Today Lydia and I finished her birthday dress. er – her 8 year old birthday dress. Lydia turned 9 earlier this month.
I don’t sew much – did I mention that? My crowning achievement, my magnus opus, was the year I made 5 matching Easter dresses for the girls.
Lydia’s birthday dress is my first real sewing project in over 5 years, so this is a momentous occasion. Last year, I decided to make a dress with each daughter, each year, as a birthday present. Yes, I can hear you laughing. But Lydia and I went to Walmart together, and I helped her select a pattern and fabric. We came home, cut out the pieces, and got to work.
We got stuck. We backed up a little, tried again.
We got stuck. We hadn’t chosen the easiest pattern. Not a hard one, but it had quirks that were enough to throw off a novice like me.
We put it aside and thought about it for a while, and when Grandma (my grandma) came to visit, she helped us through the bit we were stuck on.
We worked a little more, and got busy with other areas of life.
Just today, I pulled out the half-forgotten, nearly finished dress. “Let’s finish your dress so we can do a Home Portrait Studio for your birthday pictures this year!”
And we did. Just like that.
Now who knows the best place to order prints from digital photos?
Today Lydia and I finished her birthday dress. er – her 8 year old birthday dress. Lydia turned 9 earlier this month.
We were very in need of a game to play (because we were BORED!) and then I said “I know! We can build something” “naaaa” said the rest of the gang “lets go play on the deck so we built a teeter-totter but Mom said that was dangerous “aww!” and then I said “well lets play a game that we are pretending to build something that flies and is steered by two umbrellas!” There reply to this was “yah!” So we did! It went rather well to. When we were finished we started our game: It was about some little girls who were building something and pretending it could fly (which was signifenitly true) And then all of a sudden a horribly strong wind blew us right up into the air! “aaaaaaaa!” said the youngest ” help” said Lydia “make it stop!” said Megan in a rather panicky voice ” I think it really worked!” said I. So I tried to get us back down to the ground while the others sat there pretending to be helpless and all freaked out, but finally I had to give up, but the hardest part was going to be breaking the horrible news to the others, what would they say? It has to be done though so quietly and quickly I went back to tell them, “you guys” I said I know how scared you are but… I hate to tell you this but… I… Cant get us back to the ground” there reactions to my word were nothing but silence the first and only to speak up was Lydia “But what will we eat?” I replied “I have a loaf of bread here”
TO BE CONTINUED
This is a picture of, I think it’s a brazil mantid well I got is off of a web site called http://whatsthatbug.com/
And here is a very skinny mantis Ithink somyone called it the grass like mantis:
And here is a BIG mantis:
We tried Kim B.’s Fast Fiesta Soup today for lunch, and everyone declared it dinner-worthy, in spite of the fact that it took about 2 minutes to prepare. It was thick and hearty and cost just over $2 for the entire pot. Perfect for the end of a long shopping day when you arrive home late and tired. A fresh loaf of crusty bread would be nice for dipping, or maybe tortilla chips.
Kim’s recipe is very flexible. Here’s what we used:
Fast Fiesta Soup
1 can corn, undrained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can tomato soup + 1 can water
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can pinto beans, undrained
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbs. minced dried onions
Dump all in a pot, heat thoroughly, and serve. Ours made a nice thick hearty broth and needed no additional seasoning. With fresh onions, you might need to simmer a bit longer.
Be sure to check out the rest of Kim’s website, Large Family Logistics, for many encouraging tips on running a household, keeping up with cleaning, training children, and cooking for a crowd.
We were forced to spend 5 hours in Wally World yesterday while our van was being worked on in a nearby garage. After that, we spent another 2 hours in the mechanic’s waiting room while they finished up the “2 hour” job. The last 3 hours of our Wally-time was not fun, and now I am not looking forward to my next shopping trip. My sister-in-law understands. When I told her, she exclaimed, “Oh, Kim! That’s so tragic for you! Now where will you go for fun?”
But we did see an incident worth recounting. We bought groceries while we were loitering, and in one of our carts (sigh…yes, I’ve resigned myself to shopping with 2 carts) were 2 rolls of Crescent Roll dough. I don’t normally buy this, but I really need to try Beth’s recipe for Taco Crescent Bake. I think you should try it too, but be careful when you buy the crescent roll dough.
When one of my darlings put the rolls of crescent dough in the cart for me, I had warned her: “Handle those carefully. They can pop open by themselves!” snicker.
When another child helpfully dropped cans of beans into the cart, I admonished: “Watch out for the crescent rolls. Those things will pop open!” “Yes, ma’am.”
As we unloaded our groceries onto the conveyor belt, I reminded everyone: “Easy with the crescent rolls!”
Did they spontaneously pop open? Well, no.
But the lady behind us was holding a roll of crescent dough. As she stood watching us, her roll of dough exploded! The dough shot down and splatted onto the floor next to her shoe, while the empty can was jet-propelled like a bottle rocket straight up and over to the next aisle!
As the girls and I first stared, then shrieked with laughter, the nonplused clerk shook her head slowly. “Must have been outdated,” she grumbled. Apparently this happens a lot in Wally World.
I’m the oldest of 14 children. We have 14 birthdays – well, sort of. We share a lot.
The first 3 of us are all in December, but that’s nothing special.
#4 shares her birthday with #10.
#5 shares with #8.
And the twins? That’s where it really gets tricky. The twins are #12 and #13 (Mom and Dad got a baker’s dozen!). The older twin shares a birthday with her older brother. Twin brother has his own birthday the next day.
My own children’s birthday fell differently.
- The first was born on her grandpa’s 40th birthday.
- The second was born just 2 days before the other grandpa’s birthday.
- The third was born on All Saints’ Day.
- The fourth was born on Memorial Day – we like to say that Memorial Day was Labor Day that year.
- The fifth was our Y2K baby. 1:58 AM, yee-haw! Full color front page spread in the local paper!
- The sixth was born on a great-aunt’s birthday.
- The seventh (our little Sarah who died in utero) was born on Flag Day.
- The eighth was born on the 14th anniversary of our engagement.
The next one is due June 20th…hmmm…my mom’s birthday is just 8 days later. Our #6 was 8 days late.
Well I’m back on the wagon. Yesterday over the course of the day I managed to hit 155 push ups.
I was doing sets of 35 or so throughout the day. My largest set was 45 done just after dinner. (BTW Hun that chicken was fantastic last night!)
I have 2 goals over all.
1.) 250 push ups in a day at least 4 days a week.
2.) stay consistent with these for the next 2 months.
Incidentally I’m at 55 on the day thus far.
We try to shop carefully, but there are several notable convenience items that have a firm place on my grocery list. We just try to make sure such items have a good excuse for themselves.
Most items are not as costly as they may seem. Others save enough time to justify the additional per-use cost. Others, we just like to have on hand. A few fit into 2 or 3 categories.
- Pam, or the store brand equivalent. I believe the label when it says that a single can will grease as many pans as 3 gallons of oil. This stuff lasts forever and is a timesaver – just saves a few seconds/use, but each can gives many hundreds of uses. Those seconds add up, and it costs a lot less than 3 gallons of oil.
- Preseasoned bread crumbs. At $1/3.5 cups, this is another timesaver for me. It’s an ingredient in another of our fast-and-favorite dinners, and it only adds about 30 cents to the cost of our dinner (actually less, because I would have to pay for the bread and seasoning to make our own – and there’s no such thing as old dry bread in our house).
- Paper towels and paper napkins. Hubby likes to have them available.
- Freezer burritos. At 28 cents apiece, these are a great fast breakfast-to-go for hubby, who never seems to tire of them. Making my own would save only 10 cents or less each. My time is worth more to hubby and me.
- Zipper bags. Hubby likes them. I like them. The kids like them. Prices on these have dropped over the years, so they’re no longer the expensive luxury that they used to be. At 2 cents each for the small ones, it doesn’t take much to justify the expense. And they’re great for freezing cooked ground meat for quick meals: flatten them uniformly so that they stack with no wasted freezer space, and they defrost in a snap!
- Breakfast cereal. We eat very little of this, and try to buy only under 10 cents/oz. But it’s great for breakfast in a hurry, and there are fairly nutritious choices available in the lower priced categories (bran flakes, store-brand shredded wheat, toasted oats).
- Pre-shredded cheese. I would be willing to pay slightly more for this, but at Costco pre-shredded is as cheap or cheaper/lb. than buying the blocks. It’s another real timesaver, and I can use directly from the freezer so it never gets moldy or yeasty.
- Paper plates. We buy the cheapest, and consider them part of the Friday Night Pizza tradition. These are a great treat to whoever would be doing dishes, and are applauded when we bring them out at other times during the week. In Thrill Factor for the children of dish doing age, paper plates rank somewhere between homemade cookies and a trip to the library – but a lot cheaper than either.
I’m sure I’ve missed a few things, but you’ve got the general idea. We try to strike a balance, being good stewards while still enjoying the blessings God provides. Yes, paper plates are a blessing from God. Just ask my kids.
Here is one of our favorite easy recipes that always seems to get rave reviews. This feeds our 9 with enough leftover to feed Dad lunch the next day.
Small families may need to cut the recipe down, or freeze half.
Cook and drain 2-3 lbs. of ground beef or sausage in a large stock pot
- 1 large can cream of chicken soup
- 1-2 cans black beans
- 1-2 cans corn and/or ranch beans (optional)
- 1 can rotel tomatoes or 1 cup salsa (for milder flavor, try diced tomatoes)
- 1/4 cup taco seasoning
Heat and stir.
In a large greased roaster (or 2 9×13 pans), layer as follows:
- tortillas cut to fit, or corn chips
- 1/2 of meat sauce
- grated cheese (cheddar or col-jack is good)
Heat in a 325 oven til bubbly, about 25 minutes.
My hubby’s brother works with him, along with about 28 other guys. Today was his birthday – brother-in-law’s birthday, that is – and hubby wanted to do something nice for him.
So we bought 2 whole briskets (30 lbs. of meat!), 6 bottles of BBQ sauce, 10 packs of hamburger buns, 5 big bottles of pop, one of those food service-sized cans of corn, and 9 bags of chips, plus plates, napkins, party hats and obnoxious noisy party noisemakers things. We seriously considered ranch beans, but I only have 1 crock pot and there’s no stove at work. I didn’t think they’d stay hot for the 52 mile drive, so the beans stayed home.
Late last night we started the brisket. Well, OK. Hubby started it. I was lolling about on my bed, again, being ill. He brought me freezer pizza.
Early this morning, I bundled up four of the youngest to go to work with Daddy and Uncle Ben. He got into the faithful old white Suburban and headed out. We won’t talk about why he needed jumper cables before he left, but it wasn’t the Suburban’s fault.
I ran back in and finished up preparations. The rest of us piled into the van and headed into town with the feast in time for lunch.
I learned a few things:
- Alas, 30 lbs. of meat does not adequately feed 30 young men.
- Regardless, 30 young men will be overwhelmingly grateful for 30 lbs. of meat.
- I received way too many thanks for the amount of work I put into the meal.
- Mexican meat markets and grocery stores do not carry potato salad.
- If you have a party, somebody will bring a cake.
- In the right hands, 8 party blowers can make enough noise to fill a 60,000 sq. ft. warehouse
- There are 150 different ways to wear a party hat. If you have more than 1 hat, the possibilities expand exponentially.
- My morning sickness is, indeed, distractable – I was hardly sick all day until I got home.
- I want to do it again! hmmm…one of the temporary workers has a birthday Friday…
I’ve been slacking, and not just in blogging. I’m spending a lot of time lolling about on my bed or the couch.
I’m sinking into the miry slough of morning sickness.
And by the way, whose idea was it to call it “morning” sickness? I am icky and queasy ’round the clock. The fridge is utterly creepy to me (all that food!), and thoughts of meal planning and preparation make my innards cringe.
Now, with all that said, let me add a few more thoughts:
- At 9 weeks, I have only thrown up once (there’s that recurring topic of mine!)
- I have a helpful husband and helpful children who can take care of both me and the younger children, so I am free to lie down whenever the nausea becomes overpowering – which is a lot.
- I have intelligent and observant husband and children, who realize that I often feel better when somebody helpfully shoves a snack in my face even though I don’t really think I want it.
- Morning sickness reminds me of the blessing that is growing inside me – I can’t ever forget I’m pregnant while my stomach is churning
- Morning sickness encourages me that the hormones are going strong; I mentioned before that 2 of my 3 morning-sickness-free pregnancies ended in early miscarriages.
- This morning sickness is nothing compared to what I experienced with my first pregnancy, or even the next 3 after that; I am so grateful that I only experienced sickness of that magnitude with my first! Being a little sick now reminds me of how very sick I’m not.
And now I’m off to find a snack. Yuck.
“Lady” is our dog, she is a pure Golden Retriever, and a very nice dog but she is very rowdy! We got her from some of the people my Dad works with. Lady has or had rather 3 puppies ALL GIRLS!!! I mean, what coincidence! The father (Strider) was Aussie, Chow, and Border Collie. So the puppies were mutts and we had to get rid of them, here are their names and a little about them:
She is brownish-blond. She went to my uncle Jonathan’s house and he changed her name to Butch, then Flops, and after that she was Flopsy and now as far as I know she is Floppy.
She was black. She went to a really nice guy that reminded me of my uncle Chris.
She was brown and black and my favorite She went to a stranger.
Who loves horses? I do. They are my very favorite animal. And I am going to have one someday (I hope they are so easy to ride too! Personally I can’t see why people think you need all these lessons to be able to ride a horse… I realize that I need to polish up and practice to be able to do stuff like gallop, canter, or trot…But I didn’t need a whole bunch of lessons and practice with people practically holding on to the saddle! And what was even more fun than waiting for Grandma Brown to saddle Carmela up with her blanket and bit/bridle was leading her up to the upper field w/o any blanket or saddle and just leading each other around on her while she ate the grass down and saved us some mowing!
Just in case you don’t already spend enough time in front of the computer, Barbara posted a link to a game called Place The States on her blog, Count It All Joy. The US geography game is fast, fun and truly educational, but don’t forget to check out the plethora of other online games at this site:
Check out this link from your friendly neighborhood USDA on what it costs to feed a family. I learned that if I’m thrifty, I could spend just $1,004/month to feed our family of 9 – and that doesn’t include diapers, toilet paper or pet food.
I think I can work within that budget.
I received the following question from a reader:
I just started “Bible time” with my oldest (she is a toddler), meaning that I ask her to quietly sit in a spot at home with her Bible storybook and have time with God. I know she cannot comprehend much, but she is learning Scripture as we teach, and she knows she can pray to God anytime. I’m so excited about teaching her this wonderful time of her day! I’m getting her a little “lap desk” of her own and hope to get a special chair just for this time….Do you have any suggestions to things I can gradually incorporate into this time for her (and my other kids in the future)? She is a bit too young to get into audio stories, but any audio suggestions?
We are very leary of children’s “Bibles” and Bible story books, as so many have uninspired details added. I think when we teach our children that the Bible is the Perfect, Infallible, Inspired Word of God, we need to avoid any confusion in their young minds by adding the uninspired words of men. This is why we love the Children’s Bible by Golden Press. The illustrations are beautiful and reverent, and it includes far more than the standard 50-odd stories; I believe it has nearly every narrative portion of the Bible. The language is very faithful to the text of the scriptures, only slightly simplified. I encourage our little ones to peruse the book, and let them choose selections for me (or an older child) to read to them.
If you’re looking specifically for audio, you might want to take a look at Thy Word Creations. This is a set of word-for-word scripture memory songs sung by children, accompanied by books that illustrate the passage page by page. Selections include Isaiah 53, I Corinthians 13, Psalm 23, Psalm 91, Psalm 139, The Lord’s Prayer, The Beatitudes, The Ten Commandments, and The Temptations of Jesus.
I would also encourage you to let your daughter see you having your time with God while she does so. It’s a wonderful habit to start your day with scripture, but if our children are still asleep then seeing us spend time with God doesn’t become a normal part of their day. I fall terribly short, but I want my children to SEE me read my Bible daily. They learn so much by our example!
I would love to see others’ answers to the question above – please jump in if you have suggestions to share!
In this post, I told how my family landed in Texas when I was 12.
Once we had settled in Texas, we soon began attending Colleyville Presbyterian Church, where my dad quickly struck up an acquaintance with the Coghlan family.
The oldest Coghlan boy and I were in separate Sunday school classes. I was very shy at that age, and really only felt comfortable with adults and small children. He was a nice kid, but since boys tend to bloom a little later than girls, I assumed he was younger than I was and didn’t have much occasion to interact with him.
His family came to dinner once, an event that I only dimly recollect. We had spaghetti.
The next year, we moved out to the country. The Coghlans joined us for a memorable Memorial Day, where my little future brother-in-law got a magnificent bloody nose in a water balloon fight. This was captured on an ancient video tape which is now a jealously guarded family heirloom.
My future sweetheart began to gain my interest – just a bit – as I realized he was very nearly my age, and had an easy friendly manner about him.
My dad teased me a little about him, made a joke about arranged marriages, and asked what I thought about marrying him. I was 14 now. Refusing to be ruffled, I coolly answered, “He’s a Christian young man. Why shouldn’t I, someday?”
After 2 years in the Fort Worth area, my dad was offered a job in Albuquerque, NM with a significant raise. We quickly made plans to move and invited several families for a farewell. The Coghlans came, and my future sweetheart taught me to play Scotland Yard. Again, I was struck by his comfortable, friendly manner and the utter lack of boy/girl tension. This was a nice, unassuming boy. Too bad we were moving away.
We moved to New Mexico in October ’87. Still thinking of the nice friendly boy I had finally gotten to know – just a little – I decided to write him a letter. But he was named after his dad; how could I make it clear who the letter was for and avoid an embarrassing mixup? I couldn’t come up with an easy answer, so instead I wrote a friendly chatty letter to Mr. Coghlan. Somewhere along the line, I casually inquired that if I were to someday write a letter to his oldest son, how might I address it? In retrospect, that might not have been a nice thing to do to a 14 year old boy. So subtle…I’m sure the family had a good laugh over it, and poor Perry probably blushed to the tips of his ears.
In June ’88, his family moved to Ohio. “hmmm,” thought I. “I’m homeschooling in a new area, with no friends. So is that Perry kid. I wonder if he’d like to write?” I wrote a letter. Eventually, he wrote back – I think.
In December ’88 my family moved again, this time settling in San Antonio. I was now turning 16. Young Perry and I exchanged another pair of letters.
The following summer, I flew alone to Oregon for 3 weeks to visit family and attend a cousin’s wedding. While there, my uncle casually mentioned he had heard that I might be getting married soon.
What?! I quickly ran through the possibilities, and realized he was referring to a young man who lived down the street. I was flattered by the young man’s attention, and mildly impressed with his credentials: he had a horse, a truck, and had posed for an Air Force ad in Reader’s Digest. But when my uncle mentioned him as marriage material, I was taken aback. I knew he was no such thing. I wouldn’t have even have called him a boyfriend, so why was I wasting his time and mine by allowing his attentions?
When I returned home, my admirer was conspicuously absent. Maybe he had figured out what kind of girl I wasn’t? Well, this was convenient. I made no attempt to re-establish contact. Instead, I wrote to Perry. My Perry.
Maybe it was forward of me, but I wasn’t actively pursuing him. At least, I didn’t look at it that way. I was being friendly to a young man who might be future husband material.
And so it began…
We wrote more and more letters. Replies were sparse, but arrived often enough to encourage me to keep writing. Years later I was chagrined to learn that he only wrote back when his dad threatened to spank him. At some point that changed – he likes to tell people it was when I sent him a recent photo – and he became a far more willing correspondent. Eventually we began talking on the phone. A lot.
Our conversations eventually began to touch upon weightier subjects: children, lifestyles, theology, love (notice how I just casually slipped that in?), homeschooling, parenting, plans for the future. The topic of marriage was broached.
In February of ’90, I graduated from Christian Liberty Academy, a popular provider of homeschooling curricula and oversight.
The following July, Perry and my dad split the price of a plane ticket for me fly up for a 3 week visit. Just 9 days into the visit, Perry dropped to one knee (the gesture made me giggle) and proposed. I was more than a little surprised at the hurry; apparently I was the only one who didn’t fully expect that I would arrive home as an engaged woman; at least I had expected it to take a little longer than 9 days. But why wait to make it official? We had no doubts that we were heading for marriage. After 3 days of sweet-talking and negotiations, all were agreed and we were engaged. It was July 30, 1990. We were both 17.
The rest of the story takes only a few lines to tell, but felt like forever to us:
For the next 2 years and 2 days we made frequent calls and wrote many letters (one of us wrote far more than the other. Ahem.) Visits were far less frequent: we saw each other just 4 more times before the wedding.
On August 1, 1992, at the ripe old age of 19, we were finally married in San Antonio by my father-in-law (or was he my future father-in-law?). After the wedding, we drove up to Austin and spent a night in the Marriott.
For our honeymoon, we spent several days seeing the sights in San Antonio. We stayed in a beautiful bed and breakfast right downtown, went to art museums, ambled along the Riverwalk, etc.
We drove down to Mexico for a day (our first time!), and brought back the standard souvenirs.
Finally, we bid farewell to my family, and began a leisurely drive up to Ohio to see my new home.
This is another Praying Mantis story:
“Guys I found a Praying Mantis!” said Natalie.
“where?” said Lydia.
“WHERE!!” said I.
“On a tree outside! I-I will tell you where I found it OK?”
“I was by a tree, and it fell on my leg so I screamed and then it flyed on the tree! Ok it’s over there, see right there” said Natalie
“Can I have it?” said Lydia
“Umm maybe,” said Natalie.
“Hey guys,” I exclaimed. “I think it has an Eggcase.”
So after that we decided it was Lydia’s. (The mantis) The next day we built a little “jungle” for it and set it on top of the jungle. The next day we couldn’t find it anywhere. We looked all over the place.
Here’s the “oops” part:
When we found it, it had laid its eggcase somewhere in our room. We still can’t find the eggcase.
November in our area brings with it so many difficult decisions…
- Shall we dress for the – er – chilly 60 degree November mornings, or the 80 degree afternoons?
- Should we turn on the air conditioner, or rough it?
- Will we get better gas mileage if we use the air conditioner in the car, or roll down the windows?
- Does ice cream taste as good when the outside temperature dips below 80 degrees?
- Should we consider grilling steaks for Thanksgiving dinner, so we don’t heat up the house?
- Would the children work too slowly if we did school outside?
- Should we dig the coats out of storage and bring them along just in case it might get cold when we’re out at night?
- Did I jump the gun and do the Semi-Annual Clothes Swap too early?
- Hot coffee or iced coffee?
I love Texas!
In response to my birth story, Roberta asked for some tips on homebirthing.
I don’t have a lot to share, since homebirthing came very naturally to me. I saw my mom have 9 children at home, and she went on to have 2 more at home after I was married and out-of-state. She also had twins at the hospital, in a family birthing room. They were blessed to find a cooperative doctor who quietly minded his own business while Dad and Mom delivered the twins.
To me, home is the normal place to give birth. Hospitals are creepy places where you go when you’re really sick. Pregnancy is not a sickness.
Although Hubby and I were perfectly comfortable with the idea of homebirthing, several years ago I thought it would be fun to research the statistics a little. The handouts that I received from midwives claimed that homebirths were not statistically more risky than hospital births. Was this true, or were the numbers a bit slanted?
I went directly to the Center for Disease Control website and found that, according to their own statistics, unassisted homebirths were similar in mortality rate to a hospital birth. Strangely enough, home births attended by a doctor were far riskier than any other . Births at home attended by either a lay midwife or a certified midwife were actually safer for both mother and infant!
I’m trying to dig up some current stats for you, but my slow connection and the CDC website just aren’t getting along with each other this morning, so it looks like you’re on your own.
I guess if I were forced to give advice, the first thing I would say is to pray about it and be sure that both you and hubby are comfortable with the idea. Do some research if you have doubts. Get some firsthand accounts. Consult with a midwife, or with several. Whatever you do, make sure your husband is happy with the plan (not just consenting) – even if this means foregoing a homebirth.
As far as the event itself, your midwife will probably have a handout with everything you need to know, but here’s what comes to mind for me:
- If you plan to give birth in your bed (my favorite comfortable place), cover your good sheets with a layer of plastic (those plastic bed-wetter sheets are cheap, handy and reuseable), then put an old fitted sheet on top. After the birth, just strip off the top 2 layers and your bed is clean and ready.
- Get a list of birthing supplies from your midwife, and be sure you have them in the house ahead of time. But don’t feel the need to have everything together and in place ahead of time – I like to get supplies set up while I’m in early labor. The puttering helps with labor, and is much more fun than watching the clock and waiting for the next round of pain.
- Don’t worry too much if your midwife is leaving town near your duedate. Women tend to go into labor when they feel safe and comfortable, and likewise will naturally hold off if they don’t feel safe and comfortable. If you’re concerned about your midwife not being there, your labor will likely wait until she is there.
- Try laboring in the tub, especially if you have a nice deep tub. The warm water is very relaxing (read: pain relief) and is thought to help speed things along.
- Have a plan A and a plan B for the other children in the family, even if plan B is just to let them sleep or watch a movie with the volume turned way up (we have a friend who did this). We’ve tried several plans and have never run into problems, but it’s nice not to scramble at the last minute when you have more important things to do – like Push.
- If you’d like the other children to be in the room for the delivery, be sure there’s an extra adult to comfort them during intense moments – you’ll likely want Dad all to yourself, and the midwife is going to be busy as well.
- If possible, get 1/3 of the way into a thoroughly engrossing book that doesn’t require too many brain cells (OK, I’ll say it: twaddle. It has its place!), then finish it during labor. This worked for me.
Please, everyone feel free to speak up with your own tips and experiences. I would love to hear what others do, and I know I haven’t and couldn’t cover it all!
What we used to do:
- All laundry goes into a 3 bin hamper; even the little kids know how to sort lights, darks, and whites.
- The current Laundry Girl washes and dries ~2 loads/day
- The current Laundry Sorter sorts and folds the laundry, and calls owners to put away
- Everyone puts away their own plus one pile (dishclothes, towels, baby’s clothes, etc.)
This worked reasonably well, but did create a rather heavy and hated chore (the sorting/folding job). It also created quite a mess when the laundry was being sorted, folded, and waiting to be put away.
Here’s what we’re trying now:
- Dirty laundry goes into a basket in the bedroom (3 bedrooms = 3 baskets)
- The elected Launderer in each room is responsible to wash 1 load/day
- If the bedroom doesn’t have a full load of darks (or whites, or lights) they fill it in with dish towels, etc.
- The next person to use the washer will dry the load they find in the washer
- The elected Sorter will take the laundry to the bedroom, sort it, and notify the owners
This will take a little adjustment, as it requires some responsibility and initiative on the parts of the children – but there will be internal pressure as they run out of their own socks and underwear. Hubby, Baby and I will always have socks and undies in our room so long as I am faithful with our own laundry. I will be rather generous with reminders at first for the younger ones (the oldest in the Little Girls’ room is 7). And the bigger girls (9, 10 and 12) can learn mostly by experience.
This was hubby’s idea, and I have high hopes that it will help develop a sense of responsibility in the children. They will see how inconvenient life becomes when we procrastinate about our work, and how much easier it is to keep up with chores rather than catch up. And I won’t even have to suffer from a lack of socks while they’re learning this lesson.
Unlike the Sock Idea, our laundry system is working beautifully, with the following minor modification:
There is no dirty laundry in the laundry room, ever. err – except when somebody starts a load in the washer, of course. Dish towels, cleaning rags, etc. go directly into the basket in the room of whoever was using them.
This is an early picture of the “Homemade House” for all you people who might be wondering. Well I just want to say that when I say “we built our house” I do not mean that we hired someone to do the dirty work and we picked out the carpets and paint. I mean we spent long hours cutting down and burning trees, digging 3-4 foot deep holes, digging a 6 ft hole for septic testing, laying the foundation, and finally… building the house itself. The fact that some of my uncles and second cousins plus my Aunt’s boyfriend Paul Watson didn’t die in their feats of derring-do during the process more than proved (to me at least) that God truly controls everything. (including the future of certain fearless uncles and second cousins ;P)
Through my extensive research on Google, I have learned the following:
- dark chocolate lowers blood pressure
- dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity
- dark chocolate contains Endorphins, which bring on a relaxed state of mind, enable more oxygen to reach our inner blood supply and even improve our memory
- dark chocolate contains Seratonin, a neurotransmitter that works in our body as an anti-depressant
- dark chocolate contains endorphins, which act like natural opiates in treating chronic pain
- cocoa butter in chocolate coats the teeth while it’s being consumed making it one of the least likely snacks to cause tooth decay
- dark chocolate contains the vitamins B1, B2, D and E as well as the minerals potassium and magnesium
- dark chocolate contains high doses of several key antioxidants, which help prevent heart disease and cancer
- dark chocolate inhibits platelet aggregation which could cause a heart attack or stroke
- dark chocolate contains stearic acid, which can boost HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels
- dark chocolate is a good source of potassium, as well as vitamins B1, B2, D, and E
- Cocoa is the highest natural source for Magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is linked with hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, joint problems and pre-menstrual tension. Adding magnesium to a deficient diet has been proved to increase pre-menstrual progesterone levels, thus alleviating mood swings.
- dark chocolate neutralizes damaging free radicals, substances believed to advance aging
I also found the following article. The Reuter’s link appears to have expired, but I believe the article is authentic. Wouldn’t you?
LONDON (Reuters) – Pregnant women rejoice. Eating chocolate is good for the baby, say Finnish researchers.
Scientists at the University of Helsinki, who asked 300 pregnant women to record their chocolate consumption and stress levels, found that daily treats had a positive impact on the newborn baby’s behavior.
Six months after the infants were born the mothers who had eaten chocolate reported more smiling and laughter in their offspring.
“And the babies of stressed women who had regularly consumed chocolate showed less fear of new situations than babies of stressed women who had abstained,” New Scientist magazine said Tuesday.
Katri Raikkanen and colleagues who conducted the research admitted they can’t be certain that chocolate consumption and the babies’ behavior are not linked with other factors.
“But they speculate that the effects they observed could result from chemicals in chocolate associated with a positive mood being passed on to the baby in the womb,” the magazine added.
I, for one, am going to eat healthier from now on.
We have all our children at home. By God’s grace, this has been possible every time. My labors are usually textbook-typical and uneventful, so we don’t have a problem with the fact that our midwives always seem to live an hour or more from our home.
But #6 was a little different. After 5 previous homebirths, we thought we knew the routine. My labors start off slow, gradually gather momentum, and there’s a baby at the end. We call the midwife once when we’re reasonably sure it’s not false labor, and again when we think it’s time for her to head our way.
With our 6th child, we suspected the labor was real as soon as it started – unusual in itself. Maybe that should have been the warning signal. Hubby encouraged me to have the midwife come right away but I hesitated because I didn’t want her to drive 60 winding country miles in the middle of the night for a false alarm. How could we know after just 4 or 5 contractions?
But after 4 or 5 more contractions, I took his advice and made the call. She picked up on my indecision, I think, but said she would gather her things and head our way.
Hubby and I dawdled about in front of the TV for a few more minutes, then I decided to get in the tub. I was getting uncomfortable already, and laboring in the tub helps me relax.
Hubby followed me up and hung about to see how I was doing. It had now been about 30 minutes since we called the midwife. I assured him I was fine, labor was moving along but still in the early stages. Could he go downstairs and make me some ice chips in the blender?
He set up an intercom so I could call if I needed him, and trotted down the stairs.
Two contractions later, I was puzzled and startled by feeling the baby quickly descend. Still in the tub, I reached for the intercom, but it was all static.
I called weakly for Perry, but couldn’t make it loud – that would hurt too much. I knew he would never hear me over the blender. As my next contraction started, I found myself pushing; I heard him shut off the blender but was a little too preoccupied to call him.
When the contraction ended, I called him again – over the blender. He still didn’t hear. “Oh well,” I thought. My last labor had been extremely long, and I had been a little apprehensive this time. “If God is letting me off the hook for the rest of this labor, I’m happy!”
With the next contraction, I finished pushing out the baby, right there in the tub.
I heard 19 month old Natalie in the next room, bouncing up and down in her playpen, squealing, “Baby! Baby!” Kaitlyn’s groggy voice replied: “…go to sleep…there’s no baby…”
With perfect timing to the end, Perry sauntered up the stairs carrying a bowl of ice chips just as I lifted the baby out of the water.
He took in the scene, and somehow his hands were empty the next instant. To this day, I don’t know where the bowl went.
“Where’s the birth kit?” he asked in a quiet voice. I thought it was a remarkably calm voice, but after comparing notes later I think “strangled” might be a better description.
I indicated the bathroom cabinet, and he pulled it out. He fumbled with the twist tie for several moments, then ripped the kit open like a bag of potato chips. Blue pads, disposable panties, and an umbilical clip flew through the air.
By the time the midwife arrived, I was comfortably nursing in my bed. Needless to say, we got a discount on her services.
To this day, whenever I tell this story, 4 year old Becca is just astounded at the enormity of the coincidence: she born on the very day of her birthday!
Our 5 and 7 year old are breeding gerbils. They currently have 6 babies, 3 weeks old. The babies are already nearly half the size of the mother, but they will nurse for another week or two.
Today I watched as all 6 babies, on a predetermined signal, dove under the mother simultaneously to nurse. The writhing, squeaking mass of bodies lifted her a full 2 inches off the floor of the cage and carried her back and forth through the air for nearly 2 minutes, then threw her aside when they were done.
When it was all over, she retreated to a high ledge in the corner of the cage, inaccessible to the children, looking slightly ruffled.
And I thought my job was a challenge!
Here’s a method we use to maintain order within our house:
As much as is practical and possible, we color-code the children’s possessions. This makes it easy to identify the owner of the toothbrush on the bathroom floor, the pillow in the living room, or the bowl that the dog is eating from. It also makes the very young ones feel warm and fuzzy whenever they see something in their color. Really; they think it was painted or made or displayed personally for them.
Each child is assigned a color. When we first started doing this, the 3 oldest picked their favorite colors. The others were assigned colors early on, often based on personality or name (pink for the girl whose middle name is Rose; white for the one whose name means Lamb or Ewe). Not surprisingly, the color that was assigned generally became their favorite color when they were old enough to have an opinion. It’s a small and humorous reminder of the huge influence (and hence responsibility) we have over these young impressionable minds. But I digress…
So far we have blue, green, yellow, red, pink, purple, and white.
Some items that are color-coded, or have been in the past:
- sleeping bags
- school binders
- back packs
- hair accessories
Of course, as our family grows this will become less and less practical. It’s already difficult to find some items in 7 different colors, and eventually we’ll have to use colors like cornflower, charteuse, and periwinkle.
But it will be a sad day if we ever entirely let go. My 5 year old sometimes feels so sorry for me, because children in my family never had their own colors. In her mind, it’s something like being an only child. She shakes her head sadly and gives me a hug, and tells me I can pick a color now.
This post will stay on top until the baby is born or until I change my mind, since I already have pregnancy brain and can’t seem to figure out how to properly add the image to my header.
Update: this post will now move downward as a normal humble post should, since my Smart Handsome Hardworkin’ Man has inserted it into my header – or talked someone else into doing it for me. Either way, he earned some major points today.