Friday, July 30, 2010

Book Recommendation: Ramona

I remember liking and relating to the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary when I was an elementary aged girl. I decided this summer that it was time to introduce Ramona to my children. I wanted to make sure they discovered her first via the books before they discovered her in a movie. If you haven't heard, they are about to release a movie entitled Beezus and Ramona. You can watch the trailer here. I think I'll be disappointed in the movie because it seems like they are making Ramona out to be a little too cute, a little to mischievous, a little too "Disney".
I've been reading Ramona Forever chapter by chapter to D'arcy and Julian, and I'm reminded of all the things I love about this character. She's not beautiful. She's a little sassy. She worries about both trivial things and important things. She wants her mom and dad to be happy. She's independent, but still needs reassurance and support. She's occasionally willing to admit these needs. She's ordinary, and the situations she encounters are ordinary. She makes mistakes, but she is learning about herself and others. She's growing up.
Julian liked the chapter about burying the dead cat named picky-picky. D'arcy is looking forward to details of the new baby that will enter the Quimby house. They both enjoy the illustrations that are sprinkled throughout the book. Ramona might not be the perfect child you want your kids to become, but she just might be a character that your kids relate to and that reminds you of how tough growing up can be.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Making room for a placenta

I recently went to the store to purchase items for my upcoming home birth. The midwife will bring all of the medical stuff. I don't know if Walmart sells cord clamps. My list consists mostly of general household items like towels, sheets, and snacks. One of the items on the list was "2 bowls large enough for placenta".
Do moms who deliver in a hospital usually get to see their placenta? No one offered this option to me after D'arcy's c-section. However, after Julian was born, Holly, my midwife, asked me if I intended to keep it or if I would prefer for her to dispose of it. Hmmm, let me see. No, I didn't have any plans to keep it. As a matter of fact, what does one keep a placenta for?
I pictured using it as fertilizer for my non-existent garden. Friends come over for dinner and remark at how red my tomatoes are. I would proudly let them know that thanks to little baby's arrival, our garden got a little extra nourishment this year. Then our horrified friends would suddenly lose their appetite.
My midwife explained that one of her clients saved the placenta to use as a science experiment for her home schooled kids. Maybe this is why the Duggers keep having kids. They need a fresh placenta each time an older child enters sixth grade.
We let Holly know that we would greatly appreciate her disposing of it for us.
After Schroeder's hurried delivery, Holly didn't repeat her question. Our friend Joy who was taking pictures did, however, document the placenta so we would never forget it.

This picture actually came in handy yesterday when I was trying to figure out what size bowls to purchase. I'm still not sure why I need two of them because as big as I am, I'm definitely NOT having twins.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kids say the darndest things...

My mother-in-law, Dianne, firmly announced that this little story should make it on the blog so here goes...
We take eating seriously in our family. Kids must eat everything being served at the dinner table. They are given an appropriate portion and they are expected to eat it all. Tonight, we had hamburgers, corn-on-the-cob, cucumber and tomato salad, and potato salad. My kids are not big fans of potato salad, but they have long since learned that it doesn't matter, they are still having some.
There is also something called "Daddy tax" in our household. Daddy (or on occasion, Mommy) has the right to take a portion of our child's food. Can you see where this is headed? Daddy tax is something our children normally dislike as they don't typically like the idea of sharing their dessert.
Tonight, though, our clever son wanted more corn on the cob but was told he must finish his potato salad. He looked at his father very innocently and said, "Daddy, don't you need to take a Daddy tax."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Making room for Maggie Lu

On some insignificant morning last December, I stepped into our bathroom with a positive pregnancy test. Stephen peeked out from behind the shower curtain, and I sort of raised my eyebrows and shoulders at him. He kind of chuckled and said, "Really?".
At the time, we had an eight month old, and I was being clear with people that we planned to wait until Schroeder was at least potty trained before we added a fourth child to our family. We had plans for 2010. We wanted to move to Portland, and we were willing to go without a job. 2010 was also supposed to be the year when we would take a break and focus on babies that my sister and brother would be welcoming. Unfortunately, I was never able to properly meet my three nephews, Nathaniel, Roanin, and Kade. A fact that quickly brings tears to my eyes. My brother's little Ethiopian expectation has, like most adoptions these days, been delayed until 2011.
I think I cried a little that December morning. Our timetable was being changed. Stephen just hugged me and smirked, a little too proud of himself, I think.
We were both hoping for a girl, and were excited to find out in the spring that indeed this baby would be wearing pink. We have had the name Teresa Margaret Lucy Williams picked out since we were expecting Julian. We have always hoped that there would be a Maggie Lu joining our family someday, and all of a sudden it didn't seem to matter that she was coming sooner than we had planned.
These last few weeks, I've been working on preparing for her birth which is only a month away. This is the first pregnancy that I have not had a baby shower. After three children, I really didn't need much. With the help of my very generous parents, we bought a new double stroller. Can I say that it is hard to get excited about a double stroller? They are no good options. They are all bulky and heavy, but I thought it was necessary since I'll have an infant and a 16 month old not to mention a three year old and a six year old!
I took a walk through the local Buy Buy Baby store looking for anything that I wanted or needed, hoping that buying something new just for this baby might help get me more excited for her birth. The amount of STUFF that they have for babies these days is ridiculous! However, I did find a few items that I couldn't live without and wanted for my new little one.
We swaddle our babies when they sleep (read about our burrito method). I was thrilled to find these super cute, thin, and big swaddling blankets. I was always concerned that the blankets we were swaddling with were too heavy and thus hot. Hopefully, they'll be strong enough to keep little hands tucked inside the swaddle which, in my experience, is the secret to a good swaddle.

When we were in Chicago, I saw this really fun, modern mobile hanging up in a toy store. When we asked if they carried it, they said they had actually made it using these cards and this mobile. We bought the cards they had in the store, and purchased the mobile on Amazon. With my older children, I've always put this long plastic strip with black and white pictures in their bassinet. Someone asked me about it once, and I told them that I had heard somewhere that very young children were able to see high contrast black and white images very early. So hopefully this mobile which is hanging right above her co-sleeper will get Maggie's brain working early.

Besides STUFF (you know, those things you can't take with you when you leave this world), we've been preparing for her delivery. You might remember that Schroeder entered the world in a hot minute (Schroeder's delivery story). Stephen almost had to catch him. Remember I told you that my husband was calm? I will never forget the moment when the midwife asked Stephen to check for Schroeder's head via speaker phone. The "uh..." and face that went along with it are forever priceless to me.
He told me later that he wouldn't have been so freaked out if he had been at all prepared. So, this time, he's preparing...just in case. He diligently read Emergency Childbirth, A Manual by Gregory J. White, M.D. The fact that he desires to go with me to all "our" midwife appointments and is willing to read this book to prepare for our babies' birth definitely makes me feel loved.

Hopefully our midwife will make it in plenty of time. Hopefully, I'll have enough courage to endure those last few contractions. I've realized how much I'm dreading the transition phase of delivery. I've long since decided, though, that a homebirth is what I want even if an epidural isn't available. If you would like to ask God for a little extra peace for me in the next month, I would be grateful.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Faith Comes Softly

Tonight I went to pray for my kids before lights were turned out. Normally prayer time goes like this. "Lord, help D'arcy, Julian, and Schroeder to sleep well, have wonderful, encouraging dreams, and be rested so they can make good choices tomorrow." Generic, I know.
However, on occasion, I try to make night time prayers a little deeper. Tonight, I told them to tell God one thing they were thankful for. Then I asked them to ask God one thing they wanted to know about Him.
Julian decided he wanted to know what God's favorite thing was. D'arcy thought this was a good idea. So, they looked up towards heaven and posed that question to God. I told them if they got an answer at some point, I would be interested to hear what it was. D'arcy sat quietly for a moment, and then said, "Mom, I heard that his favorite thing was me. No, his favorite thing was all of us."

Friday, July 9, 2010


Stephen and I had an opportunity to go to Chicago for two nights this last weekend. This is only the third time that we've had the opportunity to take a vacation just the two of us since we've had kids. Stephen took me to brown county for a night after D'arcy was born. We spent several night on Block Island, RI not long before we found out Schroeder was on his way. This time we spent the fourth of July weekend in downtown Chicago.
This was all possible because we are now living in close proximity to our families. My sister and my mom each took the kids for a night. I might add that Connie took D'arcy for that first trip to Brown County on her wedding anniversary, and this time watched my kids on her birthday (July 4th). I really need to plan my dates better!
We had a great time, and we didn't fill our days hitting museums or the Sears Tower. Instead, we went to local restaurants and sat on their patios soaking in the sun and wonderful wind (FYI, Chicago's wind is only wonderful a couple months out of the year). We walked to the beach, did some window shopping, sat in some of the small little neighborhood parks, and took a few pictures. We did walk down to Navy Pier for the Fireworks display. They were shooting fireworks from three locations on the water, one on the southside, one at Navy Pier, and one further North. From where we stood, we could see two of them. It reminded me of when I spent Bastille Day in Normandy and they were shooting off fireworks from every city along the coast.
Let me just say that I'm a hard core pregnant woman who walked (well, waddled) all over the city with only six weeks to go.
I don't think it occurred to our kids that we were gone. Everytime I called, they were busy playing, eating, swimming, etc. Schroeder was excited to see us arrive home. He practically sprinted over to me with a big smile.

This picture is a little blurry. Stephen's a little furry, and I'm, well, very pregnant! But it is a picture of the two of us.

A beach in the city!


When our kids aren't available, we must photograph other cute kids.