Archive for June 2010

June 2010 Reading List

June 30, 2010

1.  Writing Jane Austen by Elizabeth Aston:  I love all of Aston’s Pride and Prejudice “sequels”, but this more contemporary book was just OK.  It’s not because it was contemporary.  It just seemed kind of plodding.  I felt that the “romance” was underdeveloped.  And I felt that the wonderful character of Maud was educationally shafted–I know homeschooling is legal in England.

2.  Blood and Gold by Anne Rice:  This is one of the Vampire Chronicles that I never got around to reading.  This book fills in the story of Marius between his creation as a vampire and the events of The Queen of the Damned.

3.  The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy:  Another look at the plotting and intrigues of the French Revolution in which the English hero of the French aristocracy must rescue his own wife who is being held as bait to entrap him.

4.  Runaway by Meg Cabot:  This is the third and final book in Cabot’s Airhead series.  I thought it was kind of an abrupt and underwhelming ending to the otherwise wonderful series.

5.  Surprised by Truth by Patrick Madrid (editor):  This is a compilation of eleven stories from converts to the Catholic faith.  While the stories make a lot of good points, they start to feel dated and redundant after awhile.

6.  Star Wars:  Fate of the Jedi:  Allies by Christie Golden:  Just another expanded universe sequel.

7.  Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish:  I reread this book from my personal collection about once a year.  I should probably reread about it once every three to six months.

8.  Angel Time by Anne Rice:  This book was written after her reversion to Catholicism.  I was less than impressed; it seemed a bit disjointed.

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7 Quick Takes (v. 30)

June 25, 2010

1.  Sabrina is 12 days old today.  Just when I thought we were starting to get things together, she suddenly decided that she didn’t want to latch on right at about 4:00 am.  She would take two sucks and then stop and release.  And then cry and try to eat her fingers.  My milk let down twice, but I started to panic that there was something wrong with my milk supply.  Finally, after an hour and half she settled down and ate right, and we passed out on the couch for a few hours.

2.  Until the events of last night derailed things for me, we had a pretty good morning routine going.  Piper comes in to wake me around 8:00.  She, Sabrina, and I head downstairs where I turn on the computer and get Piper’s warm chocolate milk.  Then I go potty, eat a microwave breakfast, change Sabrina’s diaper, and sometimes unload/load the dishwasher.  Then at 9:00 I wake up Bailey and Katie, get Katie some breakfast, and settle on the couch to feed Sabrina.  Of course, the smoothness of the rest of the day is very hit or miss.  I don’t even want to talk about dinner.

3.  After our free trial period ended, we shelled out the $9 per month for a Netflix subscription.  It has been really nice, especially during this time of newborn transition.  The instant watch options are worth it even without the DVDs.   I watched all of Dollhouse Season 1, and now I’m starting on X-Files Season 1 (I always thought I would have liked that show if I had gotten in on the beginning.)  I’ve put a few things in the instant cue for the kids, including movies that we own.  It’s nice to be able to turn them on with a click of the Wii-mote from the couch instead of having to get up and mess with the DVD player.

4.  Yesterday I ran by Kohl’s.  My belly is pretty much gone which makes all of my maternity pants super baggy.  But I can’t get my regular pants (size 6) past my thighs.  So, I picked up a pair of draw-string sweat shorts and draw-string pajama pants in Medium and a pair of khaki capris in size 8.  It’s nice to have a few things that actually fit.

5.  I think I was up to 147 pounds at my last prenatal check-up.  I probably lost close to fifteen pounds of that, though, just by giving birth.  I always suspected that my healthiest body weight would be around 130 lbs.  So, I’m torn between not wanting to have to buy a new wardrobe and the desire to not lose anymore weight.  I also wonder how not being underweight (as I have become while I nursed my three older children) would effect the return of my fertility.

6.  In the end what I think or want in my weight situation is probably pointless.  My life is what it is, and I don’t really think any of the factors that lead me towards being extremely underweight while nursing will have really changed.  All I can do is try to keep eating breakfast and sneak double cheeseburgers when I’m out running errands; it really helped me put on the pregnancy weight this time around.

7.  I am so very, very tired.  There will definitely have to be a nap in my future, especially if I want to try to make it to Piper’s teeball game tonight.  Whenever they tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps, they obviously don’t realize how hard that is when you have three other children.  My next goal is to get Katie’s regular nap time back in the routine, so that I can maybe take a nap, too.

Sabrina’s Birth Story

June 21, 2010

I went to bed around 11:00 on Saturday June 12, 2010.  Around midnight I woke up with a start and a feeling like I had just wet myself a little and still had to go.  I figured that baby girl #4 had just given me a particularly hard punch in the bladder in my sleep.  During my bathroom trip, I noticed that I had some particularly wet mucus tinged with pink and red and assumed that my mucus plug was dissolving.

I tried to go back to sleep, but I was having a few twinges (which I often got at night lately).  More importantly, I was really hungry and realized that I hadn’t had much to eat in several hours.  So, I headed downstairs and heated up some frozen Cheesy Tomato Pasta.

Rick was in his home office/man cave and heard me come downstairs.  He joined me in the kitchen, and we started talking about this and  that.  I kept feeling some twinges here and there and like I needed to use the bathroom.  Finally, I told him that I might be having some contractions.  He suggested that we both get some sleep just in case.

I tried to go to back to sleep.  But I kept having twinges that I now noted were about 10 minutes apart.  I was also having acid reflux and a continuing desire to use the bathroom.  At my midwife appointment that week they said the baby was at -1 station, so I figured her head was to blame for the bathroom needs.

At around 3:00 my contractions were about 6 minutes apart.  I woke up Rick, who had squeezed in an hour or so of sleep, and told him I was calling his mom to come on over.  He hopped in the shower while I called her and touched base with the midwife on-call, Lee.  Lee and I agreed that I would head to the hospital once the contractions got down to about 5 minutes apart.

When my mother-in-law arrived my contractions were still on pace.  But then they started slowing down.  I got up off the couch and started folding some laundry and cleaning up, and they seemed to get back on track.  At 4:00 I called my parents to head up from Kentucky.  Then around 45 minutes later we headed for the hospital.

We stopped along the way for some breakfast, so I nibbled on a McGriddle and drank some sweet tea before we got to the hospital.  Then it was straight up to labor and delivery where Lee was waiting (I had called her on the way).  I was dilated about 4 centimeters and about 85% effaced.  My bag appeared to be intact.  But my contractions had slowed down again.  They went ahead and admitted me and started the first bag of antibiotics for Group B Strep.

After that, not much happened.  My contractions only came about once every 15 minutes.  I still felt the need to use the bathroom a lot and my mucus was still kind of wet and red-tinged.  Sometimes I felt like I was wetting myself just a tad.  I tried walking around the room and “telling” my body to get to work.  Rick did some work on his laptop, and then we both tried to get some sleep.

By about 10:00, though, things weren’t looking good.  After four hours my contractions were still sparse.  While my cervix had thinned more, I was still only about 5 to 6 centimeters dilated.  It seemed, though, that my water bag was smaller and may have been slightly broken all along.  Lee suggested that we do the absolutely lowest dose possible of pitocin just to get some more contractions going.  While I was hesitant about using an intervention, I realized that I was working on basically one hour of sleep and this small intervention might save me from bigger ones later.

They started the pitocin drip and the contractions started becoming more frequent and intense but not at an unmanageable rate, which was my biggest fear.  I commented that I seemed to feel the contractions more in my back than I had with my previous three labors.  Within an hour I hit transition, and “I can do this!” became my mantra that I repeated through every contraction.  Towards the end, though, the “this” started turning into a 1-minute creel and I started feeling my body demand to push.

Lee tried to hold me off for a second because she had to move some cervical lip, but I couldn’t resist the urge.  They quickly started adjusting the hospital bed for delivery.  Right about that time the supervising obstetrician, Dr. Cannon, had stopped by to touch base on how I was doing.  She immediately started assisting Lee.

While Lee worked on guiding the baby out, Dr. Cannon gently gave me tips on more effective pushing and helped hold my legs back for me.  I pushed and pushed and pushed, and they kept saying “one more time should do it” and “you’re doing great”.  I asked Rick to rub my forehead because his hands felt so cool while every part of me felt so hot.  I heard comments about the baby having lots of hair, but I mainly kept my eyes shut and tried to rest between contractions.  With each contraction, I grabbed my legs and pulled them towards me trying to remember to keep my elbows out and hold my breath while I pushed.

Finally, at 12:21 pm (not that I was aware of time at this point)I felt the relief of the head coming through followed by the body.  Then they plopped this screaming little creature onto my belly, and I opened my eyes to see my new baby girl.  I tried to calm her down by rubbing her back and calling her by name, “Sabrina, Mommy’s here.  Mommy’s here.”  But she wasn’t buying it.  It had only been about two hours since the pitocin was introduced.

Ricky cut the cord, and then I agreed that the nurses should take her.  Lee was having a few issues with the placenta.  I just kept begging to be able to put my legs down, but Lee and Dr. Cannon explained that they needed to get the placenta out and give me a few stitches first.  I think that’s when they told me Sabrina had come out face-up instead of face-down, aka “sunny-side up”.

Getting the stitches  (7 in total) was not pleasant, and my legs were shaking and aching.  I started to worry that my recovery was going to be a lot worse than with my last two deliveries.  I was relieved, though, when I could finally rest my legs.  I immediately took the ibuprofen they offered and started trying to nurse Sabrina.  She didn’t seem very interested at first, but then she nursed for a few minutes before we were taken to our post-partum room.

Not long after we were put in our tiny room, Rick escorted Sabrina for her first bath. I tried to rest a little bit.  My post-partum nurse quickly returned and said, “I didn’t realize you had a large family.  We’re going to move you to a bigger room that just opened up.”  So, they wheeled me down the hall in my bed to what had previously been used as a double-room.

When Rick and Sabrina returned from her bath, Sabrina and I settled in to nurse and rest while he went home to get the family.  I think Sabrina and I were both glad that it was all over.

7 Quick Takes (v. 29)

June 18, 2010

My week in review since v. 28:

1.  Saturday:  Had the A/C guys back out to figure out why my brand new condensing unit was freezing up.  They added extra coolant, and now I have A/C that works as well as it can in this house.

2.  Sunday:  Didn’t do too much…except give birth to a 7 lb. 2 oz. baby girl who came out sunny-side up.  Sabrina Elizabeth entered the world at 12:21 pm.

3.  Monday:  Busy day in the hospital with the multiple checks on me and baby, dealing with the hospital photographer, and getting the birth certificate paperwork turned in.

4.  Tuesday:  Home from the hospital with new baby Sabrina where three big sisters who acted like they were on speed greeted us before having various emotional melt-downs.

5.  Wednesday:  Felt like Dolly Parton as my milk most certainly came in.  Hot shower helped, and at every feeding I undid both sides of my bra and kept a cloth diaper under one side while I nursed the other.  Remembered before bedtime that ice packs can help, too.

6.  Thursday:  Skipped out on Bailey’s ball game since I was still feeling pretty big and sore in the chest region.  She has two more in the next three days, though, if I want to see her play.  I don’t know whether to hope one or both rain out, or pray for them to get over with so that we only have one more regular season game left.

7.  Friday:  Pulled out the Maya sling so that my mom, Sabrina, and I could make a food and supply run–Aldi, Wal-Mart, and Subway Sandwiches.  Now I’m off to change some diapers then lay down with Katie and Sabrina.  I’ll have to decide about going to Piper’s ball game tonight.

7 Quick Takes (v. 28)

June 11, 2010

1.  I first heard of Animal Bands during a quick trip to Walgreens a few weeks ago; they had chalked an advertisement on the sidewalk outside the door.  I wondered what these things were.  When I learned they were “animal-shaped” rubber bands, I wondered why in the hell anyone would find them necessary.  Why would anyone want little kids, to whom they were obviously marketed, to play with rubber bands; like my kids need any thing else to use as a weapon against each other.  It wasn’t until later that I realized that they are really more like bracelets than office supplies.

2.  A few days later I read an article about schools banning Animal Bands because they were distracting kids and “bad trades” were causing discord.  I couldn’t help thinking about Amy and the limes (Little Women, chapter 7), and how most fads are over the most idiotic of things.

3.  I signed Bailey, Piper, and Katie up for the summer reading program at the library on Monday.  I just happened to be in there on the first day of registration, and the place was a madhouse.  Ever since, I kind of wonder why I did this….sign my kids up to obsess with reading books as fast as they can so they can get two crappy toys and a book that they won’t really want.  It’s just so antithetical to, well, everything I believe about reading, education, and clutter.

4.  One of our two wonderful priests is being transferred to another parish in a few weeks.  We will miss him, his wonderful homilies, and the stories from his childhood in Poland.  But at least he’s going to a nearby parish, so we can always try to catch him there.

5.  Gymnastics is over until the fall.  Today is my husband’s last day teaching in the classroom until August.  We have teeball games today and tomorrow but then no more for a week.  Maybe things will start slowing down long enough for me to actually have this baby sometime soon.

6.  We’re trying out Netflix.  We’re taking full advantage of the instant programming, especially since we received our disc to bring it up on the big television through the Wii.  I’m still a little on the fence about getting a subscription since we can get so much from our library system for free, but with a new baby coming soon there is something to be said for not having to leave the house.  And it’s a lot cheaper than cable.

7.  I just had to call our HVAC company since our brand new air conditioner doesn’t seem to be working right.  Last night I noticed that the condensing unit was completely frozen even though I never had the thermostat lower than where the company recommended.  Hopefully, they can get back out here in the next day or two.  I’m just getting tired of this crap.  But at least my dryer works perfectly since they replaced the vent tubing.  I’m trying to look at the bright side.

Homeschooling Expenses 2010

June 6, 2010

Order #1Rainbow Resource Center 2/19/10    $151.19+$9.45 tax = $160.64

Bailey Only:  $24.85  (2A workbook, BQ grade 2, mazes, 5 music tablets)

Piper Only: $44.85 (Math K B, ETC A-C, Mazes, # Games)

Hand-Me-Down:  $64.99 (Mind Benders A1, Math 2A text, Math 2A HIG, Music Text, Music Flash Cards)

Younger Kids:  $16.50 (Math 2A workbook x 3)

Order #2Barnes & Noble April 2010    $21.80 (w/out taxes or educator discount)

Bailey Only:  $21.80 (Kumon Addition, Kumon Subtraction, Flash Skills Addition Activities, Flash Skills Subtraction Activities)

Order #4: Barnes & Noble May 2010 $10.79 (free shipping and member discount)

Hand-Me-Down:  $10.79 (Usborne Medieval World)

Order #4:  Rainbow Resource Center    5/27/10    $107.24 + $6.70 tax + $10.72 shipping = $124.66

Bailey only:  $19.75 (2B workbook, Grammar Practice 1 & 2)

Hand-Me-Down:  $62.74 (1B HIG, 2B HIG, 2B text book, Mind Benders A2, Sequential Spelling 1)

Younger Kids:  $24.75 (2B workbook x 3)

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Total spent 2010:  $317.89

$66.40 was spent on non-reusable items for Bailey.

$44.85 was spent on non-reusable items for Piper.

$138.52 was spent on items that can eventually be used with all four children.

$41.25 was spent on non-reusable items that the three younger children will need in the future.

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I am hoping that this will conclude all of my homeschool shopping for 2010.   The only thing I’ll need to get for the Spring 2011 semester is a recorder flute with an instruction book, but I should be able to pick that up in January.   Just as in 2009, I spent less than the equivalent of two weeks of groceries.

7 Quick Takes (v. 27)

June 4, 2010

1.  38 weeks.  My bag is pretty much packed, except for those things that can only go in last minute.  All the baby stuff is as ready as it’s going to be.  Now I’m just trying to keep up on laundry and cleaning.  I waddle more than walk, can feel the baby’s head pressing against my cervix and lower abdomen on a regular basis, and am basically really tired of being pregnant.

2.  I finished putting together a cheat sheet for my parents since they only visit a few times a year.  Pages include topics such as how to operate the television/DVD player, food restrictions/peculiarities, and how to handle bedtime routines (although, hopefully their daddy will be home for that).

3.  We’ve been spending way too much money on restaurants the past two weeks.  With our A/C non-operational, though, it was just too hot to cook, and it felt good to spend an hour in a cool place.  We also took trips to the library and IKEA just to get out of the sweltering house.

4.  Due to vent issues my dryer is unusable right now.  I had to resort to setting up a make-shift clothes-line on my back balcony.  It makes me feel very European.  I can’t help wondering how people air-dried their clothes like this on a regular basis without the aid of weather websites to check for rain.

5.  It’s been almost two weeks since I had the carpet and couch cleaned, and the living room still looks great.  It helps that I removed every single toy from downstairs before the cleaners came and never put them back.  A few things have trickled down only to be sent right back up to the playroom at the end of the day.  There have been a few smudges to the couch, but so far the carpet is still stain-free.  I know it won’t last forever, though.

6.  Yesterday I requested a ton of books through our library system.  I can’t decided if I’m stupid for doing this so close to my due date, resigned to the fact that I won’t go into labor until closer to my due date, or trying to tempt the Fates into starting my labor.  (Not that I really believe in the Fates, since I’m Catholic.)

7.  Last night Bailey’s coach pitch team won its first game this season.  Bailey hit the ball into the outfield all three times she stepped up to the plate (one went over the third baseman’s head).  She made several awesome throws from the pitcher’s mound and second base, earning her compliments from yet another dad for her strong and accurate arm.  Bailey even took the time to help the only other girl on the team choose the right bat to help her get her first hit.  We couldn’t be more proud of her talent or her heart right now.