Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My First Adventure In Freezer Cooking: Part 1: The List

I finally finished my Frozen Cooking Dinner List and my corresponding shopping list! It's been on my "to do" list for days and I feel so much better now that it's done!

Since I'm not going to be feeling like grilling much these next few weeks I went searching for easy casseroles that I could make in advance and that were pretty much entire meals on their own. I've stocked up on freezer bags (the generic ones at Walmart are really inexpensive!) and tupperware and am eager to see how this is going to go. One of our friends is giving us a 24 square foot freezer she doesn't use that will be in the garage! Hopefully I'll have enough energy to take pictures on Monday.

Frozen Cooking Dinner List

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (enough for 4 nights)
Veggie Spaghetti (enough for 2 nights)
Eggplant Lasagna (4 nights)
Pineapple Fried Rice (3 nights)
Bulgur Shila (3 nights)
Spanish Brown Rice (2 nights)
Country Living Potato Soup (4 nights)
Tamale Pie (2 nights)
Potatoes and Sausage Au Gratin (2 nights)
Chicken Tex Mex Bake (2 nights)
Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas (3 nights)
Simple Turkey Pot Pie (3 nights)
Unorthodox Shepherd’s Pie (3 nights)
Creamy Broccoli Soup (2 nights)
Split Pea Soup (3 nights)
Meat Loaf (3 nights)

(45 nights)

And here's the shopping list (which includes lunch foods and some snacks that we need to stock up on too):


Shopping List 7/ 2010

Meat and Poultry Section:
18 lbs of ground beef
11 lb chicken
At least 24 slices bacon
4 links smoked sausage

Fruits and Vegetables:
Lots of tomatoes
5 bell peppers
25 onions
Lots of garlic
4 medium eggplants
Mushrooms
Lots of green onions
Carrots
31 large russet potatoes
Celery
Avocado
Plums
Pears
Apples
Apricots
Bananas

Canned:
6 tomato sauces
5 large canned sliced olives
24 oz crushed pineapple with juice
2 15 oz can corn
4 14 oz creamed corn
7 10 oz cream of mushroom soup
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
16 oz jar processed cheese sauce
4 oz mild red enchilada sauce
3 4 oz can diced green chiles
2 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
4 10 oz can cream of chicken soup
2 cans chicken stock
2 16 oz jar Mexican pasteurized process cheese sauce
6 12 oz cans evaporated milk
4 cans steak chile
Lipton Recipe Secrets Beefy Onion Soup Mix

Freezer Aisle:
Frozen baby peas
Frozen baby corn
4 10 oz pkgs. Frozen broccoli
16 oz package frozen mixed vegetables
2 Digorno Pizzas

Dairy Aisle:
Monterey Jack Cheese
5 packages cream cheese
2 12 oz tubes buttermilk biscuits
whole milk
3 packages extra firm tofu
6 cups sour cream
6 sticks of butter
1 stick unsalted butter
32 oz mozzarella cheese
Eggs

Grains and Dry Goods:
4 spaghetti noodles
Brown Rice
Bulgur
Corn chips
Flour tortillas
Flour
8 loafs of French Bread
Corn Bread Mix
Sandwich Rolls (3 packages)
Wheat Flat Bread (2 packages)
Triscuits

Spices:
bay leaf
chili powder
ground cumin
thyme
rosemary
paprika

And I've come to the realization that we eat a LOT of onions and garlic in our house! We go through almost a bag a week!

So Much to Do! Seven Days to Go!

I've been making lists and then checking off the little boxes of things that I NEED to finish in the next seven days. If I don't finish them in time, I'm sure we'll all survive, but it certainly would be nice to have a clean, organized house and a well stocked freezer (full of frozen meals) by the time Maggie comes home.

On the upside I am currently, for the first time in the history of my entire life, winning the battle against the ever growing pile of laundry. For some reason having a tiny little washing machine has helped.

It's actually kind of counter intuitive. When I saw the size of our "new" washer I couldn't believe that the barrel could possibly be that tiny (I mean the outside looks absolutely normal). I am somewhat skeptical that a single sheet off of our bed could fit in it (we'll be trying that out this week because last time I washed them at Nani and Grumpa's!) and one pair of Paul's jeans take up half the space that there is.

Instead of being a problem, the small washing machine has motivated me to do laundry daily and keep on top of things. I don't have the excuse of "not having a full load" because I always have a full load. And the dryer (which is normal size) does it's job very quickly with small loads!

Now on to the next big project that I've been working on: Freezer Cooking!

I can't remember if I first read about Freezer Cooking in one of Kimberely Hahn's books (either Chosen and Cherished or Graced and Gifted) or if it was in Holly Pierlot's A Mother's Rule of Life (all three are great books, but they kind of blend together in my head!).

I'm not going to have a chance to go shopping until the 5th, which really, really, really feels like cutting it close, but I'm going to give it a try. I just finished the list of dinner's and a shopping list to go with it, but since this post is a little long I'm going to make that it's own little post!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Exciting News!

First thought: Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Second thought: I wonder what Paul's professor (and others) who genuinely seem to believe that the second Vatican council "banned evangelization" will think of that...

Daily Dose of Cuteness: Sadie and the Eucharist

Sadie watched everything that goes on, particularly during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, very closely. If she's going to have a breakdown during the Mass it's going to be before the homily is over, after that everything seems to be so interesting that she's too distracted to make a peep (unless it's a little excited squeal!).

Sunday, however, she did something that really made me smile.

We sit in the front row each Sunday, because we've learned that she does much, much better when she has a clear view of everything that's going on. We had already received and were back at our seats with Sadie smiling at everyone as they walked passed to go back to their seats.

After a few minutes she turned around and looked at me and put her hand out and then put it up to her mouth and pretended that she had just received the Eucharist. I whispered, in a tiny voice, "Oh, good girl, now make your sign" and she got this huge smile on her face, made her clumsy little sign of the cross (which really looks like her touching her chest in various spots about eight times) and then put her hands together like she was praying (she's just learned that one too and is thrilled about being able to do it).

It was such a cute moment! I spent the rest of the day smiling!

Doctor's Visit #11- Week 38- Part 2

Eight days to go!

We got to the doctor's office almost an hour early after we finished after chore and errand that we could think of doing (it's hard to judge how long these things will take when you're coming from so far away!) and were prepared to wait... but this time our doctor was way ahead of schedule and they took us in right away.

I hadn't gained any weight and am currently holding steady at 44 lbs, just a little more than I gained with Sadie (2 lbs more, but starting from a little less than I started from with her). I talked with the nurse about all the contractions and other stuff that has been going on, we listened to the heartbeat (Maggie must not have much room to "evade" any longer because, for once, we were able to hear it without a ten minute search!) and then the doctor came in.

She did "check" to see what all the contractions are doing and I'm currently 2 cm's (I was a little surprised it wasn't more after all these contractions! At this point with Sadie I was at 4.). She said that if I really go into labor we'll come in and do the c-section early, but if not we're set for the 7th. A week from today we'll be headed into The City for the pre-op at the doctor's office and the hospital!

There's still so much to do!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Doctor's Visit #11- Week 38- Part 1

Today is the last doctor's appointment before my pre-op next Tuesday! Where did the last 38 weeks go?!?!?!

I have a prediction for how the appointment will go...

I'll go in and they'll weigh me and learn that I've already gained a whooping 45 lbs (even more than I gained with Sadie). I will be wearing my "light" clothes today (also because of the 100+ heat that has begun and probably won't fade until sometime in September. Then they'll take my blood pressure, which seems to be frozen at 102 over 60 (I won't complain about that! Especially since it was 135 over something which is high for me, at the beginning of this pregnancy). After that we'll go over the contractions I've been having, how they're lasting about a minute now, and are all day... how there's been spotting, which makes me think I'm about to pop and how yes, my feet and hands are still swollen (are there pregnant women out there whose feet aren't swollen at the end of a long day?!?!). Then we'll go through the process of finding the heartbeat, which takes around ten minutes as Maggie evades and scoots back and forth in an attempt not to be prodded with the monitor (that's become something that happens at every single appointment lately).

Then the doctor will come in, measure my stomach, say that everything is "perfect" and ask if we have any questions. Paul will prompt me to describe all the contractions I've been having that I've already told the nurse about... Dr. R will say "that sounds absolutely normal" and we'll be on our way. We will be in the room with the doctor for two minutes tops.

Now my attention turns to freezer cooking... a subject I've become obsessed with in the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately, the way the schedule is working out, it looks like I will be doing our monthly food shopping on the 5th (if I make it that long), which means a two hour round trip drive and preparing everything I can in one day, since we're leaving to go to stay in The City overnight on the 6th (since I have so many appointments that day and it's such a long drive back and forth) before the c-section on the 7th. I have some planning and list making to do!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

An Almost Free Dinner Out?

Wow... so I've been a little coupon crazy lately...

And this deal isn't helping make me less coupon crazy.

Basically the deal is this. Restaurant.com has a special coupon code. When you buy a gift certificate at restaurant.com, now through the 30th, you pay 2% of the price of the certificate. All you have to do is type in "summer" in the coupon code spot before you pay.

There are some rules. For most of the $25 certificates you have to purchase $35 at the restaurant... With the current deal, a $25 certificate costs $2 and to use the certificate you'd have to spend another $10. That's a $35 meal out for $12.

My parents are watching Sadie while I'm in the hospital for the c-section, so we just used the coupon to get them a certificate to a restaurant in the city we'll all be staying in (because the drive to the hospital is a three hour round trip). So if you eat out at all, you might want to see what's available in your area! It could save you at least $25 (or if you know someone who eats out a lot it could make a great gift)!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Are You a Fake Feminist?

Are you a feminist? A lot of women that I know would answer yes (and are the type of feminists that would make me proud to join their ranks)...

I am undecided. By the definition that many of my fellow bloggers give, I am. But the definition that was shoved down my throat for four years at a Catholic Liberal Arts college left a bad taste in my mouth and when I think of "feminism" it tends to be the kind that Jessica Valenti is talking about in her article below... a form that doesn't think much of women in reality... and seems to think that we're all to stupid to make our own decisions (and if our decisions don't match hers then we have no right to use the "f-word" as she calls it.

Here's a bit from Jessica Valenti's opinion piece "The Fake Feminism of Sarah Palin":
...So Palin's "feminism" isn't just co-opting the language of the feminist movement, it's deliberately misrepresenting real feminism to distract from the fact that she supports policies that limit women's rights...

...Now, there's no grand arbiter of the label, and the tremendous range of thought in the movement means there isn't a singular platform one can look to as a reference point. And the sad reality is that there are plenty of self-identified liberal feminists who exhibit not-so-egalitarian ideals, such as racism or homophobia. So is it possible to exclude women such as Palin from feminism if we don't have a conclusive definition?

Absolutely. If anyone -- even someone who actively fights against women's rights -- can call herself a feminist, the word and the movement lose all meaning. And while part of the power of feminism is its intellectual diversity, certain things are inarguable. Feminism is a social justice movement with values and goals that benefit women. It's a structural analysis of a world that oppresses women, an ideology based on the notion that patriarchy exists and that it needs to end.

What Palin is peddling isn't feminism -- it's a manipulated buzzword being used to garner support for a party that time and time again votes against women's rights. Palin isn't trying to further a movement for justice or equality; she's shilling for women's votes -- a "stampede of pink elephants," she says -- for the midterm elections...

...But feminists -- or anyone who cares about women's progress -- need to stop Palin from turning feminism into yet another empty slogan. Because "sisterhood" and meaningless rallying cries aside, American women need real feminism in their lives, not just the f-bomb.
Actually, I think Robin of Berkeley gives a better description of what I saw when I was a radical liberal working for a non-profit in Berkeley... Of course I'm sure Ms. Valenti would just say that I'm too dumb to realize that I'm wrong... she doesn't seem to think all that much of women, especially women who think for themselves rather than just shouting popular liberal myths in angry tones...

The Multiplying Corn Flower Blue Acrylic Yarn

My yarn must be multiplying on its own. That's the only explanation I can come up with. Once, a long time ago, it could have fit in a few storage bins... Now it seems determined to take over the apartment.

Unfortunately, the reproduction doesn't seem to be proportional across all fibers. The natural fibers dwindle in number on a daily basis. The Di'Ve Zenith merino, the one wool that I would love to have pouring from my yarn chest (where most of the yarn lives as it waits to become part of a project), has been discontinued and I never find balls of it that I don't remember buying. The Walmart cotton is almost holding steady, but again, I am never delighted by finding extra balls of cotton popping out of baskets or tupper ware bins.

Acrylic yarn, particularly in cornflower blue, however, is threatening to take over our living space. I thought I'd stuffed all of it into the yarn chest, but I've since found entire bags of it scattered throughout the apartment (on a positive note this is yarn that was passed on to me... I just had no idea that there was so much of it!). It's taken over a large picnic basket we got when we got married (and is dominating the rest of the stash in the chest) and I'm sure there are several skeins of it lurking under the bed or in drawers, waiting to pop out and surprise me when I least expect it.

For the time being though, I'm focused on a large spool of white cotton. We visited Nani this afternoon and it's taken up most of my free time (while Sadie and Nani played outside in Sadie's little pool and we learned that Sadie has a new strategy for trying to get out of trouble... she does something she knows she isn't supposed to do and then points to the "ouchie" on her toe as if that somehow explains why she just ran across the porch and dumped a large cup of sand into her freshly cleaned pool). I have a project in the works and it absolutely has to be done in the next thirty four days!

The next question is: does sleep deprivation, morphine (immediately after the c-section) and vicodine (in the days after the c-section) mix with cable knitting? I have a feeling this could be disastrous. So I'm stepping my knitting into high gear!

It sure would be nice to find a surprise skein of white cotton yarn hiding in a basket somewhere... but I just don't think it's going to happen!

Up next... how to address the multiplication of single knitting needles that has accompanied the yarn? Why are the pairs always separated? How can I have so many pair-less needles in single sizes? And where do all of my tape measures disappear to?

I'm really hoping my newly organized "craft" area helps out with these problems!

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Latest Necklace

Now that most of our stuff is unpacked I've been able to put a little bit more energy towards my etsy store, Full of Grace Creations.

And here's my latest:


I absolutely love this medal! As you can see, it's a rose that slides open to reveal a simple miraculous medal inside. I have a few more waiting to become centerpieces for necklaces that I'm beginning to design in my head. Out of all of the medals that I've come across these are definitely a favorite!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Coupon Triumph

I am returning from this morning's shopping trip triumphant! Not only did we get in our 2 1/2 mile morning walk, but we saved big time: we got $97 worth of groceries that we needed for $5.

I have to admit, the first time that I tried this whole coupon shopping thing I was a little nervous. I went to hip2save.com and made a list of deals of things at CVS that we needed and things that we didn't need yet, but that we would need that were free or practically free. I also added to the list things that we would make money buying (usually through a combination of store sale, coupons and rebates). And then we went through the store and ticked each thing off the list.

Next came the scary part. Ringing up the total of the order, pre-coupons. It came to $120 last time. I was nearly in a panic when I handed the coupons over. Paul's discount knocked it down to $100 and then the coupons knocked it down to $70-something. Still a little panicked I took a deep breath and paid.

This next part only works if you shop at a store like CVS regularly (we do... not only does Paul work there, but it's the only store in town that sells what it sells). The receipt printed out and it was one of those incredibly long receipts that I always hear people complaining about in CVS. It was a print out of Extra Bucks, which is basically CVS cash that you can use on anything at the store. It came to $32. If you add that to the rebates I am just about to send in it came to $40 back. Meaning we got a basket full of groceries that we needed for around $30.

Fast forward to a week later (today). Two things are starting to happen. One is that as I buy the almost free/ free stuff I am creating a stock pile, so that we don't have to buy other products at full price (like I did last week) just because we need it. The other thing is that I had my neatly cut out stock pile of Extra Bucks.

Here's how round 2 went. We got to the checkout lane and again I almost had a panic attack. After Paul's discount it rang up to $97. I took deep breaths. We NEEDED diapers, and the sales were pretty good. Then I handed over the coupons. It was knocked down to $76. Still more deep breaths. Then I forked over last weeks extra bucks (Paul had an extra eleven he'd given me). The price was now $34. So I paid the $34 and waited for the print out of coupons to use next week. The extra bucks we'll use during next weeks trip came to $27. Which means that we paid $7 for $97 worth of groceries (and the $97 also gets added to the points total for 2% cash back at the end of the season, which means it's more like $5.

Here's the loot:

Considering the price of diapers (two of the packages are for Maggie later on because the sales were so good and two are for Sadie now), I'm pretty thrilled with getting all this for $5!

Free Photo Books with Coupon

If you're into making photo books than this site has some great deals. And if you you check out this coupon deal they're free (except for the shipping and handling). We give them as gifts at Christmas time for family members and this really is a great deal! Now if only the expiration date on the coupon were for right after Maggie was born, instead of before.

When you sign up though they also credit you with tons of other discounts for almost free stuff (shipping seems to be the only price for most of them).

My coupon searching at night has been pretty successful. I have a list today to take to CVS and we should actually end up making money! There's no way I would be able to take the time to figure all this out without the hip2save.com website, and it still takes a little time (I'm setting aside on night a week to clip coupons and make lists for stores) but it's amazing to actually make money for buying something, which reminds me of another item I need to add to my to-do list for the day: send in rebates!

The Rosary: Our Weapon


I saw this on Catholic Fire and had to share it with you!

Sadie Turns 2: The Tractor Birthday Party

I can't believe two years have passed since we welcomed Sadie into the world! Here are the photos of yesterdays party! It was at Nani's house and Nani gets the credit for decorating in Sadie's favorite color: John Deere Green.

A Tractor Party just wouldn't be complete without a tractor cake. And as soon as Sadie saw this one she was ready to dig in!

In this picture Sadie has just walked into the house for the first time of the day and has noticed that something is different! She can hardly believe her eyes!

And then she spots it: the red trike from Nani and Grumpa! Sadie's been pointing out trikes to Nani for about six months every time she sees on in a magazine or catalog. And this one has a bell!

By this point Sadie was a little tired of getting her picture taken and would almost burst into tears at the sight of a camera. That is until she realized that there would be presents to be opened... and then her disdain of cameras quickly disappeared because she was too distracted to be upset!

Birthdays can be overwhelming! Even when tractors are involved!

Nini and Gigi's Tractor ATV! Soon Sadie will be trying to ride her trike and ATV at the same time... while wearing high heels!

"Look what I found!"

Mommy and Daddy's Present!

A Box with Cars! And lots of space for more cars!

Accessories fit for a princess! And this little princess spent the better part of her before-bedtime-playtime dancing around in her new princess high heels!

I think she's already better at walking in heels than I am! Maybe she will be less clumsy than her mom and dad are!

And she loves pearls! Especially play pearls! Just like Mommy!

Princess dresses! Princess dresses were another part of our pre-bedtime routine tonight! Princess Sadie loves to get dressed up and twirl!

Finally, exhausted from all the present opening, Sadie finds a comfortable place to relax!

What a day!

Doctor's Visit #11- Week 37- Part 2

An excerpt from the conversation at today's doctor's appointment.

Dr. R (while feeling for the baby after measuring): "You're really all baby."

Me: (somewhat skeptical of the aforementioned comment) "I set a new record weighing in today... I've gained 43 lbs, which is one more than I gained when I delivered Sadie."

Dr. R: (cheerfully) "And you still have a couple more weeks to go!"

I think that Paul was also pretty certain (or just hopeful) that by describing all the fun contractions I've been having he could convince the doctor to send us on over to the hospital today and bring Maggie home by the weekend. I, however, know her well enough to have been able to predict her response before she even said it: "that all sounds pretty normal."

I did fix him with a rather menacing glare when he began to bring up the frequent and painful contractions that go on pretty much anytime I'm on my feet. The glare was meant to say: "if you get me put on bed rest for the next two weeks you will pay for it!" Unfortunately he seemed completely oblivious to my glare and it's meaning... Thankfully there have been no restrictions placed on being up and about! I'm afraid I'd go crazy making "to do" lists for Paul if I was stuck in bed all the time!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Doctor's Visit #11- Week 37- Part 1

I'm just about to start rushing around the house getting everything ready to go in for Doctor's appointment #11! And since we took a lot of pictures yesterday I should have some birthday and pregnancy pictures posted by tonight!

Nothing would really surprise me at this point in terms of baby Maggie's arrival. Paul and I go on a two and a half mile walk with Sadie most mornings (which was extra special yesterday because we stopped at the local bakery and got Sadie a pink sprinkled doughnut for her birthday) and during yesterdays walk I had to stop three times in less than one short, small town block (which is only the length of one small museum/temple) for serious contractions. I was averaging walking from fence post to fence post before I had to stop!

My favorite part about being this close though is that Maggie is now so low that I can actually eat again without getting sick! That was especially helpful yesterday because I really didn't want Sadie's beautiful John Deere tractor cake to go to waste.

Monday, June 21, 2010

An Eventful Morning!

Just woke up to one of our neighbors screaming "I'm not going to jail!"

And the thought occurred to me after years of watching cops with Grumpa, that people who are screaming that, usually end up going to jail...

Then the brawl started... It's only 7am and the sheriff has already been out to our apartment complex!

In other news Sadie is two and is ready for her tractor party! The Princess Bunny is having a little family Tractor Themed Party (with me and Daddy, Nani and Grumpa and Nini and Gigi).

Maternity Outfit of the Week

While I was on the Shabby Apple website I stopped by to look at their maternity section and loved what I found. It inspired me to do a Maternity Outfit of the Week (at least for this week!).

Here it is --->

At the beginning of this pregnancy I needed to find a dress for my grandmother's funeral. Even though I was only a couple of months along I was already having trouble fitting into my regular clothes (it's amazing how much faster you show during a second pregnancy!) and thought I'd find a dress that would last through the entire pregnancy, that was comfortable enough to wear regularly but nice enough for Mass (or other formal occasions).

Some of you may remember the complaint that I had after that somewhat frustrating shopping trip. ALL of the dresses in the maternity store (and maternity sections of the department stores we stopped by) were thigh skimming. They hardly covered ANYTHING.

Now I know in Hollywood pregnant starlets might like to prance around in next to nothing while carrying around a baby the size of a small (or not so small) beach ball, but in reality I don't know many pregnant women who enjoy walking around in next to nothing. I know that I certainly don't!

I did finally find a dress (the dress that I'm wearing in the banner picture) in the Old Navy clearance section. It was actually supposed to be a cover up for the pool or beach...

So it's a relief to find a store that sells classy maternity outfits that don't look like they're about to a) fall off or b) reveal the wearers underwear. Not that I'm in the market for maternity clothes these days... in fact I've already unpacked my non-maternity dresses and stare at them wistfully each time I put clothes away in the closet... and with the help of a good post-c-section girdle/corset it shouldn't be too long before they're back in the rotation (I hope!)!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Outfit of the Week

I love Shabby Apple. I haven't actually been able to afford a dress there, but they're great for fashion inspiration! And I love this dress! It's just perfect for summer!

It's also motivating me to get my sewing machine up and running (whenever I see beautiful dresses I get motivated to learn more about sewing!). The one that I had been using at Nani's house was actually my grandmother's and I only tried using mine once (there wasn't a lot of room for it in the travel trailer so it got put away... knitting always ends up stealing my sewing time!). I set it up the other day and it was making an awful clicking sound like the needle was caught on something. I'm not sure how anything could have gone wrong with it since it's been sitting on a shelf in the garage for the past few years, but we'll have to wait and see.

Hopefully in the next couple of days I'll have time to get it up and running... right now I'm very distracted by my latest rosary (two decades down, three to go). I found some beautiful freshwater pearls on super sale and I love how it's coming along! It'll be my first rosary with real pearls! And I have a wedding present that i need to get started on (and finish) pronto! So much to do before Maggie arrives!

Checking of My "To Do" List

We are slowly making our way towards being unpacked. I even took an entire day off earlier this week, and didn't unpack a single box (although there was laundry, cooking, cleaning and work on a rosary that needed to be finished that kept me pretty busy!).

Today Paul and I spent about an hour cleaning out the car, something that has probably needed to be done for the past twelve months, but that has been on the back burner behind school and work for Paul and day to day life for Sadie for me. After sorting through junk, vacuuming, scrubbing and washing we were ready to complete one of our goals for the day: moving the baby car seat back into the car. With Sadie's giant Eddie Bauer car seat on one side and the rear facing baby car seat on the other side the back seat is quite crowded. I don't think our car is one of the cars out there that could fit three seats across. It was also kind of exciting to see both of the seats back there! And it was one more "to do" checked off the list!

The other "to do" that we finished today was putting together Maggie's bassinet. It's now next to the bed upstairs, ready for Maggie's arrival. The same thought keeps running through my head when I look at either the car seat or the bassinet: "they are just so tiny!" It seems like such a long time ago that Sadie was small enough to fit into either of them!

Now I'm just hoping that we have a couch before the month is over... My parents very generously took us to The City last week where we found a great deal on a beautiful couch. There was a "liquidation" sale and we picked out a beautiful leather couch for under $400...

Unfortunately if something seems to be too good to be true it probably is (even if it's a major national chain with stores across the country)...

Yesterday my mom called while Sadie and I were walking and said that on the front page of one of the local newspapers there was a story about the furniture store we ordered the couch from (they said that there was nothing on the floor that was for sale when we asked... which seemed strange for a "liquidation sale"). They had said that the couch would arrive in 1-2 weeks...

Now they're apparently being investigated because the Better Business Bureau has received dozens of complaints from people who haven't received their furniture (or refunds) in recent months who were given similar promises (there were over 60 comments in the comments section online of people with similar stories). The store has released a statement saying that people who've ordered in the past might start to receive their merchandise or refunds for their merchandise in August... So we're just hoping that the couch actually exists... And that it gets here soon... but for now Sadie is happy with her bean bag chair!

Oh well... at least the replacement stove is up and running perfectly! It's made life much easier!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A $70 Giveaway (quick, it ends soon!)

Here's another giveaway! If you head over the Lerin's blog Beautiful Chaos you can enter to win a $70 giftcard from CSN! The link to the contest is here!

C-Section Scheduled...

19 days to go! We just received a letter in the mail telling us that the c-section has been scheduled for July 7th at 7:30am (if I make it that long!). The letter actually came yesterday, but I hadn't gone through the mail yet! If we do make it to the c-section Maggie will be born on Blessed Ralph Milner and Blessed Roger Dickenson's day.

36 1/2 Weeks!

Tonight I had a bit of a false alarm!

I'm used to contractions during the last month of being pregnant. The ones with Sadie were pretty much every single day for the last month of pregnancy (it felt like all day, every day...) so it's not like I really expect to be delivering a baby in the next couple of weeks (I think we might make it all the way to the end!). Last time around I spent the whole month panicked, certain that each day was the day that we'd head to the hospital.

But tonight after Nani dropped me off (we spent the afternoon visiting) the contractions took a turn for the worst. They were only a couple of minutes apart for about an hour and they hurt! They've finally eased up, but for a while I was starting to wonder if Maggie is going to end up being a June baby! Could she and Sadie be less than 2 years apart? It's going to be close!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cam's Coupon Craze

I've become a little obsessed lately...

... And what exactly is it that I've become obsessed with, you may be wondering?

Coupons!

It started when someone on a forum mentioned this site: Hip2Save.com. So I headed on over and started looking around.

And then I had to wait until Sunday to get the Sunday newspaper with the ads in it. It was a long couple of days... the next strain on my patience was realizing that the site listed coupons that hadn't expired yet, so even with the paper I wouldn't have all the coupons suggested until the ones that had been printed during my pre-coupon-ing days expired. We are getting to that point now though, which means I have the coupons for most of the sales (Yay!).

Here's an example of how one of the CVS sales works:

There's a rebate offer on a the Schick Hydro Razor for up to $10.99. You just need to mail in the rebate form with the UPC from the package and the receipt within 30 days.

At CVS the razor is on sale for $8.97 and comes with $4 ECB (the little barcode receipt things that they give you that you can spend on anything when you may your next purchase (you definitely don't want to misplace these!). When you pay use the 5/1 razor coupon that was in the June 13th Super Savor coupon book (which is in a lot of Sunday newspapers!). The final cost is free (if you count the ECB you get to spend next time!) plus you get back $8.97 for the rebate (I have yet to try this one, but we're going today to see how it works!).

Another neat one is for Gillette Body Wash. You buy 2 Gillette Body Wash or Old Spice Body Wash for $4 each. This comes to $8. There was a buy one get one free in the June 6th PG coupon book so you pay $4. You get back $8 ECB with the current sale, which means you actually make $4.

Hip2Save has a ton of scenarios like this for lots of different stores. And you can keep your eyes open for free samples too (I've ordered free diaper samples from a couple companies now!).

Poor Paul had to listen to me gasp repeatedly as I read this weeks sales. So now I need to hurry up and start the day! I have some coupon shopping to do and I need to make a sales list. I'll post later and let you know how it all works out!

A Broken Fortress Giveaway!

Allison at A Broken Fortress is doing another giveaway! This one is a cute purse! So head on over and enter (or maybe, since I want to win, I shouldn't encourage anyone to enter!)!

And Allison, you definitely need to start a etsy purse shop! I think it would do really well!

Now back to catching up on blogs! I haven't had time to read any (or comment or email or write thank you notes or do any of the things I want to be doing!) in a couple of weeks and I feel so out of the loop!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Almost Organized!

I've spent the few free moments I've had today organizing my little crafting area. It still has a ways to go, but it's getting there! I have realized that my yarn habit is a little out of control (I think I may have an entire post on that subject), but the good news is that if I had no access to yarn stores I think I would still be set for at least a year. If I paced myself I think I'd be set for a decade...

I've also been working at posting my latest designs on my store. At the moment I'm in love with gold glass pearls and cranberry red Czech glass beads. Here's what I've been working on lately:





Now back to organizing! I've almost got all the beads in their little neat bead organizer boxes! Now I need to find a way to Sadie proof the boxes. She is a climber... and she's a little bit sneaky about it, so putting them up high won't necessarily mean that they're safe!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Doctor's Visit #10- Week 36

Paul had today off, so he got to go to the doctor's appointment. And of course, when Doctor R. asked if we had any questions, Paul spoke up:

Paul: "So how big is this baby?"

Dr. R: Smiles and gives a non answer like "right on track" or "just perfect."

P: (who is not easily deterred) "Okay. Now let's say this baby were a turkey. How big would it be? How many people would it feed on Thanksgiving?" (proving that the "it's a baby, not a turkey" response that a fellow blogger suggested and that I had used on Paul when he was obviously hoping that we'd set some sort of hospital record was not taken quite the way I had hoped it would be).

D.R.: "A turkey? It wouldn't feed very many. I'd say she's 7 1/2 lbs." (I ponder whether this means that Maggie is now 7 1/2 lbs or whether she will be 7 1/2 lbs in 4 weeks when she's due. Before I can think to ask she continues-) "How big was the last one again?"

Me: "9 lbs 4 oz."

D.R.: "Oh." (glances at the bump.) "You must just hide them really well, because I don't remember you being that big last time. It just must not show that much on you..."

So... I guess we'll have to wait and see...

I also had to report the fact that I'm still getting sick most days, either before or after I eat... I have to say though that getting sick like this is still preferable to having first trimester morning sickness. At least after I'm sick now I feel better! On the other hand, I lost a pound... how can anyone eat when their stomach is this crowded! There's just no room for food!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Almost Moved In and A Very Scary Oven...

Here's a picture of our living room a few days ago. My crafting area is in the corner behind Paul... and mom and dad are giving us a couch, which should make the living room look more like home! I'm waiting on posting pictures until things are a bit more done.

I think that all of the clothes are put away! It took a lot of digging through baby clothes boxes to determine what was in tiny baby sizes and what still fit Sadie, but things are finally coming together. And Sadie has been a huge help!

She's really starting to act older these past few days. She's taken a sudden interest in talking (finally) and spent this morning following me around the kitchen saying "go. go. go. go. Walk!" over and over again. She is also quite the little housekeeper, trying to wash dishes (her toy cups) when she's in the bathtub, grabbing the broom and sweeping the kitchen, and helping me clean the kitchen floor with an extra sponge (I've found that giving her a clean, spare sponge that's her own to play scrub the floor with can be quite a distraction when I'm trying to get something else done.

Our dishwasher has been replaced with one that works and now we're just waiting on a replacement stove. Yesterday I almost posted a long rant on the stove situation, but resisted. Basically here's what's happened so far:

The first time I turned to stove on I thought I noticed an electrical smell... But since it was kind of overwhelmed by the burning smell of everything that was caked to it, I couldn't quite be sure. As I posted earlier, the stove didn't work very well, with the heating elements only glowing or working in parts and then turning on and off by themselves.

I had mostly been using the stovetop by itself and noticed some more minor problems. #1 was that the entire top of the stove would become very, very hot when the burners were on... I found this out in a most unpleasant way (thank goodness we put up a fence to keep Sadie out of the kitchen).

Yesterday I was finally desperate enough to cook something that I fired up the stove itself again. The result was very bad... with half of the food being charred and the other half turning out raw (I can now say I would not advise ever trying to cook on a stove that isn't really working...). But the real problem came when I tried to turn it off and realized two things: 1) the entire stove was burning hot to touch (I was more careful this time and didn't get burned... even though I'd thought it was only a stove top problem that was causing the whole thing to heat up) and 2) the stove seemed to be getting hotter and hotter despite the fact that it had been "off" for around forty five minutes. And the faint "electric" smell was stronger than ever...

I turned it on and off several times and waited. It was clearly still on. Paul managed to grab the back of the oven near the knobs and pull it away from the wall, but we found there was no plug to pull... it was wired directly in... The apartment manager wasn't home... and Paul was about to leave for work... I was starting to feel a little panicked. Finally my mom, who had arrived a few minutes earlier, asked if we'd looked at the breaker box to see if the range was labeled. And it was. So we finally killed the oven with the switch there... and it's still shut off...
We explained the entire situation in writing today... I'm really hoping they fix this more quickly than they fixed the dishwasher. A stove is a little more important in day to day life! And I'm definitely not turning that thing back on! It's scary!

Tomorrow's another busy day. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Prayer Request for Two Little Ones...

For the past few months we've been praying for two little kid's that we know. These last few days the prayers have intensified. I mentioned it at least once before, but there has been some very questionable behavior going on with one of the judges in our area (he's currently being investigated and I have a feeling that there may be a recall soon... at least I pray that the rumors I've heard about a recall are true... before anyone else pays a high price for his instability...) and the very worst part of it came to a head today...

Around two years ago these two little ones were taken from there mother, a mentally disturbed meth addict (how often those two things go together) and given to their paternal grandparents. The father had the same problems as the mother and we all breathed a sigh of relief when the two (a boy who's now 6 and a girl who's now 4) were safe with their grandma and grandpa.

The custody hearing has been in and out of the courts these past years.

We really didn't think they would be sent back after the social workers testified before the judge. A half dozen experts and social workers testified that the woman was a risk to the children and that their lives would be in danger if they were returned to her. The judge ordered new social workers to look into the case. This month they came back with the same findings. The children would be damaged if they were returned to their mother and would physically be in danger.

So we were all shocked last week when the judge came back and ordered them to be returned to their mother... on June 12th. He said that he could while he was fairly certain that the children would be damaged by returning to their mother, he could not say how they would be damaged... and that he would have to wait until they had been harmed to remove them from her custody.

By now the transfer has probably been made... and there mother, a violent addict who hears voices, has full custody of them.

Again we are hopeful that cooler heads will prevail. An appeals lawyer has taken the case and it will be heard 300 miles away by someone who doesn't have such serious problems... And we're praying that the children will be safe while they are in this dangerous situation. The courts move too slowly... and now one knows if they will be safe moment to moment...

Please pray for these two... I just can't imagine how their grandparents must be feeling right now... My heart breaks for them...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Designed for Me! Then Back to Unpacking...

I just had to take a quick break from unpacking to show you what I've been working on. I finally made myself a necklace and a bracelet. And I had Paul take a bunch of pictures of all the other things I've been working on, and hopefully they will be posted on my store very soon! All the moving stuff has taken precedence lately and I have so many things that I need to post!

Here's the necklace:



And the bracelet:


In other news it is a little quieter here these evening... I came home tonight to find that our next door neighbors had been evicted and the sheriff had come and removed them. And Sadie has learned to fall asleep with her hands cupped over her ears to drown out the yelling outside tonight (because the "party neighbors" weren't the ones evicted)... I think she's starting to adjust to the new noise level (and I had lullaby music on and the womb sounds bear!).

Now it's back to work! I will be packing my bag very soon... These contractions are getting more and more serious (and close together) and they certainly feel real! I'm hoping I get sent home after my appointment on Monday, but I am packing for everyone and taking it with us just in case!

On the other hand, how can Paul expect the baby to break any hospital records if it comes this four weeks early? Then again, I think he's the only one in this house hoping for a 10+ lb baby! I'd like to get a little use out of all the newborn baby clothes that Sadie never fit into!

Friday, June 11, 2010

35 Weeks!

Maggie is so big! And I can't believe I'm a month (to the day) from my due date! I am starting to feel like we're getting a things done around here. I also think we might actually finish our giant "To Do" list if Maggie makes it all the way to the week of the Fourth!

In other news I've realized how incredibly spoiled I've been in some ways, by living so far from a town... I got a little sheltered living out in the middle of nowhere. I love our new apartment and the fact that we have 1.5 bathrooms! I'm really glad we're here...

That said...

So far we've had neighbors starting dirt bikes at 2 am outside Sadie's room, parties with music blasting loud enough to feel the bass in our apartment for the last two nights and someone deciding to mow something late last night (it almost sounded like a chain saw) followed by a screaming fight between two people a little ways outside our door (and just around the corner out of sight). This didn't look like a wild place from the outside, but I have a feeling sirens are going to be a regular sound around here (the windows have hardly been open because it's getting hotter and hotter and I've heard them twice in two days!).

The most upsetting thing though, is that a little baby (I think around three months old) lives at the worst party apartment... when my mom came over for the first time the baby was sitting in an exersaucer (I'm surprised he can actually hold up his little head in that thing) out on the blacktop, in the driveway where cars fly by all day and she thought that he was alone. Then she realized that there was a guy sitting back behind some bushes in front of the apartment, smoking pot... I've been worrying and praying for the little guy a lot... Yet another wonderful thing about medicinal marijuana in California.... I'm sure the man watching (or not watching) the little one is just taking his "prescription."

Now I need to try to sleep before someone decides they need to do something like fix a dirt bike outside our window during the middle of the night and it wakes Sadie up!

Head Covering of the Week

During the first summer that I covered my head during Mass I stuck mostly to Chapel Veils. Last summer though, with a grabby one year old intent on snatching my veil off my head, no matter how securely I fastened it with pins, I began to look at hats. This one, from Target, was one was an instant favorite.

These days hats are just as much a target for Sadie's better coordinated toddler hands as the veils were last year. And so I've been sticking with snoods most weeks.

Once in a while, after the memory of the last Mass that I wore a hat to has faded, I'll give it another try... and Sadie will remind me, with a rather rough game of peekaboo (the brim of this hat is just perfect for peekaboo) why I started collecting snoods.

I wonder if there's going to be a time, before Maggie is coordinated enough to grab my veils and hats, when Sadie will have stopped, and I'll be able to switch things up a little...

For now though, it's snoods! I guess it's a good thing that I have two that I like!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Contractions, contractions and more contractions!

When I lay down the contractions stop. Mostly. Or at least they slow down so there’s only a few an hour (as opposed to a few every ten minutes).

However, there isn’t much time these days for laying down.

Paul is convinced that Maggie is almost on her way, and the rather long, painful, close together contractions aren’t helping convince him otherwise. He’s begun to stubbornly insist that I pack my bags, while I continue to maintain that the bag packing will not happen until our boxes are unpacked (I am making good progress… Nani watched Sadie this morning and after Mass and breakfast with a friend I went to work organizing and unpacking).

I just need one more week.

In two weeks, once the unpacking is done, I will probably be impatiently waiting and wishing that I had gone into labor, but for now I need this baby to stay put. After all, as I’ve mentioned again and again (almost as if to convince Maggie of this fact!) I had at least four weeks of contractions with Sadie before my water broke… Here’s hoping I have at least two more weeks with Maggie (would it be greedy to hope that the contractions stop altogether?!?!).

My Search for a Bible...

In the past few months I’ve been asked to review a program for Bibles… and so far I haven’t taken the company up on the offer. One reason, is because things have been so busy, between preparing for Maggie and keeping up with Sadie and moving and starting a new business… but the other reason, which is actually the main reason, is that I’m not sure how fair a reviewer I would be able to be in this particular case.

When I first converted to Catholicism I had a hard time finding a new Bible that “fit.” It’s silly, and I wasn’t going to let it stand in my way, but it was also something that felt very important at the time.

I’d grown up reading the King James and New King James. While I had my little picture Bible when I was little, I also lugged around a King James that had belonged to my mom from a very young age (I loved staring at the pictures of the Holy Land that were printed throughout the pages).

And of course there were the memory verses. My head is still crammed full of memory verses and I loved the language that they were translated into.

Early on during RCIA we were each given a copy of different versions of the Bible and we took turns reading the same verses and noting the difference. One, which was written in novel form, was hardly recognizable. Then there was the NAB…

We were each given a copy of the NAB to keep, along with a Catechism of the Catholic Church and a Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Compendium was by far my favorite (what can I say, I'm a sucker for having prayers printed and at my finger tips in both English and Latin), but while I spent quite a bit of time trying to like the NAB I would usually become so annoyed by the language that I’d end up ranting to Paul that the text felt like it had been “dumbed down” (for lack of a better description).

In RCIA they had explained that it had been translated into a seventh grade level (if I remember correctly) but I found myself wondering how low the reading standards for seventh graders had fallen…

I understand that there should be different Bibles for different reading levels. Sadie loves her two little baby Bibles and usually has one on her lap during Mass. And I loved my picture Bible when I was small. But making the NAB the main Bible used in the US Church seemed odd to me.

Thankfully there were other options.

Paul went to our local Catholic bookstore and explained the problem (I imagined it involved the phrase “my wife is kind of a snob and…”). He came home with a beautiful white leather Douay Rheims. And I loved it! I was relieved to learn that the NAB wasn’t the only option… Later I discovered the RSV CE, and it’s become another favorite (okay, okay, it’s because it sounds familiar to me… especially the psalms…).

I’m glad that there are different options out there… I just don’t think that I could fairly review the NAB… Now if there’s a Douay Rheims program out there I’d be glad to take a look!

Self Time Outs...

Sadie was playing at her sand table a few days ago when she decided that the sand looked much better on Nani’s porch than it did on the table top. The conversation that followed went like this:

Me: “Sadie, you know the rules. Keep the sand on the table.”
Sadie: Looks up and makes sure I’m watching before dumping another cup of sand on the deck.
Me: “Do you want a time out.”
Sadie: Turns back to the sand table and then stands still for a second before saying in a very clear voice- “Yeah!”
Me: “You want a time out?”
Sadie: “Yeah!” She then turns and looks at me.
Me: “You like timeouts?”
Sadie: “Yeah.” She then goes and walks over to the front door. When Paul opens it she goes inside and stands in the corner with her hands up to her face against the wall. I follow her inside.
Me: “What are you doing?”
Sadie: Stands silently against the wall, waiting for a timeout.
Me: “Okay… one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.”
Sadie: Continues to stand against the wall. Most of her timeouts are twenty seconds.
Me: “Sadie?”
Sadie: Turns around and giggles and runs back into the living room the play.

So… timeouts are fun… I think I’m going to have my hands full before two long!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Trucks and Butterflies

Sadie was horrified today when we got to her favorite Aquarium/Museum. Last night they had hosted a private graduation party and someone at the party had smashed the windshield out of the classic, full sized truck that Sadie loves to play in.

She’s also having to get used to the idea of sharing the Museum with other kids. Now that it’s summer there are a lot more people there and Sadie isn’t able to race around the place, which is almost empty most winter mornings.

Yet the most stressful part of Sadie’s day was rather unexpected. The park has a butterfly enclosure during the summer months. We’ve noticed lately that whenever Sadie is worried about anything she’ll start to get hives on her arm or leg. As soon as whatever she’s worried about goes away, so do the hives. Today I had dressed Sadie in bright pink shirt and a brown skirt that was covered with a brightly colored tropical flower print. The print was very popular with the butterflies. While they avoided most people they swarmed Sadie and kept landing on her skirt trying to drink from the flowers. Sadie, who chases butterflies and birds at home who fly away, wasn’t sure what to think of these bold butterflies and immediately started itching. And she wasn’t buying my (or Nani’s) reassurances that the butterflies were nice.

But I guess that’s better than having to protect the butterflies from her grabby little hands. A few parents definitely had there hands full with that!

Doctor's Visit #9- Week 35

Today was the last of the bi-monthly doctor’s appointments. Next Monday I’ll go to the first of the weekly appointments!

I’m still marveling at how quickly time has passed during this pregnancy… and at how quickly the last two years have gone by with a little Princess Bunny in our house.

The doctor’s appointment went pretty quickly as well. I did almost manage to make an entire rosary bracelet in the waiting room, but once I got into an exam room things I was in and out. I’m still one pound less than I was when I delivered Sadie, but I think I will definitely hit a new all time high by the time Maggie arrives. Right now I’ve gained 42 lbs... and I’m now more curious than ever to see how much this baby is going to weigh!

My blood pressure was 102 over 60 (I could hardly believe that it’s stayed that low!) though so the early scare with the headaches and the blood pressure seems to be well passed.

And I did what all the pregnancy blogs about c-section birth plans that I have read suggested and made sure that my doctor does double sutres to close the uterus incision (I was a little nervous asking this question… it’s a little hard to approach a doctor that gives you a letter at the beginning of your pregnancy that says that if she happens to be unavailable during your labor, she’s going to be sending you to another hospital forty five minutes further away, which would be over two hours for us, because there aren’t any other doctor’s up to her standards at the hospital we’re going to…). She assured me that she always does and that was pretty much the entire 2-minute appointment.

The longest part of the appointment was spent with two of the nurses, one of who had just started working there and who was learning how to find the heartbeat. While Maggie repeatedly kicked at the little microphone thing, it took a good ten minutes before we heard anything (and at that point the more experienced nurse had taken over).

After answering that I hadn’t had any contractions so far I went home only to have the contractions start up. At first they actually felt like the description the books give of Braxton Hicks Contractions, and I was thinking about how much nicer these were than those “warm up” contractions I had with Sadie. But after about half an hour of contractions that were eight minutes apart, they were kicked up a notch and were the seriously uncomfortable ones (I’m avoiding calling them “painful” because they’re still much less painful than the ones after my water broke or the ones following the pitocin mishap…) that I remember from the four weeks before Sadie arrived. They were four minutes apart and then two minutes apart for about an hour, but now they seem to have become more infrequent.

It’s so much easier to be relaxed about them this time! With Sadie contractions this close together would have made me think I was in labor… but having gone through this once before I feel like I have some idea what to expect. Now I just wonder if these are going to be as “effective” as they were last time…

I can hardly wait to meet Margaret Rosella (aka Maggie Rose!)! And yet I know these next few weeks are going to be gone very quickly!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy!

It has been a busy month! We've been moving into our first family apartment and moving while 34 weeks pregnant, while chasing around a toddler, is not an easy task. Things are going more slowly than I'd like, because I can't do as much as I want to, but are coming along. I'm stepping back a bit more than I would if I weren't pregnant, and letting people help (Paul hung the pictures this time, which is really making the apartment look like "home").

Sadie wasn't quite sure what to think about the new apartment. As her toys migrate over from Nani and Grumpa's (and there seem to be enough toys to fill both houses) she has been warming to it. She wasn't sure what was so special about the place the first time she came over with Nani and saw Mommy scrubbing the bathroom floor. Now that half of the Wonder Pets are in the living room, it's a little more welcoming.

Sadie is such a sweet mix of girlie and rough and tumble. She loves Grumpa's tractors and ohhh's and ahhh's over every truck we pass. She's thrilled each time a big rig drives by on the freeway and points and squeals. But she also loves dressing up. Two days ago we went through two and a half boxes of baby clothes and Sadie was excited to find a box of her fancy church dresses. She "ohhhed" and "awwwed" each time she picked up a dress and then carefully handed it to me and stood and listened as I'd tell her about how cute she looked in it and, for some of the special dresses, explained where she'd worn it. If I asked if she thought a dress was pretty she'd say "ya."

In fact, while I've always heard of toddlers saying "no" to everything Sadie's response to most questions is "ya." Occassionally, if she's really excited she says, "oh yaaaaaaa!" Although I was surprised once when I asked her something and she said "no way."

I better run... nap time is coming to an end!

The Second Time Around: Childbirth and What I Wish I'd Known Last Time: Part 4

... Sadie was born with a fairly large bloody scrape on the top of her head... where it had been stuck for those five hours against my pelvic bone...

And now, because I promised there would be a point to this long story, here it is:

What I wish I'd known then!

1) I wish I'd known to be more assertive! It wouldn't have hurt to at least ask questions of what was going on when I started to doubt the people around me. I wish I'd asked questions (and asked to see my doctor) when the contractions stopped at 8... and when the pushing went on passed 3 hours. And when I noticed that there was still something dripping into my IV!

2) If you really start to doubt your nurse, as I had after about an hour, ask for a change! I felt like it would have been mean to do so, but I think it would have shaved HOURS off of my labor if I'd had someone with just a tiny bit of experience.

I think #1 is definitely the most important part of my lesson. I was so worried about not offending people that Sadie and I both went through a lot more pain than was necessary.

And while I have more thoughts I've been blogging for much too long this morning already! I have work to do!

The Second Time Around: Childbirth and What I Wish I'd Known Last Time: Part 3

Again "Part 3" starts with a "Birth Horror Story Warning!"

... They told me to stop pushing and turned off the epidural. We sat and watched the lightening storm (which would start over 2000 fires that raged from June to October and burned much of Northern California... causing us to be evacuated after we returned home...) strike all around us through the window and waited for the epidural to wear off.

Then I started to push again. Much less fun. I had some small consolation though, as I watched the clock. I'd been pushing for two and then three hours. It had to be over soon. Just a little more.

After around two hours the shift change came and our very sweet, wonderful nurse was replaced by a brand new hire. She talked about how she still had a few tests to take... but I really wasn't worried... after all, they wouldn't leave me with someone who had no idea what she was doing... would they? She wanted to try all the positions that nurse #1 had had me try and that we had determined weren't working at all. Somewhere between three and four hours of pushing the front desk called and said that my doctor was there and asked if they should wake her? Our nurse said no. The baby still hadn't moved down at all.

In hindsight I guess I should have demanded my doctor at that point (or maybe even a little earlier). But I trusted that everyone at the hospital knew more than I did... and I think that was my first BIG mistake. Finally my doctor woke up on her own and wandered in. We were approaching five hours. When Doctor R. asked the nurse how long I'd been pushing she said something uncertain like two hours. I was so out of it by that point that I could barely think, much less count how many hours it had been. After less than five minutes my doctor said that we needed a c-section and told the nurse to turn off the pitocin. The nurse walked over to my IV... It was almost over...

Except things were getting much worse. The contractions suddenly started to blur together. There was no longer a break in them. I remember glancing at the IV and seeing it drip, drip, drip, but again, I second guessed myself and figured that it must have been something else, like a fluid for hydration...

Until Doctor R. came back and stared at the IV. She looked furious... apparently the pitocin was on (my guess is all the way on...) which is why the contractions were non-stop. It had been an hour... because the anesthesiologist was in another surgery...

The anesthesiologist, who we'd been waiting for, finally arrived and there was more bad news. During the process of pushing the epidural that had been turned off had actually pulled out (I'd told them that I'd thought it had, because I felt it happen, but no one believed me...).

The nurse who'd actually taught my birth class took over (relief!) and the other was banned from coming to the OR by a very unhappy doctor. Mid contraction my new nurse helped me hold very still while they did a spinal and then... relief...

Five hours after the epidural had turned off and I'd started pushing a second time, Sadie was born via c-section. And my doctor's first words "I knew she was huge!"...

The Second Time Around: Childbirth and What I Wish I'd Known Last Time: Part 2

So here's what happened last time (WARNING, WARNING: Parts of this post may count as a "birth horror story!"):

I started having contractions a month before Sadie was born. These weren't little braxton hicks contractions... at least they had very little in common with the ones that were described in the books. They didn't away when I changed positions and they were close together... sometimes as close as a minute apart, for an hour or two. And at my doctor's appointments we discovered that they were working! I was 100% effaced and dilated to 4 a week before Sadie was born! The doctor was encouraging and we all thought that this meant that labor would go more quickly once my water broke.

And it did break on it's own! On June 20th, the afternoon before my due date was set to roll around, I was laying down after getting home from pizza and I "heard" and felt a "pop." It sounded so loud to me that I thought Paul might have heard it... but it was apparently not an outwardly audible sound, because he had no idea what had just happened. I went into the bathroom and there were a few drops of water... but not the "water breaking" flow that most of us imagine. I started to doubt that it had happened at all. Was I just imagining things?

After about 15 minutes of nothing happening, other than the same old contractions I'd been having for weeks, I decided that it must have been my imagination and went in to take a bath in Nani's giant whirlpool tub. I know that you're not supposed to take a bath after your water breaks, but I was pretty sure that that point that I'd just imagined it (had I dozed off? I was awfully sleep deprived...). A huge lightening storm had started outside and I watched it through the window... and then things started to pick up. The contractions changed. The others had hurt... these hurt A LOT more. And they were suddenly only a few minutes apart.

I got dressed and we called the doctor. The answering service couldn't get a hold of her. We decided, that with the contractions so close together, we would start the hour and a half drive to the hospital and my parents would continue to try to get a hold of the doctor to let her know we were on our way, since there's no cell service for most of the drive into The City.

Because it was determined that my water had broken, we were admitted. And after a month of contractions I was more than ready to say a hearty "yes" when asked if I wanted an epidural. Things went smoothly from there on out. Paul slept. I would get bored enough to wake him up. He would go back to sleep.

The baby was "sunny side up" but they "hoped" that she would turn. I was mostly on my own, except for the five or so times when they rushed in when I got sick.

At eight centimeters the nurse came in and checked me and looked at the print out. For some reason the contractions had completely stopped. I've wondered since then if this was the first sign of a problem. Does labor just stop like that at 8cm after your water has broken when things are normal and going well?

So they hooked pitocin up to by IV and new, much closer together contractions started. Before very long it was time to push...

Except that every time I pushed Sadie's heart rate went way, way down.

The Second Time Around: Childbirth and What I Wish I'd Known Last Time: Part 1

I should start this small series of posts with a warning: I've been thinking a lot about how different having Maggie will be from my "birth experience" last time... so there will be some things in this post, positive and negative, about "last time."

I never was really bothered when people told me child birth horror stories when I was pregnant, because I kept thinking, "what are the odds of that actually happening to me?!?!" But since last time could very appropriately be described as a "horror story" I'd like to warn any pregnant moms out there (or future pregnant moms) before they go any further. On the other hand, there is a bit of "if I'd known then what I know now" that will probably come out, and truly, if I had known then what I know now, it might now have been nearly as "horror story-ish." And actually this first part of the post won't be all that horror story-ish... the second post will get a little more into what went wrong.

As many of you know, this will, if all goes smoothly, be a scheduled c-section. At the start of this pregnancy I was very upset about that fact. My doctor would let me try giving birth naturally this time and says she thinks I would have a 50% chance of being successful (although in the same breath she pointed out that my husband is very big and that this baby will also probably be very big, just like her sister). The hospital, however, has a no VBAC policy for insurance reasons that have to do with not having an anesthesiologist full time on the OB floor. There are three hospitals that deliver babies in a two and a half hour radius... none of them do VBACs...

The thing that bothers me the most about the policy is that it isn't on a case by case basis. If I was told I couldn't have a c-section because the doctor thought it was dangerous I'd be okay with it. Being told I have to have a c-section because the hospital doesn't want to be sued is something else altogether. It also irks me that this is coming from a "Catholic" hospital (although I'm sure most of you have read about how "Catholic" Catholic Healthcare West is these days... apparently they're okay with abortions on a "case by case basis" but not VBACs?). I feel like this particular hospital policy is putting me, and other women, at greater risk in the future for some catastrophic event (like a rupture from having too many c-sections), simply because they're afraid of being sued. They're priorities are more than a little out of line. Because let's face it, we're going to keep following the Church's teachings on being open to life... and the danger level is going to go up and up and up with each subsequent pregnancy. So I'm not okay with the policy...

On the other hand, I do feel like Maggie is bigger than Sadie was and Sadie was 9lbs 4 oz. After Sadie was born I was told by three different doctor's that we both would have died without the c-section... and so I imagine my odds for success now, that Maggie is measuring 3 weeks ahead of schedule, would be less than 50%. Either way, I've had more than eight months to become resigned to the c-section and despite my little rant, I've accepted it... Mostly...