in which my life is like a frat pack movie...except not at all

i'm at that point in the pregnancy wherein i wake up every two hours to pee. people say it's the devil God's way of preparing you for the little sleep you get with a newborn, but our almost-two-year-old has only recently begun sleeping through the night, and i am well-acquainted with sleep deprivation. i don't need a prep course in that. what i need now is to sleep!

i try to limit nighttime liquids like a five-year-old bed-wetter, but it doesn't really make a difference because this baby is squishing my bladder until it's basically the size of a golf ball. i feel a little like this guy:

"maury ballstein: balls models." photo: zoolander

except i think his problem was that his prostate was the size of a golf ball. no matter. on a related note (but only vaguely), this summer at camp, someone taught dylan to do "earmuffs." (in the movie old school, vince vaughn teaches his kids to cover their ears when he says "earmuffs," so that he can say grown-up things without polluting their little minds.)

not that anyone had any swearing to do in dylan's presence (it is a g-rated christian camp!), just because it's funny to make babies do party tricks.

ah, but she has turned the comic tables on us and reinterpreted the joke. last night at dinner, jim was trying unsuccessfully to convince dylan to eat a bite of chicken. she looked at him, weary of the same script, covered her ears, and said "earmuffs."

we looked at each other, incredulous, and tried really hard not to laugh.


dropping like flies

it's been quite the infirmary around here lately. on thursday, after almost a week of feeling like junk, i passed out in the kitchen, scaring the heck out of poor dylan. nothing like putting a little fear of God into your toddler to kick off a super great day. (i'm fine now. the midwife told me to take some sudafed for the cold and stay hydrated, and i haven't been dizzy since.)

last night, jim came home from work golfing with a fever and went straight to bed.

then this morning at the farmers' market, dylan uncharacteristically started to cry. i thought maybe she'd been stung or something. we came home and couldn't find any marks, but figured out her poor arm was injured. (please don't call child protective services; i promise, i did not yank or pull her!) jim immobilized her arm in a little bandana sling, and i took her to the doctor, who was in, even though she does not ordinarily keep saturday office hours. as soon as i took the sling off, dylan started to cry again, but the doctor gently bent her elbow, and it clicked back into place. she was instantly better and used that arm to reach for a lollipop.

i am SO THANKFUL the doctor was in and that it was such an easy fix. the nearest hospital no longer officially takes kids, and the last time we were there, they sent us in an ambulance to children's hospital. instead, within twenty minutes, we were done. God is so gracious!

now, i'm totally paranoid about dislocating her elbow again. (apparently, it's a pretty common injury in kids.) we were at tj maxx, and dylan was holding my hand and started to pull, and my heart about dropped. dylan almost never cries, even when she gets immunizations, and i don't want to see her in that kind of pain again any time soon.

i think we're finally turning a corner, health-wise. dylan is fine, jim's fever is gone, and our colds are beginning to relinquish their evil grasp. tomorrow jim is off from work, and we'll enjoy a family sabbath together. we're looking forward to some vacation time in the not-too-distant future. i can almost taste it.


this and that

jim and i had our seven year anniversary on monday, and i wanted to post a wedding picture, but we can't seem to get our printer to scan. we didn't exactly celebrate our anniversary anyway, since i woke up sunday with a head cold that only seems to worsen. being 31 weeks pregnant and sick is not a fun combo. i could seriously sleep all day, except for the busy little person who requires my constant entertainment and supervision.

we did enjoy a visit from my parents and friend mariah this weekend, though, which was so great and unusual, since so many friends and family live so far away. dylan loved having her 'amma, pappa, and 'riah's attention all weekend, and we were thankful to spend time together.

at our church, dylan is often the only one in the nursery. it is not a huge exaggeration to say that we are among the only people of childbearing age here in the land of the retired. i imagine that a lot of congregants aren't around pregnant women very much, so i guess i shouldn't take it personally when they ask me when the baby is due, and i reply "in October," and their eyes grow wide and their jaws actually drop.

i shouldn't take that personally, right?

yes, i feel big and achey, but i swear i don't look like i'm ready to deliver yesterday. but thanks for the encouragement.

obviously, i'm not going to post a "me at 31 weeks!" belly shot, but here is a video of dylan on her swing.


a girl and her horse

the horses have returned to their home in central PA, but before they left camp, we got dylan up one last time. she is one fearless kid:)


garden goodness

last week, friends had us over for dinner and a lesson in canning. if it weren't for them, i don't know what we would have done with several dozen banana peppers! (the pickles are all from our friends.) between summer camp and this pregnancy, our first garden hasn't had near enough attention, but God is providing abundantly anyway. what a lovely picture of grace.

"so neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." (1 cor. 3:7)

more wordless wednesday pics: 5 minutes for mom


toddler prayers

dylan loves to pray. if we've sat down and forgotten to say grace, (or if she feels that once isn't sufficient,) she'll reach out her hands, bow her head low, and implore, "pray?"

at bedtime, after prayers, sometimes the child just wants a little more face time with Jesus.

"pray?" she'll ask.

"we just prayed, baby. what else do you want to pray for?"


sometimes, then, she'll add the names of horses or summer staff, and we'll offer up a little blessing on their behalf. tonight, it went a little something like this:


"ok, i'll say, 'thank you God,' and then you say what you want to thank God for. thank you God for..."

and dylan whispered, "hotdogs."


summer days, drifting away

last weekend, jim got a whole four days off from camp, and we enjoyed some fantastic family time. on thursday, we spent a normal day off, just hanging out at home. on friday we took dylan to the pittsburgh zoo, which she absolutely loved.

on saturday, we drove down to DC for the wedding of my college roommate, liz. everything was beautiful, and it was so great seeing so many good friends.

we stayed at a nice hotel on capitol hill and spent sunday morning in their rooftop pool.

sunday afternoon, liz's parents had everyone over to their home for vast quantities of paella and lots of good catching up. dylan was so good all weekend. she slept well in the hotel and handled all the traveling like a pro. the whole long weekend was such a refreshing blessing.

then, the last week of camp pretty much flew by. campers left yesterday, we had a lovely staff banquet, and now, it's over. we worshiped at st. micheal's all together for the first time since june, and it is so good to look forward to having jim home more. things will still be busy, especially over the next few weeks, but nothing compared to the rigors of summer camp schedule.

it was a good summer. God worked tremendously in the lives of kids and staff. we sweated and grew and loved and learned and laughed and played and served and worked hard.

we made it through:)


breastfeeding a toddler: my soapbox

i had The View on in the background the other day. i wasn't following it closely, but i heard elizabeth hasslelbeck, a breastfeeding mother, relay a sentiment i hear a lot in our culture: "if they're old enough to ask for it, they're old enough to be done breastfeeding."

why are people so uncomfortable with nursing toddlers?

perhaps that's a dumb question, when breastfeeding itself makes many Americans downright phobic. we've sexualized women's bodies to a degree that we barely bat an eye at near-pornographic billboards and music videos, but nursing in public (even discreetly) raises people's ire and facebook removes all photographs of nursing moms and babies, deeming them "inappropriate."

we've forgotten that the chief function of breasts is to nourish infants.

even if people accept breastfeeding as a natural, healthful thing, there is a definite cultural bias against nursing babies who are "too old." why do people cast this judgment so readily? certainly, everyone is entitled to her personal preference, but that's just it--decisions about breastfeeding and weaning are personal, and what's right can vary from mother to mother or child to child. prescriptive blanket statements about when breastfeeding should end are unhelpful and unnecessary.

there are at least two schools of thought in ending a breastfeeding relationship: mother-led weaning and child-led weaning. a mother may want to wean in order to return to work or simply because it's been long enough. the idea that "if a baby is old enough to ask for it, she's too old to be breastfed" comes from a mother-led weaning approach, and for many women, that sentiment may be true.

but for others, breastfeeding a toddler, (even one old enough to say or sign "milk"), remains a satisfying experience and one that they may not want to end. breastfeeding is about nutrition, but it is also about comfort and nurturing, and some mothers wish to nurse until the child initiates weaning. my goal was to nurse dylan one year (the time recommended by doctors and the point at which a baby can tolerate cow's milk.) after that, we'd play it by ear.

dylan and i have recently stopped nursing, at twenty months. if i hadn't been pregnant, we probably would have nursed longer. as my milk supply decreased, we dropped feedings until i was only nursing her at bedtime. as my pregnancy progressed and i became more uncomfortable, jim and i took turns putting her to bed, and dylan wouldn't nurse when he put her down. then she would only nurse sometimes when i put her down, and now (i think), we are done.

ending our nursing relationship was gradual and it happened over the course of several months. it wasn't strictly mother-led or child-led, and it felt like a natural progression. at first, it was really hard when jim would put her to bed if i were home, because i enjoyed nursing dylan. it got easier, and i'm glad to be done nursing dylan a few months before james comes, so that dylan doesn't feel like her position is being usurped.

this is all likely more than some may care to hear, but i wanted to share my positive perspective on nursing a toddler as well as our approach to weaning. not every child who is "old enough to ask" is "too old" to breastfeed, and moms shouldn't feel pressured to wean if they and their children are still happily nursing. moms put enough pressure on themselves (and one another.)


how to treat nausea in pregnancy

when i was pregnant with dylan, i threw up nearly every day, all three trimesters, up until labor at the hospital. i spent a lot of time on the couch and kneeling over the toilet. i missed worked and received IV fluids at the hospital. it wasn't exactly my favorite.

with this pregnancy, i've not been nearly as sick, (thank you, Lord), but i still feel nauseated quite a bit. these are the things that have helped me to cope.

EAT. OFTEN. this is obvious, but eating small snacks throughout the day (and not waiting too long between meals) can alleviate nausea and sometime prevent vomiting. i handled toast, applesauce, nuts, fruit, and cheese pretty well. chocolate milk sometimes made me feel better, and i think it also helped with heartburn. sometimes just sucking on lollipops or hard candy was helpful.  the green apples suggested in the comments did indeed provide short term relief, too.

my midwife suggested taking the mild, over-the-counter sleep aid UNISOM for nausea, and it has been a lifesaver. you shouldn't take anything without clearing it first with your midwife or doctor, but it's worth asking about. Unisom has the same active ingredient as a prescription medicine that used to be prescribed for nausea in pregnancy. it was never deemed unsafe but was taken off the market when companies became wary of giving the okay for anything for pregnant or nursing woman, for fear of lawsuits.

i'll talk half a tablet during the day and a whole tablet if i feel sick at bedtime. i was able to take it at work without feeling tired, but my sister-in-law can't take it unless she is able to nap. everyone is different, but it's kept me functional, and i've been so grateful.

i think another reason i've not been so sick this pregnancy is that i'm getting MORE REST. the first time around, i was working full time, but now i try to take a nap most afternoons when dylan does. if you can't get a nap, try going to bed a little earlier. i think more sleep really does make a difference in curbing pregnancy-related nausea.

my sister-in-law added one more weapon in my anti-nausea arsenal: a bottle of essential oils, including basil, lavender, and peppermint. she got it from a masseuse, along with instructions that she have her husband rub her feet with it every night. essential oils are known to have natural, medicinal benefits (but do your research--not all are suitable for pregnancy).

christie swears by this oil and saw a radical reduction in her pregnancy sickness. i haven't noticed quite as big a difference, but i'm all for an excuse to have my husband rub my tired feet after long, hot days of chasing a toddler and carrying around extra pregnancy weight:)

i've since heard great things about B6 VITAMINS (especially in conjunction with Unisom), PAPAYA ENZYME TABLETS, and GINGER.

i was prescribed Zofran after an afternoon of IV fluids at the hospital, and it worked wonders...until the side effects kicked in.  The work I missed dealing with those effects was infinitely more unpleasant than the near-constant vomiting, so i offer that as a caution.  Of course, all bodies react differently.

Feeling healthy and strong while pregnant works for me.  If you have any other tips that helped you curb pregnancy nausea, we'd love to hear them in the comments.


berry picking and fresh salsa

i have yet to venture into mushroom foraging, and i wasn't especially delighted with my dandelion finds this spring, but what's not to LOVE about fresh-picked wild berries right out of the backyard?

i love
my local farmers' market, and i have spent a small fortune on local, organic strawberries and blueberries this summer, which i think makes picking wild berries even more satisfying.

maybe two weeks ago, dylan and i went black raspberry picking--just around cluster of trees beside the barn. our returns were very modest, but delicious. we also found exactly one handful of early blackberries, but this week the blackberries are out in full force.

dylan loved carrying around the little bowl, and she was remarkably undeterred by brambles. you can just barely see her berry-stained lips in this photo. she's fickle about fruit; some days she'll gobble anything, and on others she's picky, but dylan loved eating berries we picked ourselves.

again, we just kept to the cluster of nearby trees, but we found enough for a big fruit salad and several oatmeal breakfasts. i kept it pretty simple, but other camp friends of our turned their finds into a delicious blackberry pie that they kindly invited us over to share. i may just have to venture a little farther out onto camp property to gather enough for to make pie, too. what could be better than that?

the wilderness staff came over tonight, and i baked chips and made salsa. the jalapeno, lime and garlic were from the grocery (but we're growing our own garlic now for later this fall), the tomatoes and onion were from the farmers' market, and the cilantro we grew in our garden. (the deer jumped in and decimated all the heirloom tomatoes and beans that we were so excited to grow. booooo. i wish they would have eaten the zucchini or lettuce instead.)

fresh summer salsa (this yields quite a bit)

5 tomatoes (i cut them into quarters or so, remove and compost the seeds, and dice small)
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 small jalapeno, finely chopped, seeds and ribs removed (with gloves! i learned my lesson.)
1 lime, juice and zest
1 c cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper

i let it sit in the fridge a bit to meld the flavors, and then i decided to strain it in the colander, as it was a little wet. you could also just stick it into the blender or food processor, to make it less chunky/wet.

this post is part of a carnival called Food Roots--go there to read others' adventures in local, seasonal eating.


confessions of a less-than-passionate homemaker

i once took at quiz at work to find out if i was energized by tasks or people. not surprisingly, people won out big, which was good news, since i was a youth pastor and not, say, a computer programmer.

tasks just don't do it for me.

i'm not a listmaker. (except grocery lists. i love grocery lists.) i'm not especially organized, and i don't get super amped-up about accomplishing tasks or checking things off my list. i'm not really that big on goal setting, either.

(i do like finishing crafty projects***, but creating something falls into a realm separate from "tasks" in my mind.)

so when it comes to stuff around the house, i'm not exactly a domestic diva.

i do love cooking, and i especially love cooking for friends and family. i will also clean the heck out of my house in the interest of hospitality when we're expecting company, but i have a hard time motivating myself to accomplish daily household chores.

not to alarm you or anything. you don't need to report us to oprah or one of those reality shows that exposes dirty houses or people with hoarding compulsions. i don't like clutter, and i handle my business--i just wish i experienced more of a sense of accomplishment when it comes to household tasks.

i know no one really likes doing housework, but do those "energized by tasks" people find more satisfaction in a job well done?

i don't mind doing things with immediate results. i like to vacuum, i don't mind laundry, and i actually love hanging clothes outside on the line. it's the stuff that needs to be re-done constantly (dishes) that drives me crazy, and the chores without the obvious visual payoff (dusting) i tend to avoid altogether.

we have this awful hunter green counter top in our upstairs bathroom that shows every streak, watermark and smudge and is dirty almost immediately after being cleaned. it makes me not want to bother. so often i don't.

our kitchen floor is also one of those floors that always looks dingy, even if it's freshly mopped, which again, made me less-than-inclined to break out the mop. i found a satisfying "cheat," however--i bought one of those steam mops.

our floor is so bad that it isn't quite the miracle worker i'd hoped for, but it cleans without chemicals, and the floor dries about a million times faster than after my sponge mop had had its way with it--both important factors with a toddler underfoot. mopping my floor is now a regular (rather than semi-annual!) task.

how do you motivate yourself to do unpleasant chores?

***i'd wanted to decoupage a keepsake hat box with dylan's shower/baby cards ever since i saw the beautiful one my sister tiffany did with her wedding cards. now that dylan is almost two, i finally did it, and it turned out so great!
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