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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One Year Ago

It's been a very busy month, and blogging has definitely fallen by the wayside. I have had many ideas to write about, and I hope that in the coming weeks I will get around to many of them. This morning, though, I had a thought that I really wanted to share.

It was a year ago September when we decided that we were ready to commit to having another child, and to take action in that direction. It took a couple of months to get pregnant, and on Christmas Day we told our two older children that we were expecting. The day after Christmas, I miscarried. Fortunately, after waiting the couple of months recommended by my doctor, we were able to get pregnant again quickly.

Fast forward one year. On Christmas, I was 38 1/2 weeks pregnant, and I spent the day having very intense contractions. At 1:30 am, the day after Christmas, our new little boy was born.

He is such a wonderful boy! Of course he is adorably cute. Beyond that, he is very calm. He is very curious about the world; at five days old, he can already get bored at times and want different things to look at. He brings us joy.

That last bit - the joy he brings us - is the most interesting part to me. With our first two children, we were very young, and Tux Man was in school full time. Both of the first two were born mid-semester, and classes don't stop for babies! This time, not only is he not in school, but he can take paid vacation time to be home with me. It has been a very good thing, because apparently it is harder to recover from having a baby when you are in your 30's than it was when you were in your 20's. I've needed the support, and he has been here. 

The biggest difference, though, is emotional. Having the space and the time to absolutely appreciate and enjoy this child has been wonderful. Having his diaper leak all over the bed for the third time in one day is not surprising or frustrating; it is simply what we expected, and it's no big deal. Having him cry out in surprise when he pooped for the first time was not expected and was simply hilarious. The noises he makes - especially when they are timed just right with something someone just said - make us laugh many times a day. 

Yesterday I talked to Snuggle Puppy about how he was feeling with his new little brother. Yes, he is having a little bit of a hard time - because he feels he isn't getting to hold him enough! He wants to learn how to calm his little brother when fussing, and he recognizes that he's not getting it yet and he wants that to change. What wonderful sons I have!

Turtle was the first person to be leaked on by a diaper that didn't hold what it should have. She had been begging to hold our new little one, and hadn't been holding him very long when it happened... and she quickly gave him back and went to take a full shower! I'm not usually big into bathroom humor, but we are living through a lot of it at the moment and it's very, very funny.

It had been quite awhile since I had thought of that miscarriage. I am so grateful for where I am today. It seems like a tremendous miracle for our littlest one to have arrived exactly a year later. We are truly blessed.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Baby clothes inventory

UPDATED 11/30/13

I cannot post this without giving great thanks to all who have given me so much! Thank you so much for providing things that I need, and for easing my fears that it would be impossible to get ready for this baby in time!

I have now inventoried the clothes I have been given! This is what I have:

General: 4 hats, 2 baby towels, 3 baby wash clothes, 8 bibs, 1 bow tie, 2 cloth diapers, 1 cloth diaper cover, 4 cloth diaper clips, 12 receiving blankets, 14 blankets / quilts, 4 burp clothes

Newborn up to 3 months: 35 onesies/undershirts, 4 shirts, 15 pants, 4 sweaters/jackets, 1 shirt & overall set, 9 pajamas/sleepers, 3 wearable blanket / sleep gown, 13 pairs socks, 1 pair slippers

3-6 months: 18 onesies/under shirts, 3 one-pieceo-outfits/body suits, 2 shirts, 3 shorts, 9 long pants, 3 sweaters/jackets, 7 pajamas/sleepers

6-9 months: 9 onesies/under shirts, 4 one piece outfits/body suits, 2 shirts, 5 pants, 1 sweater/jacket, 1 pair shoes, 1 hat

9-12 months: 5 onesies/under shirts, 2 shirts, 2 shorts, 1 pajamas/sleepers, 1 overalls

12-18 months: 3 short sleeved shirts/onesies, 5 long sleeved shirts/onesies, 2 pairs shorts, 4 pairs long pants, 1 pajamas/sleepers

18 months - 2T: 4 onesies/undershirts, 1 one piece outfit/bodysuit, 3 shirts, 1 pair long pants, 1 pajamas/sleepers, 1 package swim diapers

My apologies to those who have been awaiting this information!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Baby Stuff

Wow, this list got long.

It was requested that I make a general list of what I need/want for this baby that is coming. Now that I've made the list, I'm feeling a little scared...

I will try to update the tab at http://houseofpenguin.blogspot.com/p/baby-stuff.html regularly with what I collect.

I would love nearly everything used! (Exceptions include the crib mattress, pacifiers, and diaper bag.)

Edit: I forgot to mention, it looks like we're having a boy!

What I have:
over the shoulder sling (the kind I loved before!)
high chair (booster seat - got it for free! - again, the kind I loved having before)
Chicco Cortina stroller
a few clothes
promises of LOTS more hand-me-down-clothes (I LOVE hand-me-downs!)


Hooray for the internet! Here is a list of ideas from it, of things I think I will need:
clothes (onesies, shirts, pants, socks, eventually shoes, etc.)
diapers
boppy (never had one, but I'd like to try it)
reusable nursing pads
milk storage bags / double electric pump / kit for double electric pump (I don't expect to use bottles at all, but I do hope to donate milk for a family who is adopting or who has a high medical needs child)
burp clothes - maybe cloth diapers :)
bouncy seat (haven't had one before but I think I want one this time, so that in the basement I can easily set my baby down) - used would be great!
pacifiers - I expect to need these, but I probably want to pick up only one or two, of varying types, before the baby is born because not all babies like them
Diaper bag (my husband has requested we get a NEW one - one of only two items on my list I prefer not to have used)
outlet covers, cabinet locks, fridge lock, toilet locks
bulb syrings, baby nail clippers, pacifier-type medicine dispenser, ora-gel, etc.
baby gates (need 2 or 3 that are 4' wide with only vertical slots, close enough together that my cat can't fit between them - we may have to custom build these)
diaper rash ointment (I once found this in a spritzer bottle, and I would LOVE to get more of it like that!!!)
baby blankets
baby towels (probably not necessary, but potentially very fun - on the other hand, where am I going to keep all this stuff?!?)

Larger items:
baby monitor - I DEFINITELY need a good one of these, but I totally haven't done any research yet. I think we want audio only, but our house is split level and technically has 4 floors, so there is no way I can count on hearing the baby in bed from the basement. Any advice on this?
dresser/changing table (doesn't have to be new, though I do really like this one http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90201513/ from ikea and I have a perfect spot to put it!)
car seat - prefer infant carrier w/ 2 bases - Chicco has the very highest consumer report ratings, and that's the kind of stroller I have, but it's also the very most expensive one out there
swing - I LOVED my swing before - it was a Graco wind up swing (looked like http://www.americanlisted.com/virginia_46/kids_products_toys_18/graco_wind_up_swing_20_00_mechanicsville_13015605.html) - I would really like another wind up, but they don't make them any more; I also have the floor space for a bigger swing, instead of the tiny-and-close-to-the-floor-ones that they make now, so if anyone knows where I can get a used one, I would love to buy it!!!
NEW crib mattress or possibly mini-crib mattress (one of only two items I want new)
NOTE: "Crib" is not on this list. I keep looking at cribs; I had one before but never even assembled it because I didn't like it and didn't want to use it. After the first few months I used a crib mattress on the floor, and liked that quite well. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm doing for the first few months this time. (Did you know co-sleepers that are level with your own mattress run $300-$500? Yeah, a commercial one of those is out.)
SECOND NOTE: Baby bath is also not on the list. I know that the full sized one I had before was ridiculous and not very useful; I've seen a couple of collapsable ones that might work, but I'm not sure they would in my sinks. I think we'll just improvise for the first six months or so like we did before.

For later:
baby dishes (bowls, spoons, high quality sippy cups, etc.)
bibs
board books
rattle / toys

Thursday, October 10, 2013

California Vacation

All the way back at the beginning of August, I visited my grandmother in California for a week.

While I was there, I made each of my children a hat!

I spent nearly the entire week sitting on my grandmother's couch, visiting with her. It was absolutely lovely!!!

I also got to visit with my cousin for a couple hours before coming home. I generally only see her once or twice a decade, but I always enjoy it so much when it happens!


My cousin & her son

Me & my cousin
It was a really marvelous trip!

Philosophical rant on stay-at-home vs "work"

Someone posted this article on facebook: http://themattwalshblog.com/2013/10/09/youre-a-stay-at-home-mom-what-do-you-do-all-day/ I appreciate this so much! Being a "domestic engineer" (stay-at-home-mom) is a hard and often thankless job. He makes many valid points that are generally ignored or treated as trivial by society as a whole. However, I think that he doesn't recognize how we got to these attitudes. Women who work outside the home - at sometimes, women who do paid work inside the home - often don't want to admit that they can't do as much as a mom as women who focus on mothering full time without outside work. If we admit that, while you work, you are giving up something you could be doing at home, isn't implying that if you work you aren't as good a mother? And, if you aren't giving up something at home by going to work, is there any reason for other women not to go to work instead of staying home? Being a working mom is incredibly hard! After four years of working half time, a year and a half ago I faced the decision to work full time or quit - not just my job, but my career that I'd been working toward for over a decade. It was heart wrenching to give up the work that I truly loved, but I never for a moment doubted my decision. And so, we are faced with supporting women who work outside the home, by not adding to their guilt for the things they simply cannot do because of their work obligations, vs supporting women who stay home because they really do work too. Choice and forced circumstances aside - because regardless of the reason for working outside the home, it still impacts you and your family every day - this whole discussion comes down to respecting and supporting the work that women do everywhere, inside AND outside of their families and their homes. If the respect went both ways, we would all find our work easier.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Technology and Human Relationships

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend about three hours of education week at BYU. It was really awesome; there were amazing and valuable insights that are helping my family (mostly by me doing things differently, and better) that I gained during that short time.

One teacher told a story about his son, who was a freshman in high school, and what happened when he got his first cell phone. The son did well the first month, but the second month he used WAY too many texts. Instead of giving him a rule, saying "You need to not use more than this many", the father gave him a principle: texting is for information, not relationships. It took a couple of months for the son to really apply the principle (during which time, and after a warning, the dad took away the phone for a week), but soon the son was able to evaluate his own use of the phone and make more responsible decisions about it.

Side note: I had one friend point out that for her teenage daughter, since the daughter and all her friends have now split apart to attend different schools, texting is the way that they can maintain their friendships. I think that there is great validity to this point.

I've thought a lot about the idea that some of the technology we have is for information, not relationships. To me, this highlights the greatest weakness of "social media": I can put information out there, but I"m not sure who is receiving it or how they are reacting. The connection - that relationship building part of the experience - is missing.

There are quite a few blogs that I really love reading. I am really happy that I am now writing my own blog. (For anyone who reads this on facebook, contact me for the address!) But in both the reading and the writing, I find myself uncertain: Am I connecting with you, my readers? How do you feel about what I am writing? What is your reaction? To some extent, these connections can be made through comments... but that is really like having a conversation in a large room full of people, many of whom you may not even know are there. Depth of conversation and shared experience are simply not the same in this context.

And so, I am beginning to conclude that I want something slightly different. I absolutely still want to read blogs, and I definitely want to keep writing my own; but I want something more than that. I want to email friends, or call them, to reply to what they have posted. Rather than just internet stalking people by reading and never replying (which, admittedly, has been my preference for many years - and  there are some great reasons to do this!), I want to have dialogue with those whose experiences I am exploring through their writing. When I see them again, I don't want to have that awkward feeling when they tell me what's been going on in their life, and I know all about it but they don't know I know all about it.... Instead, I want them to know that I know at least a little of how it's going, I've been following along in their adventures, and I understand a little of what they've been going through or I've celebrated with them or I once had a similar experience or I hope to have that experience someday... When I see them, I want to already have actively been building our relationship, so that our friendship is strong and we can move forward in that shared communication, rather than the one-way comments that are sent off into cyberspace in both directions, and yet the connection is never made.

What do you think? Is anyone reading this? Have you contemplated this at all, and what have you concluded? I welcome comments, emails, phone calls, in-person conversations, and any other means of communication you want to share with me to truly converse, and to maintain and build our relationship.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Spud Day!

This last weekend, I took my dad and my son and drove to Shelly, Idaho for Spud Day! (My husband and daughter had other commitments both Friday and Saturday, and couldn't come.)

We stayed Friday night in Ogden with some friends.



I'm grateful we didn't do the entire drive both ways on Saturday. As it was, we didn't get to Shelley until about noon. I was worried we wouldn't get there in time for my son to participate in the spud picking contest, but we made it with about half an hour to spare.

My grandfather was the "world champion spud picker" for many years, and various uncles and cousins have taken the title more years than not (including both the men's and women's titles this year). My son has never harvested potatoes in his life, but he did pretty well anyway!

My son is on the left in the tie dye t-shirt; the guy in the purple shirt with the microphone was a "total biker dude" - really, there's no better way to describe it - and he was calling for the competition

(If I can figure out how to get video off the video camera and onto the internet, I'll post a bit of the women's world championship potato picking contest, which was won by a 2nd or 3rd cousin of mine by picking 400 lbs of potatoes in 4 minutes and 10 seconds. The men's champion was her older brother, who picked 500 lbs of potatoes in about 4 min 50 seconds.)

After that we checked out some of the booths, like this giant colon from Grand Teton Gastrointerology:

Papa (my dad) inside a giant colon which described various gastrointestinal diseases with text and images

(Most of the booths were far more traditional than this - I just wanted to include this because I thought it was hilarious.) We also got to try Mexican Roasted Corn and funnel cake.



While we were there, my dad suggested we should go back every decade or so; I have to agree! The last time I went, I was seven years old. Next time, though, I hope we remember sunscreen.

On the way back we stopped to see my grandparent's graves, and we got to visit with two of my dad's five surviving brothers. Monday morning my dad called me from my sister's house just to tell me thanks for taking him. It was close to 11 pm before we got home, and the next day was difficult because I was so exhausted, but I am so glad we went. There's no question it was worth the effort.

Volunteer Sunflower

We had a GIANT volunteer sunflower grow right by our front porch.

It was probably about 7-8 feet tall, except that the flower was so heavy it hung up-side-down. Even bent over, the plant was taller than me.

One day as we drove in, there was a little blue bird on the sidewalk flying up to it and eating the seeds one at a time. Unfortunately, he stopped before we could get any pictures.



Last night my husband decided it was time to harvest it. He cut the flower, followed instructions online, and now we have delicious fresh roasted organic home grown sunflower seeds!


Many of the seeds are empty; we saved about 20 of them in hopes of planting them next year, and I hope some of what we saved are not empty and let us repeat this awesomeness!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hairy Legs

My 10 yr old son asked me today about hairy legs; specifically, he wanted to know who shaves their legs and why. I was a little distracted, reading something at that moment... so I thought briefly, and said something about smooth legs being culturally acceptable on women where we live (i.e. in the US) because they are considered sexually attractive.

My son immediately got up to go back to what he was supposed to be doing (practicing his cello) and on his way out the door, said, "I think I'll keep my hairy legs."

Those moments when you had no idea what your kids were thinking.... 

I had to agree that it seemed like a good idea.

9/12/13 - Post edited to change "Harry" to "Hairy" after my husband pointed it out to me - I have to either blame the fact that I've always been a terrible speller, or else too much Harry Potter, or else pregnancy brain, or else all three...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Curse of the Rosin Eating Zombies from Outer Space

Curse of the Rosin Eating Zombies from Outer Space

My daughter, who is in the eighth grade, is in orchestra. She has an awesome teacher, as is evidenced by this piece that she is playing for their October concert:

Friday, August 30, 2013

Pictures for a school project

My daughter needed to decorate her French notebook; here are some pictures she chose for us to print for the cover.
Fall 2000

December 2012
April 2013

August 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

What Child is This?

So, our ultrasound was Tuesday morning.

The baby is measuring at 21 weeks, which is close to a week ahead of my due date. I have been praying all along that this baby would grow fast and healthy and come as early as was safe, and I'm very grateful because it seems like we are on that track. Even though my due date is officially several days into January, I'm really hoping that this baby will come this year, and maybe even before Christmas.
Baby would not hold still for a profile shot; is this a warning for future family photo shoots?

Before the ultrasound, all four of us - my husband, me, and both of our older children, thought we were having a girl. Both my husband and I feel absolutely certain that there is a girl who will come to our family. Then came the news - this one is a boy! (?) My husband and I have both felt some shock and confusion at this. (Our older son, however, is nothing but delighted!) It is hard for me to express the degree of my surprise. It's not that I don't want a boy. (Nor is it like I haven't had a boy before, because obviously I have, and it isn't like I haven't had a girl before, because obviously I have, and it's not like I have any baby stuff on hand for either gender!) I just thought this one was a girl!

The one other exceptional thing we can tell about this baby is how extremely wiggly he is. It made it hard for the ultrasound technician to take measurements or get clear pictures, because the baby didn't really hold still... ever. This holds true to my experiences this pregnancy, because I've come to pretty much expect this baby to be moving every hour of every day. I nearly always just appreciate this, though there are moments when it is distracting (like when I'm trying to accompany the congregation at church on the organ). Even when it's distracting, though, I appreciate the movement and the involvement of my baby in my life, for the humor of the challenge if nothing else.

At one point, near the end of the appointment, I made the comment, "I just wasn't expecting a boy." My (13 yr old) daughter turned to me and said, "Apparently you were!" Well, yes, my dear, apparently I was.

Friday, August 16, 2013

My Mother, My Daughter

Last week, I went to visit my grandmother in California. While there, I asked her if she had any pictures of mother as a child, since I didn't remember seeing any. It immediately brought to mind a picture of my daughter near the same age; here are the two pictures.


Just for fun, here is a picture of me near the same age, pictured with my two older sisters:



Monday, August 12, 2013

Expecting Changes

In the past 14 1/2 years, our family has gone from this:



to this:



And now, next January, our numbers will grow again.

Recently when we told someone we were "expecting", their reply was, "Expecting what?"

Change. We are expecting Change.

We understand that very, very few people choose to have nearly 11 years between their 2nd and 3rd children. I understand we are going back to sleepless nights and diaper blowouts and many, many other challenges we had left behind us years ago... But for a million and one reasons, this is right for our family. And we are honestly thrilled for the changes and challenges that are on their way. (Maybe terrified too, since we sometimes vividly remember just what we are getting into... but thrilled too!)

We won't find out for another week for certain if the little one coming to join our family is a boy or a girl. Until then, I leave you with a picture of a foot: