Friday, June 30, 2006

A Shopping Adventure

I was feeling brave this morning.

I loaded our kiddies into the minivan and set off on a landmark expedition --- my first solo grocery shopping trip with three children under the age of four.

I had it all planned: Categorically organized shopping list. Check. Re-usable shopping bins. Check. Purse and fully-stocked diaper bag. Check. Two little boys in the cart and baby in the bjorn carrier. All present and accounted for.

The boys behaved. Baby slept peacefully in her carrier. I managed to find everything on my list. A compassionate stranger even helped me load my groceries at the check-out.

A successful shopping expedition!

Well ... almost.

I hadn't counted on the gigantic SUV parked mere inches from the passenger side of my van.

Hmmmmm.

I am no longer sporting an enormous belly, but I'm not quite to the point of squeezing through tiny spaces yet.

All I can say is --- thank God for dual sliding doors.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lunch Date

Isn't it funny how your perspective changes?

When we had our first child it was a major production to get Mom, Dad and Baby out and about. We lugged around a huge diaper bag, filled with every conceivable item we could possibly require. Baby had to be diapered, dressed, swaddled, bundled and buckled snugly into his car seat. Then we had to figure out how, exactly, that car seat strapped into our vehicle. We also had gear --- fancy stroller, baby bjorn carrier, the backpack.

By the time we finally got everything and everyone ready to leave, we were too tired to go out for very long.

...................

This morning the boys went to the zoo with Grandma and Grandpa. Ben, our sweet baby girl and I were left at home.

"Hey!" I said, "It's just the three of us. Let's go out for lunch, or something. It seems like forever since we went on a date."

Within ten minutes we were comfortably seated in a booth at a restaurant. Baby slept in her car seat through almost the entire meal. Ben and I remarked on how relaxing it was to go out with "just the three of us".

Times do change.

Oh ... and I forgot the diaper bag at home.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Beautiful

I think pregnant women are gorgeous. I love the curves of the pregnant body --- round hips, ripe belly, full breasts. Pregnancy is a beautiful season in almost any woman's life.

Two weeks ago, like a butterfly leaving a cocoon, I shed my pregnant body to take on a new form. I am always amazed at how rapidly a pregnant body reverts back to its non-pregnant state. In a very short time the uterus shrinks from the size of a watermelon to that of a pear. Organs displaced by the uterus migrate back to their original homes. Breasts begin producing copious volumes of nourishing milk.

The pregnant female form is often celebrated (or at least admired) in our culture. However, the post-partum body is considerably less desirable. Women who have recently given birth may feel fat and bemoan their "flabby abs". They may be self-conscious of their fuller figures --- wide hips and large breasts. Popular magazines exhort women to "get back in shape" as quickly as possible after giving birth.

Over the past week I've caught myself dreaming about "when I get my skinny body back". I've been sensitive about the fact that I am twenty pounds heavier than normal. I have a closet full of clothes that don't fit, and sometimes I feel sloppy and out of shape.

When I start to feel this way I stop and I take my discouraging thoughts captive.

I remember that God designed my body to be beautiful, whatever season of life I am in. I thank God that, in His wisdom, He gave me wide hips for birthing babies. I thank Him that I have good food to eat --- nourishment that pads my body and provides fuel for making my baby's milk. I even thank Him for my soft tummy.

This time with my newborn baby is precious. These weeks are so short. It will be time to hit the gym soon enough. For now I am concentrating on loving my little girl, resting from my pregnancy and birth, and making lots of quality milk.

The sit-ups can wait for another day. God created this body, and it is lovely.

Monday, June 26, 2006

First Bath

This evening we gave our baby girl her very first bath. She hasn't needed a bath until now --- even on her birthday we did not bathe her. I think that because she was born in the water she emerged very clean.

However, the time to wash our little girl finally arrived. She was moving from "newborn baby smell" to "smelly baby".

I though she might fuss and cry through her bath --- my baby girl does not enjoy being naked. She surprised us, though. She was quite calm and placid throughout the entire experience. Perhaps she was remembering her watery birth?


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Dress-Up

My sons love to play dress-up. We have a small trunk filled with costumes and play clothes in our living room. (It doubles quite nicely as a coffee table). Our costume box has been dubbed the "sniffle trunk" in honour of Mr. Dress-up.

Certain characters are dress-up favourites in our house. Star Wars jedi, astronauts, fire fighters and robots make frequent appearances.

And watch out for pirates!

This evening we went to my parents' for supper. My sister gave my eldest son a plastic pirate sword, an eye patch, and a bandanna for his head. My preschooler was in heaven! He swash buckled through the backyard for the better part of an hour.

When we got home, my son insisted on hiding his pirate sword "in a safe place". He was worried it might get stolen in the night. (By a roving band of buccaneers?) He did not want to put his sword away in our "sniffle trunk".

So, where did my three-year-old decide was the safest place in the house to hide his "treasure"?

Daddy's underwear drawer, of course.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Haircut

I finally allowed it.

On Wednesday afternoon we took our 19-month-old to Beaners for his first haircut. I'll admit, the haircut was not as traumatic as I feared it might be. He was completely unfazed by the process.

My son's angelic curly locks may be gone, but the results are still pretty cute.




Thursday, June 22, 2006

Snack Time

His words made my "mommy heart" proud.

I am usually very picky about the foods I feed my boys. I am "anti-junk food" and try to serve healthy and nutritious meals.

Today at snack time I made an exception. I gave each of the boys a sugary, orange popsicle as a treat.

My preschooler happily consumed his sticky, sweet snack. He turned to me and said:

"That was good, Mommy. Now can I have some real food?"
Baby Brain

I had my first postpartum "baby brain" episode this evening.

I decided to make rice for supper. I carefully measured the rice and water into a pot, placed the pot on the stove, and turned on the burner. I then retrieved a tub of margarine from the fridge and scooped out a spoonful to add to the pot of rice.

I smelled burning plastic.

I looked down at the stove and realized that I had turned on the wrong burner. The bottom of my tub of margarine was rapidly melting, while my pot of rice stubbornly refused to boil.

Thank God I didn't start a fire.

Now my plastic container is "doubled up" inside another plastic tub in the fridge to prevent greasy margarine from oozing out the holes in its bottom.

And I have no idea how to remove the white plastic now fused to my stove element.

It's a problem for another day when my brain is less befuddled.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The (.) (.) Blog

Last night after supper the chaos in our household was minimal. I thought I would take advantage of the (relatively) peaceful moment to make a few phone calls.

I dialed the number of our doctor's office, intending to make an appointment for our new baby's first check up. A friendly receptionist answered the phone.

I chatted for a few minutes and arranged an appointment time. The baby sat contentedly in her swing, the toddler played with his mini cars on the carpet, and my preschooler fiddled with a chunk of silly putty.

Just as I was finishing up my phone conversation, my preschooler ran up and proudly showed me his silly putty creation.

"Look Mommy!" he loudly exclaimed, "I made a nipple!"

Sure enough, there it was. An accurate nipple facsimile captured in gray silly putty. Who knew my young man had such artistic talent?

"Ummm," I stammered into the phone, "I sure hope you didn't hear that..."

"Hear what?" the receptionist replied with a smile in her voice.

............

This evening we bathed the boys, put on their pajamas, and all sprawled across our bed to read a Bible story. The baby sat in her bouncy chair at our feet.

As the story ended our baby girl began to fuss. My three-year-old, ever the helpful big brother, leaped to his feet.

As my husband and I quietly observed from across the room, my preschooler slowly lifted his pajama shirt and exposed his chest. He leaned in close to his newborn sister.

"Shhhh, don't cry," he cooed, "Look, here's my nipple. You love nipples!"

My husband and I nearly lost it trying to contain our silent laughter.

............

With a brand new baby in our house, I wonder what my impressionable, young preschooler has seen a lot of lately :-)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Birth Pictures

We finally had the opportunity yesterday to pick up these photos from the store. I have carefully gone through them, editing out the "less modest" shots. I hope you enjoy the pictures of our home waterbirth!

Patty checks the baby's heartbeat during a contraction. I am about 9cm dilated.

I start to push. The baby's head is almost born.

Mommy and Daddy welcome Baby into the world.

Big Brother gives Mommy a kiss.

I snuggle my little girl while we wait to cut her umbilical cord.

Big Brother admires his new baby sister.

The midwife measures Baby's length.

Daddy and Patty weigh Baby. She is 7 1/2 lbs!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day

Today was an extra-special Father's Day in our house. We have had an eventful week! Ben is now the proud papa of three little "Benjamites".

This Father's Day was an especially geeky occasion for our Daddy Ben. I bought my husband a new "cold heat" soldering tool to help him build his quirky engineering experiments. (I think he liked it. This afternoon he spent several hours sequestered in his office, disassembling old dinosaur computers.)

I also ordered a gift online "from the boys" --- three t-shirts from thinkgeek.com. Daddy's t-shirt reads "geek" in lime green letters. The boys' t-shirts each say "geek in training".

Ben was proud as punch to walk into church this morning with his "geeky" boys and a new baby daughter.


Daddy constructing a robot with his boys


"Geek in Training #1"


"Geek in Training #2"


The finished project


Baby enjoys all the geeky fun from her swing

Saturday, June 17, 2006

More Family Pictures

Big Brother holding his baby sister


Grandpa Merv and Baby Hannah


The new big / little brother


"Look Mommy, I'm a robot!"


Mommy and baby sleeping on the couch

Day Four

Our precious little girl is four days old today. The past week has been a marathon. The days have felt loooooong.

My baby girl seems to have a calm and peaceful temperament. She rarely cries, and is undisturbed by her rambunctious brothers' antics. For the first three days she nursed almost continually. My milk fully came in yesterday, and since then her feedings have gradually spaced out.

Thankfully, my baby does not have her days and nights mixed up. She has slept every night so far (but not for long stretches between feedings!). Last night she had a sleepy period from 9pm to 9am, interspersed with about eight feedings. I went to sleep at 9pm too. This morning was the first time I actually felt rested. I was even able to nap for another hour this afternoon.

My boys are adapting well. They have been at one or the other grandmas' house every morning this week. We are starting to see a few signs of fatigue in them both --- more tantrums, sleep disturbances, disobedience --- but overall they have been very good boys. They love their baby sister. They gently pat her velvety head and give her slobbery little boy kisses on the cheek.

This morning we took Baby on her first car ride to my parents' house to pick up the boys. I think she liked her car seat --- she slept in it for over two hours! Tomorrow we will take her on her first "real" outing to church. Isn't it appropriate that our baby's "public debut" will be on Father's Day?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Baby Pictures


Daddy, Big Brother and Baby Hannah

Hannah's first "milk drunk" face


Mommy and her crew


Hannah asleep in her swing


Grandpa Neil and Baby Hannah

The Birth

I started to feel regular contractions at about 12:30am on Tuesday morning. I had had a couple of episodes of "preparatory labour" over the weekend, so I was unsure whether these contractions were the real thing. Ben and I decided go to sleep and napped for about an hour.

I woke up at around 1:30am to use the washroom and had three big contractions in a row. I knew for sure that the labour was real! I prayed that God would help me to be calm, and would give me strength for the work ahead of me. Earlier in the week I had memorized Philippians 4:6 to encourage me during labour.

We called my midwife and she arrived in less than half an hour. Patty was surprised to see that we hadn't set out any of the supplies yet. (I wanted to be very certain that this was the real labour before we set up our things.) I walked around upstairs, hugging my large, green pillow and leaning against the wall with every contraction. The contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart and still quite manageable.

Patty checked my dilation. I was a little worried she would say I was only 2 or 3 cm along. I was amazed to learn that I was already at 8 cm!

Patty and Ben moved quickly to set up the pool in the kitchen. We would have a baby soon! I stayed in my bedroom and called my mom and sister. As Ben inflated our "fishy pool" with a hand pump, I wandered up and down the stairs and through the hallway. (Our midwife suspected the baby might be turned posterior, so she ordered me to do lots of stairs!)

As the pool was filling with water I came down to the kitchen and ate a bowl of cheerios. I was still feeling very good --- the contractions were strong but manageable when I breathed through them. I certainly didn't feel like I was in the transition phase yet.

Once the pool was full of warm water I gently lowered myself in. Heaven!! The water felt so nice. I was feeling some labour in my back, and the warm water was wonderful. I mostly laboured on my hands and knees with a warm wash cloth soothing my back. I rested my head on the cushy side of the pool.

The contractions intensified. My mom and sister arrived. We called Ben's mom and sister-in-law to let them know the birth would happen soon. I began to moan with the contractions. I consciously tried to sound like a cow, making low sounds in from deep in my chest. I think this vocalization really helped.

I needed to have the lights turned down low, and no conversation during the contractions. The atmosphere was very calm and peaceful.

Patty asked if I would like for her to break my bag of waters. She called the second midwife to come quickly because she could see that the birth was imminent. Patty checked my dilation and I was at 10 cm.

I felt that I should wait for the other midwife to arrive, but after two "pushy" contractions I asked for my waters to be broken. My midwife had me float on my back as she ruptured the membranes during a big contraction. I leaned my head against Ben's shoulder. This was definitely the most painful part of the labour.

I felt a small "pop" as the bag finally broke, and then immediately felt an overwhelming urge to push. I gave a mighty push and reached my hands between my legs. Baby's head was right there. I floated on my back and gave another push. My baby's head was born into my own hands. It was the most amazing thing I have ever felt.

I rested for a few seconds until the next contraction came. Then I gave one more big push and my baby's body emerged into the warm water. She was beautiful!

I snuggled her close and she opened her eyes right away. She was so calm and peaceful. She did not even cry. Ben cuddled my shoulders from behind as I rested against the side of the pool. I could not believe how fast the birth happened!

Ben's mom had arrived just before I started pushing, and slipped quietly into the room. My sister-in-law came just two minutes after the birth. The second midwife missed all the excitement and arrived about five minutes after our baby was born.

We waited to cut the cord until after it had stopped pulsing --- about 20 minutes. Baby pinked up very quickly and had apgar scores of 10 and 10. I am convinced that her rosy complexion can be attributed to not clamping the cord right away.

We had intended to allow our preschooler to watch the birth, but everything happened so quickly that we forgot to wake the boys up. My sister fetched my little guys from bed. My three-year-old was delighted to find his mommy snuggling a new baby in a pool in the kitchen! The boys were so cute. My eldest son immediately came and touched his newborn sister. My toddler just looked bewildered, and his face seemed to say, "Why are all these people in my kitchen in the middle of the night?"

Ben cut the cord and snuggled his new baby daughter. I delivered the placenta in the pool. I was able to take a good look at the placenta in the bowl afterwards. It was fascinating to see the life-giving organ that had nourished my baby for nine long months.

Amazingly, I did not bleed at all at that point. The pool water was almost completely clear. My midwives helped me out of the pool, up the stairs, and directly into my own luxurious shower. It felt so good to be in my own home. From the shower I went straight into my own bed, snuggled my new baby daughter, and stayed in that same spot for the rest of the day.

Everybody else cleaned up. The midwives brought a pump to clear out the pool. I was surprised at how easy the clean up seemed to be --- only one load of laundry and a couple of bags of garbage. The mess of birth seemed so much greater in the hospital.

Birth at home was simple and straightforward. It was peaceful and relaxing. Having a homebirth now seems like the most natural thing in the world. I can't imagine doing it any other way.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Baby is Here!!

Hannah Marie Inkster arrived at about 4:45 this morning. She was born into a warm pool of water in our kitchen after four hours of labour. Both grandmas, her auntie, her daddy and our midwife were there for the birth.

Hannah's big brothers are very excited to have a new baby sister. They slept through the entire labour and delivery, and woke up minutes after the baby was born.

Mommy, Daddy and Baby spent all day today napping in bed. It was wonderfully relaxing. I would choose to birth at home again in a heartbeat.

Hannah's birth weight was 7lbs. 8oz.

I will post a more detailed birth story in the next day or two.




Monday, June 12, 2006

Home Haircuts

About a year ago I bought a basic haircutting kit. It has electric clippers, attachments, scissors and a comb. I figured that as part of my "Quest to Become a Proverbs 31 Woman" I would learn to cut my family's hair.

I was intimidated at first --- especially to trim my husband's hair. But honestly, I've found that cutting hair is not terribly difficult.

My boys all receive the basic "#4 Clipper Trim" every three weeks or so. In the summer we mix it up a bit and switch to #3 or even #2.

Gotta keep things interesting, you know.

Tonight I gave my preschooler and my husband fancy new haircuts. (I thought I might not have another opportunity get it done before the baby comes.) I gave my three-year-old the ever popular "#3 Special". Ben decided to be daring and opted for an extreme "#1 Summer Buzz".

His only comment when I finished his trim was, "Gee .... I look really bald now."

Unfortunately, my husband is on the losing end of the gene pool when it comes to hair growth. Oh well, it sure makes for easy haircuts.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Stretching a Dollar

A few months ago I found a publication at the library called The Tightwad Gazette. I discovered that The Gazette is a newsletter full of articles about frugal living. I like to save money when I can and was intrigued.

To tell the truth, The Tightwad Gazette was too extreme for my tastes. It offered some interesting ideas, but I thought many were impractical for the average family. Did you know that some people use cloth toilet paper?! I'm afraid I am not that frugal.

I am not a guru of thrift. However, I would like to share a few tips for saving money at Superstore. Here are some of my best:

- I switched from buying name-brand diapers to the Teddy's Choice Supreme brand. Name-brand diapers cost $43.98 for a box of 112, and Teddy's Choice are $25.98 for the same box.

- Our family drinks a lot of orange juice. I like the Minute Maid Calcium Enriched brand. I used to buy it in the carton at $2.77 for 2L. Now I buy the frozen concentrate for $0.94.

- I use Cetaphil face wash on my skin. A bottle of the name-brand face wash costs $12.98. Superstore now sells a generic brand of the same product for only $6.98. The generic face lotion also only costs $6.98.

- Near the produce section in Superstore they often set up a rack of day-old bread and baking. I often find loaves of expensive multigrain or specialty bread on this rack. I stock up on the bread, at less than half its normal price, and store it in my freezer at home.

- Every summer around the first week of July Superstore clears out its summer clothing for at least 50% off. I stock up on basics like shorts and t-shirts. I've found t-shirts for the boys for less than $2, and I bought a decent pair of shoes for myself for $3. Two years ago I paid $14 for a snowsuit for my son. He's worn the parka for two winters, and it should last him this year too.

God has blessed our family financially, and I feel it is my duty to be a good steward of the resources He's given us. I love to save a dollar or two. And when I can have fun shopping too, all the better!

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Cars

Today I had the privilege of taking my three-year-old to his first movie at the theatre.

Nothing beats the excitement of a little boy going to see a movie about shiny, noisy, racing cars. My son spent the entire show perched on the edge of his seat with a huge bag of popcorn balanced on his lap. He was totally enthralled.

Because he had never been to a real movie before, my preschooler was not versed in "proper theatre etiquette". Some scenes left him so excited he couldn't help but burst out with adorable (and audible to the entire theatre) commentary ...

"Mommy, that car goes fast!!!"

"That car looks just like on Star Wars!"

And my favourite: "This popcorn is really salty!"

But the best part of our "movie date" was when my little man spontaneously cupped my face in both of his buttery hands and kissed me gently on the lips, right in the middle of the show.

I hope my son stays so sweet and innocent forever.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Is It Time?

I think our baby will arrive very soon.

Last night I was up most of the night with convincingly strong contractions. I tried to stay in bed as long as possible, but I felt quite uncomfortable. I got up, ate a snack, read for a while, and even had a bath. The contractions were still strong and regular, so I thought, "This might actually be the real thing!"

I decided to try and sleep. I figured that real labour would continue whether I stayed awake or not. I finally dropped off as the sun was coming up around 5am.

Sure enough, as I slept the contractions slowed down and eventually stopped. My boys woke up for the day at 8:15am. I ended up with a very short sleep. I guess it is preparation for the sleepless nights to come!

Today I've been feeling crampy and heavy, and have been having strong Braxton Hicks. Thankfully, I napped for a couple of hours this afternoon. We went to a party for a short time this evening, and I went to a party the night before each of my boys was born. Who knows? Maybe tonight will be the night labour kicks in for real?

I'm excited, but also a little anxious. This being my third pregnancy, I am not naive about the hard work that is to come.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Recommended Reading

This week I finished two books. I would highly recommend each book to any Canadian mother-to-be:

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
by Ina May Gaskin

The Midwifery Option: A Canadian Guide to the Birth Experience
by Miranda Hawkins & Sarah Knox

Ina May Gaskin is one of the most respected midwives in North America. Her first book, Spiritual Midwifery, is considered to be an essential text on natural childbirth. I read Spiritual Midwifery at the beginning of this pregnancy. I will admit --- I found it weird. Too "psychedelic" and "groovy" for my tastes. I was pleased to discover that Ina May's Guide to Childbirth is more accessible, and full of useful information.

I wish I had found The Midwifery Option several months ago. This book thoroughly explained the Canadian system of midwifery care. The status of midwifery care in Canada is in a constant state of development. Published in 2002, the information provided in The Midwifery Option is fairly up-to-date. This book's description of midwifery care in Calgary is very accurate. I was surprised to learn that Calgary is the only city in Western Canada where women have the choice of birthing in a hospital, a birth centre, or at home.

As the birth of our baby draws ever closer, I feel an urgency to learn and study as much as I can. These two books have helped me to gain increasing confidence in our decision to plan a homebirth. I would recommend them to any woman interested in midwifery care.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Beware: The Diaper-less Wonder

My toddler is in a "helpful" stage these days. He loves to do little jobs for Mommy. He will pick minuscule crumbs from the floor and throw them in the garbage. He enjoys putting away blocks and mini cars (and then dumping them out again). And he consistently throws his dirty clothes into the laundry hamper.

His favourite "job" of the moment is throwing away his own diapers. For whatever reason, my little guy loves to open the stinky diaper pail, hurl the soiled diaper in, and then gingerly replace the lid. He then shouts, "Yay!", and claps enthusiastically for himself.

It's terribly cute.

This evening we followed our usual bath-time ritual. Ben ran the tub. I set out fresh pajamas and got the boys undressed. My toddler threw the dirty clothes into the hamper. Then he tugged at his diaper. I removed it and he gleefully threw the diaper away.

My little guy ran toward the bathroom completely starkers. I opened the cupboard under the sink and retrieved a bucket of bath toys for the boys. My toddler demanded, "Bob, Bob!", so I also handed him an empty Bob the Builder bubble bath bottle.

I quickly checked the temperature of the water before hoisting the boys over the side of the tub. Too hot for little guys. With my youngest happily dipping his Bob the Builder bottle into the water, I flipped on the cold water tap for a moment.

Water splashed onto my foot.

"Buddy ..." I complained, "Be careful! You're getting Mommy's foot all wet. Keep the water in the tub."

Wait a second. The fluid spilling onto my foot was warm and wet, but it wasn't bath water ...

My toddler grinned up at me.

Serves me right for turning on the tap within earshot of my "Diaper-less Wonder"!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Delicious Chicken

I made this recipe for the first time tonight. It is instantly going into my "keeper" file. All through the meal Ben said, "Wow, this is really good!"

My Favourite Chicken Dish
from Fast and Easy Cooking (p. 95)

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 C. chicken stock
1/2 C. orange juice
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. dried Italian herbs or basil
1/4 tsp. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. chopped parsley or chives

1. On a cutting board using a sharp knife, cut each breast lengthwise into two thin pieces. Place flour in a shallow bowl; season with salt and pepper. Coat chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter; when foamy, add chicken pieces. Cook 2 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate.

3. Reduce heat to medium; add stock, orange juice, garlic, Italian herbs and sugar to skillet. Bring to a boil; cook for 1 minute or until slightly reduced. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Return chicken to skillet; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until no longer pink inside and sauce is slightly thickened. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Insomnia

The clock is ticking down. Our new baby girl is due in 15 days. Babies tend to come in their own time, but I am prepared for our baby to arrive any day now.

Unfortunately, I have firmly entered the insomnia stage of late pregnancy. Though my body is ready for bed by 8pm, the rest of me has trouble falling asleep. Several nights this week I have been awake until past 2am.

It seems that just as I am ready to fall asleep, my little passenger is awake and feeling wiggly. My baby is quite big now. Her movements cause my belly to bulge and distort in surprising ways. Needless to say, I have difficulty falling asleep when she is dancing in my womb.

My mind is also especially active at night. I think this is because night is the only peaceful, quiet time I have to myself. Thankfully, I am not much of a worrier. I am not laying awake analysing situations or obsessing about the coming birth. Instead, I lay in bed making plans --- dreaming up projects, plotting stories, thinking of ways we can renovate the house (sorry Ben!). Sometimes I get carried away with too many thoughts swirling in my head.

It also doesn't help that my baby has dropped very low, so I must use the washroom basically once every hour. Nothing is more frustrating than just falling asleep only to be woken up by an insistent bladder.

Ahhh, pregnancy is wonderful!

But all the discomfort and fatigue is completely worth it. I can hardly wait to snuggle my new baby girl in my arms. I find it hard to believe that in only a few more days I will be the mommy of three wonderful children.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Life Long Learning

This evening I continued to work on my quilt. As my sewing machine hummed along, I enjoyed a precious couple of peaceful hours.

I am working on a difficult section of my project at the moment. It is the actual "quilting" stage, and I am carefully outlining appliqued hearts and stars with machine stitches. Because I'm a novice seamstress my stitching lines are a bit wobbly in places. I find the curved lines particularly difficult to manage.

As I struggled with my sewing, I thought about my days in the B.Ed. program at the university. In one class the professor asked us the question, "What is learning?". It was a terribly thorny question to answer. Tonight as I sewed I came up with a few thoughts in response.

I believe learning involves being willing to try something, even if the results are not perfect.

I have been interested in quilting for several years. However, this baby quilt is only the second project I have attempted. I finally realized that I can think about, read about, and admire pictures of quilts for only so long. There comes a time when I must get over my fear of failing, pick up a needle and thread, and try to make my own quilt.

Certainly, this quilt is not perfect. Imperfection is an inherent part of the learning process. With every stitch I am practicing a new skill. Besides, my baby quilt is made with love, and I intentionally chose a whimsical pattern that allows for a degree of imperfection.

There are many "homey" things I am interested in learning these days --- how to make a pie, how to bake things like cinnamon buns and fancy breads, how to plant a garden, how to can jams and jellies. I can't let the fear making mistakes prevent me from trying new things. The first few times I bake a pie the crust may fall to pieces. But I can practice, try again, and learn from my mistakes.

I practice piano nearly every day. It will take me hundreds of hours to prepare my repertoire for one performance --- my ARCT exam. Most pianists do not sit in front of the keyboard and play a complex piece perfectly the first time through. A wonderful performance requires many unseen hours of diligent practice.

If I am afraid of playing a wrong note, I might never attempt to play the piano. If I am worried about my yeast bread falling flat, I might never try to bake. If I am concerned that my stitches will be wobbly, I might never attempt to sew a quilt.

I am finally beginning to internalize the following truth: No one in the world is perfect. Even "experts" make mistakes.

I do not need the pressure of being perfect. Life is a lot more interesting when I am trying new things. My amateur attempts may be far from ideal, but at least I am making a start. I see it all as part of the process of learning.
The Iris Incident

This morning I took two excited young boys over to my friend's house for a play date. According to my preschooler, this particular house is "the most fun ever". I would have to agree. My friend is blessed with a large backyard, a play room full of toys, and two energetic young men of her own. Play date paradise!

Alas, all good things must come to an end. By noon my boys were wearing thin and it was time to head for home.

As we (slowly) made our way to the van, my friend asked if I would like a bunch of irises to take home. She has hundreds of the lovely purple flowers blooming in her front yard. She proceeded to cut several long stems for me, and wrapped them in damp paper towels.

To my horror, my three-year-old saw the cut flowers and began haphazardly snapping off blooms for his own "bouquet". Thankfully, my friend is an easy-going mom and allowed my little man to take home a bloom of his very own.

I eventually managed to corral my boys into the van and strap them into their car seats. I then carefully piloted the "mommy mobile" toward home. Every so often I would glance in the rear view mirror and catch a glimpse of my preschooler admiring his "pretty flower".

I thought to myself, "I am a blessed mommy. We've had a lovely morning playing with friends. And what beautiful flowers we now have to brighten our home. The sun is shining, the weather is warm. God truly is the Master of creation ... "

My musing was interrupted by crunching sounds from the back seat.

I turned to glance behind me.

My preschooler was happily eating his "pretty flower".

We all enjoy God's creation in our own special way, I suppose.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

DVD Review:

That The World May Know:
Walk as Jesus Walked

Ray Vander Laan

On Thursday nights we host a small Bible study group in our home. For the past five weeks we have been viewing and discussing the Walk as Jesus Walked DVD. This video is the seventh volume in the That the World My Know series published by Zondervan and hosted by Ray Vander Laan.

Mr. Vander Laan is a gifted Biblical teacher and historian. Through his teaching, I gained unique insight into the world of the early Christians. In every video episode Mr. Vander Laan tours through ancient ruins and historical sites in Asia Minor. He literally follows the pathways that disciples such as Paul and Timothy traveled, and visits catacombs and cave churches. The locations are fascinating.

The back of the DVD reads, in part:

"A disciple is consumed with a passion to be like The Rabbi --- Jesus. Come and discover the passion of our early Christian brothers and sisters. Follow in their footprints as they loved the Messiah with all their heart, all their soul, and all their might --- every moment of every day."

Watching this DVD has whet my appetite to personally view the first six volumes in the series. However, I do not believe we would use these videos again for a group Bible study. Though the DVD itself is excellent, the accompanying study guide is weak and elementary. We were disappointed in the uninspired questions and topics for further discussion.

I believe Ray Vander Laan's That the World May Know series would be perfect for homeschooling or as material for family devotions with older children. The visuals are stunning, and Mr. Vander Laan's teaching makes the Bible come alive for his viewers.