Thursday, December 16, 2010

My blog has moved

Due to email issues and difficulties with Blogger I have moved my blog.  If you would like to continue to follow what I have written please visit my new page:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

One Month Old

Today our son is one month old. 

Breastfeeding is better, though extremely noisy and aggressive. 
Changing his diaper is easier, although at times he's pretty upset about it.
He still has the hair he was born with and some of it can be measured at about an inch in length. 
He rolled over from his stomach to his back at about 2 weeks, I was shocked. 
He hates being locked into his car seat but as long as we are away from home he'll sleep the time away, once home (I think he can smell it) he wakes up and cries and screams until someone takes him out (I don't think we are given 2 minutes until this happens). 
He smiles every day now and I'm in love.
He sleeps the sleep of a child, heavy and sweet.

Happy birthday to my one month old.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The High Price of Having a Baby

Before getting pregnant I was fascinated with the multitude of birthing options out there.  I had seen the film, "The Business of Being Born" and watched a water birthing documentary on the Discovery channel.  I avoided watching the dramatized Birth Story show on TLC since I didn't want to make myself feel like a hypochondriac.  I definitely wanted to have a midwife and possibly a water birth.  But after I got pregnant I found that my husband had no interest in alternative birthing methods.  For him he was only comfortable with going to the hospital.  He was much more comfortable leaving the decision making up to the professionals. 

So I contacted the insurance company and found myself an OBGYN who would care for me during my pregnancy.  My husband came to the first appointment and we found we didn't like the bedside manner of who I had been given.  My husband contacted his sister who worked in a NICU and got a reference from her.  Even though my sister-in-law lived over 100 miles away and had never met her recommendation, I switched trusting she had found me a conservative pro life doctor. 

The next time I went in I was by myself, my husband having to work, and the new doctor seemed friendly and cracked a lot of jokes.  Unfortunately, her style of humor wasn't one I was able to pick up on and she had me confused for half the appointment.  The next time I went in I had both my mother and my husband in tow, my mother was there because I found her knowledge of the medical community invaluable (she had worked for OBGYN's for years when I was a child even though she wasn't a nurse).  At this point in my pregnancy I didn't have many questions so I wasn't able to really test my doctor's personality.  Everything seemed fine and my husband and mother were neutral in response to her.

Then I started having real problems with my allergies and difficulty breathing at night.  I was on allergy meds but they weren't doing much.  At my third appointment with my OB only my mother came along.  We asked a few questions about my general health and my difficulties breathing.  The doctor gave a sarcastic answer which I saw immediately turned my mother off.  It was then I realized what I wasn't comfortable with.  This doctors' style of humor was sarcasm and she made you feel like you were an idiot for asking a question. 

Each doctors' appointment got more difficult.  We tried not to ask questions when we could help it.  Then one day I was sent to the hospital for monitoring for high blood pressure and numb fingers.  Some tests were run and the doctor prescribed me Betamethasone to develop my baby's lungs just in case he was born early.  My husband tried to talk to the doctor over the phone about side effects and I could see he was irritated with her response. 

At the next appointment we tried to talk to the doctor about the possible side effects but she fired back that she had already discussed this with us.  I was a bit shocked at her response and fired back that she had talked with my husband about it, not me, and I wanted to know the answer to my question.  She then basically blew us off by telling us there were no side effects.  That didn't make sense from my perspective of how I was raised and taught by my mom who told me all drugs have side effects.  It was listed as a Pregnancy Category C drug which means there are side effects.  We left the appointment dissatisfied and irritated. 

My next appointment I had submitted my birth plan and we were given the opportunity to discuss the plan with the OB.  She was fine with all of it.  When we talked a little bit with her about waiting to cut the umbilical cord she made a comment the it was a "granola" idea.  I got the feeling that she didn't like it when her patients did their own research.  The granola comment made my husband very upset and whenever he didn't like something my OB did he'd make the comment that we should send her a basket of granola bars and thank her for her "help".

The last time I went to see her she sent me to the hospital for montitoring and told me that she wouldn't be available that weekend because she had no child care and some other doctor would help me if I had to deliver early.  I silently applauded since I no longer wanted her as my OB.  I dutifully went to the hospital but all was not right under the sun.  My BP was high and wasn't going down.  I was induced three different ways but only progressed to 5cm after 29 hours, being stuck at 5cm for 9 hours.  A c-section was ordered and the anesthesiologists comment that because I made a birth plan, now I needed him.  I really disliked him when he said that, it was mean.  I had a pretty rough time with the pain medications and eventually they had to knock me unconscious because I wasn't responding well.  The doctor on call was great, efficient and our type of friendly.  My husband liked him as well as the rest of my family.  He answered our questions even if he'd already done so before. on the same one.  I felt safe.

After the surgery was over I was given a room to share with another couple.  I stayed in the hospital for four days in hopes they would give me help with breastfeeding, I could have left on day three (I should have left on day three).  I didn't know until later that breastfeeding assistance was not given until you were being discharged from the hospital.  Had I known that I would have checked out as soon as I was able.  The extra day led us to a new worry that our baby was losing too much weight and had to have formula as a supplement.  With the pediatrician prescribing formula too, I cried from my inability to provide for my baby.  I felt like a bad mother. 

We finally left and proceeded much better at home.  Our baby gained quickly and the food was better.  Then, just the other day, we got the bill from the insurance company.  We didn't have to pay anything but we were pretty shocked at the price of the care we received: $34,000.  On the website Better Birth for Sacramento it shows my hospital as $10,000 for a birth (that's 1 day, natural birth, no meds).  So that is $24,000 in extras that I accumulated.  Wow.

Because I had such a good reaction to the OB who did my c-section I was able to switch to him for my post-partum care.  I can't wait to talk with him about what went wrong and what we can do to remedy the situation for our next pregnancy.  I know I am now considered high risk and a midwife won't touch me.  Too bad.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Real Smiles and a Mommy Necklace

Two days ago our baby looked at me and smiled.  It wasn't that smile you see when they are dreaming, but a real smile.  I haven't seen it since but I look for it every time. 

In this picture is a necklace I received for my birthday from my parents.  It's called a Mommy Necklace and is designed specifically for breastfeeding.  I'm thrilled because it's beautiful and keeps my little boy from scratching me or pinching me.  The website is

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tantum Ergo

For Advent

God walks into your soul with silent step.
  God comes to you more than you go to Him.
Never will his coming be what you expect,
  and yet never will it disappoint.
The more you respond to his gentle pressure,
  the greater will be your freedom.

--Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Friday, December 3, 2010

Almost 3 Weeks Old

Our little boy is almost 3 weeks old and already he's getting ahead of himself.  His 2 week visit to the pediatrician's office showed he gained 15 oz in 2 weeks.  According to wikipedia he should be gaining about 6 oz a week or 12 oz in 2 weeks.  So, he's 3 oz ahead there after losing 12% of his body weight in the hospital when he was born.

Another place he is ahead of himself is that he rolled over from his tummy to his back today.  I went to wash my hands and came back to find him rolled over from how I left him.  I think we'll have to do as my parents said and keep a sharp eye on him.  Next thing I know he'll be sitting up all by himself.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Early this morning, early early since I'm breastfeeding, I noticed a wet spot on my shirt as I was going to feed our son.  Which means my milk is in and the let down reflex is active.  I am so excited.  Something has finally gone right postpartum.  I couldn't be happier that I'm providing for our son.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cloth Diapering

I spent quite a bit of my time researching cloth diapering while I was pregnant.  I knew it was something I wanted to do primarily because it was so much less expensive.  The other reason didn't occur to me until I did some research and that was exposing my baby to the chemicals in the diapers.  I have a hard enough time with feminine pads giving me a rash and drying me out, my children will likely be the same with their diapers.  My mom and dad cloth diapered us growing up and I recall my mom telling me that I was potty trained before my brother came along and we are only 17 months apart. 

I found a great prefold package deal online, bought some covers made with PUL, and made my own laundry soap to wash them with and consequently our regular laundry too since it was so much cheaper than store bought laundry detergent.  So far the most challenging part of this was keeping track of how many times I pre-washed the diapers.  60 diapers take a long time to pre-wash 5-8 times.  I also knew that I would want to make my own wipe solution and avoid having to buy those as well.  My mom used to use wash cloths and soap water.  It just didn't seem all that complicated.  Why was everyone making such a fuss over how hard cloth diapering was?

I knew at the hospital that they only use disposable diapers and wipes.  This was fine by me since those first poopy diapers were filled with meconium which is a sticky tar like substance that is very hard to get off the skin of the baby let alone the diaper.  I thought it would be good to use those disposables for the first few days so I didn't have to worry about getting meconium out of my cloth diapers.  The hospital sent us home with two bags of diapers and wipes, we were set for a while.  The next question was when would we switch to cloth.  Me being lazy I had not made up the baby wipe solution that I wanted to use, so I put it off for a few days.  Then yesterday, my husband asked when we were going to switch over.  We only had about a dozen disposables left and I wanted to save them for any trips we would be making in the future.  Plus I wasn't a fan of the garbage we were producing.

That evening I made up a batch of wipe solution (2 Tbs baby wash, 1 Tbs baby oil, 2 cups of water), got out my cloth wipes, snappies, covers, and cloth diapers.  The first really great thing I noticed was that the diapers kept the poop in and didn't leak out through the legs like the disposables were doing.  I had to change my boppy covers 4 times in two days from leaks.  Thank goodness for protective waterproof covers or I would be washing the pillow too.  The next thing I noticed was that the dry skin around his waist was going away.  I suspect that the disposables were irritating his skin.  Last, my son doesn't cry the same with the cloth diapers.  He hardly cries at all now when I change his diapers.

One thing that really jump started me into cloth diapering was a youtube set of videos that answered all my questions about what's out there, legislation, and how to use cloth diapers.  Here is the first video in the series.  I recommend watching them all. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One Week

I can't believe it's been one week since I had my little baby boy.  He is so adorable even when asking for 3rd and 4th breakfast and I've only had 2 hours of sleep.  I wish there was a way to be able to go to any time in my baby's life and hold and cuddle him.  I know that 8 years from now I'll wish I could hold him like when he was only hours old.  Babies smell so sweet and need so little to improve upon.  I noticed that he spit up breastmilk and got some in his whispy hair.  At the time I couldn't get up to clean him off and later forgot to follow up.  Today, I remembered he did this and looked but his skin had absorbed it all and his hair was as fine and whispy as ever.  Some would think it gross that I didn't do anything but if you know about the properties of breastmilk you'd know that it is antibacterial, like a lotion, and very good for your skin.  You can even leave a bottle of breastmilk on the counter and it won't go bad like formula will.  Any bacteria that comes near breastmilk is killed on the spot.  That is one of the reasons why breastfed babies are so healthy and rarely get sick.  Also, breastmilk doesn't stain like formula will.  You can get some on your shirt and it will rinse right out in the wash.  You can't say that about formula.

So, I'm in love again, but this little man will forever have a part of me and who I am till the day he dies.  He is a treasure that I don't know if I could live without.  Any vague thought of losing him has me in tears.

Happy 1 Week Birthday.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Welcome Little One

Born November 14th, 2010 at 12:42am by c-section.  He is 6 lbs 7 oz, with blond hair and blue eyes.

The Sweetest Little Fellow

 When I was born my mother sang me this song.  It was the one song that I loved to hear the best because I knew my mom meant every word.  When I was in the military I asked for her to send me the lyrics.  It made me cry with homesickness.  Now I have my own little fellow to sing this to and I’m so glad he’s here.

 Mighty Like A Rose

Sweetest little fellow everybody knows
Don't know what to call him but he's mighty like a rose
Lookin' at his mammy with eyes so shiny blue
Make you think that heav'n is comin' close to you

When he's there a-sleepin in his little place
Think I see angels looking through the lace
When the dark is fallin', when the shadows creep
Then they comes on tiptoe to kiss him in his sleep

Sweetest little fellow ev'rybody knows
Don't know what to call him but he's mighty like a rose
Lookin' at his mammy with eyes so shiny blue
Make you think that heav'n is comin' close to you

When the dark is fallin', when the shadows creep
Then they comes on tiptoe to kiss him in his sleep

Sweetest little fellow ev'rybody knows
Don't know what to call him but he's mighty like a rose
Lookin' at his mammy with eyes so shiny blue
Make you think that heav'n is comin' close to you

Monday, November 8, 2010

How to annoy people who know a little history...

Today I'm trying to watch Robin Hood with Russell Crowe, yet I'm finding myself only able to watch it in short increments.  Why?  Because of the historical inacuracies which are driving me up the wall.  It's little things really, but they throw me out of the rhythm of the film when they happen.  The first was when grain was stolen from Marian's home.  She called it "seed-corn".  Why are they referencing corn when it's the 12th century?  Corn wasn't discovered by Europe until the America's were discovered in the 15th century.  The word corn is new so they wouldn't have called wheat "seed-corn". 

Another one was when King John said his mother kissed the "picture" of her son every day.  "Picture" is a new word.  They would have used "portrait" or "painting" at this time. 

Or the king using the word "palsy" around a horse training to have a knight on it's back.  That is a late 13 century word.  Besides, the king would know what would go into training a knight's horse.  Those creatures had to be able to strike out on command with their hooves to smash in the helmet of a foot solder.  The king would not ask that the horse stop with the training the way he did. 

Then comes the references that the clergy do not drink alcohol or condone the drinking of alcohol.  I'm sorry but that is a 19th century idea.  In the 12th century the only safe thing to drink would be alcohol.  Everyone drank wine, mead, or beer (mead was even mentioned prominently in Beowulf).  Water would make you sick more often than not because of the lack of sanitation.  It wasn't until the 19th century that sanitation was really taken into account and found to be a healthy thing for all concerned.  Plus, the clergy in the 12th century were Catholic.  The priests and other clergy would be consuming wine on a daily basis because of their duty to giving daily mass to the people. 

One thing that annoyed me highly was when Maid Marian was refusing to go to mass on Sundays.  At this time in history, the people went to mass daily.  You also didn't have the right to refuse to attend services.  If you did not attend services there were ways of imposing public penance.  I went to Rottenburg in Germany and visited a museum of torture devices.  They had a wooden rosary that people would wear around their neck while standing up for all to see during services if they fell asleep during mass.  Each bead weighed 10 lbs.  It was huge.  The very wealthy could have chapel services at their home but this was rare and reserved for the nobility.  It would be slim to none chance that Marian would have been able to avoid Sunday mass let alone mass any other day of the week.  The producers or writers of the film must be confusing Protestant ideas and ideals with religion in the Middle Ages.  So far they are getting everything wrong.

Then of course there are the large discrepancies with history, such as the French landing on English soil in 1199A.D.  Sorry, they didn't do that for another 16 years until after the Magna Carta was signed.  That was called the First Barons' War. 

What would be interesting is if they showed the real age of Isabella of Angouleme.  She married King John when she was 12 years old.  In the film she looks to be in her early 20s.  But if they did that people would be shouting pedophilia since the king was supposed to be 33 at the time. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I can see why many women want their pregnancy to be over.  For most I think it is impatience and being uncomfortable.  I'm not experiencing a lot of discomfort in my opinion even though I'm 37 weeks along.  Yes, I have to pee a lot in the middle of the night and I am not at all flexible.  But, I have no contractions that I can feel, I sleep well (thanks to a combination of my grandmother's inclining bed and a really thick memory foam mattress pad), and I'm not sore (unless I stand for a few hours trying to make dinner).  I have no reason for complaint and my body is fairly comfortable.  The baby kicks and rolls but that's not painful either just strange feeling. 

I think the hardest part for me is the weight gain.  With this baby weight I am almost 100 lbs beyond where my ideal weight is when not pregnant.  I don't want to gain any more weight.  I thought I was okay with it but apparently not.  My doctor says I have gained the right amount of weight but that now I'm starting to retain water.  My face shows it too.  How selfish am I to want to have my pregnancy over with because I might gain more weight? 

I might also be afraid of labor, the unknown.  I don't know how my body will behave and that scares me too.  I tend to want to get things over with if I don't know the outcome.  It makes me less afraid because I have less time to think.  But, no date is set in stone so I can't not think about it.  Dwelling is the hardest part for me.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Husband Thinks I'm Funny

Fighting sleep again, my husband found me knitting with my eyes closed (I was trying to get a little shut eye).  Fortunately, I didn't drop any stitches although he sent to bed to take a much needed nap (without the knitting).

The Elections are Here

I can't wait for all the political ads to be over.  I'm really tired of hearing about this ad and that.  We don't have TV so you can imagine that if I'm hearing about the ads then what about all the poor people who are watching TV.  They must hate turning on their favorite program.  I will admit that some of them are funny.  I really liked the Barbara Boxer talking head ad put out by Carly Fiorina.  Or the "Call me Senator" put out by David Zucker.  Some were really sad, like Missy Smith's (Washington, D.C. Tea Party candidate) campaign ads which show the results of abortion.  And when I say sad, I mean that they tug at the heartstrings of those who find abortion so horrific.

A few more hours to go and the US government will change again.  Have you voted today?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Anticipation of Arrival

Right now I am not one of those women who wishes the pregnancy was over.  I have too much to do and our little boy is not quite ready for the world outside the womb. 

At the end of last month I scared myself my taking my blood pressure at the store.  The number came out too high so I called my doctors office.  They sent me to labor and delivery for monitoring.  Everyone thought things were going to be fine but of course they have to find something wrong.  I was having mild contractions that I couldn't feel every 2-3 minutes.  Apparently, the medical community has no idea how often a normal pregnancy has mild contractions because they don't closely monitor them. 

The nurse, being on the nervous side, begged my doctor to let her take a culture of my cervix.  After much talk the nurse got what she wanted along with a few vials of my blood.  The doctor thought everything would come back normal (or so she told me later that week).  The blood results came back normal but the cervix swab did not. 

After another consultation with my doctor over the phone the nurse came back and told me that I would be getting a few shots and some antibiotics.  I'm not a fan of drugs, they stress me out and I usually have unusual responses to them.  Take codeine, not only does it make me violently ill it also makes me very hyper and I end up cleaning and vacuuming at 2am just to work off the jitters.  Or Valium, that makes me very anxious and want to bang the doctor's head against the equipment for touching my eyes during LASIK surgery. 

They ended up giving me betamethasone which was to help the baby's lungs develop faster just in case he were to be born early.  That shot gave me the shakes for hours.  I think I got it at 11pm and I was still shaking at 2am. 

A concern I have is that they gave me steroids that make my baby's lungs develop faster.  From all that I've read, it is the baby who signals labor to begin when he is ready.  What if by taking that drug the baby will want to come sooner rather than on the date he would have come if we did not take the medication?  Will my baby come a month early?  Weeks?  Days?  Will he be late?  Is it possible for him to come later than my due date in spite of that stuff I was given? 

It's making me nervous that I will not have everything ready for his arrival. 

Then there are the concerns about what my labor will be like.  I'm more like my grandmother on my dad's side than my mother.  Will my labors be as short as hers (35 and 25 minutes long)?  I never experienced morning sickness.  I haven't felt any contractions.  My pregnancy has been completely normal other than that incident at the hospital.  My doctor says I'll feel the contractions and "know", but then I read wonderful stories about unassisted childbirths and some women give birth without feeling any pain, they let their bodies take over rather than fight the contractions.  They have their children very quickly and without much noise.  I know that this is very possible because it is normal for many women in 3rd world countries.  We've terrified ourselves of the posibility of pain and labor when it doesn't have to be that way.  I know it can be painful.  I know it can be very painful.  God made it so that it would be that way.  But I think the medical community is using fear to keep itself in control of women in labor.  It irritates me because I don't think that medical intervention is all that helpful in most cases.  I think it makes labor more painful, longer and more difficult. 

I want to be able to accept the pain so I can get out of it's way.  I've broken bones and torn ligaments many times before.  At first it's a battle of the will to hold as still as possible.  Then, shock takes over and I can relax and stop fighting the pain.  How fast will I be able to accept the pain and let the labor happen?  I hope that I will be able to surrender myself to God's will and accept his way for my baby's birth.  It's going to take a lot of prayer.

Pregnancy is Funny

I'm into my 9th month of pregnancy and every day gets more humorous. 

When I first get up from sitting for a while, I waddle until my body finally realigns itself after about 5 or so steps. 

When I put my socks and shoes on I try to see how long I can get my arms to go without my belly getting in the way.  I thought flexibility would make things easier but when you can't bend your torso at all, you're just not flexible anymore.  Try putting socks on with a torso cast that keeps your back straight.

Nighttime runs to the bathroom are me hopping around trying not to pee while trying to not freeze (fall has finally arrived and it was 39 degrees outside last night).

And while I say ouch when my baby moves, it doesn't really hurt, it's just a lot of movement and there really is no word for the uncomfortableness it creates.

Or what about the concern that the baby will be born sooner rather than later.  Most women I know are ready to have the baby early, but I have work on the house to do.  I still need to wash all the baby clothes and sort them.  I still need to make up the bassinet and crib.  I still need to buy baby supplies, like a sling and first aid kit.  I still need to finish my Christmas gifts that I'm making because I certainly won't have the time to work on them after the baby is born. 

Hopefully, all will be ready and done by the time he arrives.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fighting Sleep

I didn't realize that when I got to my last few weeks of my pregnancy I would be fighting sleep.  I feel like I'm a little kid again and not wanting to take a nap because things are so interesting.  I definitely need sleep though.  I don't sleep well at night anymore.  My favorite sleep position has always been my stomach but when you're pregnant it's too painful to be in that position.  Any pressure at all and you're rolling over to get air.  I have a hard enough time letting my husband rest his hand on my stomach at night and that is not very heavy. 

Why do we fight sleep?  Why don't I just go to bed and curl up and go to sleep for a little while?  Especially now that my body is so tired.  My mom told me that we would have mandatory nap times so she could get some sleep.  I see now that I'm going to need to do the same thing.  Good thinking Mom.

I Made My Own Laundry Soap

I have been hunting the web for a while on laundry soap because I wanted a cheaper alternative that I knew what the ingredients were.  But all I found were liquid soap versions.  I don't like liquid soap.  I tend to spill it, use too much and it makes a sticky mess everywhere.  Then one day I stumbled across this website:  I thought these were great ideas and they even had powdered laundry soap in there.  My pick was #4.  Then I had to gather the ingredients and since I figured the soap would be the hardest part to find I started my search there.  I was in luck when I went to Winco and found Kirk's Hardwater Castile soap (3 bars for $3.25).  I liked the smell of it and it wasn't too expensive.  Then, on another trip to Walmart I tried to find Borax and Washing Soda.  I was out of luck.  They don't sell either in the city where I live at Walmart.  These are and were common ingredients for household chores.  Since when did they become so unpopular?

For a few months I procrastinated in finding the rest of my ingredients.  Then my cloth diapers came.  I knew I would need special laundry soap for them so they wouldn't become waterproofed by commercial detergents.  This happens all the time to new mothers who are trying to cloth diaper.  Those nice detergents that smell so good are wreaking havoc on our budgets and make the laundry waterproof.  That is not something you want in a clothing item that is supposed to absorb liquid.

I did some more research and found that the laundry soap I wanted to make was good for cloth diapering.  I could have shouted for joy.  My hunt was back on and I found Borax in Target for $2.99 for a 76 oz box.  That is a good price.  Washing Soda was not so easy.  When I asked a worker there he had to radio in the request because he had never heard of it.  I tried to explain that it was like baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) but was for laundry.  I also said that there was a difference in it's composition so I wasn't going to use baking soda because what I wanted was sodium carbonate.  After more research I found that you could get sodium carbonate in the pool isle at Walmart.  It's used to help the PH balance in a pool.  But then I wasn't sure if I was going to get a good price for it.  Would it be cheaper if I bought it in the pool isle rather than in the laundry isle?  Baking soda is cheaper in the baking isle than if you find it in the laundry isle.  You have to look out for those things.  I did more research and found that Ace Hardware will sell it for $3.79 for a 55 oz box.  This was better than who wanted to sell it for $5.53 per box. 

Keeping these prices in my mind I found myself once more at Winco and took a detour to their laundry isle.  Imagine to my joy finding Washing Soda right next to the Borax.  And they only wanted $2.70 for it.  The Borax was 3.99 so I saved myself a dollar by getting it at Target.

I rounded up all my ingredients and set to work shaving down the bar soap with my cheese grater.  It was tough work.  Bar soap is a lot harder to grate than cheese.  After 4 minutes I finally grated 1 whole bar.  One 4 oz. bar comes out to about 2 cups.  I found an empty Tupperware container that I used to use for sugar and put in the bar soap.  Then I poured in 1 cup of washing soda and 1 cup of borax (I had to break the lumps up on the borax).  I used a wooden spoon to mix it all up and realized I had plenty of space for a second batch (or even a 3rd or 4th batch).  I got to work making up the second batch and when it was all finished I labeled my container with the recipe and how much you are supposed to use for each load of laundry.  Did you know you only need 1 Tbs for a load of laundry?  I think of those huge scoops they give you in the commercial boxes and wonder if you really need all that soap. 

I've been pre-washing my diapers to get them to quilt up and become absorbent all day.  They need to be washed about 5-7 times until the lint screen comes out clean on your dryer.  You also have to wash the diapers in a very particular way.  Here is what I found:

1.  In your washing machine (regular not HE), cold rinse the diapers
2.  Then, add your laundry detergent (not too much), and do a Hot Hot wash
3.  Next, dry your diapers in the dryer or hang to dry (hanging to dry takes less time than in the dryer) - Never use dryer sheets (fabric softeners waterproof your diapers). 
4.  Repeat steps 1-3 until your lint trap comes out clean.

The laundry soap recipe is:

1 bar of soap (Fels-Naptha, Ivory soap, Sunlight bar soap, Kirk’s Hardwater Castile, and Zote)
1 c. Borax
1 c. Washing Soda

Mix together and store in an air tight container

1 Tbs - light load
2 Tbs - medium load
3 Tbs - heavily soiled load

Cloth diapers should use the least amount so you don't accidentally make them waterproof with too much soap.

I've tried it and so far my diapers don't have any scent to them.  I like the scent of Kirk's because it's so mild and isn't offensive.

My total expense:

Soap $1.08 per bar
Borax $2.99 per box (about 9 cups) - $0.33 per batch
Washing soda $2.70 per box (about 6 cups) - $0.45 per batch

Each batch is $1.86 and can do about 64 loads max.  That's about $0.03 per load. 

I love saving money.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Joys of Cleaning

Sometimes, cleaning is overwhelming.  I remember my mother telling me to clean my room, thoroughly.  I'd tuck everything away, see that everything was straight and tell her I was finished.  She'd come in and at a single glance see that I had only glossed over the surface.  My room really was a big mess.  Since, I had had the chance to clean it on my own first, I was in for no mercy.  My mom told me it wasn't clean and then before my horrified eyes would proceed to put everything in the middle of my room on the floor.  My clothes from the drawers, the sheets from the bed, my toys from the shelf, my books, my whole closet, in a sense: everything.  Then, once she was done piling she gave me a bowl of cleaner and a cloth and told me to clean every surface (window sill, bed, bookshelf, dresser, closet, etc) and that I wasn't allowed to leave the room until it was neatly put away and finished (if I did, the whole process was restarted).  I would rearrange (I love changing my room around) and vacuum under all the furniture (the pile of stuff was usually out of the way so I had moving room).  The next task was to put everything away in it's proper place, and not just where it landed the last time I played with it.  When all my stuff was put away, I'd vacuum under where the pile was and check to make sure everything was clean, neat and orderly.  I always felt better after wards. 

While this method is very daunting to contemplate, it has never ceased to impress me with it's efficiency and thoroughness.  I've told others about it for using on their children and they say it works very well.  I know it worked for me and often I find myself gathering up all the miscellaneous stuff around the house and dumping it on my bed for inspection, sorting, and putting away or throwing away.  I also use this method for when I want to rearrange a room so that I have lots of chances to get rid of all the gathering dust and cobwebs.

We should enjoy the process of cleaning rather than hate it.  Just think of what a clean room really is?  Do you enjoy living in a dirty room?  What if you went to someone's house and it was really dirty?  Would you want to sit on the couch?  Would you want to touch the counter tops?  I've had such experiences where I would visit at a friends place and the whole time I was yearning to kick them out and to clean.  I didn't know what was dirtier, their carpet or their couch.

A clean home is inviting, welcoming, relaxing, and loving.  It can be very discouraging to see the dirt on the floors that you just swept an hour ago or to see that bathroom towel getting grimy from dirty hands that didn't get washed all the way.  But remember the end result.  How much happier would you be if it was just clean?  Would it brighten your day?  Would it make you smile?  Would you sigh happily?  Cleaning clears the cobwebs from your brain as my mother always says.  It helps us think better when we are in a clean and orderly environment.  My extra curricular projects (knitting, sewing, etc) always are more productive and fun when I'm doing them after my house is clean.  If my house is not clean while I'm trying to work on a project, all I can think about is what needs to be cleaned.  It's very distracting and my work always comes out less than desirable. 

Fear not to clean.  Cleanliness is next to Godliness.  And cleaning can be fun.  Put on some fun music, sing at the top of your lungs and dive in.  Make a plan for yourself, and clean only one room at a time (don't let yourself get distracted by another room's messiness).

Monday, October 11, 2010

No rejection here...

Doesn't it feel wonderful to have a comment you made posted on someone's website? 

For the most part I love reading the articles on They have great encouragement for women to act and be women without getting sucked into feminist morays.  It is dominated by Protestants so as a Catholic I don't know how often my comments will be published because the comments may not fit in with their world view.  I was a Protestant growing up and only came to Catholicism when I was in my 20s.  I remember how I was taught to be wary of the Catholic church and its teachings and when I became Catholic I fell under that same suspicion from my deeply religious relatives.  Which can hurt.  So, on those websites, I have to be careful how I word my comments so I can still share but not have them turn away my message. 

Which brings me to my point.  Isn't it great to have yourself be heard on touchy subjects and on websites where you walk the thin line of possible rejection? 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Okay, Ouch...

For the past two weeks my arms and hands and fingers have been going numb.  I'm off work, so it's not the typing that I was doing as a data entry clerk.  I was knitting for hours every day while listening to great podcasts on pregnancy.  I stopped knitting over a week ago and started wearing wrist braces to sleep in because I like to sleep on my hands.  But my fingers are still numb.  Then as I was driving to the store I gave a thought to the bra I was wearing because it was really uncomfortable.  I've always had a large chest.  I got breasts in the 4th grade and was bound and determined to beat up any boy who made fun of me, including my brothers.  Before getting pregnant I was wearing a 38DD.  I wore my favorite bra brand, Lilyette.  I loved that it kept my breasts separate and they didn't fall out the bottom of my bra.  All the bras I wore were underwire. 

I've heard that when it came time for breastfeeding that I would want to switch to a non-underwire bra so my milk ducts wouldn't be blocked by the pressure of the wire.  I loved my underwire.  I went to a lactation bra fitter and she said that I was going to be most comfortable in a wire and that I could wear a wire and breastfeed without hurting my supply.  The bad part was that each of her bras were at least $60 for an underwire nursing bra.  I went out and bought new regular type bras in my favorite brand figuring that my breast size would change by the time I delivered. 

So, my fingers are still numb and I'm thinking that the underwire bras are pressing on my armpit nerves in such a way that that is what is causing the numbness.  I decided to get some regular non-underwire bras and see if that helps.  So far, it is more comfortable, despite the saggy boob effect I dislike.  Hopefully in a few days my fingers will return to normal.  I'm really hoping this solves my problem because the finger numbness is so painful and really annoying.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Defining Success

I've been thinking a lot about how I would define success.  It seems so important this day and age to be, "successful".  I find it to be an annoying term but I think I'll just play along and see what comes out here as I write.

1.  Living within our means.  Yes, we have credit cards, but we pay them off every month.  We also have savings to help us with future projects, plans and problems. 

2.  A home to live in.  Right now I own a duplex that I bought 8 years ago.  We'd like to eventually sell it when the market goes higher than what I bought it at and then buy a place that has room for a family.  Two bedrooms is great for a starter family but I'm not hankering after a life of cramped quarters and shared walls with neighbors. 

3.  A stable job.  My husband has a fantastic job with the government and providing they don't lay him off due to budget cuts, unlikely but possible, we'll be in a good position years down the road when he'd like to retire. 

4.  A loving family.  Having children, regardless of how many, that love each other, look after one another, and most importantly love God and are true to their faith. 

5.  A devout religious life.  This won't always be easy but with good training for our children and a seriousness when believing in God will go a long way towards paving that path.  Being true to our Catholic faith will also be very important and trust that the Catholic church will lead us to Heaven. 

This list is interesting because I tried not to put in materialistic things like a giant flat screen TV or owning all of my favorite movies on DVD.  Those things will change and I need to remember what the basics of my standards are.  I can live on clothing from Goodwill, buy food economically, and not drive wherever I feel like it (I've got shoes that can take me to more places than a car).  I hope and pray that our children will be able to take that which we find important in our lives and bring it to theirs and their future children.  I also hope and pray that we can follow God to wherever he leads even if it seems to be impossible or inconvenient at the time. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

I wonder...

How many calories do you burn when you walk during pregnancy.  I would assume the further along in your pregnancy the more calories you would burn when you exercise.  It's tough being pregnant, carrying around so much more weight, not being able to breathe easily because you have a little one cramping your lung capacity, and you're doing your best to keep your ligaments from stretching too much with every step.  I know women tend to eat more when pregnant but I feel like for the most part I eat about the same amount as I did before but healthier.  I also cannot eat as much in one sitting.

Why I wonder this is because my husband and I have devised a plan that whenever I eat something I shouldn't while pregnant (cake, candy, etc.) I need to walk the equivalent in calories to burn it off.  How do I assess how many calories I would burn when the only charts they have are on people who are not pregnant?  Being 31 weeks pregnant it's getting more difficult to move around and I assume that when I get right up on my due date it will be very hard.  It's like wearing harder and harder resistant bands every time you work out. 

It would be nice if they had a website that would help but I haven't found one yet. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Busy Work

Today I finally finished my chore list.  It was grueling and exhausting for someone who is pregnant.  Yet, it feels great to have a clean home that I wouldn't mind having family or friends over to visit.  The only thing that is left to do is finish painting the baby room which is my husband's job since it involves paint fumes and he doesn't want me near it.  I don't blame him, especially after he read me the warning label. 

I don't mind in the least doing chores around the house.  It's good for me, especially now that I'm pregnant and in the third trimester.  I was listening to a good podcast called Pregtastic and in one of their early episodes a doctor or midwife was talking about complications during labor, especially the type like the baby being breached.  In the olden days they didn't have the issue of breached babies very often.  It happened occasionally but not to the degree that we have today.  Around the 32 week of a pregnancy the baby is supposed to flip around and settle their head in your pelvis.  This wasn't a problem for mothers 100 years ago because with all the house cleaning and work that they did on a regular basis would have their bodies moving the baby into position.  With our culture today, we sit most of the time.  This is not helpful for the baby.  I guess depending on the job you have you might be able to achieve a similar result but I prefer the atmosphere of home.  Here I can work and take breaks as much as I want.  I can take a nap or get down on my hands and knees and scrub the shower floor.  I don't have anyone breathing down my neck to get something done or to fill a quota.  My job is to be here at home creating a home.  That means it's at my pace and that of my family. 

Even though it's been less than a week since I've had the opportunity to stay home permanently, I am finding it especially rewarding.  There are things I don't want to get to but will have to, eventually.  I'm so excited to put my home in order, move about without people criticizing me (like coworkers who wonder why you need to go to the bathroom so much), and create.  I wish more people had this opportunity or recognized they have this opportunity if only they would look at it that way and give up a little.  We live in an incredibly wealthy society and if a family in India can live on pennies a day, I most certainly can live with my husband and family on only one income. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Karate Kid

Do you remember The Karate Kid?  The original?  Back in 1984 when The Karate Kid first came out my brother insisted on watching it and it became a family favorite along with Star Wars and Indiana Jones.  It was the perfect underdog story and while I wasn't very keen on the violence of some of the scenes I did enjoy the craftiness with which the teacher got the student to learn.  It helped me get into my mind the fact that there is more than one way to learn something and often times the unorthodox way of learning is quite successful.  With each subsequent film we watched as only children can, over and over again.  We reenacted scenes and tried our best of get a nail to go into a board with one strike of the hammer, until my dad confiscated the hammer because we were making deep indents into the deck and fence when we would miss the head of the nail. 

In June of this year a new version of The Karate Kid was released.  After the 4th installment of the franchise I wasn't so sure about how this film would turn out.  Then I learned that it would be set in China and I totally could not understand why they would label it The Karate Kid.  Then I watched some of the previews and it helped me understand why they would use that title since the young boy was using TV Taught Karate to try and keep from being beat up by Kung Fu students. 

Today, my husband decided to celebrate my not having to return to work by suggesting that we go to the theater to watch a movie.  The last time we did that was back in January when we went to see Avatar.  Not being crazy about the movie selections that are out right now we looked at some of the less expensive theaters to see what older films were still playing.  Our luck was in.  Both of us had been wanting to watch The Karate Kid and now was our chance.  The bonus was that it was less than $4 per person. 

I think we both thoroughly enjoyed the film and would watch it again with my niece and nephew if they wanted to see it themselves.  The film was a good original adaptation of the story line and kept the audience wrapped up in the story.  I even liked how they treated the end of the film during the tournament by using the same material in the dishonorable intentions of the rival instructor.  I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out how they would get from here to there since I knew how it would end, I just didn't know any of the middle part.  They also did a great job in playing homage to specific scenes from the original film: using the chopsticks to catch the fly, waxing the car, and the instructor getting drunk on the anniversary of his wife's death. 

The only negative part that both my husband and I agreed on was that we didn't like the punk attitude of the main character, the blatant disrespect of his mother and elders, and the slang (i.e. ass).  They didn't have to add these qualities to the character.  I know lots of people who would never dream of having such a bad attitude around the people they love.  And yet, I do know people who dared to talk back and who got away with it; but why do we need to dwell on the absolute negative.  Can we not hold up that which is loving and positive?  Maybe it would have gotten less favorable reviews because it would be, "less real", but who cares.  I want to show this to my children and I'll have to wait till they are a little older so they won't be picking up the behavior I don't want them to have.

All in all, it's a good film and age appropriate for 10 year olds. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

It Has Begun

Today was my last day of work.  Or as my husband puts it, "my last day of work, FOREVER".  Through the generosity of my husband we are finding a way for me to stay home and care for both house and family.  And while I should be elated, honestly, I just feel weird.  Like it hasn't sunk in yet.  I feel like I'll be going back to work next week and the following month and the following year, until the day I die.  It's exhausting thinking about it that way.  I wonder how long it will take for me to forget what it's like to rush off to work and push papers around and type a lot.  How long will it take for me to get into a comfortable groove of caring for house and yard and family?  When will I anticipate the day with joy again as I did when I was a child, rather than dread?  I long for the joy to descend upon me that I always hoped would occur when I finally quit my job.  Rather, I feel adrift right now.  I have plans.  I have lots of plans.  House repair, yard repair, house cleaning, cooking, baking, blogging, visiting with family.  Yet, I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that I am now free to do so.  And I need to get myself in order because the sooner I develop a smooth routine the more I'll be able to bring it to our new family when our baby is born.  I know the first few weeks will be fairly formless with bonding and recovery but I want to be content with what I have, healthy, happy, well rested, and in love with God's bountiful gifts. 

One thing I'd like to say about "well rested".  When I was in the military we were told that when we went on our field training exercise we would be getting less sleep than we were already getting and would be tired all the time.  But I cheated.  As soon as we got in our foxholes, I'd take a nap, relying on my buddy to wake me if a sergeant came by.  I got more rest and relaxation in the field than I ever got in the barracks.  The same can apply to post delivery.  I'll take a nap whenever I can, ignoring dishes and laundry, to rebuild myself.  My mother made nap time mandatory when we were toddlers and children, not so much because we needed the sleep, but because she needed the sleep.  I plan on the same and hopefully I'll fare well and my home will be a wonderful place to be because it will be a relaxing place. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

My dear husband and I spent the weekend in Bodega Bay.  It was beautiful and awe inspiring.  We took several walks but my favorite was around Bodega Head.  I don't think we realized until we got there that this would be a busy weekend for the area.  It's that time of year that the whales migrate and you can see them right off the coast.  You have wonderful views from the cliffs of the California Coast, bone chilling water to watch crash on the shoreline, and massive whales spouting not very far off that you can see without binoculars.  The air was fresh and made me feel hale and hearty.  I cooked several good meals that got devoured very quickly by 4 men.  I love the ocean and it's mighty strength.  Every time I watch it it confounds me that people don't or can't believe in God.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lovely weekend...

We've been busy over here.  I've had the fortune to be off all this past week taking a vacation from work.  I loved every minute of it.  The best part was taking a nap whenever I wanted to.  Boy did I need it.  I've gotten into a sort of routine that around 1 or 2 pm I crash and sleep for about an hour.  My doctor says my body is prepping for when the baby is born and I'm up at all hours of the night.  Speaking of sleep, I tried unsuccessfully to sleep on the couch last night but I couldn't get comfortable at all.  Usually the bed is hard to sleep in but ever since we got a really nice memory foam mattress pad (3 inches thick!) I've become accustomed to it.  It doesn't stop me from tossing and turning but it does help my back from hurting. 

My husband took Thursday off and he had Furlough Friday.  He spent most of Thursday with his brother trying to figure out how to install crown molding.  Once they got the angles right it was really easy to put up and while at first my husband said, "never again", when reviewing house projects it ended up being the least difficult so it got transferred to the maybe do again list.  Things we will never do again by ourselves: Tile a kitchen counter-top, hang a door (frame and all), re-texture a room and ceiling, scrape popcorn from the ceiling (this one is a maybe we'll do it again).  Painting is pretty easy, tiling floors (sometimes easy), baseboards, light fixtures, etc.  I think we'll do all of these again. 

Friday ended up being a day to finish up putting in the baseboards and putty and caulk.  My poor husband had a horrible cramp in his whole arm from trying to get the caulking done.  But he ran out of caulking so I ran to the local home improvement store the next morning at around 8am for more.  Saturday he finished the caulking and started painting.  Painting has continued through today and will be continued for many more days because we have different colors and types of paint that need to go up on the wall where the crown molding and baseboards are touching. 

I have been at my command post on the couch and puttering around the kitchen because of the intense fumes from both the caulking and the paint.  We were lucky that this weekend has been very cool for August (only in the 70s at the most).  All the windows have been kept open and the air conditioner has been off.  So nice!  I love it when cooler weather comes in.  Anyways, I've been making socks (knitted) and planning out Christmas gifts I want to make for my two nieces.  I think I have the perfect gifts that they will hopefully keep for years and years.  The socks are for me but my husband tried to appropriate them for himself, even though they were green and he doesn't like green.  Plus they were too small for him.  I'm going to make him some purple ones...eventually. 

Tomorrow I return to work...sigh.  I can't wait until I'm far enough along to take the time off.  I'll be uncomfortable in that I'll be in my own way all the time but blissfully happy that I don't have to abide by a work schedule other than what my husband and I decide on.  I'm 28 weeks pregnant and wishing I were off from work permanently. 

Monday, August 16, 2010


I'm testing out a new pattern I found and I think it's looking really good.  I like the way the stitches go diagonally towards the middle.  This is the second time I've tried to knit this pattern.  I twisted a stitch trying to go back then ended up dropping the stitch.  I tried ripping the sock back to where the drop stitch was but then I ended up dropping 6 more stitches.  I gave up and re-knit the pattern.  You can actually see in this snapshot that I messed up on the cuff.  The very first row of stitches I knit two stitches in a row and threw off the ribbing pattern.  I chose not to start over again because I was tired of restarting.  This is one problem I have with knitting socks.  I'm a perfectionist and if I do something wrong I try to fix it.  In trying to fix it I make it worse and have to start all over again.  If I keep doing that I'll never get a sock made.  So, I let the mistake be.  It won't hurt and the cuff is still plenty elastic. 

If you're scared of double pointed needles (especially 5 in one project), don't be.  You only end up using two at a time and ignore the rest.  I find it easier than working on circulars which stretch my work out too much and create ladders where I don't want them.  I also like working with bamboo needles because aluminum tends to slip out of the stitches if I'm a little loose.  Happy Knitting!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hurray, I finished!

For years now I've had several projects on hold.  They've been haunting me every time I go to work on a new project.  But on Saturday, I finished a lot of projects. 

For my two sister-in-law birthdays and my mom's birthday I've been working on some hand crafted projects.  I can't reveal what they are yet because the birthdays haven't arrived.  Anyways, one of them I've been working on for 5 years.  I just didn't know until this year that it would be for my sister-in-law.  All three projects have been finished and I can't wait for their birthday's to roll around so I can shower them with my love. 

One of the other 5 year projects that I got finished were my master bedroom curtains.  Yes, they've been hanging up this whole time but one of the panels didn't have a dark sheet sewn to the back side (so it would let in the light a little bit).  I'm sure having light come into your bedroom in the middle of the night because of a street lamp is no big deal for most of the people I know, but I grew up in a rural area where it was really really dark outside.  The only time I would close my blinds was when the moon was full.  With the curtains I got the brilliant idea to take flat sheets ($3 at Wal-mart) in black and sew it to the back side of some curtains I had on hand.  This was a lot cheaper than buying blackout curtains (which I do have but aren't enough to block the light). 

I also installed curtain rods in my kitchen and put up bistro curtains.  It looks much more complete.  I needed to cut about 18 inches off the bottom panel so they wouldn't drag on the counter-top.  More sewing!  And ironing.  I love my iron.  It makes sewing so much easier and I don't have to use pins half the time. 

The only curtain projects left to finish are in the front room where I have 2 windows.  I haven't decided what curtains to hang on the big one but the skinny window has a curtain, I just need to cut it down and sew it because it's too long at the moment. 

One other sewing project to finish that I started 2 years ago is a quilt top that I made.  I still have to make a backing and sandwich it with batting.  Then I'm going to hand sew it together because of the pattern I created.  It would look quite awful with machine sewing. 

I'm also going to start a few more sewing projects for Christmas and I hope I get them finished before the baby comes because I won't have any time on my hands after that.  We'll see how things turn out.  At least the quilt top that I started can be put on the back burner at any time since it's not for anyone, just me.  :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Week Off...

What to do?  I have chosen to take a whole week off from work.  I must admit I'm loving not having to rush off to work and I'm trying to see what things will be like when I get to stay home full time.  Scheduling my day is interesting since I've been taking naps.  I haven't been a nap person since I was in Kindergarten, that is until now.  I didn't realize that being pregnant would make me so tired. 

In my first trimester I was blessed with not having morning sickness.  Rather, I was completely exhausted all the time.  Eventually I had to cave in and leave work early to get a nap because I just couldn't keep my eyes open any longer and I really wanted my bed and a dark room.  Then the 2nd trimester came around and I got my energy back.  I've been very cautious so I don't lose my balance or drop things or carry things that were too heavy for me.  Maybe I'm overly cautious, I don't know.  I just want my pregnancy to be a good one.  So, I've been taking it pretty easy.  Now that I'm getting nearer to my 3rd trimester I've noticed a definite difference.  I'm tired again but this time because our little boy is waking me up at night with his bouncing around.  It's hard to sleep when your insides are getting yanked on.  I'm also a lot more sore, so that doesn't contribute to sleep either.  And lastly, I'm getting hot flashes.  I didn't realize you could have hot flashes in pregnancy until I got them.  I'd be fine one minute with the fans going and the air on, the next I would have a sweat mustache and my feet would be sweaty with flip flops on.  Yucky.  I'd check the thermostat and realize it was just me.  

So, I get to take naps this week.  I'm also working on finishing handmade birthday gifts.  Last week I managed to get up the last of the mini blinds.  Now I need to put up curtains and fix a curtain panel in the master.  I also have plans for redoing the couch cushions in the living room but I don't know if I have the energy.  Friday is my OBGYN appointment and I'm sure I'll get scheduled for the glucose test.  Since I've got diabetes in our family and I love sweet things it's not entirely out of the question that I could be pre-diabetic.  I hope not.  That would be awful. 

The nursery is slowly developing but that is more on my husband getting up the trim in the master.  As soon as that is done the nursery will be getting furniture in it.  I'm pretty excited.  We haven't spent any money yet on what we have since it is all donations and gifts.  Hopefully, we'll continue to save thanks to family and friends.

So, while my week is not planned, I have a lot to do if I want to do it.