Millions of Peaches...

It really seemed like there WERE millions of peaches when we went picking on Sunday afternoon, although the variety we wanted the most were hard to find ripe, and the apricots weren't ready at all. (Everything is coming up so late this year!) But we still got quite a few good peaches and now we have an excuse to go back in 2 or 3 weeks.
And as you can see my camera dilemma was really short lived. As soon as Josh heard that ours was broken he started looking around on Craigslist and he found me a little Nikon Coolpix for cheap. And I think it might even work better than my old Sony seeing as the Sony never DID work the way it was supposed to and I never did get around to reading the booklet. This time I read the booklet right off :)
Josh doing the "squeezy squeezy test"
Zeke eating a peach. Mostly he just ate the peach we let him pick right off the bat and followed us around.
But as you can see, he was pretty excited about it.
He liked sticking his fingers in.
Zeke even got to feed a goat an ear of corn. Well, actually he was 95% sure that was a puppy...and he would have rather kept the corn to himself. But hey...cute picture! (maybe its time to start working on our animals? he was also sure that rooster was a duck...) And dont worry, he got some of his OWN corn later on at home.
Plus we played in the pea pit for a while, of course. The original plan was to let Z play in the dried peas until he got bored. About 40 minutes later that plan had to change.
And good thing we had so much fun this weekend. What with a 1st birthday party and a trip to Greenbluff Farms, because NEXT weeekend is our "yard work weekend"...who ever said labor day had to be taken literally? I'm being positive and saying we will get it all done on Saturday. Josh thinks we will be lucky to get it all done at all.

Unfortunately he is probably right.

Ziggy Stardust

I WANTED to take and post a picture of Zeke ridiculously dirty from eating a PB and J that daddy made him (daddy's always contains far too much PB if you ask ME), and also another of Ziggy sleeping in my colander in the sink. But alas my camera is busted. It's been working funny for almost 6 months (even though we've had it less than 2 years) and it is finally done for good. I was very angry and stressed and mad about this at first but my husband assures me that he will "figure something out". So now I'm just trying to be patient.

And anyways, I HAD promised a post devoted to Ziggy Stardust updates. Because, yes, this little guy is a pretty big part of our lives these days.

I'm actually a little amazed at what a big part of our lives that he is. While I always had pets as a child I was also, you know, a child at the time. So I didn't really have to bear (or even understand) the full responsibility of pet ownership. That's what parents are for, right? And while I've had pets as an adult even, aquarium pets are really a small commitment compared to little furry things that insist on sleeping in your bed and following you around everywhere. The turtles, after all, require feeding and monthly or so cleaning but that's about it. Ziggy requires feeding as well, but also litter box cleaning, behavior training, and at the very least a half hour of daily play time if I don't want to be kept up all night by an over-active kitten. And for the first time in my life, I'M the parent that is "for" this sort of thing.

And I can honestly even say that Ziggy has changed the dynamic of our family. He really has become another member of it. In fact, sometimes Josh and I feel that he must be as much work as another child will be. He wakes us up these days more often than Zeke does at least. And the relationship that Zeke and Ziggy have formed can be described as nothing but sibling rivalry. The only thing they do more than play is fight. Seriously. Every morning they wake up to laugh and hug and are sooo excited to see each other. Then the bickering begins. They fight over who gets to sit in the toy basket in the livingroom (a very coveted seat in this house, apparently). As soon as I start to play with one the other comes running in for some attention as well and then they are pushing and shoving eachother trying to get into my lap the fastest. They even fight over toys (Ziggy has actually gotten really smart and will hide toys he doesnt want Zeke playing with behind his food dish, as he knows that Zeke is not allowed to go into the corner where we keep the cat food). And to top it off, when I get tired of watching them fight and finally seperate them, they both CRY for eachother on opposite sides of the door until I reunite them, at which point they hug and giggle and are sooo happy to see eachother. Then the bickering begins again.

They are also getting each other into all sorts of trouble. Zeke learned how to climb onto the table and counters by watching Ziggy do it (And who knows how Ziggy manages it because the cat cant climb or jump worth anything. Every single morning he goes downstairs to Josh's office with him, climbs onto the top of the desk, and then cant get down until Josh helps him). Zeke has also trained Ziggy to hide in his lap in the highchair where I cant see him but Zeke can reach him to hand him bites of food.

But we DO love him. :) I remind Josh of that daily.

PS. The whole "Z" thing? Totally a coincidence. Although we may be stretching the cooincidence a little far these days considering that one of the turtles is named Zelda and our number 1 boy name at the moment is Ezra. Our number 1 girl name is Adva though so there's a point for the non-Z's...and our other turtle is Hadassah...but then again Elizabeth is also pretty high on the girl name list...

So maybe we do have some sort of strange "Z" thing going on. But its subconcious I swear.

Books on Birth

I just finished the most interesting book and I thought I just had to share. It's called The Philosophical Baby and it was all about how very young childrens' mind's develop and what it teaches us about not only them but also about our own minds and world. It was an absolutely amazing read. I've always been interested in the growing field of child psychology and development, though, so maybe I'm a slightly biased reader.

I think a good sum-up line of the book would be:
“We used to think that babies and young children were irrational, egocentric, and amoral. Their thinking and experience were concrete, immediate, and limited. In fact, psychologists and neuroscientists have discovered that babies not only learn more, but imagine more, care more, and experience more than we would ever have thought possible.”

I LOVE this. Because it’s so easy and so common to condescend to a baby or small child's mind. We just naturally assume that their understanding, their perceptions, and even their emotional needs and capacities are far inferior to our own. But as the author states babies arent simply "crying carrots" and in maybe my favorite line of the book “Children aren’t just defective adults, primitive grown-ups gradually attaining our perfection and complexity.”

I really hope the field of child psychology continues to grow in the leaps and bounds of the last few years and we can continue to further our understanding of these small beings we are responsible for.

I've also been reading a lot of birth stories since coming back from vacation. Only the birth story sections of the books, though, and I feel a bit guilty for it but my excuses run as thus: I read every single freaking book on birth available less than two years ago (more on this in a second) and honestly, while I no longer remember the exact statistics and facts any longer I do still remember all of the most important parts. I feel like I have a very well developed set of beliefs on birth already and I know almost as much about a healthy labor and birth at this point as your average OB (maybe more than the ones that went to school 20 years ago and haven't kept up on the latest science), so I dont know that I really need to read them all over again. I also have a practitioner I trust implicitly this time around, so I also dont feel like I need to know every fact and handle every decision myself. And I have both less time to read, and more things to read about, having a toddler and beginning to wade thru the plethora of parenting and discipline literature out there.

I DO like to read the birth stories however. I really think that the single most valuable thing you can do to prepare yourself for having a baby is to regularly visualize (meditate, if you will) on your "perfect labor and birth". Whether that be making it to the hospital in time to get your epidural and having a nursing staff that is loving and an OB that is on top of all the decisions or that be birthing your baby yourself, I think its always productive to spend the time visualizing it. I think it both helps you to realize what exactly you WANT out of this situation and even assists you in actually suceeding in getting it.

With Zeke I visualized a lot. And as I've said, my visualization was always me running off into the woods in the night and having the baby by myself. Whenever I tried to visualize myself in the hospital I just got stressed out. So I didnt.

This was a mistake because as soon as my contractions started I just wanted to, you guessed it, run into the woods and have the baby by myself. I really believe that I refused to let my body have that baby. So this time I'm working really hard on changing my visualization. It's a lot easier to change the "in the woods by myself" visual to a "in my darkened and warm bedroom with just Josh there and Cathy popping in from time to time" then it is to change it from "in the woods by myself" to "in the hospital hooked up to a machine that keeps beeping with nurses constantly coming in and out and touching me and asking me questions and bright lights and lenoleum and a needle in my arm". But reading positive birth stories, and especially positive stories about home births is also really helping.

But like I said earlier, I read just about every book available on birth. I read the classic What to Expect When Your Expecting (which I found to be the single most useless book of the bunch, so I dont get why its so classic) and Your Pregnancy Week by Week (poorly organized, actually). I read the hilarious Baby Laughs, and Girlfriend's Guide (both of these books soo light and soo funny and soo not useful but hey, funny!). I read the earthy and inspiring Ina Mae's Guide to Childbirth, (wow amazing) and Birthing From Within (which I will admit was a little too touchy feely for me, but it WAS inspiring). I read the entire Dr. Sears catalog, ok not really but I read the Birth Book, the Pregnancy Book, the Breastfeeding Book, and the Baby book while pregnant. And since then I've read the Vaccine Book, the Discipline Book, and the Baby Sleep Book. The fact that those arent, in fact, the entire Dr Sears library is a little ridiculous if you ask me, and not my fault. (I recommend everything the Sears family writes, I feel like their information is always loving, up to date, well rounded, and fairly balanced) I read the technical Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, (so well organized and well researched) and Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn (useful mostly as a dictionary/reference book as it was a BORING read). I even read the out of date but revolutionizing, Birth Without Violence, and Husband Coached Childbirth. (both very true and very applicable and very interesting on a these-are-the-first-guys-to-realize-this standpoint) And that isnt even everything I read. I might actualy have a hoarding issue when it comes to knowledge.

And anways, all of that to say that if you are only going to read 1 book in your pregnancy I suggest:
for a home birth: Ina Mae's Guide to Childbirth
for a hospital birth: The Thinking Woman's Guide to Childbirth if you love technical reads and lots of studies and statistics and making all your own medical decisions or Your Best Birth if you are just looking to be well informed.

I will come out and say right this second that these are MY suggestions and I am rather left leaning so these books are all 3 leaning a bit in that direction. But honestly its hard to find a book that isnt leaning a bit in that direction because "just do what your doctor says is best" would be a rather short read. Both my hospital birth choices are supportive of figuring out what YOU want and doing it, however, even if that means an elective c-section or an epidural or an induction or whatever it is you want. They just are also adamnant that you be well infomred and that it be what YOU want and not what your doctor wants.

I will also take this time to say if you are pregnant and planning to breastfeed you should really read a book on breastfeeding, The womanly art of breastfeeding is an amazing and classic choice and probably what I reccomend but a nursing mother's companion comes in at a close second. Also if you have worries or questions about immunizations The Vaccine Book was really really great. It doesnt tell you what to do (which was both refreshing and annoying) but rather just lists all the facts. The ingredients of the vaccines, their risks, the risks of the desease itself, the history, ect. I had looked all this painstakingly up befoer I realized this book exists and I was sooo annoyed. It also provides a few different vaccination plans, including partial immunization plans and plans that include all the vaccines but spread out more. I didnt use any of his plans but they were still really interesting.

And I will say that I've read all the how to make your baby sleep books over the last year and not a single one told me anything I didnt already know and not a single one made Zeke sleep. So yeah...skip it. We all just do what we have to do in order to survive. You will too. But if you insist I think the No Cry Sleep Solution was best.

And in payment for all that unsolicited advice I'd love to know what books on raising toddlers and discipline you all found most helpful, as that seems to be the stage of life I'm entering and I need to get hoarding!

I feel wonderful

Let me just say that I feel FANTASTIC.

Back story: My back has never been the same since my pregnancy with Zeke. I think it was mostly the kind of structural damage you have to expect when suddenly there are 30 pounds connected to the front of your abdomen but further irritated by a rather difficult labor, a rather small frame, and a rather poorly placed epidural. But the point is one way or another I suddenly found after his birth that I could not lay on my back without excruciating pain at the center of my spine, and that my left shoulder was about an inch lower than my right.

I never did much about it. A. I had a newborn and therefor no time to be going to a chiropractor a few times a week for a few months (which is what I found out it would take). B. I had a newborn and therefor no money to be paying a chiropractor a few times a week for a few months. C. I have this really weird space bubble and absolutely HATE to be touched by people I dont know, and finally D. Josh had tried to rub out a few of the more obvious knots (while not a registered masseuse or anything he has been reported to be fairly talented) and the pain of even some of his lightest touches literally brought me to tears. So the thought of spending precious time and precious money to have a STRANGER rub his hands all over my body and cause me excruciating pain was not a pleasant one. I reverted to my normal stance when it comes to all things medical, If I ignore it long enough, it will go away.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I started gaining weight for this pregnancy. Oh my God pain. My back is suddenly so arched that my tailbone and the center of my back both dig into the floor while laying down, with a good 2 or 3 inch rise between them, and I can feel exactly where my epidural was placed AT ALL TIMES. My left (lower) shoulder is also hurting all the time and I can no longer lift that arm above my head...and I mean, I physically CAN NOT.

Josh and I decided that we need to figure something out before suddenly Im at 30 pounds strapped to the front again and my back just snaps.

We talk to my midwife about it and she suggests Craniosacral massage. It's exeedingly gentle, its cheaper than chiropractic care, it offers almost instant results, and an aqquaintance of mine happens to practice it.

Fast forward again to yesterday, which was my appointment.

Gretchen barely touched me, which was wonderful because as I said, touching hurts, but as she worked up my back it was almost as if I kept feeling a "pop...fizzzz" as it would straighten and reallign. When my hour was up and I stood, my shoulders were no longer different heights, and when I sat down my tailbone was no longer digging into the chair.

Angels. where. singing.

A Zeke Update

Poor Zeker, already overshadowed by his little sister :) Well, here is an update on how our big boy is doing.

Pretty darn good would be my answer. Our favorite part of the day, lately, has been when Josh gets home from work and the two of us are sitting on the couch while he unwinds and dinner finishes cooking and the "Ezekiel Comedy Show" begins. Zeke is SO happy when his daddy comes home and he just LOVES to make us laugh and watching his sense of humor develop is pure joy. Much of his act is physical comedy; funny faces and sounds, some running around in circles and jumping, and crawling with his head rubbing against the carpet and his bum in the air, but he's also delved into ironic humor as his favorite stunt and the climax of his show is usually walking into the room with something that doesn't belong on his head, on his head.
This time it was an apple. And let me tell you, Zeke found it soo funny that he nearly hyperventilated.

He's also been really growing in independence since his first birthday. I find myself having a harder and harder time keeping track of him at the park and remember with bittersweet emotions the little boy of 3 months ago that I hardly watched because he refused to leave the picnic blanket without me. These days he could be anywhere and while I learned that he IS checking up on me on one fateful day when I *gasp* moved, he most definitely doesn't want help up the stairs or to be caught at the end of the slide.

Now daddy is another matter. If daddy is at the park he better stay 2 steps behind so that he's on hand to deliver any interesting sticks to, or partake in any particularly hilarious face Zeke has thought up. But Mommy, well she can just stay on the bench, just as long as she stays on that SAME bench and doesn't throw anything away or move to get out of the sun.

His independence is showing in other, less satisfying, ways as well. Like his new abhorrence to any form of "help". He will feed himself, no matter how messy the food. And let me tell you, Zeke is a messy eater.
He also tries to dress himself, to put on his own shoes, to brush his own hair and teeth, to get into the car by himself, and any number of things that he cant actually accomplish yet. This has upped our mutual frustration levels quite a bit.

But on the other hand frustration has also gone down a lot in the last few weeks as Zeke has grown astronomically more able to vocalize his wishes. When he turned 1 I was honestly a little concerned about his language skills. He knew a few words, mostly nouns, but he barely ever used them and he was growing increasingly frustrated with his inability to express himself. He never would pick up baby sign and I wasnt sure what to do. Well its only 2 months later, but now he knows between 20-30 words and uses them ALL DAY LONG, he never shuts up.

He can say "please" and "thank you", "hi" and "bye", name all of his facial features, many of his body parts, and most of his toys. He knows "momma" and "dadda" and "kitty", "puppy", "blankie", and "bottle". He can say "yum" and "no" and "up" and "mine", "that" and "go" and "yay" and so many others and he's even been stringing them together to say phrases. It seems like he learns a new one every day and his pride in being able to correctly name the toy he wants to be handed, or in being able to tell us that he wants a snack or to be held, and then being understood and having his desire complied with is so exciting for all of us. I think now that he understands how useful this talking thing really is there is going to be no stopping him.

The number 1 thing we've been hearing? "I nice". We've been working on gentle touches a lot around here lately, with both myself, other children, and the kitty and I guess we tell him to "be nice" way more than we realized. But at least he's getting it, "I nice" is usually accompanied by a very soft rub with his hand...although often its also coming right AFTER he is too rough with someone.

Well I gotta run but maybe soon I'll do a Ziggy Stardust update as well, cant forget my 3rd "child" after all.

A Blueberry Update

Since I'm 20 weeks now, by my best estimation, I thought it was ripe time for another Blueberry update. (And by the way, I've had some questions about my questionable due date. Some people are wondering how in today's technology it is even possible to not actually know your due date. Well, let me tell you. Because I was still breastfeeding Zeke when I got pregnant, my ovulation wasnt started back up in a regular pattern, so I wasn't able to base my due date off of the first day of my last cycle, which is the standard practice. Usually when for one reason or another you cant base it off your cycle, you go ahead and base it off the baby's size in an ultrasound. We decided not to do that however, and for a few different reasons. A. Ultrasound dating isn't as accurate as doctors would like you to believe, a lot of times the size they get depends on their angle, placental fluids, ect. And especially with my past of...ahem...rather large babies, chances are this baby will also look, well, rather large. B. Due dates in general aren't as accurate as doctors would like you to believe. 40 weeks is an average and that is about it. Anything from 38-42 is considered "due". Yep, that's right. You arent "past due" until after 42 weeks. So, since we werent really planning on doing an ultrasound anyways, we decided an accurate due date wasnt important enough to us to do one just for that reason.) Phew.

Questions I see coming because of the answer to THAT question: Where did the whole "20 weeks" thing come from then? My midwife and I figure that I was probably 5 weeks when I found out I was pregnant and 16 weeks when I first felt kicking. You can also measure your uterus from the outside for a slightly less accurate date. If all that is true, then I would be 20 weeks right now (except I guess I'm actually measuring at 21, see above about big babies), which would put me in early January for a birth...but we're trying to just think of it as January.

Why arent you doing an ultrasound? Do you think they are unsafe or something? Not really, I mean, I've read the research wondering about their safety but in the end I think they are a great tool and probably perfectly safe. Its just that the reasons for ultrasounds are thus: to screen for abnormalities, to get an accurate due date, and to find out the sex of the baby. Since a due date isnt important to us, we dont want to find out the sex, and we dont believe in abortion and therefor wouldnt do anything about any abnormalities found...well there's just no reason right now for us to get one.

Phew. Again.

So Blueberry update continued. I'm about 20 weeks along. According to my weekly babycenter email that makes Blueberry about the length of a bananna now. (although how do they know anyways? all babies are different sizes after all. but then again so are all banana's so maybe they have it better than I thought.) I'm at that stage of pregnancy where you cant stop eating. No, really, I CANT STOP. I found myself moaning and murmering sweet nothings to my baked potato yesterday afternoon and decided maybe it was getting out of hand. In my defense, Im the kind of girl that when I make a sandwich, I freakin' MAKE that sandwich. I'm not all, oh turkey and mayo and I'm done. I get out the pickle, I'm slicing up tomato, I take my food seriously. So when I say baked potato I am talking about melty butter and sour cream and bacon bits and chives and lots of salt and pepper and... (getting up to make another baked potato) But still, all excuses aside, if I posted a video of myself eating that potato teenage boys all over this country wouldnt be able to get to it...because it would be blocked by their parent's filters.

I'm, maybe not so coincidentally, also getting dangerously close to the wrong side of 150 pounds.
I worried for a few hours that perhaps this meant I was having twins. But then my friends assured me that I wasnt that big at all, and I remembered that not gaining any weight until your 3rd trimester (like I did with Zeke) isnt exactly normal or healthy. Then my midwife laughed out loud at me. So catastrophe averted. (Can you imagine having 3 children under the age of 2? I can, which is why I don't want to.)

Blueberry herself (yes, I've decided at last that this is a girl for various pseudo-scientific reasons, like the fact that I'm carrying much higher, cant decide on any boy names Josh and I both like, and this baby has a much faster heartbeat then Zeke did) is doing just great. She is just kick kick kicking away in there. In fact Cathy, my midwife, was having a hell of a time finding a heartbeat at our appointment yesterday and in the end had to give up completely. She was kicking the doppler and then running away to the other side of my stomach, and finally retreated all the way back by my spine where she couldn't be reached and then stayed stubbornly back there the rest of the appointment. Since she's obviously alive and also obviously wants her privacy we just let it go. Later on she wont have so much room and we will be able to catch her.

But it brings up the question, will she be born as stranger shy and as stubborn as her brother? We wait trembling to find out.


I wanted to get a picture of Zeke in his new hat. Because, let me tell you, this hat caused me endless trouble. Mostly because I thought, hey, I will spice things up and crochet it from the bottom up. This is not the logical way to make a hat but I guess after 2 successes already this season I was getting vain. It ended up way too short for my son's apparently bulbous head. And as I explained to Josh in my frustration that I was going to do thus and thus and thus to fix my mistake he said, very innocently, "Wouldn't it be faster to just start over?"

I am very ashamed to admit that I let my pregnancy show a little bit at that moment, folks, because judging from the speed at which my husband back peddled THAT comment, the look I gave him must have taught him to remember his mortality. I am even more ashamed to admit that he was right. Yes, it would have been a lot faster to just start over, not to mention less frustrating and more productive, with the added bonus that the stripe would have ended up in the correct place, and not slightly too high. But I was in no mood to admit my mistakes so far as to actually START OVER. And I was justly punished by 2 days worth of frustration and pulling out stitches.

So, when I finished the hat today, I was pretty excited to be done with it and show off my handi-work. Zeke was less excited to be a model.

He was more interested in playing.

I am not very ashamed to admit that I ended up bribing him with my Crystal Light. A sip for a smile. gotta do better than THAT buddy.

There's my cheesy boy.
Sometimes I wonder if its just me, or if he really IS the cutest kid ever.

The Mommy Wars

*I will be climbing onto my soapbox now. Please ignore the child playing with a plastic bag behind ruins the effect.*

A friend recently asked me if I ever feel the need to play up my image on my blog. I thought about it rather quickly and answered no. I mean, we ALL play ourselves up to some extent. We choose what we write about, after all, we straighten shirts and clean faces before snapping a picture. But I've never really felt overly stressed about it, read and reread posts wondering what I "seem like" from the outside, or decided not to write something because of the way it will make me look. I suppose its because this blog, when you get down to it, is for me. I love that a few people read it, and that a few comment. But I would be writing it even if no one ever did, because this blog is for ME, not you.

It's basically just a way for me to use up all my leftover words at the end of a day, that and to write, which has always been a passion of mine. Josh jokes that I have a physical need to get out so many words (somewhere near a million) every day. On days when I've been home alone with Zeke he says "You have a lot of words left today don't you?" This comment usually comes after a good solid 45 minutes of me not breathing I'm talking so fast.

But Kim's question got me thinking, because I really understand the need to play up your image a bit in the Mommy-blog world. Hell, I think there's an awful lot of it going on in the plain MOMMY world. The Mommy Wars are a very real thing, that play to some extent in all of our lives, and they aren't going to go anywhere soon. I wish they WOULD but I'm not sure if, as women, as HUMANS, we are quite ready to do away with them...or that we ever will be.

My husband would just make remarks on the inherent evil and judgmental natures of women. He's a bit of a pessimist, that man of mine. But as a person that strives to look on the bright side of human nature, and almost NEEDS to defend, I try to look at it a little more fairly. And I've decided that I think the root of the Wars is that these questions we fight and judge each other over; to work or to stay at home, to breastfeed or to bottle feed and for how long, co-sleeping, crying it out, spanking, the list could go on forever but none of these issues actually have a RIGHT and a WRONG. And we all know it. So no matter which way we personally decide to go, we feel guilt. Guilt is pretty much the dressing of motherhood.

I stay home with Zeke, but then I feel not only envious of the mothers that get these whole separate lives from their children, but I also feel guilty that I'm not using my time at home to my fullest, that I'm lazy basically, and that I'm not contributing to my family or my society as a whole. I also wonder if I'm getting boring, if I'm getting stupider, and if I will have anything left when Zeke goes to kindergarten, let alone to college. I could go out and work, sure. Or even better, go to school, which is a desire so strong I can literally taste it at times. But then I'd just feel envious of the mothers that get to stay home and see every moment of their child's developmental years, and guilty for the time I spend away.

Its like this with almost every issue. Josh and I decided not to cry it out. Which, as all non-cry-it-outers can attest to, results in quite a bit of cosleeping with your toddler. I know that Josh and I have both felt ashamed/annoyed/guilty that our 1 year old has almost never spent an entire night in his crib. We've wondered if we are spoiling him. We've wondered if, in the end, we are actually disrupting his sleep more than helping. We've wondered if the exhaustion might cause us to kill one of our children when, in January, we have TWO children waking us up every night. But (and I suppose I dont have any proof so take this with a grain of salt) I imagine that people that decide to cry it out with their kids ALSO have doubts. They might wonder if they are being selfish to leave their child crying, if they are going to cause life-long bad sleep associations and habits, ect. They might feel just as ashamed that they couldnt "stick it out" until their kid learned to sleep as Josh and I feel at the fact that we couldnt "stick it out" and let Zeke cry for us without being answered.

The biggest guilt inducer for me is the fact that I weaned at 11 months. I had hoped to breastfeed until 2 and to have my milk run dry so "early" has constantly bothered me. I think about it every time I see a happily nursing toddler, heck, I think about it whenever Zeke prefers Josh over me (which i pretend is because I have failed him in some way, and not because Josh is an amazing daddy and around to play with a lot less than this boring mama). And this is actually a great example of the widespread nature of mommy guilt because I'm pretty sure everyone feels guilty no matter WHEN they wean. Be it 6 weeks or 6 years, there's the guilt. And if you go past 6 months you get to add the guilt for breastfeeding SO LONG, which people will be sure to make you feel.

And all this guilt we feel? All this envy of other people that went the other way and surely must have it better? It turns into judgment. And boy howdy is it strong. We doubt ourselves and to cover it up we push everyone we know is "worse" down. You can also see this tendancy in any middle school cafeteria. But the thing is, it just makes everyone feel worse. You arent a better mother because Cathy is a worse one. But Cathy is sure going to feel like shit, and probably so do you.

We all contribute. We all judge each other too harshly, myself included. Which just leads to judgeing ourselves too harshly. And the desire to "spruce up" our image online. And even though I dont think it can stop, I am going to commit to stopping it in my own life.

So here is me, not judging you.

And also here I am assuring you that I am in no way a perfect mother.

My son was literally playing with a plastic bag while I typed this. Yep, I'm blogging while he's not only awake but playing with dangerous objects.

As much as I write about Healthy Eating, I bought and finished off an entire bag of pizza pockets by myself in a little over a week. A family sized bag. I also ate jelly bellies for breakfast yesterday and almost NEVER buy organic foods (honestly I have my doubts about the superior health of your average store-bought organics, which still travel thousands of miles and are farmed en masse. Healthier for the environment, definitely, for me....maybe? I think local is going to be your actual best bet, which is luckily also cheaper.)

As much as I diss families who dont eat dinner together every night and wonder why they dont cherish the family time as much as Josh and I do, well Zeke and I usually eat breakfast side by side, him in front of his food and me in front of my laptop.

Zeke watches TV regularly, spends many days just in his diaper, and gets copious amounts of candy on long car rids.

I am just a mom.

The growing sexuality of claymation penguins

Josh, in a very disgusted voice, when I woke up this morning: "How old is this Pingu supposed to BE anyways?"

Me: "What? I don't know, he has a little brother so he has to be at least 2 or 3."

Josh: "Well Zeke and I were watching Pingu and he got KISSED by some girl penguin!"

Me: "Like on the cheek? I don't think that's a big deal."

Josh: "No, it was full beak on beak action, man. You know when he talks and his mouth looks like a trumpet? It was like 2 trumpets."

So apparently my son's favorite show has been deemed "sexual" because on the Valentines episode (which is mostly Pingu trying to make a valentine and accidentally gluing things to his hand) he gets kissed by his card's recipient, full beak on beak.

And yes, despite the fact that our original plan was not not let Zeke watch any TV until he turned 2, we gave in shortly after he turned 1 and now he watches some sort of short cartoon at least twice a week. His favorites so far are Veggie Tales Silly Songs and Pingu. Both are about 5-7 minutes which is about his attention span. I just cant resist the "I'm trying to make dinner and you wont leave me alone" convenience of it, or the even more guilt inducing "What if I play silly songs on youtube on half the computer screen and type on the other half? Then can I stay on the labtop a little longer?"

The growling list of shows I've already decided will melt his brain and therefor cut Zeke off from? Sponge Bob (I dont think he needs to be TAUGHT potty humor), and Caillou (that little boy needs to freaking GROW UP. He's supposed to be 4? He acts worse than Z at times!). Luckily Josh wasnt so disgusted by Pingu that he felt the need to add him to the list.

Zeke watching the dreaded Wiggles while I try to make dinner (talk about brain meltage...they might soon be added to the list):

In which I digress

First let me say that I am so....surprised and gratified....and just plain thankful for the responses so far to yesterdays post about my decision to birth my next baby at home. My readers are so amazingly respectful and supportive and constantly surprise me with it. Not everything you hear about rudeness on the internet is true. Each and every comment was wonderful and I really appreciate all the support and encouragement. Of course the comments on that post are still open for those of you that have questions about it and don't check my blog every 24 hours ;)

To answer Jess To the Lo's question: Am I doing a water birth? I don't really know yet. I know that I will use water at a comfort technique. It was HEAVEN with my labor with Zeke, I have very clear memories of curling up in the bathtub in a fetal position and the nurse joking about how perfectly I fit. My midwife also provides a birthing pool with her services so its really just the expense of the liner (cheap) to be able to do so. But I think to qualify as a water birth the baby has to be born under the water, and I'm not sure if when the time comes I will want to stay in the pool or get out and move to the bed. I'm open to both options and am going to leave it up to the moment itself.

To the previously planned post (in as much as I plan any post at least):

It's been a really successful last few days and I'm very proud of myself about it.

1. I was featured on SITS on Wed, which allowed me to break thru the 100 follower ceiling. (ok maybe there isnt a 100 follower ceiling but its a nice round number). Now I am the most popular person on the internet. Josh's words, not mine. I was all like....yeah....have you ever heard of Mckmama? Or Dooce? Or Bring The Rain? (In case you were wondering...he hadn't) I am most definately not the most popular mommy blogger on the internet, though, even IF Josh is so totally out of the loop as to not know who MckMamma is. Nor would I honestly ever want to be. Think of the pressure!!! Thousands of adoring fans that alternately build you up as an angel and a saint and THE BEST MOM EVARR and then get bored and tear you down because *gasp* you are human after all.

Although I hear that Heather (the blogger responsible for Dooce) and her husband have both quit their jobs and live off her blog now. And not only that but they pay an assistant. I could totally dig that... Except the whole Josh not having a job thing. I love the man but I also need him to leave for a good 8 hours sometimes.

Plus a lot of the really really popular bloggers (like MckMamma and Angie from Bring the Rain) got so because of some personal tragedy and people flocked to them to offer prayer and support. I love that the internet can be used in such a way (see the above thoughts on how surprisingly supportive the internet has been for me) but I dont ever want to be in a position to partake of the kind of prayer warriors that they have collected.

But I digress.

Being featured on SITS? It felt awesome.

2. I crocheted 2 newborn hats. They are thus:
and thus:
My original plan was to exchange the purple ribbon for a blue one if its a boy but on second thought I think even if it was blue the ribbon would be pretty femmy. Plus I know so many pregnant women that I'm sure I can find someone to give it to if I dont end up needing it. So my new plan is to just make 2 or 3 hats for each sex and give away the ones I don't need. Newborn hats are so small that the first one only took me about an hour to make and the second maybe 2 hours.

Now usually I dont start crochetting until mid September. I last until January and then nary pick up a hook and yarn again until the next September. I have a short attention span, what can I say? I decided to start early this year though because I have QUITE the project list. Not only will I need a few newborn hats and of course the dreaded newborn blanket (remember what I said about my attention span? projects that take more then 1 ball of yarn and a few days of my time are the bane of my artistic existence).

But BESIDES all the new baby stuff I also need:
-A new hat for Zeke. This hat from last year still fits him, I accidentally made it a little big at the time honestly, but now I'm glad because it may be my favorite that I have EVER made and now it will last 2 years. But he really should have 2 hats. Also it seems mean to make so much for the baby and nothing for him. So a new hat must be made. Im thinking a cute little wool beanie with a visor.

(ps, the cuteness of that picture is reminding me why I need to start spending more time on photoshop again...)

-Josh has also requested some gloves. And since I never crochet him anything, lets face it, 99% of yarn projects are fairly girly, I am really excited to comply.

-I kind of also want hand warmers for myself.

-Plus I found a hat on that I might DIE without. You know how that goes...

So lots of projects to get thru. And my goal is to get thru every single one of them (except the baby blanket) with yarn that I already have. Because they are all smallish projects and I have a lot of yarn around the house. And also, I'm on one of those dreaded things...a *whisper* budget.

Anyways, I think Ive digressed about 4 times already and the point was I have already started on my crocheting for the year and completed 2 hats. I did so without spending money on any yarn or patterns (another bane of my artistic existence is that I don't follow directions well or count my ever. So I end up ruining a lot of projects that I think I can "figure out as I go". You try to play with string in front of a kitten and a toddler and remember what number you were on and tell me how it works for you. But I'm digressing yet again, I can tell because I used these ())

3. I baked my first Chocolate Zucchinni Cake. Josh often wonders why I cant ever bake a cake the way our ancestors intended, from a box and in a 9 by 13 pan. My excuse? Because its not preeeetty. But I decided to humor him slightly this time around. While the cake was not a box mix, I did bake it in the dreaded 9 by 13 and frost it from a can. No fancy stuff and not even a circle pan, layer of filling, or frosting bag in sight.

I got my zuchinni from my MIL's garden and the recipe from Epicurious. Here it is if you want it, but you have to find your own zuchinni. I recommend substituting applesauce for the oil, a cup of milk + a tbl of vinegar for the buttermilk (who keeps buttermilk in the house?), and mixing in the chocolate chips. Also if you have the kind of 6 year old child that will refuse to eat chocolate cake because of barely visible green flecks (hey, i've known children like this) then I would peel and puree the zuchinni instead of just grating it.

Did you see the above line about me not following directions well??

But the POINT (if I ever get to it) is that I baked a cake and that the cake in question was moist and rich and delicious and pleased all.

Oh and true story about baking this cake. (wait for it, this digressing is worth it) I put some butter on the counter (where Zeke cant reach, right?) to soften and decided to check my email. A few minutes later I look down at my son, who is holding the butter and EATING it whole. EWWW.

The Instant Messsage conversation went like this:

me: OMG!!!!
Zeke is eating my butter stick!!


I was letting it soften on the counter
he seriously ate like a fourth of it!!!!


So it was very "ew". And when I threw his stick of butter away and got out a new one to soften that darn kid was totally trying to nab it off the counter AGAIN. He may take after his aunt Brittany...I remember some family legend about her and a stick of butter and some sugar...

4. I cleaned, dried, folded, and put away 5....count them 5!!!!!....loads of laundry. Yeah, camping kind of builds that stuff up. And I know some of you do this daily but I have a family of I dont.

Plus our usual agreement around here is that Josh lugs the basket down the basement stairs and
gets eveyrthing cleaned and then lugs the baskets back up, at which point I take over and do all necessary folding, ironing, hanging, ect. I may be the queen of sweeping, the mistress of dishes, the goddess of bed making...but for some reason I CANT STAND running a washing machine and dryer. It's my kryptonite.

Our agreement began way back in our first apartment when I was afraid of the very creepy laundry room. There was this hallway of storage rooms right behind the marchines that looked like a prison hallway and a bunch of cells, it wasn't very well lighted, and as a workin' gal I always had to do the laundry after dark. Everyone knows in an apartment you DO NOT try to do your laundry on the weekend. That is a practice of despair. So since Josh was going to school full time (which as all students know is not actually equal to a full time job) he took over laundry duty. And in every subsequent apartment and house I was very careful to make sure I had some excuse as to why this division of labor had to continue.

I'ts not that big of a job but good God does it feel nice sometimes to have just 1 thing that I dont have to do.

But what with the camping back-up and Josh working late every day this week I had to take over the dreaded chore.

Carrying that last load up the basement stairs I swear the cat and Zeke were singing the Miss America Song to me. They are nice that way.

the home birth and why I am doing one

At first I didn't bring this subject up because it was all rather up in the air. It was really important for me to have Josh be fully supportive of the idea and he was unsure at first. I left the final decision up to Josh not only because of my base belief that there can only be 1 head of a household and both men and women are designed for men to be that head but because of a much simpler and closer knowledge of myself, and that emotionally I knew I need him to be fully with me on something like this.

Josh took some time and after much thought and prayer and research and an interview with the midwife I loved, as well as a lot of meditation, discussion, and though on our past birth experience, decided that while he was still wary of the idea he had so few real objections to it that it would be unfair of him to not be supportive of something that was so important to me. It wasnt exactly the answer I wanted but I took what I could get and ran with it.

Since that point Ive stayed fairly mute on the subject because Im afraid to insult anyone who will see my choices as judgement on their choices. I dont know how to get around this except to assure you that they arent. Home birth is not for everyone, its definately not safe for everyone, and its not even best for everyone that its safe for.

I dont think you are a bad mother, or a weakling, for your epidural. I had one with Zeke after 24 hours of grueling labor. I DO wish hospital births were more accepting and supportive of other pain relief options. And I DO believe that in getting an epidural, you (and I) miss out on an amazaing experience. But its an experience you have the right to skip. There are many experiences other people hold very high in their opinion that I have no desire to know personally. Skydiving, for example, holds no interest to me.

So please dont take any of this as judgment. Its just a way to explain my choices to family and friends that think I am a little strange at best and dangerously crazy at worste.

Q. So why do you want to have your baby at home anyways? Why cant you just have a "natural" labor at the hospital?

You know, since almost the day I found out I was pregnant with Zeke, my most natural instinct was to go off into the woods and have my baby by myself. With both pregnancies that is how I imagined the "perfect" labor and birth. In the woods, on some sort of soft material, by myself, in the dark. I know it would scare the willies out of most people and its completely unrealistic (not to mention dangerous) as an actual plan but its how I would be most comfortable and its what I've dreamed about a lot.

A home birth, with an experienced midwife, is obviously the closest to this ideal that is safe and possible. With Zeke's pregnancy Josh was very very VERY against anything of the sort, and I didnt actually know much about home birth or anyone who had had one. I also truly believed that I could zone out and pretend I was alone at the hospital and have the kind of birth I desired. I found with Zeke that I was mistaken, though. And for a large veriety of reasons.

Hospitals are noisy, brightly lit, and unfamiliar. I was being constantly interupted, constantly monitered, and I just plain couldnt ever get comfortable. I was soo worried about being forced into some sort of interventitive measure, and so worried about having to stand up to the "authority" of the hopsital, as well as so worried about "perfoming" well and seeming calm in front of the nurses that I never allowed my body to take over and get into that very open and very vulnerable place where labor can happen. I really think thats a major reason why I went into labor so late (almsot 3 weeks) and why it lasted so long (over 35 hours).

And of course my fears caused the very things that I feared. After 24 hours of induced labor and no progress to speak of, I hit a wall. I did not know what to do, and I was literally "losing it". The first thing the midwives I was with suggested was an epidural. And I took it.

I dont blame myself and I dont blame them but Josh and I both feel if there had been a single person in that room that had believed in my ability to birth Zeke naturally, and had suggested somthing other than an epidural to help me cope and get over the wall, we would have been able to go for it. We've also decided looking back that no matter how hard everyone around us pushed for it, the induction was a bad decision. I wasnt ready, and neither was Zeke, and at heart we both knew it. We just didnt trust ourselves and no one else trusted us either.

I know now that in that vulnerable place that is pregnancy and birth I am so open to suggestion and I've realized the importance of a care provider that really truly believes in my ability to birth and the naturalness of birth itself. Cathy is there to watch over my birth in case something goes wrong, she is there to make suggestions when and if I hit another wall, but other than that I know that she believes she does her best work by leaving me alone to work thru it as I will. I know that she believes birth can happen at any number of weeks, and last any number of hours, and still be "normal" and I know that her confidence will give me confidence.

Many people feel perfectly comfortable in a hospital and not at all comfortable laboring at home without the safety net of the "equipment". If that is true then of course the hospital is where you should be!! No one can labor while afraid. For me, for reasons I may never fully understand, the place where I am most comfortable is at my house and left to myself.

Q. But what if something goes wrong? People used to die in childbirth all the time you know.

The myth that less women die in childbirth because we moved into hospitals is just that, a myth. Less women die in childbirth because of improved health and sanity standards. Women eat healthier, take better care of their bodies, and doctors actually wash their hands. Childbirth Fever, the number one killer way back when, was simple infection.

More women die in the US in childbirth than almost any other country, including many countries where home birth is still a normal practice.

Josh, in particular, was surprised by how little, when you got down to specific common "emergencies" a home birth midwife (properly trained ect) cant handle. Cathy carries Pitocin with her in case of hemmorage (although she said she usually uses herbs as they work faster), she has a doppler to listen to its heart, she can slip a cord off a babies neck just as easily as an OB can, and hands are pretty much God's forceps.

The truth is most situations that make birthing at home dangerous offer plenty of warning signs along your pregnancy. High blood pressure, a breach baby, ect would of course make us rethink the safety of our plan.

And there is also the truth that yes, c-sections are a miracle of science that have saved lives. And yes, Cathy has had to have clients transfer to a hospital to get one. Sometimes her water has broken and for one reason or another she just never goes into labor. Sometimes the baby just wont fit (this is where having a "proven pelivis" is nice. i fit a 9 1/2 pound baby on my back so yeah...i can fit anything God throws my way). These situations dont happen nearly as often as they do in hospitals, because midwives are more patient and more willing to use alternative positions (squatting opens a pelvis by 25% for example) not available to a women with an epidural. But they still happen and I am prepared for this possibility and can transfer to a hospital at any time I or my midwife thinks its necessary.

Q. You talked about "hitting a wall" with your labor with Zeke. What if that happens again? I mean, what if you just cant cut it and want that epidural?

I actually asked Cathy about that. How many of her clients have just wimped out and gone to the hospital for the epidural. Its never happened to her. When you are at home its just not an option, and because its not an option everyone is working on other ways to get thru. I'm sure I'll
hit a wall, if not 2 or 3, during my next labor. But I also know that I will break thru it.

Q. Zeke was soo late. What if this one is too? You cant get induced at home.

That's true. While Cathy has pitocin she doesnt use it to induce. Because of the nature of induced labor and the increased risks associated with it, its not safe to do without fetal monitering. Part of the joy of not knowing a real due date though, is I wont know when I am "late". I really believe that 99% of the time babies come when they are ready. Very few women will NEVER go into labor. There is of course the possibility, and it comes to mind a lot at 42+ weeks beleive me. But if Cathy or I get worried because its been a long time, or I'm getting rather big, or the baby is less active we can always go in for an ultrasound and check the little sucker out. She recently had a client go to 42 weeks and when they went in to look at the baby he was happy as a clam and only measuring at a 40. She went into labor a few days later.

Q. What about Zeke? Where will he be during all of this?

Because Im at home and have no where to rush off to, I feel confident to keep him with me and our schedule normal as long as possible. Because Zeke's birth was so long Im expecting another long one. ITs not logical but its a common failing. Of course a time will come when I cant focus on him any longer and I'll want Josh to myself as well. At that point we will have a babysitter either come over or come get him. We havent decided who yet but we are blessed with a lot of friends.

That's all I can think of right now but I cant express to you how open I am to any and all questions, no matter how judgemental they may sound. I would like everyone to be as comfortable with this as they can be, and I know that its so out of the mainstream that people truly have a lot of questions about it. I talk to Cathy weekly so I know that she'd be willing to answer any that I cant. :)w~q
I was very very excited to find out I am the featured blogger over at SITS (or for non initiates, The Secret Is In The Sauce) today. Seriously, VERY excited. I might have screamed a little bit.

If you don't know what SITS is, it's an online community of bloggers who believe that The Secret to success! I've found some great blogs and bloggers thru this group and am very proud to be a member, and also proud to be featured today.

So thanks all you SITStahs for supporting me!!

The SITS gals (and a few guys too) have been invited to read 3 extra-saucy posts of my blog. These are the 3 that were chosen.

A Tale of Peril and Woe

A Lesson and an Admission

I Never Was A Gymnast

But I'd also like to tell you a little about myself. I'm a wife and the mother of a 14 month old son and am busy planning a home birth for my next, due in January. I have some "strange" beliefs like Partial Immunization, not circumsizing without religious reasons, and respecting and submitting to my husband. I think about Zombies way way too much, had a wisdom tooth removed sans anesthesia, get way too philisophical about cleaning, not to mention way too riled up about breastfeeding rights. But mostly Im just like anyone else, trying as hard as I can to get this right.


Well we got back into town Sunday during the late afternoon/early evening. But then of course there was a very desperate kitten to cuddle and play with, an over excited and car weary son to deal with, dinner to be made, and all of that home-coming jazz. Not to mention Josh insisted that the car just HAD to be unloaded and the bags unpacked THAT NIGHT or apparently we would all explode. We had one of those lovely moments in marriage where you are just not at all on the same page. Josh wanted everything done right away, I wanted to relax with the kitten. It's actually quite the opposite of our usual stance and though there was a moment or two of friction I am happy to tell everyone that we survived it without any escalation. A fact that I am proud of after a very tiring week and a half of vacationing and an even more tiring day spent almost completely in the car.

Maybe almost 4 years of marriage HAS taught us something.

So that night there was obviously no time to blog. THEN Monday morning I was all set to get right to it (and a few other things) but I woke up with some breakthrough bleeding that I wasn't necessary concerned about but thought worrisome enough to keep an eye on. The bleeding stopped after a few hours and Blueberry has been active all day so I'll chalk it up to a broken blood vessel (which can happen after you get into an almost fight with your husband and know..."make up"... we've been sleeping with a 1 year old between us for a week after all).

But even though it turned out to be nothing to worry about and I was sure from the start it was nothing to worry about, it was only responsible to take it easy and pay a little more attention to myself until it was proven that there was really and truly nothing to worry about. Which means that mostly Zeke and I played in his bedroom and got almost nothing done. At 5 I did break down and get us dressed and to the grocery store, but by then the bleeding had stopped, blueberry had kicked me about 1oo times, and I was starting to wonder what the heck I could make for dinner with what was in the house.

So that brings me to today, in which I have had to catch up with everything I didn't get done YESTERDAY because I was taking it easy.

And that was a long and probably unnecessary rant on why exactly it's taken me this long to post pics of our trip. Lol.

Too much happened to talk about it all so let's suffice to say that we all had a wonderful time, we got to see absolutely every family member that we had hoped to, and Zeke wasnt nearly as shy as he has been in the past.

As usual I didnt take nearly as many pictures as I should have but here's what I did get:

My parents took us boating out at Lucky Peak. Zeke enjoyed himself more than this picture represents.

My dad in a failed 360 attempt on the knee board. In his defense he went on to succeed.

My brother on the knee board.
Even Josh tried the knee board. And while Zeke thought it was awfully funny when my dad and brother crashed, and he even though it was pretty funny to see daddy out on the water, boy did he ever NOT find it funny when Josh crashed and our boat just kept a going. He was screaming and flailing and trying to JUMP OFF THE BOAT as if his little 1 year old self could save his daddy. I was sad at first that I hadnt got out the camera for Josh but probably it was a blessing since I would have likely lost it in the ensuing struggle.

And yes, thos are pretty much the only pics from 5 whole days spent in Boise. But then we moved on to camping and the fact that everyone else was taking pictures reminded me that I should to.

It rained a lot. I mean...a lot. But we still had a lot of fun. The rain honestly just meant more chances to gather in Grandma Melanie's trailer and play pinochle. (Zeke sure loved on his uncles. As you can see.)

Zeke didnt mind the rain in the least and wanted outside the second it stopped (well, honestly he wanted out even when it wasnt stopped). He was pretty sure that he was king of the mountain, climbing rocks and hills, whacking bushes with sticks, and despite the fact that he tripped and fell or bonked his head or SOMETHING about every 5 minutes I dont think he cried or slowed down once. He just wanted to do just about everything he saw the bigger boys doing.

Like collect firewood and throw it into the fire:
That kid wanted to collect firewood to throw into the fire all darn day. And except for, you know, the throwing it into the fire part, I really didnt mind, so we let him collect away and just kept a keen eye on the fire.

And when his uncles started up the hill to pick some huckleberries they had found Zeke took the leg from a card table as a walking stick and started right after them.
And got pretty far too before papa Max decided to go catch him.
Daddy also taught him important and manly lessons. Like how to cut firewood. (He wasnt allowed to go "help" chop it down so we had to give him something.)
Daddy lesson already planned for next year? Peeing on trees.

The last night he did get a little crabby (cutting his first molar, we found). But it wasnt anything knawing on a cob of corn couldnt handle.
Definately an experience worth repeating. He's gota learn to pee on trees after all.