Monday, December 8, 2008

Haley's Birth Story, Part 3

We hung out downstairs as a family. Casey got some video that included a 2 minute, 45 second double-peaking contraction that I recall being very strong and difficult. Casey and I had talked about trying to get more video during this labor, partially because it would take some of the work out of trying to remember everything that happened, and also because it is really interesting for me to see my labors/births from an outsider’s perspective. I was struck by this in watching the precious little video we had of Claire’s labor day, and how I appeared—even to myself (who knew better)—like I wasn’t experiencing much discomfort, knowing that in reality for one of those contractions, I was mentally hanging on for dear life in sheer panic at that moment. This video segment was similar (though the contraction was much less of a doozie than that one recorded in Claire’s labor) in that I remember feeling like tossing Claire off my lap, snapping at Ruby to "just get the cookie cutters, for pity's sake!" and ripping off my robe for parts of the contraction(s). I was feeling very peeved and annoyed at the fact that Claire was not only on my lap, pinning me to the floor (if she had not been, I would have immediately taken to all fours), but once I leaned back—er—to the side (tailbone)—to get away from her a little and give my belly room to harden and expand, she began rocking back and forth, trying to bounce off of my belly. Yet what I see transpire in that few minutes of video is me calmly talking with Ruby, leaning back and holding my hand in front of me so Claire can bounce against my hand instead of my belly, almost seeming like I’m playing a game with her. The reality was that here and there during the contraction, I was peeved and out-of-control (in my own mind). I wonder if other women have noticed feeling very different than how others observe them or what they see in their videos or pictures.

I have a theory as to why this happens (at least for me). It is imperative that my voluntary muscles remain relaxed during strong contractions, or they become much too painful to bear. If I begin to lose it emotionally and tense up, it is everything I can do to get through even one more second, and it is virtually impossible to regain a relaxed state until the contraction subsides. Therefore, though I may be irritated or upset, I refuse to give in to this derailment to relaxation. I think that is also one of the reasons why I don’t snap at my husband while in the heat of pain as is so commonly the labor “thing to do” (though I must admit a lot of it has to do with his not irritating me in the first place!). I truly don’t believe you can both be relaxed and scream in anger. Hmmm. Now if only I could get the same sense of urgency to stay on an even keel for every other day of my life. . .

Okay, back to the birth story! Since the “nap” that morning, contractions were anywhere from 12-32 minutes apart. When they came, they were so intense, but again I wasn’t sure about their intensity after a moment’s break. Around 10, after the last 2 contractions were a half-hour apart, I decided to stop timing altogether. I apologized to Casey for having him stay home, since it was apparent that labor wasn’t going anywhere soon, and may peter out altogether. We talked about the possibility of him going in to work after all, but he said they weren’t busy enough to really need him, and it was a long weekend already (being Memorial Day weekend and his Friday off)—he was happy to start it a day early even if I didn’t end up having the baby.

Sandy and Ruby left on their date to go to Wal-Mart somewhere around 11 while Casey, Claire and I napped in our bed. When contractions hit, I awoke, but could sleep between them. Barb called at 11:42 from her office to check on the contractions. I don’t really remember having the nap interrupted by her calls, so I’m not sure what the exact timing was, but caller ID says she called again at 12:19. I know by then I had given up on napping, because I answered that call in the office.

She was calling to say that she was going to her grandson's, but to call her cell if things got going. I somehow misunderstood what she said, because I had it in my mind that her son/grandson lived in the East Mountains. It was probably one word she said, like “I’m going to head up there” or something. So I thought she’d be a little ways away if we did end up needing her. (It turned out they live in the south part of ABQ, so she was actually closer than she would have been if she was at her office.) Anyway, this part is a little confusing to me now (as it was then), because I remember having a pretty restful nap, and fairly long (at least an hour), so I don’t have any idea what the timing was here.

As all labors are, this one was different than my other two in several ways. One of those differences is that for most of the day, contractions were overpowering if I was lying down and trying to relax (on my side: it had been a couple months since it felt “good” to lie on my back). I just could not handle their intensity. I really felt like I had to move during them to deal with the pain. A little strange from what I’m used to. Some of that may have had to do with my tailbone injury. Since the injury, even lying on my side was painful. Not as much as lying on my back, but it still put pressure on it. (The least painful position those first few weeks was standing.)

At some point (in the nap I believe), a monstrous contraction 3 or more minutes long made me want to get up and do something so my mind would be distracted from how strong the contractions were. I had found that morning that I coped with them better if I stood and swayed my hips from side to side or in circles. Another difference was that “sounding” was very helpful all day for the pain—not just at the end of labor (in my other labors I was pretty quiet during most of the hard contractions)—so there I was, walking around in between contractions, then stopping to lean on the counter, couch, whatever was near, and sway my hips, moaning or “huuuu. . .” -ing as I exhaled (like an audible sigh when you’re frustrated, only I wasn’t—it just felt better to make that patronizing sound) until it came to a peak, then resuming walking around after a breath of recovery. After waking from this nap, contractions were 10 minutes apart and as strong as they had been.

Claire awoke, and I went upstairs to get her before she woke Casey. One of us should get a good nap, I thought. Who knew when things would really get going and how long we’d be doing this? After a little while, Sandy and Ruby returned, and Sandy went to work preparing quesadillas for lunch. It was probably around 1 p.m. and I was getting pretty hungry. I really wasn’t at full mental capacity here (don’t know if I can remember when I last was!) and I remember talking to Sandy and wondering how she was going to make the quesadillas (why did it matter?), but at some point, she must have just done what seemed best to her, because I was soon eating one. (I tended to drift off mentally for contractions, and conversations would just trail off.)

Casey got up from his nap and came downstairs after we had finished, and ate his lunch while standing in the kitchen. I had resumed timing contractions at 1:05. After having one contraction, several more came but weren’t strong, so I didn’t count them and a ½ hour passed before another decent one came, so it really seemed like things were slowing down, even though in general they were still 10 min apart and around 1 min. 20 seconds duration. In hindsight, that half-hour break (probably around when we ate lunch, how handy :) was the calm before the storm.

I was sitting on the love seat, continuing to time contractions, Claire by my side. Sandy had stepped out of the room and Casey was doing some dishes. At 2:03, a contraction began that nearly knocked me out. I could tell from the get-go it was going to take everything I had. I took off my glasses and put them on my lap, threw my head back and just tried to BREATHE. Apparently, Claire grabbed my glasses and was putting them on (rather roughly—almost everything she does can be classified that way). Casey (from his perspective I was resting) saw her and thought she had Sandy’s glasses and started yelling (not quite): “Mom! Sarah! Mom! She’s got your glasses! Mom! She’s going to break them! Sarah! Take them away!” But I really couldn’t have cared less at that moment. It took everything in me—and more—to just stay conscious and breathing. After the peak, but while the contraction continued, I explained that I wasn’t ignoring him, I was just busy with a contraction. When Casey realized that I had heard him, but was that pre-occupied with a contraction, he said, “This reminds me of the end of Claire’s labor. You need to call Barb.” I told him I wanted him to call her. And a light bulb went on as we looked at each other. We knew things were getting intense.

For Part 4, click here

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Haley's Birth Story, Part 2

Of one thing I was certain: I wouldn’t miss the birth of my own baby! Even though I had a history of not recognizing labor until well into it, I knew it was unlikely that I would remain unaware of labor ENTIRELY, and that, if the contractions I was having finally BECAME labor, at some point I’d be aware of that fact. I wasn’t concerned that I may not recognize “the real deal,” and it turns out that this time, I really didn’t have to be. Because one day, the contractions REALLY. CAUGHT. MY ATTENTION.

Thursday, May 22, 2008 (one day before “due” date): around 4:30 a.m. An extremely strong contraction upon waking made me eager to have it over with so I could run to the restroom and then get back to sleep. However, I kept having contractions that same strength once I got back into bed. After having 3 in 15-20 min. (that required my total concentration and relaxation to keep breathing and not be swallowed by their severe intensity, reaching out to Casey in silence as I struggled through the last one, not able to speak—I mean SERIOUS contractions!) I woke Casey to let him know what was going on. I told him the pain might be aggravated by nausea, and that I was going to get a snack and time contractions. He made sure that I would come back to bed soon, then went back to sleep.

So around 5 a.m., I went downstairs to get some yogurt and applesauce and had a cup of hot Chamomile tea (the "soothing," instead of the "toning,"--and possibly intensifying? I wasn't wanting to find out!--choice of teas). While snacking, I also posted a quick note to my blog that I wondered if I was in labor today. I also took some herbs for my GBS. (Supposed to take them every 4 hours starting at the onset of labor.)
In the time I was downstairs, contractions were 5-20 minutes apart lasting 1 – 2 minutes. Averaging out, they were 11 minutes apart, 90 seconds duration. (Not very neat: 8, 11, 13, 11, 20, 5, 8 min apart; 1:30, 1:30, 2:00, 1:00, 1:50, 1:20, 1:20 minutes long.) While walking around the kitchen, stopping for contractions, swaying and concentrating, I thought, “If this is how the textbook labor is supposed to start, I can see why women wouldn’t have trouble recognizing it.” They were SO STRONG from the get-go. Just about as intense as they got toward the end with my first 2 labors. So I had this thought about having NO doubt this was it, but then again, I felt absolutely fine between contractions and they were far enough apart (most of the day, in fact) to cause me to doubt their intensity until the next one started. I would doubt myself after only seconds had passed since a contraction, thinking my memory must be making them seem stronger than they really were.

I went back upstairs around 6:20 a.m. and tried to sleep, but the nausea hadn’t gone away (it didn’t the whole day) and I had 3 more contractions strong and evenly-spaced-enough in 40 min. to not get to sleep between them.

Finally, at 7:00, not being very successful at relaxing in my “sleep imitation,” I decided to pull out the big guns for labor and drew a bath in our beautifully deep garden tub. I added some lovely-smelling bubbles and began to review Dr. Bradley’s book, Husband-Coached Childbirth (not a must-read in my opinion, but I had just gotten it back the week before from my sis and since it had been awhile since I’d leafed through, I thought it might be interesting). I opened the blinds slightly to enjoy the natural light and discovered that it was drizzling outside. Ahh. . . what a relaxing day to labor! How peaceful to sink into a warm bath while watching the overcast sky and hear the rain fall gently against the window.

Ruby and Claire soon made their way into the bathroom (the morning tradition is to awake and come see Mommy) and, seeing me in the bubbly tub, asked to join me. I brought them in, but the water was so deep that they had to sit on my legs to keep their heads above water. They spent a good 15 minutes or so in the tub with me playing with the bubbles as we talked about the baby coming today, and then Sandy (MIL—she flew in from Portland 2 days before to help with the new baby) offered to take them and dress/feed them. Contractions were still very strong in the tub, but they spaced out a bit and it felt good to be in the warm water. I decided that I would not want to actually birth in the tub. It was hard to feel “grounded” in such a big place. I had to work hard to keep from slipping in completely. I don’t know how I would have pushed in there. It’s really important to me to be able to relax all my muscles, save the pushing ones, and I would have had to hold myself onto the side of the tub with my arms while trying to push. Too much work, I thought.

Anyway, a side (or bottom, as the case may be) issue comes up here and I must digress. The Thursday before, as my sister and her family were here, we were enjoying an evening playing Wii games. We were bowling and I stood up, took my turn, and backed up to the couch to sit. I didn’t look, and should have taken another step before plopping my heavy prego self on the couch, because I missed the cushion and landed extremely hard on the wood frame of the couch, breaking my tailbone. (Even 5 weeks after the fact, my tailbone was still sore and I had to sit carefully and after having sat any length of time I was very sore—especially driving, and finally, 9 weeks after the injury, I was able to sit in any position I so desired without discomfort.) As would be expected, this tailbone thing affected labor and birth. I don’t think I really have any idea how much so, since there is no way to go back and experience Haley’s birth without a tailbone injury.

So, exactly a week after the injury, in the tub, I find there are only a few positions that don’t hurt—even in the water. I need to kind-of sit on my hands to protect my tailbone or float along in a “push-up” position, belly down, my arms straight down to support me, or sit very much forward—not on my bottom at all—in order to not be in pain. The usual tub position is out of the question. I think this had to do with me nixing the tub-for-birth idea.

I stayed in the bath for at least an hour, timing contractions, reading, relaxing. When I got out, I put on my pretty pink labor nighty, which I had decided to get because I knew it would affect my outlook on the beauty of the day I brought my child into the world, as well as help me to relax when I looked down and saw something girly that acknowledged my extremely feminine state and not my husband’s dark shapeless t-shirt. And I knew it would make a better memory in my mind.

A pancake breakfast and some family time downstairs followed.

For most of the day, it really was boring in between contractions. Too much time between them to really hold onto how difficult they were, but too little time to rest or get something done. At 8:48 a.m., I called Barb to let her know I might be calling her to come today. I made sure to call immediately after a contraction, while I still felt absolutely certain these HAD to be labor contractions and before I started wondering again. If I waited too long between, it seemed silly to call at all. (What would I say? "Barb, I just wanted to give you a head's up that we might call you in the next few days?") "Here we go again," I thought.

For Part 3, click here

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Haley's Birth Story, Part 1

In September of 2007, Casey and I found out we were expecting our third baby. Braxton Hicks presented crampy and strong at six weeks of pregnancy (the earliest so far) and instead of being afraid or annoyed, I embraced them as one of my best preparations for childbirth. After Claire’s easy-breezy birth, due partially to the fact that it felt like I had been in labor for a month (the other part having to do with a very challenging first birth experience which I was prepared to repeat), I decided to rejoice in how God made me and the things my body seems to deem necessary to get a baby born. I equate my body to an old car on a frosty morning: it takes several attempts to start—as well as some revving in those attempts—before a continued and lasting, no-going-back start is achieved.

From the last two births, I had had a mental list going on what I would like to do the same or differently. One of those "same" things was have a home birth. There is just no comparison to the atmosphere one encounters in a hospital versus home. So after some finagling, our wonderful midwife agreed to take us on as clients once again. She had planned to take the year off and do some traveling, but decided to take on a few clients within a specific window, and we were due in that time! She went to Africa for about 6 weeks during my second trimester. All went well with the pregnancy, and we did the usual and declined most of the tests, etc. throughout. Barb was very supportive. How the girls and I enjoyed those hour-plus appointments!

Casey and I are practical; we enjoy finding out the gender of our babies before birth day. Not having yet been with a home-birth midwife for an entire pregnancy, I asked Barb if she ever ordered ultrasounds and she said not unless there was a medical reason. (How funny that insurance companies won’t pay for ultrasounds except for a “medical” reason, yet I don’t know one woman birthing in a hospital nowadays—including me—who has not been offered at least 2 ultrasounds in her pregnancy.) I guess Barb is much more conservative than the average doctor or hospital midwife in what qualifies as a medical reason (i.e. not to “check dates” or “size” or whatever other reasons my ultrasounds have been for), and I respect her for it. But it was a little bummer that we’d have to wait to see what this baby was. We just don’t get the whole “What better surprise is there?” thing. It’s a surprise no matter what, right? So what if you find out early? It’s still a surprise at the time. And there’s still the surprise of “when,” unless you are inducing or scheduling a c-section, but I digress.

A few of the things on my list that I wanted to try differently included Casey A) being present for more than a few hours of labor and, therefore, B) helping me through contractions when I needed him. We discussed and practiced several ways he could help me through contractions and things he could do in labor in general to assure me of his presence and support.

My “different” list also included some trivial things to try, like a relaxing and calm atmosphere for labor (complete with music and a pretty labor nighty—not a tank top or Casey’s big, ugly t-shirt) and naps and a bath—I wanted to take advantage of the “midwives’ epidural” this time. You'd think my labors were only an hour long the way we haven't taken advantage of some common labor techniques in the first two births. The problem is, prodromal labor can have the same effect as a really short labor in that it lulls one into thinking, "this baby isn't coming anytime soon," until it's too late to do anything but have a baby.

It was also important to me to focus on the beauty of the gift of birth and what a miracle God does in bringing a baby into the world. I wanted to make the day of labor worshipful by being mindful of His handiwork in making this baby and my body, and His sovereignty over what may happen in childbirth. This is crucial to relaxation for me—to trust God. I simply cannot just trust “birth” or my body. Those things can (and often do) fail. God is always the same. And He is always trustworthy.

Throughout the pregnancy, I practiced relaxation with my Braxton Hicks. One difference with these B.H. this time around was that they were very crampy, and thus, even more like “real” contractions than ever before (I have a hard time distinguishing “real” ones as it is). I did not keep track of my contractions this time like I did in Claire’s pregnancy. That served a purpose, and I no longer needed to figure out why I couldn’t discern “real” labor. There were a few times when I thought—based on the strength, duration and frequency of contractions—that I might be going into labor, but this time I didn’t pay enough mind to them to really wonder. Most of the really strong, long and close together bouts lasted a few hours or less this time, so I didn’t have much time to start wondering before they tapered off again, and the few times that they were like that for an entire day, I took them in stride and figured (based on my previous birth experiences) that I’d most likely discover “this is it” before the baby was born. I wouldn't miss the birth of my baby.

For Part 2, click here

Monday, October 6, 2008


I was just reading my Bradley teacher's new blog. She's recently posted about VBACs and the things that surround them (previous c-sections, among other things!) I thought she did a very good job with this topic. It reminds me of the fire-hydrant of information we got in her classes. (As in: I could easily learn a ton of "new" stuff by taking the exact class I took 4 years ago; there was that much information.)

I love her blog title: Banned from Baby Showers. Though I haven't banned myself from baby showers yet, I can totally relate because I feel so strongly about educating yourself before you do the (likely) hardest work you will ever do in your life. Far too may people waltz in completely unprepared and without an inkling as to what risks they and their babies will face because they are uneducated on this topic. (They sometimes label themselves "happily ignorant," and in one sense, I hope they remain so, because the way you get an education-in-a-hurry about just how risky the things are that you're consenting to have done to you can also be the way you become not-so-happy when those risks become reality.) Even though the post is about VBACs, it touches on some more-common topics within childbirth, such as induction, epidurals and the like.

If you read it and like or don't like it, let's discuss!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Warning: I Am About to Get E-pinionated

Some of you will be relieved to know I'm posting here now; most especially those who have my blog name listed on your blog. Sorry, though; my new blog's name will not be any less embarrassing.

I will continue to post to this blog, but the content will return to pregnancy, labor and birth, with an emphasis on unmedicated prodromal labor.

For a few months now, I've been hemming and hawing about whether or not to create a blog for my personal/family life. One reason I resisted was because I find that if someone has more than one blog, I will almost exclusively read only one of them. But I have come to see this as the exact reason I SHOULD make this change. As more people (friends and strangers) find my blog, I have realized that this is the time to dichotomize my posts. It is important to me for my posts to be pertinent to my readers. I don't want to alienate my family or friends by passionate opinions about things for which they have no use or couldn't care less. Nor do I want to disappoint ones who find my blog by searching for something they really want to know about, only to have to sift through a boring mishmash on my personal life.

I'm aware that there are people who would just like to know how I/we are doing, and what I/we are up to. There are also people whose goal in reading is not to see that Ruby or Claire said something funny or Haley reached a new milestone.

My hope is to post regularly to both blogs, and consequently have a few readers at each. But it really isn't that big of a deal either way, since most of my blogging so far has been to an audience that wasn't there. (It started as therapeutic journaling, which has been stumbled upon by a few readers--somewhat accidentally, as I have yet to officially announce that I am regularly blogging).

Please stay or go as you wish!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hallelujah, It Isn't Thrush! (and other 4-month updates)

Haley had her 4 month check-up today. It has been TWO MONTHS since the diagnosis of thrush (which she had for a week or two before we went in for her 2-mo. ck.) and, though the Gentian Violet cleared her up, it did not seem to do a thing for me. Over 3 weeks now since that treatment, I was certain I would have given it back to her. Dr. Tom looked intently in her mouth today and found NO SIGNS of thrush! Hurray!

This not only means that I've not re-transferred it to her, but that I don't have it, either! Words cannot describe how elated I am at this news! There was a good month in there where I wondered how my immune system could be THAT shot, that despite help (2 different prescriptions, as well as the G.V.) and the numerous things I was doing to combat it, I simply could not shake this thrush. Could it be that completing 3 pregnancies in four years has left my body utterly defenseless? I really was beginning to wonder. Upon getting this fabulous news, I went out and got a Nice. Big. Real. Coke. I've been craving this for weeks!

One may wonder, what--if it isn't thrush--is it? My Doc last week said she wondered if it could be eczema, and Dr. Tom's findings today put the last piece in the puzzle. My guess is that the G.V. treatment cured one thing and then started or aggravated another. Eczema isn't a picnic either, but I've had to deal with it in patches on my skin before, and one of my girls has it pretty bad. The management is pretty much "moisturize, moisturize, moisturize." This is a breeze compared to treating thrush. There is just no comparison. When it was thrush, I was seriously consumed by it (I'm not kidding--if you don't believe me, do a search on thrush and see how many dozen things you can find that you can do to get rid of it. And then there I was, not being cured--or even helped in the least bit--by any of it, grasping at straws and another dozen cures. It literally determined what I did or did not do for at least the last month.) I feel so free right now.

So I was thinking about the last few weeks of jumping through hoops and doing all I knew to do, all the while knowing I was failing in this treatment or that one, so maybe I just wasn't doing everything right, and that's why I wasn't getting better. The picture that I think of is that I do this on a daily basis spiritually, too. It reminds me of how I can feel when I get focused on living in my own strength. There is nothing but condemnation to face when I try, try, try--all the while knowing I am dismally failing, and seeing that I will NEVER measure up. I mean, this last month, I would have had to pretty much do nothing but treat thrush if I were to do everything right. I knew I wasn't doing the very best that I could, and it was so discouraging to think, "If I just did everything and did it right, it would be gone in no time." And yet it wasn't thrush, and that's why all I did wasn't working! I don't want to make a weird spiritual analogy, but it did remind me of how a sinner's eyes are opened to the gospel and it is finally clear why all the "doing good" doesn't alleviate the guilt of sin, or how a Christian can be bogged down with performance and not live in grace. (Yes, I sin. No, God is not surprised. Neither should I be. Help me, Lord!)

Okay, sorry about that strange rabbit trail. I am so elated though! Can you tell?

The update on four month old Haley is: she weighs in at 14 lb, 4 oz and is 25 inches long, and she has 2 teeth (they came in a few weeks ago: no wonder she's been biting me since day one!) Her teething and subsequent drool makes her too smelly--even soon after a bath! According to Casey, she drools like a banshee. (Until I met Casey and Thomas, I never knew banshees did so many things besides wailing. Apparently, they drive, sweat, sneeze, and drool, among other things!)
Haley loves tummy time and is scooting around (very strangely--doesn't use her hands or knees, just lifts her arms and pushes with her toes, so it takes FOREVER for her to get to her desired destination). By the looks of it, I'd say she'll be crawling in another month or two, but I know better than to say that. She will be sure not crawl for another 6 months!
I would do a video, except it would be extremely long and boring. The one constant in these pics is the pink dress on the right side. She doesn't move fast or far, but she's determined!

Six minutes later.

Fifteen minutes later than that.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Few Ups and Downs of Parenting

A funny tidbit:
Last month, I was battling a small cold. After a sneezing attack, Ruby advised me to take a cough drop: “Mom, you can get that thing what Daddy does to make your throat smell better.”

My children aren’t synchronized on their nap schedules: a thing I find slightly vexing. Some days, I may have ½ hour where they are all asleep—uh—in bed. (Ruby doesn’t take a nap most of the time. She has never been a fan of sleep and has boycotted naptime most days for over a year now.)

Even so, I find that I am a much better mama if I have had a break. Therefore, Ruby is not required to sleep, just be quiet in her bed. So, in this break (Haley fussing in the bassinet—hope she’ll succumb to sleep soon, R & C nearly to the end of supposed “naptime”) I’ll quickly post.

This morning, Ruby was playing with her doll. She kept getting it in and out of the crib, rocking on her rocking chair and talking to it about how it needed to go to sleep. I inquired as to what she was doing. She very calmly replied, “I have a baby and she’s 20 months old and she drives me nuts.”

When I watch my girls play “Mommy,” I am often amazed that they are so patient and kind to their dolls, and I wonder where they get that. Their babies are almost always naughty (what fun is it when your baby isn’t?), and I’ve overheard Claire sweetly say, “If you get out of your crib again, you will lose a privilege.”

It really convicts me to see them play with their dolls and set expectations, boundaries and consequences with their “children,” without getting riled up or short of temper. I’m sure I don’t look like that most of the time. Sometimes I watch them mimic me—cringing, one eye closed—afraid of what I look or sound like to them throughout the day. And when they do this with their dolls, I am almost certain that they don’t get it from watching me.

Yes, this parenting role has been challenging, to say the least. Like my dear friend E. and I were discussing a few weeks ago, sanctification is not an elective. I think one of the verses that I find most comforting at this time of extreme testing is Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God saves to sanctify—and eventually perfect—His children. Even though some days I see so much sin in my life that upon reflecting on the day I would almost swear I am more sinful than I was 10...5…2 years ago, I can know from God’s Word that if I am His child, the truth is that He is exposing more of my sin and working out His promise to finish what He started. From God’s perspective, I’m not getting worse; I’ve always been this sinful, and am more sinful than I can imagine—I’m glad I don’t know all He knows. I’m so grateful He doesn’t expose all my sin at once!

My friend Josanna was able to stay with us last night, on her way from CA to TX. My girls have such fun with her. I remember when I used to be fun with children, too.

Okay. Naptime’s over. Let the good times begin

Thursday, September 18, 2008

You Might be a Mom to Three Short People If. . .

You are grateful for six hours of uninterrupted sleep.

You finish a phone conversation, take off your glasses, then realize you meant to hang up the phone.

There are days that you consider yourself successful if, at the end of the day, everyone is still alive and you got a shower to boot.

Your showers are accompanied by at least one other person, unless you take one at 6 a.m., 3 p.m. or 9 p.m.

Grocery shopping by yourself refreshes and renews you.

Despite your couch looking like this most of the week:

or at best, this:

your husband is just grateful to have something clean to wear to work.

A date with your husband consists of putting the children to bed and zoning out to a movie in the next room.

When someone at the store snidely jokes that you need to figure out "what causes that," you think to yourself: "I'm not sure I can remember."

You marvel at the thought that some people actually need to use birth control at this stage to keep from getting pregnant again.

You congratulate your children for doing things like this:

When pulling into a parking lot, your first objective is no longer to find the space closest to the store, but the cart corral.

A suggestion from your husband that you go to a coffee shop and blog for an hour makes you giddy with excitement.

You can't remember the last time you had both a warm meal AND two free hands.

Upon your infant's cry of hunger, two non-lactating short people offer--and attempt--to breastfeed her.

You let them.

You consider it "a break" to go anywhere with only one or two of your children.

You have found yourself in a public bathroom stall with all three children, holding 2 of them.

Throughout the day, you periodically burst into melodramatic and sarcastic renditions of theme songs from Little Einstein or Super Readers.

You wonder if your brain cells will ever regenerate enough for you to have an intellegent conversation.

You don't remember if or when you've ever had one.

You can tell what time of day it is, based on the cleanliness of your shirt

At bedtime, you can easily identify a half-dozen stains and/or bodily fluids on said shirt.

Almost none of said bodily fluids belong to you.

You are grateful for this.

You lose your train of thought mid-sentence.

It takes a few minutes for either you or your husband to notice. . .

and . . .

It really isn't worth the effort to figure out what you were saying .

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ruby's First Lesson

Today was Ruby's first Tap/Ballet class. And before you start thinking what a terrible thing it was for Ruby to be the only one in regular clothes (and the only one without ballet shoes), please let me explain that it was expressly suggestd by Ms. Deidre, the teacher. She said that with this young age, mothers often get over-excited and buy all the bells and whistles, only to find that their children aren't ready to take lessons. Her advice was to wait until the first class to decide whether we should even sign up for lessons and THEN get the necessary items. The awkward thing about it was that I was the only mother who actually did what she suggested. (I didn't want to literally throw away almost a hundred dollars!)
There's a bonus to Ruby wearing regular clothes: it's easy to tell which one is her!

I am not die-hard into dance for Ruby. But I do think some sort of class will be good for her in many ways (like learning the importance of listening and following instructions from someone other than Mommy or Daddy, and that no matter what others are doing, she must do what she knows is right). I believe this will also provide the opportunity to learn that Mommy does not have jurisdiction over all children, and will not be able to fix certain problems, and that other children may be allowed to do things that she may not do. This is a fundamental lesson for her whole life, I believe. Therefore, it is not "simply" a dance class to me. It is a chance to learn and practice several different things besides dance techniques.

In the tap video, you'll notice Ruby holds on for dear life to the barre. Can you guess she's slipped a few times on the tile at home? (By the way, these are very short videos, mostly for the viewing pleasure of Ruby's 'Lita, who sent her a garage-sale find of tap shoes and a Shirley Temple movie--ingenious!)

Watching Ruby, I think about how I struggle to follow an aerobic exercise video, and hope that she will do better than I in the coordination department. She reminded me so much of myself when she had to stop doing one thing before doing another, and couldn't quite manage to both "fan" and turn at the same time!

And by the way, she didn't seem embarrassed to not be dressed like the others. Thankfully, she's young enough to not notice it too much (and the other girls only noticed for a split second).

So, after class today (after getting an affirmative that she's ready) I asked Ruby if she'd like to take the class. She said "Yes, I'm happy. No, Mommy, I LOVE IT!"

Sunday, August 31, 2008

All We Need is Smell-A-Vision

Talk to any New Mexican, and they'll agree: there really isn't any smell so very "New Mexico" like the smell of roasting chile (perhaps the pungent nasty smell of tar for flat roofing says NM too, but it's not something to be proud of). Thanks to Mrs. D., I was able to put up a few meals' worth of chile yesterday. Mrs. D. has been farming all her life, and has taught me that roasting your own is better than having it barrel-roasted. That method burns the skin (and much of the flesh, if the operator isn't experienced) and even though the smokey smell is still good, it doesn't compare to the soft fragrance of a batch roasted just enough to evenly blister and brown the skin (making it peel nicely).

Last year, I made the mistake of 1) buying chile on opening day of chile season, 2) buying chile from Wal-Mart and 3) having it barrel-roasted. Anyone who knows his or her stuff about chile will tell you NOT to do the first two. The flavor isn't there, the heat isn't there, and probably half of the chiles were so small and meatless that they weren't even worth peeling. My sister (visiting for the weekend) and I were putting up at least 7 bushels, and wanted to cut costs where we could. I really should know better than this. How many times have I decided to go with the cheap knock-off or low-cost item and regretted it? You really do get what you pay for. What does it matter if we saved a third of the cost, when we haven't really eaten much of it because it's so BLAH? We still have at least half of last year's chile. Normally by this time, we've been out of chile for awhile.

This year, I will make a better choice. Living in a farming community now, I am only a few miles away from beautifully big, meaty, broad-shouldered chiles like the ones pictured. Perhaps next year, I will grow my own, and thus be able to do a small batch like this a couple times a week. (With a newborn this summer, I opted not to do much gardening. Tomatoes are it.)

It took about an hour (not including cooling time) to put up this much chile. The time commitment is pretty sizable when doing a regular-size (i.e. much bigger) batch. Not really baby-friendly, either. I don't want to be nursing right in the middle of the peeling phase. It can be PURRR-TY dangerous for baby and mama.

In other news, Casey had his Friday off this weekend, and we visited Gram at her new apartment. Case took the big girls for a quick swim while we were there.

Claire's the water baby of the bunch. Ruby gets cold quickly, and spent most of the time in her towel on the concrete.

Just one more thing: Haley's cousin Alan must have taught her more than just rolling over while he was here. I didn't have a thumb-sucker until last week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Haley and the Purple Crayon?

Did Ruby and Claire let Haley suck on one of their markers? Nope. This is our latest treatment in an over-a-month-long bout of Thrush, called Gentian Violet. I was turned onto this by blogger friend Becca, and later my pediatritian's nurse recommended it, since Nystatin didn't work a lick (no pun intended, but I'll leave it, since it's so fitting). Becca was so right--G.V. is an UTTER (as well as UDDER, if you must know) MESS. Upon first application, I thought it was not so bad, but that was before I knew that it easily transfers--especially when wet--and continues to stain everything that contacts it (skin is the worst--it doesn't wash off). That being said, I think we're in for an adventure (and TONS of laundry). As Becca so aptly put: Thrush sucks. I will also add that it is an utter pain (if you know what I mean). You do not want to ever deal with it, let me tell you.

Before Gentian Violet

After Gentian Violet. The stuff stains anything affected a deep purple, which is pretty much Haley's ENTIRE mouth. (After over a month, what did I expect?) Please also note the apparent teething of my baby and all the drool which so greatly helps spread the cheer.

I can see how having an older baby complicates this treatment for Thrush, such as the fact that newborns don't suck on their fingers . . .

Nor can they roll over and dig their faces into blankets, towels or carpet. Haley has been in her bouncy seat almost all day--I was pretty afraid of the purple monster. One good thing I've discovered: the stuff seems to come out in the wash pretty easily, so tomorrow, Haley will be allowed "down" again.

Fun, Fun, Fun Till Daddy Takes the T-Bird Away

On Saturday evening (Casey gone till Sunday) we decided to go to this tiny little carnival in our village (yes, it's technically called a village) that had a few cheesy rides. We walked around for a few minutes, then bought some cotton candy and R & C got to ride ONE ride. (I can't believe how expensive the rides were: it cost $3 a person to ride this car ride!!!)

Ruby and Claire's first taste of cotton candy. After a few bites, Ruby told me: "Mom, it's yummy, but I don't want anymore." My children never cease to amaze me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

How Can She be Three Months Already?

And I thought the second child grew up in a flash! Seriously, since she was born, I've been remembering so much about Ruby being a baby, but not so much Claire. I really hope it has more to do with the fact that Haley actually REMINDS me of Ruby, and not that I CAN'T REMEMBER Claire as a baby. I think at least some of the lack of reminders of Claire as a baby has to do with Claire's babyhood being so much busier than Ruby's was, even though I had a whole extra five months to enjoy her babyhood than I did with Ruby (Ruby was 17 months old when I had Claire). It made alot of difference to experience Claire's babyhood with a toddler to chase after.

Haley laughed for the first time today, as I was singing "Pat-a-Cake" to her. I couldn't get her to do it more than twice, but it was so sweet. Since we've been back from Oregon, she's also been giving me a long break between nursing at night. The last few weeks she's been going anywhere from 4 to 9 1/2 hours between night feedings, usually somewhere around 6 or 7. It has been a real blessing to be able to get several hours of sleep in one chunk. There were a few weeks toward the end there when I would be in tears, wanting to have even just a couple of hours of sleep where she didn't have to be in bed with me or actually ATTACHED TO ME. (Maybe it's because I have lots of other sleepers in my house that I don't think I can let her cry it out too long. I did try it once and I cried the entire time she cried [two hours--I know--what a terrible mom, right?]. It wasn't something I could do again. I still feel guilty for letting Ruby cry as much as I did.)

Footprints, finally!

Tuesday: Haley and cousin Alan (who is 4 days older and at least 3 pounds heavier!)

Casey's gone camping for the weekend with the guys in my family. Even though it's harder on me in a way, I really wanted him to do it. He doesn't have many chances to go and do things he enjoys and be with guy friends. Camping hasn't been as enjoyable since we have a couple very little ones who can get into danger very easily (we usually come home from camping completely exhausted). This trip was adult guys only. I think he'll really enjoy himself.

With Casey's being gone, the girls and I are trying to do some fun things. While more difficult to parent alone, it is also a little easier, since I don't have the same pressures of meal preparation or cleaning. Today, we were able to just go with the flow. Walk to the park first thing in the morning while eating a granola bar breakfast, lunch at 10:30, naps at 11:30, hair cuts for R & C, then dinner at 4 o'clock, and bed at 7. It went fairly smoothly, but it's the beginning of the weekend. We'll see how we do by Sunday night.

Home after our errands this afternoon. Next stop: bedtime!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ahhh . . .The Sound of Silence!

I am up BEFORE ANY OF MY GIRLS this morning (They're still sleeping--Yay!) After a leisurely shower sans children (I usually have at least one in there with me), I decided to have a cup of coffee and blog for a moment. That's when it hit me. As I poured a spoonful of sugar into the mug, I could hear it "break" the coffee. Its wooshing sounded like a piece of paper being torn. (And it really wasn't that much sugar, I promise!) I realized how long it must've been since I've experienced something like that (i.e. silence) early in the morning. And I must say I liked it enough to blog about it. Silence is certainly golden!

Once upon a time, I was a newlywed bride, waking with my husband to get his clothes and breakfast and pack his lunch for the day (often including a note), waving goodbye to him every morning as he drove to work. Upon starting his civilian job only months after we got married, his new co-worker commented that my waking with Casey wouldn't last long. I think he gave him a timeframe of a couple of months or something. Years passed. Babies came. Still I would wake with him and get his clothes and food. Only a few breaks here and there when I was sick or just had a baby, but even the baby breaks weren't ever more than a week or two. Then I got pregnant with number three. In the very beginning and then toward the end of Haley's pregnancy, I was not even getting up with my hubby, let alone packing his lunch. And this has become the norm. I still pick out his clothes most days, but now it's the night before. Kinda cheating, I know. Once in a while I'll pack him a lunch and put it in the fridge for him to grab on the way out the door.

When I think about it, it makes me a little sad. And when I think of why, it makes me more sad. My children take so much of my waining energy (can it be called "waining" if it's barely even there?), and my husband is suffering the consequences. I've read and heard about husbands getting jealous of a new baby, since it is now getting all of his wife's attention, but until this baby, Casey has still had much of my attention and affection. Now that we've switched to a zone defense, we have to work very hard at (and communicate about) "us." I can totally see why couples fall into the trap of being all about the kids and forget that they're married. It would be easy to do. And it's so sneaky--we work together like a finely oiled machine; we usually know what the other is thinking and make a pretty good parenting team, if I do say so myself. But here's the catch: we become such great partners in this parenting thing, managing the household and the like, and lose sight of the fact that WE are also an entity. Marriage certainly becomes harder when a child is introduced into the picture, and three little ones are no exception.

There are other factors that contribute to my not getting up with Casey anymore. Most mornings, I am nursing (in bed--trying to get a few more minutes of uncomfortable sleep) when the alarm goes off. And since Casey changed jobs a couple years ago, it is no longer helpful to have a lunch packed. (It used to be that if I didn't pack him one, he wouln't get lunch because he was so busy all day--never had much time at his desk. Now he has the opposite problem.) I also asked him last year if it discouraged him when I didn't wake with him and he said no. Put those together and add a few incidental other reasons, and what you get is a mommy who wakes when her girls wake, possibly in time to wave goodbye to her husband, but not get him anything.

Perhaps if I asked him today if it matters whether I get up with him or not, his answer would be different. At any rate, I am going to try get back into the habit just to show him again how much he means to me. Even those little things can make a bigger difference than we might think.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Arizona (Almost) and a Little Hammer

Yesterday morning, hanging out at home, Casey said he wanted to go on a drive, so I hopped in the shower and we took off. About an hour into it, the girls contented and quiet, He turned to me and asked "Wanna go to Arizona?" I was taken by surprise, and immediately thought of all the reasons it was an absolutely impossible thing: we were "fish-sitting," we had no extra diapers, clothes, or toothbrushes, we'd left the air conditioning on in our house, Casey was supposed to read the Bible at Church tomorrow, and where exactly would we go, and where would we stay? For every reason I gave, he gave a solution. That was when I realized he had been completely serious, after we had already turned onto a road that would bring us back around; had I said "yes," he would've done it. I felt really badly that I'd killed his idea, and kept saying, "Well, then, let's go ahead and do it."

While stopping for lunch at a 50's diner, I said once again that we should do it. Casey said it wouldn't be spontaneous if we did it now--we'd been talking about it for over 1/2 an hour. I told him that it would still count as spontaneous, because we left home not planning on being gone overnight. He said, "Yeah, but it's a little overanalyzed now." What?!?! Me?!?! Overanalyze?!?!

So, we decided to come back home and I'd say yes next time he suggested such a ridiculous idea. I kept thinking how much more "doable" it is to be spontaneous when it's just the two of you. There aren't really the same concerns or difficulties to encounter when only adults are involved. A couple we know at church told us they had gone to AZ spontaneously this weekend, and she didn't even have shoes! That's spontaneous!

On the way home, Ruby got a headache. She told us her head hurt and that God was hammering in her head with a little hammer.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Traveling Home--July 7

On the train in the Denver Airport with Uncle Kev, Auntie M, Isaac and Lydia

On a pit stop in Trinidad, Colorado. The girls were still in p.j. s until here.

I've been meaning to blog about this since it happened. We were really impressed with God's graciousness and protection on our road trip and the few days following. Only a few miles before we arrived at home, there was an accident with a fatality that must have happened moments before we came upon it (we saw on the news that the police closed the interstate within minutes of our passing), and we thanked God that Casey had decided to pull over near Santa Fe just so I could change Haley's dirty diaper. It may have made the difference between our involvement in the accident or not. A few days later, on Casey's commute home from work, he witnessed an 8-car pile-up right in front of him.

Of course, God would still be good and gracious if we had been involved in either accident, but we are so grateful for these glimpses of how very often God spares us from grief and sadness. Most of the time we are completely unaware of His sustaining and protective hand in our lives.

July 6 Hike

Okay, so someone had this idea to get some great family photos at a nearby waterfall and off we went with 6 children 3 and under--3 of them 6 months and under! Thank God we had Sandy to help us! The hike ended up being a half mile each direction, and our 3 oldest (Ruby-3, Gabe-2, Claire-2) walked (often running!) almost the entire way by themselves!

With Lita

The whole kit and caboodle! From top left: Casey, Claire, me, Ruby, Corey, Karen, Sandy, Gavin or Grant, Grant or Gavin (can you tell I'm still clueless on how to tell them apart in a picture?), Gabe and Haley.
The falls themselves--nothing compared to Multnomah, but WATER, nonetheless!

Grandma Sandy (Lita to our girls) with her 3 oldest grandchildren

Uncle Corey and Aunt Karen with their clan of G-boys!

This is a blurry pic of Ruby, but I'm so captured by the beauty surrounding us that day on our hike through the foresty forest! It really is so gorgeous in that part of Washington! But as rain is known to do, it not only makes things green, but attracts mosquitos. The forest was THICK with greenery AND mosquitos!

Here's how we did it: The 3 youngest in slings/baby carriers and the 3 oldest running from parent to Uncle or Aunt or Grandma. Great fun.

While on Vacation. . . July 6

Let's go to Chuck E. Cheese's! Only with Uncle Corey and Auntie K! (We'd never be so fun on our own!)

Should we really be encouraging this kind of behavior?

Ruby was hilarious trying to do skiball. She'd give it her all, but the ball would just roll back--all her "oomph" didn't have enough force to even get it in the "gutter!" At first I thought it was great entertainment at a small price, but she ended up gettting discouraged and exhausted. I guess she knew enough that it was at least supposed to go away. . . not keep coming back to her.

Alright, so I guess Chuck E Cheese's is the exception to what I said here. This is the cleanest, most enjoyable restaurant play structure I've been in so far! It was even air conditioned!

Why won't this rotate? It's right on our computer. . . this is the 3rd attempt to upload a rotated one. I give up! Haley slept through most of the hoopla.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

To All "Training" (Toddlerhood) Parents Out There: It Gets Better!

This week has been a real turning point for Claire. Up until recently, there was absolutely no reasoning with her. She is very communicative, and I don’t think it’s just my bias that says she is a pretty smart girl: she knows what’s going on. Despite that fact, she will stubbornly hold onto what she wants/doesn’t want and continue down a road that only has one consequence after another—and still not give in! (Sound familiar? It sure does to me! Are there more convicting things than raising children and training them in righteousness? Probably pastoring has to be up there, too, but as I won’t ever do that, this is most likely the most difficult “test” of my faith so far. I am more than daily convicted of the instruction I give to my children, and how I fall so short of doing those things. How haughty of me to expect a 2 or 3 year old to not grumble and complain—Phil 2:14—when I catch myself doing it relentlessly? Just today, I found myself grumbling about Claire’s 3rd dirty diaper in less than an hour, and was hit with the very verse I had reviewed with them this morning. I had to correct myself aloud and tell the girls “Whoops, Mommy needs to do all things without grumbling and disputing. This is what God has for me today, and I need to have a good attitude.” I am so grateful for God’s grace. I hope to teach the girls about His sufficiency when I make these numerous blunders.)

Okay, I’m off the rabbit trail. Starting this week (almost out of the blue) when Claire begins to show a bad attitude or the starting of a fit, I can usually encourage her to make a better choice and change her attitude. (Sounding something like this: “Oh, Claire. This is not my sweet girl. My Claire is a big girl, and she has a happy heart. Show me your good attitude.” Or, “Is there a different way to ask Mommy?”) She’ll either change her attitude right away, or within a minute, she’s back on track. It appears that something has literally clicked in her brain or a light has gone on with how suddenly this has happened.

This kind of reasoning has never worked until this week (come to think of it, almost NOTHING has seemed to work!). I’ve read parenting advice where the author glibly states to just do a, b, and c and implies that “viola!” there will be the end to THAT problem. Thankfully, I have not come across too much of that kind of advice. I’ve had some wise people recommend some good books that don’t speak in such terms. But I’ve read/heard enough that makes me feel like I must be doing something wrong, because my child STILL THROWS FITS. Sure, consistency is key (I don’t for a minute think that I’m always consistent, but we really TRY to deal with fits and have consequences every time one is thrown) but even in consistency, there is something else that I think some authors/people gloss over: TIME. It seems there are many pieces to this puzzle called training, and one really important one is that with all the consistency and consequences, waiting is also required. This “terrible two” age really does exist, and even if it is a bad label for it, there is no denying that children go through some challenging phases. I guess I think some Christian parenting advice denies the legitimacy of phases. Now, I don’t think that the general worldly advice is true either: “It’s just a phase, leave it alone and it will go away in time.” (i.e. ignore the behavior entirely). It seems there’s a balance in there somewhere. Both dealing with it consistently and being PATIENT because it is a phase THAT WILL END (or at least get better with time).

And here’s another thing I’ve been thinking about: is it really good child training to distract or redirect? Like other things, I believe it has its time and place (the airplane is a good example—not a time for training as much as surviving and causing minimal discomfort to other passengers: being thoughtful of others) but as a parent, these times and places really have to be few and far between if consistency is to work out its “magic.” What are we training children to do when we redirect them or distract them? I would say the bare-bones answer is: whatever they want. Is that really good life training? I’ll use an example from yesterday: If Claire doesn’t want to leave when I say it’s time to go and begins throwing a fit, and I distract her with, “Oh, what’s that? Let’s go see,” in order to get her to do what I say, I believe it will eventually teach her to only do what she wants when she wants. (Not to mention that it just seems downright manipulative!) It doesn’t require the controlling of emotions, the thoughtful choice to change one’s attitude; obey and do what’s right—even if she doesn’t feel like it. (How many times a day/hour does an adult face this same choice?) And if my redirecting isn’t to her taste, I have no recourse. I become a court jester, hoping that THIS suggestion might please her majesty. No wonder even Christian adults act self-absorbed and in our own tiny world. We’ve been trained since toddlerhood (my parents didn’t use this technique, but many Christian parents do) that if it isn’t presented appealingly enough or to our taste, we really don’t need to do it. Be considerate of others. Show up for work. Do your job. Keep a commitment. Be respectful to those in positions of authority.

I’m really not coming up with good examples, but I hope the point is made nonetheless: distracting/redirecting can have the effect of coddling a toddler’s predisposition to selfishness. It may seem like I’ve won on a case-by-case basis, but how am I really teaching Claire to deal with choices for the rest of her life? I believe this way of dealing with children really stems from a humanistic view: people are basically good and will make good choices when given the education and opportunity to do so. This totally contradicts God’s Word: No one is good.

In training my children, I want to make it clear that there is an absolutely high standard that NO ONE can meet, and that they (as I) must fall at Christ’s feet and trust Him to give them/me the ability to obey. Requiring obedience from my daughter instead of distracting her gives me the opportunity to share the gospel: her total inability to please God and the good news of Christ’s perfect life and redeeming work.

Wow! I had no idea such strong feelings were lurking in there somewhere! I meant to post this to encourage parents who try to be purposeful in training their children that it does get better and to not grow weary. I guess I got a little carried away. (Maybe I won’t ever pastor, but just watch me preach! :) Oh, and I’m not saying that we’re out of the woods, but it has been so relieving (and downright shocking!) to have this new development in Claire’s attitude. God has been good to show us a light at the end of the tunnel now and then!

Monday, July 14, 2008

We Now Interrupt Our Scheduled Vacation Update Posts. . .

To wish Claire a happy second birthday! It's hard to believe this happened two years ago. (And, as it happened that I posted that story exactly one year after the fact, today is also this blog's first anniversary!)

Now that she's two, we are officially breaking Claire of the pacifier. I'll update as more time goes by, but I'm surprised at how easy it's been so far. I had really built it up in my mind to be a gruelling ordeal for all of us.

A Glow Worm: her inducement for giving up her pacifier.

This is where Ruby tells her that she needs to share her new "baby."

And an update on Haley. She had her six week check today, even though she's older. (Blame a trip, then a sick toddler for the un-timliness.) I took this pic yesterday to ask Barb if I should be concerned about her hyper-extended neck. Aparently, she just likes it that way. Haley weighs in at 11 lb, 5 oz. and seems to be developing thrush. Not entirely sure yet.