure everything was ready. After panicking for a few minutes, he did – and then laid down on the couch to sleep until I had something new to report. I decided to take a quick shower – both to be nice and clean in case this was the real deal, and to let the water help relax me during the contractions. That didn’t exactly work. The water felt nice, but once in the shower, my contractions started coming closer together – every two or three minutes until I got out. By 1:00, they were so strong that I had to stop everything to get through them, and they were still no more than five minutes apart (and usually closer.) Alicia said she would pick up Sam, my doula, and head our way. It’s about a two hour drive from her house to mine, so I figured she’d be here around 3 and decided to get some rest.

Lying down was horrific. There was not a comfortable position to be had. I finally settled on the glider rocker in our bedroom, rocking and breathing through the contractions and dozing in between. I had to get up to find a blanket (I was freezing) and then to run for the bathroom during a sudden wave of nausea. I sat and sat and sat and the contractions stayed consistent at about three minutes apart – alternating between difficult but bearable, and truly painful. I kept checking my watch to be sure they weren’t becoming any closer…and finally started wondering what had happened to my midwives. 3:00 came, then 3:30, then 3:45… The contractions were becoming so painful that I finally gave up on letting DH sleep until they arrived – I waddled out into the hallway and told him that I needed my birthing pool, and he should start inflating it about ten minutes ago. And that I wanted some grapes, which he promptly fetched.

Not being familiar with the area – and having only been to our house a couple of times – Alicia had gotten a little lost on the way. She and Sam finally arrived around 4 a.m. and came upstairs to check on me. Seeing that I was doing okay, they headed back downstairs to start bringing their things in from the car. DH had inflated the pool and put it in the living room, but rather quickly ran into a problem – our water heater wasn’t up to the task of filling a huge pool with warm water. He filled as much as he could, then stopped to wait for the water to heat back up. Meanwhile, Alicia and Sam set to work in the kitchen, boiling water in every pot and pan they could find to help fill up the pool. I felt vaguely sorry for them, having to come here in the middle of the night to boil water and haul it from kitchen to pool – I hate inconveniencing people – but I wasn’t able to concentrate on that for long.

Around 5:30, they came to check on me again – it was hard to talk to them since I had to stop and breathe through nearly constant contractions. Alicia attempted to listen to the baby’s heartbeat without making me move from the rocker, but couldn’t find a good spot in that position, so I moved to the bed. Her heart was pounding away just perfectly, slowing ever so slightly during a contraction. Since I was already on the bed, she asked if I wanted her to check for dilation before I got into the pool to let the water help with the pain. For months, I had been worrying about this first internal exam – Alicia had become more friend than care provider, and I was so sure it would be awkward and strange. Thankfully, labor dulled that a bit, and it wasn’t as bad as I’d imagined. She checked quickly and told me that I was dilated to six centimeters.

It was 6 a.m. when I went downstairs and got into the pool. I expected to feel a huge difference, having read over and over about water being “the midwife’s epidural” and how much easier the contractions would be once in the pool. Not so much for me – they felt about the same, but at least I had the novelty of being in a pool in my living room to distract me! Finding a comfortable position was difficult – sitting down on the inflated bottom of the pool felt nice, but didn’t seem to be conducive to having a baby. Ultimately, I ended up on my hands and knees – alternating between rocking (hoping to help open up the pelvic area) and clinging to the side of the pool, talking with Alicia (who was sitting in the floor by the pool) between contractions.

I had only been in the water a short time when the nausea returned. I told Alicia and Sam that I was going to be sick, and Sam got right up to search for a trash can. None in the living room, so she headed to the kitchen. She was still there when I couldn’t hold it back any longer – and despite that, I can still see clearly what happened next. Sam grabbed a plastic bowl off of the counter and, as if in slow motion, sprinted across the kitchen and into the living room, bowl held in front of her at arm’s length, reaching the pool just in time that I didn’t make a huge mess on the carpet. (While this was remarkable in the moment, it’s downright hilarious in retrospect. Maybe you had to be there, but the sight of Sam running with the bowl is one that I’ll always remember when thinking of Boogie’s birth.) The midwives were even encouraging about my being sick – “get it all out”, they told me, “that’s a good sign, means things are moving!” I loved having my own personal cheering section that thought everything I did was wonderful!

Once that was over, DH came to kneel in the floor by the pool so I could hold onto him. It didn’t seem like I’d been in the pool any time at all before I started feeling like I needed to push through the contractions. I tried to ignore the feeling, thinking that if Alicia had just checked me, and I was only at six centimeters, that there was no way it was time to push yet. There couldn’t possibly be room for a baby to come out yet, and I’d surely kill myself trying. But after a couple of contractions, I told Alicia what I was feeling and she told me that if I felt the urge, to go ahead and push through them. Her ‘permission’ (so to speak) was all that I needed – with the very next one, I started bearing down.

And, I think, with the one after that, I started yelling. I hate to admit it, as I had been envisioning a calm, quiet, peaceful birth in the water…but that’s not exactly how it happened. As her head started descending – rapidly, it seemed – I got louder and louder. I remember thinking “oh no, I’m going to wake Princess up and scare her half to death”, but I couldn’t stop. This was also the point where I remember wondering just why having my baby naturally seemed like a good idea, quickly reminding myself why it was a good idea, and mentally telling myself that this was not going to last much longer and was for a very good cause. All of these thoughts must have run through my mind in a hurry, because they occurred in the time between two contractions, and that wasn’t very far at all by this point.

Knowing that it wouldn’t be long before my little girl arrived, Alicia encouraged me to get into a squatting position in the water so that I could catch my baby. I moved, and was so surprised when I reached down and felt the spongy, squishy top of her little head. I was trying not to cry when I told DH, “I can feel her head, it’s right there!” Squatting through the contractions just didn’t work for me, though – my balance isn’t great on a good day, and I quickly found myself back on my hands and knees in the water.

About this time was when Princess’s bedroom door opened and she came out into the hallway. I think I was the first to realize that she was awake, and told DH. He headed upstairs with the phone in hand, to shepherd her back into her room and call his dad to come and pick her up until everything was over. Sam asked if I would rather have DH nearby, and offered to go up and help Princess get dressed; I wasn’t sure how she would react to that, having only met Sam once, but I knew that I wanted DH – so up Sam went. In just a moment, she was back – and she wasn’t alone. I later learned that Princess told her she wanted to come downstairs and see her mommy. Sam told her that the baby was coming and that I might be making some funny noises, but Princess said that was okay, and down they came.

Meanwhile, DH had returned to the side of the pool and I was still pushing. It seems like only five or six contractions had passed from the time that Alicia told me it was okay to push if I felt the urge – and I could certainly tell where my baby’s head was by the fiery sensation.

Princess reached the side of the pool at 7:04 a.m. on Saturday, December 8, and just a few seconds later, I felt the same thing I had felt when she was born – that wonderful relief of the baby’s head coming free, and the rest of her body following it out. I looked down into the water to see my baby float quickly forward into my reach; I sat back and picked her up out of the water and onto my chest. My sweet little Boogie was finally here, and her big sister got to witness her birth.

She started breathing immediately, and her skin turned quickly from a gray-ish color into a healthy pink. I sat in the water with her for a while, holding her close, still wet but wrapped in a receiving blanket, rubbing her back. Sam remarked later that babies born in the water usually take a little while to start breathing regularly, and that she had never seen one start breathing as quickly and effortlessly as mine. She fussed a little, but didn’t really cry. She was alert and content from the beginning.

They helped me out of the water after a few minutes, and into my favorite chair (lined with waterproof pads, of course.) My new little girl latched on and nursed like a pro at just thirteen minutes old. A bit later, Alicia clamped her cord and DH cut it. He took his new daughter while the midwives helped me upstairs and into the bathroom, where the placenta was delivered. I took a quick shower, got dressed, and headed for bed.

The senior midwife, Tomasina, had arrived while I was in the shower. Alicia had been waiting to call her when it was close to time for me to give birth; no one had anticipated that it would happen so quickly once I got into the pool! Tomi held my baby while I got situated, and then they weighed and measured her – my sweet baby girl was 9 pounds and 6 ounces, and 19” long. Her APGAR scores were 8, 10 and 10. In short, she was simply perfect. wub.gif

November 27, 2008

I guess she was looking ahead.

Posted in Baby Talk, Happy (Insert Holiday Here) tagged , , , , at 6:35 am by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

I suppose now that maybe, just maybe (although it certainly didn’t seem that way at the time), it’s a good thing that Boogie decided not to grace us with her presence on her due date. On November 27, 2007 – exactly one year ago today – I was pleading with my giant baby belly to please, please contract already. I didn’t really expect it to listen – after all, Princess was five days late, and she was (unfortunately) evicted. But I was in a great deal more pain the second time around, and was very anxious to have it over with.

Of course, I didn’t look ahead on the calendar to this year, to note that Boogie’s first birthday would have been on Thanksgiving Day, had she not been so stubborn comfy. And while it wouldn’t be a bad thing, per se, to have a birthday on Thanksgiving, I would much rather her have her very own special day.

I never expected her to hang in there for eleven days past her due date, and suspect that I’ll always hold a bit of a grudge over that one. In fact, I’ll probably remind her of it at least once a week for the duration of her first pregnancy someday.

Anyway.

Another Thanksgiving, and I have so much to be thankful for. A husband who is quite often maddening, but is truly a good man, a wonderful husband and father. Two beautiful, sweet, perfect little girls. A comfortable home, heat, plenty of food to eat, clothes, vehicles, creature comforts. An amazing family and terrific friends. A God who loves us and provides for us. Well, those are obviously a little out of order – but the point is, I could go on all day counting my blessings, and still never cover them all.

September 25, 2008

Procrastinate, and do it NOW.

Posted in Baby Talk, Crazy Homeschoolers tagged , , , , , , , , , at 2:06 pm by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

I have the worst problem with updating my blog. Ideas come to me constantly – I’ll be in the car, or the shower, or folding laundry, or nursing the baby, and think “oh, I need to blog about (insert topic here) before I forget all about it!” And then I forget all about it. I sit down in front of the computer and get engrossed in something else (usually either JustMommies, or some massive time-waster on Facebook) and don’t even think about blogging. And then, when I actually DO think of blogging while in close proximity to a computer…well, I’m just so stinking far behind that I don’t even know where to begin. As is the case today.

Since my last post, my baby girl turned nine months old. That was two weeks ago, so I guess she’s actually nine and a half months old. Three quarters of a year. Where the heck has the last nine months gone? I want them back. Whoever stole them from me – bring. them. back. I know that’s not likely to happen, so I’m doing my best to move ahead, and am actually planning for her first birthday already. I have a box of cupcake-themed decorations in the closet already, and the ridiculously expensive cake pan from Williams-Sonoma that will make a big 3D cupcake-shaped cake. I HAD to have it, and I’m justifying it by pledging to make this cake for her every year, until she’s old enough to be utterly mortified by it – and then probably for a few more years after that.

She started properly crawling this past Sunday. She’s been mobile for a while now, but she finally got the hang of the whole hands-and-knees thing that is what most people consider crawling. And of course, she figures this out while in the church nursery – with someone else. The ONE Sunday morning that my dear sweet darling husband volunteers to sit with her in the nursery so I can stay in our Sunday School class – well, of course that would be when she decides to show off, wouldn’t it? Thank goodness for nifty phones with video capability – I did at least get to see it later. And now I’m seeing it non-stop, from the time she rolls out of bed in the morning until the time she passes out at night. It didn’t take her long to put two and two together – crawling equals freedom, to get into anything, anywhere.

Well, you have an older daughter – weren’t you prepared for this?, you ask (or I assume you do, at least.) No, no I was not prepared for this. You see, the Princess had a full-blown case of Jabba the Hut Syndrome when she was this age. She was just such a massive chunk that she was quite content to mostly stay in one place and play with what she could reach. She would scoot around a little (it was easier for her; we had hardwood floors then) and was probably capable of more than she bothered with. But she never did really crawl, she didn’t cruise until just before her first birthday, and didn’t bother with those first steps until fifteen months. I had just resigned myself to hauling her piggyback-style off to college when she let go of the couch and took off one morning, and hasn’t slowed down since. So no, I really wasn’t expecting Boogie to be so fast at nine months, although I should have figured that a) a second baby would be faster because she wants to keep up with her sister, and b) I’m older and more tired now, so Murphy’s freaking Law says that she would be a fast learner as well.

And the Princess? Well, DH was concerned that she’d be smarter than him before long, and I think that day is nearly here. Heck, she’s going to pass me soon, and I don’t know what I’m going to do then. Maybe I’ll just turn lesson planning over to her and let her teach me what she wants to learn. Yes, she is truly a tiny smartypants – and thank goodness for it, as I likely wouldn’t have the patience to homeschool her if she weren’t. Not that anyone else would necessarily be interested, but I don’t want to forget – so here’s a quick rundown of our typical school day…

– We start with our Bible lesson over breakfast. This includes a devotion, saying the Lord’s Prayer (which she does nearly flawlessly now), and our memory verses. She knows four verses now – we do one each week. We use the A Beka Bible curriculum, which I both love and hate. I like having everything spelled out for me – teach this, then this, then this – to be sure that I don’t leave anything out. But at the same time, this kid has known the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, et al since she was a tiny, tiny girl and they’re a little boring for her now. I’m having to pull out more details to keep her interested.

– After the Bible lesson, we read an entry from the book 365 Manners Kids Should Know. Not neccessarily that day’s entry – I do skip around a bit to cover the ones that are applicable now. After all, the chances of her needing to know proper ettiquette at a bar mitzvah are currently pretty slim.

– Next up is geography. I printed out a map of the U.S. and she colors in one state each day, reviewing the ones she’s done before. As of this morning, she can identify New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama (she’s finally stopped calling it “Obama”), Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.

– After breakfast comes math. She can add by ones now, and is learning basic addiction facts (2+2, 3+3, 4+4, etc.) Today we’ll start skip counting by twos, which should be interesting.

– After lunch, we do our daily phonics/reading lesson. Not sure what I’m going to do after next week, as she only has three lessons left in her phonics curriculum! I checked out several level and one and two readers from the library yesterday to serve as her reading practice until I figure out which curriculum to go with next. If I can keep the books hidden, I can make her read them to me…if not, she tends to remember the story and tries to cheat. I hope the books I picked aren’t too easy – last week she sat down with a Mercer Mayer book and read it cover to cover with no help. I’m so proud of her (she got my bookworm gene!) but I little flabbergasted too. Am I supposed to buy first grade readers for my four-year-old?!

– The rest of the day varies. We do Social Studies on Tuesdays since that’s gymnastics day and we don’t have much time. The A Beka K5 Social Studies book is basically a giant coloring book, so we’re rolling through that. Some days we do science – using the God’s World reader combined with experiments from The Backyard Scientist or things I find online (or just feeding and watching the sea monkeys). Other days we do history, using Story of the World. Just got the activity book that goes along with it yesterday, and boy are there plenty of things to tie in there. The next chapter – ancient Egypt – ought to be interesting.

I know, that sounds like an awful lot for such a little one, but it really doesn’t take all that long. We might spend two hours on an average day “doing school” – whereas if I sent her to preschool, she’d be gone for at least three.

*****

On to other, more random things now…such as HOW in the world I’ve found time to write an entry this long on a Thursday morning? Well, that’s one upside to Boogie’s crawling – she’s much happier playing in the floor for longer periods now. I can get online for a little bit while she explores. I just have to keep prying her little fingers off of the laptop’s AC cord.

I just took her out on the front porch for a few minutes – it’s so windy this morning, and she seemed to enjoy that. I love watching her when she’s watching something interesting – her blue eyes get so big, and her little lips part while she’s staring. It’s an awesome opportunity to nuzzle into those chubby cheeks and smell her sweet baby smell. I hope that doesn’t go away anytime soon.

And, as if on cue, she crawls over to me, climbs my leg and screams. Of course.

Sleep is still an issue here – or rather, the lack of it, during the day. She just doesn’t nap. It’s not that she doesn’t need them – she’s falling down tired by 5:00, but I can’t let her nap that late. We would all be happier people if she’d nap during the day…but I’ve kind of gotten used to being grouchy, and at the very least know that I’ll survive this. Surely to goodness this will get easier before long.

Our annual visit to the pumpkin patch is just a few weeks away now – hard to believe! I’m so, so thankful that fall is here and it’s getting cooler. I hate summer – hate it, with a pink and purple polka dotted passion. I just want to refrigerate the whole house in the summertime and never, ever leave it. Fall, now – I love being outside during the fall. Boogie, unfortunately, does not. Well, she does like the outdoors – as long as she’s being held. She doesn’t care for the swing and screams if grass touches her, so there’s not a lot to do for her just yet. Anyway. Hopefully she’ll tolerate the grass for 15 seconds at the pumpkin patch, long enough for me to get the picture that I absolutely must have. She’s going to be a white tiger for Halloween, and has the most adorable costume ever – the one that I loved but talked myself out of when Princess was a baby. Princess, on the other hand, refuses to be a princess this year, because those costumes are easy to find. No, she insists on being EVE, from the movie Wall-E. EVE, who Disney/Pixar neglected to make a costume of this year. EVE, who is a shiny white robot with no legs – she hovers. EVE of the impossibly shaped body. Thank goodness I never learned to sew, so the task of negotiating this particular costume falls into my mom’s capable hands… We’ll see what happens with that.

There’s more – there’s always more – but I think that’s plenty for now. I’m caught up enough, I think, that maybe I won’t dread writing more tomorrow…