Friday, December 7, 2012

Mornings with Montana Man

I love the mornings that MM is home with me. Yes, it means he is not "working" his regular job but he usually has a side job to attend to later in the morning. But until then I get him! And this morning was perfect. I got to sleep an extra 40 minutes. This was badly needed because Mini got up more than normal last night. Oh, and I may have wasted a couple hours of sleep on a very thrilling Christian mystery book that involves horses. But same same, I needed some extra sleep! And MM jumped right out of bed when I requested 30 minutes more and grabbed his little daughter to rock her :-) Be still my heart!

When I got up we put on The Polar Express for Puzzle Boy (his new fav), and I made my special pumpkin spice coffee and some vanilla creamer. Montana Man made us breakfast! And we ate it together. At the table. Sans kids. And instead of using this time wisely to talk about politics or how to end world hunger we talked about the fact that we were having coffee together, alone. And maybe there was some Bob Marley* jokes in there. We laughed and drank coffee and were just us. No, we did not feel guilty about our kids watching a movie at 8:30 in the morning, we have learned the hard way that our marriage demands attention even if it's just coffee. There is plenty of time to spend mornings immersed in our kids, but we also realize that they need to see us spending time on each other because someday they will be married. No, I am not just trying to justify the tv thing again, I swear. This stuff is important!

Moral of the story today. Drink hot liquids with your spouse while your kids do otherwise on a semi-regular basis. It is fabulous, trust me.

*Bob Marley the comedian, not the pot smoking musician, although I have to say that that Bob has made a chuckle arise from me a time or two. It's the hair I think. Bob Marley the comedian is our fav, and he is from Maine so it makes him even cooler.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Real Life, True Story.

"...therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on it. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing." -Luke 12:22-23

We never moved. For reasons we will never understand we are still here and Montana Man has a new job for better pay. We are thankful for this and are trying to forget the months lost.

I have been wanting to post but have been a little stuck. It's that time of year... and I am unmedicated, be afraid. Anxiety has kinda been my new dysfunctional bestie, we like to cry together and be grumpy over spilled milk. I have not called in my buddy Zoloft recently because I am still nursing my incredibly beautiful 9 month old (with 3 teeth I might add) and the fact that I end up having about as much emotional response as Data. It was a husband/wife decision.

I have been reading other peoples blogs though and what has struck me is how ordinary a lot of them are. I always feel like I need to come up with something awesome to post, much how I feel about dinner. And then I think of nothing and don't post, much like dinner. We eat a lot of "pantry" dinners. It's something to work on. But I miss writing! I suffer from chronically unheard syndrome (symptoms include talking to people under the age of 5 constantly, not remembering what you were saying after being interrupted and people who are just kinda sick of you). Now I have no idea if anyone who reads these posts likes it but it makes me feel special when I see it got action!

So this is real life. I am a real person. I fear the Lord and want to teach my children to do the same. I eat a really crappy diet, I will work on it someday. I like to see how close to when I have to take Puzzle Boy to school I can get up in the morning (7:20 just so you know, we leave at 8:00). I have to go back and capitalize almost every "I" I use. It annoys me. I like and hate showers. I daydream about when I can have another baby because I swear I still have a rush from Mini Me's birth (you can stop shouting "insanity!" now). I am such an introvert that small family gatherings get my feathers ruffled. I hate gift giving, oh the pressure! I stick my kids in front of the tv more than I care to share, and I do it for coffee. I love books. I have a lot of them. I want to write one. Maybe.

I was reading Pioneer Woman's blog today and she recorded conversations she has with her husband. I have not laughed so much in awhile. I might try it. Ree, do you mind?

This post has become so disorganized! Oh my goodness, if you come back you deserve a medal and a hug. Maybe some of my coffee, that's how grateful I would be.

Now there is an odor I must address coming from the small child I am holding (I bet you are thinking, "how impressive, she typed this with one hand!") Wishful thinking anyway!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Moving Update: Still Waiting

A couple months ago I posted about our family relocating and that we were waiting for the family in our soon to be new home to move into their new home. This has been the greatest test our family has had to endure yet. Montana Man has been working in our new town while I have still been 3 hours away with my parents and the kids. We see each other every week to two weeks as our gas budget and days off allow. I came to the point last week where I was angry and felt betrayed by my God for letting this continue. After this anger came mourning and remorse for my feelings and sin toward my Savior, for He knows our plan even if we do not. I have also been very angry at the family still occupying our new home because they have been waiting for what I believe to be insufficient reasons (i.e. waiting for counter tops to be put into the their new kitchen, get a freaking microwave!) To say that this has been frustrating would be an understatement. But we persist and continue to wait for the house that seems to be the only one meant for us.
Side note: We have thought of finding another rental but the market for this particular combination of requirements is basically non-existent.

So! While I have been waiting I have had time to really think on what our goals over the next two years should be.

Goal #1:
Pay off debt completely and build a safety net in our savings as well as any extra we can for a down payment whether it be for building a house or buying existing. Repairing and building our credit as a couple also goes in this category. Becoming financially independent and being able to shape our budget to our means no matter the size is priority, we are still living in a material world at the moment.

Goal #2:
Prepare, prepare, prepare. This means building a food supply for use in emergencies, means of self-defense and acquiring skills of self reliance.

Goal #3:
This is a personal goal. Get down to a comfortable and healthy weight and fitness level. For myself this has been on my mind a lot. We do plan to have more kids and I feel like I was not as physically prepared as I would have liked in my pregnancy. I have a very good amount of time to achieve this through eating healthfully, building my fitness through activity, and self healing.

In conclusion, I will post after we have moved because as of now I have no date.

Notice: The Making Your Home a Haven series will continue after we have moved and settled. Apologies to the few that actually read my blog!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Making Your Home a Haven: The Living Room

Good rainy Tuesday to you all. Or atleast it is where I am! Rain makes it so incredibly hard to make myself do anything, it's so gloomy! But at the same time I love the stuff and love rainy days (it's a love-hate relationship).

Today I am going to try to make my living room more comfortable and presentable. What a task! I am going to share a little secret with you... I live with my parents. There I said it, I do. This is their home and thus all of their stuff and our stuff have come to rest in one household. We officially occupy 2 bedrooms in this house and 1 bathroom, but really our stuff (i.e. the kids stuff) is EVERYWHERE. Like this:

So I will post an update on what I did to make this mess into something someone would love to sit down and relax in. The office/entry and dining room will be next on the list.

Friday, August 31, 2012

We Have the Right to Bear Arms (Even if "They" Don't Want Us to)

It's not secret there is something fishy going on in the Capitol about gun laws. Washington has already disreguarded one part of the Constitution, why not disreguard the part that protects our rights to protect ourselves? Guns are evil!!! They kill people!!! Waaaaah!!!!

Ok, so if someone in these desparate (soon to be more desparate) times decides they are going to break into your home where your children are and steal your property, maybe harm/ kill you while they are at it, what are you going to do? 911, sure, that might help... if they get there in a nano second. Grab a kitchen knife? Pretty sure that puts you close enough for them to grab you! I am not paranoid by any means... but lets think logically here!

I own a gun. I own the gun pictured above. It was a gift to me from my husband and he taught me to use it and clean it, load it and store it. I do not take it out much but if I had the need, it's there. I am at home with my children alone much of the time and along with a dog a gun makes me feel just a little bit safer and gives me peace of mind. Our rifels are one of the things we see as a practical and necessary investment in the homesteading lifestyle.

Starting to look a little low!

This is just part of what we have done and are going to do to prepare ourselves for what is ahead of us. When we have settled in a permenant home we will complete our "emergency" preparations. Right now I keep about 2 months worth of food stock in my pantry. Eventually we will increase that to a years supply as well as becoming proficient at producing our own food (garden, animals and such).

I do not have faith in people, I have faith in God. I believe that He makes it our job to protect our own family and not rely on others to do it for us.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Make Your Home a Haven: Working Joyfully

Last week went well about 50% of the time! Oh, young children make "me time" so challenging! How did yours go?

This week I was thinking about how often I feel grudgingly about my everyday work and become weary from the tediousness. Children and a house and animals all are very demanding and the work is never "finished". Clothes are always in the process of becoming dirty, meals being digested and floors becoming cluttered or hairy with each minute that passes. Somedays the infinity of this situation overwhelms me! It is so hard after a long week not to feel a little down or self pittying, double this feeling if it was a rainy week as well! My heart has cried out to the Lord to give me strength when I want to be weak and to help me be joyful in the everyday work He has set before me. Most of this week I felt better than I have been, He has shown me how great He is! Here are somethings I do to make me enjoy my work and adjust my attitude if I need to!

First, pray. Only Jesus can change my heart.

Second, put on some rockin' tunes! Music is my souls delight and it is the best way I comfort myself when I don't want to throw up my emotions on a human (usually my mother :-/).

Third, take 10 minutes and read an article on a subject I enjoy and then ponder it for as long as I care to. My brain needs stimulation!

Fourth, cook a meal someone else is going to really enjoy! I have to cook either way, I may as well get the satisfaction of pleasing a loved one at the same time.

This is not rocket science, if you have made the commitment to your family and the Lord to raise your children at home and be a good wife to your husband is is not practical to grudge it for the rest of your life! God calls us women to stay in the home (as un-glamourous as that is), and also teach our younger women to do the same. Homemaking is an art, you must learn how to do it not only well but with a joyful heart!

"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled".
- Titis 2:3-5

Proverbs 31:10-31 are also an excellent picture of what God calls a wife and mother to be, I read it when I am in need of inspiration.

How do you make your work more enjoyable/ tolerable? When you are overwhelmed with your home and children how do you cope?

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Making Your Home a Haven: Week 1

I got this idea from one of my favorite blogs Tammy's Recipes. She did this series a while back and I was inspired by her diligence and am inspired by her honesty about being a wife and mother to 5 children. Her blog is so much more than recipes and it is worth a stop by her site. I will be following some of her challenges but also throwing in some of my own. I have not gotten much feed back on my posts although I know there are people reading it... So! I am challenging you other mommys and wives to join me in this path of self improvement and encourage each other!

This week I am going to start, as Tammy did, with a morning routine. Nothing lengthy, just 5 things. I am not a morning person and I will openly admit that I "waste" a good part of my day and energy on selfish and fruitless activities. I have had a bad case of the "burnt" grumps and I need to let God use me to the best of my ability even if I am not where I want to be right now. Let's see if I can get my mornings to start like this!:

1. Make bed at 6:30... a.m.

2. Make a pot of green tea, not coffee.

3. Eat. Oatmeal.

4. Take vitamins.

5. Bible time with Puzzel Boy.

Seems simple doesn't it? Shocked I picked these things, I mean, how could this be an improvement? Let me share what I am currently doing.

Drag my butt out of bed when I here PB trying to open his door, usually around 7-7:30.
Get him in the bathroom to pee and then direct him to get dressed.
Get him breakfast, and I put a movie on for him... (I am horrible!).
I make a pot of coffee and attempt to drink 1/2 a cup before Mini gets up.
Change and dress Mini, then nurse while drinking the rest of my coffee... (yet more horribleness).
Put Mini in her exesaucer to play while I hop online to see whatevery one else is doing on facebook or I will stay sitting after nursing to watch the rest of PB's movie. (Have I dug my hole yet?)
Maybe I will ferret out something to pop in my mouth that doesn't even begin to qualify as breakfast.
Get dressed.
More coffee.
Make bed... maybe.
Laundry if need be.
Get Puzzel Boy playing with something, usually play dough at the moment.

This is everyday. No wonder I feel dumpy and sad. But I can change, through Christ I can change and He has given me a heart to want to. But what does this have to do with make your home a haven? Well, if I am productive and content then it creates a certain atmosphere in my house that makes others comfortable. We are in uncomfortable and challenging times and we need to be thankful for what we do have not what we want.

So this week, make a list of 5 things you would like to start your day with! Let me know how you liked the results and what your 5 things are :-)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Family Update: Operation Relocation

We are moving to and area of Maine called the Downeast. This is ironic because although it is east about as much as you can go in this country, it is not down. It is middle. But, since the Middle East nick name was already taken we fast thinking Mainers have improvised.

I have a confession to make on this subject... Montana Man and I have moved 5 times since meeting in Montana (romantic right?!) just under 4 years ago. Our first place was really Montana Man's place that he was living in when I met him. It was a SHACK. But it was $300 a month! When our/his son came to live with us we moved to the most adorable log cabin 10 miles out of town. It was quiet and beautiful, I loved that house! It too was a low rent at $425 a month and our electric bill was about $11-15 a month! But we came back to Maine. We lived with my parents (gulp) for a year until our wedding and then we moved into a little apartment with 2 bedrooms. I loved it. But it was next to smokers so when the identical unit came available next door and next to my cousin, we moved across the yard. This apartment was $900/month. YIKES. Bit of a difference right?? So when I got to the end of my pregnancy and realized after I stopped work we could not pay this rape rent we moved back in with my parents with the grand plan that we would cohabitate until the built their dream home and then we would rent their house. This did not happen. We knew we needed to move out but we felt a little stuck and not sure where to turn. But God made it very clear in a matter of days that we were going to be relocating soon. After prayer and an official job offer along with an offer of ideal housing (horse too!) we made the final decision. So here were go again. I have my doubts and anxieties but I have to trust that God will provide for us.

That said, I hate moving. I am not a good packer and with kids it is hellatious. My mom has packed the majority of my stuff because she actually enjoys it. Now what I enjoy is setting up a house! I love moving in. I am very excited about this house, it is in a crazy beautiful location with tons of yard for the kids and a large field for our horse. The kitchen is abit of a black hole (i.e. dark) but I have some great ideas on how to improve it when I have some spare money. I am a firm believer in making what ever space you are in your home even if it is temporary. I can not wait until we are moved, I will be taking before and after pictures of the space so you can see how I set up a new house and give you some tips on making any space work for you. I might have some experience!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Making Cloth Diapers: Part 2

Instruction time! Get your note pad kids, here we go!

You need:
PUL fabric, 16"X16" per diaper
fleece fabric, ditto
velcro or snaps
1/4 inch woven elastic, avoid the stiff stuff
sewing machine
fabric sissors
a weight of some kind
a pattern like this one: Diaper Revolution

Step 1: Trace your pattern on both of your fabric pieces as the pattern instructs using a weight to keep the pattern in place. I do this with a permenant marker but you can do it with a washable one, it doesn't show on the final product. Cut out the tracing.

Step 2: Following your specific instructions, place and sew elastic and then pin as close to the edge as possible your fleece and PUL right sides together. Mine was a pocket style diaper so this is what I had to do for the back...

Step 3: After you have sewn the pieces right sides together mark where your pattern says to put the leg elastic. Sew your uncut strip of elastic to one end and then stretch it as taught as you can to the next mark along the seam of the leg. Sew in place and trim. Make sure you go over it several times because if it lets go after you are finished you are going to be ripping seams. Not fun.

Step 4: After you have tacked both leg elastic in place, turn your diaper taking care to get your corners really well, I use a crochet hook in the points. Now top stitch a 1/4 inch all the way around jutting in at the elastic while holding it stretched straight to encase it with in the seam. DO NOT stitch on the elastic or it won't gather right.

Step 5: Place your velcro and sew in place or place your snaps. You're done! Go diaper that baby!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Laundry (Soap) Day

This is another one of those 'I'm a cheapy' things. Nearly two years ago we were just moved into our new house as a married couple and when I went to buy a new bottle of laundry detergent I just shook my head at the gastly price. Geez! Nearly $20 for a bottle to last us a month. I had seen homemade laundry detergent recipes here and there on the web but I just never thought it would be worth it. But I changed my mind. The next time I was low on detergent I went out and invested a whole $10 on supplies to make soap. A four pack of Ivory soap bars (on sale), a box of washing soda, and a box of Borax. Then I made my first batch and here goes nothing. Well, I was a changed girl. Two years later I am only on my third bar of soap from my supplies and have 2/3 full boxes of soda and Borax. I have spent less than $5 a year on laundry soap. YOU can too. It takes 10 minutes. Can you say no brainer?

I use just a very generic recipe you will find pretty much everywhere on the internet. A little tip though, if you have really hard water add more washing soda to your mix and it will help the soap rinse out better (it softens the water), reverse that if you have really soft water.

1 bar of Ivory soap, finely grated
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 cup Borax
2 gallons of water
3-5 gallon bucket, whatever you have.

First, grate your soap... like this:

Then measure 8 cups of the water and microwave until VERY hot. You can do it on the stove top in a pot but it's a pain, this is easier!

Add grated soap to the water... like this:

After you have added all the soap, do it slowly to avoid lumps, and it is dissolved you can add the borax and washing soda. The mixture will get thick very quickly but just keep stiring!

Pour the mixture into your bucket and make your first addition of water warm. Mix well, then, to speed up the process and make the soap not separate as bad, make the rest cold water for a total of 2 gallon (or 32 cups) of water used. I put a fill line on my bucket to take out the measuring step. Whisk (yes, with a whisk, silly) the final mixture for about a minute and then let it finish cooling, whisking it now and a again until completely cool. When it is, pour it in your bottle of choice and use about 1/2 cup per load, more if you are washing boy/man clothes, about half that for cloth diapers.

This is unscented soap. If you love scent, essential or fragrance oils can be added.

Please give this a try, let me know how you like it!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Making Cloth Diapers: Part 1

I finally did it! I made a cloth diaper that doesn't leak and fits Mini. And I broke down and got a pattern... But I still made it all by myself! And if I hadn't had interuptions it would have only taken me 45 minutes start to finish. Perfect amount of time, I could get 2 done during nap time! Now I need to make about 11 more and I will be golden. The next one I make I will give a link to the pattern and photo instructions.
I love being self sufficient!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Homemade "Nutella" Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

I am a cheap person. No really! I hate spending money, I hate it as an object even more because I am always in need of it. We have a budget for food that we cannot afford to go over but as always I find myself a few days short and out of money but I needed something yummy to put on s'mores tonight for a church ladies campfire. I immediately thought of Nutella! But no money... wait a second... I have some hazelnuts! So desprate and frugal me I grabbed those nuts out of the cupboard and threw them in the mini food processor. I ground them smooth, added my homemade chocolate syrup and a heavy splash of rice milk and a tiny splash of vanilla and blended with a spatula. It was spot on and it only had 4 ingredients. Cheap and easy.


1/2 cup roasted, cooled hazelnuts
1-2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon milk (any kind)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Grind hazelnuts until very smooth like butta. Spoon into a bowl and add rmaining ingredients, stir or whisk until well combined and smooth. Store in an air tight container in the fridge.

*Note: It may have a bit of a grainy texture and that's cool, makes it easy to see it's homemade! Be proud of your thriftyness and get used to it!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Photo Monday

I am horrible at "capturing the moment" with my kids, cameras just seem to slip my mind! So maybe if I dedicate a day to it I will take more pictures. Here are some of the kids!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Pardon Me...

Very sorry I have been absent! I am in the process of making diapers for Mini Me and will be posting a tutorial from start to finish very soon. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 1, 2012

My Pot Garden

Heeheehee... I couldn't resist that title because it sounds like I'm doing something naughty! Quite the opposite, sorry to disappoint your craving for scandel!

As you know I had a baby in March. Normally I have big ambitions of a garden but this year it just wasn't in the cards. Now I am kicking myself for not preparing and doing one. So I have resorted to pots (and tubs and totes). I would take pictures for you but at the present they are just filled with dirt. Not very exciting. But I am growing some culinary herbs, pumpkins, melons, spinach, lettuce, and swiss chard from seed and will purchase some tomato and pepper plants. This fall we will select a site for a permenant garden and prep it for spring. Maybe even plant some garlic and make an asparagus bed! A greenhouse perhaps? Maybe if I BEG my hubby! Next year I intend to go all out and learn to pressure can to preserve whatever we can. If I don't have to buy it in a store I won't, that is my goal with most of our food. Baby steps, first pot(s).

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Washing Cloth Diapers in a Front Loader

When I decided to cloth diaper my baby I had lots of questions and naturally thought this was going to be really complicated. The thing I feared the most was the washing! I have a newer Bosch front loading washer and I had read so many mom forums that insisted you could not get the diapers clean in any front loader. Of course I panicked at first and had flashes of my poor infant with diaper rash and stinky catastrophies. Well I wasn't going to be getting another washer and I had already bought my diapers so what was I to do? Well I figured out a simple and effective routine with my specific washer but those of you with another kind can probably adapt.

Step one: Take the wet or poopy diaper off your little one and clean them up! Put a clean diaper on. Put the dirty diaper or insert in your pail, I recommend the dry method.

Step 2: Repeat step one until your pail is full or you are down to 3-4 diapers.

Step 3: Dump the pail contents as they are in the washer. If you have a baby that is still exclusively breastfed no need to rinse out the poopies. Babies on solids make solid poop so please rinse out best you can in the toilet before putting in your pail.

Step 4: For my washer I do not have a "Rinse" cycle but I have discovered recently how to do this! I select "Drain & Spin" and then hit the "Allergy Rinse" button. This is a hot rinse.

Step 5: After you have run the rinse cycle add a small (I mean small) amount of your diaper safe soap of choice. has a great list of detergents good and bad for washing diapers. I then select the "Xxtra Sanitary" cycle and another "Allergy Rinse" which will just add another hot rinse at the end. If you want a little added softness DO NOT add softener, add a few tablespoons of white vinegar in place of softener. Softener will make your diapers repel liquid instead of absorb.

Step 6: Check to see if there is any soap on your door at the end of the cycle. If there is you may have some soap build up or used too much soap. Just run another hot rinse until it is gone. Then either line dry or machine dry as your diaper brand instructs. I have gDiapers and the waterproof pouch cannot be machine dried. I just toss them on top of the dryer and let the gentler heat dry them. DO NOT USE DRYER SHEETS!!!

There you go! Clean diapers for your baby's bottom.

If it smells like ammonia when your baby pees in their diaper you may need to strip them. It is a good idea to do this periodically anyway to keep them from getting any kind of build up. Same goes for if it seems like the absorbancy has decreased, time to strip.

Happy diapering!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

My Daughter's Birth Story

I found out I was pregnant in July when I happened to be going to my doctor for a med check and was 4 days late. Curious, yet, doubting I really was pregnant I asked if I could do a urine test since I was there anyway. I had no sooner got back to the exam room and got settled to chat with my doctor than the nurse popped her head in and simply said it was positive. I was thrilled and a bit shocked! I had lost a pregnancy in it's early weeks the month before and had just begun seeing an OB for fertility testing. This was wonderful news, however, I was now nervous as the waiting began to see if this was going to be a viable pregnancy after 3 that were not.
My OB decided I should start on a progesterone treatment to help support my pregnancy. Just wanting a healthy pregnancy I went with it. But in the back of my mind it bothered me a bit. After my husband and I got home from our trip to Montana we had an ultrasound at 8 weeks and everything looked great! Healthy little bean. Then we had a nurse visit before we left to outline the next seven months of care. By about the third test we declined we could tell she was getting a little annoyed at our take charge attitude involving my pregnancy. We got that “Oh, you're one of those couples” look. When we got in the car we both just looked at each other and knew we would not be coming back. I called Susi soon after to set up a consultation. After trying to have a baby for the better part of the last year I was not going to have someone bully me into situations that made me uncomfortable!
We loved Susi and transferred my records to her and never looked back. The first and second trimester went fairly smoothly with no morning sickness and really only fatigue to complain about. I really enjoyed that period! Then came the third. All I can say is UGH! Cue swelling, prodromal labor and heartburn that could melt a skillet. By 30 weeks I was just counting the days until I could be done. I felt and looked like an over saturated sponge begging for someone to ring me out. Suspicious of how I was feeling, Susi ran some blood tests and it concluded that I wasn't eating enough and was heading for preeclampsia if I didn't get my act together. So, I began the full time job of eating. I was not a good employee to my body and there was many an afternoon my mom came home and fed me from then until she went to bed. The extra food and supplements did make me feel better though, and it wasn't until now that I had realized growing a baby is work in one way or another.

Several times I thought I was going into labor, but it always petered out. At 37 weeks I was loosing it. I cried uncontrollably for a whole day after I had been up most of the night with regular contractions. I watched announcements of other people's babies crop up on facebook what seemed like daily. I was envious and miserably so. I struggled for days with this trying to be happy for others as I bawled at their status updates! I will admit this was not one of my prouder moments, I was acting like a toddler demanding to know when her surprise party was. I was tired from the strain on my body and the constant contractions, I just wanted to be done. So what did I do? I gave up. Said, screw it, she'll come out eventually, for now I give up trying to get things going.

I was 38 weeks on the first of March, a Thursday. Friday I decided to make an appointment to get my hair cut the next day. I figured with two kids I would have no time to get it cut after she was born. Saturday came and I woke up in a bit of a bad mood. Kyle and I had argued the night before about something, I can't quite remember. I went to my haircut and came back feeling a bit better and noticed I was having contractions quite a bit. I decided to dismiss them and went about my day. Jeremiah and Kyle went to a play date that evening and my mom decide she and dad would take me to my “last supper” out. To Mexican. Subtle. Just wanting to go out I said fine and away we went. The dish I got was not spicy and wasn't terribly good either. Oh well, it was another break from the house! That night Kyle and I settled our grouchy attitudes and went to bed. He got up at 2:15ish am. to get ready to work a short shift at the airport and I thought about getting up to pee. I fell back asleep until about 3:00 when my bladder firmly suggested I get my butt out of bed and empty it. Away I stumbled across the hall. For some reason I flicked the light on that time, usually I just left it off considering the night light sufficient. After I wiped I looked at the paper out of habit and was shocked to see a bloody streak on it. I had a flash of the same emotion I had when I got my first period... weird. Then when it sunk in what the streak meant I got a stupid grin on my face and hurried to see if Kyle had left for work yet. He just happened to forget his keys that morning and was on his way back in the door as I came to tell him I thought I was starting labor. I told him if I needed him I would call him home and he went to work. I thought about going back to bed but I had started having really crampy contractions and figured I might as well encourage things to get going. I sat on my birth ball and watched a recorded show while I did hip rotations and relished the feeling of real labor surges. They had immediately organized into a pattern of 3-4 minutes apart and about a minute long but were fairly mild. By 4:45 I figured I would just let mom know I was in labor. She was so excited she almost shot out of bed, but I assured her I was just getting going so she should go back to sleep. I went back to the living room with a bowl of cereal and just hung out in the quiet. I called Susi at 6:00 to let her know my labor had started and she said she would be by to see me around 7:30. Then I called Kyle to come home soon. Susi came and checked me out and listened to the baby and said I was in early labor and then left. She called to check in around 1:00 and I was still plugging away at the same pace though things were getting more intense by that time. I was handling the surges well and felt good although a bit tired. Susi said she would call back to check on me at 5:00 unless I felt I needed to call sooner. I snacked and enjoyed Jeremiah's nap time in the rocking chair. My feet and legs were so swollen that mom suggested laying down with my feet up for a bit, but that sounded awful! I liked my chair! Things were getting heavier and the motion and even the creaking of the old chair were really soothing me.

By 4:00 I wanted to be checked. It had been 13 hours since I had started labor and I wanted some reassurance that it was going to fruitful in the near future. Mom called Susi and she arrived about 4:30. When she checked me I was 2 cm (call the press!!!) and 90% effaced. Oh, I tried so hard to not act disappointed...

OK, things from here on get a little jumbled and fuzzy. I think I got in the shower for a bit as active labor kicked into gear. Sometime later (11:00 pm. I was told) Brenda, the assisting midwife came to take over for Susi and her student Lara. She listened to the baby with the Doppler and then strongly suggested Kyle and I cuddle for a bit. I had been checked again a bit earlier and was only 5 cm but fully effaced. I had retreated to my bed even though the contractions were more painful laying down. I was getting exhausted. Food and drink did not interest me and it took a lot of coaxing to get some into me. I think about an hour later I started getting nauseous and shaky and unwillingly giving a bit of a grunty push at the end of the surge. At the time I thought nothing much of it but when I asked Susi after the birth when I had gone through transition she told me that was it. We figure I went from 5 to 10 cm in about 2 hours or so. At some point I went to my glider in the corner of my room and labored there for a couple hours only leaving it's relative comfort to pee. I remember glaring at Kyle as he lay sleeping on the bed only feet from me. Someone came in to listen to the baby and make me take a sip of water every few contractions. It wasn't hard to tell when I had one because I was moaning them out fairly load now. Oh, the back labor, how I hated it. If not for that crap that labor would have been cake. Finally, I think around 6:00 am. Susi came in and wanted to check me again. This time I was complete and she thought I had been so for a little while. She told me not to get in my chair and that it was time to get things moving. So I stationed myself at the end of my bed and practiced pushing. I didn't really have much urge to push yet but she suggested I give a little push at the beginning of a surge to encourage that feeling. Oh man did it work! Kyle and mom watched over me as I got the hang of pushing. Kyle and I were alone when my water broke with a short splat on the chux I was standing on during a push. He was sitting right next to me and got his socks splashed. I apologized for the fluid that was soaking in and asked if he would go tell Susi my water broke. Not sure if he did or if Susi just happened to come in right after but announced clear fluid, dried my legs a bit and then got down to business. I tried squatting while hanging on to my foot board, standing, kneeling while Kyle sat in front of me and held my upper body and squatting being supported by Kyle from behind. Once I got her head through my cervix and down low enough to see I assumed the kneeling/ hands and knees position for most of the remaining push time. Susi gave my perineum support with hot washcloths and coached me to try to get her head through my bones. Finally I gave in to the burning pain and was crowning. In my head I was thinking to myself, “Holy sh*t this burns! They aren't kidding about the ring of fire!”. I buried my face in Kyle's knees and pushed hard, not that my body gave me many options. Trying to stay in control of that kind of force is challenging to say the least. My mom had gotten Jeremiah and they were on hands and knees in the doorway staring at the squishy head of hair I was working hard to get out. Jeremiah exclaimed, “Baby's head! Baby's coming out soon! Good job mommy”. My mom was giving me a play by play of what part of her face she could see with each push until finally her head was out. Then Susi asked me to step one of my legs forward to get her shoulders out. “What?”, I said, bewildered. Kyle told me to again and helped me straighten and get the leg up there. I pushed really hard and at 11:39 am. out she came! Along with Sebago Lake. She got passed under my legs to Kyle and he handed her to me. She was wet and warm and smelled like a hot tub. A little in shock I managed to seat myself on Kyle's lap and tried to get Grace to cry. She was breathing fine but her lungs were a bit wet still. I chuckled in my head as Kyle asked for a rag to wipe the meconium off his arms.
In the background I heard a sickening splattering. Realizing it was coming from me I looked down to see a puddle of blood forming at my feet. I expected to see my placenta come flying out with it. Didn't happen. I pushed a little as Kyle stimulated my nipple. Still didn't happen. I was given a tincture, nothing. So we cut the cord and I hobbled over to my bed. I got Grace latched on to my breast and just admired her perfection while Susi checked me for any tears. Not so much as a skid mark! Jer came and met his sister and mom snapped pictures. After a few minutes it became apparent that the placenta that was half in half out needed some attention. I reluctantly gave Kyle Grace and was helped into a squat on the bed. I pushed, coughed and pleaded with the stupid organ but no luck. And Susi and Brenda's faces were getting worried. I got catheterized and Lara fed me more tinctures. While on my hands and knees I had a big gush of blood and Susi quickly said, “Pit her”, to Brenda. Things were starting to get desperate. After I got laid back down and Susi unsuccessfully tried to manually help the placenta out, she and Brenda went into the bathroom to talk. I knew the word hospital was being said. They came back and I agreed it would be best to transfer. I had lost a lot of blood, so much my ears were ringing now.

It didn't take long for the EMTs to arrive. Brenda was finishing getting me dressed as I told mom what to dress Grace in when they came in the room. Having worked at a store during high school that they frequented, I recognized two of them right away and the other I had grown up with in school. Familiar faces were a comfort. Given the tight hallway they brought in a wheeled chair to get me out to the truck. As I stood up and got seated my vision immediately went fuzzy and gray and my hearing reduced to a muffle. I wasn't scared though, I knew God was with me and I was going to be OK. I reassured Kyle as I was wheeled past him, barely able to hold my head off my chest. He looked terrified as the last of my vision disappeared. Outside the cool air registered against my skin as did the brilliant sunlight that filtered in through my darkness. The men lifted me onto the gurney and as I laid back the blood was able to restore my vision and hearing rather quickly. Susi climbed in with me and sat at my head and two of the EMTs stationed on either side of me. The kid I went to school with took the wheel and off we went. Kyle and mom were going to follow with Grace. They got IV fluids started after fitting me with oxygen and Susi called ahead to let Labor and Delivery know we were on our way so we could skip the ER. I chatted with the guys on the way and the ride went pretty quick. When we got there they rolled me out and through the sliding doors. I got a wrist band and we headed up to the L&D floor. In triage I told the nurse my baby was being brought by my husband and I wanted to be able to nurse her again before anything was done to me. She assured me I would be able to. I met a couple doctors and it was decided after examination that a D&C was going to be the best action to take. I signed forms, had another IV started and was briefed by the anesthesiologist. The nurse and Susi helped me nurse Grace and then collect some colostrum for while I was in surgery. I was then wheeled over to the OR and things got going. I woke up as they were wheeling me back into my triage room. Everything had gone fine, they had found that my membranes hadn't separated from my uterus and had stopped my placenta from being able to birth. It was a rare complication and not something I should expect to see again.
I got settled in my postpartum room after getting two pints of blood to replenish a good amount of my total volume. Our pastor came to see us and held Grace for a bit while I ate some supper. After he left, I tried to get some sleep between feedings and nurses coming in. Mom left in the morning when Kyle got up. We spent the day trying to get me discharged and after I had my catheter removed and peed twice, I was. Susi had been by a bit before to check in and give Grace a better exam. We hadn't had time for a full one before I transferred but we did manage to weigh her the night before at the hospital. 8 pounds, 12 ounces and 21 inches! I was given instructions and some Floradix for my iron and was told she would see me Thursday. I showered and dressed while mom was on her way to pick us up and finally we got to go home! Nothing was sweeter than returning home to my bed to cuddle with my new baby.

Her birth was perfect, third stage not so much. But, honestly I have no fears to have another home birth. I was in good and skilled hands as well as my Father's, He never left me through out my 33 hours of labor or the weeks of recovery after. I was and am happy with my story.


We heat with wood in our home and every fall we seem to be staring winter in the face before we have all our firewood cut, split and stacked. This year Montana Man and I are determined to have two years worth of wood in the barn to cure before we reach winter. From now on we will have a goal of keeping two years worth in supply, one to burn and one to cure and rotate each year. Some of my parents land has been cleared recently so we are fortunate to already have trees to process.

So, Montana Man and I decide this weekend was the weekend to work on it. It's saturday so I got to hand Mini Me off to her daddy and sleep in a bit. I was up at 9:00 so I spent the next hour getting the kids ready and kyle got me coffee! Good start so far! Once I got Mini in her stroller and waters (it's hot today), we were ready to go.

A pile was already sitting in the yard in a scrambled heap of small and large logs. Puzzel Boy and I started to work on sorting and stacking the smaller of the logs and leaving the larger ones by the splitter. For a four year old he is a good little helper! He stacks very neatly. I was a bit distracted as I worked until Mini decided to nod off. Then Puzzle Boy and I got the wheel barrow and got down to business. Montana Man was busy dragging up logs from out back as well as some cut logs. I have a lot to split! I am hoping to get a cord or more up today. The kids are sleeping now for their afternoon naps so I better get going! Pictures to follow.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Natural Deoderant Review

I'm sure many of you have heard about the harmful effects that aluminum can have to our health. Most antiperspirants have aluminum in them to pulg up your pores working so hard to keep your body cool. Now I have nothing against a little grooming in the armpit department, but I do have a problem with causing harm to my body. I do realize that not many people actually get cancer from their morning slathering of their "stink pretty" of choice (my husbands term btw), but I just don't see the point in potential heavy metal poisoning. So I switched! My last stick of regular old A/D ran out and I found myself standing in the aisle debating with myself. Finally after a few sniff tests I chose the above pictured deoderant.

I think:
It feels nice and light and the fragrance isn't too strong. I cannot say it is the most effective deoderant in the world but for a light sweater like me it is adaquet. It says it is 24hr protection but I believe this would only be true for a VERY sedentary person. Like, they don't move... ever. I do put it on twice a day if I am really working or if it is hot because about half way through the day things are starting to get a bit funky. New coat and I am good til bed. Being home all the time this is no problem for me. If I were at work I would need to carry another in my purse. The last thing is that while my skin adjusted to the new slick, it broke out a bit. Not an issue, I don't really run around with my arms up so I was the only one noticing. It has gotten better and over all my skin looks healthier.

Yes, I would, however please don't blame me if it doesn't work out! I am not terribly vain about these things so I tend not to be mortified if I don't smell like peaches and green tea (or whatever they have come out with now!). I have found it a decent alternative to traditional antiperspirant/deoderant.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins

My son is gluten and dairy free. This has been a learning curve for me as I have been making a lot of his treats I took for granted. We started this diet the end of March and went cold turkey. The changes and improvements in his behavior and speech have been profound and I am so glad we did it. Today he ate his last GF muffin and it was time to restock the freezer. I skimmed through his cookbook, The Kid-Friendly ADHD & Autism Cook Book, and from what we had in the pantry I chose Pumpkin Bread. I made 12 muffins and 3 mini loaves so we should be set for a month or more. If you are gluten free this is a must try because it is so good!

3 1/2 cups GF flour blend (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Add wet to the dry and mix very well. Add chocolate chips if desired (I didn't this time).

Divide batter among three 8X4 bread pans or two 12 cup muffin tins that have been sprayed well with cooking spray. Bake loaves for 45-50 minutes until they test clean, muffins for 40 min until they test clean. Cool completely before cutting serving.