Saturday, February 27, 2010

Welcome Rachel Madison

We were blessed with our little miracle this morning.

Rachel Madison Hart
born 9:43 a.m.
7 lbs. 10 oz.
19 1/2 in. long

All is well. More pictures to come.

Friday, February 26, 2010

At Ease

Well, it's been a long day, and the intermittent crampy contractions continue along with a little more show each time and a very low head, but my body is not yet ready to kick into full gear. Sweet Rachel is going to take her time. We just finished a dinner of Zuppa Toscana and sourdough toast (how's that for spicy food, Nikki?) and we are getting ready to put on a family movie. The house is clean, laundry is washed, folded, and put away, and there's not much else I can do to prepare except, oh yeah, go into labor! I have never experienced contractions like this without being in full-blown labor, so this is a very different experience for me. Not bad, just different. There is probably something to be learned from it. But like I always say, each labor is as unique as the child. Keep those good vibes coming our way.


Labor is imminent. It had better be, because I don't want to go through another night of these crampy contractions that are just enough to keep me awake but not enough to constitute active labor. Yet for what it's worth, I know they are productive because I woke up to more "show," LOTS of show, the labor-is-in-progress kind of show that can not be dismissed. I think today will be the day. Forrest came home last night and was awake just long enough for me to cry on his shoulder before drifting off into what will probably be our last good night's sleep for a while (well, good for him anyways.) I, on the other hand, have developed a burning cough in my chest that is so not fair to have to be dealing with when I am this close to labor. I think I'll go make myself a cup of hot tea and soak in the bath until these contractions progress into something I can get excited about. Please send courage and easy labor vibes my way. I will be excited, believe me, but right now I am having a hard time getting past the thought of what lies ahead.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

4- Update

Well, I've been having crampy Braxton-Hicks since I got out of bed this morning, which haven't let up all day, along with a little more "show," so I am thinking we'll be in action by tomorrow. As I sit here I am debating whether or not to call Forrest home from the Bay Area. I am soooo not one to jump the gun early when it comes to labor. My philosophy is that it will get my attention when it needs to. But at the same time, I'd rather him arrive in a calm manner and not a hurried one. By the time I start taking labor seriously, I'm there. I don't want to wait that long to call him. Performance anxiety is at an all-time high. Hopefully the next post I do will have a picture of baby Rachel in it!

At least the kids and I were able to get out and enjoy the nice weather today. We met up with some friends at the Community Park in EDH, then headed over to Togo's for some sandwiches and ice-cream. It was a nice outing. I've already given them the pep talk that Mom and Rachel need a calm, peaceful house, which will require lots of help from them. They are all on board and so excited.

And by the way, I am so thankful to all of my friends who have so selflessly gone out of their way to offer help and support, despite their own hectic lives. Each and every one of your acts of service has made such a difference to me. I love you all.


Yea for sunshine! I think I'll take my kids to the park today.

Boo for... no signs of labor. It's about as uneventful as it gets in terms of what my body's been doing.

Marlene says that for homebirth mothers, Friday is the most common day to go into labor. The women instinctively know that their husbands will be home for the weekend. That's just it- I want my husband to put in a full work week. However, if you see me at church on Sunday, keep your distance! Rachel will come when she's good and ready, and I need not answer to any of the generic comments.

As for me, I'm off to go strip my bed and wash the sheets. I want a nice fresh recovery haven.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Not much to report today, other than the fact that I had a little bit of "show" this morning and can feel her head down really low. My Braxton-Hicks are definitely noticeable, which is a good sign that my body is preparing for what it needs to do.

Yesterday was a productive day and I was able to accomplish several little projects around the house that I have been wanting to get done, like organize the pantry and the hall closet. There's nothing really left to do but sit and wait, which is probably a good thing because my energy level is a little low today. I think I'll just sit and watch the rain out my window.

This will probably be the calm before the storm.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

6: As Big (and good) as it Gets

Fully ripe. It always amazes me to think that there is a fully developed baby in there, not just the moving body parts you see from the outside. However, nothing can prepare you for the reality of it until the moment of birth when you hold your wet, wriggling baby in your arms.The spring teaser last week gave us a craving for fruit, so I made a big fruit salad. I really am getting anxious for the nice weather to settle in.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Nest with me. That was the theme for yesterday. I ever-so-gently talked Forrest into lining the drawers and cabinets in both bathrooms with new contact paper, while I took to the kitchen with a rag and a bowl of hot, soapy bleach water. It's amazing what a difference little chores like that can make in the feel of a home. Afterwards, the missionaries joined us for dinner.

I believe my body is putting me in baby sleep mode. I have woken up every night for the past week at 1:00, 3:00, 5:00 and finally 7:00. However, I still wake up very energized (surprisingly enough.) It will be interesting to see what baby Rachel's night time schedule is like.

Forrest is headed back to the bay area this morning, and will not be returning until he gets "the call." We had a nice joint session of Hypnobirthing last night and I rewarded him with the promised massage (I had to use some form of leverage to talk him into lining the cabinets.) I was happy to wake up to sunshine and am hoping the weather will be this beautiful when baby Rachel comes.

Today's to-do list:
clean out fridge and pantry
go shopping and stock up on yummy foods
clean bathrooms
finish laundry
school work
Jacob's first baseball practice

Sunday, February 21, 2010


As I get ready for what will probably be my last Sunday at church, it really puts things into perspective. My emotions are very volatile, which I know is to be expected from here on out. The postpartum period will only be I've been getting asked the question a lot, so I'll say that yes, I am noticing some "changes" that are indicative that labor will be starting soon (I'll spare you the details but if you're a woman you know what I am referring to.) I feel like I am at the top of a rollercoaster- the anticipation is at its peak.

Jacob made me laugh this morning when he said that he wanted the next baby to be born in his room so that he can watch from the top of his bunkbed. Well, at least I know they, too, are excited.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Date night was amazing. If you have not yet seen Avatar, go see it while it is on the big screen. It will not dissapoint! It was probably the best movie I have seen in, well, maybe ever. Loved every minute of it. And, the chocolate peanut butter gelato at the Palladio Cinemas was almost nearly as amazing. Thanks, honey, for one last night out sans bebe. It is nice to have my honey home for the weekend. The best part was lying in bed together last night feeling baby Rachel move around. He can not believe how big she is. What's even more unbelievable is that by this time next week, she'll probably be in bed between us. We couldn't be more excited.

Oh, and by the way, we found the video camera. Batteries are being charged as we speak.

Friday, February 19, 2010


A gift to myself: The Peanut Shell baby sling. After calling around yesterday and discovering that there are virtually no retail stores that carry the New Native, I did my research and decided that the Peanut Shell was another great brand in baby slings. The two stores I found that do carry the Peanut are Posh Punkins in El Dorado Hills and Starlight Starbright in Folsom. However, for the sling in the particualar size and fabric I wanted, I had to travel down to the Roseville Galleria.
The Peanut can carry baby in three different positions: cradle style for newborns to 4 months, kangaroo style for babies 4-10 months, and on the hip for 10 months to toddler. I believe it was a worthy investment and know it will more than pay for itself in convenience. Let's face it, with baby #5 there really is going to be no slowing down. Plus, I just love wearing my babies, and this gives me one more way to do it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


That's the number of days left.
Things on my to-do list:
*locate video camera
*take out infant carseat, wash, install
*go online and order a New Native baby carrier....?? (Please, honey? This would make my life so much easier.)
*pay bills
*keep house clean and keep up with laundry (in progress)
*go on one last date with hubby
*paint toenails
*keep practicing Hypnobirthing c.d. and visualization

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy 4th Birthday Noah!

Grandma Nancy came over with a present: pirate swords from Disneyland.A gift from the family: a Bakugan Battle Arena. This was Jacob's pick, and I am left wondering who is going to get the most out of it.
But this is a gift just for the Birthday Boy; a giant orange bubble wand. He loves it.
Time for the cake. It's orange, of course, his favorite color.
Daddy celebrated with us long distance. He was on the phone singing happy birthday right along with the rest of the family.
Happy Birthday Noah Bear! We love you so much.

Monday, February 15, 2010

38 Weeks

Marlene says that the week before a woman has her baby is like a period in terms of the surging hormones and mood swings she experiences. Well, if my mood is any indicator of when labor will start, I'll be having this baby soon. You'd think that knowing this, I'd be able to remove myself from the situation and look at it objectively. In reading past journals, I can see that I am like this somewhere between weeks 38 and 39 with every pregnancy. Nonetheless, it doesn't make it any easier to go through. Yesterday was a weepy day (to say the least) and I just wish it would pass. I was having lots of good energy earlier last week, and I was really hoping it would stay. Now I am counting on my nesting instincts to kick in and give me one last spurt before she is born.

I do love this stage of pregnancy. Nothing beats the anticipation of where, when, and how labor will start, and the thought of her being in my arms soon is all-consuming.

On another note, Forrest is out of town and I am hoping my labor will progress in such a way that he is able to make the two hour drive back before I reach the stage where I really need him. Time will tell.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Boy Spells Phonetically

So today we had another one of those noteworthy, made-me-laugh moments in homeschooling. Jacob decided to pull out the phonics word bits and practice some spelling, while I sat at the table working with Ashlee. Looks like he's working hard, doesn't it?

After a few moments, he comes to the table and, stifling a laugh, says, "Mom, come look at the words I've spelled so far." I knew something was up. Look closely at the word on the left.
"Ite-it." Yep, you guessed it. My son spelled idiot. Phonetically. He couldn't suppress the giggles after that.

Nothing beats homemade, homeschooled, quality education.

Marble Runs

This is Jacob's latest passion: marble runs. He got his first set for Christmas about 3 years ago, and this year Grandma Susan bought him another one. I am thoroughly impressed at how he can build structures, such as the one below, all on his own by reading the instructions and following the model.It's always a careful balancing act to put the final pieces on the top without knocking the whole thing over.
Proudly showing off the finished product.
All the kids like to get involved.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Want

So my preference in baby-wearing seems to evolve with each child. I didn't actually begin the practice of baby-wearing until my third child, Noah, was born. Up until that point, I had followed the mainstream approach of toting baby around via carseat or stroller (how impractical!) Once introduced to the benefits of baby-wearing, I fell in love.

My first product was the Baby Bjorn. Great product, can't say enough about it. I used it all the time with Noah and felt that it really aided the attachment process and put me (and him) more at ease during those first few months. He would sleep for hours in it and I was able to get so much done with the use of my two arms. However, my only complaint about the Baby Bjorn was that it seemed to dig into my trapezius muscles after wearing it for an extended period. Also, I never really liked the way baby's arms and legs were plastered out to the side.

Next came Kaitlyn, and the introduction of the wrap. I was lucky enough to receive a homemade wrap made from a beautiful stretchy material. What I love about the wrap is that it is much more comfortable to wear, and baby can snuggle up in it with arms and legs tucked inside. It feels more like wrapping your baby in a blanket. Also, the wrap can be modified to carry a toddler hipside (although I never quite mastered this approach.) Despite all the benefits, my only gripe about the wrap is that it is so much material. I always found it inconvenient to wrap and unwrap, especially out in public. I never quite figured out how to position the wrap outside without dragging it on the ground in the process. The wrap is nice if you're going to be wearing it around the house for an extended period of time, but it never really felt practical for outings.

So, my latest pursuit is the baby sling. I think the sling is the epitome of baby-wearing. It has the comfort of a wrap, and the convenience of the Bjorn. In addition, baby can nurse in it. It just seems like the most natural and comfortable position for baby, cradled in a reclined position against Mom's front side. The sling can also be used to carry a toddler on the hip.

So, if my desire is realized, you'll be seeing me wearing one of these during the next few months:

New Native Organic Cotton Baby Carrier in Natural Twill

Friday, February 5, 2010

36 1/2 Weeks- Home Visit

With a homebirth, the midwives like to come out for a home visit sometime between 34 and 36 weeks. The purpose of the home visit is to ensure that all the birth supplies are in place, there is adequate room for the birthing tub, the shower head is compatible with the hose that will be used to fill the tub, and for the midwives to familiarize themselves with the home. (In addition, it always gives me peace of mind to know that they will be able to find my house!) Today was my home visit.

The essentials: a little bedside basket filled with everything (I think) I will want to have within arm's reach after the birth; lotion, chapstick, baby wash, nursing cream, garlic and cranberry capsules, a case and bottle of saline for my contacts, and most important, Extra Strength Tylenol for afterbirth pains. NEVER underestimate the power of afterbirth pains.

Supplies for the birth:
I came across this cute little door hanger on clearance at Babies R Us. I told the kids that when they see it on the "sleep" side, it means that Mom and Rachel are resting, and they are not to disturb. I am hoping this method will aid me in getting some much-needed rest after the birth.
Tiny little clothes, all washed and folded. These were all Kaitlyn's. I have not had to purchase one piece of clothing for this baby. Now I just need to find a more practical place for them other than the top of my dresser.
Noah and Kaitlyn get a listen with the stethoscope:
And so do I. There's nothing so reassuring as hearing your baby's heartbeat. It gives a feeling that all is well.
During the visit, I commented to Marlene about my noticeable lax of standards in housekeeping. What she came back at me with was, of course, strengthening and inspiring. That woman has influence beyond her own recognition, and I love her for it. She told me, "You do have energy, lots of energy. You've just never had to expend it in so many ways before. You are doing more now than you ever have, and you have the energy to do it. Your energy is just being used up." I like that perspective. I've said it once and I'll say it again, if there is one thing midwives do, it is empower women.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Moment in the Life of a Very Tired, Very Pregnant, Homeschooling Mom

So today I had one of those moments where my kids made me feel guilty... really guilty. Over the years I have learned that guilt is an entirely non-productive emotion, and I have learned to overcome it for the most part, but still, there are times.

Like today.

After having expressed my disappointment at the fact that the kids had put on a movie when school work was not done (in a few choice words I might add) I decided that I was at my limit and had better go retire for a nap. As I lay in my bed half asleep reflecting on how poorly I had handled the situation, I hear a rustling at my door as Jacob is sliding this note through the crack:I then come out of my room to discover, perched on a bar stool right outside my door, Ashlee's science book with this note placed upon it:
Shouldn't I be the one compensating for damage?

Nevertheless, I must be doing something right to be deserving of such great kids.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Happy 29 to Forrest!

Today my honey turned 29! I told him I feel like I am married to an old man (even though I'm only 1 month behind him.)

Mam Bear lighting the candles on the traditional homemade Birthday cake:It was Ashlee's idea to get this shot:
Don't covet my mad decorating skills:
Having a little too much fun:
Kaitlyn crawled all the way across the table to help him blow them out:
Grandma Cathe came up to celebrate with us:
One big happy family... and growing:
Happy Birthday Forrest! We love you so much.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Surprise-in-the-Middle Cookies

So we had the chance to make Ali's Surprise-in-the-Middle cookies yesterday (check your MOMS Club February newsletter if you'd like the recipe.) They were really fun to make, and the kids jumped on the chance to help.The recipe says it makes 27 cookies, but we found that if you nibble on the dough enough, you get a nice even 2 dozen.

Perfectly baked.
The surprise peanut butter filling.

Yummy recipe Ali. Thanks for sharing!