August 31, 2008

Cold Fried Chicken

It's funny the places your mind wanders when you can't sleep or get comfortable in the middle of the night, a frequent and understandable circumstance with me lately. Especially since all three boys stayed at Mimi's last night and everything felt so out of balance and off and like limbs missing again despite the wonderful quiet and calmness this morning.

I found myself thinking about one of my very first childhood friends and staying the night at her house. They had a book-filled shelf in their kitchen and on one of the shelves were two tiny jars that contained my friend's and her little sister's umbilical cord stump. For breakfast one morning we ate cold fried chicken straight out of the fridge and I had never known you could eat fried chicken cold. And it was good. Her parents were cool and drove a Trans Am and let us dance to Prince in the living room and also took us to Dairy Queen one day where I had my very first Blizzard. Chocolate covered cherry. They would go on fun family vacations to Florida (we never went on vacations unless it was to visit family in the hills somewhere) and my Mom would feed their fish and hamsters while they were gone.

One day her parents got a divorce and all I knew that meant was they were moving far away and I never saw her again.

Another friend a couple years later was an only child and she had Guess jeans in every color. She could listen to music in her room with her door closed and even had a tv. Her Mom made tuna sandwiches, which I also had never eaten before, and she would cut them in perfect squares. She would also boil bones on the stove from the Beef Mart for their dog. The house always smelled like boiled dog bones. And one night I slept over but woke up in the middle of the night really homesick and my Mom came and got me.

Later on, her parents got a divorce, too.

I probably would go home every time from those friends' houses and tell my Mom all the cool things they had that I didn't. The things their parents did that mine didn't. And life can always seem more exciting and fun when it's not your house and not your family.

But, looking back, my house was always safe, and I always had plenty. More than enough. I hope my boys, and soon- little girl, feel the same way. I hope our home and our arms are ultimately the only place they truly want to be, in the end. I hope their hearts always have that compass that points to the stuff that really matters.

That's if I ever let them go to a friend's house. We're still working on that.

August 30, 2008

Placenta Brain

My midwife came to see me yesterday and all is looking very well! Her gut feeling is that this sweet baby might come around September 10, which is also the same date that has been in my head all along, too!

I'm ready! I think I'm ready. I've made a lot of progress on her little sweater and since I'll probably have it finished this weekend, I might have to start on a little hat to go with it.

In the meantime, placenta brain is on overload here. That's what I call the extreme forgetfulness and clumsy-ness of pregnancy. Blame it on the 'centa. We all know about my poor car & stroller (which by the way I was sent a new stroller frame!), and within the past 24 hours I've broken two dishes.

And then, well, last night coming in from the grocery store I remember placing my iPhone on hubby's car (who knows why) and then didn't think about it until this morning when, oh, he'd already been gone quite a while. Ugh.

That crazy placenta. I'm talking more about it over here today.

August 28, 2008

The Purple And The Pink Belly

I'm thirty-seven weeks now. I have baskets of delicately washed pink things, drawers of little girlie socks and shoes, and outfits that I will my mind to envision putting a little baby girl in, but I just can't seem to see it yet.

She is almost here, but in so many ways I feel as though it is just a dream.

I have no idea what it's going to be like- maybe next Thursday I won't have a 38 week belly picture but instead will be filling this blog with photo after photo of my newly born child. The waiting and the not knowing when she is going to be here isn't what is on my mind much of the time. We have all the supplies and are ready for the technical. It's just the meeting her for the first time. The holding her in my arms. I want to feel that and smell her and finally understand just what it is that I've been feeling, because I can not explain it. And I'm beginning to wonder if it will even be possible to put in words. My heart will for a moment hold hands with my mind and it will all make sense. And that is so worth waiting for.

Belly 37 weeks

August 26, 2008

The Plans

I've shared the birth stories of my three boys and soon I'll be announcing the arrival of our next baby, which I'm sure will be an equally amazing story of her debut.

Many people have asked about our birth plans. We do have a homebirth plan and the very beginning states:
We plan for a peaceful and natural childbirth at home. We would like our labor and delivery to unfold naturally and go with the flow as much as possible.

We plan for my Mom to come here and help us with the boys while I labor, and we would like for the boys to not watch the actual birth, but be able to come see baby right away if they want to.
We have an idea of where I'd like to labor and know exactly what we wish to do or not do to her after she is born. I would love for my Mom to be able to see the birth if she can, depending on if it flows naturally for her to do so at the time. And hubby is set to catch the baby unless I am in a position to catch the baby myself.

When I imagine it in my head, I am not anxious or concerned at all. I just know it all will go beautifully.

And a big part of that contentment about our plans is that we are still open to allowing whatever happens to happen. Which means that, even though we were told that this baby is a girl, until she is here... there's always room for surprises. And although we are planning a homebirth, if I end up in the hospital for some reason, it must have been a good reason. And I will not let that blemish the birth story of this precious child. I understand that I can not plan absolutely everything.

Ultimately, we put it all in the Lord's hands. Our trust and faith in Him is plenty. And we know that He will continue to give us wisdom, as we seek it, regarding every moment of our new baby's life, inside and out.

I am hoping that I will be surprised at how amazingly wonderful it will have went, how it feels to be a mother to a daughter, and how perfect she is.

But above all, I plan to be surprised.

Your Babywearing Questions, Part 2

From Ashley- My son is 11 months old now... and so "independent." I would still love to wear him sometimes (especially in the evening when he's not so independent but whiny and tired wanting to be held but I'm cooking dinner:), but I don't think I have the right sling/carrier for us.

The first thing that comes to mind is a mei tai- especially if you can wear him on your back. You can see me doing something like this in the kitchen here!

From T-
What is your advice for type of sling/carriers to get right from the get-go?

My personal preference is a ring sling for newborns and when you are first starting out. I find them easiest to use and most comfortable. I do encourage Moms to wear baby not just in the cradle hold carry (as most babies tend to fuss at this position) and instead position them with their tummy to your chest- also called the Tummy To Tummy, Snuggle Hold, or Vertical Carry, with their head high enough- you should be able to kiss the top of their head! Another great newborn carrier is a wrap.

From Miche- I am having a hard time figuring out how to carry the baby and have them lined up for nursing without having to just flash everyone.....

I have some good breastfeeding while babywearing tips in a previous posts here. My best suggestion is to wear a nursing top or layered top so that you can pull up the top shirt and still have something underneath so you don't feel like you are bearing all. I usually turn to the side or use the sling as a cover until baby is latched on. Practice in front of a mirror if you can, too!

From Blessedw5mom- If you could only bring one carrier on a long trip, which one would you choose?

I would choose a mei tai for a long trip. I find that it's the most versatile and best for longer carries- the two shoulder support is much easier on my back and I always found Gray to nap better in this type of carrier.

From Jenny- Do you think it's okay to wear a baby boy in a girly-colored carrier because you (the mother) are a girl and like the color? Or should moms of boys only use boyish-colored slings?

I think it is perfectly fine to wear a sling that is feminine when you have a son, and same with wearing a masculine sling if you have a girl. The sling should make sense with your style and your outfit, not necessarily your baby's! This was also discussed at the Babywearing In Style class I attended at the Babywearing Conference this year.

I will continue with Your Babywearing Questions as long as you keep asking! I still have plenty more to answer, and plan to do some videos for you once the baby is here!

You can subscribe to my feed here. Also, join the Babywearing Bloggers blogroll if you'd like!

August 25, 2008

Don't Touch That Dial

Tomorrow morning (Tuesday) I'll be a guest on Behind The Blog at Blog Talk Radio with hosts Melanie from Don't Try This At Home and Karen of Simply Amusing. Tune in at 12 pm CST if you'd like, and phone in with some questions! I've already promised Melanie that even if I'm in labor, I'll still be on the show! (A nice option when you're having a homebirth... ) You can listen to the archives later on, and also at iTunes (search Behind The Blog) if you aren't available when we're live, too!

Also, if you haven't voted for some other Hot Blogger yet, feel free to vote for me- scroll down to Steph (Adv In Babywearing).

Later tomorrow I'll also be answering my next installment of Your Babywearing Questions!

August 24, 2008

And Then There Was Gray

It's kinda funny but I always begin Gray's birth story by recalling the fact that I was up at 2 am eating a burrito with Noah, watching the old cartoon movie Charlotte's Web. We both happened to be up and I started to notice something going on "down there" and had a feeling I might be in labor soon. This would be my earliest, if so, because Gray wasn't due for over another week.

In a little while, although I wasn't feeling much pressure or consistent contractions, I decided to wake up Jeff and call my Mom to come on over. I just had a feeling. At the looks of me, I thought the nurses at the hospital would think I could not possibly be in labor, but they checked me and I was almost dilated to 5. I bounced on the exercise ball while they went over my birth plan.

I was happy at their compliance to all my requests - especially about not having an IV of any sort. I was doing it all on my own and it felt good.

Within the hour I was starting to really feel the labor kicking into gear. I had a tranquil CD- "Summer Solstice" playing in my room's DVD player and I just let my body relax as much as possible. I asked Jeff to just try to get some sleep and I would wake him if I needed him. Around 5:45 am my water broke and I woke up Jeff to go get the nurse. And then I got on all fours and started pushing. It was just me in the room at that time, then hubby was back in and the nurses were practically begging me from the doorway to stop pushing because the doctor was still on his way. There was no way I was going to stop.

An on-call doctor appeared in the hallway as Gray was coming out on to the bed in literally one push- like a little fish he came out all at once! There had been no breaking down of the bed, stirrups, or bright lights this time. He came so fast. It was wonderful.

Grayson Roger was born at 5:57 am, 7 lbs 5 oz on October 7, 2005.

He is the quintessential big dog in a little dog's body. He is my love and my excitement and is surely headed for greatness.

Grayson, almost 3 years old.

In Bed

Yesterday was mostly spent in bed but not because I was sick or having a baby or anything. Just because it felt so good to stay in bed, like, all day. At one point all five of us were snuggled and cuddled up together, listening to the boys tell stories about school and laughing at Carter's imitation of Tom whistling at a cute cat on Tom & Jerry and hearing them gush about how much they all love baby Ivy.

I took a nap. And I did some knitting. And at one point, still in bed of course, I really wanted a pedicure and called every salon nearby hoping someone had an opening. In the meantime Noah brought some yarn and needles to me and wanted me to show him how to knit- right about the time that the salon just down the street from us did have an opening. At that very moment. I looked at my sweet Noah and decided we'd just stay in bed. I can get a pedicure any ol' time. I am just not sure how much time is left for me to cherish these moments with my seven-year-old.

Later, Gray & Carter tried to come join us and Noah chastised them saying, "Can you give us some alone time, guys?"

I am tempted for today to be another in bed day. The best.

August 23, 2008

Blabbing About The Bump

Um, if you can believe it, I've been nominated to be in the first-ever Hot Blogger Calendar. It's, like, official and everything. My hubby thinks I should be proudly promoting this even more- *Updated- you can vote for me here! And if you need to know, my Twitter name is babysteph.

I've been sharing birth stories this week and still have more to come. For now I'm playing along with this tag from The Livy Updater!

Preggy Facts:

1. Who did you first inform about your pregnancy and how?
With Noah & Carter, I first told Jeff. With Gray I first told Noah & Carter! And with this little girl, I called my midwife!

2. Maximum weight?
Mine? Oh gosh, not sure. But out of the boys? Carter at 9 lbs 12 oz.

3. Cravings?
Noah: breadsticks from Papa Johns, Carter: celery, Gray: salads & almonds, this one: celery, celery, celery!

4. Aversions?
Noah: strawberries, Carter, Gray, & this one: fast food smells

5. Morning Sickness?
Upset tummy with Noah, very sick with Carter, very very sick with Gray, and ended up in the hospital with this one!

D Day Facts:

1. Number of Kids/Deliveries?
three children/three deliveries so far, with one due next month!

2. NSD or CS?
all natural deliveries but only Gray's was truly med-free and au naturel.

3. Girl or Boy?
all boys so far, girl due next month!

4. AOG (age of gestation) on Birth?
About 39 weeks with Noah & Carter, 37 weeks with Gray

5. How long in labor?
Several hours with Noah, a few with Carter, & a couple with Gray

Moms Who Played Along:

Mai | Yen | Arlene | Hailey's Domain | Hailey's Beats and Bits | Can of Thoughts| Designs By Vhiel | Anything & Everything in Between | Vhiel's Corner | Lourdes' Mia | Pinay Mommy Online |Livy Updater|Adventures In Babywearing

If you play along, please copy the above play-alongers and add your blog!

August 22, 2008

I Have Updates

Today was a busy day. I received a call this morning from Regal Lager, the makers of Phil&Teds and they were so sorry to hear of my accident. Susan, their representative, was sweet as can be, and said she was sending out a new stroller frame for me right away. And soon after I got off the phone I received an email confirmation that it had already shipped!

Oh, and she said she just had one question. What is up with you and celery?? Ha. And after we got off the phone I needed some right away.

I finished Gray's sweater! Here he is modeling it, complete with robot buttons. I've already started one for the baby, hoping to have it finished before she arrives!

Last night I started having some major contractions every time I stood up. So I did a lot of sitting. Today has been better but I can tell she is moving waaaay down. I went to the store and stocked up, I tell you. Just in case. By the way, did you know that California Pizza Kitchen makes pizzas you can make crispy in the microwave? Yeah. I have a freezer-full now.

Now we wait.

And I also wrote a bit about the waiting today at 5 Minutes For Parenting.

August 21, 2008

The Big One!

The morning of Carter's birth day was like any other hot July summer day. I remember playing outside with Noah and distinctly recall sitting at the dining room table eating green grapes and when I got up, my chair was wet. I seriously thought I was having some, ahem, bladder issues.

When hubby came home for lunch that day and I had sat down to eat with him, I found that I was "leaking" again. He suggested I call the doctor's office to see if maybe my water had broke, but I remembered what it was like when my water had broke with Noah. I felt in no way that I would being having a baby today. Definitely wasn't having contractions and my due date was still a few days away.

I continued about my day and was still leaking. So finally before 5 o'clock rolled around I decided (at hubby's constant urging) to call the nurse. She said to get to the hospital and have them check me to see if it was amniotic fluid. I seem to recall being a bit flighty about this and sure I wasn't in labor. But I was now hearing horror stories from people online and from
hubby's office about waiting too long if it really was my water breaking. So, off we went.

We arrive at the hospital around 5 pm and sure enough, it w
as my water that had been leaking all day. So, they were keeping me. And said I'd probably be having a baby by that night. I thought that was pretty funny. But it was exciting all the same!

Me, in labor

Since I wasn't feeling any contractions and they weren't sure how long my water had been broken, I was hooked up to pitocin to increase the contractions and then did go ahead and accept stadol as well. I did very well with my Lamaze breathing again this time and I think was a little out of it from the stadol because I realized I was pushing before I had Jeff go get a nurse. When she came in she knew she needed to page the doctor immediately. They tried to have me not push, but my body had other plans! My doctor was at the hospital in a meeting, so he made it into the room just in time for Carter's arrival. I did have to push a bit with Carter which was different than when I had Noah. I think there was about 10-15 minutes of good pushing and we soon found out that this little guy wasn't so little.

Carter Wilson was born just after 8 pm, 9 lbs 12 oz (yes you read that right) on July 10, 2002.

He was definitely my largest baby and possibly has the largest heart and largest zest for life of anyone I will ever know. How largely awesome it is that I get to be his Mom.

Thirty Six Then And Now

36 weeks in 2005

36 weeks in 2008

August 20, 2008

Babywearing In Style

A class I was sure to attend at the Babywearing Conference was Babywearing In Style, led by Hotslings creator Kristen DeRocha.

Kristen began by explaining that whenever we are dressing "in style", we should be considering our age, body type, and stage of life we are in. And of course this can be carried over to the styles of baby carriers we choose.

As most of us are busy Moms, a simple, easy-to-care-for styles is best. These days there are a vast array of choices when shopping for baby carriers. Be sure to consider comfort and fit as well as something you'll want to wear in public. Very important: your image is on display!

Now, I know not all of you, dear readers, are that concerned about your sling matching your outfit (and somedays we are just happy to have matching tops and bottoms period. Or just to be out of our pajamas.)

But, for those of us that do get into the whole stylish babywearing thing, here are some really great tips, according to Kristen:

  • Your shirt should match your sling. Your sling does not have to be according to your baby's gender. So, it is perfectly OK to wear a pink sling if you have a boy (and if it matches your outfit!)
  • Fitted shirts are worn best under slings. They look less bulky and more flattering. Avoid baggy or baby doll shirts if you can while babywearing.

  • Adjust frequently. If you want to look your best, be sure to check in with a mirror once in a while to make sure that your shirt underneath isn't riding up, baring your bra strap, or showing too much skin.

  • Wear your carrier neatly & correctly. Your sling should always be properly worn- not only for safety but also for style. Be sure it's not folded up or bunched in the back, and if you are wearing a mei tai or other carrier with straps, make sure they aren't accentuating unsightly bulges.

  • Stay clean. Spot check that sling for lint and other stains before going out!
If you can, it is recommended to have in your wardrobe at least one solid sling and two or more print, funky, or dressy styles.

If you'll be nursing in your sling, nursing shirts are a great option for staying in style and keeping it together without baring all. Wearing layers such as a tank underneath your top that you can easily lower the neckline to nurse is helpful as well as wearing a belly band to cover your stomach while nursing but still stay looking neat.

For plus-size babywearers, carriers with wide straps like the Baby Ball Overall mei tai and wider wrap slings are a good choice. If you can, wear a shirt over buckled carriers. And if you choose a printed or patterned sling, larger prints are better for larger bodies. Smaller prints tend to make the body look larger.

No matter what your style is, it's most important that you and baby are comfortable and content with your baby carrier. Wear your baby with confidence and ease, and anything will look good on you!

I'll be posting all about babywearing and birth stories in the coming week. You can subscribe to my feed here.

Also, join the Babywearing Bloggers blogroll if you'd like!

A Cup Of Me

One of my very favorite lines of clothing for little ones is by Tea Collection. When I saw they were starting a blog, well, you guessed it.

Check out my first post here!

August 19, 2008

And Then She Was Sent Home

The morning I went into labor with Noah, I was excited and I was pretty sure I was going to have a baby that day. It was my first, so I really wasn't sure if this "was it" but I was hoping it was. It was a few days before my due date and contractions were coming pretty steadily yet, as I'd soon find out, they were not like REAL contractions.

Hubby went on to work and I was to call him if this was really it. I got on the phone with my friend Lori who just had her first baby two months before. In a couple hours I decide we should head to the hospital and off we go. To have our first baby!

We got into our room and all strapped up to the monitors and such. We were there maybe an hour when the nurse came in and told me what no woman "in labor" wants to hear. The doctor thinks you should go home. We were told that my labor would probably speed up there and so forth. And so we left.

It was just a couple hours later when I was really feeling the pain and hubby and I were on our bed praying as I was laboring away, still not believing that I was sent home from the hospital! Then I heard a "snap" and my water broke! There on the bed as Jeff read from the Bible.

We knew we were allowed to head back to the hospital now that my water had broke. I had my focal point (a picture of my dog) and did very well with my Lamaze breathing. I had planned to go all natural but did accept an IV with stadol "to take the edge off." It made me drowsy but I was still able to concentrate on my breathing. Within about an hour I was feeling the pushing urge and had Jeff get a nurse. Our doctor was on his way and was literally throwing on his gloves as Noah was making his entrance.

Noah Jeffrey was born at 4:14 pm, 7 lbs 7 oz on February 16, 2001.

Noah, 6 weeks

Our first son, our peaceful one. It was literally love at first sight.

Noah, 7 1/2 years

August 18, 2008

Your Babywearing Questions, Part 1

From Jana- What is your preferred carrier for hot weather?

I prefer a lightweight ring sling, not double-layered, and maybe made of linen or cotton. Mei tais are great as I feel that the air flow can get to Mom & baby easier, and woven wraps are also ideal as it also has only one layer compared to other carriers.

If you're going to be by water, a mesh water sling like this one from Nest is fantastic, and also something I used everyday in the shower with Gray as a newborn!

From Heather- I would LOVE first hand observations of the $$$$ slings and wraps.

In the first class I attended at the babywearing conference, an instructor was wearing a Psling. Oh my. So beautiful and from what I could see, and how she described her experience with it, yes- it is worth the money! I was very impressed by the make and feel of the Oopa Slings that were at the SoBeBabies booth. I also saw firsthand the Didymos and Storchenwiege wraps, both of which I found to be equal in quality and heard from other babywearers that either are great woven wraps.

From Madeline- I want to know if its possible to carry a baby beyond 35 lbs.

As long as it is comfortable for you, it is possible to carry a baby beyond 35 lbs. Many carriers suggest up to 40 lbs. The best way to carry a larger baby is on your back in a two-shoulder carrier such as a wrap or mei tai. You'll want to use a woven wrap, and not a stretchy wrap as it will sag after about 20 lbs. If you are concerned about getting baby on your back, use someone to help you or a mirror for the first few times, and maybe try using a baby doll or a bag of rice before trying it out with baby.

From Kim- I have a 14 month old who is only 16 lbs, so I carry her everywhere. I am also 5 1/2 months pregnant - so I am wondering what you have found that works. I am really running out of room for her on my front and side.

Babywearing while pregnant is not something that is often heartily recommended, but it is possible. Some tips I got were to wear baby in a mei tai or podaegi up high on your back, with the straps tied in the Tibetan tie above your belly. And another Mom told me how she wore her baby while 9 months preggo by using the Ergo with straps under the belly and resting on her hips.

I personally stopped wearing Gray after a few months pregnant because it just wasn't very comfortable for me.

From Seeryus Mama- What is the best carrier to carry your baby so they are facing out?

This is something else that I was surprised to learn about at the babywearing conference. Wearing your baby facing out is not recommended! For newborns, the main problem is overstimulation. For mom, especially as baby gets larger, your center of gravity is much better when baby is facing you.

Most carriers that are made for facing out, such as the Baby Bjorn, have the baby's legs and feet hanging straight down in front, which is not good for the baby's hips and spine. The pressure on the crotch artery can also make baby's feet go numb.

If your baby is going to be worn facing out, the Kangaroo Carry with feet in is best- you can do this in a ring sling, pouch, and wrap. If they must have their legs hanging out, it would be best in a stretchy wrap or a wrap hybrid like the Baby Ktan. Try to make sure their legs are spread froggy style rather than hanging straight down. The best way to get baby used to not facing out is to never give them the option!

If you have a babywearing question, please feel free to email me or leave it in the comments below! Stay tuned for Your Babywearing Questions part 2!

I'll be posting all about babywearing and birth stories in the coming week. You can subscribe to my feed here. Also, join the Babywearing Bloggers blogroll if you'd like!

Carrying The Future

I was really moved by the keynote address at the Babywearing Conference this past June in Chicago.'s founder, Jen Norton, was the main speaker, and her journey in motherhood was one we all can probably relate to in many ways.

Her babywearing adventures began by just picking up some books by Dr. Sears as well as The Continuum Concept. She had guilt about how she parented her first child, and resolved to do things differently for the next baby.

She found that it felt good to be close to her child, that parenting could be a positive experience, and she wanted to share this with others. At the time, there was not enough solid research to support babywearing despite the fact that it was just plain common sense and had been around for so long in many other countries.

Jen noticed obstacles for widespread babywearing... there were definitely studies about the benefits of Kangaroo Care- showing that stimulation & movement was good for development, touch, and communication. And all of that indirectly supports babywearing. But it was all about the benefits to the baby, and not about the Mom. And it just makes sense that babies get the best care when Mothers are happy and supported.

She started reading about maternal well being and how babywearing could help the Mother's state of mind. It's been found that the emotional and psychological benefits of babywearing is linked to the continuing of the womb-like environment when babies are carried close. It's snug and warm with constant contact & movement. Babies cry less when carried on a regular basis, which means they are happier and give contented feedback to their mother, with quiet alert times. They sleep and eat better, and are overall more positive than babies that are not carried on a regular basis.

So, this leaves the mother feeling a sense of competence- and you know how good it is to feel like we're doing a good job as a Mom!

It's a lovely waltz... Mother & baby interact more as babies are worn close. There is good verbal and physical contact, and naturally Mom learns to recognize baby's needs better. It's a dance they learn together and more quickly through babywearing as the bonding process is enhanced.

Jen explained an interesting experiment with a group of mothers that had babies with baby carriers and a group without. The babywearing group was found to be more securely attached as mother & child, the mother's sensitivity was higher and those mothers appeared to experience more joy in parenting than the non-babywearing group.

Now, one important note that Jen expressed with her heart was- that because a Mother's need for support is so very necessary in feeling like she is doing a good job as a Mom- we mustn't ever criticize someone for not wearing their baby. We should never make another Mother feel less-than or that what she is doing is wrong. If it works for her, that is what is most important. These findings about the benefits of babywearing that Jen Norton was sharing is what has been found through her extensive research, and while I hope that every Mom could experience the bliss of babywearing that I've known in my own life, I can not expect every Mom to be just like me. I want the "every Mom" to be just who she needs to be.

It's hard to put into words sometimes, but it's true that the benefits from wearing your baby goes way beyond just the obvious convenience of having your hands free to do other things. There is plenty of enjoyment through babywearing without the need to have a reason to hold your child or need to get something done at the time. You are carrying the future... and sometimes that is just enough!

August 17, 2008

Under My Wing

Carter's staying the night at Mimi's tonight and it feels like I'm missing a limb.

Maybe I need to cut the cord, maybe I need to let them wander from the nest once in a while, but maybe I just love all my babies so much and like to have them close.

There is nothing wrong in that at all.

Adventures In Babywearing, Revisited

It's been a while since I've last done some babywearing. (If you don't count the constant toting of this baby on the inside.) And I'm getting super excited and ready to start up again. I keep envisioning my sweet baby nestled in my ring sling the first couple days and the smell of her head and the warmth of her so close... it is so time.

I've still got so much to tell you about the Babywearing Conference I attended back in June! I learned a lot and collected some of your great questions and plan to answer every single one very soon. Feel free to ask more in the meantime, if you'd like, and I promise to do the best I can to answer every single one!

Don't forget about the awesome Babywearing Bloggers Blogroll listing all the babywearing bloggers out there. Also, the Baby Sling Blog has a little contest going on if you'd like to share your babywearing pics by the water.

Speaking of water, many people have asked if I am planning a water birth. I am not. I actually might labor in the bathtub if I wish (and I've done this before going to the hospital with my other births) but I imagine that I will also be moving around and the baby will most likely be born in our bedroom or wherever I might be in my house at that very special time!

And, um, that time is coming so soon!

August 16, 2008

I Can Hear Myself Think

The weather has been more than pleasant the past few days. I've had the windows open and tv and music off. It's amazing how much I can hear myself think in the quiet times. I feel my body not only physically readying for childbirth, but now find my mind settling and slowing down in preparation.

And in these moments I've been a better listener, to His voice, and to my own intuition. I realize that what I write here gives the appearance that I am consumed by motherhood and pregnancy. But, it is not the Mother in me that writes here, it is the Writer. It is Me.

I am not just the Mom whose child had and was healed of epilepsy. I am not just a Mother who is about to have her fourth baby. I am not just the Mom that is making her way day in and day out with her hopes and dreams pinned upon her children. I have a purpose. And in the quiet, I find that purpose revealed more clearly. Sometimes ever changing. But it's real. And it's just for me.

And by those things being a part of me, the Mom that I am, I can be used to do great things. By being someone that still has dreams and desires beyond the realm of having small children, I can be used to do great things. By the unknown ahead of me, I can be used to do great things. And just what defines great? To you, or even to me, it might seem small. But if I can be a light in the darkness, even a small light can lead the way.

If I can be still in the stillness, there is so much to hear.

August 15, 2008

Allrighty Then

My eyes popped open at 5:49 this morning and I realized that someone had slept in his firetruck bed all night.

Of course I couldn't just go back to sleep. I had to go check on him. Only, I couldn't FIND him. He wasn't in his firetruck bed. And he wasn't on the floor. I rubbed my eyes and tried to wake up and thought I better check my bed again. Maybe he did get in bed with me after all.


So I headed downstairs and checked the couch and playroom, then down another flight of stairs to check the couch down there. In the meantime I rouse hubby awake and tell him I can't find Gray. We check the firetruck bed again and then there, up on the top bunk curled up next to Carter, was a sleeping Gray. He's actually still sleeping there right now. I covered him up and went back to bed.

Hubby thinks I'm jealous. I just wonder why he went up there to his brother, and not into my room? I am not jealous! I don't think...?

August 14, 2008

Happiness Is A Full Belly

Belly 35 weeks

Photo by Crooked Eyebrow

August 13, 2008

If Only My Legs Were That Long And Skinny

Carter's rendering of this week's belly pic.
Also linked up at Magic Marker Monday at 5 Minutes For Special Needs.

August 12, 2008

Not The Baby Much Longer

Whatever. He'll always be my baby.

Photos by Beth and Crooked Eyebrow.


This morning Noah said don't you feel better Mom, since you got to be with your friends?

Yesterday we had an impromptu picnic at the park with Crooked Eyebrow and Beth. It was the first time our children had ever met, but within less than two seconds they were already buddies.

All six of them.

What happens in the time between that and, say, our age? It's a phenomenon to me, how kids can instantly run off playing and have the BestTimeEver when they've known each other all of ten minutes. And why don't we do that more as adults?

Oh, and yes. I didn't know I wasn't before, but I do feel better now that I got to be with my friends.

Photos by Beth & Crooked Eyebrow.

August 11, 2008

Welcome Normal

It's funny how quickly we forget. When life is full of storms and heartaches and pain and uncertainties all we pray for is for things to be normal again. For the everyday life that we once took for granted.

And then eventually you settle into that normal life again, usually with some bumps and wrinkles that weren't there before but it's your new normal now and that is ok. And before you know it, it becomes your everyday life that you now take for granted. Again.

As I get farther and farther away from some of the most difficult times in my life as a Mom, when I didn't know what was going to happen to my oldest son, if he was ever going to be even close to normal again, I honestly couldn't imagine living a regular life like we do now. Just two years ago this month he was able to come off his special diet and eat, like, regular food again. He was able to go to a regular school despite being told otherwise, and he was alive. A regular boy. And going to be ok.

It took a long time to settle into that new normal of no more seizures and no more hospitals and no more special diet. Even still I had to pack accordingly for Gray this weekend at the lake (he's allergic to dairy, egg, & nuts) but those diet restrictions seem like nothing. And have become normal, too.

But I still find myself forgetting and slumping about the daily routine. The mundane and the blah. And I forget that this is what I prayed for- to just live like a regular family. For a long time that outfit didn't fit and it wasn't comfortable. But now it does, and I didn't even notice.

I'm not saying that we can't have excitement in our lives- excitement is good. But there have just been many things lately that I've probably not done with my whole heart and now I'm going to make a bigger effort to do so. Because this normal life is something I longed for. And I don't want to take it for granted. I don't know if it will go away again, so I am cherishing it right now. Dishes and dirty laundry and car repairs and crumby floor and all.

Hello, Normal. Please stay a while.

August 10, 2008

The Lake

We went to the lake again. This time it was a small beach with no waves and a private area where I could actually relax and let the the kids- gasp!- play in the water. And go on boats and stuff.

Carter went tubing. Noah got a leech on his foot, and a little girlfriend. Gray loved his "suit" (life jacket) and insisted on wearing it the whole day long, even for the bonfire.

I could get used to this.

August 9, 2008

the playlist

Here is the first of probably several playlists I'll have ready for the birth day. I usually find quiet and slow instrumental music to be most soothing, and these songs each have a happy but peaceful energy that I am excited to invite for the coming of my new baby. And coincidentally most of them reference birth and water and movement and flow.

far far- yael naim
proudest monkey- dave matthews
free/bliss/billy breathes/swept away- phish
sleeping- glen hansard & marketa irglova
five string serenade- mazzy star
song for mahila- yo la tengo
how my heart behaves- feist
walking after you- foo fighters
upward over the mountain- iron & wine
hallelujah- jeff buckley
i'm ready- tracy chapman
concerning the ufo sighting...- sufjan stevens
be here now- ray lamontagne

August 8, 2008

The Nursery

I am asked quite often about the baby's nursery. Oh I bet you have it all ready! How are you decorating the nursery?

And every time I have to think for a second and remember that many people do get a nursery ready for their baby. A room all for them. We did it for both Noah & Carter and theirs were each decked out complete with matching crib set and window valance and pictures on the wall.

But when it came time for Gray, we weren't ready to give up our extra bedroom that had now become the playroom and we weren't ready to have a baby in the same room with the older boys. It seemed that keeping him in our room was the best option. We used a cradle, crib, and mostly co-slept. Whatever got us the most sleep that night, basically!

And so, we'll do the same for this baby.

A few months ago Gray officially weaned from breastfeeding and we started really focusing on getting him to sleep in his brothers' room. He had a crib in there but at some point every night, he'd climb out and nuzzle his way in bed with me.

As the arrival of the new baby nears, I've wanted to get him to stay in his bed all night. So, we found him a firetruck bed! (On Craigslist... very cheap!) He loves it and most nights I can be found snuggling with him in the firetruck bed until he falls asleep. Yes- all 8 1/2 months pregnant that I am. He always makes his way back into my bed at some point in the night, or as of late he's been trying to get me to come back to sleep in his firetruck bed.

I still love those moments right before he falls asleep. His voice is sweeter, his eyes more sparkly, and I think this might be when love grows the most.

Last night I quietly whispered in his ear and reminded him that when baby Ivy comes, she will have boo. He touched my chest and said I have boo. I love your boo. (Oh how he loved the boo.) I told him that no, he doesn't have boo anymore, but now baby Ivy will. He smiled and said I'll have Mommy boo and baby Ivy can have Daddy boo.
And then we got into a giggling fit.

I'm writing a bit more about breastfeeding and comedy at the Chicago Moms Blog today, too. I freely will admit that I so love nursing my children. I pray that sweet Ivy will love it, too.

August 7, 2008

Am I Only Dreaming?

I'm getting all metaphoric and deep about things at 5 Minutes For Parenting, if you'd like to join me.

Lady Bug Belly

Everyday I sneak a peek at all the cute little things I have waiting for the baby. These lady bug shoes were sent to me as a gift from my sweet blogging friend Katja at Skimbaco. I just can't wait until my little girl can put them on her toesies.

Belly 34 weeks

August 6, 2008

We Don't Need Another Hero

My midwife came over the other night and it is getting so exciting discussing our plans and wishes and just how real and close we are to meeting our new baby. I have never felt more sure about having our baby at home, and know that it's something many Moms would love to do, many have done, and many could never see themselves doing.

When I think about how I prefer to give birth, in a quiet, peaceful environment with no medication, I never once have thought about myself trying to be a hero. I have made these choices because they are pleasant to hubby and me, and I wouldn't tough anything like childbirth out just to show it off like some trophy. In my own experience, natural childbirth is much more comfortable for me than medicated. I am confident in my understanding of my body doing what it needs to do and my ability to listen. This is something that I do feel proud of, for myself. It is quite empowering. But it is not heroic.

The miracle of conception, pregnancy, and childbirth are altogether so amazing and supernatural in so many ways- how the baby makes his or her ultimate entrance into our world isn't the extraordinary event. For some parents it's the two pink lines, or the first look in your child's eyes, the counting of their toes, the comparing of their hands to yours, the first time at your breast, their tiny-ness and their very being. Their very life.

We all have a way of doing our own thing. This is mine. To me it is living. It is beautiful. It is new life. It is my life.

August 5, 2008

LYLAS! Stay Cool! & Have A Great Summer!

I totally need to de-stress and chill out after last night's storm that came through our area and had me a nervous wreck.

So, I'm calling for some fun and just had to yearbook myself thanks to My Home Sweet Home.

A beauty in 1960, so very church lady

1966, I kinda dig

1976... um, really?

Oh, 1982, how do you even get hair to do that?

In 1994 it was all about the hand-chin pose and spiral perm.
And how about that 1996- maybe I could do blonde someday
Ok, then. Let me know if you play along. And stay sweet!

My 5 Minutes Of Fame

There's a little video up of part of my interview with Janice & Susan from 5 Minutes For Mom talking about 5 Minutes For Parenting at BlogHer. And seriously, I couldn't look any rounder. Oh my goodness. The camera added 10 lbs on the baby, too.


I can also be found guest posting at Crunchy Domestic Goddess today, too. And then later will most likely be found napping and eating celery and napping some more.

August 4, 2008

We Kissed By The Light Of The Oven Clock

It felt like forever, but we were officially dating one whole month before hubby and I had our first kiss. It was a moment I had been waiting for, but was so incredibly nervous about.

You'd have thought it was my very first kiss ever. We'd gone on many dates already, and I'm sure he wanted to kiss me long before, but there, in the dark kitchen of my parents' house, as we were getting ready to say goodbye for the night, he asked if he could kiss me. And I said yes.

In just two more months he'd ask me to marry him. And I said yes.

This morning I asked him if I could write about our first kiss. He said do you want to know the exact date? I have it written down.

I love this man.

It was November 7, 1998. We married October 9, 1999 and had our first big kiss in front of a very large audience .I am so glad I said yes.

This post has been submitted to Scribbit's August Write Away Contest "First Kiss."

August 3, 2008

I'll Probably Talk Your Ear Off

Tonight I'll be talking with Laura & Amy from Mums The Wurd on BlogTalkRadio at 10 pm CST. They do take call ins- so hopefully your kids will be in bed by then and maybe we can talk! Otherwise, just follow along and chat online while you listen!

Please tune in! (And later you can just listen to the archives- I'm talking all about babywearing!)

Good thing I got a nap today.

P.S. here's that link I talk about on the show of that awesome dad putting his newborn baby in a wrap!

August 2, 2008

Life's A Beach

In all my years I've never understood why anyone would want to spend the day at the beach. I love the beach at sunset, with a walk along the shore. But what do you do a whole day long?
I totally get it now.

August 1, 2008

Next Month

I can now say that I am due next month.

Next month!

Physically I feel better than I have in a long time. My mind is another thing, but it's probably just emotions and stuff and wrecking the car and all that jazz.

Thankfully hubby is not mad at me and we even got a bit of a date night tonight- a rooftop luau. I'm much rounder than last year's.

And now a bit of bloggy business- for this whole month Motherhood Uncensored
(and I must insert the warning that she is uncensored) is declaring that we all Blog The Recession. This means that it would be really nice if you'd do your part by clicking through your feed readers and bloglines and read directly from our blogs.This is also a good time to remind you that you can subscribe to my blog over there in the left hand side bar where it says RSS subscribe. But then, be sure to click on through. Do this for all your blog friends if you can. And thank you!

Also, if you are viewing my blog in Internet Explorer, you might be seeing an error and basically, my friends, it is time for you to start using Firefox or something other than IE already!

Anyway, when the month is over, hopefully we'll all be a little richer. And I'll also be thismuchcloser to holding a new baby in my arms.

Next month! Next month!!!