Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.
Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.
Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O’er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882)

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Family Calendar

When I was in college, my brain and a fun planner were how I generally kept things straight.  When I started working with college students in my vocation I had electronic devices at my finger tips that let me know where I needed to be and when.  Oddly, I would default to paper when those electronic devices didn't deliver quite what I was looking for in a planner.  Then for the last four or five years I have gone back and forth trying to figure out what works best for me in tracking with our household.

A regular spiral bound planner didn't always work well for me because I wanted to see the whole month at one time and the need for it to be on the counter at all times so I could look at it when needed.

A wall calendar that I could put in a central location.  While that generally worked well I always had to find one that had large boxes.  Of course, it had to be pretty, too.  Those two requirements limited me... a lot!

My smart phone.  I know people LOVE this option.  Nope.  Not me.


I am a paper girl.  Much to the chagrin of my all-things-electronic, software engineering husband.  I love how paper feels and looks.  Call me old fashioned, I'm okay with that.  I have learned to embrace my old soul.  I can usually remember things better in my noggin if I have actually written it down.  Sometimes, it takes more than once. ha!

So, what is the happy medium for this mama of three littles (two in diapers)?

I have found that a combination of Amy Knapp's Big Grid Family Organizer and my smart phone do a pretty good job...for now.
  • It's big!  Plenty of space for me to write (and it's lined!)
  • Extra space to write notes for the month.
  • Designated area for dinner meal plan.
  • It beings in August and goes to December of the following year -- plenty of space to plan ahead.
  • It's pretty enough for the season that we are in and I can doodle if I am feeling really creative.
  • Spiral bound so I can put it up and take it down as much as I like to update, etc with minimal wear and tear.
My smart phone acts as a reminder system for me.  I update it when new things go on the family calendar.  It's also helpful to have when we are out and so-and-so wants to know if we can do dinner or whatever on a particular evening.  I don't have to make room for a planner in my already full diaper bag... I just need to remember my phone.  My husband will tell you that is a feat in and of itself!  So, it's helpful in that regard.

I had it color coded for each person but my children like to abscond with my pens.  Even when I try to keep them in one particular place.  However, I admit sometimes I leave them in a wrong place from time to time.  Anyway, I think now I just go with what ever color I can find that pops.  I also keep this in my pantry.  It's the most central place for me and I can hide it, too!
I realize that I will have to do more specific meal planning for lunches in the near future when there are four of us to think about (5 on the weekends and for breakfast and dinner) and it will be harder to just pull it all together split second.  I will need to think through snacks items to have on hand, etc.  The calendar doesn't accommodate that now but I have some time to think through other options.  Meal plans significantly reduce my stress level for sure!

Anyway, things may will change and I am sure at some point and so will my style of planning.  Maybe.  I am looking at some other of Knapp's products to see if they fit with how things will change.

What do you use for a family calendar?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fiesta Chicken (Green)

As promised, here is the green version which I adapted from the the red version posted earlier this week.  I prefer this one but both are equally delish!

Fiesta Chicken (Green)

1.5 lb chicken breast
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 can hominy (found in the Mexican or Latin food area) -- if you can find a small can go with that.  You may only be able to find the big can and that is fine.
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1 small can of green chile/enchilada sauce (or half of the BIG can)
1 small can of chopped green chile (fresh or frozen would be best but do what you need to do if you have little mouths to feed-- or add more to your liking.)

Put it all in a crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours (depending on your cooker and if chicken is frozen.  Mine tends to be on the hot side so it could even be 3 hours!)  Shred Chicken.  Serve with flour tortilla or over rice with cheese and sour cream.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fiesta Chicken (Red)

I realized I was in process of putting up all the freezer meal recipes that I made for the arrival of Miss S and obviously not finished.  At some point I will give an update on what I thought about the meals, how they thawed, and reheated.  It has been a fun learning process and we really haven't been disappointed.

Anyway... more on that tangent later.  :)

If you Google Fiesta Chicken you will get a plethora of recipes.  I found the one that I use here.  It's a random place to find the meals but I used many of their suggestions!

I call their version the Red version because I later adapted another version of it that I call Green.  Being from New Mexico I prefer most things in a green chile version.  Yum.  I will post the Green version in another post.

Fiesta Chicken (Red) from blonde-designs

1.5 lb chicken breasts
1 can diced tomatoes (I used petite)
1 can corn (could use frozen) - drained
1 can black beans - rinsed
1 C salsa
taco seasoning (I think I used about 1 T)

I may have added about 1/2 C water or stock because I don't generally use the "juice" from canned items except for the tomatoes or no salt/no sugar added corn.

Add everything to a slow cooker and cook on low until done (about 4-6 hours depending on your cooker and if your chicken was frozen or not) Shred chicken.  Serve over a flour tortilla or over rice with cheese and sour cream.  Or it makes a nice soup/stew like meal on its own, too!

If you want to use this meal for a cooking group or Once a Month Cooking you can just add everything to a zip loc bag and freeze.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

There Once Was A Mouse...

....named Hickory, who liked to mischief in the house.  One day Hickory took the eggs and put them in the bathtub!

Random, right?

However, these stories have become the delight of my daughter, Miss L.  Who is the beloved author?  Her Daddy!

Husband remembers his dad telling him stories of Hickory when he was little.  Those stories were a bit more involved.  Husband has created a shorter version for Miss L and they are right up her alley.  Before bed she says, "Read Hickory."  Well, they are not written down although I am trying to get as many as I can posted some place.  Husband will usually do two or three of them any time she requests.  Miss L has even gotten to the point where she makes up Hickory stories, too.  It's hilarious.

I wonder what Hickory looks like in her imagination.

Each story always starts out,

Once there was a mouse named Hickory, who liked to make mischief in the house.  One day, Hickory...

...took the avocados  and put them in the blender.

...took the cheese and put it in the doggie store.

...took the butter and put it in the sink.

You get the idea.  The more random it is the better.  Although, the doggie store is a Miss L original.  She also seems to think Hickory putting the cheese in the fridge is quite funny for some reason.  Silly.

I really need to write these down and create a book for the girls some day.  I think that it would be quite sentimental and pretty darn funny.  I think it helps spur on Miss L's imagination, too.  Good stuff and sweet memories.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Organized Home Week # 3: Pantry

I have been working on maintaining and thinking through the first two weeks of this challenge.  We are spending a few weeks in the kitchen which is a great thing!  The first week was counter tops.  That is hard right now with bottles and this and that on the counters.  So, my goal is to get it under control first and make it suitable for what it is doing right now.  In about a year I can reevaluate that again.  My cabinets and drawers for the second week are another thing.  I am trying to figure out what needs to take a hike and what really needs to stay.  I am on a purging binge right now so I should probably take advantage of that because I am such a just in case kind of person.

However, this week we focused on the pantry or food storage areas in our homes.  YES!  Mine was desperately needing a good makeover.  Stock-up overloads and just not thinking about putting thing away made for one big MESS.  One of those pantries where things just randomly fall when you move something.  Yes.  It was that bad.  I went through everything and put it where it belong and grouped things.  Tossed out spices galore.  Found a few food items that we will not eat before expiration dates and hopefully a couple of families I know will be able to make use of them.

Here's where I get vulnerable.  Before (UGH!) and after pictures of the pantry.

Shelf 1: I have to heel some pans and cutting boards here.  Not my favorite but it works.  The very top of the stacker needs some more love as that is where my cake decorating and cookie cutters are.  I have some containers that I will use up there and will hopefully have room for another box of cutters that I have up there.  That would be great!  Creating more room in other spaces and getting everything together!

Shelf 2:  The spice shelf.  Kill me.  Seriously, I think that I had some spices that were well over 10 maybe 15 years old.  Yes, really.  They are gone now.  There are some that still may be a little too old but we will roll with it.  Gone is the full bottle of Lemon Pepper that I have been toting around all these years.  You know, just in case.  I am going to look into acquiring some air tight containers and start buying spices in bulk unless I use it often enough to buy a jar, etc.  Over time the containers will all look the same and there will be less waste.  I may even remove the spice stacker that I have in here that causes a stadium effect here.  I think about a Lazy Susan but wonder if I will lose space?

Shelf 3:  This is where I keep most of my baking items and a coupe of random things.  I invested in some Tupperware awhile back and here it is.  I had some wasted shelf space and opted to make the most of it by putting some extra items that are completely sealed in the back of the containers (two bags of powdered sugar, and bisquick) and that helped some.  I can see it back there, too.  No worries of it being forgotten.  When I took the pictures I forgot two things on top of the containers that go on the spice shelf... oh well.

Shelf 4:  Drinks, grains, and canned items.  Not much here.  I took the bags of open rice, beans, and lentils and put them in an air tight container and the closed ones are out.  I need to move a bag of pasta back up to the top shelf but that's not a big deal.

Shelf 5:  Storage stuff, dry goods, baby food, and some miscellany.  Pretty simple and I finally can see it all!

Shelf 6 (the floor):  What a horrid mess, right?  Now it is clean and somewhat organized.  The bummer side is realizing we only have one bottle of Powdrell's BBQ sauce left.  Oh well.  We don't go through it too fast. We have time to restock.

Well, there it is!  My pantry is also where I keep my family calendar, some Scripture to encourage, and I think this is also where I will figure out a way to display my pantry inventory.

Inventory.  I had hoped to get to that today but a nap took precedence for sure.  So, maybe tomorrow.  I have the rest of the week to get that completed.

Do you have pantry tips or suggestions?

Friday, January 13, 2012

2012 Homemaking/Crafting Plan

I was reading a post over at The Modest Mom where she shared 12 things (I believe from her Pinterest boards) that she wanted to work on this year.  Some simple some not so simple.  Brilliant, right!?  Surely, I can do one thing a month.  I shared this with Husband and his response was not to over do it.  He knows me and he's right.  So, I am trying to keep them fairly simple and I am stating from the get go that if that month's "craft" doesn't get done... well... then... it doesn't get done.  I am just not going to get upset because I cannot foresee all that will happen this year, etc.  Plus, we have a new baby in the house and that always adds some random dimension to the mix of things.

So, here's what I am thinking I'll work on -- many are from my Pinterest boards but a few are not! :)


I have tried making my own foaming hand soap with a natural soap.  The foaming part does well we just don't like the soap.  So, I am going to give this one a try and the final verdict will be up to Husband.  If it doesn't go over well then I am just going to go back to buying soap.  I may give one brand another try but he's not been so impressed with my concoction as of late.  Oh well... neither have I.

I have two doilies that belong to my grandmother (possibly my great-grandmother) that I have moved around and shoved in closets here and there.  They are lovely but not my style to put out on a dresser or on the piano.  However, when I saw this I fell in love.  I thought I had more than just the two doilies but I think I know where I will put the two that I know that I do have.  I am pretty excited about this project. I just need to gather the supplies.

It seems like I am always on the look out for some fun words to put up here or there.  I like how these use a fabric.  So, I think I may put something up like this in my laundry room.  Although, someone mentioned putting the word rest in a bed room or the girl's names up.  I have some time to ponder exactly what I would like to do.  However, if you have some fabric suggestions I will gladly take them.  I am pretty much a disaster when it comes to fabric selection.

Pizza Dough.  So simple yet drives me insane.  Okay, really I am just too lazy to make my own generally.  However, I tried to go on the cheap one time and purchased a mix and the results were no bueno.  So, my bread machine has a recipe and we'll just go that route.  I like my bread machine because while I live in one of the hottest cities in the nation my house generally has cool spots and I generally don't get things to rise very well.  I am sure one of you has a solution for that so comment away.  My solution right now is my bread machine and I don't have to think about it much.  HA!

We got a spiffy new camera and I want to make the most of it!  (No, the above is not our camera - different brand and well, I just don't want to disclose what it is here... if you want to know... ask.)  :)  I would like to find a few websites to read for beginners to learn the basics as well as watch the other video that came with our camera.  Just learn more about it.  So, photography friends (ahem... I know you are out there...Heather) if you have suggestions on what to read, let me know!

June, July, August, September
So, maybe I am cheating by lumping these months together.  Hear me out here.  There are several projects here that I would like to work on for Christmas gifts.  However, I think some of these things may end up in the hands of some of my readers and I don't want them to know exactly what I am working on.  It will at least keep them guessing.  Maybe when we get here I can give you a sneak peak of things I am working on.  We will see.

I need to get the ornaments printed and colored or just get them printed at some place and then laminate them.  I want this up and ready to go well before the Advent season and this gives me plenty of time before things get crazy with Thanksgiving, etc.

Wouldn't you know that I just deleted the picture of a crochet project in progress that I wanted for this month's project.  Oh well.  I started a blanket for Husband oh-say about three years ago.  Yeah.  It's still not finished.  I think that it is lacking a few more rows and some edging.  I think the edging freaks me out the most.  Husband laughed when I told him it may actually be finished this year.  I hope to prove him wrong.  HA HA!! 

Well, I know that Pinterest was full of holiday goodies.  A few caught my eye.  However, when I went back and looked through more this one had drool factor for me.  Cappuccino Shortbread.  Yum, right?  I have had several recipes catch my eye that require instant espresso powder and I can never find it.  So, this gives me time to find it.  I have some ideas and have looked around online.  I should be able to nail it down.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Miss L's 3rd Birthday

I had grand plans for the weekend of Miss L's birthday.  On Saturday, we were going to the mall to see one of her friends from church play some Christmas music in the with her dad. Then that evening we would head to the train park and let her ride the train through the light display.  Sunday, we would go to church and have a light lunch with family.  Then after naps we would do Miss L's favorite meal of chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, and broccoli salad (she like the dried cranberries).  The evening of celebration would be concluded with cake and presents.

Yeah.  None of that happened.  And the few things that did happen were not how we originally thought they would go.  HA!

Obviously, I had a baby that weekend instead.

Plan B.

Unfortunately, no one made it to church.  The whole family had a light lunch and cake.  More than ever I was glad that we ordered a cake rather than me trying to make one.  Miss L was delighted with Angelina Ballerina.  Thankfully, Miss L cannot read right now or she would have noticed that her name was misspelled on the side of the cake.  Two L's instead of one.  Oh well.  It still was yummy!  Then after all the excitement the girls took naps.

After naps everyone came down to the hospital.  This is when the Miss L and Miss A got their first glimpse of Miss S.  Then we headed down to my hospital room to really party it up and open Miss L's presents.  It was a fun time.  The nurses got a kick out of my little caravan.  Miss L told them about her sister and that it was her birthday.  It was pretty cute.  Miss L thought my bed was pretty fun and quickly discovered that the back of my bed produced presents.  Once we were done opening them she kept looking back there to see if more had magically appeared.

After all was said an done it was getting close to dinner time.  Honestly is was hard to see everyone leave that evening.  My oldest was turning three and my youngest had just entered the world.  It was a little surreal.  I think my heart was just ready for us all to be together under one roof.

I think it's a birthday party that I will definitely remember.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Things You Don't Say In the NICU

This is not a "in general" kind of post.  Well.  Maybe it sort of is for some in  general purposes.

Let me preface.

The NICU that we were in was fabulous.  This NICU is unlike some others in that each baby has their own room (I could have slept there had I wanted) so I only interacted with the nurses and the doctors that stopped by to care for Miss S.  Loved the doctors and most of the nurses.  I really don't like that I didn't love all the nurses -- I think it has something to do with the fact that many of my friends are nurses in all sorts of healthcare capacities.  Some just rubbed me the wrong way and I was generally pretty happy when their time with us was over.  I didn't like having that feeling but that is raw and honest.

So, here are two things you don't say in the NICU...to a new mama.  Just don't do it.

Many that have walked the road of motherhood with me know that I have had a difficult time nursing.  I am committed to breastfeeding my babies as long as I can without losing my sanity.  It's a hard road to hoe for me but I made it to six months with Miss L and Miss A.  I had already been pumping in the hospital and trekking down to the NICU with my, literally, drop or two of nourishment.  I was discouraged.  If I produced next to nothing I didn't bring it down (another nurse would be encouraging and say bring even the drops!) and felt like this was useless and I was facing another major obstacle.

Not knowing the battle I was fighting, or that I had fought this battle twice before, curtly informed me that consistency was the key to making milk.  For most, it's no big deal.  I think she made it because of the lack of breast milk that I was bringing down.  However, she didn't know that I was in my room every couple of hours doing exactly what the lactation consultants told me to be doing.  Only going a little longer between times at night so I could get some sleep.  Husband knew this struck a very hurtful cord with me and he tried to help me keep it under control.  My postpartum hormones got the best of me.

I cried.


If this had been my first baby and knew nothing of breastfeeding that would have been one thing.  However, this was number three... I get it.

On the upside, she apologized and was a little more sensitive to my emotional state.  She was our day nurse again the second day.  I was not thrilled.  However, day two was MUCH better than day one.

End Scene One.

Begin Scene Two.

A conversation with a night nurse started out well enough.  She started asking questions and the question that I got often, "Do you have other children?"

"Yes, two girls"

"Really?  What are their ages?"

I smile because I know what the reaction will probably be, "My oldest turns three this weekend and my second is almost 16 months."

"Really?  Wow, that's really close.  You must be busy!"

I tired to be on top of it enough that I see it as my cup runneth over!  Hands full of blessings!  However, this nurse said, "I have a 5 year-old and a 10-month-old at home.  I still think it's hard with the spread but I am glad that I can give each one the attention they deserve."

Awesome.  Thanks.

Basically, you just told me that I am not giving each child the attention she deserves.  Not exactly what I need to hear as I am thinking through how to balance time at home once I am discharged and time here with Miss S.

I responded in kindness with the positive sides of them being so close.  It was probably lost on her but that's okay.  I love how the Lord ordained each little life for us.  Busy?  Yes.  Trade it? No.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Birth of Miss S - Part 2

You can read part one here.

We had already called Mom C to pack a bag and come over to the house.  I was in so much pain at this point I was ready for drugs and I made that known (nicely) to Husband.  However, I said, "We need to go NOW."  I was pretty sure this baby was going to be born in the car.  Mom C had yet to arrive.  I told Husband I didn't care we need to go.  He calmly said we couldn't just leave the girls even though they were fast asleep.  So, we waited in the van (I in the "trunk" area) until she was close by.  We passed by her on the way out and we were off.  My contractions seemed to slow down just a little but were still rather intense.  It was during this time that I wished our hospital wasn't quite so far away (20 minutes at regular speed...ahem)  Later I would be ever so glad that we were at this particular hospital.

When we arrived at the hospital around 11:10 PM the registration desk looked so far away.  No wheel chairs were close by and even if there had been one to use it may have been to painful to sit for very long.  To say that they processed me into triage quickly would be an understatement.  My one "Are you kidding me?" moment was when I walked back there they wanted to weigh me.  For real?  Of course I had a contraction while on the scale.  Anyway.  I get to my little bed, they check me... 7 cm and fully effaced.  I hear the nurse bark some commands about a room NOW and she didn't care where it was.  During this time I am telling them I want drugs.  They can't do anything for me yet because I hadn't had an IV.  Less than five minutes later I find myself in a L & D room with people zooming all around.  The resident checks me.  10 cm and fully effaced.  WHAT?!?!  I still want drugs people.  "Nope." They inform me, "You are having this baby naturally."  I laugh.

I push.

I cry yell.

I am NOT having this baby naturally.  I can barely control this pain unlike anything I ever felt.  My contractions slowed down a bit.  I think it was because there was a whole crew of people from the NICU in there because she was coming before 37 weeks.  Finally, my doctor says she's going to check something and it's going to hurt.  Um.  Yeah. Understatement.  I'm pretty sure I almost kicked her at that point.  I wasn't fully dilated after all.  When they checked me the second time Miss S was pushing down so hard that my water bag was bulging.  After they broke it something happened and a forebag was created hiding the last bit of cervix that needed to disappear.  That actually bought me some time to have an epidural.  YEAH!

It was just enough to take the edge off.  I still feel the contractions (there would be no sleeping through labor like I did with Miss A) and I knew she would be making her grand appearance soon.  They told me to let them know if I felt like pushing or the pressure increased.  It wasn't long after the epidural was in that I told them that things were changing.  They said the doctor was called to emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy and would come as soon as she was done.  They moved me into a more upright position to help get Miss S into position.  So, while I wait for the doctor each time I feel contractions... I push (not very hard.)  The doctor came back about 2 hours after I got my epidural and said lets see how you are doing.  They check and we are a 100% go this time around.  I steady myself for a possible hour of pushing (which is what I did with Miss A) -- to my great surprise 5 pushes and out she came!  It was now 2:31 AM, December 10 -- 6 1/2 hours -- about half the length of my last labor.  Once again they could not put my little bundle on my chest because she, too, had a short cord like Miss A.  Odd.  Miss S let out a little cry and once Husband cut the cord they whisked her over to be evaluated.

It was a long time.  All was quiet over there.  A little too quiet.  I called over to Husband but I don't think he heard me.  Finally, a nurse came and told me that little Miss S was having a hard time breathing and they were taking her to the NICU.  They let me touch her and see her for about two minutes and they were gone.  Husband went with her.  I remember crying and telling Husband, "I'm sorry."  I was sorry I couldn't keep her in longer.  While I know now there was nothing I could do, in that moment it felt like my fault.  I should have been able to keep her safe inside a little bit longer.  Our other girls had been early and no problems.  I naively thought she would be fine, too.

When all was said and done I was able to go down to the NICU (A branch of Phoenix Children's NICU - one of the best - is located on the same floor as L & D in this hospital) for about 20 minutes to see Miss S before I had to check in my room and with the nurses there.  Thankfully, Husband had already shown me pictures of what she looked like otherwise I think I would have just lost it with all the wires and tubes attached to her.

Miss S had a CPAP machine on her to force air in her lungs and cause them to really open up.  Gosh she did not like that thing.  Nurses called her, "feisty."  She also has a small tube that went down into her stomach to pull out stuff that may accumulate there as a by product of the CPAP and give her small amounts of nourishment.  They also wanted to be able to tell if she was digesting things well (which she wasn't for awhile because she was working so hard on breathing.)  She had an IV that was giving her some medicine that she needed and other nourishment.  Then there were all the "normal" wires for any baby in the NICU that check heart rate, breathing, and oxygen saturation.  It was pretty intense for me and my baby was not the sickest baby in NICU.  I couldn't even being to imagine what other mama's were experiencing.

So, now began my days of working on getting my milk to come in to help nourish Miss S while she was in there and not allowed to work on sucking.  Too much for her system to process.  This seemed like a daunting task as well given my not so great history in overall milk production.  Trips down to the NICU.  Healing. Checking in with my nurses from time to time.  Rest. Miss S made great progress -- breathing, then eating, some jaundice curbed.  I was discharged from the hospital on Monday (an interesting balance between time with Miss L and Miss A and being at the hospital) and Miss S finally was able to come home on Thursday evening.

She's doing better and seems to be thriving.  We are adjusting to being a family of five and thanking the Lord foe each sweet blessing and the extravagant love He shows to us through each one.

More thoughts and side stories of the NICU in the coming days/weeks.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Birth of Miss S - Part 1

Well, our third little bundle made a rather unexpected early arrival on December 10 -- just two days beyond the 36 week mark.  Miss S arrived at 2:31 AM weighing in at 5lbs 15oz and 19 inches long.

We have an interesting story with her for sure.

At the 35 week mark I noticed contractions that were consistent and when I finally really paid attention to them I realized they were in a pattern but not really increasing in strength.  Just the same my doctor wanted me to go in to be monitored for awhile.  To make this part of the story a bit shorter they concluded that I was having contractions that went from 10 minutes apart to about 3-5 minutes apart.  However, they were not growing in intensity.  I could still talk through them, etc.  They decided to give me a shot of terbutaline to make them stop.  It worked.  I didn't realize how much I was contracting until they stopped.  We prayed that baby girl would stay put for a couple of more weeks.

So, we just kept going, going, going for another week and a half.

On December 9, I had my 36 week appointment with my OB where she asked if I wanted to be "checked" or "left alone."  Husband and I were both pretty sure that I had dilated a bit more than when I was in the hospital and we had a bet going as to how far along I was.  I said I was maybe three centimeters and Husband said for sure four.  Well, let me just say that Husband won the bet and I owe him dinner.  My doctor said a solid four and maybe more. In God's providence, we decided not to go to our church's Christmas party and had dinner with some dear friends that were back in the Valley for the winter months.  Just before dinner (6:30 PM) I pulled Husband aside to let him know that I was having contractions.  They were not Braxton Hicks, I had only had a couple, and they didn't seem to be a big deal.  During dinner I had a few more but I didn't really think too much of them.  After dinner Mrs. B and I sat in the living room to watch Miss L and Miss A play and chat.  During that time my contractions became a bit more intense.  I tried to hide what was going on but there was one contraction where I had to look at the ceiling and really think through what I was saying.  In the midst of our girls letting us know that they were tired and ready to go home I confessed that my contractions were getting stronger and we should probably go (around 8:00 PM)  We joked about how Miss S could make an appearance tonight.  We also laughed that maybe it's Italian food makes me go into labor as that is what I had just before Miss A was born.  However, my thought at the time was I should just get a lot of water in me and lay down and they will disappear.  Yep, that's what I thought.

On the way home I really had to concentrate through contractions.  When I would do my controlled breathing Miss L thought that I was pretending to be asleep and she would chime in from the back seat, "Wake up, Mama, wake up!!"  It's hard to do controlled breathing when you are laughing and trying to explain that you are not, in fact, asleep.  The contractions were coming more frequently by the time we got home.  We made the call to my mother-in-law to pack a bag and be ready to come.  In the mean time, Husband and I got the girls ready for bed.  Miss L really wanted more help from me than normal on this particular night and I had to stop in the middle of the routine for a really intense contraction.  I didn't do anything to freak her out but I think at that point she realized something was "wrong" with Mommy and she started pulling out all of her stalling cards.  Husband ran interference and she finally settled down and went to sleep.  I guzzled down a LOT of water and laid down.

If anything, the contractions got stronger and faster.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

This Is The Day

When you saw the title did the song go running through your head?

Several months ago when this song would be stuck in my head because we generally sing it at the preschool co-op that we attend it would drive me utterly bananas. BA.NA.NAS.  Miss L generally wants to sing it and Miss A grasps that when we sing this song we clap along.  To say the least, it is sung often around here.  I know that it is Scriptural and all...  but the repetition was wearing on me.  I think the Lord knew that I would need the repetition...

...to learn something.

The song now has a deep and sentimental meaning to me.  The Lord used the preschool song to minister to my heart during a time when I needed to be reminded that He was really in control.

When I was finally able to hold Miss S for the first time in the NICU the nurse said to make sure to talk to her about whatever or to sing to her.  We like to sing around here.  My husband is a wonderful singer... I, on the other hand, have a hard time carrying a tune on a silver plate.  But that doesn't generally stop me and I do have my moments of actually singing well.  Anyway.  Sing?  The first thing that came to mind was, This is the Day.  So, I started singing it to her and realized the deep theology (and extravagant LOVE) that was being imparted to me at that moment.  I choked through the rest of the words as I realized my own personal struggles with the current situation this was indeed the day that the Lord had made, had given to me, and I would rejoice in Him, that my baby was alive... I would choose to be glad.

That became our mantra of sorts.  I sang that song each morning that I came in to see Miss S and it really helped me to gain perspective on the day.  Our pastor came to visit one afternoon and I shared with him how the Lord had used this simple song to show Himself to me.  It felt childish in some way but so very significant in another.  You know... I was okay with that.

I realized the other day that I had stopped singing this song to Miss S when we got home.  I shall have to remedy that.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

52 Weeks To An Organized Home

I have a newborn.

I don't really need to take on any additional challenges in life right now.

However, my household still needs to function and it needs help in some areas.  But I also need discipline and training in what needs to happen in different areas.

I happened upon this website through Pinterest.  I decided to check it out.  AH!  It looks like something that I can handle at my own pace.  I can do what I can handle and if I miss a week... well, that's just fine.  I like that the woman behind this is very relaxed with a "jump in where we are" attitude.  I also just like the idea of purging things at this point in time.  Unload things that I haven't used in five years (or more).  There are people that would like to have or need these things more than I need to keep them in my closet, cabinet, or garage...you know...just in case.  If just in case hasn't happened by now then I don't think I need to worry about it much.

However, what I have loved most about searching though this site is all her stuff on organizing Christmas items. We are on ornament overload and we need pare down.  With some ornaments they just need to be set aside in another box and hang out until our girls leave to keep their own households and take their collections with them.  I just don't want to have to pull all of them out each year, sort through all of them as to what should go on the tree, and then put them all away.  I just want to pull out what we want each year.

So, the challenge began yesterday with kitchen counters and the kitchen sink.  It was the perfect place to start. This week's challenge ties into the next several weeks.  I am already thinking about things that need to be removed from our cabinets so I can make room for occasionally used items that are camping out on my counter.

Needless to say, there are things that will find their way to Goodwill.  I don't want them to hang around for a garage sale.  It just won't happen.

So, I have a good portion or motivation these days.  I hope it continues.  However, I need to heed my husband not to overdo it.  Because... you know.. I did yesterday!

I will post here with challenge progress as I think that I can do them.  Hopefully, I will remember to post photos.  Even if the before pictures are ridiculously embarrassing.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sisterly Love

I am working on the birth story of Miss S -- it's taking me a little longer than I expected.  I may post in two parts.  We will see.  However, there are other parts of Miss S's (is that right?) arrival that I also wanted to make sure that I wrote down somewhere.

For those that don't know the story, here's a spoiler... Miss S had to spend 5 days in the NICU.  No big deal in the grand scheme of things.  A big deal when you are in the midst of it all.

Miss S arrived the day before Miss L's third birthday.  It kind of threw a wrench in some plans but what can you do?  (There will be a separate post on Miss L's birthday).  Anyway, we had been prepared mentally that the girls would not be able to come and see Miss S in the hospital or even me for that matter.  However, much to our sweet surprise not only were they able to come and see me they were also able to go see Miss S as long as they had not been sick in the last two weeks and did not currently have a fever.  We were good to go!!

Of course, our girls provided some sweet moments when they saw Miss S for the first time.  We were thankful at this point that Miss S had been taken off the CPAP machine that was helping her breathe and force her lungs to work a bit better.  It may have been too scary for them prior to that.

Miss L was excited to see Miss S and was excited to finally see her new sister.  However, when the nurse came in the room (and to anyone she would see after that) she informed her that her sister "is in a box."  It was pretty funny how matter-of-fact she was about Miss S living in a box.  I think she thought that she would always be in that box.

We were never sure how much Miss A understood the whole situation or that this baby would be coming home with us.  When she first saw Miss S she said, "Baby!"  Sweet girl.  She looked and kept saying, "Baby!"  Then finally she put her hand on the "box" and gave Miss S a kiss through the plastic.  It was the sweetest thing ever.