Monday, May 30, 2011

2 Days Old

Here are some of my favorite pictures of the last two days...

Boys in their matching blue...
Wide awake to the world...
As you can imagine it's been quite the family bed...
Perfect little legs and feet...
Just can't get enough...
Lest I forget my other "baby"...
Cozied up with his new blanket...
The scene this morning...
Daddy taking the time to enjoy...
Have I told you how much I love this face?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A New Boy in Town

Welcome Anthony Jordan

May 28th 12:42 a.m.

8lbs. 1oz.

21" long

He is a sweet, sweet boy. We love you Anthony and are so glad you're here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Home Visit

Today was my 37 1/2 week home visit. This gives the midwives the opportunity to check the birth supplies and finalize any last details. Being that this is my second birth in this home, they are already pretty familiar with things, but it's always good to re-familiarize. They also brought along their apprentice, Randi, who will hopefully be attending my birth. Randi is a student midwife and has completed about half of her schooling. There is kind of an unstated possibility that she may be the one to apprentice me when my time comes. She aims to attend about one birth a month as part of her hands-on training. She has 5 children and has experienced 2 homebirths herself, and I feel like we have a lot in common. I've always had a deep admiration and respect for my midwives, and Randi brings her own unique dynamics that enhance the practice even more.

I feel rather calm this week (or maybe that's just in comparison to my relatively chaotic last week) which I am enjoying. There is a peace that seems to have settled about and all around me. I don't feel close to giving birth, but I know it is on the horizon. As of now the house is clean, and that is always a good feeling. I figure I have to maintain it for at least the next two weeks. I love my Mother's Tea and have been making big pots of it and keeping it in the fridge for iced tea. The red raspberry leaf in it is really good for toning the uterus in preparation for labor.

I have talked with all of the kids and given them the lowdown on what the birth will be like (although some of them are well-seasoned by now.) Marlene made the suggestion that on the night I think I might birth, I have Ashlee and Kaitlyn sleep out in the living room so as not to wake up Rachel when the time comes. I thought that was a genius idea and will probably take her advice. Although I know that with birth supplies being carried in and preparations being made, Ashlee will do anything but sleep. She's my excited one.

Believe it or not, I am not depressed at all about this being my last pregnancy and birth. I am looking forward to the next chapter, which tells me my family is complete. There is so much to look forward to in every season in life, and I am so thankful to be surrounded by so many wonderful women in my family, community, and at church who exemplify the beauty and potential of each stage.

Can't wait to meet you little Anthony.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Productive Friday

Today felt like a very productive day for me, and I am grateful for it. Among the tasks I accomplished were cleaning the kitchen, organizing the hall closet, washing, folding, and putting away five loads of laundry, gathering the last of my birth supplies, cleaning out the kids' bathroom cabinets, putting clean sheets on Ashlee's bed, vacuuming the upstairs, and making dinner for the missionaries which consisted of crockpot pot roast, homemade french bread, oven roasted carrots and potatoes, and creamed spinach. After all that, I took a long cool bath with a glass of iced Mother's Tea. Oh, and seeing that today was going to be the warmest day of the week, I took time to tan the belly. =)
Every day is so different from the one before it. Just when I think I'm on top of my game my energy can go as quickly as it came and I am down for a few days. My body feels great for being 9 months pregnant, but I do feel myself slowing down a little. My uterus is also gearing up for what lies ahead, and every night now I will routinely get increasingly intense Braxton-Hicks contractions, some that wake me out of my sleep. It's kind of fun to analyze the wisdom of the body and to witness an auto-response to the challenge of labor it must instinctively know is on the horizon. Forrest and I were joking that if every muscle were as smart as the uterus, we could just say, "Okay body, we're going to run a marathon in a few weeks, so start training." I always take Braxton-Hicks as a good sign that my body is gearing up for what it needs to do.

I am trying to keep my fears at bay, and it seems to be working. I spent so much time worrying about labor with my last pregnancy and after the birth promised myself I would never do that again. Like my midwife said the other night, when the time comes my courage hormones will kick in. Again, I love the hormone cocktail and wisdom of our bodies.

Here's to the last three weeks of pregnancy ever in my life.

(And the strength to keep up.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

37 Weeks

Here's to home stretch! I am 37 weeks today. Still feeling pretty good, no back or hip pain. My energy comes and goes, and on the tired days I am content to stay home and rest... and rest, and rest. Still a little bit worried about how I am going to fit naps in after the baby is born, but those nuances always work themselves out, don't they? I am predicting a fast labor on a Monday night after the kids are in bed. By number six I figure I'm allowed to exercise a little bit of control over these things. =)
This guy feels like he is sapping every last bit of my energy on certain days, and I am really trying to be rigorous about staying on top of my supplements. Among the ones I am taking are iron, blue-green algae, folic acid, herbal minerals, and evening primrose oil (to soften the cervix.) I also love my Mother's Tea and Yerba Mate, and I know I am getting plenty of calcium through my homemade ice-cream. =)
Oh, and let me tell you about heartburn. I only get it in pregnancy, but I seem to get it every pregnancy, so you better believe I am prepared for those middle of the night surges with a roll of Tums at my bedside. Apple cider vinegar also seems to help. I don't know how people live with heartburn on a regular basis.

The excitement is building around these parts!

Aaaaah, boys.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Here is Jacob working on multiplication this morning. We received these wipe-off mats from Vera's mom. They are great teaching tools, and fun for the kids to use. Here's a neat trick for teaching "9 times" facts: hold up all ten fingers, and whatever digit you are multiplying 9 by, tuck that finger down (ex: for 9x7, hold down the 7th finger.) The fingers to the left of the down finger represent tens, and the fingers to the right represent the ones. It works for every 9-times fact and has helped my kids with what would otherwise be tricky multiplication problems.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Insalata Caprese

After the race this morning we made our way down to the Farmer's Market for our usual Saturday morning reaping. Among the goods we picked up were fresh ripe tomatoes and some deliciously scented aromatic basil. I happened to have 2 rounds of fresh mozzarella in the fridge, so for a late lunch we sat down to a plate of Insalata Caprese (that's Italian, and I hope I am spelling it right.) Although we have paid an arm and a leg for this simple dish in Italian restaurants, this was my first time making it at home and it far surpassed any I have had before. The fresh produce, alongside the higher quality cheese, made all the difference. It was satisfying without being overly filling.

My Running Star!

I am so proud of my Ashlee! She ran the Folsom's Run With Nature 5k today... without Mom by her side. She had the pre-race jitters, which we all get and thrive on. Her goal was to come in at 30 minutes (approximately 3 10-minute miles.) I was waiting for her at the finish line, and just as I looked down to hand Rachel something in her stroller, I heard the announcer say, "Ashlee Hart." I looked up just in time to see her crossing the finish line at 30:52! She did great and ran the entire time.


I had a really neat experience while there. About 10 minutes into the race the girls and I headed over to the finish line to hang out and wait for Ashlee. It was very quiet, as everyone else was over by the vendor booths, with only one other girl on the grassy hill beside us. A few minutes into waiting I heard a single round of clapping followed by a, "Good job man" from one of the announcers. I looked up to see a lone runner, crossing the finish line at 16:40. It was almost surreal. What struck me about this was that here was this guy, crossing the finish line at an amazing pace of 3 consecutive miles at just over 5 minutes per mile, and what was he greeted by? A single applaud. He was the winner, but there were no bells or whistles. No one expected any of the runners to finish so soon, and in their pre-occupation over at the booths, missed the crossing of the champion. This man's accomplishment, while quite extraordinary, was done in rather humble circumstances. I was glad I was there to witness it.

Then came the other runners: some in pairs, crossing together. Others pushing themselves to their absolute max to shave just a few seconds off their time. Some striving to pass the person immediately in front of them before the finish line, thus forming their own competition to get one-up on the totem pole. And there were others still who trotted across the line at the same slow-and-steady pace at which they started. All of this really got me thinking about the analogy of the runner, and how different running styles and the personalities that shine through at the finish line are so indicative of the way we live life.

Ashlee, you made Mom proud today. Can't wait to be there alongside you next year.

Strawberry Ice-Cream

We are jumping the gun on summer and making our fair share of homemade ice-cream around these parts lately. The other night we opted for strawberry. Although I prefer the roadside strawberries juicy and sun-ripened in the middle of summer, I decided to try the recipe with frozen strawberries, which were all I had on hand. We were not disappointed.
I am really loving my new Cuisinart ice-cream maker I picked up at Costco for $30. I keep the bucket in the freezer so that it is ready on a moment's notice, and it can whip up a batch of ice-cream in 20 minutes. Sure beats sending Forrest to the store for Haagen Dazs!

After searching around on the Internet and not finding any recipes that really stood out to me, I decided to devise my own. I used the custard base from my favorite chocolate ice-cream recipe, then substituted a good amount of cooked-down strawberries in place of the cocoa. Here is my recipe:

Boil together 1 c. milk, 3/4 c. sugar.

Add 3 beaten egg yolks (temper by removing milk mixture from heat.)

Cook and stir 2 minutes more, but do not boil.

Remove and let cool to room temp.

Add 1 tsp. vanilla and 2 c. heavy whipping cream.

Gently stir in 1 to 1 1/2 c. mashed strawberries (I heated mine on the stove with a little more sugar.)

Refrigerate until ready to churn.

Friday, May 13, 2011

36 Weeks (and a day)

Well, yesterday was my 36 week mark, which means we have 4 weeks to go. However, according to my prediction, Anthony will be born in 3 1/2 weeks. This is no time at all. I went out and bought my birth supplies today (all except the 3 gallons of distilled water because Target was out.) Now I just need to put them all in a big tub in the bedroom and pull out my baby boy clothes. I am really excited about my last homebirth. I haven't spent a whole lot of time thinking about labor, but sometimes when I am lying in bed at night it will creep into my head and I get overwhelmed. There is something about the dark, and being alone, and tired at the end of the day that makes it hard for me to think about enduring another labor. But then I wake up fresh and alert and feel like I am ready to take it on. I guess all these feelings are normal.
See how my tummy gets all veiny in pregnancy? Kind of reminds me of the tree of life. It may not be attractive, but hey, it's nourishing my baby. Thankfully, after religious applications of aloe vera gel and lavender oil my sunburn is pretty much healed. I guess I got the heart I wanted!
Here's to 4 more weeks (or 3 1/2 but who's counting...)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Best Mother's Day Yet- 2011

This mother's day was probably the best I've had yet- before I even made it downstairs. I awoke to the sound of kids scrambling downstairs, and after leisurely getting out of bed and taking my time getting ready for church, I soon smelled the aroma of bacon, along with the whir of the blender. Mmmm, breakfast.
I came downstairs to a fully set table, but was first directed to the couch where I was given my gifts: a set of cast iron skillets (the idea was mentioned to raise my iron level, plus I have always wanted some for various recipes I have,) 3 cards, a new memory card for the camera, and my very own bar of certified fair trade mint chocolate. Ashlee also handed me a menu with the meals for the day.

Breakfast: golden cottage cheese pancakes, bacon, eggs, O.J., strawberry lemonade, and yerba mate.

Dinner: orange chicken stir-fry with asparagus, rice, french bread, and a green salad.

Dessert: my favorite Baskin Robbins ice-cream cake.

The way to Mom's heart is truly through her stomach.
After church, all the moms were given marigolds. I thought this was a nice change from the usual candy bar.

And here's proof that the heart sticker is working! After I am fully recovered from this sunburn, I will reposition a new sticker in the same place and keep working on my tan. I figure this is my last pregnancy, and I might as well have some fun with it. =)
Happy Mother's Day!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It Stung Me- On Purpose!

My sweet little Noah has been blessed with the gift of compassion. He has a love for all things living, and would never have it in him to harm even a fly. He can often be found out in the backyard turning over rocks looking for lizards, frogs, slugs, beetles, you name it. No matter how gnarly the creature, he will love it and want it for a pet.

Well, today he and Kaitlyn were out back looking under the spa cover for frogs and such. I overheard them talking that they had found a bee, and that it had landed on Noah. I felt within me that I should go out and warn them not to handle it, but disregarded the prompting and went about folding my laundry.

Not two minutes later I heard Noah come in the through the back door, crying. I knew immediately what had happened. He headed up to my bedroom, sobbing, and with the utmost sincerity and feeling of insult exclaimed:

"It stung me... on purpose!"

He was so offended and couldn't understand why the bee would do such a thing. After all, he was only trying to rescue it from drowning in the spa water. As I ran his finger under cold water, he looked up at me through tears with searching eyes. I had to explain that the bee felt threatened and was only doing what it knew to protect itself, and that maybe it wasn't a good idea to pick up the bee with his bare hand. He understood.

My poor Noah with a bleeding heart. Why is life so unjust?

Oops, I Burned the Belly

So apparently when you've spent the past 3 years in garments and tankinis that cover your belly and upper thighs, you shouldn't go out and tan relentlessly at high noon like you were a teenager.

I've always known to tan in 10-15 minute increments, but the heart idea was so cute that I wanted it in two days.

I don't think I've had so painful a sunburn in my life (I don't burn- ever.)

Lesson learned- not a teenager, don't tan like a teenager.

As for my over-exposed skin made delicate by summers of being covered? It's been given a bath of apple cider vinegar and slathered in aloe vera, lavender, and grapeseed oil, and I am willing it to heal. I can't go into labor looking like this.

(You are not getting a picture.)

Friday, May 6, 2011

35 Weeks

Technically, I am 35 weeks and 1 day. My prediction is that he will come 3 days early on a Monday. Time will tell... all is well.

Hot Enough For Water?

We are enjoying this glorious weather! The kids finished their school work early and asked me to set up the pool. The water was cold, but oh-so refreshing... especially for tired pregnant feet! My body is feeling all the physical work I've done over the past couple of days, and it's time to rest. I can see the kids getting tan already.

Noah with his catch- a little frog.
Me working on my belly tan (my belly button isn't sticking out in this picture- that's my thumb.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Soakin' Up the Sun

My sweet girl enjoying her sunshine...
While Mama tans the belly.
I love, love, love spring! Summer, we're ready for you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Productive Day

I tend to binge and purge with my chores. I love a clean house, but it drives me batty to clean in circles, so I don't. I have come to terms with the fact that life can go on in a messy house, and there are days when other things take precedence over cleaning. However, I can only go so long before I go on a cleaning binge. Today it was the upstairs.

It's taken me a good year to be happy in this house, and it is still a work in progress. I try to make little improvements here and there. My efforts have paid off in some regard, but there are still areas that continue to be a problem for which their is no conceivable solution. Among these problem areas are the small bedrooms, small closets, and lack of natural sunlight that makes the upstairs office feel like a dungeon. I tend to give these areas less of my attention, and with 5 kids in the house they can go downhill fast.

Maybe it's being 5 weeks away from having a new baby, but something within me spurred a desire to get these areas in the condition I want them. It required hauling a large piece of furniture upstairs from the garage and simultaneously taking a couple pieces down, vacuuming behind dressers and sorting through stashes of Legos and marbles, wiping the green scum out of a fish tank, finagling cords and extension plugs to get everything in the right place, sorting a library full of kids books, and scrubbing down the bathroom on hands and knees (actually not a bad position for the pregnant body.) Anyhow, it's done. I sit here in a clean office with a sparkling fish tank set next to a shelf full of organized books and inhale the aroma of Lysol disinfecting wipes and pomegranate-lemonade (that's my air freshener.)

It made me laugh this morning when Ashlee paused and said, "Wait, you have energy to clean today? That means you're going to have the baby." I guess she's heard me talk about the nesting instinct. After dinner when the boys saw their clean bedroom, they gave me hugs and kisses and said I was the best mom. Jacob words were, "You do so much work, and I am so grateful." I tell you nothing is sweeter to my ears than this- recognition and gratitude from the people for whom I labor.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Child's Prayer

by: Author Unknown, Source Unknown

Dear God, are You still awake?
Have You got a minute or two?

You're pretty good at understanding,
And I really need to talk to You.

You see, Mommy came to tuck me in,
Like she does every night.
I was trying to play a trick on her,
Since she can't see without the light.

I was going to close my eyes
And pretend to be asleep.
But when I heard her crying,
I didn't dare let out a peep.

She started talking to you, God.
Did You hear the things she said?
Could You hear what she was saying
As she stood beside my bed?

Why would Mommy be so sad?
I wondered just what I had done,
And then I began to remember
it all As she named them one by one...

This morning we worked in the garden,
But, honest, I really didn't know
That if I picked all those little yellow blooms
The tomatoes wouldn't grow!

Charlie and I were trying to be helpers,
'Cause I know that's what Mommy needs,
But I don't think she was too happy with us
when we pulled up carrots instead of weeds.

Mommy said we should stop for the day,
she decided we had helped quite enough.
I sure had worked up an appetite...
I didn't know gardening was so tough!

we had peanut-butter and jelly for lunch
and I shared too much, I guess...
But I didn't realize until I was done
that Charlie had made such a mess.

Mommy said she needed a nap,
she had one of her headaches today.
She told me to keep an eye on my sister
and find something quiet to play.

Well, God, do You remember all those curls
you gave my little sister Jenny?
We played barber shop...very quietly...
and now, well, she doesn't have any.

Boy, was Mommy mad at me...
I had to go sit on my bed.
She said never to cut "people hair" again.
I guess I'll practice on Charlie instead.

We sat and watched poor old Albert,
I just knew he must be so bored
Going round and round
in the same place all day,
Wouldn't You think so, Lord?

I didn't think it would hurt
to let him out for a while.
I mean, mice need exercise, too.
By the way, have You seen Albert lately?
He's been sort of missing since two.

Mommy sent us outside for the rest of the day.
She said we needed fresh air.
But when Daddy came home she told him
he was trying to get something out of her hair.

We thought Mommy needed cheering up,
so we decided to brighten her day.
But, God, did You see the look on her face
When we gave her that pretty bouquet?

We had gotten a little bit dirty,
so Mommy said to get in the tub.
"Use soap this time," she reminded,
"and please don't forget to scrub."

Charlie didn't like the water too much,
but I lathered up real good.
I knew Mommy would be so proud of me
For cleaning up like I should.

I went downstairs to the table,
but during dinner it started to rain...
I'd forgotten to turn off the water, it seems,
and I hadn't unplugged the drain!

I decided right then it was just about time
to start getting ready for bed,
When Mommy said, "It's sure been a long day,
" And her face began turning all red.

I lay there listening to Mommy
as she told You about our day.
I thought about all of the things I had done
and I wondered what I should say.

I was just about to tell her
that I'd been awake all along,
And ask her to please forgive me
for all of those thing I'd done wrong.

When suddenly, I heard her whisper,
"God, forgive me for today...
For not being more understanding
when those problems came my way...

For not handling situations in the way
You wanted me to...for getting angry
and losing my temper,
Things I know You don't want me to do.

And, God, please give me more patience,
Help me make it through another day,
I'll do better tomorrow, I promise..
. In Jesus' name I pray."

Wiping her eyes, she kissed me
and knelt here beside my bed.
She stroked my hair for a little while..."
I love you, precious," Mommy said.

She left the room without ever knowing
That I'd been awake all the time.
And God, could we make it our little secret?
You know, just Yours and mine?

I'm sorry I was so much trouble today,
I really didn't mean to be...
Daddy says it's tough being a kid sometimes,
but I think it's harder on Mommy than me.

Well, goodnight, God. Thanks for listening.
It's sure nice to know You're there.
I feel so much better when I talk to You
'cause You always hear my prayer.

And I'll do better tomorrow, I promise...
Just You wait and see!
I'll try not to be so much trouble again,
But, God,
please give more patience to Mommy
......Just in case! Amen.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Nutella Ice-Cream

Mmmmm, so I am stealing this recipe off of Brittany's blog, and maybe it's been around the block and back, but I don't care because tonight was my first time making it, and I don't want those of you who haven't heard about it to be missing out. Yum.

First off, let me just say that I would like to shake the hand of the person who created Nutella. I mean, chocolate and hazelnuts coming together in a creamy concoction that can be spread over a warm pastry, fill a crepe, or simply be eaten by the spoonful? Let me reiterate, yum.

So here's the recipe, and it's super simple. Because it does not need to be cooked and chilled, you can whip up a batch in about 30 minutes from start to finish.

Nutella Ice-Cream

2/3 cup nutella
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk

*Whisk cold and churn in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

Pizza Night

We had pizza night over the weekend. I made three different varieties, all of which turned out so delicious. However, the beautiful pictures I took of each one in anticipation of sharing the recipes on my blog mysteriously vanished from my memory card, so here I am doing a post on borrowed pictures. Nonetheless, you get the gist of the ingredients.

Pizza #1: Classic Pepperoni

Pizza #2: Pear and Goat Cheese with Caramelized Onions
*thinly sliced Asian pears, mozzarella cheese, garlic infused olive oil, salt and pepper, crispy caramelized onions, crumbled goat cheese, and a drizzle of honey. A pizza for the sophisticated palate, for sure.

Pizza #3: Pizza Margherita
*mozzarella, fresh basil, garlic, and cherry tomatoes all from the farmer's market, oil, salt and pepper. Simple yet delicious.

Click here for my favorite pizza sauce recipe.

We all love pizza night.

On the Docket for Fall

The Sierra Trail Half Marathon and 5K (I'll be doing the 5k)
(click for details)
October 22, 2011

I've got the running bug bad! I have 3 friends who ran a half-marathon this past Saturday, and reading about it on Facebook was almost too much to bear. I'll admit that it's taken a lot of effort for me to be patient throughout this pregnancy and abstain from exercise. I've done a run in May for the past two years, but at 8 months pregnant I've been benched!

It's really important for me to have goals to look forward to, so I think I'll go ahead and register. (You're doing this one with me, right Kristin?)

With a trail around Folsom lake and a post-race BBQ, what's there not to look forward to?