Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ergo Review

When Logan was a newborn, I enjoyed using a Hotsling to carry him cradle-style. Now that he is older, I'm finding an Ergo carrier to be extremely useful. Since Logan turned 5 months old, he is big enough to be carried in it on my back.

This morning our whole family went on an hour long grocery shopping trip. When we arrived in the store, I took off my coat and Logan's and donned the carrier. He sat happily the whole time in the Ergo on my back, looking around and gumming a strap. It is a blessing to carry him around without hurting my neck or back.

I'm not the kind of mom that carries my baby around all the time on principle (and I'm not criticizing anyone who does). Logan is often content to sit in his bouncy seat with a toy, to lie on his tummy on a blanket, to play in the exersaucer, or to sit up (with someone "spotting" him still if he topples). There are times, though, when he is most content if he is held, and the Ergo has come in handy when I also need to get something done.

I have also carried Logan in the Ergo while:

  • hiking
  • vacuuming
  • cooking
  • doing laundry
  • my kids have their piano lessons (which last almost two hours total)
I have at times, when Logan is no longer content with sitting, put him in the Ergo and had my kids walk around the house with me while I read aloud to them. I've also carried him around in it while reading one of my books aloud to myself and to him.

I was hoping it would be more useful to me during our church fellowship dinner. While it is useful to carry him while going through the line to get my food, he needs a nap at that time, but can't stay asleep in it due to the noise of everyone talking during the meal. In other words, it is a good place for a nap for him, unless there is a lot of noise.

I've read that it takes awhile for people to get the hang of putting the baby in the Ergo in the back carry position. I've done it by myself once, and it wasn't a piece of cake. Fortunately, my ten year old is perfectly capable of putting Logan on my back and helping me with the arm straps. Even if I didn't have that kind of help, it would still be worth it to me to put Logan in myself.

I'm writing about the Ergo on my blog, because I'm thankful that I heard about it by word of mouth on message boards and blogs and want to do my part on spreading the word about, in my opinion, the best baby carrier available. Large Family Logistics is now selling the Ergo (scroll down to the bottom of the page).


I asked my son to take this picture of Logan in the Ergo when I was helping my kids to make a gingerbread man and cookies.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Weather Outside is Frightful...

We've been hit with around 20 inches of snow, the most snow the Denver area has seen in three years. The storm was forecast to be a big one, but many of the powers-that-be didn't decide to cancel work or school until it was too late to avoid a huge traffic mess.

James drove to work, but then had to turn around and come home at 12:00 pm. His drive of 20 miles lasted until 3:30 pm! Tonight on the news, we heard a woman interviewed by cell phone who was stuck on a full bus which had been sitting for 6 hours.

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James couldn't reach the driveway (starting at the mailboxes) when he arrived home. The second picture shows the depth of the snow when he opened the garage door.

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The front of our house The view out our back door
The kids cut out the paper shapes (snowflakes, hats, angels & penguins).

Matthew standing behind a snow drift in our backyard

The kids stayed warm inside most of the day and enjoyed decorating the boys' bunkbed.

The kids decorated the tree themselves the other day but decided to add a popcorn cranberry garland.

This (taken yesterday) could be our Christmas photo...if I could edit out the dirty feet, the spit-up, the hole in the jeans, and the blink! It's reality, though!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

All I Want For Christmas...


Drawing Comparisons


You may think that it is mean of me to make this comparison, but it was actually drawn by Sophie herself! (I mean she drew the comparison, not the cartoon, of course.) Having wobbly front teeth that often stuck out at weird angles apparently brought out the redneck in her. I snapped this picture while she was entertaining the men-folk with imaginary tales in her best Mater accent.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


James and the boys just moved the piano back into place in our family room! James and I agreed to forgo painting at this time with Christmas around the corner. We will move one thing at a time as we get to painting. Moving furniture proved not to be as daunting as expected with the use of these handy gadgets. You might not be able to tell from the picture, but these Movealls have a thick pad of fluffy felt on the bottom of a plastic bowl containing a foam pad where the furniture wheels or legs rest. We moved our refrigerator into place easily without risking the wheels scratching the floor. Ditto with the armoire and the piano. They will come in handy again when we move things aside to paint.

The only Christmas decoration up at our house so far is a wreath on the front door. Maybe later today, or next week, the kids can put up the Christmas tree in the family room (after we put felt pads on the stand!) By the way, I agree with Jen Ig and her take on Christmas. She already said it so well.

An aside: My husband just asked me, "Do you want some sardines?" That had to be a joke, right?

Okay, back to photo-blogging!

Yeah, so I'm sitting up. Big deal. And what's a little drool?

I actually just moved my leg long enough to snap the picture, then put my leg back in case he toppled over. He is starting to get the balance of it though!

What Logan lacks in skill, he makes up for in intensity.

Illness Etiquette?

Tonight is the Christmas Program at church, but Logan and I are home with colds. I'm a little disappointed, because the kids and I spent extra time practicing our instruments, preparing to perform some Christmas carols. The older kids are all performing their piano pieces tonight, just without me to accompany them on cello. Sophie didn't bring her cello, though, because she can't set it up without me yet.

Obviously, I'm not deathly ill. I feel well enough to sit here and type. I stayed home to keep from spreading the cold to others, and I wish that other people would do the same when sick. However, it seems like in the workplace and at church, the stoic attitude that "it's just a little cold" prevails and people arrive, croaking, sneezing, coughing and sniffling...and spreading the joy to others.

My husband inwardly groans everytime he hears someone hacking away in a nearby cubicle. He can't help wonder how long it will be before he brings the germs home. I wish sometimes that I could ask people "Is it really so important that you are here today?" I think that the answer to that question usually is that it would be inconvenient to the person to have to catch up on work later, or inconvenient to find a replacement, or inconvenient to rearrange one's schedule. In some situations, it truly is a necessary evil to go out in public when sick, but in such cases it would be nice if the person would go the extra mile in germ containment.

I do realize that often colds are spread before symptoms are evident. I also realize that catching viruses can be beneficial in exercising and building up one's immune system. But wouldn't there be enough opportunity for illnesses to spread without knowingly going out into public with symptoms?

I am more sensitive to this issue when a baby is in the household. What may be just an annoying cold to an adult can be much worse for an infant. The baby may not get dangerously ill, but suffers eating and sleeping difficulties. (Logan woke up twice crying so far in the middle of this post, and I've gone to help him. His eyes stayed closed, because he needs the sleep, but his cold keeps waking him up.) A cold might not make an adult cry, but that is generally the result with a baby! On the other hand, a baby does run a higher risk of getting dangerously sick. What may be present as just a runny nose to an adult could be the RSV virus which might be serious enough in an infant to require hospitalization. Sophie and Matthew came down with RSV when they were one and two years of age respectively. It was a long drawn-out illness which significantly disrupted their eating and sleeping, at times worrying me when they seemed to be having trouble breathing. I was grateful that they did not catch it at a younger age, and I pray that Logan won't go through that illness as a baby.

Updating to add: I don't want to set myself up as the cold police. I have dear friends and family who suffer from asthma, allergies, chronic coughs or sinus infections. And often a cough can linger without being contagious due to bronchial irritation that takes time to heal. These maladies can sometimes seem like a perpetual cold. I'm not trying to judge every sneeze or sniffle. I'm just saying that I wish sometimes that people would evaluate their symptoms themselves and take other people into consideration when venturing out into public.

To sum up my thoughts, I think it is common sense and common courtesy to stay home when suffering from the symptoms of the common cold. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Secondary Blog

Since Homeschoolblogger just made some updates this weekend and does not have all the bugs worked out, I am going to begin duplicating my posts here in order to have a backup blog. I doubt I'll ever take the time to copy previous posts from my homeschoolblogger blog, but from this point on, I'll attempt dual publishing.

I found this lovely (imho) template by Googling.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

"I'm Gonna Get Your Tummy!"


This week, starting on Tuesday, we had our hardwood floors refinished and a new hardwood floor installed in our family room. That meant that the kids and I were in exile in Aunt Beth's basement all week. Lest you feel too sorry for us, realize that Uncle Rich and Aunt Beth recently had their basement refinished, and we were hardly roughing it! I'm so thankful for their hospitality which made it possible to continue homeschooling without too much stress.

After the floors were finished, the flooring company informed us that it would be best not to put furniture back for seven days. *Gulp* That would have been nice to know ahead of time! (Maybe they didn't mention that little fact in order to get the business before Christmas.) We can possibly put some furniture back if it is not rolled across the floor and set straight down. Our piano is presently sitting atop a dolly in our dining room. We'll have to take it off there for the week so that the kids can practice for the church Christmas program on Friday.

Before we put all the furniture back, we want to paint the kitchen and family room. James bought the paint today and did a little priming.

Here are some pictures from our week:

Our empty family room...The mantel shelf is elsewhere. We will unscrew the whole thing from the wall again to paint. Maybe sometime we'll glue it permanently to the wall!

ECHO Echo echo echo
The contrast between the "old" kitchen floor and the new family room floor is not as obvious in "real life" as it is in these pictures.

The kids ate supper in the living room tonight. Since they had soup, and we didn't want to risk the carpet, they ate at the bench sitting on the tabletop.

Crowded dining room! It isn't obvious in the picture, but the piano is not on the carpet, but rather on a dolly. (And by the way, the bouncy seat in front of the TV is just a coincidence. Logan doesn't watch TV unless it is off!)

In Exile

Maybe we didn't annoy Uncle Rich and Aunt Beth too much, because they asked us to come over for lunch tomorrow!

Two Little Monkeys


Monday, December 04, 2006

Jackie and Julie


My little sister Jackie sent this picture of her family with my cousin Julie and her family.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Friday Night Movie

Last night, James and I watched the movie Sophie Scholl, about the arrest and trial of a young anti-Nazi activist. The movie caused me to ponder the fine line between foolhardiness and bravery. While the story, based on real-life events, is heart-breaking, it is always beautiful to witness a person of integrity taking a self-sacrificing stand for life and truth in the face of the wicked who have exchanged the truth of God for a lie. I highly recommend the film!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Roast Chicken and Our Take on Chicken Soup

One reason why I like to browse the Well-Trained Mind general discussion board is that sometimes people post good recipes. I now have a favorite way to roast a chicken. PariSarah posted this:

"Cut out the backbone, break the breastbone with the flat of your palm, smoosh the bird flat on a baking sheet with a lip (or in a roasting pan), and drizzle with a little olive oil. The skin will lift up easily, so you can make a little herb paste if you want--either chopped mixed fresh herbs or dried herbs moistened with olive oil--and spread it under the skin.

Roast at 425. It takes about 45 minutes for one, maybe longer for two if they're in the same pan."

I roasted two chickens this way recently with success. Flattening the chickens made them easier to season and they took less time to cook. I also like the roast sticky chicken method of baking chicken at 250 for 5 hours, but lately, I don't have my act together for supper 5 hours ahead of time. I seasoned one of the birds with sage, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper mixed with olive oil to make a paste. The other bird, I seasoned with chinese five spice seasoning mixed with some toasted sesame oil. Both tasted delicious!

After supper, I debone whatever chicken is left and put the juices leftover in the pan(s) in a jar. The next day, I make chicken soup. I skim off the fat from the jar and heat the chicken broth in my 8 qt. pot along with 10-12 cups of water and an appropriate amount of msg-free chicken bouillon. I start out by adding 1/2 cup of brown rice which takes the longest to cook, or if I'm in a hurry, I use whole wheat noodles. As far as vegetables go, I usually add 1/2 a green cabbage, 2 cups of chopped carrots, a chopped onion, sometimes chopped celery, at least a tsp. of minced garlic, and towards the end, some frozen green beans. Sometimes I add other vegetables such as zucchini or yellow squash. I should call the soup "Scarborough Fair" soup, because I season it with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme and then throw in a bay leaf for good measure. Of course, don't forget to add the chicken! However, the unique ingredient that my family likes in our chicken soup is chunky natural peanut butter which I add in at the very end ~ 1/2 to 1 cup. If you are inclined to scoff, then apparently you've never heard of West African Groundnut soup! Good Stuff, Maynard.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sausage & Vegetable Stew

Since the following recipe is a big hit with our family, adult and kid alike, as well as being easy, I thought I'd share it here. The original recipe, titled "Summer Crock", comes from Leanne Ely's cookbook Saving Dinner the Lo-Carb Way. I have changed some ingredients and amounts to fit our family. The recipe is a slow-cooker recipe in the book, but I've been fixing it in a regular pot shortly before supper, because I've been too busy with other tasks earlier in the day to get it into the crockpot.


1 - 1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage, casings removed (I often use turkey sausage.)
1 onion chopped
1/2 T. minced garlic
3 cups each (9 cups total) chopped summer squash (yellow squash), zucchini, and eggplant (Substitute any vegetables. I often use red peppers, yam, kale.)
2 14 1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes with their juice
3 cups chicken broth
1 T. cumin
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on individual bowls


In a large pot sprayed with cooking oil, brown the sausage along with the onion and garlic. Drain the sausage if there is much fat. Stir the rest of the ingredients into the pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes or until the squash is soft, but not soggy. Serves at least 6 people with leftovers.

If you would like to do this recipe in the crockpot, cook it on low for 6 hours, but I really don't understand the point when it cooks so quickly.

My kids rejoice when I make this stew. Really, it is that good!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Balsamic Berry Basil Pork

This recipe is new to our menu this summer. Ease of preparation, colorful presentation, and delicious taste all add up to making these pork chops a family favorite. I buy whatever pork chops are on sale, whether bone-in or boneless. The flavorful sauce comes from a Rachel Ray recipe.

Grill 4-6 pork chops and serve topped with the following sauce:

1 pint of strawberries, sliced
1 cup of basil, torn
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Mix together the sauce ingredients and refrigerate 15 minutes before serving with the pork chops.

Several times we have had boiled red potatoes with garlic and sauteed Swiss chard as side dishes with the pork chops.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

He Inclined to Me and Heard My Cry

While I was pregnant, I appreciated reading other women's birth accounts. Probably reading about other home births helped me to consider it as a valid option. I know that other women would like to read my birth story as well.

If reading my story would be of benefit to you, please continue. If you are of the male persuasion, or are squeamish, or consider such accounts TOO MUCH INFORMATION, please spare yourself and me and just. stop. now. Thank You!

Saturday night, July 15th (my due date), I felt miserable. My hands and feet were swollen. My legs were turning interesting colors from the weight of my womb interfering with the circulation. I slept for a half an hour, then spent the rest of the night tossing and turning, moaning and groaning, and telling God that I didn't think I could handle another day being pregnant!

At 3: 30 in the morning, I started having contractions 15 minutes apart. James happened to wake up at 4 a.m. and ask me how I was doing. After realizing that my contractions were continuing at even intervals, he started getting last minute preparations done.

By 5 a.m., my contractions were 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long. James called Jean, our primary midwife. She asked if she should come and James told her that it would be a good idea based on how fast my previous labors progressed. By the time Jean arrived, I was camped out in my bathtub, handling the contractions by breathing through them. Jean bustled around setting up her equipment in the bedroom. Lauren, the assistant midwife, arrived at some point later.

After a little while, my contractions became more intense and I had to begin groaning through them to try to "drown out" the pain. With my previous two unmedicated births, since the pain of first stage labor was easily manageable by merely breathing through the contractions, the level of pain in this labor was a new experience. The midwives suggested to James that I might appreciate pressure on my back during the contractions, but I found it just focused my attention more on the pain. I asked him to just rub my back between contractions (the baby was not posterior).

This type of contraction continued for a long time. Jean checked my progress and found that I was dilated to 6 centimeters. After awhile, she told me that she wanted me to try some different positions to help labor to progress. She had me move to the bed and found that I was still at 6 centimeters due to a section of my cervix that was thin and tight and not dilating. She speculated that some scar tissue from a previous birth might be causing the problem. She had me move to the floor at the base of the bed and put my knees as far apart as possible while leaning with my arms on the bed. The contractions became even more painful and my knees and arms grew sore from holding myself in that position.

The midwives then moved me to a labor stool which intensified my contractions even more. Jean checked my progress and found that I was still at 6 cm. She could tell in that position that Logan's head was forward in the womb and that the cervix was posterior. During one horrible contraction, she actually pulled the cervix forward so that it was under the baby's head. Then she mercifully let me move back to the tub. Though I was in more pain using different positions and due to Jean's actions, I appreciated that she took hands-on measures to "troubleshoot" the stalling of my labor.

I prayed aloud, asking the Lord to be merciful to me, because of His love. I asked him to cause my cervix to dilate and allow the baby to be born. I cried out to Him for deliverance. The midwife told me that I might be in for a lot longer labor and that I needed to depend on God's strength to get me through. She told me that she was going to leave James and I to labor alone for awhile and come to terms with the fact that my labor might be longer, even though I was tired.

Jean didn't have a chance to leave the room... God heard and answered me. My water broke and in several contractions, I went from 6 to 10 cm. Immediately the baby's head moved down onto the perineum. The suddenness of his descent was quite traumatic. In the next contraction, his head was out. After the next, his body was born and I was holding him. I didn't push at all.

When Logan was born, he was blue. The midwives are certified in neonatal resuscitation and Lauren used a bag to start his breathing. He continued to be blue for several minutes. The midwives reassuringly stated that his heart rate was normal and his respiration was normal. James went into the other room and prayed for Logan. He pinked completely up in about ten minutes. (The midwives were a bit surprised that he was blue as he was born so fast, his heart rate was normal throughout labor, and he did not have the cord around his neck.)

My labor and delivery lasted from 3:30 am to 9:04 am.

My family came into the room to see the newborn exam (pictures posted on Logan's Log). I asked the midwives to show the kids the placenta. Lauren showed the kids the umbilical cord with the artery and two blood vessels inside. She told them the smooth, shiny side faced the baby in the womb and she lifted up the membrane to show them the amniotic sac and the place where it ruptured. She turned the placenta over to show the folds which faced the maternal side in the uterus. She explained how the organ sustained the baby through gestation. The kids had already learned some about the placenta by viewing the video "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" and were very interested in seeing the "real thing".

Following the newborn exam, James led all of us in prayer accompanied with some tears, thanking God for safely bringing Logan into the world.

Psalm 40:1-3 (ESV)

"I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD."

Monday, July 24, 2006

The First Week

Thank you to all who left such nice comments about the birth of Logan! It is wonderful that so many share in our joy!

Logan, so far, is very easy to take care of. He caught on to nursing very quickly. At night he goes right to sleep when we put him in his hammock after each feeding. Last night he nursed at 9:30 pm and then not again until 3:30 am. I can handle a schedule like that!

I was wrong to doubt his 8# 15 oz. weight at birth. He was 8# 5 oz. at the pediatrician's office on Monday, but when we took him back for his one week visit on Friday, he was already back up to 8# 10 oz. However, I was right to doubt his 22 3/4 inches length measurement at birth. A soft mattress is not an ideal surface for obtaining an accurate measurement!! At the doctor's office, Logan measured 21 1/4 inches.

The pediatrician told us not to worry about his blueness, either at birth, or in his legs for awhile afterwards when they hung below the level of his heart. He took Logan's pulse ox in both legs and it showed 96% in both. The doc said that he is a normal, healthy boy. Thank the Lord!

I began to feel better Saturday afternoon. I was surprised by how long I felt worn out and sore after Logan's delivery. My labor and delivery with him was more difficult than with my other children.

I decided that I felt up to attending church on Sunday, and especially wanted to hear my dad preach (guest preacher). It is so much easier getting ready for church in the morning with older kids to help out!! I had time to troubleshoot my bad hair (my hair wilted as soon as Logan was born and I'm in dire need of a haircut!) while Evan held Logan in the rocking chair.

When we arrived at church, I popped Logan into his Hotsling and he slept through the service! I'm already impressed with how comfortable the Hotsling is! I've attempted to use a NoJo sling before, both when I was a nanny and with my previous kids. I never liked it or any other carrier for that matter, because my neck and shoulders got sore too fast. The Hotsling has no ring and fits tighter and higher on the body. I haven't gotten sore from it yet!

My parents left this morning to fly back home. They both did so much to help out while they were here! My mom took over running the household: cooking, dishes, laundry, cleaning etc. while enjoying some of the babycare. My dad spent a lot of time with the older kids: going on a long bike ride or walk most every morning, helping Evan build a bird feeder, taking them to "Nickel a Play" (a library reading program award) and to the movie "Cars" etc. He sanded down our kitchen table top and finished it with five coats of polyurethane (looks nicer than brand new!) He also tackled an overgrown corner of our back yard, and with Evan's help, put in a river rock border around our little blue spruce and aspens. They added two boulders under the aspens that the kids can sit under. We will miss their company and help! It is nice that James still has some time off from work.

I've added more pictures to Logan's Log (click here). Forgive me if the amount of pictures seems to be overkill. Maybe I'm not very discerning as a proud parent.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Our Newest Family Member

Join us in thanking God for the arrival of baby Logan Ray on Sunday morning, July 16th around 9 a.m. According to the midwives' measurements, he was 8 pounds 15 oz. and 22 3/4 inches long. (The next day, at the pediatrician's office, he weighed 8 pounds 5 oz. on a more accurate scale, and while he probably lost some weight since birth, probably not 10 oz.)

Thank you to all who kept us in your prayers! Thank you to those who commiserated with me in the comments section about the wait.

I will post more later when I have more energy. Please keep Logan in your prayers. He has been turning slightly blue around his mouth and in his legs when they are below the level of his heart. His heart rate and respirations are normal and he is alert and nursing well. He is getting some physiological jaundice. The pediatrician tested his blood pressure in his arms and legs and found it to be normal. He said that maybe the blueness is a "newborn positional thing", whatever that means. Logan has another appointment this week.

Click HERE to view pictures!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Still Not Yet

"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." Proverbs 19:21

This is the verse that I posted on my blog when I first revealed our surprise pregnancy, and it still applies.

I'm not used to waiting so long for a baby to arrive. My other kids spoiled me by showing up at 38 and 39 weeks. They came so soon that I never experienced the pitying looks from people and the constant questions: "Are you still here?" "Haven't you had the baby yet?" etc. etc.

The funniest question that I got asked three times at church last week was: "Do you have any signs that the baby will be born soon?" One time I replied: "Well, I am pregnant and I know that it has to end sometime."

I didn't realize before how wearing, both physically and mentally, it is to get clear to 40 weeks. I especially can't help wondering if this baby is going to arrive before my parents' two week visit ends. They aren't putting any pressure on me, though, and are helping out around the house a lot and having fun with the grandkids.

If I can help it, I don't answer the phone. When James or the kids or my parents answer the phone, the first thing that I hear them say is, "No, not yet." Many people have asked me to call them when I go into labor. Now I've started saying no to that, because by the time I would get through the list of people to call, the baby would be crowning!

Two days ago, one of my sisters called to harrass chat with me. At one point I teasingly said something to her and wasn't for sure that she understood I was teasing her. I explained, "I'm joking." She joked back, "You're choking?!! Someone help the woman, she's choking!!!"

When I got off the phone with her, I poured a glass of milk and looked at my pictures on the refrigerator while I drank it. One drink went down the wrong way and I involuntarily and violently spewed milk all over all of my pictures!

I called my sister back and asked her, "How did you know that I was going to choke?! Would you also predict that I'm going into labor?" She quipped, "I don't know. I'm not feeling that!" I retorted, "Just SAY it!"

(Incidentally, I had another choking incident the next morning in which I spewed water all over my bathroom mirror. I'm wondering if pregnancy hormones have loosened up that little flap that goes over the windpipe so that it is failing me at times. I hope I live to deliver this baby.)

My mom, seeing my pitiful state, has suggested that I try castor oil to induce labor. I declined the suggestion. My midwives told me that one of their clients tried that method, and while it worked, let's just say that it also added an hour of clean-up to their time.

So I must continue to wait, trying not to wonder or worry about when the baby arrives, while sipping my bottomless supply of iced raspberry leaf tea.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Not Yet

No baby yet! My parents flew in earlier this week to help with the new baby. They had to decide ahead of time when to travel in order to get a decent price on flights. My other babies arrived at 38 or 39 weeks, but this baby so far is holding us all in suspense. I hope he makes his appearance soon so that my parents can help postpartum! God knows the right time, though.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Julie's Baby Shower

My cousin Julie and I are expecting at the same time! My family has been asking to see a picture of the two of us ~ here it is folks:


Julie's baby shower took place this morning. Click HERE to view a set of pictures that I took at the shower.

I asked each of the guests to bring a baby picture of herself which I placed in numbered ziplock bags pinned to a large bulletin board. The guests numbered a piece of paper and wrote down their guesses as to the indentities of the babies. Michelle M, a teenager in our church, won the game, guessing 17 of the pictures correctly!

Sophie cracked me up! I told her that she could choose any baby picture of herself from her baby photo album to bring. I figured she would choose the prettiest, girliest picture that she could find. This is the picture that she brought to me:

newborn Sophie

I guess her desire to entertain and get a laugh outweighed any vanity!!

The guests also wrote down their guesses as to the birthdate, weight, length, time of birth, and name of Julie's baby. We have a prize to award the person with the most accurate guesses ~after the baby is born, of course!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Winslow Boy

Last night, James and I watched The Winslow Boy,one of our favorite movies. Since it had been years since we hadlast watched it, we had forgotten enough details to make it a very enjoyable watch all over again. It was only the second time that we've viewed it.

The movie is very slow-moving and cerebral. The interest is in the dialogue and the portrayed "fight for right", not in action or in high drama. Though the movie was rated G, I re-read a review in WORLD magazine which panned the movie, saying the characters were cold and distant. I say to that: Duh! The characters are British, living in the early 20th century! This family ran on principle, not on emotion, and that is the point. I actually find the movie to be very romantic, granted in a very restrained fashion, in the way that the father fights for his son's good name and in the budding romance between a man and a woman. I laughed out loud at the dialogue which ended the movie (an unusual way to end a movie, but strangely satisfying to me), said with a sparkle in the eye, a raised eyebrow, and a curling lip.

Jeremy Northam plays one of the main characters and I love his character in this movie, as well as in the movie Emma (with Gwyneth Paltrow).

This may seem silly, but I also enjoyed looking at the color-scheme in the Winslow home! I loved the egg-shell blue or orange-hued paint colors on the walls and in the paintings hanging on the walls. But watch what happens to those paintings as the movie progresses...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Perfect Pork

For supper tonight, we are having roasted pork tenderloin. Here is a recipe for our favorite marinade which comes from the cookbook Simply Colorado: Nutritious Recipes for Busy People published by the Colorado Dietetic Association p. 197:

Cinnamon Pork Tenderloin

3 T. low-sodium soy sauce
3 T. cooking sherry
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 T. honey
1/2 tsp. garlic salt or powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 pork tenderloin (usually come 2 per pkg.)

Combine first 6 ingredients in lg. zip-top bag. Add tenderloins and refrigerate no more than 6 hours. Remove meat from marinade and insert meat thermometer. Grill tenderloins until thermometer reaches 160 degrees, turning while grilling. [ I am roasting them tonight, getting the idea from a Rachel Ray cookbook: Preheat oven to 500 degrees. (I put foil over a roasting pan with shallow sides.) Place the meat on the foil and roast for 20 minutes. (I had to put the thicker piece back in for 5 more minutes.) Remove meat from oven and tent with foil and let rest for a few minutes.]

The cookbook suggests an oriental rice dish and a spinach salad as sides. Tonight, we are having creamed corn, and leftover green beans and salad with it.

This morning, before school, Matthew held the ziplock bag while Evan and I added the marinade ingredients and the tenderloins. The tenderloins have been marinating in the refrigerator until supper. Easy Easy Meal!!!

P.S. Evan said that he likes pork tenderloin marinated in Italian dressing even better.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Noodles, Noodles, Noodles

I tried a new Mac 'n Cheese recipe on my family last night (something that I make rarely), but it got the thumbs down and the kids reminisced about the Mac 'n Cheese that I used to make more often. With the reaction that I got, I'll have to make the good kind again for them soon. Here's the recipe for our family's favorite mac 'n cheese and the bonus is that it is not as fattening as some versions:

Macaroni and Cheese

Cookbook Source: Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites
Serves: Book says 4, but it works for our family of 5
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking Time: 45 minutes
Nutritional Info.: Leave a comment with what you'd like to know and I'll reply.

1 1/2 cups 1% cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups skim milk or buttermilk
1 tsp dried mustard or 1 T. prepared mustard
pinch of cayenne
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (key ingredient)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/4 cup grated onions (actually I put chunks of onion in the blender during that step of the recipe below rather than grating it ahead ~ saves time; also don't omit the onions which give the pasta a little zing)
1 c. grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (4 oz.)
1/2 lb. uncooked elbow macaroni (For Gluten-Free, use Tinkyada noodles)
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese (yes, I use the processed kind)
1/4 cup bread crumbs (I'll be skipping this now that I'm gluten-free)

Preheat oven to 375. Prep a 9- or 10- inch square baking pan with a light coating of cooking spray or oil.
In a blender, combine the cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, salt and pepper (and in my case, onions) and puree until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the puree with the onions, cheddar, and macaroni. Stir well. Pour the mixture in to the baking pan. Combine the Parmesan and the bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top.
Bake for about 45 minute, until the topping is brown and the center is firm.

Update: Getting the idea from a Rachel Ray cookbook, we have added an ingredient to the recipe above. Now in the blender, I add a defrosted package of frozen winter squash and up the cheese to 6-8 oz. Sounds weird, but my family has had it this way three times and prefers it. It makes it even more creamy and adds more vitamins. With uncooked whole wheat noodles, the dish takes an hour to cook. My boys have enjoyed making this with me. They like measuring the ingredients.

Here is another noodle recipe from the same cookbook which my kids love:

Penne with Creamy Walnut Sauce

Serves: 6
Total Time: 20 minutes

10 oz. fresh spinach (I use a 10. oz. pkg. of chopped frozen spinach defrosted)
1/2 c. toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped (Toast nuts in a single layer on an unoiled baking pan at 350 for 5 minutes; can use toaster oven.)
2 c. low-fat cottage cheese
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1/4 grated parmesan cheese (again, I use processed)
1/4 c. loosely packed chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp. salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 - 1 1/2 lbs. penne (or any totally-tubular pasta)
1 head brocolli (sometimes I don't bother with this)

Bring a large covered pot of water to a rapid boil.
While the water heats, wash the spinach and transfer it to a separate large pot. The water clinging to the leaves should provide enough moisture to steam it. Cover and cook the spinach on med.-high heat for 4 minutes, until wilted but still bright green. Drain. (Or just use the defrosted pkg. of spinach.) In a food processor or blender, combine the spinach, walnuts, cottage cheese, garlic, Parmesan, basil, and salt and puree until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Add pepper to taste and set aside.
When water boils, stir in pasta, bring to a boil and cook pasta until al dente, about 7 minutes. While pasta cooks, cut broccoli into spears, blanch it in boiling water to cover until tender, about 5 minutes and set aside( I have added it to the cooking pasta during the last 5 minutes in the past to save time.) Drain the pasta and serve immediately in individually warmed bowls (yeah, right!), topped with the spinach-walnut sauce and several steamed broccoli spears. Sprinkle with grate Parmesan if you wish.

I'd love to hear from you if you try these recipes and like them as we do!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


When I posted about my pregnancy on this blog, my cousin Julie's husband called me and excitedly discussed the news with me for quite awhile. I was suprised by how excited and interested he seemed with the prospect of our having a new baby. I was even more surprised, though, when he confided to me that Julie is expecting as well (her first)~ and at the same time in July!!!

Julie and Patrick's news certainly helped me to feel more happy about mine. Poor Julie has had even worse morning sickness than I have. I told her that we could be partners in misery. One funny aspect to this is that I previously gave away some of my baby stuff to Julie who was hoping for a new addition!

We had a little fun with announcing our news this past Sunday in church. Some people in the congregation knew about my pregnancy, but no one knew about Julie's as yet. My husband James stood up and said, "I probably should have announced this last week since Bob gave a childrens' sermon about the joy of a new baby. We were surprised to find out that...Patrick and Julie are expecting a new baby in July." (At this point I'm sure people were wondering..."What?")

Patrick stood up right away and confirmed the news and continued, "It wasn't a surprise to us, but it was a surprise to find out that James and Melissa are expecting as well!" Laughter and clapping broke out around us.

We enjoyed throwing a curve in our announcement!