Monthly Archives: October 2010

Dance of Coats

Overnight we have been plunged into winter. Yesterday was my first prenatal since becoming overdue and rumor has it that the large winter storm that came through last night and is still lingering today will effect the barometric pressure so much that all the babies due within a couple weeks will be born before Halloween. I can only hope.

When I woke-up this morning I knew I simply had to get out of the house so I was off to Peapods to pick up a late birthday present for Mavis. We still haven’t celebrated her recent milestone of 2 so I felt like I better prepare. Soon the baby will come and soon things will go back to “normal,” at least I will be able to bend over again–an essential skill as any mom knows.

Except I realized that we are not a normal family. With the coming of really cold weather comes a host of logistical problems. I remember how relieved I was last year when the weather finally got warm enough to do away with coats and shoes became an option. it is oh so much easier getting children out ot the house when they can go as they are.

Two nights ago we were going to go for an evening walk. Coats and boots were required and I almost lost my mind trying to get everyone dressed, especially since some of these clothing items haven’t been used for over 4 month.

So today my task is to evaluate coats, mittens, hats, boots, scarves, snow pants and all those good things and see what is missing from our family inventory.

At Peapods I found these great tools for keeping mittens attached to coats. They had 3 (2 “girl” colors and 1 “boy”) so it seemed perfect.

Coats and mittens are now secure. Two has boots but no snow pants. We have 1 pair of boots that is tight on Avril but too big for Mavis. The girls both have snow pants and we have plenty of hats and scarves.

Now the question is how do we store these extra items in a way that is neat and tidy but encourages the children to get dressed by themselves, and prehaps more importantly clean up after themselves? I am really regretting not getting that coat rack I saw at Ikea a couple months ago, but back then it was warm and didn’t seem a priority.

I ordered a new book from Vision Forum called Large Family Logistics. Just as the weather changed overnight, almost overnight I realized we are on the verge of being a “large family.” In any case I definitely need help with logistics. Coats are just the tip of the iceberg. But for now the plan is to keep the 3 everyday coats in the front hall closet and all the snow pants and extras in the children’s closet in their room. Hopefully in a semi organized way. Shoes I haven’t figured out quite yet, maybe something like this with bins for each child to keep their shoes in. I don’t know.

Proeun says we are simply outgrowing our house, which I think just means we need more organizing. I started with the coats.

Overdue!! Still waiting for Baby

Avril trying to coax the baby out with sweet words and a kiss.

Yes we are actually officially “overdue”! None of my other 3 pregnancies have gone this long. It certainly seems odd that the one that could potentially have ended in the shortest amount of time has now gone overdue. I know all the jargon about how a due date is just an estimate and how really anything between 37-42 weeks gestation is considered normal, but seriously. I have been dilated to 3 for about 8 weeks now and the baby’s head is so low they couldn’t even get a good shot of it on the ultrasound when I went in the hospital way back on the 10th of September. The midwives have been telling me that they don’t often see women walking around dilated to 3 with the head completely engaged (they estimated around station 2 with 5 being completely out).

So a week ago Saturday I started seriously trying to encourage this baby to make its appearance. Here are some of the things I tried.

1. rubbed castor oil on my belly
2. external massage to stimulate contractions
3. visualization and meditation
4. Evening Primrose OIl capsules 3 times a day for 7 days
5. One glass of basil root tea a day for 7 days (remedy from my mother-in-law).
6. On the 16th I drank 2 oz of castor oil mixed with 2 oz of orange juice every hour for 3 hours. Supposedly labor was supposed to start within 3-5 hours of the last dose. It didn’t I just had a really really miserable night.
7. This Eggplant Parmesan Recipe that claims to have helped 300 babies come into the world within 48 hours.

And of course we have tried the good old fashioned #1 labor inducing activity but to no avail.

Last night I was saying something about when the baby comes and Two said, “Who? Mavis?” When I said “No the new baby.” He said, “Oh I forgot we were having a baby.”

Seriously after 40 weeks of pregnancy and thinking the baby could literally come “any day now” for 8 weeks it is really easy to wonder, “Is there really a baby in there?” and “Will it ever come out?” It will right? Eventually? I must be close by now.

3 weeks till a habit–good food

I have heard that it only takes 3 weeks or 21 days to develop a habit. When I went on bedrest I didn’t realize exactly what that would mean for our family. During that time a couple bad habits developed in particular–too much TV watching and no cooking at home. I am so so so thankful for all the people that brought us delicious food, but now I am so out of practice I am finding it difficult to come up with ideas.

Actually the journey to little cooking began earlier in the year. I would often lament that we had all this great, organic produce but little time to make it. Since we were commuting to our farm if I didn’t plan ahead and bring items home to cook then I was out of luck, plus there was just the time and energy constraints of commuting, farming, Proeun working full time, being pregnant, and trying to keep the children grounded.

Now we are in our quiet season and it feels so nice. We still have some winter produce around now I just need to get my act together and start cooking. Luckily winter is my favorite time to eat.

This week we made, “3 Pepper White Chili” and “Roasted Almonds”. The chili used our homegrown dried beans, Hutterite Soup Beans, peppers, onions and garlic grown by one of the other farmers.  

Roasted Almonds are another favorite snack to have around the house. Sorry I wasn’t thinking enough to get pictures but here are the recipes. I will keep you posted on our quest to cook more at home.

3 Pepper White Chili

2-3 cups cooked white beans (I love great northerns if you don’t have homegrown!)

1 lb ground turkey or hamburger browned and seasoned with salt and a dash of sugar

1 bell pepper
1 poblano pepper
1-2 jalapeno pepper
1 medium onion
3 tsp chicken style seasoning or broth cube (optional)
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 cloves garlic

I like to cook the beans in a crock pot overnight. No need to soak, just add 1 1/2 cups beans and about 8 cups water, turn it on high and in the morning perfectly cooked beans.

Then I brown the meat and add the other ingredients in the morning (sometimes I remove excess water to make a thick chili). Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8.

 Roasted Almonds

4 cups raw, whole almonds
2 TBSP water
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Dissolve salt in water and mix with almonds. Pour on a cook sheet so they are about one level and roast in oven for 2 hours. Cool and enjoy!

Silbings and Playmates?

I have had a lot of time for contemplation lately. One thing that I have noticed is just how well the children play together. Of course they have their arguments including foot stomping, yelling, screaming and occasionally hitting. But for the most part it seems like there is a sense of mutual respect and dare I say it love between all of them.

Avril and Mavis especially love to be together and are playing together more often then not. But lately Two has been joining it. I was actually able to sneak up on them and snap a picture of them before they noticed and began posing.

I grew up planning to “plan” my children. I would have 2 and I would space them perfectly and then I would be done. This just seemed the norm. I conveniently forgot how I begged my parents for another sibling and how much I loved babies. There were several women in our church who had 3 children but they either admitted the 3rd was an “accident” or everyone thought they were crazy to want 3.

Now I am expecting my 4th with no plans to take up “planning” or stopping. Sometimes I feel a little crazy. But when I see the joy they have playing together and I imagine them continuing this close relationship into adulthood I feel very happy for the decisions we made.

My most special memories are catching them giving each other a spontaneous hug or a kiss on the cheek, just because at that moment they were overwhelmed with love for each other and had to show it physically.

I can’t wait to introduce them to their new little sister. Any day now hopefully I am approaching 39 weeks. After beginning bedrest nearly 6 weeks ago it seems like an eternity to still be pregnant.

Final week of CSA and Onions

This weekend the weather was great and baby number 4 was still taking her time so we decided to take one final trip to the farm as a family. It’s been close to a month since the children and I have been there and was so great to be back–even if it meant sitting in a dusty barn cleaning onions.

All the children were really getting into it, especially Mavis who had taken to “cleaning” already cleaned onions, so I decided to start giving her ones that really needed work and she was pretty good at it. Two and Avril were very helpful to inbetween chasing the goats and chickens and being chased by one cranky rooster.

Of course Avril really loved working on the purple ones and making them “beautiful.”

All in all it was a very enjoyable, though slightly exhausting since we missed nap but so great to be out working again. Proeun still has a couple more days and our last CSA delivery is this week, then everything will wrap up for the season and hopefully a little baby will finally decide it is time to join the family.

Pumpkins Galore and an end to bedrest

If there is one thing that signals the end of the growing season it’s pumpkins.

And we have plenty of them. Last weekend Proeun harvested our pumpkins and brought them home–well most of them, at least as many as he could fit in the car.

The kids were duly impressed and have pumpkin carving on the mind.

I am officially off bedrest now, though it seems that labor has started and stopped at least twice right now it seems no where on the horizon. So this weekend we took the children to the thrift store for costumes. Now they are really looking forward to the end of October.

I am just looking forward to the baby. I have gotten my hopes up a couple times but now am trying not to think about it beyond making the home as comfortable as possible and being ready. I had a prenatal today and the midwife said the children seem much calmer now that “mommy is back.” I even started a new project–a sweater for the baby now that I can sit up long enough to knit comfortably.

Yes this is a month of ends and beginnings. I was helping pack boxes for our CSA today and thinking how much I would miss our fields and the vegetables and the excitement of packing our boxes to share with customers. I am sad really. But as soon as the baby comes I will have plenty to keep me busy and joyful till next year.

Update on bedrest–reading list

Well I am almost done with bedrest and I can’t believe it. Three weeks ago yesterday I went into the hospital for early labor and began this journey. I remember thinking discontentedly, “if I could just fast forward my life 3 weeks I would be happy,” knowing in my head that life is already too short and at the end I would probably give anything for 3 weeks. Now I see that the time has flown by but I have learned a few things along the way like,

1. how to ask for and receive help gracefully (sort of). Special thanks to my mom, dad, sister, aunt, grandma and grandpa and Angela next door for all your help and encouragement.
2. how to accept my physical limitations. It’s not easy seeing my hard earned cleanliness spiral downward, again special thanks to mom and grandma for the occasionaly tune up in orderliness.
3. Chaos is OK sometimes. When the children have been in the house with me for the better part of 3 weeks things can get really crazy sometimes. Sometimes I just have to let them run around the house screaming and chasing each other.
4. Relaxation is wonderful.

I am actually really thankful for this opportunity to wind down and refocus before the appearance of baby #4. Perhaps the Lord knew that it would just be too difficult for me to say no and slow down on my own so He encouraged me by necessity. Going into next week I eagerly anticipate the arrival or our baby with a rejuvenated spirit.

Plus I have had plenty of time to read, here are just a few of my favorites

1.Cheaper by the Dozen, Frank B. Gilbreth
2. Playful Parenting, Lawrence Cohen
3. Table for Eight:Raising a large family in a small-family world Meagan Francis
4. A Biblical Home Education Ruth Beechick
5. The Little Boy Down the Road Doug Phillips
6. Teach a child to Read with Children’s Books, Mark B. Thogmartine, Mary Gallagher
7. Already Gone Ken Hamm and Britt Beamer

I haven’t completed all of them but have made good starts on all of them, still waiting is a biography of John Calvin and A Handbook for Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. Oh and to ensure that I keep reading I ordered Honey for a Women’s Heart by Gladys Hunt to go with her book of almost he same title for children to ensure that there will continue to be plenty of quality reading for everyone. I feel like I don’t have the time to reasearch very many books and it is so disappointing to spend time with a book that wasn’t worth it. All in all I would have to say bedrest has been a good experience–for the most part.