Tuesday, September 29, 2009

18 Weeks

Yesterday marked the beginning of my 18th week of pregnancy. As you can see, I am definitely taking on the 'pregnant form.' I now feel confident that I look pregnant and not just chubby because I've had quite a few strangers comment on my "baby on the way."

She is about 6" long, weighing 7 oz., and can do many things like suck her thumb, cover her eyes, stretch, kick and turn. Her tiny bones are starting to develop (previously they were made of cartilage) and I am definitely noticing more movement. She is breech right now, so most of the movement is felt down low in my abdomen from her little legs. My energy still comes in spurts, and I listen to my body on the days it tells me to rest. One of the great things about pregnancy is that you can never be accused of just sitting there doing nothing... even while resting, your body is working hard growing a baby. (Ask Forrest just how often I call upon that fact!) Speaking of Forrest, he has been wonderful at picking up my slack during this pregnancy. I am so thankful for his help around the house. I haven't had to call on him for too many massages yet, but he is wonderful at those, too! I'll hit him up in the third trimester when my lower back will undoubtedly start to ache. This is the time when I really start to enjoy pregnancy, and I know that each passing week will bring more anticipation for the arrival of our baby girl. I will be savoring every minute of it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Our Baby... GIRL!!!

We were thrilled today to get our first glimpse of what we discovered to be our baby girl! Initially, we had the intention of waiting until the birth to find out what we were having, however neither of us could see the sense in waiting, and so we enjoyed our surprise a few months early! I knew that being on that ultrasound table would be too much temptation for me to bear, and I was right. However, I was not disappointed. Forrest and I wanted to determine for ourselves what it was, so we told the ultrasound tech to put the camera in the appropriate spot and let us figure it out. We both knew it was a girl immediately (we did this with Noah and Kaitlyn too- after the first couple of babies you start to know what you're looking at.) Marlene said she could tell it was a girl from her profile. Look at her dainty little nose!

I am so happy that I can now call my baby a "she" for the next five months instead of an "it." I am also excited to pull out Kaitlyn's baby clothes (some of which were only worn a handful of times) and put the pink sheet on the bassinet. Forrest, on the other hand, is drawing mental plans for the bunk beds he will be building for the girls' room. Ashlee is thrilled to be getting another sister, as are the boys (although I think they'd like me to even out the score at some point.) This was definitely a pleasant surprise.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Baby Boom

I just heard news of 4 pregnancies in one week, and I couldn't be more excited! At first I worried about going my journey alone, but now I can see that I am in good company. Congratulations all you mommies-to-be! You'll be in my thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More Hair Clips from Candy Apple Boutique

If you are the mommy of a little girl, click here. I know I've said this before, but I don't know who wouldn't want to put these in their daughter's hair. My sister just started crocheting and making hair bows not too long ago, and it's been fun to watch her talent unfold.

A TRUE Cross Country Mile

Today Ashlee's cross country meet was at Sierra Ridge Middle School in Pollock Pines. To those of you who are unaware, this school is set in a very woodsy area, making for a much more difficult cross country track. The kids were truly running through the forest. Ashlee said there were some steep up and down hills, and at one point she almost slid down a cliff! Anyhow, she did great. This time around they grouped her with the 9 and 10 year old girls, of which there were 75, and she came in 9th place! Of the 9 year old girls only, she was 5th. Her mile time was 9:03 ( a bit longer than usual due to the terrain of the course.) I stood watching as the girls came up out of the forest to cross the street towards the finish line, and I counted, "1, 2, 3, 4..." and up came Ashlee in 10th place, right behind the 9th place runner. I started clapping and cheering, "Go, Ashlee!" when what I really wanted to say was, "Pass that girl up!" She must've read my mind, because right at the end she did! Good job, Ashlee.

Painting the Paper Towels

At my last shopping trip, I grabbed a package of fancy printed paper towels opposed to the plain white ones I usually get. Last night we had friends over for dinner, and as we sat down Jacob noticed the paper towel next to his plate with the flower design on it and asked, "Mom, why did you decide to paint the paper towels?"

"Well," I replied, "I guess I was just feeling artistic!"

(Or, I did it in all of my "free time" as Nikki pointed out... ha ha.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


So after a little bit of debate, I think Forrest and I have decided to have an ultrasound... NOT to find out the sex of the baby, but just to get a sneak peek before the birth. Particularly with a home birth, I have greater peace of mind knowing that everything is as it should be on the inside.

Although we have insurance, we opt to have our ultrasounds done at a private company called Sonotech. Any woman can go there and have a 2D ultrasound for $65, and they guarantee to be right on the sex of your baby or you will get a refund. You also come home with 10 pictures and a DVD of the ultrasound. Check them out here. I highly recommend them to expectant mothers.

Creamy Apple Squares

Happy 1st Day of Fall! I thought I'd honor it by sharing this delicious recipe:

Creamy Apple Squares

1 box yellow cake mix
1 cube butter, softened but not melted
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 small carton sour cream
1 egg
3-4 apples, peeled, sliced and cored

Mix together cake mix and butter until mixture resembles crumbs. Remove 2/3 c. and mix with 1/2 c. brown sugar; set aside for topping.

Spread remaining cake and butter mixture into bottom of 9x13" greased baking pan.

Lay sliced apples over top of cake mixture in pan.

Combine sour cream with one egg; spoon over apples.

Spoon topping mixture over all. Bake in 350 oven for 25-30 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream, if desired. THESE ARE DELICIOUS!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Best

The boys looked so handsome dressed for church this morning, I had to take a picture.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Homemade Invitations

Ashlee and I had fun making these invitations this afternoon. She will be having her 10th birthday in 2 weeks. She chose the design and the colors, I did the cutting, and she did most of the assembly. Being that Ashlee is my only Fall child, I always have fun going all-out in planning her parties. This year we are going roller skating, followed by pizza, cake, and presents. My other 3 January and February children (i.e. post-holidays) are happy enough with one or two presents and a homemade cake, but no lavish parties. That's the luck-of-the-draw with kids who are born so close to Christmas.

I think the buttons add a nice touch. Thank you Stampin' Up!


Forrest is out of town, so we had eggs and toast for dinner tonight. We just recently retired the high chair to the garage (for the next year, anyways) and Kaitlyn is very much enjoying sitting at the table like a big girl. I, for one, love seeing my table so full!

A Birth Story

As I said before, I've typed birth stories for each of my children beginning with Ashlee. These stories are usually recorded within a few weeks, or at most months, within the birth. I like to make sure I capture all the details of every crowning event, mood, feeling, sensation, who was present, what was said, etc. during the birth, and although you think you'll never forget such details, memory of them seems to fade with time. I often find myself reading my children's birth stories on their birthdays, while I'm pregnant and anticipating another birth, or even just on a quiet night when I want to relive that sacred moment. There never fails to be some detail I've since forgotten that sparks the memory of, "Oh yeah, I do remember that," and then I feel like I am there all over again.

For me, childbirth is a glimpse into eternity. The veil between heaven and earth seems to be the thinnest during the birth of a child. It's as if heavenly beings are escorting that child right up to the door. It is fascinating to witness the divine attributes of a woman unfold, on a physical and spiritual level, as she is giving birth. The innate abilities we have been blessed with to cope with a task as demanding as labor never cease to amaze me. I truly believe a laboring woman is assisted by the powers of heaven. In fact, those exact words were used in a blessing I received before the birth of Noah, "may you have the powers of heaven with you." I didn't fully comprehend the meaning of them at the time, but after the birth I knew they had been fulfilled. At no other time in life have I felt so weak yet strong, so submissive yet empowered, so terrified yet in a such a state of awe and anticipation of what lies ahead.

Perhaps the best gift that has come to me as a result of recording and sharing my experience with labor and birth is the satisfaction of inspiring other women to have the same opportunity. Nothing excites me more than to hear another woman, after having previously had a medicated birth or of not being aware of the option of natural birth, recount her own story of natural birth and the empowerment that comes to her after being inspired by stories of those who have gone before her. I believe birth is special no matter how or where it takes place, but there is something sacred about being able to tap into the natural resources God has given us to bring a child into the world. I hope I am able to convey at least a portion of what I felt through sharing this story.

Birth Story IV

Kaitlyn's Birth

My due date was January 10th, 2008. This was the day of Jacob's 4th birthday. I knew she would come sooner, at least I hoped. On Saturday the 5th, I took the kids on a 3 mile bike ride, while I pushed Noah in the jogger stroller. We went up some long, steep hills. It was very windy and foggy that day, and the walk was quite strenuous. Later that afternoon, Lisa Perillo came over to visit, and as we were talking in the kitchen, I paused for a couple of moderately strong contractions. Looking back, that was the moment I knew pre-labor had begun. Later in the evening, I reverted to nesting mode and frantically began laundry (I needed clean towels and underwear!) I finished right around midnight, then went to bed.

On Sunday we went to church as usual, and in Relief Society I shifted in my chair, as I was now feeling the contractions in my lower back. I bore my testimony in Sacrament Meeting, and later on a couple of women told me, "You're going to have your baby soon!" Little did they know how soon. We put the kids to bed, and Forrest wanted to stay up a little later with me. However, I felt tired, and part of me knew that if I didn't go to bed, I'd pay for it. We lay down around 10:00p.m. Right around midnight, I awoke to a scene I will never forget. Ashlee and Jacob were at my bedside, telling me they had both just thrown up. I jumped up and followed them both into the bathroom. Ashlee was getting sick, again, and Jacob was just standing there crying. It was at that moment that I noticed my first real labor contraction. My first thought was, you've got to be kidding! I stripped the kids of their clothes, threw their blankets into the washer, and tucked them back into bed. I lay back down in bed and tried to fall back to sleep, but was soon awakened again by the sound of feet scrambling to the bathroom. This continued throughout the night, intermingled with contractions spaced 5-10 minutes apart, strong enough to keep me from falling back to sleep. At one point, out of sheer desperation, I thought, I am going to go to the hospital and have this baby!

Around 5:00 a.m. I decided to make a decision. I got up, went downstairs, and called my mom. She answered, and I said through tears, "Mom, I'm in labor and the kids are throwing up. I need you, I can't do this alone." She told me she'd be right over. After that I came upstairs and woke Forrest. I will never forget how he sat up, fully awake and energized, and said with a smile, "We are going to have our baby today." Seeing him so confident and excited gave me renewed strength. It was then that I reaffirmed to myself, okay, I can do this. We went downstairs together and I called Marlene. She answered, sleepily, and I told her I'd been having contractions five minutes apart. By this time it was about 5:30 a.m. She asked if I felt like I wanted them to come right now, and I said, "I don't know, maybe within an hour." After I hung up, I had one more contraction in the living room with Forrest holding me, and when it was over I said, "Call Marlene back and tell her to come sooner than later!"

Marlene, Kaleem, and my mom all arrived around 6:00 a.m. I had had a few contractions sitting on the bed, and now I was in the bathroom, kneeling over the toilet. Psychosomatically, I was feeling slightly nauseated at the peak of each contraction. At one point I actually gagged into the toilet like I was going to get sick, but I think it was just that I was tired (and paranoid from cleaning up after the kids all night.) Marlene asked if I wanted them to set up the birthing tub. I wasn't sure how far along I was, and I didn't want the water to get cold. She said, "Let's check you and see." I stood up, and Kaleem knelt down and listened to the baby's heartbeat with the Doppler. Then I lay down on the bed for Marlene to check my cervix. This was quick and painless, and she reported, "Well, you're at about a 7." I don't think I responded quite as excitedly as she expected me to, probably because of my anxious anticipation of transition. I knew all too well what lay ahead. She immediately began filling up the tub at the foot of our bed, and I resumed my place on the bathroom floor, resting my head on a folded towel placed on the toilet seat. For this labor, I felt very inclined to be in a kneeling position. Never once did I lie down. I could feel Kaitlyn's head exerting pressure with each contraction, as her head was positioned very low, and to lie down would've been counterproductive. Staying in an upright position gave me a feeling of control. I moved over to my bedside and had a few more contractions. After leaving the bathroom, I remember walking over towards the tub, longing to climb in, and seeing it only several inches full. Marlene stated, "I'm filling it as fast as I can." At this point, my mom, who had left the room, appeared in the doorway and stated that someone was here to see me. It was Brother Reed and Brother Madsen, whom Forrest had called earlier to give me a blessing. I told my mom to tell them it was too late, and to send them away. They came up anyways, feeling inclined to give the blessing. As soon as I saw them entering the room, I said, "Make it quick!" Miraculously, my contractions ceased while they were giving the blessing (or their timing was impeccable,) and no sooner did they descend the stairs than I had a pushing-urge contraction. I was being rather vocal, and I suddenly felt an overwhelming urge to take all my clothes off. I think this was my body's way of saying, get ready, the baby's coming!

The tub was finally ready, and Forrest and I climbed in together. Someone brought Ashlee and Jacob into our room and set them on the foot of the bed, overlooking the birth tub. My water had not yet broken and I knew Kaitlyn's head was right there, but I had not yet mustered up the strength to begin pushing. I reached in to break my bag of waters, but was unable. Marlene said she would try to get it, but then said that her head was ready to come out, and there was no need to break the water. Within a couple of good pushes, her head came out, to which I responded, "Oh, thank goodness." I knew the hard part was over, and relief flooded my exhausted body. The next contraction brought the rest of her body out, and to the surprise of us all, the bag of waters was still intact! Marlene told us that this was a sign of luck across all cultures. I reached down and lifted her slippery little body out of the water and onto my chest, and Marlene gently peeled the membranes over her head and off her body. We sat there in the water admiring our little princess, and then climbed into bed after the placenta was delivered. The first thing I noticed about Kaitlyn was her long feet! She surprised me by being even smaller than her brother at 6lbs. 12oz. Someone brought Noah into the room, and we all cozied up in bed together as the morning light began to come in through the window. She had been born at 7:21 a.m. The midwives continued on with their usual routine of cleaning up, starting laundry, and making tea. All my fears of the previous night had vanished as we relished in the love and spirit that our precious baby girl had brought into our home. My love for homebirth was rekindled all over again! I know that things played out the way they did for a reason, for had the kids not been sick, I may not have called my mom until after the birth. She was in awe over the experience, and I was grateful to have her there. Kaitlyn's birth was nothing short of a miracle, as were the births of all my children. I am so amazed by this wonderful and sacred power that Heavenly Father has given to women, and I wouldn't trade the experience, or the children I've been blessed with, for anything in the world.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A New Project

This is the beginning of my Christmas rag quilt. I started cutting squares yesterday but ran short on fabric, so the finished product will be about 3 rows longer than what you see here. The process of making a rag quilt requires that you leave about a 1" seam allowance around each of the squares, giving it a cute fringed look (like this.) I hear that rag quilts are fairly forgiving, making them good projects for beginning quilters such as myself. I'll post pictures when I am finished.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Tribute to Homebirth

About two years ago, while I was pregnant with Kaitlyn, one of my midwives came to me and said she was in the process of writing a book on home birth. As such, she was collecting submissions of women's home birth stories, as well as pictures to accompany them, to include in this book. She asked me if I would submit a story, and this is what I came up with. I have written birth stories for each of my children, but for this particular submission I wanted to focus on the turning point for me between hospital and home births. I hope you enjoy.

From my first time giving birth at age eighteen, I had always held a strong belief in natural labor and childbirth. Birth is a wonderful, empowering event that every woman is capable of experiencing. I would not dream of surrendering this rite of passage to drugs or hospital procedures. Now that I am pregnant with my fourth child, my love for labor and childbirth continues to grow. However, prior to the homebirth of my third child, giving birth outside of a hospital was an unknown realm to me.

While the births of all three of my children have been unique, sacred experiences, I wish to focus on the birth of my third child, Noah, as a way to open the door for women who are considering birthing at home. Noah was born in the water on February 17, 2007 in the comfort of our own bedroom. The first hands to caress his tiny head were mine followed by my husband’s, then my daughter’s. There is something magical about being able to reach down and deliver your own child, and my wish is for every mother to have this opportunity.

In addition to the beauty of the birth itself, laboring in my own home was a comfort unsurpassed by any hospital or birthing center around the world. Aside from the obvious benefits such as not having to deal with hospital staff, infant seats, paperwork, middle-of-the-night visits from nurses and such, being at home enabled my labor to progress in a very comfortable manner. I don’t think I really even realized I was in active labor until I reached the transition phase. Up until that point, I had been listening to relaxing C.D.s, sitting on my birthing ball, visiting with my husband and children, and making phone calls to distant family members. I hope that the smile on my face in these pictures is a telltale sign of the joy and ease I felt bringing Noah into the world!

Finally, there is nothing like having your own bed for your recovery bed. Noah was born at 10:37p.m. and shortly after midnight, the three of us (my husband, myself, and Noah,) were snuggled into bed, the bedroom was clean, laundry was washing, and the midwives were quietly letting themselves out the front door. I will never forget that moment, looking down at Noah while he nursed and my husband as he slept, thinking, “That’s it? I just gave birth two hours ago and now I am left alone with my beautiful, healthy baby boy beside me in my own bed? Wow, that was too easy.” However, maybe ‘natural’ would be a better word to describe the feeling. Yes, after six years and three children, I had finally obtained my ‘natural’ birth.

Words cannot describe the special spirit that permeated our home those first few days after Noah’s birth. I was very protective of my home, a sanctuary for our littlest one. I kept visitors to a minimum, as I did not want any part of the “world” to interrupt these precious first days together. My other two children accepted Noah right away, and the time we spent bonding as a family is very memorable.

Doctors and hospitals have their place, but to every woman who is capable and willing to have her baby at home, I would highly endorse it. I am forever faithful to home birth, and I would never turn back. To any woman who knows what her body can do and is considering home birth, I would say that home birth is birth the way nature intended. It takes childbirth back to its roots. Bringing a child into the world is a sacred experience any way you look at it, but birthing at home enables the child and his or her family to reap all the blessings that come with the miracle of birth.

Track Star

Today Ashlee had her first Cross Country meet at Lake Forest Elementary. First off, let me just say I am amazed at what a production these meets are! There were easily two to three hundred kids representing four or so different schools, along with their friends and family. I wasn't quite prepared for the crowd! Ashlee was in with the 9-year-old girls, and was the third group to run. She finished 8th out of 36 girls with a mile time of 8:27! I am so proud of her. They had a cooler full of popsicles waiting for the runners at the finish line, which I thought was a nice reward. She'll get her certificate at practice on Monday. She has three meets to go, with a final competition to be held the first week in October. It was exciting for me to watch her run, and it made me anxious for the day when I can resume training for another 10K. I am glad she inherited some of her mother's blood!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Here We Grow! 15 Weeks.

Today marks the beginning of my 15th week. I absolutely relish in pregnancy, and am grateful to be moving into the second trimester with the growth and returning energy that enable me to enjoy it so much more. The other morning I woke up and was able to feel a definite bulge on my tummy, so I know I'll be starting to pop out pretty soon!

It always fascinates me to track the growth and progress of the baby week by week. At 15 weeks, my baby has already reached the following developmental milestones:
*is 4 inches long and weighs a little over 2 ounces
*has tiny fingers and toes, complete with little nails
*is able to suck, swallow, frown, and grimace
*reacts to outside stimulus
*kicks, squirms, and moves about freely in the womb (although I don't necessarily feel all of it.)

I don't think the excitement of being pregnant ever wears off for me. A new baby is always a miracle, and pregnancy is a time of celebration.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


This was shared with me by a friend in the church, and I thought I'd pass it along. The words of Elder Busche are truly inspired and inspiring. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Red Apple Hat from Candy Apple Boutique

I just wanted to share my sister's latest creation in baby hats. Isn't this adorable? It would be perfect for a Fall baby. I very much admire her talent!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

More Projects

I just finished this hat for myself. It is knit from baby alpaca (very soft) on size 10 needles, making it nice and stretchy. The black is very versatile, as well.

Here is a pocket purse I sewed for Ashlee last weekend. It took me all of about 15 minutes. I was originally making it for a friend of hers at school, but Ashlee decided to keep it. I told her that her friend would be none the wiser!

Ashlee's Activity Day project: a fleece tie quilt. She started it at Sister Harris' home this afternoon, and we finished it together this evening.

She'll be sleeping with it tonight.

These projects were super simple, yet very rewarding. I am so happy that Ashlee is getting to the age where we can make things together. She is so good with her hands. Stay tuned for my next feat: knit baby legs and a Christmas rag quilt. I'll keep you posted!