Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Birth Story – Annie

Momma's baby On Friday, I was feeling both tired and wired. I had not slept well in a week. The whole day long I carried on with the usual business convinced that this was not the day birth would occur. I had an outing with the kids in the morning. Then for lunch I made myself some black bean tacos spiked with a healthy dose of habanero hot sauce hoping for some sympathetic contractions. The hot sauce did spur some contractions, but not long after lunch I dozed on the sofa and so did the contractions. Later in the afternoon, the kids and my best friend, Anne, and I took a trip to the grocery store to stock the pantry. I wasn’t feeling great. I was feeling heavy, uncomfortable and like contractions might start, but we completed the shopping. I made some dinner and while it was simmering, my friend who is visiting to help with the new baby, insisted Andrew and I go have time to be alone. So we went to be “alone” together, followed by a healthy dinner of split pea soup, grill cheese sandwiches and delicious oat muffins. Immediately following dinner, true labor began.

At first we were all excited, which faded into ennui. The three of us, Anne, Andrew and I watched a movie. But, I started to nod off during the movie, so when I heard my son cry upstairs I jumped up to go check on him and after I settled his fears, I simply tip-toed off to bed without telling anyone. An hour or so later my husband came to check on me and I was snoozing. As I recall, I don’t think I went back to sleep but simply laid there. The contractions were a little more intense. After a while I got up thinking I could distract myself with some more T.V. and perhaps nod off again. It was 1:00 a.m. and my husband went to bed.


From the beginning, this labor was different. My previous labor started with mildly uncomfortable, but strong tightening contractions, which did not seem difficult to endure until I hit 8 cm. This time the contractions were painful cramping from the beginning of labor. I told my husband this was going to be a lot more painful if this is how it is beginning. I also felt more pressure toward the rear, which I hoped meant she was moving down. I did some squatting to help move things along.

After I moved back downstairs, I lay down, but the contractions would not let me get comfortable, then I remembered the cloth diapers were still hanging on the clothesline. I went to take them off the line. It was very still and peaceful outside. It was too quiet. There was a toad sitting on the patio. I thought that was unusual. I went back inside and did a few more small chores. Then looked for something on T.V. to distract me from labor. There was not really anything good to watch and labor was picking up.

As I labored, I leaned over every piece of furniture, pushed up against the wall, rocking and breathing deep breaths. While I could, I would pray. It occurred to me around 4:00 a.m. to turn the T.V. to EWTN in hopes they were praying the rosary. This was a little after active labor began. It was a biography of Padre Pio. It was not exactly what I was looking for, but as I leaned over the ottoman rocking and breathing, it was a good distraction. You would think that listening to a story of someone who had suffered far more than I, with great love in communion with Christ’s sufferings would inspire me, alas it did not (I guess because I really wanted to pray, but couldn’t keep focused during contractions). It merely served as a distraction.

Hospital Time

The hours seemed to pass quickly. I told my husband when he went to bed that we would probably be going to the hospital around 6:00 a.m. I was right. At 5:30 a.m. I decided to try a bath to soothe some of the pain. At first it seemed to do nothing, but the longer I sat, the more it seemed easier to breathe through the contractions. I started to nod off again in between contractions, which is funny because at this point they were three minutes apart. So I had three minute naps for about a half hour. Then I woke Andrew, calling from the bath. “Andrew, Andrew, go let the cat in. It’s morning and I don’t want him to be left out all day. Oh and I think it’s time to go to the hospital, so you really need to wake up.” Panic, on my husband’s behalf. “No, it’s okay. Get dressed. Do what you need to do. I am just saying we should go soon.”

Andrew called the midwife and let her know that we were going in. We got checked in and I was at 7 cm. Same as what I was at when I came in for Kristiana’s birth. I get a gold star for coming in at 7 cm. We were gonna have some birthin’ this mornin’. Once in the delivery room I got down to business—still breathing and rocking and bracing myself on all different parts of the nifty delivery bed. The nurses all commented that I looked like a pro with my breathing. This made me feel very good about myself. To me, there did not seem another way to endure the contractions but to breathe. I feed off of positive reinforcement. It gave me energy just hearing their lauds. Of course, I wondered if they bolster all the mommies. I mean of course they do. But, I still like to think I was doing something right and I get a gold star for this too.

Early labor through active labor was actually quite beautiful for me. They say you should focus your mind elsewhere during contractions. So as I had with Kristiana’s labor, I focused in my mind on a smiling portrait of Alexander from when he was 18 months old. There is something about his smile in that picture that totally relaxes me and takes me to another place. But, this time at the end of a contraction, after focusing on Alex’s smile it would fade into a beautiful fuscia rose image. I attribute this addition to the invocations of blessed Theotokos, which I made in between contractions.

Pushing Time

Things were feeling intense and I was ready to try some pushing to move it along. I was already exhausted from being up all night, so it was time to sprint for the finish line. We weren’t quite ready but a little pushing might help that and I felt pretty good about pushing. I pushed on my own for a while Christy, our midwife, helped with things down below. Then she suggested breaking my water, which I had to think about through a few contractions, because I had heard that would make things more intense and I wanted to “take it easy” and “go with the flow.” But, after thinking about it through a few contractions I decided to go ahead. I did not want to try to push out a bag of water and baby and breaking it might help her slide on down.

After the water was broken things changed like it had in the bath. It seemed easier to breathe and push. What followed was more pushing in a squatting position. It seemed long and I got really tired. My head started to go to birthland—that zone where you are in another world almost like floating above yourself, looking in. I had read about this before, but I didn’t experience this with the other kids except for the brief transition period. Then Christy suggested another position. I was now to pull on a rope while pushing. I did this for a while and then lay back on the bed and wanted to give up. My body was not going to let me. It sort of forced me to keep trying, but I knew we weren’t getting anywhere. I could feel it.

I Give Up

Christy asked me to try to empty my bladder. I was willing to try. I made it to the bathroom with help. I was pouring sweat and tears and my body was really bearing down. My body really wanted to deliver the baby. I was in a lot of pain. But, I did not have it in me to push anymore. I felt like I was fighting my body. I asked if it were too late for an epidural, because I have given up. I was REALLY fighting pushing. Christy said it may not be too late, but she wanted to lay me on my side and try to push from there. I was yelling, no, at her. I was sobbing “I give up!” My husband and Christy tried to inspire me with a little spiritual incentive. But, I wasn’t having it. I thought, “No, not even that can get me through. I give up.” I already felt like a bad person for giving up when I so clearly could not. My thought was if I could relax via epidural, perhaps I would have enough strength to push again.

But, I just stood there in the bathroom, rocking while my body was bearing down and Christy and Andrew talking me through. Finally Andrew and Christy got tough on me. Andrew went into his, cut the crap voice he gets with me when I get all irrational, he said, “Renee, no, you don’t give up. Come on.” There is something about his tone and sincerity when he lectures me like this that can convince me of anything. Heavenly inspirations? No. “Cut the crap, Renee,” is apparently what I needed to hear. Then Christy sort of threatened me, “Renee, if you have given up that means we are going to have a c-section. Or I can get Dr. Becker in here with the forceps.” Well, I wasn’t going to do any of that, and I think she knew it.


“Okay, I am ready to go try that lying down position.” So we made it back to the bed and I received some instruction on how it was going to work. Lying down felt good. It felt like a big bear hug. It was the support I needed, because my arms, legs and back were so tired from all the work I had done already. I asked my husband to hold my leg and I gripped his other hand. A nurse reached over me to adjust something and gripped her hand too. People were talking to me and I am not sure what they said or if I replied. I was pushing again and this time I could feel things moving, so I kept pushing. The baby arrived screaming and pink. They threw her up on my chest and I rubbed her warm little body. I exclaimed, “Oh thank you, baby, for coming out!” Everyone in the room laughed. It was time to relax and enjoy this blessing.

Afterward Christy explained that Annie had come out the wrong direction with her forehead first instead of the crown of her head—or also known as sunny side up and military style—baby was stuck, but we got her out. The nurse said a lot of women cannot deliver a baby that way and end up with a c-section, and she pointed out that I did it without pain medication. Oh, another gold star for Renee. But, I really attribute getting this baby out to my midwife, because I was clueless and she just kept talking me through. My husband as cheer team was what got me through my giving up phase.

I gave myself a lot of gold stars there. And let’s be honest, I am the only one handing them out to me. In reality, women give birth in all sorts of situations. My labor to delivery was 16h30 and I was exhausted. But many of my friends have had a lot longer labors and a lot harder deliveries and my hat goes off to them. I cannot imagine labor for 24 hours or 36 hours. But women do and at the time, they have no choice but to endure. For me it seemed really hard in the end of this birth, but things could not have turned out better in the end. I am well and had no tearing. The baby arrived in good time and is perfect and normal.

I normally would not post such an unflattering picture, but I wanted to post my sweaty, matted hair picture, with my baby’s creased misshapen head (which looked normal within the hour) as my photo of victory. This is my triumph. This is me and Annie at the finish line.

All praise be to God.


Monday, September 27, 2010

She Is Born


Anne Michelle
September 25, 7 lbs., 19.5 in

“The Baby”
by George Macdonald

Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of everywhere into here.

Where did you get your eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.

What is the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry spikes left in.

Where did you get that little tear?
I found it waiting when I got here.

What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.

What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
Something better than anyone knows.

Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.

Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into hooks and bands.

Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherubs’ wings.

How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.

But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought of you, and so I am here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tot Talk: Come Out Now!

          Kristiana always sits and cuddles with me in the morning.  This morning she patted my belly and said, “Annie.”  I don’t think she knows there is a baby in there.  She has lead me to believe she thinks my belly is called, Annie.  She does the same thing to the lumps on my chest. ;-)

          After Kristiana had her moment with my belly, Alex said to me and said, “Mommy, I want to touch baby Annie.”

          Okay, come over here.” He patted my belly and said,

          “Good morning, Baby Annie, I want you to come out now.”

          Giggles.  You said a mouthful, Son.  I have not been complaining about wanting the baby to be born in front of the kids, but we have been talking about the baby coming out and did tell Alex that she would come out this week.  The anticipation is even getting to the littlest ones.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

May the Pot Boil Over

          The yard sale is now complete.  It was not quite as successful as I had hoped, but it  was not too hot (Praise be to God), I cleaned out a lot of things we do not use and I made a  small sum.  It was enough to purchase a bike for Alex, which we now hold over his head when he needs a little discipline.  Kristiana did not go empty handed.  She got to pick out a Thomas the train toy, because her brother gets really mad when she tries to use the trains.  She picked out a small purple train that talks and a car to go with.  Of course, Alex was jealous that her trains talk and his don’t, but I told him that he was not to touch her trains.  This is going to be hard for him to stay away. We are working hard on discipline with Alex.  He is a really good kid, but he’s got some bad habits that need to be dealt with.  He has a problem with being self-reliant.  He says, “I can’t” way too often, then whines, cries and has a meltdown.  We took Alex to a karate open house on Saturday and while they teach karate they mostly teach discipline to the little kids.  So, we have decided to go ahead with karate lessons looking on it as really expensive discipline lessons.  But, we figure that we will learn a thing or two as well.  If we can teach our eldest to be disciplined, then even if we cannot financially continue on we hope at least we will have all gained new knowledge of discipline.


          This is the chair that survived the yard sale and the post yard sale trip to Good Will.  I guess we will not need a new chair after all.  I am glad it survived, because we did not make enough to buy any new furniture and this would have only fetched another $15.  Surprisingly, our old VHS movies were a huge hit.  Everyone stopped to look.  So strange.


           Now that the distraction of the yard sale has passed, I am more anxious than ever to see this baby.  It seems as though the day will never come.  How ridiculous am I?  The due date is this week.  I can hardly bear the thought of going a minute past the due date.  My body is most uncomfortable.  I cannot sleep at all, which is also making me unstable and batty.  Today, even though I had hardly slept, I had to keep very busy so as not to fixate on the newborn sized baby inside my body.  And yet, I know the relief I desire from this discomfort shall only be replaced by the tribulations of caring for a newborn…But as my husband told me a week ago, “a watched pot never boils.”  Never?!  No, this pot is going to have to boil over soon!  Pray for me and the grace I need to come through this.

Friday, September 17, 2010

7 Quick Takes – Life is Ironic

I forgot how fun quick takes can be.

1. The yard sale is on! My husband, ah, gave me a stern talking to about all the stuff I have been stuffing into the guest bedroom.  On the weekends I have been particularly miserable about being pregnant and I have not wanted to go ahead with the sale, in the heat I might add. I was hoping to have a baby this weekend.  But I said, fine, I have not had a ton of contractions, so I think it’s pretty safe to go ahead.  So I went into full force yard sale mode, tagging, purchased an ad, and permit…cue contractions.  Yep, as soon as that permit was purchased I pretty much cannot stand up without feeling like I am going into labor.  I have been trying to lay low, keep my feet up, and canceling all other activities.  After all my longing for the baby to be born, I am now trying to keep her in until her actual due date.  Life is full of humor and irony.

2.  From dining room table to new house? After we bought our new dining table, some of our other furniture started to look really shabby and really inappropriate for our space.  I am also trying to simplify things and somehow that translates to limiting and replacing old furniture (when I say old, it’s no exaggeration).  I am, after all, trying to to make room for another person in our lives.  Along with our old table I am putting in the yard sale a couple of arm chairs and our coffee tables (the tables have been in a closet since Christmas).  Which helps the yard sale a lot, because furniture are always big ticket items.  We plan to buy Alex a bike with earnings. 

2a.  After assessing the furniture and the state of the economy, the size of our home per child and so forth, we determined our townhouse is too small.  We could buy a larger, new construction home, with a good first time home buyer deal and stay in Texas forever and forget about dreams of moving back to be near family where there are no jobs.  We went and looked at the homes again.  We first looked at doing this back in January, but the time was not right.  We are seriously trying to discern.  We know God brought us to Texas for a reason.  Pray for us.  This all started with one broken dining chair.  Life is ironic.

3. The kids have been sick! Which makes for no sleep for anyone.  They both came done with a nice respiratory cough, but since Alex has asthma that means difficulty breathing and round the clock nebulizer treatments.  It seems every fall we see asthma rear it’s ugly head.  After what we went through in his first year of life, if we only see his asthma in the fall, I think we will take it and not complain.  We’re just practicing for round the clock feedings.

4. Cravings – I did not really have cravings with the other kids pregnancies, aside from potatoes, but this pregnancy I have craved a lot.  Right now, I really crave fruit.  I have also eaten a lot of canned, smoked oysters.  Weird.

5. Exploding Pyrex – Has this happened to anyone?  I bought a set of pyrex dishes at Wal-mart a year ago (At a bargain price, I might add. Therein lies the problem.)  and one-by-one, randomly, these dishes have exploded after baking.  It makes a mess and destroys whatever we have worked so hard to make.  I am not exactly sure what the defect is with this set, but I cannot be the only one this has happened, because the whole set exploded one-by-one over the last year.  I should have thrown away the other baking dish after the last time.  I will not be buying pyrex baking dishes again.

6. Not a baker – This sort of a confession.  I am not a baker.  I can cook the finest gourmet meal topped with a perfect hollandaise, but I have never been very good at baking.  I can barely manage a decent cake out of a box.  If you ask me to bake something, it’s going to be burnt, dry, not quite right. :-( So why did I sign up to bring a baked good to my MOPS meeting this week.  Actually, coffee cake sounded really good to me and I thought I might be able to produce it.  When it came time to bake, I said, I am not a good baker and I am going to make the one thing I make well.  Scones.  But, I decided I would add cinnamon and sugar to make it coffee cake-esque.  The scones looked great.  I took them with some butter.  A spread and a cup of tea or coffee are essential with dry scones.  Lots of people took one, but without butter.  They didn’t get it.  I tried one after the meeting.  They were awful.  They were okay with butter, but awful otherwise.  I don’t think anyone knew they were mine, so here I am outing myself.  I promise to just buy the darn coffee cake next time.

7. Shoe Queen – The other day we were out buying Alex a new pair of shoes, because he grew out of his last pair.  Kristiana insisted she needed new shoes too, even though she doesn’t.  But she whined us into it.  Her joy at seeing the girls shoes was precious.  Whose toddler can talk them into a new pair of shoes?  She LOVES shoes.  Just get her shoes for Christmas.  We picked out a lovely pair to the tune of $13, which is really expensive considering the last pair I bought was $2 and she will grow out of them quickly. 

The next day we tried to put of Kristiana’s shoes and she started saying, “No, no, hurt, hurt.” 

“What?”  She had never said hurt before. “What is going on?”  The new shoes had rubbed big blisters on her heels the day before.  Ugh.  Hopefully, Annie will have different shaped feet and they won’t rub her feet.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Brimming With Hope and Blessings

           I felt compelled to speak more on this topic of having of children since I am simply brimming with the anticipation of new life in our home.  These topics come about more often in one’s life when you are with child or carrying around a small infant.  Quite a few of my friends are in a similar state at the moment.  Therefore in support of life, I have let some of my thoughts on procreation spill forth here to share with those who may need the support, and for one lady in particular who newly finds herself brimming as well.

          As I have said before, I am a proponent of staying out of other people’s bedrooms, since it is truly a prudential decision between you, your spouse and God.  But, here are some observations from my own experiences.  I do not purport that I know what is right for your own life and family.

n28206620_30769619_8285          There are a couple of old sayings that come to mind when I think on having children.  Number one, “God will provide.”  This is not a foolish old saying, simply thinking that I need do nothing other than have faith.  There is a reason people say, “God will provide.”  It is because God does know our needs.  He is after all, all-knowing, all-powerful and always present.  Most importantly, God wants to give us all His love. This is all to say, financially speaking, is there really ever a good time to have children? Will there ever be enough?  But to say, “God will provide,” is a leap of faith not for the faint of heart.

          My husband and I had a child one and half years into graduate school.  It was a hardly a time, financially, to have a child.  But we realized that in the vocation of marriage that the secondary purpose of marriage is to be ordered toward life.  In fact, it was a very good homily on life and marriage that truly conceived our son.  It was the last catalyst we needed to hear to fulfill this part of our marriage.

92_2514          When our son was born, we struggled, but we grew in the Spirit.  Our son had trouble with asthma during his first year of life and was in the hospital a few times, but through it all God did provide.  We were not left with financially crippling hospital bills.  Hospital charity and St. Vincent De Paul Society took care of it for us.  We learned though we may experience trial and yes, even some suffering, this life we live is   not about dying with possessions, perfect bodies or money in the bank.  It is all about salvation and our children play into that.  Everyday we know that we would rather be penniless than be without our son, Alexander, because he has brought us closer to God.  He (and each subsequent child) has helped us love and serve the Lord. 

          Which brings me to the next saying, “The more the merrier.”  People scoff at large families.  People look at the high degree of organization and management large families must perform.  People see that large families go without a lot of the luxuries we have become accustomed to.  Yet more often than not people seem ignore the greater amount of love in those families; or that those family members have a greater sense of responsibility and service to each other than a smaller family.    Further, regardless of family size I have never heard a family member say, “I really wish Billy, or Sue were not born.”  I have heard parents say, I wish we had had more children, or I wish we could have more.

          As far as age and physical restrictions, obviously there are quite a few biblical examples in which folks gave birth to children in advanced age.  For me, this goes back to, “Is there ever a perfect time to add a person to your family?” The answer will always be a double edged sword.  One can always answer for oneself, “Yes, now and always. For the love of God is with us,” or “No, not quite now, because of x-y-z.”  I always have to ask myself, “Is x-y-z a good enough answer?”  I can always think of plenty of reasons of why yes it is and no it is not.  Nothing is without consequence.  It is truly another leap of faith.  But, I guess we have to trust that it is God’s will for us if we should conceive.  Too, I know that the Church does not condone contraceptive, even mental contraceptive.

Laramie Kids Easter Sunday 1990           I have learned not to have regrets.  I do not want to get to a place in my life in which I regret not having more children, or regret not having spent enough time loving them.  So honestly, if someone says to me, I am not sure we should have a child, I wish I had another, or I am considering having another, etc.  I say, you should.  It is never too late.  “Children are a blessing.”  It is true, even in the greatest of suffering, children are a blessing.  More children are more blessings, and these blessings are carried forth into the world and bless others.  Therefore, the more blessings you have the more the world will be blessed.  We all carry God’s love.

These are my perspectives on having children.  It is not to say at all what you should do or what is right for your family.  But, I hope it is a good witness to the faith.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

7 Quick Takes – Deliverance

1. I can choose…how I feel and react to things.  Even if sometimes I do not choose to do the right action at first, I get to choose my subsequent actions.  In a weary state, I decided my feelings were hurt.  I decided something important to me had been forsaken.  I knew that my decision to be sad was wrong, but I could not help crying.  I was tired and feeling raw.  So I cried and complained.  I centered on myself; I focused on my pain.  I talked to a friend about it and felt a little better to not be burying it inside anymore.  I tried to distract myself with T.V.  Finally, my husband came in the room and asked me what was wrong.  Then he cracked a couple of laugh inducing jokes and I felt relaxed enough to drag myself to bed for a little reading and spiritual guidance.  Let me be clear, I knew how tired, irrational and hormonal I was.  I knew my reaction to this situation was foolish and wrong from the beginning.  I hoped I would feel better in the morning.  I did not.  It took some fussing around in bed and then I recognized my choice.  As a dear friend put it, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10), the grace I had pleaded for arrived.  I jumped to ready myself for the day and hopped to it with joy.  I thank the Lord for delivering me from my selfishness.

2. I cannot choose…the raging end of pregnancy hormones; the sleeplessness brought on by hormones; the exhaustion brought on from supporting another human life, carrying around extra weight and not sleeping;  the fact that my kids are waking up a lot more in the night these days and waking up an hour earlier in the morning.  Alex was anxious and sleepless right before Kristiana was born too.  I expect things will settle back down about a month after birth.  Tylenol PM will be my friend tonight.

3. Help from whom I need it most… My husband has given me a lot of help lately in terms of taking care of the kids when I feel really tired and giving me support when I feel emotional and irrational.  I love him.  Sometimes, I think to myself, how can he be so inconsiderate because of x-y-z.  I quickly correct myself.  He is constantly helpful, never complains and we are most of the time in sync with each other.  But most importantly, he is the one from whom I need support most.

Icon.Pentecost4. Deliverance…On Thursday, I intended to go to confession before daily Mass. It was at a church I do not normally  attend.  It had been far too long since I had been to confession and it was truly time. Unfortunately, delays kept me and I only arrived in time for Mass. I was quite upset. I was mostly upset because I had missed it again.  This WAS my moment.  My heart ached all during Mass for a multitude of reasons.  I began to surrender it all, and finally the grace came to me.  It occurred to me that I could ask the priest after Mass to hear my confession.  I am normally so introverted about these things and would tell myself that there would be another opportunity at a designated reconciliation time.  Nevertheless, the grace had come to me and peace was delivered.

5. When home school gets heavy…I bought a new cabinet to keep all of Alex’s puzzles and home school supplies.  Alex is a puzzle fiend.  They are taking up half my new cabinet.  I ran off to Wal-mart to buy this cabinet in the heat of instant gratification.  Sixty-nine pounds was clearly printed on the box.  I knew this was too much to lift even when not pregnant.  I was determined to take this home then.  So I figured if I could lean it over and lever it into the cart, I could probably get it into my van.  I managed to get it into the shopping cart.  It was too heavy.  I had a few other things to pick up at the store, so I continued shopping with a ridiculously over-sized box in the cart.  As I reached the back of the store, I saw two Mormon missionaries and thought, I should ask those young men to put this in my van for me.  But, I hadn’t finished shopping.  I promised Alex I would bring home humus for his lunch and I hadn’t found it yet.  So I passed by the young men.  When I arrived at my car, I looked around the parking lot for aid.  There were only feeble elderly men around.  So I again figured I could lever it into my car.  Not quite, but I managed to get it in and triumphantly drove home.  My husband asked me how I got it into the car…it was my determination to be gratified.

6. Catholic Gadget…I was referred to this tool called Catholic Gadget (  It creates a toolbar at the top of your browser.  The tools are full of links to Catholic resources for families.  I have used it a lot in the past couple of weeks and been pleasantly surprised at each new resource I find.

7. Oh baby… No official progress.  I am just trying to be patient.  I am just trying to not express discomfort.  I think perhaps we will see the due date.  But we were just treated to a lovely, fun and relaxing baby shower.  It is so nice to celebrate life.  I am humbled and grateful.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Counting Blessings

The other day I was having a hard day.  I was finding the whole day tiring and I had a very short temper.  Mid-evening we put the kids to bed and my son was having anxiety about it being too dark.  I asked my husband to sing to him.  He began to sing a song that I have not heard in a while.  It gave me pause and has been stuck in my head ever since.  I think it has calmed my spirit on a couple of occasions.  Perhaps, it will be a good reminder to you as well.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tot Talk: Alex and the Beanstalk

We have ivy growing on the screen outside our living room window.  This morning Alex opened the curtain and with the amazement of a child turned to me and said, “Oh Mommy, there’s a beanstalk growing on our window!” 


After I took the pictures of his beanstalk.  He really wanted to take a picture of me.  This is Alex’s picture and I think it’s really good. 


I also took this picture Sunday night commemorating the first dinner we ate on our new table and chairs.  I figure many happy, blessed memories will be made around this table, and here is the first happy memory.  If you think about it a dinner table is sacred.  It is one of the few places families gather, pray and share our daily bread.  A table and chairs are very special furniture.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Troisieme Bebe

A little update on the soon to be newborn in our home:  21 days to go, 1 cm, –2, 80% effaced…this means nothing of course.  I have felt a lot of progress in the last week.  Some days the baby sits really low on my pelvis creating a lot of pressure and other times she’s back higher.  I keep waking up at 5:00 a.m., which is really inconvenient, because I am still tired, but it’s not enough time to get much more sleep if any.  When Kristiana was born I kept waking up at 4:00 a.m. with a couple of contractions, and that is when labor started when it finally happened.  So perhaps this pregnancy will follow suit.  My predictions are that this baby will be born on a Tuesday, possibly in two weeks.  I keep hoping to have a yard sale.  So the baby cannot come before then even though I am eager to be done.  I am really trying not to be too eager, because I know I just have to wait it out at this point.  That’s the full update.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Month of Preschool

          Okay, it has not been a month since we started preschool, but we have completed a month of lessons.  I wanted to get ahead a little before the new baby sister arrives.  But, also Alex has been so excited about doing home school and has asked to do the lessons everyday, even Sunday.  On Sunday, I gave him a coloring book about the miracles of Jesus, but he wanted a full lesson, because he is not very interested in coloring.  So we have bought some extra books about liturgy and catechism.  I have not been impressed by the Catholic portion of our curriculum, therefore I have supplemented.  It displeasing to have to buy extra materials even though I went out of my way to purchase a Catholic curriculum. 

          We have enjoyed the preschool lessons and activities.  I have tried to continue to build on past skills.  Below are some examples of our work.  Usually with the projects I will work on one half of the pictures and Alex will work on the other half, because otherwise Alex gets intimidated to complete the entire project.  Sometimes if it involves scissors, markers or glitter glue Alex will insist on doing it himself.  He also loves painting, but he always turns whatever he painted into a brown mess at the end.  See example B, in which he carefully painted himself, his family and God and then painted over his picture.

          Alex and I have enjoyed this time together.  Lots of people have asked me how home school is going.  I think schooling your own children is really foreign to most people.  It is going really well.  People have asked me if it is something I would like to continue.  Yes, for now.  We are still in a trial stage.  We have not really hit any road blocks.  I have no idea what it will be like when we have a really needy newborn in the house.  For now, we do our lessons while Kristiana naps.  Alex has lunch and then we work.  But, sometimes he seems a little tired too.  I am hoping by the time she is old enough to give up her nap that she will be better about participating in the lessons.

          Honestly, having something prepared to do with Alex during the quiet afternoon hours is so much better than him trying to entertain himself 30 minutes and then 30 minutes of him following me around trying to get my attention and then 30 minutes of destructor mode.  Now we have approximately 1 hour 30 minutes of school and then he plays, reads, or puts a puzzle together.  He is so much more engaged that he thinks of better things to do with his time after school than he normally does when he does not work on lessons. 

However, I am convinced home school is a beautiful, blessed thing if you can make it work for your family.

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My favorite project because of the subject.