On (Near) Synonyms

I realize that the average person does not take a job at a fast food restaurant due to an extraordinary level of competence and expertise. But, being my father's daughter (Sorry, Dad!), I expect some basic level of competence pretty much everywhere--like the ability to transfer the order from my mouth to the register without grave mishaps or the knowledge that, if the cost is $10.55 and I hand him $11.05, I get 2 quarters back. Or. . .

we went to Wendy's yesterday, and I ordered a Mandarin Chicken Salad. I frequently order the MCS, and they've never before asked me what type of dressing I would like, because it comes with a sesame dressing. But the guy at the drive-thru window asked. We told him I wanted the dressing it came with. But when I checked in the bag as we pulled away, he had given me Balsamic Vinaigrette. So Kevin parked and I went in to trade. I asked the lady at the register if they had the Asian dressing. She looked at me like I was an idiot and said, with a very un-customer service-like attitude, that they had never had an Asian dressing. I, very kindly in spite of a certain irritation, pulled the vinaigrette out of the bag. "Well, this isn't what normally comes with the mandarin salad. Do you have any of it?" She looked over at another employee. . .and asked for the Oriental dressing.

Excuse me.


Carolyn and Bob Dylan

Earlier this week, Carolyn was (for the first and, I'm sure, last time in her life) a little bit fussy. I was looking online for the words to the folk song "Froggy Went A-Courtin'." I found them, along with a recording by Bob Dylan, which I played.

Fussing stopped. Smiling ensued.

Music stopped. Fussing ensued.

Music began again. Fussing stopped. Smiling ensued.

Too Funny.

Carolyn likes to sing with us when we sing to her. In fact, if the person rocking her to sleep is not singing, she will probably sing herself to sleep. She's quite the vocalist, as my dad said, and we recorded her first smash hit to share with you.


Thanks for Kevin

As always when Thanksgiving rolls around, we gave thanks for Kevin's birth! This is what happens when you actually light and extinguish 26 birthday candles. . .

For Fathers

This post by Doug Wilson is a good reminder for parents. I have memories of various iconic moments with my dad; they are good ones, and I am thankful.


Breakfast Art

I enjoyed a bagel sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar for breakfast this morning. The remains inspired this creation. Yes, it's copyrighted.


Aunt Rebecca Comes to Visit

My aunt came to meet Carolyn last week. I think they got along well. . .

Monster Invasion

If you missed the inaugural post on these mutant horrors they insist are crickets, look here.

They're taking over our basement.

I saw the first one in late summer, at night. So I stopped doing laundry after dark.

Now, with winter and daylight savings, they come out before four o'clock in the afternoon, and I've seen more of them than I care to recall.

It's seriously affecting my laundry upkeep.

One of them even ventured into my kitchen last week.

I really don't think of myself as especially squeamish. I'll grab a garden-variety cricket and toss him outside any day of the week. I don't like spiders, but, if there is no masculine personage about to do the job, I am capable of killing them. (Shhh! Don't tell my husband. . .he'll think he doesn't have to spring to my rescue anymore.) Snakes don't bother me, unless they're dangerous ones. Mice may startle me if they suddenly scamper across my floor, but they don't scare me.

But these unholy things are something not meant to be bred, like the undesired outcome of a spider drunkenly mistaking a cricket for its mate. I think they're an evolutionary precursor of the orc. (That was a joke. I don't buy into macro-evolution. And I know orcs are a fantastical creation of the imagination. Though I did try to convince Kevin that, if we ever have a little boy, we could name him something like Oscar Roland Clark and have our very own real, live ORC. But I digress. . . .) They're starting to inhabit my nightmares--which would be common, pleasant dreams if they stayed away--and gazing at them in an effort to rationallly remember their harmlessness and brave the basement floor from the stairs to the dryer sends convulsive shudders down my spine.

It's really quite a problem.


Drawn to the Light

Carolyn likes light. This is not unusual for infants, of course. We make some effort, however, to keep her from gazing at the television when it is on--which she likes to do.

Last night, she was laying across my lap while Kevin was playing the Wii. I didn't think she could see the TV, because there is quite a collection of items piled haphazardly on our coffee table. She continued to stare fixedly in that direction, however, so I moved a small box on the coffee table directly in her line of vision.


A good ten minutes of plainly dissatisfied chattering ensued, in which Carolyn clearly and not-so-concisely conveyed her displeasure while we. . .well, I'll confess it, we laughed.

Quote of the Day

from Thomas Merton, via Wittingshire:
Ultimately the secret is perfect abandonment to the will of God in things you cannot control, and perfect obedience to Him in everything that depends on your own volition, so that in all things, in your interior life and in your outward works for God, you desire only one thing, which is the fulfillment of His will.

If you do this, your activity will share the disinterested peace that you are able to find at prayer, and in the simplicity of the things you do men will recognize your peacefulness and give glory to God...For the saint preaches sermons by the way he walks and the way he stands and the way he sits down and the way he picks things up and holds them in his hand.

There's not much to add here. The first sentence reminds me somewhat of what we know as the Serenity Prayer, which I've never been particularly fond of (purely for its popularity, I suspect). The last sentence, both by its structure and its content, is striking as well.


Vignette the First

I had some green tea from Panera today, and--between juggling Carolyn, checking my lunch (which wound up being left off the order after all that work!) for dairy, and ordering Kevin's lunch--I didn't have time to stir it after I added honey to sweeten. I forgot about it. . .until I got to the bottom of my cup, that is, when I was pleasantly surprised by a sweet liquid dessert!

Perhaps I shall regularly "forget" to stir.


For this new phase of life, in which time to type protracted posts is rare, we present a new category: Vignettes.

We could call them Short Rambles, but that sounds far less important and far less complimentary.


Carolyn Rolls Over

Today, I left Carolyn on her tummy on the bed, then left the room to get some things. She was fussing, then screaming, and when I came back a few minutes later. . .she was flat on her back screaming at the ceiling! Too bad I missed it!


One More Election Post

Dr. Albert Mohler on the election

the Archbishop of New York on the black and white nature of abortion

Randy Alcorn on abortion

Doug Wilson on the election

One Election Post

I'm sure it won't surprise anyone to know that I did not vote for Barack Obama on Tuesday. But let me tell you why I am heartsick that so many did.

Unless you've had your head stuck in the sand, you have to know that Obama has the most pro-abortion record of anyone in the Senate. As a state senator, he even opposed legislation to save babies who survived their abortions and were born alive. That is repulsive. The Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama has promised to sign, relaxes even the limited restraints on abortion many states have enacted. America already has the most permissive abortion laws in the world.

Yes, I disagree with some other Obama policies, policies that may disappoint, frustrate, or scare me. That is part of our political system, and it's a good part--different people with different ideas on governing make us stronger. Many of those issues have large gray areas. Abortion is black and white. And you cannot, absolutely cannot, be a good leader while considering any class of people sub-human, be it for race, age, culture, or faith. If the only ill in Hitler's philosophy was the perceived right of others to exterminate anyone of Jewish descent, could he have been a great leader? There is no "he's a good man, with the exception of thinking murder is okay." Thinking murder is okay eliminates the possibility of being a good man. That so many people, even people of faith who claim to value life, can turn a blind eye to the issue of the legalized killing of any class of people. . . .

Please don't quibble over whether unborn children are people. Babies show their personality even in the womb. Can you look at current ultrasound pictures, pictures that show babies moving and sucking their thumbs, and deny that they are human? Can you look at the pictures of Carolyn and tell me that, had we chosen abortion--as our first doctor repeatedly advised us to do in the 2 visits I had with her--we would not have been claiming the life of a person? The person that is Carolyn would have been lost--no identical replacement next time around. Every baby--every fetus--is unique and different.

It is ironic that, as we celebrate the progress America has made from the days when men of Obama's skin tone were denied basic human rights, we do so for one who would deny children even the right to life in favor of their mother's convenience and freedom from responsibility.


Weekend (Plus) in Review

It's been a busy few days! Kevin's mom and aunt came to visit last Thursday and stayed until this afternoon. Saturday was our 2nd annual apple outing with several families from church, and Carolyn's 2-month appointment was yesterday.

We really enjoyed the apple day. The weather was beautiful--sunny and nearly 70 degrees. After buying a whole bunch of apples (guess what I'll be doing for the next couple days!) and going to the dairy, we went to a state park and grilled lunch before taking a group hike through the lovely fall foliage. Carolyn slept much of the time, but she woke up during our hike and thoroughly enjoyed gazing at the great outdoors.

Carolyn's appointment yesterday went very well. She weighs 12 pounds and 10 ounces and is 22 inches long (more or less. . .she's not exactly cooperative with the stretching out and being still for a height measurement!). She got her first two vaccines, screamed heartily, and then slept through almost the whole evening. She woke up at 3:20 this morning running a good fever, but promptly vomited any grape Tylenol I forced down her throat. Fortunately, her fever subsided on its own in a little over an hour. We went back to sleep, and she slept soundly until 10 this morning. She's slept more than normal today also, but other than that seems to have no ill effects.

We have decided that Carolyn definitely has a serious sensitivity to dairy--any dairy in my diet results in great gushes of sour milk from her a few hours later. So I'm on a dairy hiatus until Christmas, when we'll try again and see how she handles it. Many infants grow out of a dairy allergy, so we are hopeful that will be the case here.

That's the news. Here are some photos to complement:

Daddy's the entertainer

The Five of Us

"Life is Good."

Family Photo


This One's For Me

I'm going to be extremely honest here.

I like people. I like cleaning my house in anticipation of hosting visitors, whether for an afternoon tea or a prolonged stay. I love to prepare food for others to enjoy. I do.

On the other hand, I'm far more of an introvert than not. The peace of my own quiet, empty home is bliss. Nothing could be more ideal than being here, caring for my husband--and, now, my daughter--with only the outside interruptions I choose.

Unfortunately, the two persuasions clash. Though I get excited to entertain, the temporary opening of my quiet haven sometimes erodes my endurance too early. And, though I love our happy home, I sometimes get impatient to open it to others.

It's a ridiculous position, I know.

The best definition of an introvert I've heard (by which of course I mean the one that best describes me), is someone who gets his energy or "recharges," so to speak, by being alone. When I'm around a lot of people--or around people a lot--I just get tired. My mental and emotional endurance wanes. I crave the solace of solitude. That is why Nancy Wilson's recent post on greater hospitality grabbed my attention and why I continue to seek grace for a larger heart.


We're Still Here

In case you are going into withdrawals for Carolyn-related blog postings, I'll just let you know that we're still here. Kevin has been working day and night this past week stripping paint from our doorways, window frames, and columns, so we've been staying at a friend's house.

Carolyn is coasting along like a model child, as long as I don't eat much in the way of lactose-loaded sustenance. Then she turns into a fussy baby for a couple hours before she spews everything she's ever eaten out on whoever is holding her. So methinks I'll not be eating much dairy for a while--at least, not much at one time. She does fine if I have a little bit.

We go back to the doctor in 2 weeks, and I fully expect Carolyn to weigh in at 12 or 13 pounds. She's developing a bit of a routine, with the exception of a day here and there, of cat-napping and eating all morning and early afternoon before sleeping 3-6 hour stretches through the evening and night. She's even put herself to sleep a couple times in the past week, without a tear. Currently, however, she's registering her complaint at being left to her own amusement this long, and I am being called to the rescue.

Pictures will come when we get settled back into our house.


A Messy Week

This photo belies the story below. :-)

We've, ummm,enjoyed cleaning up after our little daughter this week. The climax of the week had to be on Thursday. . .

Carolyn only had a tiny bit of diaper rash, but it was evidently extremely sensitive. I hurried to change her diaper when she started screaming like the world was ending in the middle of the afternoon, only to discover there was barely anything there. She wasn't even wet, which is usually what prompts apocalyptic screams. Nevertheless, I changed the diaper and had almost gotten the cover secured when the screaming commenced again. Repeat performance. And again. By this time, I had gotten the message that the rash was sensitive. Hoping to soothe it, I ran a bath of warm water and got in the tub with her.

Evidently, it worked, because we were soon sitting in a tub of water that closely resembled a fish aquarium whose cleaning was overdue.

I decided I needed a shower.

So I emptied and cleaned the tub, still holding and comforting Carolyn, then put the infant tub in the shower, so she could continue to soak in warm water while I took a shower. She was perfectly content. . .until I took her out of the water and wrapped her in a towel, when the world began to end yet again. So, swaddled in blankets, we sat on the bed for a while while she nursed and dozed. . .until she followed her first act by soakeing the blankets, my robe, and the sheets.

Friday followed, when Carolyn expelled the entire contents of her little stomach, soaking her clothes, my clothes, and the couch. And today, as we speak, our bed sheets are in the washer after Carolyn couldn't wait for Kevin to get a diaper back under her when he changed her this morning.

And that, folks, has been the week with our almost-six-week-old angel.


Quote of the Day: Halloween

from Doug Wilson, who offers some worthy thoughts on celebrating Halloween.
". . .I would strongly urge that no one have their kids dress up as members of the other team — witches, ghosts, devils, imps, or congressmen."


Carolyn goes to Wal-mart

Carolyn made her first trip to Wal-mart today.

She got lots of attention.

I haven't actually done my own grocery shopping in almost a month, and, though my list wasn't that long, a lot of extra things found their way into my cart. I was also hungry. A month out of the grocery store and an empty stomach make a bad combination for grocery shopping.

We dropped Kevin off at work and went straight to Wal-mart, since early morning is the best time to go--usually, I don't even have to wait in line to check out. By the time we got in a parking place, though, Carolyn was rather upset. So we sat in the backseat together for half an hour while she ate, cat-napped, and ate again. Then I loaded her in the kangaroo carrier and we ventured inside. The bright lights on the high ceiling caught her immediate attention. . .and held it for the first 5 minutes or so. She just stared up. Then she looked around for a while. She started to fuss about halfway through the list and I was wondering if Kevin would actually get food for breakfast tomorrow or not--but she quickly buried her head in my chest and drifted off to dreamland, where she remained until we got home. Very impressive. If only shopping could always be this easy. :-)

This afternoon, we're off to Annapolis to run an errand for Kevin. I hope it goes as well.


On Decisiveness

Here is a good post on making decisions--little and big--in faith and not spending the next week second-guessing them.


A Verbal Update

Hello All.

Just in case you thought I forgot how to post anything but pictures. . .

we're doing well here. Carolyn is sleeping in 4-5 hours stints pretty much every night, and anywhere from 2-4 hours at a time during the day. She hates wet diapers and doesn't like dirty ones much, but she's generally calm and quiet while being changed. . .unless she thinks she's about to starve to death, that is. She's not really chubby, but her length means she's already too big for some of the newborn clothes--mainly the ones with feet. Everyone is amazed at how well she controls her head and holds it up. She's strong--already pushing up off of my shoulder with her arms and "standing up" when she gets anything to push her feet against. And her fist grip. . .well, if my fingers weren't still a bit numb anyway, she might squeeze hard enough to make them that way.

Kevin's parents fly home tomorrow, and my mom will follow on Wednesday. Then families from church are stepping in with frequent meals for a couple weeks. I think I may be the most pampered new mother ever--a whole month of help! I feel a little like a slacker, but it is really nice to be able to ease back into housekeeping slowly, and I'm thankful. On that note, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm still a little sore and generally sleepy, but I've been able to help cook and do laundry the last couple days. On Wednesday, we went for a short walk around the block, and that was nice.

Tomorrow will be Carolyn's second Sunday in church. As you probably noticed from the pictures, she was baptized last Sunday in the christening gown I wore for my own dedication. We were glad to be able to have her baptized while all four grandparents were here to watch.

Kevin worked half-days this week, and he and his dad have been working hard stripping trim and doors in the afternoons. That's about all the news, I think. Diaper change calls. :-)


Carolyn's Birth

This is going to be a long post. If you're not interested, don't read it.

A few have asked about Carolyn's actual birth, so I thought I'd share. No gory details, I promise. :-)

Our official due date was August 22, so at our appointments on the 18th and 25th the midwife started telling us about our options. In order to remain in the low-risk category and be able to give birth at the birth center instead of the hospital, you have to be between 37 and 42 weeks gestation. While we weren't enthused about the prospect of any induction methods--including herbal or other more natural ones--we were less enthused about the prospect of a hospital birth, where there are more restrictions on movement, eating, time spent laboring, and recovery stay as well as a higher incidence of C-section, medical intervention, and infection.

We didn't want to know specifics of dilation or effacement measurements, as they are not clear indicators of when labor will begin and we preferred not to get unnecessarily excited or impatient. The midwives made their recommendations with that in mind, and we didn't ask for more information than we felt we needed to make an educated decision. So, with 1 day to go before our official due date, I started taking supplements of Evening Primrose Oil, which is supposed to help soften the cervix to aid dilation and the start of labor. By our first post-40-week appointment, 4 days later, the midwife said the oil was no longer needed. She scheduled a precautionary ultrasound and non-stress test for Thursday the 28th. (The ultrasound was a fluid check. Amniotic fluid levels also have to be between certain measurements for a birth-center birth. The non-stress test involves wearing a fetal monitor around the belly for 20 minutes to record the baby's heartrate and the mother's contractions.)

On Thursday, the non-stress test was fine. The ultrasound tech estimated Carolyn's weight at 9 pounds, 11 ounces and also said we had a good deal of extra fluid. The midwife laughed--literally. I just wasn't that big, either by appearance or measurement. Ultrasound estimates are standardly 10-15% off anyway, so we weren't worried. Still, to cover all the bases, the midwife scheduled a second ultrasound and non-stress test with a prenatal specialist for the following Tuesday (September 2nd). If his results were the same, she said we would pay more attention. She also performed an exam on Thursday, and we found out after the birth that I was dilated to a 4. Also, we discovered via the ultrasound that Carolyn was still turned posterior--facing my front instead of my spine, which causes the more intense and painful "back labor."

We got a prescription for an herbal labor tincture that induces contractions and went to a compounding pharmacy to pick it up, but we opted not to use it until at least Saturday (which is why the tincture is still sitting on my bathroom shelf, unopened), giving my body as much time as we felt we safely could to progress by itself and still ensure our ability to give birth at the center.

During the day on Friday, I had a fair number of contractions, but nothing painful or more intense than I'd been having sporadically for a week or two. I stayed busy, cleaning and filling Carolyn's dressers that were just moved into her room on Thursday and finishing up some other preparations for my parents' arrival Saturday. By the time Kevin got home and we had dinner--somewhere between 6 and 7pm--I started having more intense contractions. They continued sporadically through the evening, usually about 20 seconds long and somewhere between 2 and 10 minutes apart. We decided to go to bed, not wanting to stay up all night for nothing and then be already tired when contractions began to come more regularly.

Unfortunately, lying down was extremely painful. I didn't feel the back labor so much while I was up sitting on the birth ball, but as soon as I got in bed to sleep it was intensely painful. I could handle it, but not sleep through it--so we got back up and prepared for a night of labor. Kevin slept sporadically on the futon in Carolyn's room, where we'd settled in for the benefit of the extra padding provided by the carpet--I found the best way to withstand the back pain, which got progressively worse, was on my hands and knees, or on my knees leaning over the birth ball. Also, the hands and knees position is supposed to help a posterior baby turn over, so I was diligently trying to help Carolyn help me. I can tell you that 12 hours on your hands and knees is not a lot of fun, and my muscles were exhausted by the time everything was finished.

The contractions themselves were not that severe, but the pain that focused in my back was. I slept about 15 minutes twice, both times interrupted by 2 or 3 contractions, which remained 2-4 minutes apart and 30-40 seconds long all night. By morning, I was exhausted and my back hurt badly. I had eaten a little through the night, but the back pain also took away my appetite and I was getting shaky from low blood sugar. We called the midwife on duty (Megan) about 8:30am, and told her where we were. I knew Carolyn hadn't turned and I was starting to wonder about my ability to endure many more hours. Megan suggested we try an inversion--putting my knees about 18 inches higher than my elbows, my body in a head-downward, diagonal position--for about 20 minutes, giving Carolyn a chance to disengage and have more freedom to turn over. She said we were welcome to come on in to the birth center, but it would be fine to stay at home until contractions were regularly nearly 60 seconds long and 5 minutes apart.

So, at 9 am, I had my knees on the futon and my elbows on a stack of pillows on the floor. Twenty minutes and too many very painful contractions later (I really don't recommend laboring upside-down unless you have to), I returned to hands and knees on the floor to facilitate turning, should Carolyn have shifted enough to do so. Within the next couple of hours, it was evident that the inversion worked. Although contractions continued, my back pain slowly subsided and then disappeared. The contractions then got more intense and regular, but were infinitely less difficult than the entire first 12 hours had been.

I got an hour or two of sleep through the day, waking up every 6 minutes or so but sleeping soundly in-between. My parents arrived around 3pm; Jen kindly brought them from the airport and then brought us all dinner later, and by 7pm--24 hours of labor behind us--I had been having firmly established, 50-second contractions every 4-5 minutes for 2 hours. We called Megan again. Though we didn't know I had been dilated some on Thursday, she did, and we met her at the birth center for a progress-check rather than settle in for another night of labor at home without knowing how close we might be.

I still didn't want to know any dilation measurements, so we just asked her to check and advise us if we should go back home or stay there. She did the exam, looked at us, and said she wouldn't tell us what it was. . .but it was a big number. We weren't going anywhere.

Kevin unloaded our clothes and snacks (at the birth center, mothers are encouraged to continue eating and drinking high-calorie items to keep up the strength and energy needed for labor and birth). We continued the same as we had been at home, me changing positions as often as desired and Kevin helping however I asked him to. I didn't spend any time on the bed, except every 3 hours or so when Megan performed an exam. Wherever I was, Megan or the attending nurse (Kimbre, for most of the night) checked the baby's heartrate every 20 minutes or so, then every 5 minutes after the membrane ruptured, and it remained strong and steady throughout.

By 1am, when my water still hadn't broken, Megan suggested a couple new positions to help the cervix finish dilating. We tried that for over an hour, without visible results, and Megan suggested that she break my water. Because I did have a good amount of fluid and was a week past my expected due date, they were concerned that perhaps there was too much cushion for the baby to break through. Also, she wanted to make sure there was not meconium already in the fluid.

I knew that I was getting tired and we needed to move things along, but I really wanted to wait for things to progress on their own. We asked for another 15 or 20 minutes to continue contractions in one of the new positions. Megan easily agreed--the midwives at the birth center all along made us feel like we were completely in charge of what happened or didn't happen. They advised as to what course of action they would like to take, but never once made me feel like it wasn't completely up to us.

I was praying that my water would just break on its own, but after another 15 minutes, I reluctantly relented and asked Kimbre to tell Megan she could come and artificially rupture my membrane. While she was gone, I moved toward the bed so I would be ready, but had to pause for a contraction--and then my water broke, suddenly and loudly. Megan and Kimbre heard it down the hall.

By now, it's 3 am. Commence pushing contractions.

Pushing was long and hard. I was exhausted from 48 hours with less than 3 hours sleep, and my muscles were jelly from the 12 hours on my hands and knees, followed by 20 in various other positions. I still didn't lay in bed, because natural birth advocates advise that a prone position is the one least likely to encourage a baby to come out. At one point, near the end, I thought to myself, "This is ridiculous. How did women ever do this without drugs???" And, a moment later, "Wait. I don't have any drugs!!!" I would have laughed, but I was busy.

By the time Carolyn actually came out--at 6:45--I was so shaky that it took Kevin, Megan, and Kimbre to support me so I could push. But we were successful, and little Carolyn emerged with no medical help or medication in her tiny system. She weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces and was 21 inches long; and she was clamoring to breastfeed within 2 minutes of birth, before the cord was even cut. When she finished her first meal and nap, she was as rosy and bright-eyed and alert as she ever has been, as you've no doubt seen from her Birth-Day pictures.

After the birth, Kevin prepared a hot breakfast in the birth center kitchen, and we both ate, showered, and napped before heading home with our new arrival about 1 o'clock.

So. . .would I do it again? Absolutely. While I realize circumstances differ and childbirth decisions are intensely personal, Carolyn's eager alertness from the very first moment has completely affirmed my confidence in natural birth. I am so thankful that we were able to forgo any sort of induction or medical intervention and so thankful that we chose to wait patiently when action could be justified. I am thankful for the midwives whose experience and expertise supported and guided us without pressure or insistence. We sought from the beginning to trust God in the timing and delivery of this baby, and He has proven faithful in so many ways.


By the way. . .

We did make it to the doctor last Wednesday. Carolyn weighed in at 8 lbs, 2 oz--meaning she was only 4 ounces less than at birth. She got a perfect report in all other respects as well.


Sweet Dreams

Here are some pictures of Carolyn's favorite pastime--at least if you judge by time spent. If you judge by excitement level, we'd have to go with eating.

This little chick gown and blanket are hand-me-downs. . .from her daddy!


More Videos

The air conditioner was running, so I would suggest turning down the sound.

Day 3

We didn't make it to the doctor today--they couldn't work us in, with it being the first day after a holiday weekend and such. But we have an appointment tomorrow morning, right after our postpartum home visit appointment with the nurse from the birth center. So Carolyn and I will get our check-ups back to back.

Carolyn ate all morning and slept all afternoon, more or less. From this morning's schedule, you'd think we starved her all night--I think she ate just about every hour, and sometimes sooner, through the morning. But this afternoon she settled back into a 2-hour or so routine, sleeping pretty much solidly in between. She's had little spurts of bright-eyed alertness scattered throughout, though, and has generally been cute and cuddly (of course). We sort of failed in the picture-taking arena today, but here are a couple from this evening.

A Text Update

Good Morning, all!

After an actually decent amount of sleep on Night 2, I'm feeling up to stringing a few words together in coherent form this morning.

The first night was, admittedly, long. Carolyn is a bit of a suck-n-sleeper. . .so, Sunday night, she ate intermittently for 2 or more hours, waking up to eat more if I made any motion toward laying her back down beside me, before she would go back soundly to sleep for an hour or two. Add that up, and I spent a good deal more time awake than asleep. Not the last time, I'm sure, that will happen. . .but hopefully the last time for a while that it follows hard upon 2 previous sleepless nights. :-)

Last night, Carolyn woke up regularly--every 2 hours or so--but would eat within 20 or 30 minutes and drift off soundly to sleep again. This schedule I can live comfortably with.

Today will be our first doctor visit. The birth center does not keep a pediatrician on staff, so the first baby check is with the midwife and nurse. Then we are supposed to have her see a doctor within the first 72 hours. . .tricky business when a holiday weekend is involved! I have a call in now and am waiting for an appointment.

Carolyn is starting to offer up tentative half-smiles, and her head control--which was good when she came out--is getting better. Her head has already smoothed out almost completely from its passage through the birth canal, and her face is changing a bit as well. Her hair is looking lighter and lighter to me--whether its actually lightening, or her scalp is just absorbing the oils and such that saturated it at birth--and some of it is almost what one would call blond.

We'll be sure to post more pictures by the end of the day. Have a happy Tuesday!


New Arrival

We are pleased and blessed to introduce to you little Carolyn Grace, born in God's perfect timing this morning at 6:45, weighing in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces and measuring 21 inches. She is as pink and healthy a baby as anyone could wish for, and, other than being fairly worn out after a straight 36 hours of labor, we are quite well ourselves. After a meal, showers, and naps at the birth center, we arrived back home about 1:30 this afternoon and are getting ready to continue catching up on some much-missed sleep!

Many thanks for all your thoughts and prayers!


Pictures After Dark!

One of the men from church spent a few hours yesterday afternoon rectifying the electrical issues and finishing the hook-up process, so we have power in the whole house now! Consequently, Kevin was able to install the ceiling fan and light fixture in Baby's room last night, and I was able to get my first view of our gorgeous hall sconce, lit.

Baby's room now has some furniture in it. Yes, I know there is no crib as of yet--we have the bassinet in our room for the first few months, so we opted to wait. But here are the dressers and the futon with its new cover, where the many visitors over the next few months will be sleeping.

And, of course, the hall light:


Curtains and Carpet

Today, carpet was installed in Baby's room, and Kevin temporarily hung the curtains on spring rods to provide privacy and light control until all the trim is back and we can put up real curtain rods. Unfortunately, he hung the curtains while I was cooking dinner, and then it was too dark to get a good room-wide picture. . .there's still a minor glitch with the electrical work in that section, so no lights yet. Nevertheless, here is one picture of me holding up the lovely curtain, with the painted walls and a smidge of carpet. And there's another picture of the wall and a bigger smidge of carpet--it looks almost black, but it's actually a very dark green. It wasn't actually on our color list, but we got a great deal on a remnant piece. So we took it. (It's thick, expensive carpet.) And we think it looks nice.


It is Good--

to trust in the living God.

To assuage everyone's curiosity, here's the scoop:

We have our first "past due" appointment this evening, but are not expecting anything to be done. The midwifery practice we are using (and, incidentally, have been very pleased with) does not act as impatiently as some OBs; as long as everything looks good, they will wait up to 2 weeks past our "due date" before inserting themselves in the process. Due dates are relative, as most of you know, and we have no wish to impose an arbitrary standard on what God has designed to work according to His good will.

That being said, there is a bit of a deadline in that we cannot give birth at the birth center if we are over 2 weeks "late." The midwife would still be our provider, but we would have to go to the hospital because of the increased incidence of post-term complications. Nevertheless, we still have plenty of time before that date arrives, so there is no need to hurry.

We are very comfortable where we are. I am not in the least miserable, notwithstanding a couple of the common minor inconveniences that come with being this pregnant. We are not impatient. God has been exceedingly gracious to us; and, come what may, we are confident in His care. Life is good; God is good; Baby will come in His good time.

When Baby does come, assuming all things go smoothly and we are able to deliver at the birth center, we'll be back home within a few hours and able to let everyone know via e-mail and, of course, pictures here.

Thanks for caring,


Still Working

Today, Baby's room lost its white walls. Here are a couple pictures:

Also, Baby's quilt received its binding and is complete. Here's a final picture of the finished project, front and back. The stitching on the back isn't quite straight, but it does look pretty neat, if I may say so.



As of today, I'm a half-step away from completing the baby quilt. The kitchen island is as clean and shiny as if it were new, inside and out. And the fabric for the curtain in the new half-bathroom is washed and ready for construction.

That's the news.


More Baby

And, lest you think the men are the only ones making progress around here, some of our sewing prowess (which really means, some of Rebecca's sewing prowess with my limited aid).

Actually, this first picture is the really cute and bright fleece blanket Grandma made and sent. I took the picture a few days ago, but forgot to post it.

This is what the curtains for the baby's room look like--if you can't tell, the fabric stripes at the bottom are the frog print and solid green we used for other nursery items.

I don't think I've mentioned it yet, and I'll try to stay off a soapbox while doing so, but. . .the bassinet cover on our bassinet doesn't come off. At least, it doesn't come off without actually dismantling the bassinet with a screwdriver. How, then, pray tell, is one supposed to clean it? The idea of taking the whole bed apart every time the cover needs washing (think how often a baby spits up or overfills his diaper. . .) is not one I relished. Cue Aunt Rebecca and grand ideas. The tan color around the sides and the small cream-colored overlapping flaps around the top of the inside are her additions to the cover that was. Underneath the flaps is velcro, attaching the tan liner to the inside of the bassinet, covering the sides and the bottom, beneath the plaid-sheet-covered mattress pad. This way, we should only have to remove the liner to wash. Brilliant! If she doesn't get around to finding a job soon, I told her she could go into practical baby bedding design. :-)

Running Water and Curtains

Proof--the new sink now has running water and a working drain! After tomorrow, we might even have a working toilet. . . .

This is what it looks like now from the hall. Don't be deceived--the toilet is in place and looks grand, but is not quite usable yet.

Here we're deciding on fabric for the bathroom curtain. This is the one we opted for. Note how nicely the other possibilities draped over Kevin's shoulder. :-)



Kevin accomplished color today in the hall area and the powder room.


An Island of Progress

With somewhere between one and three weeks to go (assuming we're not "early" but could be "late"), we are making progress. At the end of this weekend, we should have the hall area and powder room painted, and perhaps even the baby's room. Then it's on to carpet, refinishing wood floors, and installing fixtures. Today, we acquired 2 dressers for Baby. They are both unfinished wood, so we can stain/paint them when we decide what we want. Sorry, no pictures of them yet. . .but here are some others of our work.

Aunt Rebecca found us an island for the kitchen (she also found the dressers). Also pictured, the 2nd baby sling, 2 wet bags (waterproof bags for holding dirty cloth diapers pristinely while we're out and about), a diaper stacker, a crib caddy, and 1 39-week-pregnant me.

Close-up of the nursery pieces

Baby's finished quilt top. . .now to put the layers together and quilt!


Of Babies and Such

No, there isn't a baby yet. Yes, everything is fine. My aunt Rebecca is here visiting, so we are staying busy sewing and shopping. Here are some interim pictures; more to follow as we complete more projects!

One of the quilt blocks for Baby's quilt:

Some cheap fabric to make a few cloth wipes, in case we need them before my mom gets here with her stash:

The baby sling--furry bear in place--finished today:



Doug Wilson has an interesting post about the U.S. system of income taxes. It's food for thought.


Where Could I Go?

It may not sound well-reasoned or carefully considered, but some days are like that. Not all days, mind you--and, in case you're worried, not today, at least in my world--but some days you hang on just because you don't know anything better to grab.
Today at WorldMagBlog, I liked this quote:
Jesus was aware that every step of the way His followers would be tempted to be disillusioned with Him and bail out. So one day, when people were abandoning Him in droves, He turned and asked twelve men still standing after the crowd had thinned, “Do you want to go away as well?” Peter spoke up for the rest of them: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:67,68). I don’t know the tone of voice when he said it. Was he feeling triumphant? Was he just hanging on by his fingernails?

I stick with God because in spite of this painful life, His Words are the most perfect I have found. Sometimes I say that with a smile, and sometimes with a sigh.



I finally finished a couple baby quilts for newborns we know, so here are the pictures. The second one is only slightly different from the first baby quilt I ever made. . .I wound up with twice as much fabric as needed for that one when I abruptly amended plans in the middle of the piecing and have been saving the extra blocks for the right baby. :-)



Here's the intro:
Possibly as an act of vengeance, a history professor--compiling, verbatim, several decades' worth of freshman papers--offers some of his students’ more striking insights into European history from the Middle Ages to the present.
Here's the article.

Here's a quote to get you started:
History, a record of things left behind by past generations, started in 1815.
Read it and weep.
Or laugh.
Or both.

HT: HSK at WorldMagBlog


Across the Pond

Nobody--and I mean, nobody--does satire like our allies across the pond. From Jonathan Swift onward, the legacy remains.

Belated Pictures

A couple weeks ago, I froze a 20-pound box of blueberries, washed and bagged in 3-cup increments. Ever wonder what 20 pounds of blueberries looks like? It netted 18 3-cup bags.

Me, at 35 weeks, plus a couple days

Our new sink and faucet fixtures! They're not actually installed as of now--Kevin put them up to make sure the rough-in valve and support studs were appropriately placed, then took them down so the drywall can be finished. Nevertheless, here's a glimpse.