Sexual Equality in the 21st century

I was thinking about the possibility of having a daugther today. Mostly about the wonderful and the awful things about giving birth to someone that will have all the same struggles as I did/do as a female. Honestly, though, I came to realize that I actually think it's pretty kick-ass to be a woman, and probably never more than it is right now, in our time.

I mean, lets just start with the wonderful things about being a girl in general. The ability to multi-task for starters. No one will ever convince me that men can think 2 things at once, let alone DO 2 things at once. High heels. Love 'em. Our awesome awesome bodies, which are not only more beautiful than the male form but more wonderous. We can grow and feed a baby. This will never cease to amaze me. And there is also our range of emotions. Josh counts this as the number 1 reason that he would never want to be a woman. He often likes to say that I go thru more varied emotions during the watching of a single movie than he does in a year. I would never have it any other way, though.

Then there are the great things about being a girl right now, during the 21st century. We really can do everything. Granted, the work/home balance sucks, but I really dont think that's societies fault as much as just the plain fact that you cant be 100% at work and 100% at home and that is what women want. So I will quickly re-state that. We really CAN do everything, just not all at once. You can choose, though, to stay home with your kids and be the homemaker. You can choose to work. You can choose to do one, and then the other and in whichever order you want.

And then there's all that fine equality we've got going on. We can wear whatever we want. Pants, skirts, flats, heels. What clothing is off limits? We can play any sport, we can go into any proffessional field. Women are more likely to go to college these days, more likely to get a doctorate, than men.

I think I worry more, as far as gender-specific pressures go, about Zeke. It's kind of a lame time to be a man. The work/home balance: it sucks even more for guys. While the stigma against the working mother is all but dissapearing there is still a MAJOR stigma present for stay at home dads, it's always assumed that the stay-at-home father couldnt support his family or is lazy. They also have a lot less ability and social acceptance to work part time in order to spend more time with the kids. A woman that takes that option isnt looked at twice. A man?

Plus, when little girls want to play sports and climb trees and have science kits, well they are called “tom-boys” and it's just adorable and wonderful. But a little boy that wants to play barbies and own a make-up kit or go into ballet...well people don't find it so cute. I've even gotten comments about Zeke, whom I don't personally believe is particularly feminine, and his love for cleaning/cooking/all things make-up. “When will he grow out of it?" or "When will I start discouraging it?" My answer: I truly hope never.

Dont get me wrong, I love the equality women have these days, I love the programs to help young women go into fields like science and math where we typically struggle. I just wish we had similar programs for boys too, maybe in literature or other subjects boys tend to lag in. I wish that there could be some socially accepted “jane-girls” out there, that little boys could wear a dress and lipstick as freely as their sisters put on football jerseys and roll in mud.

Equality is supposed to go both ways, isnt it?

WFDW- Tuscan Soup

Zeke and I had a busy busy day. We cleaned the whole house. AND we raked the front yard. AND we went grocery shopping. AND THEN we build a cat-house with Daddy and raked some more in the backyard. (I've been starting to feel bad for our "outside" cat and Josh, intelligent man, decided to build it a little house so it would be able to get out of the weather before I brought it into ours)

So when dinner time came around we were hungry. And rather cold. So soup it was.

This particular soup I've been making for 2 or 3 years. It started as a desperate attempt to copy Olive Garden's Zuppa Tuscana which I ADORE. After many many attempts and adjustments, it's still not an exact copy. There is definitely something I am missing but cant put my finger on. But its still an excellent soup.

I call it simply Tuscan Soup. Because naming things in italian when neither you or the named item is italian is a little presumptuous if you ask me (I'm looking at you Starbucks).

Start by cooking some italian sausage. You can use ground sausage or, like I did, sausages which you will cook and then cut up. (You dont need nearly this much sausage...I just cooked the whole package because 2 sausages sitting in the fridge already cooked will get taken to work and eaten while 2 raw ones will just sit in the fridge until the day I go "wait...when did I buy this sausage? Is is bad?")

While your sausage cooks boil a box of chicken broth, 2 large russet (or 4 red) potatoes (chopped), 1/4 of an onion (chopped), 2 cloves of garlic (crushed), and if you like, 1/2 cup of dry wine for 15 minutes. You probably need to add some water to have enough liquid and that is fine.

A note about the wine: I usually dont add the wine because we usually dont have any available. It tastes great without it. But if Josh is in the mood for wine that night, or if there is a bottle on the counter already open then I will add it because it makes the taste a LOT closer to Olive Garden's soup. Although if you use red wine your soup is a bit pink and funny looking (albeit delicious). We NEVER have white wine in the house so I've never actually tried it, but I would suggest a dry white.

Add your sausage along with some salt and pepper and boil an additional 15 minutes. Finally add some ripped up Kale (it's a kind of cabbage, it's easily found in the grocery store, and it's delicious so stop your whining) and about 2 cups of heavy cream and you are ready to eat!

Any guesses what's next?

Places Mony Mony (our littlest cat) has gotten trapped and required us to rescue her from:

-Our fireplace's ash trap (and let it be known we have an the ash trap is blocked off by about 60 pounds of metal)

-Our old bed's boxspring (yes, she was INSIDE the matress)

-Underneath our floorboards (we got to tear up not only the carpet and floor in one closet but some of the wall)

-The inside of Josh's shoe (I'll admit this was jsut funny)

- My underwear drawer (I don't even know how she got in there, because the drawer was closed)

- The basement (about 1 million times...for some reason she's scared to walk up those stairs but not down)

And last but certainly not least, this morning she got trapped INSIDE OUR HEATING VENTS.

One of these days we're going to get tired of rescuing her, honestly if it wasn't for the horrible smell I imagined would result I would have let her die in those vents this morning.

And because it's been requested:

A picture of the stand Josh made for my moses basket. It's really just a little table that can hold the basket itself as well as some extra blankets and diapers for our bedroom so we dont have to disturb Zeke in the middle of the night (Blueberries things are mostly kept in a changing table in his room since our new bed kind of takes up a lot of room in ours):

A picture of the baby leg warmers I made. 3 are of out of crew socks I bought on sale a few weeks back. You cut off the foot piece and then turn it into the upper cuff. The other 2 are knee socks I already owned but the heels were worn out. I cut off the foot and turned the ankle into the upper cuff:

And just so I have SOMETHING to show for it...
Zeke and I spent a few hours Saturday morning raking all of our leaves (we have 3 trees and then a few others from neighbors so pretty much a kabillion leaves). It was beautiful weather and great fun. Zeke kept pointing at our pile and saying "wow". Of course by the time I got home from the baby shower I then attended, so many MORE leaves had dropped that you could barely tell we had raked at all.

So I guess as soon as it stops raining Zeke and I get to do it all again...he will be SOO pleased.


1. The crazy nesting has begun. I think it was only last week I was telling Kim that I hadn't had any nesting urges yet. I knew I should have stayed silent. Today I had a full-on panic attack when I realized that I couldn't find any of Zeke's old receiving blankets. We're having a JANUARY baby! I had to get online and tell Josh right away that our baby was going to was surely going to FREEZE TO DEATH because we are SO UNPREPARED.

Josh, who is usually an expert in dealing with crisis of this sort, must have been distracted at work, he only answered that we still had almost 3 months (so not true, buster, its like 10 weeks now!) and that the worst case scenario was we would go shopping before then if we cant find the blankets.

Obviously he wasn't understanding so I told him I couldnt talk to him about this anymore.

I could soon be found talking to myself in a quickly escalating tone about the fact that we don't have ANY inside hats at all...not to mention any leg coverings (Zeke, a summer babe, spent his first 3 months mostly in just a onesie...we have about 400 onesies, lol). So now the baby was going to freeze to death for sure. And by the way, why in the heck isn't the baby's moses basket set up next to our bed yet?!?!? That must be done RIGHT AWAY. WHERE IN GOD'S NAME WILL IT SLEEP?

Before I went to the store to buy diapers in size 1 right that second, I decided to sit down and finally make some baby leg warmers at least until Zeke woke up from his nap (I made them out of discount women's knee and crew length socks I've been gathering here and there). I got the directions HERE. It calmed me down a bit but I'll be honest, I'm still freaking.

At least I'm not organizing random closets yet.

2. To counter all of THAT stress I've decided to stop worrying about how Zeke willl do when Blueberry is born. Sometimes he does great when I hold or babysit babies, sometimes not so great. But the fact that I've come to realize is, how he reacts to these temporary stranger-babies is going to be completely different to how he reacts to a permanant sister/brother. There is an ownership, almost, and a familiarity with siblings. It's very different. So there is no point over-analizing every playdate like I've been doing.

Also, and not to sound cruel, but it doesnt really matter how he is giong to do. The baby WILL come, and she WILL stay. Josh and I are going to do our best to help Zeke feel assured about the whole thing but honestly, in the end, he's gonna have to deal.

3. Speaking of Ezekiel, I just love the stage that he is in right now. He is a big boy, and yet a baby, and all at once. Watching him struggle between the two is so bittersweet. Big Boy: the other day when he finished his lunch he got down from his seat, dumped his plate in the garbage, took the plate to the sink, and then proceeded to grab a washcloth to wash his hands, face, and the table. All without a word from me. Sometimes it's like Im not even necessary. Baby: he was tired at our Mindful Mama's meeting and he layed in my lap snuggling his head on my shoulder so sweetly.

4. I've had lots of comments/questions/concerns about how moving our not even 18 month old into a twin bed was going. All I can say is that for our family, it's working great. Zeke tells us when he wants to go to bed by bringing us his blanket and demanding his "baba". (yes, we still bottle at night) If it hits 9 without a word from him we will suggest it but he almost alwasy does before then, his schedule is so regular that he's always genuinly tired by 8. Then either Josh or I lay down with him and we talk quietly or sing a song and he drinks his bottle. When its gone (or sometimes only after an ounce or two) he hands it to us, rolls over, and he's out (if it was Josh then they are BOTH out). Since he got better from the flu, he's stayed there all night, and comes out by himself to join me in our bed sometime between 6 and 7, so we've had a good week run of NO wake-ups. But a lot of nights he DOES still wake up 1 or 3 times needing reassuring. Sometimes he comes to us, sometimes he cries in bed until we come to him, but either way its always just a matter of a whisper and a touch and he goes back to sleep. I think he honestly sleeps a lot better in the bed than he did in the crib because he knows he has the freedom to come and get us if he needs to. And since we always got up when he cried anyways, it doesnt really affect our sleep any.

Yes, he has fallen out of bed. Twice that I can think of but maybe there was a third time in there too. One of the times he didnt even wake up, I heard a thump and then found him sleeping on the floor. The other time it upset him. It hasnt happened in a long time now though so I think he's used to the new invisable boundary.

No, he doesnt get up in the middle of the night to play. (Although once he got up at 6:30 and instead of coming into bed with me decided to go play with cats in the kitchen, I blame Josh leaving a light on in there) Like I said, he's on a really regular schedule. He's gone to bed between 8 and 9 since he was about 3 months old and his naps are also at the same time almost every single day. I think he's too tired at night to play. Either that or the idea just hasnt crossed his mind yet.

5. I've also been getting a lot of questions about hypnobabies. I'm thru week 1 of 5 now but I think I'm going to save a full review until I've finished the program. For now I'll just let you know that it IS a lot of work. A good hour+ a day...even 2 hours.

6. If it EVER stops raining again I need to go out and rake some leaves.

The $1,400 Stuffed Sheep

Yep, my husband, in his great love for me, went out and spent 1,400 dollars on this stuffed sheep recently:
It happened to also come with a new King sized bed. ;)
To be honest, the fact that between me, all my pillows, sometimes our son, and almost always 2 cats, the poor guy had almost no room on our old bed might have also had something to do with the purchase. Another baby was more than likely going to kick him onto the couch. So the purchase might have had SOME self-thought it in.

I mean, look at the stats. Our old bed was a Full. That means 53 inches wide (literally this gave us each about the width of a crib (26 inches) and that is WITHOUT babies and cats in bed with us). Our new bed moves us to a luxurious 76 inches wide (that is 23 extra inches people!!). It is also a full 80 inches long...which means for the first time since he was about 13 years old Josh's feet will fit onto the bed, lol.

But I do think, mostly, the purchase was made because of his great great love for me and I do not think I can possibly express to you how freaking excited I am. I may or may not have taken each of the members of this family that are under 30 pounds and calmly told them that the first one to urinate on this bed will die a painful and slow death. I may or may not have told the OTHER member of this household that I will have sex with him, on this bed, everyday for the rest of his life. I may or may not have even meant each of those statements. I WILL tell you that I am typing from the bed as we speak and that I am strongly considering not get up in the morning...or ever again.

I've been begging for a new bed for years. I never ever thought it would actually happen. For starters, there is fact A: No matter how Un-American I tell him that he is being, Josh refuses to buy things on credit. Yeah, that means we actually have to SAVE UP for every single purchase we make. It might actually be against the constitution...I'm not sure, I will look it up. Either way don't tell anyone because we might get kicked out of the country and have to move to France or Canada or something.

Don't get me wrong, a part of me, a very logical part of me, really appreciates this about Josh. Another part wants to run up a credit card with everything I have ever wanted, and to buy an internet plan for my phone and cable tv while I'm at it. But that first part of me really appreciates this about Josh and I try to focus on that voice most of the time. But it DOES make big fun purchases take forever, and oftentimes things keep coming up that are more important to do with said moneys so the big fun purchases just never happen. Unless they are new computers...these purchases seem to happen regularly...just kidding honey!

Secondly there is fact B: Even when I begged for a bed, and hinted about a bed, and looked up how many inches wide our bed is and divided that up per family member in a graph for Josh to see how we are BREAKING LAWS OF PHYSICS by all sleeping on it, my closing argument was always that we should get a Queen mattress and one of those metal frames like we have now. I sent him links from time to time of cheap Queens on sale for 300-500 dollars and came with such metal frames for free and never got answers back except "that's nice".

Sidenote: Yes, I realize that this behavior is somewhat pushy and naggy but I have no income of my own, and it took me 2 YEARS of such little "hints" to finally get a cell phone. Give me a small small amount of understanding for my behavior.

So anyways, not only was I not expecting a new bed I REALLY wasnt expecting a new NICE bed. A king sized Vera Wang pillow top that came with a 20 year warranty and a real bed frame, complete with a headboard (one of those things so important to me but not at all understandable to Josh).

SOOO happy.

The bed wasn't nearly as exciting to Zeke as it was to me, even though the child is STILL happy DAYS LATER about our other delivery this week:
Which came in the mail from one Grandma Tammy a while back and is now the BANE of my EXISTANCE. The pumpkin laughs and drops little candies when you pull a lever and Zeke finds this both fascinating and hilarious. So fascinating and hilarious that he goes over to the mantle where it is stowed and demands "mine mine mine" like one of those obnoxious seaguls on Finding Nemo about 3,000 times a day.

I CANT WAIT until that thing runs out of little candies. Josh keeps saying we should throw it away while he sleeps but I say that's taking all the fun out of obnoxious toys from grandma...and what is the point of being a grandma if you cant mail obnoxious toys to your grandchildren and know that you are safe in them being not thrown away?

Also: tummy pic! You know, since I wont be getting out of bed any time soon.

WFDW- Beef Stroganoff

WFDW tonight is Beef Strogonoff. And I am utterly exhausted for some reason, even though Zeke and I had a GREAT day. We got to visit newborn baby Lucy and Zeke let me hold her for our 2 hour playdate without getting jelous or fussing! This is a big deal because last time we went to visit Lucy, Zeke was very upset about it. I'm chalking it up to the fact that he was not himself that day, as the entire day had been horrible. Zeke was very gentle and kind to her this time around. Gives me hope that maybe we can do this after all!

Anyways, I will jump right into this easy and delicious meal!

Brown some ground beef (or flank steak if you prefer) with onion in a pot. I am so tired and lazy lately that I used my non-stick pot instead of my cast-iron, even though I try really hard to use the cast iron most nights. SOO much harder to clean though and lately that has seemed more importnat than the fact that it adds much needed iron to our meals and is also less, you know, cancer-causing.

Next add a can of cream of mushroom soup (or 2) and a can of milk (or 2). If you have a husband that will put up with sour cream (I dont) then you can also add a good size dollop of that. Then toss in your favorite kind of mushrooms (we love crimini or portabello best) and simmer until its warmed up.

Serve over rice or egg noodles, with plenty of salt and pepper to taste.

And PS, My delivery isn't being made until tomorrow...grr. They never called with a drop off time and when we called them they said our drop off date was written down as Sunday (and they dont even deliver on Sundays at all) so obviously it was mis-written. Long story short they are going to deliver it tomorrow now, even though our area of town only has Wed and Sat deliveries. So wait to find out what I'm getting tomorrow!!

Blueberry update-29 weeks

After all that worrying I did last week about the little blueberry being in the worst position ever imaginable (not only breach (head up) but posterior (facing forward)...if your having a hard time seeing it he was sitting cross legged in my pelvis looking out my belly). Anyways, after all that worrying all it ended up taking was a half hour of sending little baby blue images of head-down-ness and he flipped himself (quite painfully) over. I'm not exactly great at telling position but from the general location of all my kicks and nudges it seems like he's remained head down ever since...although he still seems to favor a posterior position. I feel like this is due more to my own bad posture than anything else though and back labor (while not exactly a goal) is far FAR less worrisome to me than the c-section that blueberry's particular type of breach would have required. So I'm working on my posture but not exactly stressing it any longer.

The ease at which I was able to get him to flip over has really got me thinking, though, about how much more connected to this baby I feel these days. Zeke and I have such a lovely relationship. We always did, even in utero, and until recently I felt I wasn't connecting with this child like I did my last. I still cant figure out the sex, sometimes I'm sure it's a boy, other times, a girl. This week, in fact, I'm on a boy kick, hence all the "he's".

With Zeke I KNEW from the very beginning that he was a boy. I was so confident, in fact, in Ezekiel's maleness, that I told Josh before our ultrasound that if they said it was a girl, I wouldn't believe them. This pregnancy...I just cant seem to decide. I think it's because, somehow, it just doesn't matter this time around.

So Zeke, I knew was male. And even before he refused to be born, I was getting distinct impressions of that side of his personality. My Ezekiel is so stubborn, I knew that right away, things must always be done at HIS pace and HIS way. And he is so unsure of the world and of his place in it. He gets that from me, just as much as his gentleness of nature is all his father's doing. My whole pregnancy I was so constantly filled with anxiety, and for no apparent reason. I've always struggled with anxiety but never as much as during that pregnancy. I've often wondered in a chicken or the egg type way if it was my anxiety during my pregnancy that caused Zeke to be such an anxious person or if it was his anxiety seeping into me that made me so anxious during those months we shared hormones and thoughts. I tend to believe the second, especially after this pregnancy which has been filled with such a sense of peace from the very beginning.

Ezekiel was born angry. He often releases fear and surprise as anger and I truly believe for better or worse that he wasn't prepared for birth. But when he was handed to me (and despite our long and slightly worrisome labor he was able to be handed to me almost right away) he looked at me with such open eyes, and so much calm, I felt like if he had words he would have said "Oh, it is you. If I had known it was you I wouldn't have been so concerned." We knew each other right away.

I feel like when this baby is born her words will be more along the lines of "Yes, it is you. I knew it to be so." She feels so much calmer, in my mind. And she feels more self-assured than Ezekiel ever did. When we have our quiet times together and I am telling her about my love for her, and about her father and how wonderful he is, and her Father in Heaven and how He is even MORE wonderful, and that she has a brother who is so full of gentleness, and how beautiful this world is, it's as if she is saying back to me "I know". I get the feeling some days that she knows even better than I do. And now, here I am, thinking of her as female again and I am not sure about that but I will tell you for sure that she has the same gentleness of spirit that is so evident in my son. One of Josh's many gifts to me.

I would say that I cannot wait to meet her. But that's not true. Because it feels as if I already know her so intimately. It's more like the excitement of a much-loved relative coming to visit than meeting a new person, no matter how exciting.

I dont have a belly pic at the moment but I'll get one up soon.

Pumpkin Hunting

As you can see, we finally went pumpkin hunting this weekend. I had planned on going last weekend, but between the bitter frigid cold and the fact that I didn't feel like Zeke was quite himself yet from the flu, we decided to put it off.

Then this weekend was supposed to be rainy and I was regretting that decision. But THEN the weather turned out gorgeous after all. So things continue to go our way (except in one way, more on this later).

We had sooo much fun. First we got a ride behind the tractor to the orchard and picked some apples. Then we played in the pea-box (a sand box filled with dried peas), then we ate a caramel apple and a hamburger between the 3 of us, then we fed some goats and some ducks (Zeke LOVED this part) and pet a pony, then finally we took Zeke to the pumpkin field where he picked the most beautiful and perfect pumpkin all by himself (see above). Kid's got good taste.

The pumpkin Josh picked was markedly less perfect, I must admit. I was too busy having fun, and also having contractions (like ALL day long...seriously every 20 minutes for a good 9 or 10 hours straight, I was getting soo tired) to pick a pumpkin myself. I was also having too much fun to take any more pictures than those two. Even though I absolutely adore the amazing photos I took last year at Greenbluff, I just felt like enjoying the moment more than recording the moment this year. So I ate caramel apple and chased Zeke in the field and fed goats and had contractions and left my camera in my purse.

And we FINALLY got back the last of our taxes. Yes, it took THIS LONG. It turns out the government is a lot speedier with people that owe them money then they are with people they owe thousands of dollars to. That means we have the cash at last to winterize our house, and to pay off our car loan, and numerous other boring things. In fact, when I found out we were getting 8,000 dollars for buying this house, and then shortly after that the money would be spent on such doldrum things as "invisible home improvements" and "paying for things we have already owned for such a long time they no longer feel new" I promptly forced myself to forget all about it.

But Josh (that man I adore) has gone out and bought me one thing that I very very much care about. Something I am so excited for that I can hardly BREATHE. And I will let you know what it is when it's delivered this Wednesday.


I borrowed the Hypno-babies home-study program from a friend and I started it today.

When I first heard about using hypnosis during childbirth I was...really really skeptical. I'm not sure why. Maybe it has to do with all the hokey language like "pressure sensations" for contractions and "bubble of peace". I have to admit, it feels silly.

It isn't (like it is for many women) that I don't understand hypnosis. I know its not just an entertaining show at the fair. And I dont believe that its only for the "weak minded" or anything. I even used a lot of similar relaxation/meditation techniques with Zeke and they got me really far (like 24 hours far) until it really got into the knitty gritty and I found myself unable to release my tension any longer.

Anyways, for some reason this time around I find myself more open to the idea. At first I was just going to really commit to practicing my relaxation every day. Then I realized that I wasn't practicing everyday and that maybe physically doing the program would help me be more accountable, not to mention take it to a level I'm unable to achieve on my own.

I looked into both the Hypnobirthing and Hypnobabies programs origionally. I am surrounded by enough hippie-moms in my Mindful Mama's group that I was actually offered both to borrow. I think classes are offered for both programs locally but I wanted to do a home study because 1. we are busy people 2. I dont know what I'd do with Zeke during the classes (I hate leaving him with sitters) and 3. while Josh is totally on-board to take classes and read any materials I hand him, his interest in my labor process is totally wasted on me, I would much rather be left alone when I give birth.

I take it back, though. His interest isnt TOTALLY wasted on me. I love that I can talk forever about my cervical mucus or whatnot and he's totally on board (despite jokes about how he is "sooooo turned on right now"). I also love that as soon as my braxton-hicks get too painful to ignore he's right there with a couple ways to help relieve them, that he knows to watch my water and iron intake, that he recognizes and understands words like "episiotomy" and "perinium", always remembers what kinds of over-the-counter drugs I can take but also knows which herbal remidies to suggest first, and that he would never ever even consider missing a single appointment with our midwife. Josh is more well versed in today's birthing culture and facts than any 23 year old man has any right to be. He seriously knows more about birth than a few OB's I have interviewed, and most of my friends (including those that have had babies). And I love this about him.

But during the actual labor? Yeah...I'd rather be left alone.

So anyways, all of that to say I wanted to do a home study and ONE of the reasons is because I am only interested in self-hypnosis and classes focus on partner-induced hypnosis much of the time. I dont want to waste Josh's time because I know the first time he tried to use the "relax" cue on me, I would punch him in the face. We are developing an intricate sign language so that he will never have to speak to me while I'm in labor (literally).

I chose hynobabies in the end. It seems a lot more comprehensive. It uses medical grade hypnosis. And out of the two programs it got the best reviews from people I know (including 2 people who had done both).

The only hiccup so far? (I mean, once I settled down and was able to stop the inner commentaty and actually LISTEN to the tape) When I create my bubble of peace, Zekey is inside. When I realized it, I even tried to start over, but there he was again. I'm not sure if 1 year olds are allowed inside your bubble of peace. (My bubble of peace looks like one of those plastic balls you let hamsters play in, by the way. Except mine is giant. And pink. But its definately plastic.) Josh says if that is what's most peaceful then he's allowed inside.

But this is my thing. Zeke will not be attending the birth. We decided to get a babysitter because we were afraid that Zeke would be distracting to me, or that it would get intense and he would be frightened, or that he would take up all of Josh's attention. But the fact that Zeke is literally INSIDE my bubble of peace just re-iterates to me how very uncomfortable I am about being seperated from him during this time.

I know he's 16 months old now and that he will be 18 or even 19 months old when the baby is born but that doesnt change the fact that I can count on 1 hand the number of times he's been left with a babysitter. Partly because of who Zeke is (aka the freaking clingiest and most stranger shy child EVAR) and partly because of the relationship Josh and I have with Zeke, it just doesnt happen very often.

And we like it that way. Trust me, we've been told about 1,000 times about how we're spoiling him and messing him up for life and also destroying our marriage and probably even contributing to Global Warming by not leaving him more often, so spare me.

Anyways...1 day into hypnobirthing and I've already uncovered something I need to work out before the Big Day. When does the emotional baggage end?

a late WFDW

So I will admit it, I kind of forgot about WFDW last night in my rush to get Zekey bathed and ready for dinner out last night (we had family in town). But here it is, better late then never!

This is one of Josh and I's FAVORITE desserts. In fact, this is the desert that prompted Josh's comment a few weeks back that it was "almost Fall and I would therefor be making that pumpkin roll thing soon, right?" I've passed this recipe out left and right, honestly, because its EASY and IMPRESSIVE LOOKING. I've even heard a few people say this has replaced pumpkin pie in their holidays. This is a travesty. NOTHING can replace pumpkin pie. But I will submit that this can easily replace pumpkin cake.

So here goes, Pumpkin Roll Thing.

Beat 3 eggs and a cup of sugar. Mix into that 1 small can of pumpkin puree and 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 tsp of baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp salt.

Line a cookie sheet (with edges) or a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and then spread your mixture as evenly as possible before baking at 375 for 15 minutes.

When it comes out it should be spongy feeling. Loosen it onto a kitchen towel that's been sprinkled with powdered sugar and remove the parchment paper. Then roll it up in the towel and wait for it to cool.

While it cools beat together 8 oz of cream cheese, 1 cup of powdered sugar, 6 tbl butter, and a tsp of vanilla.

Now all that's left is unrolling your roll, spreading on the filling, and then rolling it back up! Easy peasy!

One Year Photos at last

As I browsed thru Zeke's 1 year photos, which finally arrived today (mind you, he is now 16 months old), the thought that kept coming to mind over and over again was "Man, can my kid do a LOT with his eyebrows or what?"

So here ya go, mom, even MORE eye candy for you.

And just a warning: The thought that may come to your mind browsing thru these photos is "Is this child perpetually concerned or what?" The answer, dear reader, is yes, yes he is.

In OTHER news, things are really beginning to look up around here. Not only have I won a 40 dollar gift certificate to buy a new baby carrier, BUT I also won a 200 dollar gift certificate to a local photography place (christmas photo's here we come!). I never win anything. Now we just need to get the news that Josh got the promotion he wants.

The OTHER other news, that isnt quite so exciting...Blueberry is very stubbornly breech (head up). I'm only 28 weeks so my midwife isnt concerned yet. But I will admit it. I am concerned. I want this baby to flip around please! Plan A is to talk to Cara (my yoga instructor) and do some positions this month mostly so I feel like I'm doing something. Plan B is if baby is still breech next month Cathy (my midwife) wants me to try some acupressure beads she has. I do NOT want to have to resort to an external version (painful procedure where a doctor basically shoves your baby into the correct, head down, position) but I WILL if it means avoiding a C-section. Uhhggg....flip around baby! Anyone have advice?

Also, my WFDW post will be coming later today, as its still in the oven, lol.

I live to serve

My mom has requested "more pictures of Zeke". Since I live to serve I followed him around the house a bit with the camera. So here ya go, mom.

Eating at the table like a big boy.
One day, earlier this week, Zeke suddenly starting pulling out a chair and sitting at the table when we told him it was dinner time, even though he had never been allowed to sit at the table before. So we bought him a booster seat. He gets a real kick out of sitting at the table with us (of course sitting next to daddy). And yes, we had pizza for dinner last night. On paper plates taken from our camping supplies because every plate in the entire house was dirty.

You KNOW you are jealous of my mad mad housekeeping skillz.

The face Zeke makes when told to "Give mommy smiles".

Zeke's newest thing is "helping". He "helps" all day long. Here he is, cleaning the pizza off the floor after dinner. Ok this is real help...not just "help". As far as I'm concerned he can wash the floor with that rag all day long.

HERE is a slightly more "helpful" trait however. Zeke will now open the dishwasher, put in a dish (a single dish mind you), and then start it running.
He was also waiting for me with a hand towel when I stepped out of the shower yesterday morning. He then proceeded to "help" me dry off. Afterwards he very carefully put the towel back where it belonged too, which I thought a nice touch...or at least one I have yet to train his father in. I was pretty happy with Z until I went into the kitchen and saw that he had also "helped" make breakfast while I was busy in the shower.

It consisted of Ritz crackers, cat food, and water I can only assume came from the toilet, mashed up with my potato masher inside my colander.

Now the kitchen tools I could forgive. He's allowed to get into that stuff to play, its never bothered me, and he does love to cook. I was even ready to overlook the crackers, as those are one of his "allowed" snacks to get himself. But the cat food and the toilet are long-fought battles, so Zeke got to sit in time out for as long as it took me to clean his mess.

I also found on my camera these pictures, which must be at least a few weeks old as I cant imagine letting Zeke outside without a shirt in the weather we've had lately:

And, to end, my OTHER babies:
I know it looks like he's eating her face off but I swear they are cuddling.

A final story. We took Zeke to Toys R Us this weekend because I wanted to start thinking about Christmas gift ideas. Josh was trying to get Zeke interested in this tool bench, and prove to me that he totally needed one. Unfortunately the kitchen isle was nearby and Zeke hightailed it over there before poor Josh could prove his point.

Don't worry too much though. While I was trying to get Zeke interested in a little rocking horse he spied the 4 wheelers and FREAKED OUT until we let him get into one and pretend to drive. That thing had a 700 dollar price tag. Dream on son. But I just may get you one of those snazzy Melissa and Doug food sets.


I stayed up past midnight Thursday night (That is LATE for me. Those of you that think of midnight as a reasonable bed-time, know that I think of 9 as a reasonable bedtime. My motto is early to bed, late to rise and I regularly get 10 or even 11 hours of sleep a night.) cleaning and getting the house back in some semblance of order after being sick. It felt very good, very calming and very right. As usual I felt like I was doing a lot more than bringing order to the kitchen, I was bringing order back into life, which has felt really contentious lately. Scrubbing away all of the grease that has built up on the stove-top seemed very symbolic.

I went to bed very much feeling "ahh, I am finally back." Then I woke up Friday and went about my "normal" activities and schedule with this strange new feeling of "but who am I?"

This identity crisis of mine seems to be sticking. This crazy feeling just keeps popping back up the last few months at the least expected moments, lasts a day or two, and then gets forgotten in the shuffle of the newest bump on the road of Raising Zeke, in playdates, and mom's groups, and dinners to be made, and cat drama, and oh yeah Josh gets attention from time to time too.

This time around its a little negatively charged. Josh and I both, getting married and starting on this little family of ours, had this very clear vision of "who" we wanted to be. It was made easy because we had the perfect example right in front of us, his youth pastor Kevin and his wife Elise. We wanted to be Kevin and Elise. We still do. Here is Elise's blog, by the way, I love it. But you see, I'm not Elise. Not even close.

I actually dont even want to get into the myriad ways that I am very not Elise. Let's just say that her blog tagline? "Daily marking out a path as my children follow?" Taken from a beautiful line out of Hebrews "So take a new grip with tired hands and strengthen your weakened knees! Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong." Yeah, doesnt discribe me. I relate a lot more these days to another blog I sometimes read: Why Mom Drinks Rum. And her tagline "getting this shit wrong since 1997"...yeah...the year might be different but I'm really feeling it these days.

Not that Holly is a bad mom. No, she's a great mom I think, and hilarious. But I dont want to be Holly, I want to be Elise.

I could, you know, just But as ancient as I know...nearing 24 and all...I still dont really know who that is.

Avian Swine SARS continued

Although I am very much on the mend, having excellent nurses in both Josh (who ended up taking Tuesday off work) and Zeke (who does such useful things as bringing me cats to cuddle when he is otherwise occupied, or my "mama baba" which is my travel mug full of tea), Zeke, unfortunately, spent yesterday in bed with me with what looks like the same thing. Poor kid. I'm trying to be an equally good nurse. Ziggy will lay with him quite happily (especially now that our heat is out, but more on that later) but Mony has required hunting and guarding, which I am happy to do. Kitty's gotta earn her way around here! He also had 5 count them FIVE bottles of milk yesterday. They must be bottles, and it must be milk. My son is demanding when sick. He also must be fed graham crackers. But he cant hold them himself, you have to feed him each bite.

Again, tried to be a good nurse. It wasnt that long ago that I was only eating Eggo waffles.

So yeah, heat is out. Our furnace kicks on for about 2 seconds and then turns off again. Even though its only the mid 50s inside. So lets just say the bed was VERY full last night as both cats insisted on being under the blankets. "Luckily" Zeke was having a hard time breathing and Josh took him to the livingroom to sleep sitting up so I finally got some room. And its hopefully going to be fixed tomorrow. Good thing too because the lows Friday and Saturday? 18 degrees.

Someday things will stop going wrong.

One thing that went very right is that one of my bestie bestie friends, Kaitie, had her baby, Lucy Kathleen. She is gorgeous and even though I havent been able to see her yet, for fear of spreading this flu to a newborn, I am soo happy for Kaitie. Hopefully I get to go see her Friday...and then like every other day until my OWN baby is born (gotta get that baby fix!)

Avian Swine SARS

I know this blog has become nothing but an outlet for my complaining for a good....oh 2+ weeks now. I don't know what's wrong either, I feel as if suddenly life is out to get me. Im quickly becoming jaded with the idea.

The newest development in the world v me battle is that I became very suddenly sick on Sunday. Deathly suddenly sick. Ok, maybe the suddenly part isn't quite true. Wednesday and Thursday I was sure I was finally catching the stomach flu that Zeke and Josh just had, but it wasn't too terrible, and I ignored it. Then Friday and Saturday I realized I was having a bit of a hard time breathing. Again, ignored it, I'm really really good at that. Then Sunday I woke up and KABAAM! I. AM. DYING.

No amount of medicinal teas, homeopathic tinctures, or even Josh's drasted supplements will help. It's a true sign of my desperation that I stooped down to taking those supplements. He probably gave me like 9 of them! (I have a thing against taking pills. It's an aversion so strong that I've done much research to justify never taking one, no matter how dire the situation. I've found thru the useful help of Google that vitamins dont actually do anything and that Tylenol is downright dangerous. No amount of medical advice, no matter how otherwise respected the person is, will make me change my mind. I found the proof I was searching for on Google, story over and long live the internets, where you can find justification for any and all paraniod theories.)

For maybe the first time in my life I am realizing how fully being the mommy can suck. For it doesnt matter how sick I am, litter boxes must be cleaned, bums must be wiped, and food served, and I am still the one that has to do it. There is no one else. I want to call in sick. I want to be the kid again and have someone serve me soup and make my tea.

As impressed as I am, I want Zeke to stop counting to 3 and jumping on my stomach.

I will even take just a slight reprieve from pregnancy so I can not pee my pants every single time I have a coughing fit.

There are also pluses to being sick mommy, of course. Before the newly discovered "jump on the baby so she can get used to it now" game Zeke was cuddling very nicely with me, patting my back, and even tried to give me his blanket and a bottle. And the cats went so far in their newly found truce that they were BOTH cuddled up against me in bed last night. Nothing like cuddles to make all these little things I take care of suddenly worth it.

The cats I am especially pleased with. While the original plan was to give them a full 4 weeks to adjust before we got rid of Mony, I was quickly running out of patience and losing hope that it was going to work. For 11 full days I spend a good 3-6 hours a DAY devoted to adjusting those cats to eachother. Breaking up fights, giving them each their alloted one-on-one time, ect. Do you realize how behind on the rest of my life that has made me? A second cat was never the plan and I was ready to throw in the towel on the idea.

But they decided to get used to each other. And right in time. Friday evening we discovered that (long story) Mony had gotten into THE WALLS OF OUR HOUSE. Yeah. Josh had to pull up siding in a closet, carpeting, and floorboards to rescue her. He was ready to throw in the towel too.

The things that make it worth it

---Waking up to little arms wrapping around your neck and a tiny voice that's saying "mama".

---Rainy weather and warm potato soup.

---Shopping bags on the table that contain both brand new, impractical, shoes (these are actually pretty practical for me...closed toed and look at those teeny, wide, heels. anyone remember those bright red, gorgeously strappy, 4 inch beauties I bought 8 months prego with Z? wore 'em on my due date, take THAT mom flats.)
and one of my favorite I-cant-actually-afford-this yarns, (I'm going to make myself a gorgeous shawl, because my family is already all wintered up and I deserve it).

---The fact that it's Fend For Yourself Friday. As in "What's for dinner honey?", "I dont know, its Fend for Yourself Friday!!" Sometimes I think the fact that I'm not making dinner on Fridays is just as relaxing as the yoga class that prevents me from making dinner on Fridays. Oh the beauty of taking an evening for myself. Every time I write FFYF on my monthly menu plan I just smile and smile.

---A Great Cat War truce, however temporary. After following Mony around all morning long, Ziggy came downstairs at last and was greatly dissapointed to find that naptime was nearly over. Usually he cuddles with Zeke at nap, its one of his favorite times of day, but he wouldnt come down when I called him so he missed it. Since then he's back to following US around and Mony is nowhere to be found, I'm assuming she's hiding and geting her OWN nap in.
(the long awaited picture of our Mony Mony)

---A fire alarm no longer beeping. I dont know what stopped it. Taking out the batteries never worked, neither did going to the store and buying NEW batteries, nor did ripping out every single wire. My plan was to have Josh remove it from our wall (we have plaster walls so I wasnt strong enough to unscrew it myself at that angle) and throw it in the backyard but by the time he was home from work it wasnt beeping anymore. So we no longer have a fire alarm but at least its not beeping...and hey, there is always sock monkey in case of a fire.

Also, the way Zeke claps and says "yay!" every time Taylor Swift comes on the radio, lol.

Being Positive

Ummm...ok so I promised some good attitude right?

Uhhh....well maybe I literally yelled to my child "Ezekiel Clark I will FREAKING KILL YOU if you don't stop!" just now (he's been banging something against the table for a good half hour now, and yes, it IS his nap time and yes, there are now dents all over my table). But his hair is spiked and it looks rather cute.

And my house might be 50 degrees in the livingroom because I cant turn on the heat yet because Josh hasnt finished winterizing (meaning we still have an AC unit in the window (therefor open window) upstairs and 4 measly inches of insulation in our roof) but the livingroom is a rather cute (and warm) shade of yellow?
And I also picked up my borrowed maternity coat today so at least I can wear it in an attempt to keep from re-enacting that Titanic scene...

And the fire alarm may have been beeping (every 26 seconds to be exact) all morning long. I may have tried EVERYTHING to get it to stop and it wont, hence a child not asleep and a mommy about to TEAR HER EARS or maybe even her BRAIN off.

But, GOOD THING, we have an emergency fire back up plan. It involves a sock monkey and a fire extinguisher. So at least I dont have to worry about a fire, what with our broken fire alarm. The monkey is in position, as he always is (being magnetic and stuck to the wall), ready to deal with it. And hey, a small kitchen fire might warm up the house a bit...
And at least the monkey is appropriately dressed for the temperature around here. I mean, I'd hate to think he was SUFFERING.

And yes, maybe I had a rough time getting my pajama pants on last night, what with the bulbous stomach and all. And maybe I got a charlie horse in my right thigh and left calf at the EXACT same moment, sending me into an immediate panic (under my 5 blankets). But Zeke slept well....

See? I'm looking on the POSITIVE side.

Where are those brownies I made yesterday?