28 June 2015

Answer Me This

Joining the fun over at Catholic All Year again today!

1. How long have you lived in your current home?

Very nearly a year; we signed the lease on our apartment a year ago next weekend. It's a lovely house, warm in the winter, if hot in the summer, and we've become rather spoiled having a fireplace, garage, and south-facing deck... We would love to find a house of our own, though, instead of continuing to rent.

2. How do you find out about news and current events?

Mostly through blogs and Facebook. I do follow Alaska's biggest newspaper on Facebook, though, so they are probably my main source of non-Catholic news and current events, particularly from around the state.

3. Would you be able to make change for a twenty right now? For a dollar?

Not a twenty! Maybe a one, if we're at home and I have access to our spare change stein. (Because we can't be normal people and use a jar.) Instead of carrying a proper wallet, I usually just have my phone with me; the case has room for my drivers license, credit card, and a folded bill or two. 

4. What's the craziest food you've ever eaten?

I can't really think of anything; we eat a lot of wild game unique to Alaska, moose, caribou/reindeer, grouse, etc., and Matt and I enjoy several types of Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, but nothing that's striking me as being all that unusual. Although Matt would tell you that my willingly eating moldy cheese (i.e. Gorgonzola) is certainly crazy. Oh! Well, this doesn't seem particularly crazy to me, but I would think that to people not from Alaska, it doesn't sound exactly normal that we regularly shoot for having a reindeer roast for Christmas dinner...

5. Which of the commonly removed parts have you had removed (tonsils, wisdom teeth, appendix, etc)?

I had all four wisdom teeth removed a couple of years ago.

6. What's your favorite sport to watch on TV?

Would it make me sound terribly old and boring to say the PGA Tour? I grew up loving pro football, but right now, something that moves at a more leisurely pace, to which I don't actually have to pay constant attention to keep up on what's happening, and which usually has beautiful views of the scenery around the course, sounds about right.

I don't think this is still the case in my parents' house, but once upon a time when I was a kid, sports came on after Mass every Sunday without fail. In the summertime, the only sporting event happening midday was golf, so that's what we watched; the siblings closest to me in age probably remember our ridiculous rivalries over which of our favorite golfers (usually split between Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods) would have a better day. The kids still at home now have probably never heard either of those names... Okay, now I feel like I deserve the "old and boring" title.

We had a visiting priest today, and unfortunately I was changing Kit right at the beginning of Mass so I didn't catch his name or where he's from, but wow, some parish is sure lucky to have him! His homily, about Friday's SCOTUS decision, was quite blunt. Every major civilization throughout history has destroyed itself from the inside, Father said, by choosing to live without reality, without natural and moral law, acting as though God does not exist or matter. In doing so, they have made themselves ripe for invasion and obliteration. He is a lawyer, and went on to make it clear that the SCOTUS decision invents a "right" not found anywhere in the U.S. Constitution or in the intentions of the Founding Fathers. I'm sure that some people in the congregation were offended by the homily, but Matt made a point of stopping to thank him for what he'd said on our way out after Mass.

In 2003, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, issued Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, which was approved and promulgated by St. John Paul II. In it, it is made clear that:

"In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection." (Article II, paragraph 3).

The entire thing is worth a read!

Did you hear anything about the ruling at church today?

24 June 2015


Well, the smoke did leave Monday afternoon, but by the time Matt and I were getting ready for bed that night it was back. We ran around and shut down the house, grateful that we'd at least gotten it a little cooler for the night, but it was still above 80 and stuffy by morning.

Yesterday, Matt did some research into air conditioners, fans and air filtration. At this point, A/C units seem like too inefficient an option; expensive to operate, only able to cool small areas, not really compatible with the arrangement of our apartment (an open floor plan and very few windows that actually open). Fans... work well enough for us to sleep, but with windows closed they are just circulating the hot air; we had fans running in both bedrooms last night, and both rooms held steady at 83 degrees all night.

One of the fires closest to town (although still more than an hour's drive away) grew by more than 14,000 acres yesterday, and that's just one of the more than 200 fires actively burning across the state right now; we're not likely to see an end to the smoke for a while, not without a whole lot of rain. Our Air Quality Index is now a solid Unhealthy, and I'm starting to feel it in the back of my throat, a dry scratchiness that has me being extra careful to keep Kit and Little Bear out of the smoke. 

Matt and Little Bear built two window air filters yesterday afternoon out of box fans and two layers of A/C filters, first a standard filter to block dust and large particulates, then a very fine filter for the smoke. They have been working pretty well, bringing in cooler air but keeping out the smoke. This morning the smoke outside is visibly heavier, and some is getting in around the edges... Running the air cleaner in the middle of the living room seems to be filtering out most of the smoke that's getting in, so I'm keeping Kit on the far side of the air cleaner.

The sheet hanging over the doorway, combined with the strong pull of the fan, works startlingly well to block the smoke.

This afternoon we'll put one fan/filter unit in Little Bear's bedroom window, move the air cleaner into the room, and then close the door and hope to get the room cool enough for him to sleep with the window closed tonight. It's unfortunate that we can't run the fan/filters at night, because the air is coolest then, but we live in Alaska—it's sunny all night! The window shades have to be closed.

Apparently there is a "dense smoke advisory" in effect until noon today, so hopefully it will lessen after noon?

Oh, one other fun wrench in everything: We learned yesterday that due to the extreme fire danger, the burn ban encompassing most of the state has been expanded to include charcoal grills, among other things. We'd intended to grill all week, to avoid heating up the house because we can't cool it back down! Sometime today we're going to run over to my parents' house so Matt can cook a bunch of chicken on their (gas) grill, and I'll work on finding cold chicken meal ideas. Suggestions would be welcome! So far all I can come up with is chicken salad.

There are possible thunderstorms in the forecast for tomorrow, and more over the weekend; pray that they bring lots of rain, and that lightening doesn't start any more fires!

22 June 2015

Te Deum

Thank you, Lord! We can open the windows this evening.

We're forecast to stay in the 80s until Friday. Living in Alaska, we don't have air conditioning, so 85 outside means 85 inside. Being able to get a crossbreeze through in the evenings has been the one thing making bedtime bearable. This morning, we woke up to rust-tinted sunlight, a haze obscuring even the far side of the driveway, and one of my least-favorite scents of summer: smoke.

Summer is "fire season," but in our part of the state we really haven't seen any smoke or fires yet this year. Last night, though, a lot of smoke blew in from a wildfire about an hour and a half south of us. Our Air Quality Index this morning was moderate-to-unhealthy, and forecast to get worse in the evening. With Kit not even a week old, we couldn't risk bringing that smoke in by opening up the house like we usually do to cool everything down, and by midday everyone was hot and grumpy. Matt picked up three bags of ice from the gas station around 3, and we tested out the common suggestion of setting a bowl full of ice in front of a fan. It sort of worked... for ten minutes at a time, and then the bowl was full of water. We were not exactly optimistic about the coming night.

At 5, Matt went out to start the grill (no way are we turning on the stove/oven in this heat!) and quickly called me outside: the smoke was gone! The light is definite still filtering through smoke—the sky is still grey, and the light has a ruddy cast—but the smell of smoke is gone, and the haze is off toward the next hill rather than right across the driveway. We quickly opened doors and windows; the house will be cool enough for sleeping tonight! Thank you, Lord, for shifting the wind!

21 June 2015

Answer Me This for Father's Day

Happy Father's Day! Matt's Father's Day and our first time bringing two kids to Mass was a little more exciting than usual; Kit nursed or slept the entire time, but Little Bear was having a hard time handling the heat (it's been horribly hot, and is expected to remain so up until next weekend... ugh) so he and Matt wound up in the cry room so they could be next to an open window.

We had a pleasant, fairly calm day at home, punctuated by wild wrestling matches between Matt and Little Bear, and to avoid heating up the house any more than it already was, we decided to have fun with supper and made a pizza on the grill.

I did wind up typing this out on Tuesday evening, "just in case," so I actually have a post for Answer Me This today despite the foggy brain from dear Kit not knowing day from night...

1. What's the best thing about your dad?

His readiness to help his family with anything, combined with a sense of when to offer help, and when to let us figure things out on our own and only give help/advice if it's requested.

2. If you've got kids, what is the best thing about THEIR dad?

Even after a long, stressful day, when he really just wants to zone out, he is always willing to wrestle with Little Bear, have a water gun fight, or even get Little Bear to help him in the kitchen making supper if Kit needs me to be sitting down and nursing her.

3. What's the best advice your dad ever gave you?

I don't remember any exact words, but he did a thorough job of instilling a solid work ethic and an awareness of the importance of saving money from the time I was young... and then let me know when I'd taken him a little too literally and wouldn't buy decent running shoes in high school "because I'm saving for college," promising that if the price of a pair of running shoes was all that stood between me and college, he'd make up the difference. And he didn't even let me see him roll his eyes at my ridiculousness!

4. What's something you have in common with your dad?

Matt says, "You both make lots of lists. He has lists for every kind of trip, every season of every kind of trip. And you make lists of everything... You even make lists of lists." Which is very true, and yet I never would have thought of it as something we had in common.

5. What's the manliest thing you know how to do?

Turning a 1/4"-thick sheet of plastic into a freight sled by hand... Does that count? 

6. Who is your favorite fictional dad?

I'm going to go with Commander Ted Walker, of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series. He's very rarely seen as a character, as he's frequently deployed, but he has clearly done an excellent job of raising respectful, confident and capable children. It is his telegram, "Better drowned than duffers if not duffers won't drown," that allows the Walker children to begin their adventures. His children all clearly look up to him, desire to make him proud, and have great respect for the things he's taught them.

18 June 2015

Introducing Kit

Meet Kit! She was born yesterday morning, just two and a half hours after we got to the birth center. At 7 lbs 2 oz and 20" long, Kit is a little bigger than Little Bear was. So far she definitely has day and night mixed up; she was wide-eyed and wanting to nurse pretty much straight from 10 pm to 4 am. She and I both got a solid four hours of sleep after that, though, and she's been a little more alert today than yesterday.

More later when I'm more awake. We're all doing fine, and so happy to have Kit here with us!

14 June 2015

Answer Me This returns! with What I Wore Sunday

Hooray for Kendra! Her linkup Answer Me This is back for the summer. 

1. Any big plans for the summer?

Like Kendra, the biggest thing I have happening this summer is having a baby... hopefully soon! I've been pretty hermit-y so far this summer because prodromal labor has made going places, doing things, and seeing people difficult. I don't really anticipate becoming much less reclusive for a while after the baby comes, what with having a brand-new tiny person in the house, but it'll be nice to eventually be able to get out and enjoy the summer!

2. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?

That the Easter bunny wore bunny boots. They're the winter footwear of choice for many Alaskans, and here Easter is definitely always still wintry. And with a name like that? My dad didn't have too much trouble convincing us as little kids, which was good for him, otherwise the bunny boot tracks all over the snowy back yard where he'd hidden the jelly bean-filled Easter eggs would have been a dead giveaway as to the bunny's identity!

3. What is your favorite amusement park ride?

None? I've never actually been to an amusement park. With such a short snow-free season compared to the rest of the country, it wouldn't make much economic sense to build one in Alaska.

4. What's on your summer reading list?

I just recently finished Catholic Philosopher Chick Comes On Strong, by Regina Doman and Rebecca Bratten-Weis. It was a fun read, and I enjoyed it (especially Cate's philosophy classes), but I didn't enjoy it as much as I did the first (Catholic Philosopher Chick Makes Her Debut). I'm optimistically looking forward to the next one coming out, though.

Currently, I'm working my way through Light from Heaven by Jan Karon and Parenting With Grace by the Popcaks. I keep setting the Mitford book down and losing it, so it's taking me a while. Parenting With Grace has been great; they cite current research into young children's developmental capabilities, which I appreciate, and we've already seen improvements as we have started trying to implement their "self-donative" parenting style. I love that it's based on a TOB understanding of relationships!

Next up, Molly Sabourin's Close to Home: One Orthodox mother's quest for patience, peace and perseverance. It's been on my wishlist for at least a year, and it only just recently occurred to me to see if it was available on Kindle... It is! I'm looking forward to picking it up during middle-of-the-night nursing sessions.

5. Have you ever fallen asleep in public?

If planes count as "in public," then definitely yes. Same goes for airports. I don't think anywhere else, though, and in neither planes nor airports was it ever unintentional.

6. What is your favorite smell?

Fresh-baked bread!

And, because I knew that I was going to find some way to get a post written today no matter what, because I was so excited about Answer Me This being back, I actually remembered to have Matt take a photo on our way out the door this morning so that I could link up with Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday as well!

(Okay, if I'd gone into labor for real midday, it might have taken an extra day or two to get my Answer Me This written... but not for any lesser reason! Hmm... now I might have to go fill out my answers to next week's questions, just in case, so that I'm ready :-)

Seriously, though, What I Wore Sunday:

Dress is from Motherhood Maternity; it was actually my Easter dress, but I hadn't yet gotten a picture of myself wearing it. It's so comfortable! And wow, Matt found an angle to take the photo from this morning that totally does not capture my "I look like a beached whale" feeling every time I walk past a mirror. It was oh-so-glamorously paired for Mass this morning with black flip flops borrowed from my mom, because with my ridiculous hobbit feet right now none of my shoes are even making an attempt at fitting, and none of the real shoes my mom and sister let me try fit either. Oh, and a very lightweight cocoa-brown sweater to cover my shoulders, which I was very very happy to take off after we got back in the car because it's getting hot out again!

Have a blessed new week!

13 June 2015

Several Quick Takes

Oh goodness, it's Friday again already. I got close to no sleep last night—not Little Bear's fault; baby is "helping" me get ready for her arrival, I guess—so I don't know if I have the brain to make Seven Quick Takes happen today. Let's see how many I can get through...

Since moving Little Bear from his mattress on the floor to the bottom bunk on Sunday, he's fallen out of bed once a night every night except for last night. We stick a couple of pillows on the floor each night, and he doesn't even really wake up when he falls out of bed... We just hear a "thump" over the monitor, and one of us goes and puts him back in bed. I'm so grateful that he's been sleeping well! He's an Alaskan kid for sure: we're within ten days of the summer solstice now so it's pretty light all night long, and having light coming in under and around his window shade all night hasn't seemed to affect his sleep at all, even now that he's closer to the window in the big bed.

In the last 24 hours both my midwife and my chiropractor have made comments about "oh, your poor feet!", so I'm feeling a little better about being unhappy with how swollen they are. I'd kind of assumed this was normal and I was just being a wimp and hadn't experienced it to this degree with Little Bear because he was born earlier than this. I'm sure that's part of it, but also I might just be more-than-typically prone to edema and didn't discover it with Little Bear because I spent a huge percentage of the last few weeks pregnant with him sitting down with my feet up. That doesn't work when there's a little kid to chase around everywhere! It would be lovely if baby decided to come before we jump back up into the mid-80s next week and I get to deal with end-of-pregnancy hobbit feet combined with hot-summer-weather hobbit feet.

A couple of weeks ago we signed Little Bear up for the public library's summer reading program. This year they have a superhero theme, and he's excited beyond words every time we go in and he sees the larger-than-life Spider-Man balloon crouched on the ceiling. Yesterday we stopped in on the way to my midwife appointment to get his weekly stamp, and on the way out he spotted a giant book of "5-minute Marvel stories." I've done a little "editing" as I read to avoid defining concepts that just don't break down into 3yo-friendly language or to spend less time/emphasis on superheroic battles, but it's been a fun introduction for me to some Marvel characters I hadn't yet come across.

...and now it's late Saturday night, and I have nothing, because baby thinks it's more fun to start and stop contractions than to let me sleep, and bedtime for Little Bear was rough tonight. Rather than pulling thought fragments of of my fuzzy brain and tossing them haphazardly down on the page, let's just let this be finished and try again next week, shall we? Since I'm cheating this week I'm not going to link up with Seven Quick Takes, but don't let that stop you from checking out others' posts!

11 June 2015

Celebrating the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

Tomorrow, June 12, is the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And I'm actually getting my act together in advance to share our ideas for celebrating!

I'd planned to replicate last year's Sacred Heart Pepper Pizza, but after yesterday's excitement, the homemade pita and falafel I had on the menu were not happening after we got home... We made a quick pizza instead. Oops. Not quite sure what we'll be having for Friday's main supper now, but Catholic Cuisine has a bunch of ideas for Sacred Heart-themed desserts. Little Bear and I just picked up some strawberries at the grocery store, so maybe something I'll do something that takes advantage of the heart/triangle shape strawberries so easily slice into.

A grilled supper could be thematically appropriate too, given the flames in the Sacred Heart image... I'll have to suggest that to Matt. He's usually game for firing up the grill on summer evenings.

And according to Canon 1251, "Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday." (Emphasis mine.) Since the Sacred Heart is not only a solemnity but also the patronal feast of our diocesan cathedral, I'm thinking tomorrow might be a reasonable day to throw some caribou steaks on the grill!

If you have kids who like to color, I've just discovered the beautiful (and free!!) Catholic coloring pages by Aleesa at Life, Love & Sacred Art. She recently posted one of the Sacred Heart, and I love it! It's printed off and ready for Little Bear to color tomorrow morning.

I don't have the energy for much more than coloring pages and a somehow-related supper these days... What are you doing to celebrate?

10 June 2015

That was fun

(Spoilers: no baby yet)

This morning, I woke up an hour earlier than usual with contractions. "I know I said I'd drive you to work today," I told Matt, "but I'm not sure that I can drive." He took the car, making me promise to actually time the contractions and keep him updated.

A hot shower didn't change anything; standing, walking, sitting, laying down... nothing made any difference in the contractions: they held pretty steady, about a minute long, two to five minutes apart. After two and a half hours, I gave in to the hope that maybe this wasn't prodromal labor, and called my midwife.

"It wouldn't hurt to come in and be checked," she said. Matt finished up his current project at work while I read five more picture books and herded Little Bear into his breakup boots. Little Bear was thrilled with the unexpected trip to Grandma's house, and Matt and I talked about how nice it would be if the baby really did come today all the way to the birth center. 

We were there for not quite two hours. The contractions kept coming at the same close intervals, showing up on the monitoring strip to prove that I wasn't crazy to think I was feeling them, but... they weren't really doing anything. We were welcome to stay for another hour or two to see if things picked up, my midwife offered, but we opted to go get Little Bear from my mom's house and head back home. And by the time we were home, the contractions had completely disappeared. Again.

Six hours of prodromal labor this morning. How am I going to make myself believe that I'm in real actual having-the-baby-now labor before the baby is actively being born, y'all? This is definitely not doing anything for my confidence that we'll make it there in time, because if the contractions can come in a regular labor pattern for six hours and then stop? I don't want to go back in until it's inescapably obvious that labor won't be stopping until after the baby arrives. And now that I have confirmation that this time around, noticeable contractions do not mean that the baby's arrival is immanent, I'm feeling a lot more comfortable waiting until we reach the "inescapably obvious" point. Which miiiight be too late.

We'll see what happens, I guess! Hopefully soon. It seems like there are a number of saints associated with pregnancy or childbirth, but I don't know that any are directly tapped as intercessors for women who just want to have their babies already...

St Gerard Majella, patron of expectant mothers and unborn children, pray for us!
St Margaret of Antioch, patroness of expectant mothers and childbirth, pray for us!
St Anne, patroness of women in labor, pray for us!
St Erasmus, patron of women in labor, pray for us!
St Brigid of Kildare, patroness of babies and midwives, pray for us!

Any other suggestions for me?

09 June 2015

Things that have not yet brought on labor

I know, I know; the baby will come whenever the baby is ready. But I can't quite help hoping that we can encourage her to hurry up... So far, no dice. 

- helping to set up and stack bunk beds 
- spending all morning on my feet in the kitchen making all the things 
- building IKEA-style drawers on my hands and knees with a "helpful" almost-3yo
- driving bumpy dirt roads
- going for a walk

Not all in one day! I would be even less mobile than I am now. Bunk beds were Sunday, and did trigger some contractions, but they went away after an hour or so. Monday I spent hours in the kitchen, making applesauce, sandwich bread, granola bars, snickerdoodles, and sun tea. And then went and walked around the grocery store in the afternoon. No contractions worth paying attention to, but my hands and feet (especially feet!) were pretty swollen by bedtime. This afternoon I assembled a set of drawers, which had many more Phillips-head screws than I'd anticipated and took close to two hours of kneeling and crawling and grumbling. I'm worn out this evening, so maybe I should be grateful not to be having contractions? 

Because I was tired, it was the perfect evening for us to have planned a grilled supper; Matt lit the charcoal as soon as he got home, and when the grill was ready he just had to grab the chicken I already had marinating in the fridge. All I had to do was stick pots of rice and carrots on the stove, and then go put my feet up.

Grilled Lemon-Basil Chicken

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

Place halved chicken breasts in a resealable bag. Combine remaining ingredients in a food processor and pulse 30 seconds. Pour into bag with chicken, squish around well, and refrigerate for at least an hour. Grill at about 400 degrees F for four to six minutes per side, or until done.

I have to admit something: before this afternoon, I had never used a real lemon in cooking. A recipe called for lemon zest? Just throw in a little extra bottled lemon juice; there's not really a difference, is there? Little Bear helpfully added a lemon to my grocery cart yesterday, and by the time I noticed it I didn't have the energy to walk back over to the produce section, so I used the real thing today. Oh. my. word. My hands, my kitchen, everything still smells like lemon, the chicken had the most wonderful "brightness" to it, I am now spoiled. It's going to be so disappointing to go back to the bottled stuff!

Totally a grasping-at-straws hope here, but we made a fun/fancy chicken meal the night before Little Bear was born, and now this little one has been up to the most ridiculous gymnastics for the last hour or so... I haven't even had any sugar tonight! Maybe something will happen tonight? Or maybe she just likes the fresh lemon, too.

07 June 2015

Sunday rambling

I don't know if I have anything really worth talking about tonight—no photo, so I can't link up with What I Wore Sunday; no cute baby to share photos of yet—but I'm just laying here trying to ignore the contractions again forever as usual, because they're probably not going to lead to anything but I'm a little to uncomfortable to be productive, so look, words on a page!

We actually did have some excitement this weekend, now that I think about it. Last night my sister watched Little Bear so Matt and I could go out one last time before the baby comes. We realized that whenever we've gone out we've only ever dropped him off at my parents' house, and that it would probably be good to see how he did with someone watching him at our apartment in case we wind up going to the birth center in the middle of the night. He was very happy, and did not want her to leave when we got home, so I don't think we have to worry about that! Our dinner was good, but we wound up having to come home early; it was bright and sunny when we got to the restaurant, so we sat on their deck overlooking the river, but not long after our food arrived storm clouds blew over and we had to run for cover from the rain and hail! We decided we'd rather just have our food boxed up to go home, instead of trying to find a table inside.

This morning at the end of Mass, our parish had a procession for Corpus Christi! I was so happy they did, even though I couldn't participate... Too much walking for the very pregnant lady who can't walk very well these days. Everyone else in the church participated, though, and apparently Little Bear was good and cooperative for Matt.

Speaking of Little Bear and cooperation. We did move his mattress-on-the-floor to the opposite corner of his room a week or two ago to try to help limit the amount of fussing the neighbors were hearing through the wall, but moving it created a new problem: He had liked to fall asleep sprawled the length of his pillow, pressed against the wall, and now because of the location of the closet there was no wall at the head of the bed. It was making bedtime very difficult; we realized we needed some kind of headboard for him, and decided that if we were getting one kid bed, it made the most sense to just get a set of bunk beds so that we'd have the choice of bunked or separated beds once Kit is old enough for a bed. Yesterday we found a sturdy bunk bed at Sam's Club, and this morning my brother and his friend helped me pick it up in his truck while Matt was helping to set up for the parish picnic (he's on the parish council).

Since Matt had already spent hours at the park getting ready for the picnic and I didn't really feel up to lots of walking or fielding a hundred variations of "you haven't had that baby yet?", and getting Little Bear's bed equipt with a headboard was high on our priority list, we decided to stay home from the picnic this afternoon and assemble the bunk bed. Matt definitely did most of the work, but I helped with reading instructions, counting out screws and bolts, and holding things steady. It took a lot more time than we expected, but they look really nice. 

And, I just discovered that Kendra of Catholic All Year is temporarily bringing back what is possibly my favorite link-up, Answer Me This, beginning next Sunday! I'm sure looking forward to it.

And now I'm not quite sure whether the contractions have stopped, or I've just gotten better at ignoring them... Time to start paying attention again. Have a good week, y'all!

05 June 2015

Seven Quick Takes

No baby yet. 

I realize, intellectually, that it's completely illogical of me to complain or be unhappy about not having had this baby yet, given that I'm only 38 weeks. But after all of the concern about pre-term labor, and the past two weeks of prodromal labor, and the fact that "everyone knows" that subsequent babies come earlier/faster... I have been. We were focused for so long—we had to be—on the fact that baby just had to stay put "until 37 weeks," that it hadn't really occurred to me that this baby might not be here by now, let alone that she might stay put longer than Little Bear did. And so now I'm unreasonably frustrated.

Can't write off St Erasmus as an intercessor, though; I may not have gone into labor yet, but I was asking his intercession for both myself and a friend, and she had her baby the following day. Maybe my prayers for myself were answered, too, and the answer was "Stop complaining and practice being patient, because you're going to need all the patience you can get." Which is a fact, and I should do that.

Having been focused on a possible early arrival does have one benefit: everything is ready for whenever Kit does decide it's show time. With Little Bear, I kind of haphazardly stuck some things into a bag in the half hour between calling my midwife to explain that I didn't think I was in labor but my husband did, and leaving for the hospital; we wound up having to stay several days, and there were some frustrated phone conversations as I tried to remember and explain to Matt where in my dresser the articles of clothing I'd forgotten were. And I'm pretty sure none of the clothes I'd grabbed for Little Bear actually fit him, because he was tiny, and I didn't know there was a difference between "newborn" clothes and "0-3 mo" clothes.

This time, there's a bag for Little Bear (for Grandma's house) and a bag for Kit & I ready in the car just in case one of these bouts of prodromal labor stretches longer than an hour and a half and the midwives want me to come in. (It does still need a hairbrush and toothbrush, and I can 89% guarantee that I'm going to forget both.) The baby's car seat is in the car, although somehow there's a nerf disc wedged in the base that should really be taken out before the seat gets buckled in... Clothes, blankets, diapers; the ring sling just arrived in the mail, so I'm pretty sure everything is ready.

(So you can come any time now, little one... :-)

Okay, I'm sorry; just because the baby is occupying a huge percentage of my thoughts these days, I'm sure not everyone is as interested! Non-baby-related takes... Ah. So, that nerf gun disc: my sister (sophomore in college) was over last week helping me move some heavy things, and she found a nerf gun in the top of Little Bear's closet that we'd completely forgotten about. She showed him how it worked, and it was immediately his favorite toy; it took until Wednesday for him to lose all three discs, but up until then he gleefully spent hours reloading and shooting it at walls, doors, the ceiling, and a target Matt set up for him.

I managed to actually put real food on the table for supper every day this week. I know; I'm shocked too! Sweet'n'sour meatballs with carrots and bell peppers on Sunday, chicken enchiladas and corn on Monday, (celebrated my brother's birthday at my parents' house Tuesday), chicken pot pie on Wednesday, caribou/broccoli stir fry on Thursday, and tuna noodle casserole with peas tonight. Tomorrow the schedule says grilled pork chops, but I don't think we have enough charcoal, so we'll either have to stop at the hardware store or be creative. 

It seems like a reasonable goal for next week to continue that streak; I planned this week's menu last Saturday, instead of on Sunday like I usually do, so maybe I'll try doing next week's menu tomorrow and see if that somehow helps.

We've been trying to be more mindful of "logical/natural consequences" with Little Bear recently, allowing him to see that X thing (which he doesn't like) happens when he does Y thing (which we've told him not to). So far we've had several "puddle of sobbing child" moments when he realizes that yes, I really am going to let him walk across the garage floor in his socks since he chose to take his boots off in the car... He's clearly learning, though, because it isn't happening nearly as often. I like the logical nature of the method; rather than assigning an arbitrary, unrelated punishment to an action we don't want him to persist in, it's teaching him that we make rules for his own good.

Have a good weekend! For more quick takes, head on over to This Ain't The Lyceum.

02 June 2015

St Erasmus

This morning, I learned that today is the feast day of St Erasmus of Formia, also known as St Elmo. A martyr from the era of Diocletian's persecutions, St Erasmus is the patron of numerous types of abdominal pains, including... women in labor. 

It doesn't say anything about "women who wish they were in labor," but I figure it's worth asking his intercession today anyway. I don't know that today I'm doing particularly worse than any other day in the last week or so, probably about the same, but oh I'm so sick of feeling like this! I would be so happy to "just" be exhausted from being up all night with an infant.

Today is also my brother's birthday, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind sharing the day with his niece or nephew :-)

37 weeks 4 days... Not too much longer, I hope! And I know what I said about trying to convince myself that I'm just not going to have this baby for a couple of weeks yet, but that's such a terribly discouraging thought... I'm doing a decent job of not trying to track contractions, though. Matt asked this morning whether they were coming in a regular pattern, and I didn't know; I figure that by the time it's important for me to be aware of them, it'll be impossible to ignore them, so I may as well just not think about it too much until we reach that point.

St Erasmus of Formia, pray for us!