Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Friday Five!

Here are my links for this Friday!  As always, you can head over to And Baby Makes Five to see Kelly's links.  Her post is always prettier than mine.  Today I'm breaking mine into subjects.

Derby
I've shared this link before, but this is Derby News Network, and this weekend you can watch the West Regional Playoffs live on their site.  It's a great introduction to derby, is definitely better than watching the Ghost Whisperer on Friday night (is that show still on???), and can get you prepped for the Friends and Family bout here in Houston on October 24th.  You can find the live feed on the right in the red box where it says "Live Coverage."  Become educated in the ways of derby. I dare you.  Email or comment your questions to me!

Spiritual/Humor
Those two things don't go together usually, right?  (Except in my household.  We believe in Jesus and also like to laugh at things.  Funny things.)  You will recognize the concept of this blog inherent in the title:  Stuff Christians Like.  It is so TRUE and funny, and is also neat to read the About section to see why Jon Acuff writes the way he does.

Writing
Jane Friedman over at There Are No Rules posts a weekly Twitter roundup on Sundays.  Here is her last post with links to articles about things like craft, pitching to publishers, and what not to include in that query letter.

Home
Over at the Nesting Place, you can link up or look up different takes on the fall mantel.  If I were on top of things, I would simply have my projects done.  There is NO WAY I am close to being at a point where I can change anything out for the season.  Still--I love looking at the inspirations.  And the pumpkins!!!  I am making progress on things in my house...slowly.  Just got some spanish moss for my mantel.  I need a few gourds and to repaint the shutter/mirror/thing and then it will be done.

Craftsy
I love browsing Etsy.  I love that Etsy exits for all the stuff-making people at home.  I wish I was productive enough for Etsy...but I'm not.  Here is a cute little shop I found with reversible bags! I'm all about function, and what's more functional than two bags in one?  The shop is called Flipped Bird.  Great fabrics, great bags.  And who knew?  Reversible clutches.

Enjoy the links!  And please share yours in the comments or head over to And Baby Makes Five to link up!

Water Babies

video
Linc's first kitchen bath in the sink!  He can sit up now, see?   When I walked him over, he lunged and tried to dive in, I swear.  And when I took him out, he cried.  My boys love their water.

An Ode to Dads

My friend Laurie sent me this great link today from a site I hadn't run across called Single Dad Laughing.  I only read THIS POST, but it really resonated with me.  I would say that you should go right this second and read it.  I'm going to continue this post as though you have read it, and talk a little about Dads.

I want to say how thankful I am for Rob's Daddyness.  He comes home from work and is EXCITED to see me and the boys.  He gives big hugs.  He picks them up.  He laughs and throws them and kisses them and chases them around the house.  (Okay.  You got me.  He doesn't chase Lincoln.  Yet.)  He takes them outside and they go for walks and bike rides and to parks.  They take baths and play in the tub.

Rob also gets the full picture of being a dad.  Discipline is part of love (a big part), and discipline isn't about power or about anger.  It's about firm consistency that creates boundaries that help your children learn to make decisions and (in our house) hopefully turn their hearts towards God.  We remind Sawyer all the time (even though he doesn't get it) that he can't perfectly obey, which is why we need Jesus.  In the post on Single Dad Laughing, the grumpy (to put it mildly) Dad is not disciplining his son.  That's not discipline.  That's harsh selfishness from where I sit.  Rob is a great example of the way play and discipline can both exist.  It's not that one parent is the fun parent and the other is the firm parent.  Love encompasses BOTH.

Speaking of great dads, some of my favorite memories from childhood are camping trips I took with my dad as a part of Indian Princesses, which I believe is now the more "politically correct" Adventure Guides.  We'd head out with a bunch of other dads and daughters to the woods and camp for a night or a weekend. That's when I learned to fish.  That's when I learned to start a fire from the previous night's embers.  That's where I earned the nickname Princess Dirtball, which would still be pretty fitting today.  My Dad was (and is) a hands-on Dad as well.  I feel so fortunate to have a Dad like that and to have a husband who is a Dad like that to our kids.

Do parents know how important that is today?  I would say that its important to both parents (and I'm focusing here on dads, but my Mom was hands-on as well!), but often in our society it's more common for the dads to be missing.  Whether that's missing literally, or missing because when they're home, they're not fully THERE.

I'm with Dan and Noah.  Dads, know you are important.  Please, BE THERE.  And to the dads in my life, thank you!!

Photo of the Day

Eat Cheap! [Only for Sept 30]

I totally meant to post this when I got the email this morning, but there is STILL TIME to get a Restaurant.com gift certificate worth $25 for only $1!  That's 90% off, and if you're never tried it, what do you have to lose?  Rob and I have really enjoyed ours, and we paid double that for ours! (Which is still only $2, if you do math.)  Use the code WOW at checkout to get your $1 certificates!

I Hate Sleep, But This Is Getting Ridiculous

If you see me this week, please ignore the dark circles, grumpy demeanor, and zombie-walk.  I am running on empty, sputtering along, just trying to make it.

You know if you read often that I don't like sleep.  I have felt (from a very early age, my mother assures me) that sleep meant missing life.  So I do as little as possible of it, so I can miss as little as possible.  The thing is, if I get consistently less than six hours a night, I'm in trouble.  I learned this junior year of college when I lost my mind (just a little bit) getting four hours a night for a whole semester.

This week, between Sawyer not sleeping well at night and Lincoln not sleeping well at night, I am not sleeping well at night.  As a result, just pardon my self.  Last night both boys slept better, but better is loosely defined:  Linc woke at 3ish and needed to eat, then Saw banged on our door at 5:30 and "slept" in bed with us from then on, then Linc woke up at 6ish and also "slept" in bed with us.  Factor in a normal midnight bedtime and I'm not doing so hot.  Oh, and did I mention that was the most sleep I've gotten this week?

Yeah.  So, staggering along.  That is all.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Publishing

It's a weird time in publishing right now.  Someone is always proclaiming the doomsday of traditional publishing, but people love books.  I believe books will be around forever (okay, until they disintegrate), but the dust is still settling from the Kindle and iPad frenzy.  There are so many questions now:  will the big publishers go down?  What will be the price of ebooks?  What about royalties?  Agents?  Bookstores?

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing is JA Konrath's insider views of the industry.  His thoughts on ebook pricing (among other things) arouse a lot of debate.  I'm personally torn on the issue and am kind of waiting myself to figure out how what I think.  Here's a really interesting post feigning a conversation between and author and editor about ebooks that kind of presents some of the problems and issues going on right now.  Read it HERE and stay to check out some of his other thoughts.

(Jenna, this post is for YOU!)

Extra Care Bucks > Register Rewards

I usually don't shop at Walgreens and had forgotten why until several disasters today and yesterday reminded me.  If you are new to couponing and trying to figure out where to shop, I hope this post makes clear why I feel the CVS policy is so much more clear and easy to use than the policy at Walgreens.  If you are considering both stores, click HERE for a great post on starting out at CVS and HERE for a post on starting out at Walgreens (if you even want to after reading this).

Walgreens is having some great deals this week and I had planned out a perfect shopping trip that should have cost $10 out of pocket for a huge amount of items.  Like CVS, you need to use multiple transactions so that you can use your Register Rewards to buy more items.  Here are several of the problems I encountered yesterday:

Incorrect labeling in the aisle.  Though yesterday was Tuesday and several days after the new specials had started, almost every single item I was looking to buy on sale was NOT labeled on sale in the aisles.  With coupons, you need to be really sure you are buying the correct and specific item, so this mean asking for help repeatedly. 

Unhelpful employees.  One hot item (the children's cough medicine with a Register Rewards attached) was not in the aisle as it should have been. I assumed it had been bought out, but asked anyway.  The pharmacy assured me it was up front, since it was a special sale.  Up front, they assured me it was back in the children's medicine aisle.  I asked a third employee who said that it hadn't sold out, but rather they had never gotten a shipment in.  Period.   I have a hard time believing that they would not stock such a hot, advertised item, but I also did not see an empty space labelled with the name of the item anywhere in the store.  I would not care so much, but Sawyer's cough is back and this item is supposed to be fabulous and natural--not the run of the mill medicine.  The employee said they'd call other stores nearby to check for me, and then never returned to tell me if they found it.  I know that this can happen at any store, but I have consistently found poor service at several local Walgreens, while CVS has only let me down once.

So.  I went to another store today.  I called two other nearby stores and one was sold out and the other said they were restocking and to check back later.  I went by later because Rob's mom was here and I figured I would get the cough medicine (hopefully) before nighttime, so I could sleep tonight.  I had the same cashier that I had the day Walgreens had a robbery and there was that whole police incident, which you can read about HERE in case you missed it.  Of course the cough medicine wasn't stocked, so it again screwed up my master plan.  I had a backup, so went to get a Vaseline lotion that has attached Register Rewards this week.  I found a coupon that makes it totally free with the RRs and had RRs in the exact amount to purchase it.  This is the third and final problem.

Register Rewards count as coupons.  This is the fact I did not know which sways me completely over to the CVS side.  Walgreens treats their RRs as coupons, and they have a one coupon per item policy.  Meaning that I cannot buy lotion, use a coupon from the manufacturer and then use RRs to pay for it.  Since I was using two RRs, this DOUBLY didn't work.   So then I had the whole issue of trying to UN-buy the lotion and get my RRs and coupon back.  Ugh.

The superiority of the ECB stands out here.  In reality, both the ECB and RR are gift certificates, but when treated as coupons, it limits how you can use them.  At CVS, I could buy a $40 item and then use four different ECBs to pay for it, plus a manufacturers coupon.  

Now I am having to change my whole Walgreens plan because everything I still need to buy I was going to use RRs to pay for and have coupons as well.  I can still save money, but this takes way too much time on my part and makes my head spin too much.  Basically, I'm going to search the store for like 10 cent items so I can add them into my items to buy what I really need to buy.  In the future, it's going to take a really good deal to get me in the door.  

Try and Resist the Cuteness

No, really.  Just try.
New favorite toy?  His tongue.

Nice bubbly beard.

Who, me?

Everyone Loves a Deal

Even if you have not been persuaded to join the dark side and clip coupons, I know everyone loves a good deal.  This week there are so many great promos going on, and I want to send you over to Money Saving Mom, where you can find tons of things like free Cold Stone, 2 bags of fall-flavored coffee for $3 (you KNOW I got on this train--Pumpkin flavored is my fave!), and lots of others.  Head over there to see deals you may want to take advantage of this week!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Have You Printed Your Kraft Coupons?

This gives you a great deal (this week at Target, especially) on Kraft cheese and also helps feed hungry people.  Really, what are you waiting for?  Click HERE to print.

Babies and Multitasking

I found it funny yesterday to deposit Linc on the couch while Rob was both on the phone and trying to do something on the internet.  Linc found it funny too.  Rob?  Not so sure...  (Just kidding.  He really liked it.)


Phantom Crying

I pretty much gave up on the idea of sleeping through the night when I had kids.  It just seemed unlikely.  And here I am, two hours after I went to bed, wide awake and on my computer.

I mostly blame phantom crying.

If you've had a baby, you know what I'm talking about:  it's when you keep hearing crying even when there is none.  I fully expect it several times a night from Linc now, and Saw already woke up screaming before midnight tonight from a nightmare.  So it's no surprise that as soon as I turn off the light, I keep listening for and hearing the phantom crying.  When I finally fell asleep, not ten minutes later ACTUAL crying woke me up.  So now I'm up.  It's really hard to go to sleep when you know that you're probably going to get woken up minutes or hours later...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep...

No, really.  It's 10pm and I'm about to go to bed.  I thought I'd fill you in on what's going on in our household as a way of a bedtime story to myself.

Lincoln:  He is finally about to have a first tooth.  I've been seeing signs down there for a while (when he's not licking me and I can actually SEE his gums) but today saw that kind of hole that you see just as the tooth pops through.  And not a moment too soon, because he has been the most restless sleeper!  It's hard when your baby starts out sleeping well and then gets worse.  Saw was so bad that anything was improvement, but having Linc go from sleeping 12 straight hours to waking every few was hard to get used to.  I don't know if the tooth is the only thing, but that will help for sure.  He is sitting up so well now and just about crawling.  I think it will be days or weeks.  He's also talking (shouting) a lot and likes to stick his tongue out when you do.  I think, like Saw, he inherited my super-long freakish tongue.

Sawyer:  He finally just went to sleep and has been hacking away with a cough still, or again.  I'm not sure which, but he started with the cough two weeks ago.  Otherwise, he's been great and lots of fun.  This morning, he pooted, said, "Excuse me," and then, "I pooted, Mommy. Is that funny?"  And, of course it was, even though I tried to act like it wasn't.  He has been a little helper lately, vacuuming with me (and actually initiating it most of the time) and picking up toys.  Little things, but still.  He's enjoying school, playgrounds, riding his bike, Dora & Diego, and army men.  Potty training is mostly good, though he's had one or two accidents at school and in the church nursery.  Overall, I'm very pleased but wish my bathroom smelled better.

Rob:  He is finishing up a football tournament as I write this, and I miss the days before kids when it was easy to shuttle off late hours and watch him play, rather than try to find a sitter or figure that out every week.  School is back in session, so he's hard at work with youth events.  I am helping Sunday nights and got to watch a great game of ultimate banana (think ultimate frisbee with a banana instead of a frisbee).  Saturday he went to one of his student's Eagle Scout ceremony and was honored as a great mentor.  I'm so proud of my hubby.   He's been bonding with the boys lately in baths, bike rides, and strollers to the baseball park with Tex.

Me:  After an intense tryout, I am officially a skater with Houston Roller Derby.  This means suddenly I have three practices a week, so I'm scrambling for sitters and trying to massage out my shin splints.  I'm super excited to be fully back on skates.  I really want to be writing, but as I found tonight when I planned to work, kids just seem to make it hard.  Sawyer didn't fall asleep until 9:30 and was up and down, as was Linc.  I could barely make a grocery list between the two of them, much less wrap my head around a novel.  I know there are seasons in life, but I'm still struggling with how to work and have kids.

There's a lovely little update on our fam, and now I'm going to go read in bed.  Night, everyone.

Lincoln's Birth Story

[Finally.  Here's a big long, difficult post fitting for a Monday. ]


Almost seven months after having Linc, I’m finally writing a birth story.  Though I’ve  been thinking about it a lot, I haven’t really written anything or reflected on paper.  Which means that now I have a lot of mental reflection, but now a lot of the details are also blurry.  Others are really weirdly clear.  It was really hard for me to sit down and write, mostly because the final two hours or so were pretty awful.  I’m breaking this into two sections, because Linc’s birth really had two vastly different parts.  Be aware that there will be birth details here, so if you don’t want them, maybe skip this post!

Part One
I was ten days overdue and my midwife called me to see if I’d be willing to come in to have her strip my membranes.  I had an appointment the following morning, so she said if it did not help push me into labor the first time, we could try again in the morning.  The cutoff at which my midwife can do home births is two weeks post-due, so we were getting to that window, just as we did with Saw.  I agreed and went in, knowing that this could be it!  With Sawyer, I went into labor within 24-hours of having my membranes stripped.

My mom went with me at about 3:30 that afternoon, and I was nervous, because this was pretty painful last time.  Thankfully, this time really did not hurt and I left feeling excited and wondering when things would start.  We needed some supplies at home, so Mom and I went to HEB nearby.  My contractions had become a lot stronger even in the few minutes since seeing Cathy.  I could still walk, but found myself kind of pausing to lean on the cart during the contractions, which were about five minutes apart.  Mom and I split up to get a few things and I was in the frozen food aisle contemplating ice cream when I felt a sudden, warm GUSH and knew my water had broken. 

This really cracked me up, because of course it was in the ice cream aisle.  Of course.  I kind of backed up against a freezer and called my mom on the cell phone to get over there, pronto.  She told approximately fifty people that my water had broken on her way over and let me borrow her jacket to tie around my waist.  There wasn’t a puddle or anything, but I for sure knew that a wet spot was visible on my pants.

While she checked out with our groceries, I went out to the car and called Cathy and Rob.  Cathy said to come back since we were close so she could check the baby’s heart rates and also test the amniotic fluid.  Everything seemed fine, so she said to get home and call her when things got stronger. 

We were in high excitement and made calls.  Sawyer went over to stay with Rob’s dad, and Rob’s mom headed over.  I honestly don’t remember what I did for the next few hours, but remember doing a lot of standing in the kitchen at our high table, which was just right for resting on when I had a contraction.  Rob was running around doing last-minute errands until I finally felt like it was time to call Cathy and have Rob’s support.  My sister-in-law Denise came as well, and she, Mom, and Rob’s Mom hung out in the TV room organizing baby clothes just in case we had another boy.  The biggest issue I was having was the fact that amniotic fluid leaked out with every contraction.  I had tons of great, comfy labor clothes, but kept soaking through everything even with a giant pad on.  I remember wishing for a muumuu.

Contractions were getting pretty close together and while we waited for Cathy, Rob and I got into the shower.  Hot water sounded really good to me, but I didn’t want to be in the hot tub.  We’d installed a bench in our shower and what really felt good was leaning over with my hands on the bench.  I’d read also that a position like this or all-fours was good for keeping the baby from being posterior, like Saw was.  I also labored on the birth ball (basically one of those big exercise balls) and again felt really comfortable leaning forward. 

Cathy arrived while I was laboring in the shower, and at some point I came out and we listened to the baby’s heart rate.  Another midwife, Natalie, was there as well as Cathy’s assistant Amanda, who was at Saw’s birth too.  Everything was looking good and I was feeling great—the contractions were really hard, but they were manageable.  I felt really powerful.  I felt sort of a rush and thrill from being able to handle the difficulty with Rob’s help and encouragement.  This was really what I had read labor could be like, and after having such an intensely difficult and intense labor with Sawyer, I welcomed having a labor where things started gradually and got more intense with time.  I was actually excited and felt like I could do it.

Part Two
Things changed at some point closer to eleven or midnight, I believe.  I’m not sure of the time exactly, but things moved pretty quickly after this point.  Cathy checked me as contractions were getting to be super-intense and painful.  I had been throwing up some in the shower and felt like I was probably moving toward transition, which is the stage before pushing.

When she checked me, I was dilated to a five, which was super discouraging to me since I felt like I had to be closer to giving birth.  I also felt like I’d been doing hard labor for a few hours and hoped to see it accomplish more.  What was worse was that the baby had actually ascended.  He had been at a station +1 or so the day before, and was now at a -2 or -3.  (That means that he was as high up as possible and had been moving up rather than down during labor.)  Being checked during labor is also pretty painful, so I remember feeling super discouraged and even crying after hearing that I was not dilated further than a 5 and that the baby was not descending. 

Cathy suggested several positions to try and help the baby move down.  She and Natalie and Amanda were all very encouraging that things could still move quickly, but I felt like this was starting to seem like how things were with Sawyer—lots of painful work for little result.  Cathy said to try full, deep squats or to try standing upright during contractions and use my hands to literally pull up on my belly.  Both of these positions were so intensely painful during contractions that I found myself crying and saying that I couldn’t do it.  They told me not to labor leaning over any more because that was not helping the baby’s descent.  This was really hard for me since that was the only comfortable position.  I started to feel like I couldn’t do it.

Everything from this point on is a blur to me now.  I don’t know when, but I do know that I told Rob that I wanted to go to the hospital.  I did not feel like I could finish laboring at home because of how painful things were and how the baby wasn’t coming down and I wasn’t dilating quickly enough.  The midwives and support team encouraged me to continue laboring at home since this is what I wanted to do.  They said that things would continue moving forward quickly and that I could do it.  Between contractions, we were discussing if I really wanted to go (I insisted I did) and what reasons there were to try and stay.  Cathy suggested doing an enema to eliminate some hard stool that might be keeping the baby from coming down.  My mom and Lynn ran to Kroger and were able to pick one up.  Having an enema in the bathroom floor while in labor was a really miserable experience and did not seem to help. 

I remember laboring in bed and continuing to say that I wanted to go to the hospital while my birth team encouraged me to push through.  The next time Cathy checked me, I had dilated to a 9, which was encouraging, but the baby had ascended even further and was basically as high as could be.  At this point, I remember that they were listening to the heart rate and it began really dropping.  I can still hear the sound of it now as it dropped into the 70s, a very unsafe and low number, basically half (or less) than it should be.  Cathy had me try a few different positions, but that slow rate continued.  I remember someone saying, “We need to go NOW.”

I knew that this meant a transport and I was crying and terrified.  Whereas with Sawyer’s transport, there was a calm and sense that we were going more for precaution, this seemed like an emergency.  People were rushing around and it only made me more panicked.  I felt like my baby was going to die, and I remember crying to Rob as we went out to the car that if we had transported when I had wanted to go to the hospital, this wouldn’t be happening.

In the car, Cathy said we were headed to Katy where a backup doctor was on call.  I didn’t understand why we weren’t going to the hospital where Sawyer had been born, which was five minutes from our house.  Rob and I both insisted that we go there instead because it was closer.  I don’t remember much until I was in a room lying on a bed.  I couldn’t understand why nothing was being done, as I assumed because of the heart rate that they would do a C-section right away.  We were waiting for the doctor, so the nurses gave me a shot of some kind to stop the contractions, or at least try to slow them. 

It didn’t work, and I remember feeling a weird sensation with each contraction.  Because I’d had an epidural with Sawyer, I had never felt the urge to push, and realized that was what I was feeling.  I was panicked, because I felt like my baby was dying, even though I’m sure someone had told or tried to tell me that the heart rate had stabilized once we were at the hospital.  I didn’t want to start pushing because I was afraid that would take too long and I would lose my baby.

When the doctor arrived, he said that I could try pushing.  I was still confused because I thought the baby dying and that things were moving much too slowly.  I still heard those echoes of the too-slow heart beats.  He told me to push with the next contraction so that he could see if the baby was making any progress.  I pushed as hard as I could with the next contraction.  When the doctor said, “If you want to push this baby out, you have to actually push,” I told him that I wanted a C-section immediately.  I felt like if he couldn’t see any difference with my hardest push, the baby needed to come out NOW.  Again, I still thought he was dying.

In a weird moment of clarity, I remember the doctor doing a good job explaining the risks of C-sections (which I already knew) and offering me two options for how to proceed.  The first was to go all the way under, which seemed to be quicker, or to have a spinal, which would mean I could be awake during the surgery and have something like an epidural so that I wouldn’t feel the surgery.  I said I wanted to go under because I still felt like I was in danger of losing my baby and just wanted the fastest delivery possible. 

The next part was the most horrifying.  No one could come with me, and I remember being strapped down in a bright room while having the most intense contractions and urges to push that I simply couldn’t fight.  I remember screaming for help while being ignored by all the staff who was getting ready for the surgery.  Then I was out.

When I woke up, I was alone in a bed with a nurse standing nearby at a computer.  The first thing I said was, “What did I have?”  She said, without looking at me, “A little boy.”   Then I remember asking for painkillers and she said I had to wait.  Sometime soon after, Rob came into the room and showed me a picture of Lincoln on his iPhone.  He looked similar but different to Sawyer and I remember just being so glad he was healthy and alive. 

Rob has told me that it’s good I don’t remember much about this next time because I was in so much pain.  There was some kind of snafu with the pharmacy, so I had no painkillers.  Basically, I had major abdominal surgery and woke with nothing to dull the pain.  I think it took over an hour after I woke up to get me morphine.  My throat was also in intense pain from the breathing tube and it was hard to talk. 

When I finally got my drugs, Rob and I were in what would be my room for the next few days and he went to sleep by my side.  I could not sleep at first, and remember crying and feeling sad and alone. I left my mom a really pitiful message on the phone somewhere around 5am.

At around 9am, I was finally able to see and hold Lincoln.   This was something like 7 hours after he was born.  I’m sure they gave him formula in the nursery because that’s such a long stretch, but he started nursing right away like a champ.  After the nightmare that the end of labor and his delivery was, I was so glad to be holding a healthy, LIVE baby boy.

Reflections
You can’t play the what-if game, but it’s hard to know I got close enough to be fully dilated and pushing but STILL had a C-section.  Honestly, I think if I hadn’t been in a panic thinking my baby was dying, I might have made a different decision.  Still now I remember the sound of his slowing heart rate and the sinking thought that I would lose my baby.  And who knows—if I had thought I had time to push, I don’t know that Linc would have descended. There was no explanation for why he didn’t.  No one offered me any real definite explanation for him ascending.  The doctor said he was too big, but Sawyer (thought lighter by a few ounces) had a larger head, so I know that I could have done it.  The midwives thought that perhaps there was a cord issue, but none was evident when they did the surgery. 

I am so thankful to have had a healthy baby AND a partial labor that made me feel empowered.  I can think back and remember special moments during the Part 1 of labor, like Rob and I singing “Come Thou Fount” in the shower together, and how my contractions stopped for the whole song, enabling me to actually sing it all.  But everything from the Part 2 was a nightmare and I hate thinking about it, which is why it took me so long to write this.  


Now feel like I've had almost every birth experience possible (except delivery at home), so when I talk to women about their birth experiences or birth choices, I can really be empathetic and offer counsel and share.  I can also see ways God worked in the little details.  For example, the doctor told me that when he went to do the surgery, he hit an artery or vein (I forget which and don't know the difference) and that blood was literally spraying across the room and hitting the staff in the face.  Had I been awake or Rob been with me, this would have been absolutely terrifying, and on top of what we'd already been through, perhaps a bit too much.  (Understatement.)  I am thankful that Linc was so healthy (he had an apgar of 9 and is still doing great!) and that I survived (literally) this whole experience.  Doctors recommend waiting at least a year to get pregnant after a C-section, and I'm glad to have some time before another birth.  

Deals I Like This Week

-Restaurant.com certificates are still 80% off with the code FALL.  That's $2 for $25 of food.  Yum.

-I don't like Walgreens as much as CVS (if I'm honest, it's because I don't like the font they use) but there are some good free things in their weekly add.  And by free, I mean that you pay one amount and get the same amount back in Register Rewards.  What can you get for "free"?  Child's Cold and Cough Medicine (I saw a link for a coupon on Money Saving Mom, which makes this a money-maker), Emergen-C (a derby fave), Fullbar Fit.  For almost free, you can get Vaseline Sheer Infusion Lotion (and I think I have a coupon for that).  There are also some good deals that would be better with coupons like Pampers Diapers, Tide Detergent, Charmin toilet paper, and their off-brand paper towels.

-At CVS you can snag an Oral B Vitality Floss Rechargeable Toothbrush for "free" when you use a coupon from yesterday's paper plus the ECBs you get back.  In their ad, I also see good prices on Dawn detergent, Tide (3 cents cheaper than Walgreens), and paper towels or TP (when you use coupons).

-If your Kroger is like mine and changes over their sales on Wednesdays, you have today and tomorrow to get their meal deal.  No coupons apply, but it's a breakfast fave for me when you buy (really great) bacon and get sausage, eggs, english muffins, and some other stuff.

-I love photobooks, and you can get a 20 page 5X7 from Snapfish for only $1.99 if you use the code babybook when you check out.  (Thanks Money Saving Mom!)

See any great deals for you this week??

My Morning (So Far) in Numbers

Hours of Sleep Last Night:  5 (groan)
Hours I've Been Awake: 4 (groan)
Naps I've Tried to Take and Failed:  1 (groan)
Baths Sawyer Has Taken:  2
Cups of Coffee I've Had: 2
Loads of Laundry Done: 1
Loads of Laundry to Put Away: 3
Sore Muscles from Derby Tryouts:  ALL of them
Minutes Lincoln Has Been Sitting Up by Himself:  10
Jalepeno Slices in My Eggs: 4

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Thing About Boys and Bathrooms

Is that now Sawyer's bathroom just always smells like pee.  This is normal, right boy moms?

Here's the other thing: I don't know where to scrub.  There are just so many places that could have been sprayed.  Maybe I could invent something like a bug bomb, but it'd be a clean-the-bathroom bomb.  You could push a button and then close the door and walk into a totally clean bathroom a few days later.  Is there an iPhone app for that?

Parks Are Fun for Big People

Today I enjoyed watching all my boys.  Maybe Rob more than the little ones, though the little ones were cute too.








My fam is pretty dang cute.  Love the boys.  :)

Photo of the Day Take 2

Jumping in the Afternoon

We are having technically difficulties with the doorway jumper...


Photo of the Day

Now THAT Saves Money

Cost of 9 servings of baby food sweet potatoes:  about $10
Cost of 9 servings of homemade baby food sweet potatoes:  62 cents

And could it be easier?  Bake sweet potato until soft.  Peel.  Blend, adding water (or breast milk!) until a good consistency.  Store.  Serve.
Cost of sweet potato beard?  Priceless. 

Stacked Eggplant Lasagna

This recipe is only slightly adapted from Kandy Steen.  She is our amazing chef friend who shares her culinary gifts with people constantly, both in cooking and teaching.  She calls this stacked eggplant but I like to add the lasagna part because that's what it reminds me of, with eggplant for noodles. The original recipe was only slightly different:  she uses Japanese eggplant which is smaller (and I think would be best if you're doing this as an appetizer, not main course) and also peels them.  She also adds shrimp, but I love eggplant so much that I find the shrimp distracting.  The marinara recipe:  all mine.

Stacked Eggplant Lasagna

An eggplant stack.  YUM.
2 Eggplant
Flour, lightly salted and peppered
2 Eggs Scrambled
Oil
Ricotta Cheese (I always buy the big size and then find a use for it if there's extra)
Nutmeg, salt, pepper, basil
Mozzarella Cheese

Sauce
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 can diced Italian (or any other herbed) tomatoes
1/4 c wine
1-2 T sugar
1/2 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
Salt, pepper, basil, crushed red pepper (only if you like a little kick)

Slice the eggplant and place them on paper towels.  Sprinkle lightly with salt and let them sit until beads of water form (30-45 min).  Dry with paper towels.  This will help your eggplant from being too soggy.

While the eggplant is preparing, in a saucepan, saute diced onion and garlic until clear.  Add the cans of tomatoes, the wine, sugar, and seasonings.  Let simmer while you finish the rest of the eggplant.

Coat the dried eggplant in the egg wash and then lightly coat with flour.  (In the past when just making eggplant, I have skipped the flour for a lower carb option.  The egg will still have the effect of kind of crisping up in the oil if you don't want to use the flour.)  Let the slices cook in a little oil until brown, flipping so each side browns.  Let drain on paper towels.

In a bowl, stir salt, pepper, a dash of nutmeg and basil into ricotta.  In a glass dish, layer eggplant slices with ricotta to form little stacks or towers. I did mine four eggplant slices high.  Cover each with marinara and then mozzarella.  Bake at 350 20-30 minutes until bubbly and the cheese is melted.  As you can see in the picture, I let my cheese get a little brown and crispy, but I kind of like it that way.  Let the cheese be your indicator of cooking time and take it out when it looks good to you.

Serve up a stack per person, or maybe two if you're feeding and eggplant chowhound like me.  This would probably go really well with asparagus with fresh lemon and parmesan cheese.

Yawn

Hello, Saturday morning.  I would say it's really nice to see you, but it's not.  I stayed up too late last night (again), despite the fact that I made a pact with myself to go to bed at 10pm.  I got distracted by watching The Office with Rob, taking the final fabric off the bench I'm restoring, and just generally not sleeping.  Also:  eating chips late at night just means that I wake up with a dehydrated headache.  Not helpful for roller derby tryouts first thing in the morning.  Let's learn a lesson here, okay?

[Not likely.]

Friday, September 24, 2010

Museum District Day Tomorrow!

I'm not always up with the local events, but tomorrow is a big one in Houston.  It's Museum District Day!  My first trip to the Museum District was on one of my first is-this-a-date?  dates with Rob at like 2am after playing chess in a coffee shop while drinking wine.  He drove me around the traffic circle with a fountain and we parked in front of the Museum of Natural History to play with the weird water ball statue.  Ah, memories.

If you want to actually go IN the museums, tomorrow is the day you can do it for FREE!  With a shuttle and everything, you can visit one (or more) of 17 different museums, including the Children's Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, or the Museum of Natural History.  I'm debating, because honestly, I'd rather pay full price than be in a mob.  But some of those museums (*cough* Museum of Natural History *cough*) are fairly high priced if you're taking a family.

For more details, you can visit the official link HERE.

Speaking of the Blog World

Did you notice the handy little buttons at the top of every post? They are new since I changed my layout, and are an inconspicuous grey color until you hover over them, when they light up.  They are the SHARE buttons.  You can click to share my posts via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.  When you read something you like, please pass it on!  I just tried it (which makes me feel only a little obsessed with myself) and it was super easy.

I've Never Wanted a Picket Fence

But now I have one around my blog.

Let me explain.  There is a neat site called Picket Fence Blogs that helps promote blogs of all sizes and shapes, not just the ones with one billion hits per day and actual sponsors.  I love that!

If you've been with me from the beginning, I started this blog as a way to communicate and keep in touch with my friends and family as I ventured into my first pregnancy and (I hoped) a home birth.  Since then, many of my faithful readers are people who only know me through this blog.  I'm always surprised when people I don't expect tell me that they're reading, and I love it.  That's why I'm still writing.

Head over to the site through this button (or the one on my sidebar) to give me a vote on their site.  While you're there, you can register your own blog or find some new reading material.  I know where my links are going to come from for the next long while...

Over-Sharing

The Friday Five

It's Friday again.  And while I spend loads of time on the internet each week, by Friday I'm scrambling for what to include.  Doh!  Must make list earlier in the week for self...  Also, I'm getting a little depressed by the empty Mr. Linky, so if you want to share links, please do it in the comments section!  Kelly will still be Friday Fiving it with me over at And Baby Makes Five, so check out her fab finds as well.  She always has some really neat links and takes the time to add photos end while I just scrape by with my links.   I guess if you haven't figured it out yet, by Friday, I am usually a slacker.

Grass Clippings:  If you want to know what my favorite music is, go check this blog.  I really have eclectic taste, but if I had one kind of music to listen to for life, it'd be Americana and folk.  The guy who writes this blog was a 6th grader when I was an 8th grader, so I remember him as simply as my friend's little brother G.  I think he goes by Garland now, and I wish we'd stayed friends, because he is cool and in the know.  With impeccable musical taste.

Pumpkin Beer Roundup:  It's fall, my favorite season.  You can't tell it's fall here in Houston yet, other than the school buses and the pumpkin beer.  I love the start of the school year, slightly (SLIGHTLY) cooler temps that make outdoors bearable, fall leaves, pumpkin patches, hay rides, the smell of fires--even if a lot of those things only happen in Virginia.  Pumpkin beer is everywhere.  We tried Post Road and I totally agree with this review.

MB's Photography:  My friend MaryBeth probably thinks I'm obsessed with her.  (I kind of am.)  Here's a link to her newly formed photography page where she is selling some of her photos.  She's not a professional (yet?) but has a great eye and I have a few faves.

Feel Like Gambling?  For free, that is.  Click here to a plethora of links on Money Saving Mom's post with giveaways galore.  Some have expired, but a lot are still open!  I think I entered a few.   Note to self:  make note of where you entered so you can check back to see if you won.

One Room at a Time:  I love The Nesting Place and have probably linked to it before.  But this post about changing one room at a time with steps for how to do this makes me feel like one day my house will be where I want it.  (Just in time for me to change my mind and want a redo.)

I showed you my links.  Now show me yours.

Hiding in the Garden

[I have been writing this post since 9am YESTERDAY morning, trying to figure out the ending.  How do I feel about this?  What do I do?  How can I tie this blog post up neatly?  I give up!  Here is a post that feels to me half-finished.  But it's just me saying, look, this is how it is, even if I don't like it.  It's abrupt.  But it's been 24 hours and I don't think I'm going to have any more child-free focus time to think this through.  Here you go.]

Why is it that sitting down with the Bible is like the last thing I want to do when I have a few moments alone?

I used to cherish my morning coffee and breakfast with the Bible.  I loved those quiet moments and miss them now that it's hard to have any time alone.  But now, when I do have time alone, it seems that spending any time with God is the last thing I want to do.  There are emails to check, blog posts to write, laundry to fold, showers to take, phone calls to make.  Despite the fact that I used to love this time alone with a Bible and notebook, it seems to come last on my list.

I don't have a lot of free time, but I do HAVE time.  I simply find that I'd choose to do about anything else instead.  This morning as I finally made myself sit down on the couch for time with God, I considered the fact that I had to force myself.  I still enjoy the time spent there--so why do I avoid it?  I feel a little like Adam and Even in the garden, when they hid from God in the bushes as he walked around calling their names.  Except instead of the bushes, I'm hiding behind a long list of other things to do.

Busyness is just as transparent as bushes and fig leave clothes when you're God, so maybe I should just come on out and quit the charade.  Because the thing is, even in the garden when he knew why they were hiding, what they had done, and where they were, God STILL pursued that time with them.  Crazy.  Instead of feeling guilty about putting off time with God and letting that keep me away, I think it's just time to stop the hiding and know God's still calling.  Olly olly oxen free!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Long Afternoons

Yesterday was going to be one of those afternoons, I could just tell.  Both boys took tiny little naps and were up at 1pm, ready to roll.  Usually the wake-up time is closer to 3 for Saw, and varies for Linc.  Everyone was cranky (myself included) so I pulled out my go-to rescue plan:  a scenic drive.

I love living on the west side of Houston because we're minutes away from various farms and great drives with big sky and fields.  We stopped by Sonic for tots and then headed off and found cows, goats, and horses.  I actually almost caused and accident stopping to point out goats to Saw.  Lincoln took a nap, so it was win-win for everyone.  When Saw started saying, "I want to get out, Mommy,"  I called Kelly and we met up at Bahama Mamas for shaved ice and then hit a playground.

Sometimes we just need to get out of the house.  We had a fabulous time and it was relaxing for Mommy, Linc got his nap in, and Saw had some nice chill time, followed by play time.  All in all--success.  If you're a Mom, what is your go-to on those crazy days??

Balancing on a bench while balancing shaved ice. 

Hudson is getting to be such a big boy now!
I am amazed by Sawyer's tongue.  I'm not sure why, since he got it from me. 
We played a game of Mommy chasing Saw with the camera. 

Look at that drool!  Linc kept trying to eat mulch. 
Funny expression, but I love this one. 

Sawyer wants to do everything Noah does, so he climbed up this crazy thing. 

Boys love play. :)

Photo of the Day

I don't care if his eyes are closed.  I love this gummy grin and those lashes.  Those lashes!!  I don't understand where all Lincoln's teeth are, but any day now.  Any day now.  So I'm trying to capture the gummy smile for as long as possible.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is Your Kid Insanely Talented?

Today I caught a few minutes of Ellen, and this kid was on, dancing beyond belief. I am not a dancer. I don't mind dancing, but my body does not obey my mind. It is not my strong suit, I can safely say. In any case, I was blown away by this six year old. You've got to see to believe it. Here's the thing: Sawyer was early at a few things, like walking. And he talks like a madman. But so far, he's not crazy good at something in a way that's really odd. Maybe he'll be some kind of genius, or maybe he'll be a kid who walked early and liked to talk. But what do you do when your kid is THIS good at something way early? I mean, this is not normal. Not that it's bad! It's just SO good, and SO odd, that I wouldn't know, as a parent, how to handle it. Watch and see what you think. And what you, as a parent, would do if your kid was as insanely talented as this little guy. Check him out HERE.

Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads

What a fun, fun idea!  Whoever thought of roadway tape is a sheer genius.  Designed to stick to any hard surface and lift without leaving residue, you can make roads for your kiddos to play with cars on literally ANYWHERE.  I am so all over this.  Check it out HERE.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Photo(s) of the Day


Boys Like: Guns and Massages

Well, they do.  And I think it's just kind of wild how Sawyer already "gets" guns.  I know some people are totally anti and some encourage it.  I'm kind of in the middle, where I'd really prefer he play other things, but also am not going to ban guns or freak out if he plays with them.  I may not BUY them, but for Saw lately, sticks and tortilla chips and ladders have become guns.  I think this is a boy thing. Even without having toy guns (other than a few squirt guns he recently found in the garage), he totally knows what they are and how to use them.  A few months ago while playing with his cousins, he ran by me with a toy revolver, drew back the hammer to cock it, then fired.  It actually freaked me out.  I mean--is this totally ingrained in little boys?  I'd prefer to teach gun safety and awareness than just ignore guns altogether.  After all, Rob has a concealed handgun license, and he took safety and training courses to get it.  I support that, but just want to be aware of how we discuss and talk about guns, and very importantly, keep them out of reach.  This is, after all, Texas.  I don't have a florist, but if I did, she would have a gun.  I'm sure of it.  Here are a few shots of Rob and Saw today doing work with guns and then relaxing with massages.
This one cracks me up.  A little big, maybe?
A little father-son action. 

And, as a reward for their labor:  massage chairs. 
This might be a little better fit. 
Lincoln will have his turn, one day...

You're My Wonder--I Mean, Water--Wall

If you've never been to the water wall near the Galleria, it's a really fun, free thing.  Here are some photos from our visit today.  Mom and Dad, next time, we are DEFINITELY going.
The great wall of water.
The boys climbing up the steps.  (Which were not supposed to be climbed, I'm sure...)
There was some ninja running.
And running away from foam.
And just running for running's sake. 
It's a pretty neat thing, this water wall.
Neat or not, Linc slept through it.
The boys in the mist.

We've Got the Funk

I wish I were talking about the song, or about the face that we are full of soul or funk, but really I just mean we are all congested.  I am drinking burning hot coffee because for some reason, this makes my swollen throat less swollen.  Or, maybe it just burns my throat and makes it numb?  I don't care for the why, as long as it's making my throat not feel like it's got a baseball in there.  No fevers here, but coughs, runny noses, and swollen throats.  Gr.

Still, we are pressing on and heading out to the Galleria for some fun time.  Pictures to follow.  Happy Monday!

80% Off Again!

Restaurant.com has its 80% off sale again!  This means you pay $2 for a $25 gift certificate to restaurants in your area.  You choose the restaurants and then use the promo code SHARE when you're putting them in your cart.  As always, check the stipulations.  There is a minimum you must spend (usually $35, but can be $50!), tip is usually included and based on what the bill would be, and sometimes it's limited to only dinner.  Just read the fine print for each restaurant before you buy!  Rob and I usually end up spending $2 for the cert, then around $15 if we stick exactly to the $35 once tax and tip are added in.  A steal for a nice dinner!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Very Derby Weekend



I am tired after a long and lovely weekend (okay, just Saturday but it FELT like a weekend) of derby.  Here's the lowdown.  Saturday morning I drove all the way out to Texas City to skate in a free boot camp put on by South Side Roller Derby.  Why drive all the way to Texas City?  Because they have a BANKED TRACK.  I have always wanted to skate on a banked track and couldn't pass up the free boot camp.  Derby leagues don't always have the best relationships, and I want to give a shout out to the South Side ladies for being gracious hosts to a member of Houston Roller Derby!  Here are a few shots of me skating banked.  You absolutely cannot tell from the photos just how steep and scary this track can be.  I can only imagine game day and taking hits on those high corners--eeek!  Mad props, ladies. 

Here I come!  And again, this photo does no justice to how steep those corners are.
Nice and low, and with a smile on my face.  That's how it should be. 
I like this one because, look! I'm getting my skinnier derby legs back!
As close as I'll ever get to going over the rails.
Next up, I had the championship bout for Houston Roller Derby.  I was calling lineups for the Bosse$, and once again, we were skating against the Sirens.  What I remember from my time skating is that every time we played the Sirens, I felt the next day like I'd been hit by a truck.  In fact, the last bout I skated in, while pregnant with Lincoln (unbeknownst to me), I actually got whiplash and think I probably had a minor concussion. When you think to yourself after taking a hit, "I'm tired.  I'll just go to sleep here on the track,"  things are probably NOT okay in your brain.  There is a fierce rivalry, and both teams have two championship trophies.  This season, each team had one win against the other, and this was anyone's bout.  Can I tell you how THRILLED I am to be a part of the three-time champion Bayou City Bosse$??  Even though I'd rather have been on the track, I love lineup-calling, and LOVED seeing the Bosse$ step up to take the win.  It was well-fought, and I have so much respect for the Psych Ward Sirens as well.  What a night!

How Bosse$ get ready to win a championship.
Bosse$ are good at making babies.  Dailey Beatings loves her Hava Sling!  (Check the Nurtured Family links to see those or my choice, the SlingEZee. Next baby, I may upgrade to the Hava--it has a zippered pocket for your keys!)
Did I mention Bosse$ make babies?  Bombadee and her baby Jack.   I guess we also make boys...
Sometimes, you just have to tape on your skates.
Chicken was our bench coach and I was the lineup caller.  Neither of us were sure about the noses...
This is a weird pack formation, I think designed to scare our on-fire jammer, Big Bad Voodoo Dolly.  
I love this one.  The moment our jammer Beverly Kills called off the jam, it was JUBILANT. 
Babyface Assassin and Beverly Kills emotional after the win.

Dang, that's a beautiful trophy!  (As displayed by captain Rebel Ann, and being eaten by Grrl Friday.)
Last, but not least, a true product of Boss Love:  Lincoln.  You are the reason I was not skating, little man, but you are so worth it. :)
Now I can look forward to a week of derby:  TRYOUTS.  This will be my third time trying out, and, if I make it, I think that I will hold a record for trying out and making it three times.  Maybe I can get through ONE season without getting pregnant??

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