Saturday, April 30, 2011

So NOT Done

Among the words you will never hear me say, these are some of them in regards to pregnancy:

"I am so done!"

There are a handful of "catch" phrases, if you will, that really irritate me. You know the ones:

"You have your hands full!"

"(4, 5, 6, etc.) kids!? You're done, right?"

"You don't look old enough to have 6 kids."


"You don't look like you have that many kids," to which I mentally respond, "Well, what should a mother of six look like?"

Anyhow, one thing pregnant women often say towards the end of their pregnancies that really gets under my skin is,

"I am so done!"

Well guess what, you're not. Not until baby is done.

I am one who enjoys pregnancy all the way through the end. I can honestly say there is never a time when I feel "so done." What's there not to love about it? The only reason I get eager for the end is the anticipation of birth, not because I am anxious to have this little being leave my body but because I am ready to meet him or her. You just will not hear me complain about pregnancy, even when I am 9 months and 1 day.

It's like I hear Jacob's baseball coach tell the players: "Don't slow down or stop on first base, run through the base." Such is me with pregnancy; going strong until the end.

So please, don't bring the misfortune upon yourself of asking me over the next few weeks if I am "done." I promise this question will not be met with a kind response. If I had it my way, I'd never be done. How's that for an answer?

An Educational Homebirth Video

"When you change the way you view birth, the way you birth will change." -Marie Mongan, author of Hypnobirthing

A friend shared this with me, and I thought I'd share with you. If knowledge is one of the things that stands between women and birth (which I believe it is,) then dissolving the mystery and stigma of homebirth may enable more women to bring their babies into the world in the safe and gentle way they innately desire.

Watch Here

A Cruiser On Our Hands

After a trip to the farmer's market and Jacob's baseball game this morning, the rest of the day held no plans for us, so we took to the park.
Rachel began walking at 13 months, but it is just recently that she has become confident enough to do it predominantly. She's so cute to watch. When she was learning, she didn't mess around with the toddling business; she wanted to take off and walk fast like a big girl, so often times she would get going too fast and crash. I think this is why it took her a while to begin doing it full time. Her personality reminds me so much of Ashlee as a baby: independent and unstoppable.
I just didn't have the energy today to hold Rachel on my hip and push Kaitlyn on the swing, so here is Ashlee doing my job for me. Maybe it's this spring weather, I just feel so melancholy.
Kaitlyn on the tallest slide in the park. I try not to look when my kids are at the top of this slide, and I urge them to go down it as quickly as possible (no loitering at the top.)
I love the big diaper-butt.
The boys reason for coming here was to ride their new Razor scooters at the skate park. I love having this right next door to the playground.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Born at Home

Being pregnant and giving birth are like crossing a narrow bridge. People can accompany you to the bridge. They can greet you on the other side. But you walk that bridge alone.
~ African Proverb

There is something about this video that sets it apart from any of the other birth videos I have seen. I have such a sacred space in my heart for homebirth, and this captures the essence of it so well. Everything you see is pretty accurate as far as a homebirth goes- from the examining of the placenta before your very eyes to the weighing of the baby in the stork-like sling. One of the many (and I emphasize many) aspects I love about homebirth is that there is no separation or trauma for mama or baby. Everything is so natural and gentle. Observe the reaction from the mom in this video after baby has been placed on her chest and squeaks his first cry. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

34 Weeks

Six more weeks to enjoy this... I can hardly stand it.

(had my first twinge of labor anticipation tonight- why doesn't that part ever get easier?)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


A Bigger Family = Bigger Stuff... right?

Meet the newest member of our family; the dining room table.

We've been in need of a larger table for quite some time, as ours only seats 6 and there will soon be 8 members of our family. It's always a bit of a struggle when we have guests to find seating for everyone.

So yesterday, Forrest found an amazing deal on this solid oak dining table. Without the leaves, it comfortably seats 8 (add two more chairs than what is pictured below) and is 1 foot wider across than our last table.

Insert all of the leaves, and it seats about 16. Do I see grandkids and in-laws in our future?
This table will serve us well for years to come. We had our first dinner at it last night, and it was wonderful! We had so much room for the dishes, and everyone could spread out. I see many-a-Thanksgiving feasts being served on this beast.

Easter Sunday

I really loved Easter this year. The weather was nice (though volatile) and doing all the prep work for Easter dinner on Saturday made for a very enjoyable Sunday. Plus, we were able to enjoy it with family, which always makes for a good time.

The kids, all ready for church.
After church: Forrest grilling up the kabobs. We did marinated lamb and farmer's market vegetable.
Pretty Aunt Vera and two lovely ladies, Ashlee and Lily.

The dessert table: Coconut cream cake (turned out delicious,) Vera's wonderful strawberry chiffon pie, and homemade creamy vanilla ice-cream in my new Cuisinart ice-cream maker.
Cute baby Lea who is almost 8 months and growing too fast.
Of course Ashlee had to crochet the cousins some hats while they were here.
Rachel loved walking around, mingling and getting attention.
Grandma Nancy about to fall asleep in her corner of the couch after the feast.
And two of the brothers, Forrest and Tommy.
Everyone pitched in to clean up dishes, disassemble the table, and get the house back in order, and after the kids were in bed the adults stayed up for a game of Scrabble, of which Forrest was the champion. It was an all-around enjoyable weekend.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


As I was loading the boys and their scooters into my car at the skate park today, I turned to meet the glances of about six 18-20 year old boys in the parking lot, mingling and conversing. I felt some of their stares, but brushed it off thinking, "What boy doesn't stare?" I continued about my business, trying to ignore them, all the while hearing the conversation escalating and somehow feeling I was the object of their interest. As I finagled the last scooter into the trunk and closed the glass, I heard these words:

"You're beautiful."

Not knowing who said it, I looked up to meet their gazes. They were not the scraggly group of teenagers typical of skate park frequenters I assumed them to be, but rather an attractive clan of strapping young men with friendly faces. I couldn't help but smile a little as I drove away.

Did I really just, at 30 years old, let a group of 18-year-olds stroke my ego? Yes I did. Wouldn't you?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Weekend

Our Easter weekend is off to a good start. Today was a very fun day for the kids, and a very busy day for Mom.

We began our day with the Cameron Park CSD Easter egg hunt at Rasmussen Community Park.

Ashlee won one of the 5 "golden eggs" and received this bunny as a prize.
Of course the Easter bunny was there and had to make his rounds. out candy along the way.
Kaitlyn with the prize bunny.
Immediately after the hunt, we went to Jacob's baseball game. He won game ball today for his outstanding hits and for always being in "ready position." He hit a good smacker that landed in the outfield by second base. Coach was impressed.
After the game the boys went across the street for a birthday party, and Mom did some more shopping. I came home and (kid you not) worked for 9 hours preparing food for tomorrow. Here's a sneak peek at our dessert... coconut cream cake. I think this is going to be delicious.
And lastly, the baskets are assembled and in the window sill to be discovered and devoured first thing in the morning. Hope I can wake up as early as the kids.

Friday, April 22, 2011

33 (and a smidgen) Weeks

With less than 7 weeks to go, I thought I'd do a belly report. Anthony is growing fast, head down, and seems especially low the past day or two. He gets hiccups often and is moderately active. I feel great and have yet to experience any back or hip pain, which is a blessing and a rarity for me by this point. Usually by now it's the double hip squeeze and a visit to the chiropractor.

(Thank you Jacob for being my photographer today.)
It's not labor that consumes me this time around but rather the postpartum period. I am in for a different labor of sorts, as I know priorities will shift and a new balance must be established. Part of me thinks that is why I have been spared so many of the usual griefs during this pregnancy. I am trying to keep my sights set on next year's half-marathon and the prospect that life will go on. I really struggle with feeling "stuck" in the postpartum period and don't want to cave in to depression. Whatever the case, I can endure. This is the end of the chapter.

I saw this shirt today and really like it. I think I'll order it.

And after the run...

(I'll have to earn this one.)

Roasted Beets

I'm sure I've blogged about these before, but a good recipe bears repeating. This was my lunch today: fresh beets from the farmer's market, oven roasted and topped with a fresh herb vinnaigrette. Nikki talked me into sauteeing the greens as well. Mmmm, this was a good and hearty lunch. It's amazing how much better I feel eating foods like this. There is a definite tangible shift in my mood and energy when I go from eating wholesome, local, often organic fruits and vegetables to heavy, processed food, and vice versa. I don't profess to have mastered complete self-control yet, but when I do make the extra effort to eat the way I know I should, it pays off.

Gelish Nails

I went in to the nail salon today and tried something new on my nails- it's called Gelish. What it is essentially is a manicure topped with layers of gel, hardened under a UV lamp. The color lasts chip-free for 2 weeks and they have over 30 to choose from. It feels so good to have my real nails back! Now I can let them shine in all their pregnancy glory.

A New Baby Girl

Aunt Kimmy had her baby early yesterday morning, and Forrest and I were privileged to spend a portion of our date night visiting her. Kimberly was admitted to the hospital at midnight, 6 cm. dilated. She then received her epidural, reached completion by 3:00a.m., pushed for 6 minutes and 2 contractions, and welcomed baby Cali into the world at 3:34 a.m. What a beautiful story.
Although she had not yet slept, Kimberly looked radiant as always. Her little boy, Bradley, just turned 1 year old a couple of weeks ago, so these two will be very close. Mama will also be very busy. Thankfully she has the help of live-in grandparents for the next few weeks.
Uncle Mike was in town from Arizona for only 24 hours on a business trip, and he just so happened to be here at the opportune time. He surprised Kimmy by showing up at the hospital last night.

Congratulations Scott, Kim, and baby Cali. You are one beautiful family.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

French Bread- From Scratch, Baby!

My friend Nikki came over the other day and inspired me to make my own french bread from scratch. She said she had found a Youtube video and that the process was relatively simple, and that she and her husband had not been buying store-bought bread since.

I believe that bread making is somewhat of a lost art. There is nothing more enjoyable than the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven, especially when it's been your own hands and hours of labor that have gone into making it. Baking bread from scratch is not a rushed process, contrary to so much of what dominates our lives these days. Spending an entire afternoon preparing bread for that night's dinner brings a certain cozy feel into the home.

Up until now, I have not had success with making bread by hand. I do plenty of homemade bread, sure, but have been spoiled by my bread machine, always believing that it is that device, not my own hands, that produces the best dough. Yet I have had the hand-made bread of others that far exceeds the quality of my own, and have always had a desire to perfect (or at least attempt) the art.

Here's a little secret: it's not that hard. But it is delicious.

If you go on Youtube and type in "how to make french bread" this is the first video you'll find.

You start with a sponge: a mixture of 2 c. flour, 1 tsp. yeast, and 1 1/2 c. warm water. You mix this in a large bowl and let it sit until it gets nice and bubbly, about 3 hours. (Cover and keep in a warm place to aid in the process.)

Here it is, my bubbly sponge.
Then you dissolve another 1 tsp. yeast in 1/4 c. warm water until it is soft, about 1-2 minutes. Add this to your sponge, along with 3 c. flour and 2 tsp. sea salt.

Now you have your dough. Stir this as much as you can...
Then turn onto a lightly floured surface (I prefer wooden, which is why I used my kitchen table) and knead for exactly 8 minutes. I think this is where I've gone wrong in the past- I've had a tendency to rush this part and you just can't do that. You'll see that at 8 minutes, the dough becomes nice and elastic.
Place back in bowl, cover, and let rise until double, about 1 1/2 hours.
Kaitlyn was alongside me making her own little dough ball.
I really think she just liked playing in the flour.
And kneading...
And picking up more flour...
Here is my dough, doubled in size. Just in time to take Jacob to his baseball game. Man, there is a lot of love that has gone into this baby by now.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface, divide dough into fourths, and shape each fourth into a round. Rest for 10 minutes.
Shape each round into a loaf by flattening, rolling, and pinching. (You'll have to watch the video to get the full effect of this.) Cover and let rest 1 hour.
Place loaves onto a lightly greased baking stone and score with a sharp bread knife.
This allows the steam to escape during baking. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Okay, now here's the important part. What gives french bread that crisp-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside texture is steaming. While there are some fancy industrial ovens that are equipped to do this during baking, the way to replicate the technique at home is to either (a) place a hot pan of boiling water in the oven under the bread, or (b) use a water bottle to spray the loaves and inside walls of the hot oven during baking to create steam. However, you only want to steam the bread during the first ten minutes of baking. To do so after this would create an undesirable texture.
The result: delicious, warm, hot-out-of-the-oven and made-all-day bread that was enjoyed by all. Seriously, this was some good, white, comfort bread. I really noticed a difference in the texture compared to the bread I make in the machine (not that it's bad.) And in all honesty it wasn't that difficult. While it may have taken about 6 hours from start to finish, the actual "working" part was only several minutes at a time. I even had some today for lunch and it was just as soft and fresh.
Will definitely be repeated.