Sunday, December 26, 2010

this is how it's been.

Nacho: Chancho. When you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room. It's for fun.
And sometimes, when you're a 36 pound 2 year old and your mama is 12 months pregnant*, she shouldn't be lifting you. No matter how many times you say, "Hold you" and look at her with those brown eyes. When I think back to this time in my life, I will try to remember how hormones + inability to lift your (giant) baby= lots and lots of tears. I will remember the night my mom offered to take them both when I was at the end of my rope, even knowing that she'd be up at 5 AM with the Mister. I'll remember the 2 hour nap that I took yesterday while the kids played with the Dada. I'll remember the recipe for herbal tea that saved my sanity and kicked weeks of insomnia. And I'll try to remember to be grateful when she's on the outside, no matter how hard it gets.

*12 months pregnant added for you, Katie.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry christmas

As Evie is fond of saying, "Happy MerryChristmastime!"
Hope yours has been wonderful.

Friday, December 17, 2010

everyday grace.

Claire had a playdate the other day with her lifelong bff. Soon after,she brings me this. What's inside? Maybe a thank you note. I love that she stamped it and it was ready to go.
While tending to the Mister, I left the girls to watch Sid the Science Kid. I came back to find them sitting cuddled together just like this.
It was incredibly sweet,until Everett decided to dive bomb them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

i seem to recognize your face.

Sometimes she is unrecognizable. Angrily telling me that I'm not her mommy when she doesn't like something I say. Other times, she's the same girl she was covered in peanut butter not so long ago.Everett loves dance parties but tonight he didn't want her to dance. She looks at him in all seriousness and says, "You can't stop these dance moves, Ev." I'm pretty sure hearing that sentence come out of a four year old is the reason I had kids.

merry & bright.

Claire had her first big school program on Friday. For being 11 months pregnant, I only cried a moderate amount as she earnestly belted out the songs she'd been practicing since October. As I often feel with her, it is going too fast.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

today in target.

We're walking past the bra section. Everett notices some of the "bullet bra" variety.

"HELMET!" He shouts. Over and over and over.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

treehunting 2010.

Today, we got our tree. We went to the usual spot. Here's a shot with my girls:

And the dudes looking manly. I can tell you that at this moment, Everett's inner-monologue definitely included the words "big guy."

Somebody stole my saw.
Of course we should have let him carry that saw. He's 2 and he knows how to operate a grinder.

Monday, November 29, 2010

somebody's gonna call child welfare.

Here is his face before slamming it against the concrete on a walk in the park Saturday:And here is his chubby starfish of a hand before placing it into a grinder in Dada's shop and TURNING IT ON just prior to our Thanksgiving meal:Here is my heart, in a puddle. This boy of mine. The injuries don't phase him, they stop my heart again and again and again.

Monday, November 22, 2010

some things about our baby.

Both of my kids had names by the time I was this pregnant. This one, we call "our baby." And she is. He pats my tummy, yells, "hi baby, hi" into my shirt, sits right on top of her and tries to hug and kiss her. Claire is more gentle. Tells her about how much fun we'll have. Sits for as long as I want with her small hand on my tummy waiting to feel kicks. 23 weeks and I feel huge and slow already. I have a feeling it's going to be a long winter.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

big guy.


Tonight we took the crib rails down on Everett's bed. Some time after Christmas, we'll move him into his sister's room in preparation for the baby. Tonight, Nate had to go out to get tools while turning the crib into a toddler bed and Everett runs for his boots. I tell him dad's in the shop, but he'll be right back. With an earnest look he and says, "Big guy." Which for him, means everything. It means, I can go in the shop, I'm big. I can handle it. He's way into being a big guy right now.

I look at him and know that soon so much is going to change and I'm not sure I'm ready for him to be a big guy. He plans adventures that he's going to take in buses that he's going to drive. He points out where his carseat will be (driver's seat, obviously). He tells me about the shop he's going to work in someday and what he's going to fix (firetrucks, of course).

He cracks me up, my big guy.

Friday, November 05, 2010

the first of last traditions.

I knew when I was pregnant with Everett that there would be one more baby in our family's future. I knew that someone was still missing. This time, I don't anticipate a fourth baby. A tradition for us has been a shopping trip with my girlie to pick out something for "our baby." This time, she insisted on a pair of completely impractical bronze colored shoes. And for the first time this pregnancy, I really looked at all of those tiny things in the stores, realizing that I get to do it all again. I'm going to try my best to not be the jerk I can be when I'm pregnant and instead enjoy feeling her move, knowing like I never knew with her brother and sister how quick it all goes.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

my trick with treats.


In an effort to produce a less than plus sized baby, I am again giving up sweets. Last time, my midwives had me on a pretty great nutrition plan during the third trimester and this time around I decided to start a little bit earlier. Unfortunately for my kids this happened to fall right around Halloween. I love costumes. I even think trick-or-treating is kind of fun. What I don't love is the idea of a truckload of junk around the house for weeks after. Thankfully, Mister Giraffe was too small this year to notice the magically disappearing candy. Big Sister gratefully traded all but 4 pieces for 5 bucks. This mama had her fill of fun size candy bars on Sunday night and trashed the rest soon after. Bring on a regular sized baby!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

and the winner is....

Laurie, who said: I'm thinking girl... not sure why. Maybe just to even things out a bit when we are together with all our kids!
The best part? When I told her she won she said I could just pay the next time we get together. Way more fun than a gift card.

The Mister agrees.

two girls for every boy.

More about the ultrasound soon, and of course the winner of the Starbuck's card. But for now, know that she is a she and we are tickled pink.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

dots or monkeys???

Several weeks ago while Everett and I were visiting thrift stores, I picked up two tiny items for the baby #3. Both items together were under $5, and I figured that whichever one I ended up not needing, could be given a good home. Next week is the big ultrasound and I'm curious to hear what you think. Will I be giving away the tiny "boy" monkey sleepsack?*
Or the tiny obviously girl polka dot dress?
Leave your guesses in the comments and I'll put all of the correct guesses in a hat. The winner will receive a Starbucks card in honor of the extreme amount of coffee this babe has had the enjoyed thus far. You're welcome, baby.

*I'm aware that a baby girl could technically wear brown monkeys if she wanted.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

boy oh boy.


He is all boy. All boy with a big sister. That means he loves trucks, tools and cars. And his favorite color is purple. Also, when he plays with babies, he's the daddy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

19 weeks.


In seven days we will find out this baby's gender. The first thing Claire told me when she found out that I'm pregnant is that God told her it was a girl. Hmmm...I've gotten no such message.

This time around, I feel much the same as I did with the other two. Just more tired and older. When I was pregnant with Claire, I needed her to be a girl. With Everett, I thought I wanted him to be a girl and this time, I just want a baby.

It's a good place to be.

Another good place to be when you're me is a Chinese restaurant. Perhaps my year in China conditioned me to crave Chinese food when my stomach is unsettled. With Claire it was macaroni and cheese, with Everett it was root beer. This baby requires Chinese food.

Monday, October 25, 2010

out of my element.

In a strange twist, we traded in our car for a very nice Honda Odyssey and I wound up driving around in a 2010 CRV all weekend, thankyouverymuch.

I struggled more than I'd like to admit with the purchase of the minivan. It felt like defeat. Defeat with a 6 disc changer and automatic doors. The fact that our soon-to-be family of five literally wouldn't fit in the four-seater Element was a deciding factor.

The Element was fun. And while I'd like to pretend that we transformed the backseats to make room for kayaks, what I mostly did in that car was drive around my babies. We crushed raisins into the rubber floor mats, we baptized it in milk. We went on epic journeys to places like Costco.

Today I returned the CRV and its heated seats and fancypants navigation system but I didn't care. The entire trip home was spent listening to Claire plan which friends would sit where in the Odyssey. She counted the seats over and over. 8 seats, Mama!
There's a space between them where sometime this spring, our baby will fit, dodging "affection" from Everett and "help" from Claire. That, my friends, is going to be an adventure.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

what i see when i see them.

I see them as babies, on blankets on my living room floor.
I see phone calls from mommy to mommy while they nap.
I see them the day that Noey was born, holding hands then as they do now. I remember my heart breaking a tiny bit as I thought about what would change and they didn't even know it.They've loved each other and fought over toys since before they they had hair and before they could speak. They've been babies and toddlers and now big girls together. It's gone so fast.

Monday, October 18, 2010

31. find a bread recipe i can make weekly.


Today I made this. It's easy and tasty and the hardest parts are just remembering to leave it alone. Definitely fits my criteria right now.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

mister mischief.

Yesterday you threw a sandwich. At my head.

That pretty much sums up our day. When I remember this fall, I will remember how you stopped being a baby and you started being a boy. You run everywhere. You bring your own tools. You especially love your hammer.

This morning at breakfast, you strung together four words to create a sentence. Here they are:
"Plate! Drop! Bang! Silly." Then you cracked up.

You are becoming all of the things that terrified me about having a boy. And yet. There's this.

I wouldn't change a thing.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

great pumpkins.

Mr. Baby needs to be contained. He loves Claire's preschool at least as much as she does. He runs into the building, refusing to hold my hand, throws open the doors and starts yelling, "CWAIRE! CWAIRE!" Then he goes for the train table or the animals or the light switches. He is a tiny, adorable menace. There are other mothers there to pick up children with other younger siblings who will sit quietly on their mothers' hips and wait for Teacher Sue to dismiss the group. Mine is not one of those boys. When I found out that she'd be having a field trip today with her class, I elected to leave the Mister with a friend. It's rare that I get to see my girl in action with her friends without Everett. She loved the day and so did I. We are fanatical about pumpkin patch trips around here so this is the first of many shots you'll see of my children in boots posing with vegetables. Fall is my favorite season and this is my favorite girl.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

16 weeks.


Remember this, for it is as true as it gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, moose and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.

~Ina May Gaskin, from Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

pickles with my boy.

Sometimes I feel lame because I didn't can 90 pounds of peaches this year. I also didn't make a single batch of freezer jam. Oh, and I blew up my food dehydrator. Instead, I began to train for a triathlon, got really really sick, then started growing a wee tiny babe.

Fermenting pickles was the perfect project for this mama and her boy. Dumping ingredients into jar and placing them on the counter for two weeks and forgetting about them was perfect. He only pre-tasted a few of them and we are all fans of the end result.

Some years you can 90 pounds of peaches. This has not been one of those times for us. And that is okay. We still have our pickles.

Friday, September 24, 2010

pack!

Claire's backpack is a SkipHop one that I found on Amazon. I'm going to have to purchase a backpack for the Mister because Claire's hand-me-down purple and pink "Maui Miss" backpack just looks wrong on him. Funny, but wrong. And of course, he insists on a packpack because she has one.

We are slowly finding our rhythm. Mister Baby is less of a robot without his big sister to entertain him all morning. He mistook cream in my coffee for ice cream at drive thru this week and screamed at me for about 7 miles. In his defense, it was pretty cold of me to get a big iced coffee with cream and only offer him water.

Monday, September 20, 2010

on finding her.

This photo was taken on Everett's due date by my good friend Hollie. I have spent this third pregnancy searching for the girl in this photo. I think I might have found her.

When I was pregnant with Claire, I didn't think a lot about labor. I trusted my body would be able to do what it was designed to do. I read a Bradley book. I took the hospital class. I didn't have opinions about induction or pitocin or drugs. I was told after my c-section that maybe my pelvis was odd-shaped.

Then came Everett. I knew I had to try to labor. I realized all of these old scars that I didn't know were there. I read a ton. I found supportive midwives. I did things differently, and after a long and difficult labor, he emerged from my odd-shaped pelvis.

I have come to realize that if you haven't walked into a hospital thinking that you'd have one kind of birth and left having had a surgery, you can't really know why a person would need to try. Just trust me, that for some of us, the need is real. I haven't met anyone whose birth stories have been like mine. And unless your husband had to drive you to the hospital after you'd been at a 10 and pushing for hours, then you probably can't relate to why I know I need to be in a hospital this time around.

I wish I knew why people say such dumb things to women when they're pregnant. Why we relive our horror stories. I can't hear about your botched forceps delivery. I just can't. I'm sure it's a great story. When I am holding my baby in my arms, you can tell me whatever you want. You can tell me that VBACs are risky. You can. But today, I will smile and nod but I won't be listening.

Monday, September 13, 2010

there she goes.

People asked me if I thought I would cry when I took her to school for the first time today. I didn't. She didn't. Mister sobbed like a baby. He screamed her name as we exited the classroom. I don't have any photos of him. It was her day.

And she loved it.

I keep remembering the day we brought her home from the hospital. How I carted her everywhere in her little bucket carseat. I had no idea what I'd ever find to do with a baby all day long. In time, we found our rhythm. Now, our days are changing again. She has her own stories. I overheard her whispering to her brother over lunch, "Evie, did you know...SCHOOL IS AWESOME."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

2. special dinner & fashion show for first day of school.



We asked her what she wanted on the menu and she asked if we could have rainbow cereal. Vetoed.

We settled for pepperoni and olive pizza (her fave) and a frozen hot chocolate drink she's been requesting since June (spilled twice on the table).

Tomorrow morning, my girlie goes to preschool.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

three little birds.

It always begins with a letter to Claire.

Dear Clairegirl,
First you asked me if we could have another baby. I suggested prayer. You wanted to pray specifically for a sister. I gently reminded you that I really wanted your brother to be a sister and that God had other ideas. I told you what I know to be true, He gives us what we need. Still you wanted to pray. So we did. We asked Him to bring us another baby in His timing. You piped in "Our baby should be a sister!" I didn't know at the time that a tiny one was already on the way.

I can't promise you a sister. And after having a very sick family for most of the summer, the timing of this feels crazy. But, Clairegirl, the timing of your birth was crazy too. The same God who knew that I needed my sweet little Mister knew that I needed you even before I did.

The wonderful thing about number three is the contentment in knowing that baby brother or baby sister, it truly doesn't matter. When a pregnant friend confessed that she was hoping for another girl and ended up with a boy, I could relate. I could also tell her with confidence that she is going to be crazy about her boy. That having a boy is magical. That it is one of the very best things I've ever done. Then she asked me if we'd have another baby and at the time I didn't know that it would be so soon, but I told her I felt sure that there would be one more. She said, "Then you can get your girl." She didn't understand that it didn't matter to me anymore. I hope someday that whoever this baby becomes, HE or SHE will be full of the sweetness I see in you.
Love,
Mama
It always ends with a picture of this guy:

Sweet boy,
You're going to be a terrific big brother. Just please wait to wrestle til the baby can escape your clutches.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

for everett, who today is two.

He is full of contradictions. He is easy. But he is easiest when his big sister is near. He will dive face first off of a climbing structure but wants me to hold his hand down the slide. He has almost no attention span, unless he's in the shop with Nate. He loves trucks and tractors and dirt.
Happy Birthday, Mister Baby. I couldn't love you more.
Love,
Mama

Sunday, August 29, 2010

33. bring flowers to Claire's first ballet recital.


Done.

Manage to film the whole thing with a huge lump in my throat. Done.

Friday, August 20, 2010

enough about food. look at my baby.


He naps every afternoon. She does not. Most days, she has a quiet play time in her room for the majority of his nap. This day, we played UNO. We colored. We cuddled. Then she leaned back on my legs like she did when she was tiny. Only now, she fills the space.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

16. eat entirely local for a week....for after.

A year or so ago, I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I had just finished this book when I started my 33 things list. It is why I wanted to do a week of local eating. It is surprisingly easy to eat locally. We love the farmer's market (I bribe the kids with balloons and trips to the park after). Plus, my kids will do almost anything for fruit. I don't even think Everett missed his bananas this week.

Note: I'm a little embarrassed by the gigantic pile of whipped cream in this picture.

Animal Vegetable Miracle Basil-blackberry Crumble
This I made exactly as described. I would triple the crumble part if I were going to do it again. I like more of an equal fruit to dry part ratio.

The whip cream was really my favorite part of this dessert. I have made this walnut jam cake from smitten kitchen a few times and it is fantastic. I used the recipe for cream topping, substituting maple syrup for the sugar. Love.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

16. eat entirely local for a week....unattractive, yet tasty.

A while back, my generous neighbor offered me space in her garden to plant. I chose to plant beets. I don't particularly love pickled beets, but fresh ones are my friend. A couple of days ago, Lola calls me and says, "You might want to come over and get your beets." Dude. There were a LOT of beets. We will be eating beets for the rest of the month.

Lemon Chicken with Green Tomatoes & Beet Greens
I did a loose translation of this recipe, substituting pickled green tomatoes from my pantry for the green olives and the green stalks from my beets for the parsley. I also omitted the cumin because I wasn't feeling very cumin-y.

We served this with roasted beets. Claire ate hers because I promised her dessert. Evie decided he hates beets with his whole heart. And Nate was a fan of the entire meal.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

16. eat entirely local for a week...what's for breakfast?

This is one of our favorite breakfasts. I love it so much I attempted to take it with us camping and in case you were wondering, that turned out to be a bad idea. Our cooler wasn't prepared for the veggie stench.

Despite those rave reviews, I'd encourage you to try making this. So easy and so good. The measurements and veggies change every time, but this is a rough recipe.
I serve mine with a couple of juicy eggs.

Veggie Hash:
Steam a good head of broccoli
Then, pulse together in a food processor with:
garlic
red pepper
zucchini
yellow squash
kale
a little onion


Stir together with salt and pepper
Oil or butter a pan on medium. Throw veggies in and let them brown a bit, while making your kitchen smell awesome. Move it around the pan til the veggies are nice and golden.
Eat.

Monday, August 16, 2010

16. eat entirely local for a week....round 2.

Our last attempt at eating locally ended with a month-long bout of horrible sickness. Hooray for local food!

Thankfully, we are all healthy enough to attempt this again. Here's what you should be making tonight for dinner. Ours was tasty, but I didn't make nearly enough.*

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup
I made a soup similar to this, omitting the red pepper and paprika. I also substituted a bit of cream for some of the stock. I added a big handful of basil just before I pureed it. Holy cow, guys. You should do that.

We had ours with steamed green beans from some friends. The tomatoes I used were a mix of yellow and red from the farmer's market this week and they were fantastic. I made the original recipe several times last summer and love both.

*Seriously, I would double this recipe if I were making it for a family.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

diagnosis: normal.

She asked if I wanted him added to the prayer chain and I said no. I didn't want to bother people. The truth? I didn't want people to think that something was wrong with him. But something has been wrong. I didn't want them to see anything but my sweet little Mister. I wanted him to be normal.

Only he has this thing. These febrile seizures, which turn out to be not such a huge thing. Still, signing him into his classroom at church and marking the special instructions section on the sheet made it real. People that are going to watch him have to know.

We spoke with the neurologist yesterday and he isn't recommending any more tests. Which is great because I'm certain my little heart can't take a sedated Mister Baby and an MRI. For now, we wait for him to outgrow these seizures. We wait. We live our lives and breathe a little.

Monday, August 09, 2010

my boy.

Is doing wonderfully well. Thank you for asking.

I'll post more tomorrow, for tonight just know that he is healing and hasn't had any more seizures. We appreciate your prayers.

Friday, August 06, 2010

where else can i go?

I wish I could adequately describe the terror of looking in the backseat and seeing your toddler convulsing and turning blue. I just can't. It is scary. Thankfully, the Dada was with me. We are seasoned in seizures. We spend the days that follow unable to breathe, unable to sleep, talking in code. We obsess about doses of Tylenol. We worry that he's not eating. We watch for signs.

For the first few nights, she is full of questions. She brings cool cloths and water and offers help. She looks at me earnestly as I rock him and says, "You can call me if you need me."

Today, I laid him down for a nap and a few minutes later, returned to find this:

If a blog post could be a prayer,then this is mine: Please,God no more sickness in this house. Please be here in the midst of all of this. It feels like too much but I believe what You've said and I hold onto You the way they were holding onto each other.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

better than flowers.


Today Nate brought these home. Well played, husband.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

more from the beach.


When you've spent most of your summer under the weather a few clouds aren't going to keep you from rocking a swim suit. Even at the Oregon Coast.

Monday, July 26, 2010

nater.

Did you know that when we were dating Nate and I tried to break up with each other?

We were set in our ways. We were crazy about each other, but a little freaked out about the prospect of forever.

One night I had this dream about a small, white-haired boy learning to walk. The hands stretched out to catch him were calloused. The tattoo was even there. I knew that this was the person I wanted to be my kids' Dada. I chose well.
I know my kids agree.