Thursday, December 19, 2013

Let's Talk, Shall We?

Greetings, ladies!

It's been a while, hasn't it? I'm afraid I'm not nearly as active on this blog right now as I once was - or I'd like to be. Sometime I'll write a blog post explaining why, and what's going on, and all of that.

But in the meantime, I thought I'd ask...

Do we have any Catholics in the audience? 

I don't really know my audience very well. I'm assuming there are lots of Christians-in-general here, but I'm looking specifically for Catholics. Or, for that matter, Protestants who are interested in life ethics. I was thinking of posing a discussion question specifically concerning Catholic life ethics, and I thought it might be fun to chew on it for a while among friends.

But only - ONLY - if...

(1) There are people interested in discussing it! And, equally importantly...

(2) Those who participate can pledge to remain 100% sane, level-headed, kind, and gentle-tongued. In other words, who are willing to play nicely.

So, dear friends, let me know! Catholics and Protestants interested in the theology of life ethics - check in! If I get a decent response - even just one or two people! - I'll try to post my discussion question.

Hey, I'll probably post it even if I don't get any response - just for fun! So you're stuck with me either way!

Hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas season, ladies!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"The Cause and Cure of Morning Sickness and Hyperemesis Gravidarum" (Part 1 of 2)

The upcoming article I mentioned earlier last week has been posted, and I am so excited to link to it!

The Cause and Cure of Morning Sickness and Hyperemesis Gravidarum

I have a whole bunch of thoughts and comments that I want to share with you all (Part 2!), but they will have to wait for a not-so-busy day. In the meantime, go read the article and join the comment threads there!

Enjoy!

(P.S. I do testify again that yes, this is for real and has worked for a six-time hyperemesis mum who is an in-person friend!)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Cure for Extreme Morning Sickness, Coming to a Blog Near You!

(Cross-posted from my morning sickness blog...)

A cure for extreme morning sickness? It sounds a bit far-fetched, doesn't it?

But, as a matter of fact, I'm not joking.

More details will be published soon, and in the meantime you can read the initial summary here. I can testify that yes, this is for real. This mama is a repeat-HG (six-time) mother, and she is just finishing up her first trimester... with no drugs and no HG. I'm anxious for all of the details to be published (*hint*hint*hint*), but I wanted to link to the teaser so you can all be waiting on tiptoes!

Have a great night, everyone!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My New Favorite Birth Video!

I have watched this video twice... and cried both times! This gorgeous and heart-touching birth video (click here to see full-size) is a true keeper, and embodies everything that is beautiful and holy and precious about childbirth. Please take a few minutes to watch (and share!) - I know you'll love it as much as I did!

This video is very G-rated - no nudity at all.





Enjoy! Congratulations to this sweet family!

An Awesome Book.... For Free!

This week I became aware of a soon-to-be-published book, "Three Decades of Fertility." It looks absolutely awesome, and I can't wait to read it! Here is the trailer:



I am a long-time blog reader of many of the authors, and I am sure that this is going to be a great book.

And..... if you would like to use your blog to review this book, you can get a virtual copy (E-book or PDF) for free here

Much as I'm drooling over this book, I probably won't take advantage of the offer, simply because I have found e-copies of books impossible to finish. Not having (or wanting) an e-reader (or whatever those things are called!), it requires massive amounts of time sitting at the computer - time that I don't have right now, as all of my reading is done while nursing (or while brushing my teeth!). I've tried to read e-books on the computer before and found them impossible.

However, for you Nook/Kindle/etc. people out there, this is an awesome opportunity! Please let me know if you decide to take them up on the offer, and how you like it! Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Best Parenting Book You Will Ever Read! (Promise!)

That's quite a promise, isn't it? The best parenting book you will ever read. We'd all click to buy that book!

If I were to recommend a parenting book, it would go like this:

#1 - The Bible. It truly lays the groundwork for godly parenting, and I am attempting (however imperfectly) to follow its precepts.

And, as a side note, there is nothing in the world more annoying than a parenting book which claims to be "Christian" and then goes on to ignore, contradict, or belittle everything that the Bible has to say about parenting. Just sayin'.

#2 - Raising Godly Tomatoes. Love this book. It is biblical, it is practical, it comes from a woman with vast experience (that is, ten children!), and it is simply awesome!

Another humorous side note. Have you ever read of one of those parenting books which was obviously written by someone who had only easy-going children? Those crack me up. I read one book which gave an example of child-teaching something like this:

Mommy: "Johnny, when you said such-and-such, you hurt your sister's feelings."
Johnny: *Weeps copious tears of repentance and never says such-and-such again*

Um, yeah. I'll stick with the parenting books written by parents who have experience dealing with challenging children.

But I digress.

Back to the "Best Parenting Book You Will Ever Read." Well, I can't quite come through on that promise. Because the "book" I'm going to tell you about isn't exactly a... book.

It is this:

The best parenting "book" you will ever "read" is.... spending time around good, experienced parents. 

That's it. Not reading the newest books by PhD experts, or going to mommies' groups, or any of that. Simply spending time around parents who are doing a good job parenting their children, and learning from them.

When I look back at my parenting career, I can easily see that the times that I have made the most progress in my parenting skills have been from that very thing - being around experienced moms, watching how they interact successfully with their children (loving them, spending time with them, correcting them, disciplining them, discipling them), and then making those good habits my own as I imitate them. Those are the positive changes in my parenting that have had the most lasting and most memorable impact.

Books - not nearly so much. Usually, when I read something in a book, I think, "I should do that!" and then make a few sporadic efforts, only to forget it until I read the book again and think, "Oh yeah, I meant to do that."

A few months ago, I spent just a few minutes with a very experienced, wonderful mom - and in those few minutes, I watched at least three or four specific examples of awesome parenting that were immediately tucked into my mind for future reference. And that same thing has happened to me many times. Learning from other (good) parents is simply the way to go.

And when you think about it, the main biblical model for teaching and training the next generation is through one-on-one discipleship. Jesus spent three years doing one-on-one discipleship with his twelve disciples. And when Paul is writing instructions to Titus, he writes:

"[Older women] are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children." (Titus 2:3b-4a)

Not "Younger women should go and read lots and lots of parenting books to learn how to take care of their children" but "Learn from the older women who have done this all before." Each generation learns from those who have gone before.

I think that the absence of this precept is what often plagues us younger and more inexperienced moms. We don't automatically get this type of discipleship like former generations did. Some older women don't have much to teach, because they abnegated their child-raising responsibilities. And some women don't pass on the riches of their experience because they simply do not make themselves available to disciple the next generation of young mothers.

Older mothers, never think that you are not needed because your children are up-and-out. We younger moms need you desperately. If you do nothing but keep your home, help with your grandchildren, and minister to younger moms within your church, we younger moms will arise and call you blessed. You are greatly needed. 

Some young mothers find themselves isolated from older mothers due both of those reasons, and also to geographic isolation (lots of job-related moves, etc.). And all of those factors result in young women who don't receive the discipling that they need from the older generation of experienced mothers.

What happens next?

What happens next is that we younger mothers turn to unreliable sources - either the newest pop-culture parenting books (and we are so vulnerable to all of the nonsense they turn out) or our mommies' groups, where we are receiving the counsel of women just as inexperienced as ourselves (and often women who are greatly misled by the latest disastrous parenting fads). Neither produces the true discipleship that we need.

With all of that in mind, I would simply say...

Older (and more-experienced) mothers, make yourselves available to the next generation. We need your counsel and wisdom and advice so very much. Be willing to spend time with younger moms who can benefit from your experience.

And younger moms (such as myself), take the time to find those older mothers - either the "graduated" moms who have finished their parenting journey and are willing to offer counsel and support, or moms who are simply further down the parenting road and are doing a good job of it.

That is truly the best parenting book you will ever read. I promise. 

Whoever said that parenting these kidlets wasn't a hardcore full-time job was, frankly, insane. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

It's Time to Protect Arizona Midwives & Homebirth Rights

Hello out there, dear readers...

As most of you know, big changes are coming down the pipeline in Arizona regarding licensed midwives and client rights for homebirths.

These changes are not good ones. In fact, they are disastrous. If the current proposed regulations go through, (1) Arizona midwives will no longer be able to practice safely, due to (among other things) a removal of their ability to carry and administer life-saving medications (such as pitocin for postpartum hemorrhage), (2) homebirth clients will lose the right to informed refusal of state-dictated prenatal, intrapartum. and postpartum procedures and tests, and (3) many additional restrictions and requirements will be added to homebirth midwifery that will prevent midwives from practicing and serving their clients well, and which will restrict client access to safe homebirth midwifery services.

Even I, who have had three safe and uncomplicated homebirths, will most likely lose access to legally-attended homebirth should these new regulations pass.

You can read an excellent summary of what's going on here.

You can leave your comments here.

Please take a minute to follow the above link and leave comments regarding these regulations. You do not have to be an Arizona resident or homebirth client to leave comments, and all are appreciated. Please remember to keep all comments calm, polite, and evidence-based. Flinging accusations or being rude or argumentative will get us nowhere.

Regulations will take effect on July 1st unless changes are made.

Thanks, everyone!

Monday, May 13, 2013

New Resource for Hyperemesis Moms in Arizona

Arizona birth professionals, please add this to your list of resources to give to your hyperemesis mamas - a new Facebook group specifically for hyperemesis women in Arizona! A wonderful local resource for help and support.


See you there! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Stopping By, Checking In, Stepping Out!

Hello, dear readers!

A few quick updates.... but first, my latest zero-carb cooking project - CHEESECAKE



As a matter of fact, it was awful. But then again, we run up against one of the unbreakable laws of the universe: Cheesecake is cheesecake.  Does it matter if it was terrible? YUM. I ate it anyway.

Besides, it grew on me. Let's pause briefly while I go get the last piece. Mmmm.



Okay, so back to what we were discussing. Or rather, speaking of rabbit trails, I have to mention that this is one of my favorite times in the Phoenix valley - time for the blooming of the palo verde trees! Huzzah! You have not seen true loveliness until you have seen a desert palo verde dripping with millions of brilliant yellow blooms. We stopped on the way to church today so that I could snap a few pictures.






Gorgeous? Yes, gorgeous!

Okay, enough rabbit trails! Get to the point!

Yes, the point, albeit an unpleasant one: Although I am currently bubbling over with various blog topics that I am eager to share with you...

Yes, they're all covered with notes and ideas for future blog entries. 
... at this point I feel that I am called on to take a blogging break. I don't want a break, but I've felt that I need to. And so, with that, I am planning to shelve blogging (*sob*) until at least the end of April. After that, we'll see. If I feel that I need to go on a longer break, I can... but hopefully I'll be back to writing at that point.

In the meantime, I'll be preparing for a really exciting new series that I want to share with you (on my other blog - feel free to join us!), tentatively titled "Plain and Simple." You've already read the first entry, in which I discussed why I love having only one car, and I'm planning to continue the series as a journal of my journey into examining the modern American life (read: frenzied, harried, stressed-out, and exhausted) and determining which parts of that lifestyle we want to alter or discard in our quest to develop a quiet, peaceful, family-centered life - more like that of pre-techie rural life or modern Amish life.

In this series, I plan to examine:

(1) Activities - Which need to go, and which do we need to add?
(2) Habits - What ways of life and ways of doing things should be adopted?
(3) Technologies - Which truly benefit us, and which cost more than they are worth?
(4) Mental and Spiritual Disciplines - What has to be developed and nurtured for a peaceful life?

I am very excited about this journey, and I am already experimenting with several life-changes which will form the first entries. Look for this in a couple of weeks (or months... whenever I get it started).

In the meantime, have a great couple of weeks, and I'll see you all in May!

From last week's desert adventure - we caught the last of the wildflowers! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

When Medical Mysteries Turn Nasty

Hello, dear readers!

I'd love to ask you all to pray for this sweet family that is dealing with a medical nightmare with their little girl. She is dealing with numerous conditions and a puzzling mystery of how to treat them and where to go for medical advice and help. It is extremely serious, and they are searching high and low for new options. They could really use your support and prayer! Local readers can also jump on their meal support schedule.

We pray for this family daily!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What Makes a Great Blog: A List of Tips!

I am, of course, writing this list of "how to blog well" tips because I am such a wonderful blogger and am ready to bless the world with my overflow of knowledge!

Stop laughing! I mean it!

No, in all seriousness - I am not writing this post because I am a great blogger, but because I read lots of great blogs!

In the years that I've been a passionate blog reader, I've had time to compile a list - what makes me click on a blog post, and what makes me pass one by? Some of those qualities are truly "content qualities," but many are, sadly, purely "appearance/presentation qualities" - i.e. how a post is presented to the world rather than actual content. Psychology 101, here we come!

And so, in no particular order, here are some "great blog characteristics" that I have compiled based on my own observations. Enjoy!

A Good Lookin' Blog - A few months back, I noticed that I had started to read a blog in my reader much more frequently than I had before. What had changed? Improved content? Nope - the content remained the same, but she had upgraded from a blah-and-boring background to a new-and-improved and visually appealing background. Voila - I found myself reading more often. The moral - looks matter. Pathetic, but true.

Length of Posts - Moderate or long posts = great. Super-short or marathon-length = not so awesome. (Super-short often means a lack of content, while marathon-length is apt to lose reader attention span. If you have something marathon-length to say, it helps to break it up into Part 1, Part 2, etc.)

Bring on the Links! - Lots of links within your posts to past posts or other pertinent sites or other bloggers' posts.

Short Paragraphs - This is a well-known technique. Short paragraphs make for easier reading! In fact, a while ago I gave up on one blogger who wrote in solid-block format (no matter how long her post, it was all in one unbroken paragraph). Regardless of content, it was exhausting to read.

Grammar, Spelling, Etc. - We all make mistakes, but grammar and spelling really do count. I have to admit, I do tend to click past blogs that begin, "Your not going to believe what their saying about..." Quality matters!

Clarity of Purpose - It helps to know the purpose of a blog. Is it a family blog? An issue-based blog? A short statement of purpose (and an intelligible blog name) help to focus your audience appeal and clarify your purpose in blogging.

Good Post Titles - If one thing makes me skip past a blog post, it is a vague or uninteresting post title! (Unless you're a friend or a really good blogger, in which case I read 'em all!) Example of a bad title: "Peer-Reviewed Studies, June 2011 to July 2012." When I see that, I've already scrolled past! Now, as to how to write an interesting title... I'll get back to you when I've found that out.

Decent Post Frequency - There's nothing more disappointing than finding a great blog... and then realizing that its most recent post was April of 2007! Blogging regularly enough to keep a blog active is a definite plus.

Social Media - Social media share-buttons on posts, or a Facebook group for your blog - huge pluses in gaining readership, and in being able to interact casually with your audience! (Unfortunately, the latter is often a huge time commitment over and above the blog itself, which is one reason that I don't do this. But if you want to grow your blog, this is the way!)

Pictures - I find that I am many times more likely to click on a post that has a picture attached to it. Again, this is not content-related but is instead purely a presentation issue.

Author Bio and Picture - I like to feel connected to the author, which is hard to do if the blog author is anonymous or unidentified! A page with author bio, picture, and contact information is a huge plus.

Sidebar Link Lists - Link lists on the blog sidebars (to past posts or links outside the blog) is a huge plus in garnering reader interest and providing more information for your readers. Keep it updated! (Again, I need to do this.)

Civility - Nothing is more likely to make me click "unsubscribe" than vulgarity, profane language, irreverence, or the like. Everyone differs in her tolerance for this, but it's a huge turn-off for me.

Evidence of Work - Readers appreciate it when bloggers have truly done their homework, putting their minds and their hearts into their posts. Lazy blog posts will lose readers! For example, a blog post that consists only of, "So, everyone, what do you think of President Obama? Discuss!" just won't work. Links, quotes, discussion, etc., are needed to make it work and obtain greater readership.

What would you add to this list, gentle readers?

Following my own advice: Adding a picture, even though it is totally irrelevant to the article. Aren't you feeling more likely to read this post now? 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Getting Radical on Y'All

Hi, ladies! I thought some of you might like this article that I posted to my other blog. So sit back, relax, get comfortable, and prepare to be highly offended!

 *** 

 Lately, an article that I read several years ago has come to mind - check it out:

Conversations of a Husband and Wife

Most of you probably know (from the absurd frequency with which I quote from it) that this is one of my favorite blogs. I love it. But when I read that particular article, I found it a bit... extreme. Okay, yeah, sure, I get the whole Christian "submission thing."
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:22)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Got it.

But... this blogger took it a bit too far, in my never-to-be-humble opinion. She wrote:
"I sat down in this chair last night, pen and paper in hand, lists of questions on my mind. I needed his input. I needed guidance. I needed to sit under authority."
You're kidding me, right? Sit under my husband's authority? Get his advice when my own mind is just as bright as his, thank-you-very-much?
"I must be honest, some of the things that were on my mind involved him and perceptions I had about his priorities and the priorities of our household, but I knew I could not come into the conversation with both guns blazing, throwing accusations at him and trying to control the outcome of his answers.
 "I consciously put myself under his headship and what followed was an amazingly insightful and blessed conversation that took a load of burden off my back and reset my focus as the lady of the home."
This was a bit much for me at the time. I had come to accept wifely submission as a reality of the Christian life - you know, that after a long and vicious fight over [issue A], I would grudgingly give in and do what he wanted, all while giving long, exasperated sighs to let him know that I was only submitting because I was such a good wife, even though he was wrong and I was right.

But to seek his advice? To sit under his authority? To purposely ask for his input, direction, advice - and what's more, act on it?

Thank you, but no.

However, over the past few years, I have come so far with this issue, and I'm so glad that Amy had the guts to tackle it on her blog. I so needed to hear wisdom on that subject from a godly "older woman" (she is older in faith, if not in age).

I am now in a place where I actively put this advice into action, and it is such a blessing in my life. When I have issues that perplex me regarding our home, our schedule, our homeschool, or our life in general (and at least one of the above is usually a subject of confusion at any given time!), I have learned the habit of going - not to my friends or the internet - but to my husband. And the Lord has richly blessed this. Even when I feel that I have more "head knowledge" than my husband does on a certain issue, God blesses my efforts to respect and honor my husband as my (and our family's) federal head.

Additionally, I see my husband grow by leaps and bounds in his efforts to lead our family well as he sees me respect him and value and seek his opinion. When men are respected, they will move heaven and earth to be worthy of that respect.

Life is just better when I do things God's way.

In the same vein, I read another article several years ago that has been sitting on the back burner of my mind ever since. Go read it. (I'll wait.)

Submission and Silence

I found myself absolutely fascinated by Anne's discussion on the topic of the following verse:
“…women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church” (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).
Like most people, I have glossed over those verses without much thought, other than the occasional, "Okay, that was weird. Whatever." But as I have grown in my Christian walk, I have learned that the Bible was meant to be taken seriously. There are no irrelevant parts to the Bible, and we do ourselves a disservice by dismissing or ignoring any of God's inspired Word.

But seriously? Women keep silent in church? Not ask questions, but ask their husbands at home? You've got to be kidding! While it is absolutely clear in Scripture that women are not to teach in the church (i.e. be pastors or teach from the pulpit), I had never really paid attention to the "silent in church" bit.

But God said it. And He doesn't say things that He doesn't mean.

So over the past half-year or so, I have attempted to put this into practice! In other words, when I have a question about the sermon, I have made a conscious effort not to ask the pastor/teacher about it (or to look it up on the internet), but rather to save it and ask my husband at home. "So, hon, when the pastor at church today said such-and-such, I wasn't sure about that. What do you think?" etc.

And again, I have been blown away by how much this simple act of obedience has blessed our family!

When I come to my husband and ask him these questions, I can visibly see him grow spiritually as he realizes how much I trust him and his opinion, and how much I am relying on him (instead of another man or the internet) to answer my spiritual questions. I could never have anticipated how much spiritual growth would be occasioned by simply trusting my husband to answer my questions.

Again. Life is just better when I obey God's Word and do it His way!

Sometimes I don't understand the why of obedience until after I've obeyed (and sometimes not even then). Sometimes it takes a long time to see the blessing of obedience. As we tell our six-year-old, "Obey first and then ask for an explanation." But every time, God honors His Word, and He honors our family when we obey it.

I love watching how God leads and develops our family toward Himself. 

Be blessed!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Gross, the Violent, and the Really, Really Painful: Moments of Parenting Reality

I've already written about the diaper that changed the world - a moment of parenting reality that took three loads of laundry, an entire morning, and a half-hour seance with the garden hose to deal with. In that same vein, I am pleased to introduce another entry in the ongoing "Grossest Parenting Moments" contest!

{Please skip the first part if you are currently nauseated!}

This occurrence dates to a few months back, to yet another Sunday morning at church, when both my husband and I were each holding a baby (our usual modus operandi).

During the singing, I looked over at my husband and realized several things at once. Firstly, that the baby he was holding needed a new diaper. Secondly, that said diaper was not just "wet." Thirdly, that the baby in question had stuck his hand down his diaper... and was now blissfully rubbing the contents of that diaper into DH's beard while DH, completely unaware, was focused on the singing.

A few frenzied pokes to the side made him aware him of the situation, and we immediately and hurriedly evacuated the premises for a very long family clean-up time in the bathroom.

Ah, parenting. It's those Kodak moments that really get you.

Though, in reality, this reality moment was much less gross than the other! And far easier to clean up.

Moving on to our next cameo...

This past week, I was busy working when I turned around and, to my horror, saw our toddler eagerly putting himself into a situation of serious danger. Ack!

The next few moments are a blur in my memory, because they happened so quickly. However, I have a vague memory of throwing down what I was doing and leaping across the room, knocking said toddler to the floor (and thankfully out of danger).

In the process of flinging myself thus, however, I took the full impact of the fall (which happened on our tile floor) on both knees. How I landed on my knees I'm not sure, but the result was, of course, sudden and excruciating pain. I found myself sitting on the floor, rocking back and forth and wishing vaguely that my birth doula could be there to talk me through the waves of pain.

If you had wandered into our house at that time, you would have seen a very puzzling sight - me sitting on the floor, rocking back and forth while holding a crying toddler, listening to the sound of our dinner burning on the stove (and unable to do anything about it).

We stayed on the floor for about half an hour, until I could finally get up, but my knees still hurt! Furthermore, one in particular has burst out in the most amazing bruising that you've ever seen in your life. I'd post pictures, but I'm opposed to posting pictures that gross on the internet, LOL!!

And there you have it. Parenting, the real story. Before we become parents we dream of cuddling with affectionate babies, cooing lullabies to infants, reading classic books to wide-eyed grade-schoolers. Yes, there's that... but the real story of parenting also includes beards rubbed with unmentionable substances and time on the floor dealing with excruciating pain. That's life for ya.

Anyone else have some of the down-and-dirty moments of parenting to share?

Yes, this is the guilty culprit (one of them, at least). 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Aggressive Plants, Deadly Arachnids, and Scorching Heat: What's Not to Love?

After all, "It's a dry heat!" Right??

I've spent some time thinking about this topic - the various virtues of the Phoenix valley - for a very specific reason. The reason - I never wanted to live here! It's hot, dry, and rain-free, and my love is for the weather of the Pacific northwest - cool, cloudy, and rainy. So Phoenix is not really my kind of place!

But you know what? God placed me here! Not in Oregon or Washington or England or Scotland. Here. Furthermore, I may be here for the rest of my life! (Which would be fine with me, as a matter of fact - I very much dislike moving!) That being so, it is a case of needing to learn to have a spirit of gratitude for God's provision - and a "learn to love it" attitude. 

With that in mind, here are all the things (in no particular order) that I love about Phoenix! 

Hospitals & Doctors - You hope never to need them, but when you need a hospital or doctor, we have them by the thousands. We have three hospitals within ten minutes of our house! 

Naturopathic Doctors - Probably due to the naturopathic medical college in Tempe, our area abounds with wonderful naturopathic doctors and naturopathic medical resources. Love it. 

Museums & Attractions - We have wonderful museums and attractions in the Phoenix valley! From the Musical Instrument Museum and the Firefighters' Museum, to the Phoenix Zoo and the Arizona Museum of Natural History - hundreds (I'm guessing) of things to see and do. We haven't seen even a small fraction of what there is to see here!

Parks - When I was growing up in Southern California, parks (in my mind) were definitely classified as "dirty, scary places that I would never even think of wanting to go to." Ick! But here in the east valley, the parks are wonderful - safe, clean, attractive, and fun. And there are lots of them! 

A Cleaner and Prettier Living Environment - Cleaner and prettier than my area of Southern California, that is! Of course, that's not saying much. Pretty much anywhere is - my home county was recently classified as the "dirtiest place in the U.S." Yup, it's true. When we went back to visit this summer, my first thought was, "How on earth did I manage to live here for twenty-odd years?" Phoenix has cleaner air, prettier communities and freeways, far less traffic, and is just a nicer and more attractive place to live. 

The Desert! - I'm not a desert rat, but the desert is beautiful! Especially on a fall or spring evening - mmmm. I love the desert! Add in cool weather and a beautiful sunset, and I'm one happy camper. 

Monsoons - If you haven't yet seen a monsoon, you should join us for one! Gorgeous! Best lightning displays in the country. We always go out onto our patio to watch the rain and the lightning show - and to look for spadefoot toads, which only come out during monsoons! Love those summer storms!

Homeschooling Laws - Unlike other unfortunate states, where the government does its best to usurp the rights of parents by interfering heavily in home education, Arizona has awesome homeschooling laws which promote a healthy homeschooling culture. God grant that it stay that way. 

Homeschooling Community - We are still getting to know our awesome homeschool community, which here in the valley is large and thriving. We have met so many amazing people!

Birth Community - Phoenix, especially the east valley, has a large, active, and thriving community of birth professionals, with lots of professional associations and community events, and I have greatly enjoyed getting to know this community. 

Community Resources - I've always wanted to live in the country, but I have to say that living in the city is definitely convenient - we have any and every resource at our fingertips. 

Midwifery Laws - Though they're in a state of flux at the moment, Arizona has excellent (not the best, but still excellent) homebirth midwifery laws. Thanks to those laws, we have had three legal and safe homebirths with several of the valley's wonderful certified professional midwives. 

Wildflowers - Reverting to the desert - Have you ever seen desert wildflowers? They are splendid! Which reminds me - we need to get out and see them!

Blooming Palo Verdes - I am waiting anxiously for these - they are a beyond-gorgeous sight. 

No Natural Disasters - Monsoons are dramatic, but they rarely do serious damage (and they're fun!). It is nice not having to dread hurricane season or flood season. 

Christian Community - We have discovered a large and wonderful community of Christian believers here in the valley, many of whom are now lifelong friends and have a very special place in our hearts. 

The People in General - We have made so many friends here (store clerks! neighbors! church friends!) and really enjoy getting to know the wonderful people of Arizona. 

Okay, my lovely readers! What do YOU love about Phoenix? Or about a place that you live (but which wasn't your first choice)? Bring it on! 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Why My Parenting Skills Need to Be Better than My Gardening Skills

I found the following Spurgeon quote in my latest copy of "Above Rubies":
“If any of you think that you have a perfect child, you will find yourselves grievously mistaken—the time will come when you will discover that evil is lurking there as it is in you, the father, or in you, the mother—and it will only need a suitable opportunity to display itself! It will scarcely need fostering by ill companions—but even in a godly household where the atmosphere of piety abounds—sin will grow up in the child as naturally as weeds grow in a garden that is left to itself.”—1901, Sermon #2734
This post really struck me - for several reasons. Firstly, as I have before stated, it has been a source of constant amazement to me how hard parenting is. I had always assumed that it was something of a side job. "Hey, I run an international company, lecture at the garden club, and teach judo. Oh-and-I-have-two-wonderful-kids-at-home." Something that just didn't take much time or effort to do well.

Boy, was I wrong. Parenting is a day-in-day-out, 24-7 job that requires an incredible amount of time, prayer, and constant effort. It is the most challenging thing that I have ever done - and the one with the most potential for either good or disaster (I'm praying for the former).

Secondly, this quote resonated with me because of its applicability to my front planter - which at the moment, happens to be occupied by an extremely neglected garden. I've already written about how bad character traits or habits in children are just like weeds, and the similar analogy to a neglected garden is just as apt.

Neglected gardens just don't happen! Or rather, they happen, but they happen badly. Our "garden," at the moment, consists of lettuce gone to seed, moth-eaten undeveloped cabbages (not sure what happened to the "cabbage" part of the cabbages), chard that never grew because I forgot to water it, and micro-carrots (less than an inch in length) that didn't grow properly because we didn't till the ground well or thin them when we should have.

What a mess!
 I'm sure the analogy isn't hard to draw!

I don't mind having a neglected garden - I can always start over (or just nuke the entire thing and plant groundcover). But I would mind very much if my parenting went the same way. Though I may or may not do a good job, I want to try, try, try to do the best I can. Watering, weeding, feeding, and constant efforts to do my best - that is what I want to do, and what I need to do. This is the biggest job I will ever have, and I want to do a good job.

At this point, it's hopeless. Bring on the mower. 
 "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame." 
(Proverbs 29:15)

The Best Days Are When the Babies Come!

About seven years ago, DH helped a friend out with our church's College and Career Group. Since then, most of those "kids" have married... and are now having babies! Isn't life wonderful? (I feel like a grandmother!)

The mama of the latest baby to be born has just posted her birth story of little Stephen's birth, and I have to share - it is a lovely birth and a beautiful retelling. Kudos to her wonderful birth team, and congrats to this wonderful family! I cannot wait to see how this lovely family develops over the coming years.

Baby Stephen's Birthday!

I love this:
"I'll spare you any gory details, but I just want you to know that everything they say about potentially puking or peeing or being otherwise indecorous is entirely true. It is also true, though, that if you've got a good support team (for me, my husband and my doula) and an understanding medical staff (in our case, a midwife and nurse), labor can be a good memory, despite the discomfort and pain."
So very true!

Congratulations on the birth of your first little one, Kate!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Unassisted Hospital Birth Video! (Plus Some Random Musings)

Or rather, an "unassisted" birth, as this birth was attended by a (wonderful!) nurse who helped to catch in the doctor's absence. This was a beautiful, powerful birth! Great job to this mama! Note the quintuple-wrap cord, and how calmly and beautifully the nurse handles it!


This mama did an awesome job, and so did her nurse! Thank you to my midwife, Stephanie, for sharing this on her practice's Facebook Page!

Speaking of birth stories, have you homebirthers out there ever spent any time considering how you would birth twins? I have! (I am the queen of pondering hypothetical situations.) Though both DH and I have agreed that we would most likely birth twins at home, this rather scary local birth story of twins completely confirmed that decision. Any twins that we are ever blessed with will be birthed AT HOME. Even great midwives can't guarantee a dignified or respectful hospital birth. Thoughts, all?

Have a great night, everyone!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Action Needed NOW to Protect Arizona Homebirth Rights

Hello, everyone! Listen up!

Arizona homebirth midwives (CPMs) are currently in danger from proposed legislation that would make practicing legally impossible. Quoting a local midwife:
"As you all know (as I state it in the Informed Consent for an Out of Hospital Birth document), all midwives are required to submit a 'quarterly report' for each client we've served. However, just today I received an 'updated' quarterly form from the state department of health. They are requesting that we begin using this new form for every client since January 1st, 2013... Included in this 'updated' quarterly report is a section that specifically says, "Formal Arrangement for Medical Backup" and asks for the physician and hospital name as well as who we have standing orders/prescriptions for O2, pitocin, vitK, and eye ointment. 
"I am officially seriously terrified - if they are drafting official documents including this requirement, combined with the lack of public comment being scheduled at the next meeting....I am SERIOUSLY, for the first time, wondering if I will have a job after this summer."
In summary: This legislation would require Certified Professional Midwives to have formal physician backup arrangements for all clients. Backup arrangements are nearly impossible to obtain, meaning that this would form a Catch-22 effectively putting Arizona midwives out of business, and Arizona homebirthers without birth attendants.

What can we do to help?

Please send a letter to Will Humble, Office of the Director, asking that this legislation not go through. Following is a sample note - please do not copy and paste (we need individualized communications), but feel free to use this as a jumping-off point:

Director Will Humble:

I would like to continue to have access to homebirth midwifery in Arizona. Therefore, the proposed section on requiring a backup physician in the proposed rules/regulations MUST be struck! 
Please do not make midwifery illegal by maintaining that requirement!

Thank you.


You can send your physical letter to:

Will Humble
Office of the Director
150 N. 18th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85007

You can fax your letter to:

(602) 542-1062 (Fax)

You can email your letter to:

piowebmaster@azdhs.gov

You can also leave a comment on Mr. Humble's blog.

Thank you, my friends!

Inspiration, Encouragement, and Great Ideas - What More Could I Ask?

Hello, dear birthy friends! Since many of you are also interested in the topic of home education, I have decided to start cross-posting some of my homeschooling articles from my family blog. Enjoy!

 ***

 This past weekend, we had the incredible opportunity to attend a conference given by the Maxwell Family (see their blog here). We were so excited! I have read several of their books ("Managers of Their Homes" and "Homeschooling With a Meek and Quiet Spirit") and absolutely loved them, and we were eager to hear what they had to say on the topics of marriage, parenting, and education.

We weren't disappointed! We had so much fun!

Both of us came away from this conference encouraged, inspired to try new ideas (like family devotion time), and edified by the wisdom of this awesome family. I hope that we are able to hear them again some day!

Listening to Terri and Steve Maxwell. 



Due to a last-minute babysitter cancellation (i.e. the grandparents couldn't come), all three kidlets came with us. This presented definite challenges (a cranky 3yo, a not-yet-learned-to-sit-quietly toddler, and a 6yo who was less-than-enamored of having to sit through multiple speaker sessions), but we made it through and had a great time.


No, these aren't good pictures... but hey, they're all I have. 
DH and I have decided that we want to attend as many family and homeschooling conventions and conferences as we possibly can. Each one that we have attended has been an amazing experience that has so benefited our family! We are incredibly excited about the upcoming yearly Arizona Families for Home Education Convention (note the incredible first-timers' discount and free pre-convention mini-conference). We want to absorb all of the great teaching that we can.

Goofing for the camera. 
If you ever have a chance to attend one of these events, please take advantage of it! We'll see you there!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Celebrating the Moose's First Birthday!

Last month, we celebrated Baby Moose's first birthday! Wow, this year has flown by! The Moose (or rather, the ex-Moose, as he is now decidedly normal-sized) has been such a sweet, cheery, easy baby - an especial joy to our family. His first year has been absolutely wonderful.

We put off the actual birthday celebration for several weeks so that we could have grandparents down - a good thing, as Moose spent his actual birthday in a seriously bad mood due to an intense super-teething time. He actually teethed eight teeth at once! Is that not crazy? So he was fairly miserable.

Thankfully he had cheered up immensely by the time we actually got around to celebrating his birthday, so we had a fun birthday time!





Unfortunately, shortly before birthday time, the Moose had received a singing Veggie Tales board book - and his entire attention was wrapped up in that book. Presents? Cards? Cake? Whatever. Give me the Veggie Tales book. But we tried!




He did gain some interest in cake-eating, needless to say! He is the first baby to actually get birthday cake on his first birthday. With our first, I was absolutely no-sugar-before-age-two, and our second had too many texture issues. (I've kind of given up on that no-sugar thing.) He enjoyed it!




I made a family favorite for his cake. It's not all-natural, but it's delicious! Sometime I'll have to try to figure out a healthier recipe to replicate it.

Ada's Angel Food Cake Pineapple Frosting

1 20-oz can crushed pineapple
1 3-oz package vanilla pudding mix (not instant)
1 cup whipping cream, whipped

Cook crushed pineapple, undrained, and pudding mix together until translucent. Cool to room temperature. Fold into whipped cream. Use to frost Angel Food Cake. Enjoy!



Here's to all the coming years as we enjoy having Moose as a wonderful member of our family!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Moment of Parenting Hilarity

Last week, we were at a social gathering having lunch with friends. As usually happens during such functions, the baby toys that we have stuffed into the net side-pockets of our diaper bag started "wandering" as they were appropriated by various passing toddlers. We're used to this, and we just round them up when it's time to leave.

Close to the time when we would start wanting to head for the car, a wee little man toddled by, holding one of our baby toys. DH pointed to him and turned to me:

DH: Hey! Is that one of ours?
Me: Mmm.... I don't know. I think so. What do you think?
DH: I guess so.

We turned back to our table companions, only to find them all with rather flabbergasted looks on their faces. As you probably guessed, we were referring to the toy, but they all thought we were referring to the child.

Yes, it would be pretty bad if we couldn't tell our own children when we only have three!

We've been laughing about that one ever since.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Howdy, Y'all in Bloggerland!

In case you're wondering how our family is doing, find out here! And check out here some of the ways that we are saving money during this time of employed unemployment. Love to all, and I hope to blog more soon!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lovely Birth Story From Local Midwives!

I wanted to share this lovely birth story from a local hospital with the midwives of Valley Women for Women:

My VBAC: Lincoln's Birth Story

Great story, and lots of great pictures! She concludes:
"I still can’t believe it sometimes. I had my VBAC and, aside from laboring in the tub, it happened just like I wanted it to. More quickly than I expected, but perfect none the less. It’s true what they say about natural birth too, it makes you feel like you can accomplish anything because nothing will ever be that hard again. I have truly redefined what I’m capable of.
"Also, as a side note, I want to be clear that I wouldn’t change anything about my birth. After we came home from the hospital I found myself reading something online about labor positions. Apparently hands and knees is the body’s way of turning a posterior baby. Knowing that solidified everything for me and validated every decision I made. I listened to my body and did exactly what it told me to. I trusted my instincts and they didn’t disappoint. Had I gone to the hospital earlier, I would have asked for the epidural earlier which would have forced me to push lying down. There’s no way to be sure but, I believe that laboring and pushing on all fours kept Lincoln in the right position and was the reason I was able to have my VBAC."
I have met several of the lovely midwives from Valley Women for Women, and I thoroughly recommend their practice to mamas who are looking for a positive hospital birth experience with lots of options and respect for parental choices. Though I hope to have all of our babies at home, if I ever needed a hospital birth, I would love it to be with them!

Enjoy! And congrats to this family!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Link Between Wheat and Endometriosis?

I found this interesting article concerning the possible link between wheat consumption and the painful condition of female endometriosis.

I wanted to share a few quotes from the article, but something wacky is going on with my blog - so head on over to the article to check out the particulars!

"It Ain't Easy Being Green"

Howdy, folks!

Today I'd like to introduce you to my long-time friend Becky, who is an awesome woman and a mom to three-now-FOUR little ones, the youngest of whom has just announced his or her presence by means of a second pink line! Congratulations, Becky!

Becky has experienced severe, life-threatening hyperemesis gravidarum with her  pregnancies, and she has started a new blog to document her journey through this pregnancy:

It Ain't Easy Being Green

Please join me in praying that this pregnancy would not be a hyperemetic one for Becky, and that she would receive the good care that she needs and deserves during this time. Please also hop on over to her blog and give her lots of loving support and encouragement as she begins her pregnancy journey!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rights for Homebirth Activism

In case y'all are not aware... There is a lot of work being done right now in the state of Arizona to update the state midwifery laws and make more choices available to birthing mothers in our state. This work is being done by a dedicated group of midwives and citizens, and they need our support! To join the ongoing conversations and receive updates on progress, as well as notification of upcoming meetings, please like the "Rights for Homebirth" Facebook group and catch up on all the latest!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Three Techniques for Dealing With Morning Sickness

The title is something of a misnomer, since in many circumstances there aren't many ways to "deal" with morning sickness - one simply survives it and recovers afterward! But there are some tips and tricks to getting through that time period, and here are a couple:

(*Note: You'll notice that I said "morning sickness" and not "hyperemesis" - the two are entirely different beasts, and these tips aren't too applicable to hyperemesis, where the whole name of the game is simple survival. These tips are for a mama who is feeling badly - but well enough to be at least moderately functional - in other words, normal to moderate NVP rather than active HG.)

Nix the Kids' Pajamas

I actually learned this tip from a friend in culinary school many, many years ago. She had to get her three children up and out, and herself to school, by 5:30 a.m. in the morning. Definitely not an ideal situation, but one of the ways she made it work was by dressing all the kids (and doing the girls' hair) at night so that they could skip the "getting dressed" stage in the morning. Results aren't perfect, of course, but this technique works well to reduce laundry and mama's workload - especially if your husband helps with nighttime routines (like mine does!). This actually works so well that... we're still doing it, at least with our eldest. (I know, shameful! But it works so well!)

Bring on the Disposables

Real dishes are great... but in times of great stress and strain, the niceties of life go to the wall. Disposable plates, napkins, cups, silverware, etc., are indispensably helpful when one is too sick to deal with mountains of dishes.

Break the Laundry Rules

Here is what I did for laundry - I did one load a day, and that load contained everything. Darks, whites, lights, jeans, towels, kitchen laundry - whatever needed to be done that day was washed together and dried together. I daresay I broke some universal laundry laws and should be punished harshly, but it was a real life-saver. I still do it when I'm in a big rush!

***

Again, these rules only apply for a mama who is only moderately ill (as I was during my last two pregnancies, due to proper medication and God's mercy). Almost nothing applies when there is true hyperemesis and a mama is confined to bed (or hospital), as happened to us during our first pregnancy. But when NVP is mild to moderate, various lifestyle modifications like these can be very helpful.

What suggestions would you add to this list for a mama dealing with morning sickness?


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Spending Time With WEEDS

Lately, I have had great opportunity to think about weeds. Lots and lots and lots of opportunity. Why? Because some spring weather, nice rain, and a couple of months of good, solid neglect of our yard have produced an over-abundant supply of them, and I have spent the last two days trying to begin the process of hacking ourselves out of this mess. I have no doubt that at this very moment, our neighbors are directing accusing glares in our direction and planning very well-deserved revenge. (I jest. We have great neighbors. But if they did revenge themselves, at this point we'd deserve it.)

Weeds have often been compared to bad habits or character traits in children (or ourselves!), and over the past two days I have had ample time to contemplate the similarities between letting weeds grow in my yard, and letting the "weeds" of bad attitudes or bad habits grow in my children.

Here are just a few of the analogies I've drawn:

Different Times, Different Weeds

We've lived in this house for four years, and each spring I have been astounded to see a different weed take preeminence. Three years ago it was the cute little broadleaf plants that start so innocently and then grow to six-foot monsters. This year it's a pretty lacy sort of thing that I love because it's so easy to pull. In my children? Different ages = different challenges. At a younger age, it was plain ol' obedience (and tantrums... lots and lots of tantrums). Now it's attitudes. Later it will be (*gasp*gulp*choke*) boy-girl relations and teen issues. But the issues are under constant change - there's never a dull (or stagnant) moment.

I'd never even seen these before this year! 
Easy When New.... Harder When Mature

Have you noticed how blessedly easy young weeds are to pull? So quick, so smooth, so easy! But when those critters get a true hold in the ground, it takes blood, sweat and tears to get them out. This morning I fought against one such monster, and retired worsted. That critter is out there yet, grinning insolently at me and daring me to try again. The same thing with bad habits and sins in our kidlets - they're so much easier to take care of in the beginning than when those habits have a true hold in their hearts.

These things are soooo cute when they're young... and then they mature into hideous beasts with foot-thick trunks. 
Slow and Steady Does the Job

Pulling weeds quickly results in stems that break off, leaving roots in the ground - roots that will spring back very quickly with new fruit and new stems. Same with parenting! Quick fixes never work (for me, at least... if you know of any, for goodness' sake pass them on). It's slow and steady that works well over the long-haul - consistent application of parenting practices and a willingness to correct with longterm goals in mind.

No Root, No Good!

From above - if a parenting technique deals with the outward without dealing with the heart issue also, longterm positive change is unlikely.

Some Weeds Are Easier Than Others

I love the nice, clean, smooth weeds that come out easily and completely - rather than those stickery, painful monsters that snap off and leave the taproot in the ground. But oddly enough, I find myself neglecting the ugly ones to deal with the easy ones! Can anyone see how this applies to parenting? Yikes!

Man, I hate these things. They are evil. 

Weeds Breed Weeds

I don't just find one weed... I find one weed that has spawned a whole bunch of other weeds, and which is now a huge problem patch. In parenting, I find that one sinful habit leads to another. Disobedience leads to disrespect, which leads to strife, which leads to bad sibling relations, etc. Neglecting weeds causes a huge spread.

What used to be our lawn. 

Weeds Choke Out Good Plants

Weeds breeding weeds breeding weeds... eventually, the weeds choke out good fruit. Letting the bad habits and attitudes in my children go unchecked will undo any good work that I'm doing in their lives.

Our garden, currently being choked out by weeds. 
And finally...

Weeding makes me sneeze. You make the connection.

Thoughts, all?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Article: Safety of Morning Sickness Drug

Thought y'all might be interested in this article, "Morning Sickness Drug Shown Safe for Babies," concerning metoclopramide, which is an anti-nausea drug that I've never even seen before!

From the article:
"The Israeli study, led by researchers at Ben-Gurion University, included pregnant women enrolled in Israel's largest HMO from 1998 through 2007.
"It compared the health of newborns of 3,458 women who took metoclopramide, for as little as a week to more than three weeks, with 78,245 newborns of women who had not used it. Rates of problems were low and similar in both groups.
"In the U.S., other drugs — Compazine, Phenergan and Zofran — are generally used more often than Reglan, which is made by Schwarz Pharma Inc. of Smyrna, Ga. The new study should lead obstetricians to prescribe it more often, some experts said.
"Until now, doctors have only assumed it is safe, based on a couple small studies and the lack of reports of serious problems, said Dr. Jeffrey Chapa, head of maternal fetal medicine at the Cleveland Clinic."
On how the drug works and its side effects....
"Metoclopramide, which works by speeding emptying of the stomach and reducing heartburn, can have side effects, including sedation, insomnia, depression and anxiety."
I am never in favor of using drugs during pregnancy when it's avoidable... but in terms of hyperemesis, it is not unavoidable. For the health (and life) of the baby and mother, it's essential - especially in the more severe, life-threatening cases. I'm happy to see more options in the arena to treat HG, especially since different things have different levels of effectiveness in different women.

The only thing that alarms me is the fact that this "safety" was based on newborn health only, not long-term studies. I'm sure that the studies of DES babies (babies whose mothers used diethyl stilbestrol) would have shown healthy babies... until those babies grew up into adult women who had ridiculously high rates of certain forms of cancer. Healthy newborns don't mean that drugs have no undesirable side-effects in the long-term. Thus, the statement that "[This study] compared the health of newborns of 3,458 women who took metoclopramide... with newborns of women who had not used it. Rates of problems were low and similar in both groups," is quite accurate, but it might be a bit of a stretch to say (as the article's title implies), "This drug is completely safe for pregnant mothers and their babies."

However, again, HG has to be treated, and I'm always glad to see more options out there - not to mention the fact that most of the other drugs used to treat HG have even fewer safety studies to support their use than this one! Whether or not it will catch on in the U.S. is another question.

Thoughts, all?

Hat tip to my friend Becky at Refuse to Be a Womb Pod for notifying me of this article!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Achieving a Life Goal... And Having Fun Doing It!

Last month, I got to do something that I have wanted to do for a long time... I hosted my first baby shower! This shower was for a sweet friend in the homeschooling community who is currently awaiting the arrival of baby #4 - a baby who ought to be arriving any second, as she is currently at 41+2 weeks. We can't wait to meet her precious little one!

I had a lot of fun planning the shower. We had pink and white frosted cookies, vegetables and dip, lemonade and coffee, and a couple of other things that I have unfortunately forgotten due to how long ago this was! I made favors out of the extra cookies, and we played a couple of games and handed out "labor candles" - candles to burn while the mama is in labor as a reminder to pray for her and her baby during their birthing time.



To accommodate mamas who didn't have babysitting available, we made this a "mommy and young children" shower. Whether that was smart or not I'm not sure - it got pretty crazy! (But I didn't want anyone to have to skip the shower due to a Saturday-working hubby.)

This shower confirmed what I have long known - that I am much better at "back of the house" operations (food prep, etc.) than "front of the house" operations (hostessing, leading games, etc.). The former is something that I greatly enjoy (and can do reasonably well); the latter is something in which my performance is miserably behind-hand. I simply am not good in front of groups or in leading events. Next time I have the opportunity to bless a mama with a shower, I shall happily do the grunt work - but I shall ask somebody to lead it who can do it with less stuttering awkwardness than I!

I love helping with showers. There is something so special and precious about honoring and celebrating a mother as she prepares to give birth and to welcome a new baby into the world. Each time is a special event, and each birth and transition into motherhood is something to celebrate. Hopefully I shall have this opportunity many more times!

Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take pictures - until I was putting the last few things away afterward. And that is why this entry is ending with a picture of lemonade... because that is the only thing left out by the time I said, "Oh shoot! I forgot to take pictures!"

Lemonade. Aren't you impressed? 
Babies are such wonderful things - and so are baby showers!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Weird Pregnancy Fantasies!

Do you ever dream about some aspect of pregnancy or childbirth? Some people fantasize about a painless birth experience or dream about a homebirth after a hospital birth or wish for a faster birth.

Me? I fantasize about a pregnancy and birth like this one (which happened a few minutes away from us) - a pregnancy in which I felt so normal and non-pregnant that I wouldn't even know I was pregnant.
"A Gilbert woman, who thought she was having severe menstrual cramps, ended up delivering a baby Wednesday morning in the emergency room of Banner Gateway Medical Center.
“I left home at 9:15 and she was born at 9:59,” said Janae Colvard.
Colvard talked exclusively with ABC15 from her hospital bed on Thursday night and insisted she had no idea she was pregnant.
“I gained some weight, but not to where I thought I was pregnant,” she said. “I didn’t feel [the baby] move. I had my normal cycle.”
Colvard said her friend drove her to the hospital after the abdominal pain became too intense.
“I kept feeling like I needed to use the restroom, on top of this pressure and I happen to reach down all of a sudden … and there was a head,” she said."
Can you imagine?

Similarly - a woman in one of my Facebook groups recently posted, "I think I'm pregnant, because I have a linea nigra and I feel the baby move."

Oh, goodness - that sounds wonderful.

Not that I want to miss out on pregnancy - I love being pregnant and savor every moment of it - but I would love to feel that well during pregnancy. Not the debilitating nausea around the clock. Not the high dosages of Zofran and Unisom to keep even basic functionality. Not the throwing up before I can even get a positive pregnancy test. Not the postpartum residual nausea that lasts 1-2 years.

But I can dream!

What are your pregnancy and birth dreams?

However they get here, they're CUTE! 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Upcoming Hyperemesis Event!

Attention, local HG mamas! An acquaintance of mine is putting together a hyperemesis gravidarum survivors' picnic and potluck event - please feel free to join us! Here is the link to the Facebook invitation, and here is the information

Sunday, February 24th, 2013
3:00 p.m.
Tumbleweed Park in Chandler

Bring a potluck dish to share, and come hang out and meet local HG mothers!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Roe v. Wade: Observing the 40-Year Anniversary

Fifty-five million.

That's a lot, isn't it? It's more than the human mind can fathom. But it's the number of babies who have died in American abortion clinics since Roe v. Wade declared open season on our precious and innocent wee ones.

Observing the 40-year anniversary of Roe v. Wade is, for me, a day of mourning. Mourning for the babes whose lives have ended in fear and pain, in a manner that is truly unspeakable in nature and whose precious bodies have ended in the shameful grave of medical waste buckets.
"And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground." (Gen.4)
Currently, we sacrifice an average of 22% of our babies to our convenience. Babies who would inconvenience us. Babies who are not "perfect." Babies who do not fit our lifestyle.
"Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?" (Prov. 24)
Abortion is truly the tragedy of our age, and I mourn greatly for all of the babies whose sweet lives have been cut short.
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.... My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." (Ps. 139)
All of us bear responsibility for this travesty of human rights and human dignity. And we within the Christian church bear a great responsibility as well. We have often acted with passivity, not devoting the time and resources necessary to combat this evil. And even worse, we often harbor attitudes and ethical philosophies which, though not actively supporting abortion, have led to society's abortion mindset.
"As the church, we can examine our own posture toward children. So often we condemn women for aborting their babies when we hold the exact same posture toward children that leads to abortion. Our excuse is that, “We would never do that!” But if we are looking at children as a burden rather than a blessing maybe we are part of the problem." ("Bloody Hands" by Heather at "A Mother's Calling")
For those of you ladies out there who consider abortion a fundamental human right, please consider whether or not you want the slaughter of our most innocent and defenseless to be something you set your heart on.
"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." (Prov. 4)
Dear friends, our sweet babies deserve better than this.  

(*While I welcome calm discussion and honest questions, I immediately delete all combative or hurtful comments. Please keep the conversation polite and based in the desire for loving communication, not the desire to hurt others or start a fight.)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Welcome, BIG Baby Boy!

One of my all-time favorite bloggers, Amy over at Raising Arrows - if you don't read this blog, you need to! - has had her baby! Baby Creed was born just a couple of days ago, weighing in at 10#14. Wow! Hop on over to read her birth story and congratulate this strong mama! Her story is both hilarious and a wonderful example of a great hospital birth, and I loved hearing how baby Creed made his way into the world. He was born into a wonderful family, and I can't wait to watch him grow up as I read Amy's blog!

Friday, January 4, 2013

We're Famous at Last!

My midwife does an incredibly sweet year-end round-up blog entry in which she summarizes each and every one of her births for the year. This year, we are included! Visit her blog to see her list of 2012 babies. Here is her summary of our latest baby's birth!
"Giles – Such a sweet family you joined that beautiful morning! Being born in the bathtub has sort of become a tradition to your mother as you joined your two big brothers as a waterbaby. This soft-spoken gentle soul that is your mother was a pillar of strength and inspiration as she quietly labored and then, with two roars, birthed you and brought you up into her arms. She was so peaceful that your daddy almost didn’t make it in the room as he was busy feeding your brother breakfast! (when we called for him because you were coming out, we scared him because the urgency in our voice for him to hurry made me think something might be wrong! Poor guy…) But everything was very right and you are a perfect little boy!"
And I especially love her loving tribute to those babies whose stay on earth ended before birth, leaving their parents with empty arms:
"And to the 11 babies who couldn’t be here with us, who had to leave before they could be held…..I will never forget you either. I shared tears with your parents who yearned to see you and hold you. Thank you for the gifts you could share with me, and I’m just sorry it couldn’t be for longer."
We have such a sweet midwife, and we appreciate this blog entry! Printing this one for the baby book, for sure!