Uhg

I will admit that I am seriously seriously depressed over here.

My burst of energy lasted about 36 hours and then became not labor but...wait for it...wait for it...the flu. I had fever/chills and body aches for a good 36 or so hours. NOT fun when you are 39 weeks pregnant...just in case you were wondering.

I also have not had this baby yet. And everyone was sooo sure it would be this week...this year. Soooo sure. My midwife didn't want to bother making a prenatal appt for next week she was sooo sure. Josh has been talking about his New Year's Eve baby for months now. Well it's New FREAKING Years Eve Josh!! Where is your baby!?!?

I think when he comes home from work I will punch him in the face.

After today, in a strange strange way, I think it will actually get better. Because after today I have to admit that I am running late (again) and it could be another few weeks (again). Its a miserable thought but I think once I've crossed that line and admitted/accepted it, then it will be easier to swallow each day as it comes baby-less.

I had a really good feeling

I had a really good feeling about today. A really good feeling.

Like "Today is THE day".

I had a good night's sleep. I was full of energy (for the first time in a looong time). I showered and did some yoga, ate a big breakfast and drank my pregnancy tea. I went over to a friend's new apartment to visit and let our kids play. I came home and still had so much energy that even though I have been really committing myself to taking naps with Zeke everyday (so as to not be too exhausted should I go into labor) I just couldn't get to sleep. So instead you could find me on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor with a sponge. That felt so good I moved on to the baseboards of the entire main floor. Then I did the bathroom, and the dishes, and a couple loads of laundry.

I also cleaned up 4...that's right FOUR...different areas where my cat threw up. Apparently she is sick? She also peed on Josh and I's bed (hence the laundry). But even THAT couldn't get me down today.

Now it's 4 o clock. Zeke has been up from his nap for an hour and the house is completely and utterly spotless. As in there is not a single thing left to clean anywhere. I might move on to organizing a few cupboards. Because I am STILL full of energy.

And the funniest part? I'm also STILL not in labor. Which pretty much crosses off my good feeling about today. I only have 8 hours left after all. Yet I haven't fallen into my characteristic 4 o clock ice-cream eating depression. I keep waiting for it to start. I should be really really mad that I'm not in labor. I was so SURE after all. And then I went to all this work and got nothing out of it. Except a clean house, of course.

Maybe I have finally found my zen? I told Josh yesterday I feel like no matter how hard I try I cant find seem to find an emotional balance. I am either elated or I am depressed. Either the baby is coming right away or else I will be pregnant forever. Have I found stasis?

Or is this just the elation before the biggest storm?

A Christmas in Pictures

Since our families didn't get to see us this year for Christmas (you know, being due any second now and unable to travel) I thought I'd put up a ton of pictures of our festivities. Here is our tree Christmas Eve. We are one spoiled family. We ran out of wrapping paper. At midnight. On Christmas Eve. Hence the kitchen my mom bought Zeke being only covered in the front and by shipping paper. The fact that we even had enough of THAT was a saturnalia miracle. (The phrase Saturnalia miracle was repeated throughout the holiday from this point on, as it cracked Josh and I up)

I woke up early but the boys slept in until almost 9.

Zeke's first sight of his stocking.

He took the candy canes out right away and then would not get interested in anything else.

We then repeated this with the M&M's.

But we got him to get into the rest of the stocking finally, as long as he got to hold his candy. Here is is showing me his new matchbox car.

After we gave in to a few M&M's and then snuck away the candy he finally noticed that giant gift in the corner.

A kitchen!

Repeat the "no-longer-interested-in-anything-else" scenario again. Zeke has a short attention span...or I suppose the problem is its a long attention span? Either way this presents thing took us quite a while.

But he soon got the hang of it.

And he opened everyone's presents for them.

Only getting distracted by the really really cool gifts.

And sometimes stealing mommy's.

When all was finished daddy thought he was getting a hug. In fact Zeke had just remembered about those M&M's from earlier.

I didnt want to cook on Christmas. So we just put out some crackers, cheese, summer sausage, apple, pomegranate, spinach dip with bread, and some cake bites I made the night before. It was pretty good to munch all day long.

Ezekiel agreed. He was, in fact, a dip hog.

We also played Yahtzee. I won once, and then Josh won twice, so I decided the REAL winner was the highest 3 scores added together. We tied exactly.

A Saturnalia miracle.

Slow Motion

Time moves really slowly when you know that you could go into labor any second now, but you also know you could not go into labor for another month. At 38 weeks, that is about where I am. Its not exactly a dual knowledge though, or even a minute by minute change. I have a real scheduled transition going on at this point. I wake up every morning with the thought "Today is the day, today I am having this baby!" I clean the whole house so that it's ready, I spend lots of time with Zeke so that his little reservoir of attention is full for the next few difficult weeks, I eat a healthy and hearty breakfast and lunch and then I take a nap with Zeke so that I'm well rested up for the marathon that is labor.

By the time I wake up I'm starting to get cranky. I listen to my Hypnobabies "This is your Birthday Day" CD. I do my yoga. I bounce on my birthing ball, I walk, I do as many squats as I can humanly manage. By the time Josh gets home from work I can be found laying on the couch, under a pile of blankets, and perhaps eating ice cream. Defeated. Today I will not be having a baby.

I don't know why exactly I'm so anxious and impatient. As Josh keeps so helpfully reminding me, I have another 2 weeks to my due date. My own guess for baby's arrival wasn't until Jan 15th. And I wasn't nearly this impatient with Ezekiel...

Maybe its the holidays, that staying home over Christmas seems silly if I dont produce a baby over the week. Maybe its that this pregnancy has been a bit harder. Maybe its because I am actually looking forward to the birth this time, excited for it, and in knowledge of what to expect instead of scared and clueless.

Whatever the reason, staying prepared 24/7 is tiring. And disappointing.

Pictures so you know I'm still alive


A picture of my growing belly has been requested. Its true that it has been a while. Mostly I've been avoiding the subject because as you can see...I am now officially huge. I walk like a penguin and at Josh's company Christmas party people kept telling me I looked beautiful but in this really really sad voice.

The Christmas party was a lot of fun, btw and Zeke did beautifully with his babysitter. She said he cried for the first 20 or so minutes and threw a gummy worm on the ground, but other than that had fun. Adria is the best. We all know this to be true. And I only missed Zeke really bad once, when I saw little squares of cheese at the buffet. I grabbed a ton thinking Zeke would love those and then remembered he wasn't there :( Oh and best part: there were people in tuxedos carrying around trays of appetizers. It was my first party fancy enough to actually have that and I am still young enough to think that's pretty snazzy.

When I turn 24 on Friday maybe I will be less impressed...who knows.

Speaking of 24 when I got home from Yoga my boys had decorated the house with streamers and a banner and even bought me a cake!
And to finish, two adorable pictures of Zeke.




A pregnancy update

Perhaps, dare I wish it?...my LAST pregnancy update? No no, dont go holding your breath or anything. In fact, now that I am 37 weeks and could healthfully have this baby it seems my pre-labor contractions have all but stopped. Isnt THAT my luck?

Actually I am feeling very lucky about it. Even during the worst of this pregnancy I knew that I would rather have another late baby then an early one. The latest studies show that babies monitored and born after 42 weeks are no more likely to have complications then term babies, while babies born before 38 have much much higher risks. Of course a few extra weeks are worth a healthy baby. But I will admit, that even on days like today when I feel soo very good, I would rather a term baby then a late one. So little Blueberry? Are you listening? Your daddy and I are really shooting for New Years Eve. Just thought I'd let you know. You know, so you can think about it.

It has been a while since my last update. I will be honest and let you know my silence was due to the golden rule "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all". For the last few weeks I have NOT had many nice things to say about this pregnancy. Non-stop contractions and feeling huge and a poor tummy stretched and ripping and sleepless nights and horrible pain in my pelvic bone from a head rubbing against it all day. I was beginning to wonder how I was going to last another month (if not longer).

But suddenly then things turned around. The contractions have stopped, I'm sleeping at least 2 or 3 hours at a time again between bathroom breaks. I am huge still but some lovely oil made by a new friend has helped the itching and stretching. My pelvic bone still gets rubbed raw but I try to remember its caused by the lovely head-down-ness I have wanted so much.

I cant concentrate on a single thing, true. The other day I told a friend I'd love to be at her house at 10, only to realize it was 9:30 and we werent dressed, showered, or fed yet. Gifts are being mailed out tomorrow and there wasn't a Christmas card to include with them in sight. I had to use thankyou cards. I could always make cards...but really? The 15 dozen cookies (yes 180 cookies!) I made on Saturday were a miracle within themselves. I only burned 1 tray-full, dropped and shattered 1 mixing bowl, 1 water glass, and 1 lid to my sugar bowl, broke 1 cookie press by over tightening, and completely ruined the fudge. If that is cookie success (and it was) then I dont want to know what would happen if I got out scissors and scrapbooking paper to make cards.

But this brainlessness is just an excuse to do less. I told Josh today I felt really on top of my to-do list this week. Then I realized it was only because I kept crossing things off as unimportant. Vacuuming? Nah, I did it last week...or at least 2 weeks ago. Either way if I'm not wearing my glasses it looks clean!

As my time draws closer its also easier to relish these last days with Zeke. Our last days spent just the two of us, and I will surely miss them. Today we laid in bed for hours. Zeke took one look at the new snow and climbed right back in with me, smart little man. We read books and kissed and sang silly songs and wrestled and ate donuts and milk while still laying on daddy's pillow (shhh dont tell!) These quite mornings will never be the same. Its not that we wont still spend a morning in bed now and then. Or even that we wont have time just the two of us. But it will be different.

We also had a pretty good time in the snow...you know...AFTER all that laying in bed.
We came back inside an hour later with the walkways and driveway shoveled, rosy cheeked and sweaty-haired (should have left my beanie on for the picture, lesson learned). We then devoured the biggest plate of nachos ever seen by man (or by toddler and pregnant woman) and went straight back to bed for a good 3 hour nap.

Yeah...I could have a few more days like this with my little man.


A new netbook

I know its been almost a week. And I also know these long absences make readers assume I have given birth. Sorry, I haven't. Be assured when I do, either I, my husband, or a friend will blog about it on here within 24 hours. Probably within 4 hours. Im addicted like that.

My excuses for THIS absence runs thus: Josh. He attempted to fix my laptop charger and succeeded in breaking it to the point of complete non-compliance last week. You see, before he "fixed" it, it would spark dangerously whenever you moved it, but it DID charge my laptop. After he "fixed" it, it did neither.

I saw this coming. In fact I think I said the words "Honey please don't mess with my laptop because it works right now and whenever you fix something it doesn't work anymore." Then I got a really nasty look.

I think its a great testament to my patience and love that when he came back upstairs and the charger indeed no longer worked I didn't give that nasty look right back. Neither did I say "I told you so", use the word "idiot", or complain during the subsequent days I spend cut off from internet access. (I could have hypothetically gone down into the Labyrinth and used one of Josh's 3 computers. Hypothetically.)

I dont believe in Karma. But I do think my good behavior is in part a cause for what happened next. Josh let me open my birthday present a few weeks early! A new netbook! Its so tiny and adorable. And it turns on without nary a spark anywhere. We've been talking about getting one for me for a while, in part because Josh's laptop with its duel processors and fancy video card and ect ect ect is completely wasted on someone who does absolutely nothing with her computer except blog, check her email, and watch streaming videos from time to time. Also in part because Josh missed his laptop and wanted it back. But no solution was in sight without buying a new one for me. You see, sharing a computer has never worked for us, Josh is always "fixing" things. And we have no space for a desktop upstairs so I couldn't trade him laptop for desktop. Nor in any universe can I spent any amount of time in his basement office...the dreaded labyrinth...without having an anxiety attack. Oh the piles of paperwork and the pop cans everywhere and the clutter clutter clutter. Also I am afraid of basements.

Maybe there IS a universe where I can go down there. But in that universe Josh has the body of Hugh Jackman, I brush my hair every morning, and Zeke is not currently throwing things at me because I took away the oatmeal he was using as body paint.

Anyways, we've been thinking about a netbook. But it was decided to be too expensive and not really necessary as the laptop worked fine for me and Josh didnt really NEED a 4th computer.
But then the sparking began. And my birthday came up. And Josh is completely against spending 60 bucks on a charger when he KNOWS he can fix it...which he still, by the way, knows.

So netbook it is.

Hoorah!

A Christmas cunundrum

First subject: CHRISTMAS
I'm having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. I'm torn, is what it is.

Don't get me wrong, I love the baking, seriously LOVE the baking. Any excuse to eat fudge for breakfast is alright by me. I'm also a big fan of the good cheer, of the holiday spirit and all. Of all the giving to the needy and all the getting together with friends and family, the better attitudes and cheerfulness. I love all the decorations and the twinkling lights and especially decorating the tree.

An aside (I can already tell one of many): Josh and I decorated our tree without Zeke this year, in a coffee-induced midnight-hour high. (since being either pregnant and/or breastfeeding fairly constantly the past few years coffee is a rarity for me and Josh almost never drinks the stuff, so 20 oz of starbucks each made us go a little mad) It seemed sacrilegious as first, leaving him out of the process of tree decorating, but I don't regret it in the least. Much like my decision to leave our pumpkins un-jack 'o lanterned this past Halloween, the next day I was feeling less like a scrooge and more like an intelligent mom that just avoided hell. He will be old enough for these traditions later. You know, when touching pumpkin goop wont send him into a conniption and there is no longer danger of him eating any of the hooks to hang ornaments.

But to get back to the point, in many ways I love Christmas. And I've been trying my hardest to get into the spirit of it. Josh took Zeke out on a special trip to buy food for the needy. I took Zeke over to a friend's house so the kid's could decorate gingerbread houses.
Or maybe so Kaitie and I could decorate gingerbread houses while the kids ran in and out of the room and begged for candy. You decide which actually happened with our 1 year olds.

So Christmas is great in many ways and I try to partake. But I also hate (and have long hated) all the commercialism of it. I hate the gifts. Really, I think Christmas would be 1,000 times better if it weren't for the presents. It's so uneccessary and so stressful (this year I made most of our gifts so it was more time stress than finanical stress, which is better but still fairly stressfull) and so against everything Josh and I believe in and the values we are trying to instill in Zeke. Uhg. Stuff. And the worship of stuff. Its hard enough to raise an American child without Christmas coming once a year.

Which brings me to my next subject: TOYS TOYS TOYS
I blogged recently about the fact that Zeke's list of possessions was getting a bit out of control. I'm not sure how it happened. We bought Zeke (from Santa) some window crayons and a few matchbox cars this year and I swear it was the first 10 dollars we ever spent on toys for him. First Christmas? Daddy-made toyshelf. First Birthday? Radioflyer Wagon (best double stroller-substitute ever). This Christmas? Rocking chair. We dont buy toys.

But we do recieve lots and lots and lots of gifts...and hand me downs. And we love it. Dont think I'm complaining. It has allowed us to save a lot of money on toys. Because a child does need some, after all. But like I said, it was getting out of control. Leaking out of his bedroom and slowly taking over the rest of the house.

But I just finished reading the book Simplicity Parenting.

Second aside: Hands down best parenting book I've read yet. As I joked to Josh, its the best kind of book, one that repeats back to me all my own firmly held beliefs. But joking aside it is an amazing and inspring read. Its not all fluff and opinion and lofty goals, like a lot of parenting books. Its very real, with real steps to accomplish real goals. And best (and rarest) of all, the steps are easily done and the goals honestly achievable.

The writer believes that kids today have plain too much. Too much stuff, too many activities, too much information, and too fast. And it takes you thru 4 sections on how to simplify their (and your) life. The first section is about toys, mostly about how a toy in the midst of a heap of toys cannot be truly cherished, and how simple is better and in many ways less is more. It takes you step by step on exactly how to go about throwing away, giving away, and storing away the excess. The second section is about rythm, and how a very small child is in control of only 3 things: eating, pooping, and sleeping (or more correctly NOT eating sleeping or pooping). And if they feel their life is out of control then they will try to gain some back in one or more of those ways. I love that he doesnt stress a schedule per say, as much as a general pattern of what days are like and clues that something next is coming. He even has a section on how to ease the discomfort if any sort of pattern at all is impossible for your family. The third section is on over-scheduling. Too many activities and why its important for kids to have free time (not time free to be filled but time free to *gasp* be bored). The fourth section is the one on too much information. Kids dont need to know about the economy, the families financial issues, the rain forest, or Iraq. These are adult issues and kids should be kids.

But to get back to the point, the book inspired me to donate a lot...and I mean 2 heaping full garbage bags...of toys.

3rd aside: It also inspired me to feel ok about Zeke not being in any activities for a few more years (I am not depriving him of opportunities, I am giving him the opportunity to be a small child), and to cut back on my computer time (we are great about tv around here but both Josh and I have a serious internet addiction).

I guess I just felt that every hand-me down had to be cherished, that each little mcdonalds thing was lovingly passed down to us and it would be beyond rude to not keep it. They were lovingly passed down to us, and we appreciate it so much, but that doesnt mean that I dont have the ability to lovingly continue the practice with some of them. So into the trash all the broken toys, all the toys with missing pieces and the toys that dont quite work went (a full bag there). And into the donation bag(s) went all the toys that Zeke had too many repeats of, never ever played with, or were plain just hated by me.

And we were left with toys that fit into his bedroom. No overflow. Toys that fit neatly on his shelves with enough space to see each one. An amount of toys that even my 18 month old (tomorrow) can clean up by himself. And Zeke loved it. It was as if without all the clutter and excess he truly had time to enjoy each toy again.

His books (and he has many) I didnt want to donate any of. So I took the advice given to me by so many of you and created a lending library. About 3/4 of his books are in a laundry basket in his closet while the rest sit on his headboard shelf, ready to be read over and over and over again. And when Christmas comes and threatens to overwhelm his little room again I plan on taking a portion of his new toys and a portion of his old and adding them to the basket to be switched out with available toys from time to time. Not only will it cut down on the clutter but it will provide him with something "new" consistantly, which is fun for both of us.

And just so no one thinks I'm abusing my poor son, dont worry, he was still left with a LOT of toys:
Added to this are his 3 under-the-bed drawers which hold individually peek-a-blocks, legos, and his beloved peg board.
And of course there is that basket of bath toys, and a half dozen or so outside toys, and his crayons in the kitchen...

So I suppose they may still be leaking out into the rest of the house. But I feel like I've really gotten some control and its brightened my view of all those wrapped boxes under the tree quite a bit.

Focus

As Zeke and I enter the murky waters of the toddler years together I'm trying to focus on all the wonderful things about this age. Yes, his temper is unpredictable at best. Yes, his needs are never-ending and often suffocating. Yes, when I asked him (in a very sad voice and face) who he thought would possibly do this naughty naughty thing, this drawing on mommy's walls that I had found, he looked at me with an equally sad face and voice and said "daddy".

But:

- Ezekiel has his father's gentle nature. I will never stop being thankful for it. Not only because it is such a wonderful trait but because it is so beautiful to see Josh in Zeke. Zeke is always there when I'm upset, rubbing my arm or offering me his treasured blanket to snuggle. He is always so compassionate and gentle to smaller children and to animals. Always so concerned to hear a baby cry. He never fails to give me my good morning kiss and hug, no matter how busy he may be to get to his toys. As much as I can hope that he retains this trait and that he grows to be a man as gentle in voice and spirit as his father, I know it will not always be exactly like it is now. The world will get to him, my little boy.

- He takes such joy in our joy. Zeke is never happier than when we are all together as a family, the 3 of us, and laughing at some silliness or another. His giggles always mingle with our own, even if he couldn't possibly understand the joke. He is just happy that we are happy and his happiness always quadruples our own. His laughter is infectious and Ezekiel laughs all day. It wont be long before we are not his favorite playmates.

-He is my ever present helper. Even aside from the small "chores" that we have been implementing (carrying the milk jugs to the recycling bin, sweeping under the table after meals, feeding the turtles, and picking up his toys at bedtime) he is always eager to help. I rarely roll up my sleeves in the kitchen without Zeke ready to hand me clean dishes from the dishwasher or a pan from a low cupboard (saving me that last foot of bending over), or throw away that bit of apple core, or stir that instant pudding. I never sort dirty laundry without him right by my side, also pulling out all those shirts and pants. And if I get out a sponge, then he needs his as well. He always comes to tell us when the teapot is whistling or the oven has beeped and he keeps an eye out for Ziggy's return when he goes outside and is always the first to notice him scratching at the door to be let back in. Soon, though, Zeke will find better things to do with his time then help mommy all day long and chores will be a battle.

Lessons from a 1 year old

One of my favorite things about mothering a toddler is that he always fully engaged in the moment. I may spend my life bouncing from the future and the past like some quarter machine bouncy ball but my son, the little Zen master, really knows how to live. I will be so busy in hand and in mind; ironing, stirring pots, fretting over lists and (i will admit) lists of my lists and Zeke will walk over to me and lift his arms, "Hold me," he seems to say "I am little now...and we are together now. It won't always be so." And he is so very right. There will always be clothing to iron, pots that need stirring, lists to cross off. But this...this wont always be so. On the best of days I find myself sitting on the kitchen floor, tomato sauce boiling over and ignored, while we sing and kiss and giggle. On my best days I let Ezekiel teach me HIS way of living, instead of struggling to teach him mine.

I truly hope he wins.

Also, just so you know, he's really been working on his big brother skills.
video

A moment of clarity

This week was a difficult one, I will admit that. 1. I was exhausted from too many sleepless nights and near constant contractions, 2. Zeke was having a difficult time controlling/releasing his emotions and I was having a difficult time teaching him the correct ways of doing so/comforting him in his confusion 3. The mixture of the above two situations was putting me in a really dark place, of self doubt and loneliness and anxiety and I was having a harder and harder time pulling myself above the mire.

Thursday was a big day for turn-around for me however and I am beginning to see the light again. When I returned home with such severe contractions my midwife recommended a few dietary changes, including adding a calcium/magnesium supplement. The latest theory being that I was low on certain minerals and my muscles weakened because of it. It makes sense. Let's not forget what my body has been thru the last 4 years.

REVIEW:
2006/December: miscarriage.
2007/June: miscarriage.
2008/June: happy and huge at 9+ months.
2009/June- 8 weeks pregnant again and weaning my son.
2009/December- Well that brings me to now. Happy and huge again.

The short of that...well short story...is that it would be no freaking surprise if my body is a little deprived. I've been putting it thru a lot.

I'm not 100% sure that it was because of the extra minerals or just because but by Thursday things had slowed down again considerably and have been more "normal" since. Meaning I am still contracting for a bit each day but they arent painful anymore. So that helped a lot with problem number 1...exhaustion and contractions.

Problem number 1 was also aided by Josh calling in sick from work on Thursday, although that was mostly as a band-aid for problem number 3, growing depression and anxiety. Josh and I both suffer from off-again, on-again, depression and we've learned to pick up on each other's signs, as well as the best ways to help pull each other out. My wonderful husband knew that a morning of sleep and an afternoon of crossing things off lists would do wonders for my ability to cope and head off any bigger problems. Also how depressed can you stay after a day with these two?

Problem number 3 was also aided a lot today, being my baby shower day. I couldnt believe how many peole came and being surrounded and reminded of all the wonderful friends I have here in Spokane, so full of love and support for me, was enlightening in ways I cant discribe. So thank you, girls. For being there for me in so many ways.

Problem 2...Zeke's tantrums. Well there is really not much I can do about that. He is 1. He doesn't fully understand his emotions yet and cant be expected to control or express them. I am being newly inspired, however, and beautifully encouraged by above-mentioned wonderful friends on different ways of teaching Zeke to begin to do so...to control and to express. And I am finding new patience every day.

At this point, it's all a blur

As soon as I arrived home I found that I was retreating further and further into myself. Maybe it's the fact that my braxton-hicks contractions are more intense then ever. I would say since Saturday night I've had 3-7 good rounds of contractions every day. It's pretty much a few hours on and then a few hours off at this point and the intensity can range from barely noticeable to me rocking on my hands and knees on the floor and moaning. Maybe though it's just the simple fact that I am seriously nearing my birthing time at this point, braxton-hicks aside I am now T-minus 35 days to my due date and "after Thanksgiving" was always when I figured I'd get really prepared.

For one reason or another, though, the days are passing me in a slow motion blur as my focus becomes increasingly internal and it's getting harder and harder to focus on the outside world. Oh yeah, I will realize, my baby shower is this weekend, and my drivers license is about to expire (anyone else shocked that my last name has been changed for 5 freaking years already?) so I need to go to the DMV, oh and dont forget Christmas shopping needs to be done, and the tree needs to be bought, put up, and decorated...I have old toys collected to be donated, new toys bought that need to be donated, Christmas baking to be done...yet I still never get up from the couch.

December is not the optimum month to be spacing out but at the same time I am trying to allow it as much as I can because I know its an important part of my process. All of that to say that no, you havent been left off of our Christmas card list, I just decided I'm not in a head-space at all to get one more thing finished and made the decision to skip them this year. Also, sorry to all my freinds for the fact that I am barely around mentally or physically...I am meaning to call you, I promise, I just cant seem to focus enough to dial. And sorry too to my blog readers, who are being ignored right now. I had all these plans for great holiday WFDW posts, I was going to do a "Day in the Life" post where I take pictures all day of just normal activities (an idea stolen from Ivory that I just LOVE...what a treasure for myself to loo back on), I was going to do a post talking about all the fun and exciting new developments Zeke has been going thru, and of course I still havent done a review of Hypnobabies. Some of that will be scrapped, some put off until after the birth, others I may get around to.

I will be back sooner or later, though. Right now I'm just stuck in this crazy, cloudy, head-space and cant concentrate on anything at all. I'm finding that it doesnt really matter that I've done this before, this transformation into motherhood. Bringing a child into this world is apparently going to be just as intenstly internal, just as emotionally challenging, no matter if its my first time or 18th time doing so. That makes sense, but it is somehow surprising.

We are home

Every single time Josh and I go back to Idaho to visit family we come home thinking "we've really done it this time...Zeke will take a billion years to get back on schedule THIS time". Seriously. It gets bad. The kid stayed up playing until 11 pm, 1 am, and 2:30 am respectively and his entire week was a yoyo of passing out cold into a complete coma once or twice a day and mad mad excitement wrestling with uncles, jumping on beds with cousins, and discovering duplo blocks for the first time. This is memory-making at its finest, don't get me wrong. And I love that he will be friendly with the other children of the family (you know, since he's still convinced all adults want to eat him). But every single time we drive back thinking, how oh how will we survive the next week, we went too far this time. And magically every single time he goes right back into his normal routine as soon as we arrive home. He went to bed at 9, he slept all night, and then he woke me up to the demand "book book" at 7:30.

Maybe its being back in his own enviroment and bed, I'm not sure, but I am so thankful for it. Because lets admit it, all my Waldorfian theories on the health of rythm and schedule for children aside, I personally not only thrive on a predictable rythm to my day but sort of depend on it for my sanity. I will admit that Zeke and I stick to a regular Monday-Friday routine because I need it, not because I necessarily think its better for him. I have my suspicions in that direction, dont get me wrong, but even if I didn't errands would be run in the morning, lunch would be served between noon and 1, and nap would directly follow.

It was a great trip, however. Zeke had a lot of fun, as did we all. And Josh and I's main concern, that the stress of travel would throw me into constant braxton-hicks, or even worse cause me to go into labor, really didn't pan out. I had a litte bit that very first night, I think just from dehydration and a long car ride, but was able to calm them down quickly. And after that I never had an issue again until around dinner time of the last night. I'm not sure what happened that fateful Saturday evening to set me off but it's Monday morning now and I'm still on the same set of contractions. They will calm down all the way to 2 hour breaks between and then build back up to "crap crap crap...this baby better not be coming for at least 2 more weeks" level at some point during the day. I'm starting to wonder if this is just going to be the new normal until the Blueberry is born. I am at 35 weeks this week so past any "danger" but 37 weeks would make me (and Cathy) a lot happier.

All of that to say that I probably still wont go into labor until mid January. Because that's the kind of luck I have.

We are home, however, and I have a giant to-do list including about 6 loads of laundry, grocery shopping, getting around to that blog about my Hypnobabies program finally, finishing up a few christmas crochet projects, and maybe even seeing my freinds at some point this week (call me because I have the entire week clear right now and you KNOW what THAT does to my sanity).

P.S. A shout-out to Zeke's Auntie Jen who sent us home with a big laundry basket full of hand-me-down toys including an entire set of Toddler Lego's. It was Christmas in November when we got home, let me tell you, and I've already started to wonder how in the heck to fit all my child's possessions in one tiny (and soon to be shared) bedroom. I can only hope he recieves a lot of clothing for Christmas. lol. He'll be a 2T this summer, folks, and that bedroom has got to last him a bit longer yet. Now when he moves upstairs and has a huge walk-in "toy" closet...THEN we can get out the big guns. ;)

It is that time again

Yep. It's happened. A little early this year, but the Nutcracker Army has been assembled. Another great thing about having a hypertonic uturus (or as I like to call it, a finicky uterus that may hate me) is that not only do I get to take a bath whenever I want but Josh will also allow or do just about anything if I tell him that it's affecting my stress levels. (Stress is a big trigger for baxton hicks contractions) Insert evil laugh here, folks. It is seriously seriously hard to not take advantage.

I mentioned that the fact that we weren't unpacked yet (Josh's "man cave" was still a box maze) and probably wouldnt be when the baby came was stressful for me, even though 1. I have promised that the basement is Josh's territory and 2. I almost never go down there. The next day, though, he completely unpacked the Laberynth (his name for it) and even went so far as to hang things on the walls. He just told me that he knew it was important for me to have this baby in a stress-free enviroment.

I said that I wanted to get out some of the Christmas decorations so that the house would be partly decorated when we got back from our Thanksgiving trip and I received the go ahead to release the Nutcrackers...even though we have a very strict "No Christmas Until After Thanksgiving" rule around here.

I'm having a very hard time not trying to get my long held dream of owning a miniature donkey out of this one... but also suspect Josh has a limit somewhere. I will probably find said limit if I try to get help filling out Christmas cards and envelopes. In all our years together the man has never adressed a single card, birthday invitation, graduation announcement, baby announcement, thank-you note, wedding invitation, or christmas card.

But still. I got my nutcrakers a week early.
And with only one small comment about how I had too many.
You cant ever have too many.
And Zekey agrees. He was soo excited to see all of mommy's "toys". I picked one of the larger, least breakable ones, to stay down where he could reach it and he just kept kissing and kissing it. Then when bath time came around he wanted to take it in with him.

Spokane seemed ready as well. It also snowed this weekend. I finished my hypnobabies program this week, so I will try to get a review up before we leave town on Tuesday. But at the same time, no promises...I've got a lot of packign to do.

Journeys

"There is no way out of the experience except through it, becasue it is not really your experience at all, but the baby's. Your body is your child's instrument of birth"

I've been thinking about that line recently. (It's from the book Your Baby and Child btw) It's much the same sentiment that my midwife, Cathy, was trying to press on me a few weeks back when we talked about Zeke's birth and the pain I was still carrying from it. Well ONE of many sentiments, really. We talked for almost 2 hours after all and by the way, I cant remember if I ever wrote about it, but I walked away from that night feeling so healed. Just to hear that I had done nothing wrong, and had nothing to be ashamed of lifted such a weight off my chest that I cant express the lightness of the next few days. I am so thankful to have a midwife that is taking my whole health, including my emotional health, seriously. And for the fact that she is willing to spend that kind of time with me, outside normal scheduled appointments. It has made such a difference the last few months and I can only imagine the kind of impact it will have during the next 2.

But as I was trying to say, it has been so healing for me to understand that while birthing is definitely an experience for the mother, a transformation, and a huge one at that...at the HEART of it, it isnt about me at all. This is my baby's journey, not mine. Zeke's journey into this world was not perfectly what I had planned or wanted. It was not easy and it was not average but it IS what he needed.

I also really believe that if I can just fully grasp this simple fact, that I am merely an instrument for my baby, things will go so much easier for me. I am working so hard on not fighting it this time. So many people have told me that the only thing to do is buckle down and push thru labor, to fight thru it. I dont think so, though. If I learned anything from Zeke it is that labor was easiest when I merely allowed it. When I stepped aside, in a way and just let my baby have his process. And that makes so much sense. Becasue it isnt my journey. I am merely an instrument.

WFDW- fajitas

I don't have any pictures this week of the WFDW meal. I just plain forgot to take any. I blame pregnancy because, hey, when you are as pregnant as me you can pretty much blame everything on it.

But making fajitas is a super simple process. One that I am sure you can complete even without pictures of things in pans.

So the first step is to marinate some flank steak in a combination of oregano, lime, and orange juice. Sometimes I remember to do this the night before or the morning of. More often I just coat it on right before cooking. Either way is delicious and either way you want to cook your steak on a grill pan or in the oven, turning it once. I think it takes between 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another skillet, heat up some oil and then add onion, red pepper, green pepper, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute it all until its all nice and soft.

When its cooked thinly slice your steak (remember against the grain, lol, Josh always forgets) and serve it over your veggies with tortillas. Of course you will also want to make sure your table is decked out with salsa, sour cream, cheddar cheese and any of your other favorite toppings!

Zeke, I have to admit, was none too impressed with fajita night. He took one look at that pan and then removed one by one everything on his plate that looked like it came from that. He then went on to eat a dinner completely made up of cheese, salsa, and enough sour cream to cause an overdose. I dont even think he ate any tortilla, rather he just used it as a sour cream delivery device unti I was forced to eat MY last fajita sour-cream-less because I had removed it from the table as an option.
Josh and I just shrugged our shoulders. By some combination of genetics and plain luck, Ezekiel has never been a picky eater. That has allowed us to never have to really push him on the whole trying new foods thing, which is great because I've always had rather serious doubts on the sucess of creating well balanced adult eaters by force-feeding children and am a big proponent of respecting my child's autonomy when I can. I am honest enough to admit this would be a lot harder for me if my son refused to eat anything but peanut butter, although I would probably still try.

Please dont ask me how I managed to create this, because like I said, I think its mostly genetics (neither Josh or I are picky eaters AT ALL) and luck. But I will say that we have always eaten meals as a family, so even before Zeke was old enough to partake, he saw Josh and I enjoying food. And enjoying food is a pretty big part of our day. Then when Zeke was old enough to try SOME foods I made an effort to always have SOMETHING included in our dinner that he could enjoy (like a veggie overcooked and mashed up, or a breadstick) so that way we were eating at least part of the same thing. Also, that was easier for me. I was cooking 1 meal instead of 2. This of course grew and grew until he was always being offered the exact same meal as the rest of the family. I'm not sure Zeke has ever realized that getting his OWN meal is even an option. Nowadays we just give him a little bit of everything that's being served and then praise him for what he eats and dont mention anything about what he doesnt eat. If he is hungry he will surely find SOMETHING palatable in those 2 or 3 choices...if he doesnt then we just assume he isnt hungry. Everything goes on his plate too, even things that dont seem like someting a toddler would enjoy, or things he has refused before. I've found sometimes Zeke will refuse something 2 or 3 times and then the 4th time magically eat a ton of it. If I gave up on lettuce after all those months of Zeke throwing it on the floor, I wouldnt know that he will eat it now.

So some of that above stuff might have helped out and might help you. But mostly? I tink I'm just lucky.

I hate snow

I hate snow. Snow is wet. Snow is cold. Snow impedes my ability to get out of my house to do fun things and causes everyone around me to drive 5 miles an hour with chains on their tires whether it's really necessary or not (and its usually not). My favorite state of being is dry, warm, and free to go wherever I please in a timely manner.

I'll admit that very first good snow, when you wake up in the morning and see 2 feet of gorgeous fluffy white in your yard, is really really pretty. Shoveling THAT morning is kind of fun and its nice to sit back and drink hot chocolate when you are finished. I've been known to say that I love snow that morning. But every morning after that can be skipped, as far as I'm concerned. Winter is by and far my LEAST favorite season.

Last Friday we had our first light snow. Just a little dusting. Zeke was pretty unimpressed as it was falling. He looked out the window and said "huh" when I called him into the living room to see it and then went back to whatever the heck he had been doing in his bedroom all afternoon. It was apparently important stuff, whatever he was doing in there. I will never know, as I have a strict rule to NEVER interrupt or distract him when he's being quiet in his bedroom.

The next morning there was still most of it on the ground, however. And since I am not a TOTAL scrooge I bundled Zeke up in his snow pants and gloves and hat and then pushed his dad out into the yard with him.

I took a few quick pictures from the porch and then ran back into the warm safety of my kitchen. But I found half of a bag of chocolate chips, so as soon as my boys came in they got to enjoy some warm cookies. See my un-scroogyness? It's an effort. Of course as soon as he was warmed up and full of cookie Zeke just wanted to go right back outside, and by then it was getting dark...so the whole not a total scrooge thing might depend on who you ask.

parenting overdose

I've often said that our kids (Josh and I's) will be part of the most over-raised generation yet. I don't mean it in a good way. I'm not sure all of this obsessing is really healthy...for them or us. Maybe this is just the natural backlash of our OWN generational difficulties. Josh and I are, after all, ourselves part of the "generation without a cause". With no draft to run from, no nazi's to fight, no great depression to rise above, we have in a way nothing to live for but ourselves. We often (again Josh and I) joke about the "new quarter life crisis" that seems so in vogue around our peers. It used to be a man woke up and realized that he wanted his youth back...now we just never leave it behind in the first place. But I digress.

But actually, to digress further before I get back on track, I am in no way trying to say we (Josh and I) are above any of that or that other people we know arent. And its not to say that there are no good fights left to fight, either. There are still causes to stand behind, it's just that it often seems that to our generation joining a cause means clicking a button on Facebook and then...oh wait, where is that funny youtube video again? And yes, I mean myself as much as anyone else. I am in no way above over-raising my child, either. I am a perfect example of obsessive child raising.

And I find that my digressions actually ran full circle and I am back to my point. Dont you love circuitous thinking?

My lastest venture into perhaps negative over-parenting began this Thursday when I found out that a local co-op preschool a few children I am aquainted with attend had a few spots open in Zeke's age group. I've thought about this co-op a lot, in fact, but always in a future-like way. The way the co-op works for Zeke's age group is you attend, both child and mother, for 2 hours one day a week. This would obviously work for us, as Zeke is in no way even NEAR ready to be seperated from me for any length of time, but usually does OK as long as I am in sight. It would also work for us as they dont mind baby siblings coming along at all, and it was even priced so that we could afford it.

Eager to provide Ezekiel with every possible opportunity and advantage, my mind filled with the positives. It would foster independance in a way that Zeke can handle, it will help him learn to socialize (something our very shy child struggles with greatly), it will help him begin to learn classroom behaviors and maybe even some colors and shapes while we are at it! Filled with all these thoughts of what a wonderful mom I will be for doing this, and how much Zeke will blossom with such an opportunity, I discussed it that night with Josh.

Josh does not suffer from the over-parenting syndrom nearly as much as I. He saw the disaster that this would most likely be as soon as the subject came up but, in case you havent heard, I married a great man, so he broke it to me gently.

Or at least he tried. He started out on shakey ground, bringing up the fact that I will have a newborn soon, one that will eat ALL THE TIME, and that maybe it was more than I could handle right now. Not a great angle, I didnt want to hear that my own abilities could somehow negatively affect Zeke. Seriously, just try to tell me that I cant fly in order to save my child from the deep seated trauma of such-and-such. I can fly mister and I will!

He switched tactics quickly, to quoting my own previous and often stated opinions. Good idea, couched in all that intelligence and good sense (I said it after all) all that mumbo jumbo about my biting off more than I can chew might go down easier. Because it is true, after all, that I've said this winter we really need to focus on our family and strengthening our relationships not only with the new baby when she comes but also with Zeke and each other. Adding a new family member can put stress on all bonds, after all, and will create a whole new balance within our family. We need this time to hunker down and make sure our marriage is on strong grounds, that Zeke is feeling safe in our love and his own position, and that on top of all of that we are bonding with our new child during these important first months. Its a big job.

It's also true that I've said we (and by that I really mean I, since Josh isnt guiltly of it) need to be careful not to push Zeke too hard. He is still a baby, no matter how easy it is to forget with him getting so big and learning new things everyday. And it will be even harder to remember with another baby in the house. But just because we have another child doesnt mean Zeke needs to grow up faster. They can BOTH be babies. Just ask Zeke. He still refers to himself as "baby Zeke" and just you try to tell him he's a big boy...it makes him VERY mad. And I have also said that I need to be careful not to push him towards independance and socialization that he isnt ready for. I want to be the kind of mother that accepts who my child is and the pace that he is ready to take, even if that is sometimes slower than another child. I never want Zeke to be ashamed of himself, or to think that I am ashamed of him.

After all of that, along with reminders that Zeke and I go to playdates and socialize that way all the time, and how he is not even 2 years old yet, and that new enviroments and schedules throw him off SO much right now and so much more...after all of THAT, the other stuff, you know, about there being a NEWBORN coming soon and how even if they are welcoming of it at the preschool, maybe I wont be so welcoming of having to get out of the house by 9 am once a week or so able to focus once I do make it there seemed a lot more logical, and also more kindly meant.

So it looks like co-op is out. For now, at least. We will bring the subject up again next fall when they start the 2010 "school year". By then Zeke will be 2, Blueberry will be 6 months, and everything will be different.

32 weeks and counting

Yep, I am now 32 weeks! Which means only 8 left to go (hopefully)! It seems kind of crazy actually, that I am so far along...you know...until I look down.
But updates: Blueberry is still spending most of her time in every possible position, sometimes head down, sometimes head up, usually sideways. She is a wiggler for sure. During my appointment she was horizontal, with her head against my left ribs and her feet pushing against my right side. I'm kind of amazed that she can still wiggle so much so easily, let alone fit in there sidways. This is either a smaller baby then Zeke or I have the biggest uterus ever... both are possibilities at this point. We've decided to start being pro-active about it (hence the annoying acupressure beads on my toes) but not worry yet since obviously she can still GET head down, she just needs to CHOOSE it when she finally gets too big to be playing contortionist.

As you can see, I am getting bigger and bigger. I now weight 170 pounds in fact (should I be admitting this on the internets?), which is what I weighed when I HAD Zeke. The stretching is also beginning. I have little tiny stretch marks inside many of my old stretch marks. I didnt know that this could actually happen, but apparently it can. Also, Josh was playing with my stomach and trying to make my belly button come out (h'es easily entertained) when suddenly all of his pulling made a little stretch mark. So THAT one is Josh's fault. I will remember forever. And he's not NEARLY as cute as a baby so I'm not sure he's worth it.

The braxton hicks continue, in fact they are just getting stronger. Nothing will stop them. Not upping my protein to the dreaded 100 grams a day (Do you know what that does to someone who's been anemic as long as I have? Can you say hyper-active?), not adding extra thistle to my pregnancy tea, not taking a nap everyday, not limiting my activity. These are apparently just going to be a fact of life, and so I've been really trying to be positive about them. I remind myself that they are healthy and normal, that it's my muscles getting toned for birth, that given my past trouble going into labor they are an excellent sign, ect. But honestly? Im having false contractions at least every 3rd day for anywhere from an hour to ALL DAY. I've been having them off and on right now since Wed night so that's 2 full days and counting. It's tiring, and I struggle at times to remain positive. It's worth it, don't get me wrong. And I love every contraction because it means I am THAT MUCH closer, and THAT MUCH stronger, and THAT MUCH more ready. I will have the strongest fricken uterus in all the land when we get down to it and pop that baby out in 45 minutes (actually, that would be awful). But at the same time, I am TIRED. With Zeke I was in labor for 38 hours...with this baby it is starting to feel like 24 weeks.

Thankfully, I have an amazing husband and son. I usually try not to bring them up when they are happening because there is really no point in us BOTH suffering. That and I know how tiring it can be to hear complaining all the time. But the other day at Costco when I asked Josh why we were walking so slow he said "oh, I thought it would help your contractions" so apparently I'm more transparant then I thought and he's been doing little things to help releive them all this time that I was trying to be so stoic. I guess the 20 second breaks in conversation every few minutes are a tell, who would have thought. I love him for it, though. For the little things like walking a bit slower. Josh also, God bless him, sees braxton-hicks as justification for taking a bath at any moment; right before dinner has to be made, in the middle of a Zeke tantrum; whatever the situation, I have a full right to excuse myself and take a bath. (for those of you without such knowledge, bathing almost always stops false labor and even when it doesnt stop it, its very relaxing)

Ezekiel is just as wonderful. If I lay down on the couch with them, he will bring me his blanket and rub the soft edge against my cheek (this is his comfort technique for himself) and say "oh mama". And if I happen to take a bath without Josh home, Zeke will climb in with me and pour cups of water over my stomach (which is too large to be submerged). He's a little labor coach in training. Maybe its all those birth videos I've been letting him watch with me.

Spinach Soup

I first got this recipe almost a year ago from my friend Kaitie. It was the first course at a dinner party that I still drool to remember, and I think that she ended up giving this recipe to every single person in attendance. Because it was THAT good.

I've changed a very few things, mostly substituting ingredients I don't keep in the house with ingredients that I do, and omitting the final cup of sour cream (even though it makes it better) because Josh wont eat the stuff (so add it if you like). The funny thing is, when Kaitie served it, he couldn't even taste the sour cream. But as soon as he KNEW there was sour cream in there, it was all over for me to try to repeat it. I dont really blame him. My husband is notoriously not-picky and I have had much the same reaction myself. I once ate, in fact, a full 3 helpings of a jello salad his mom made before I found out there was cottage cheese in it, and then I nearly threw up and couldnt eat the last bite that was on my plate. Too bad I found out because I was really enyoing it, lol. The human mind is a funny thing.

Anyways, with out any further ado...Spinach Soup.
Saute chopped onion and garlic in half a stick of butter. As you can see, I used green onion but only because it was what was in the house, white would work just fine as well.

Next add a box of chicken broth and around 3 chopped potatoes and let it simmer until the potatoes are soft. Then add a pound of spinach a bit at a time until it is all tender.

Pour the soup into a blender (probably best to let it cool a bit and do this in batches so you dont burn yourself) and puree until smooth. Return it to the saucepan and over low heat add 2 cups of milk (or 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream...or 2 cups half and half...lol, you get the idea) and plenty of salt and pepper.

Enjoy!