Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Well, little Melanie is six weeks old today. I do feel as if I have reached some sort of equilibrium now, returning to my regular activities, and working her needs into my schedule, including how much time it should take to get ready to go somewhere. Of course, spring is a delightful time to be getting one's equilibrium back, because there are encouraging signs of life and beauty all around. Every day I have had a sweet little bouquet of wildflowers next to my "nursing station". One day my nearly five year old daughter brought me spring beauties, then when they faded, she brought violets. Soon we'll have crab apple blossoms and tulips, and then lilacs.

I thank God for the sweetness of a baby, and the open and easy affection of my younger children. This balances out the seriousness of the decisions that are being made with our older children, and the awkwardness of learning new and different methods of expressing affection and concern. Not only are there issues that are life changing to deal with (what to do for high school? What activities to encourage, which to eliminate, what parameters to draw?), but I am inexperienced at mothering teens, and am "learning as I go" so to speak. The baby, now there I have some competence, some confidence, and a true appreciation for the quick passage of this phase. It occurs to me that the teen years are going to fly by, as well, and then my children will be gone. Just as I have learned through experience NOT to wish away a moment of the newborn and baby phase, exhausting as it may be, I am exhorting myself to live in the present moment with my teens as well, relishing the time we still have together. The confidence and competence will come, but this time together is finite and precious.

I believe this is one reason the blog here has been so baby-centric lately. Besides the fact that she is as cute as can be, there is a groove I know, words I can attach to emotions because I have experienced them many times before. But in parenting the older children, while still quite profound and deep and meaningful, I often have no words, or search for them; due to a lack of experience, my thoughts lack a coherence or elegance I want when speaking of any of my children. To put it bluntly, the teens are dear, complex and all new to me, and have mostly left me speechless.

So, God, in His wisdom and mercy, paired the teens with a newborn, to give us a nice bridge, some cute common ground if you will, where we meet regularly and share our joy. So we have yet another reason to be immensely grateful for Melanie. The love she brings into our family is a glue to hold our family tight during the new and wonderful, though somewhat disorienting time of the teenage years.

By the time Melanie is 15, I'll either be completely comfortable with parenting teens, or completely worn out, most likely a combination of the two. But I am not going to think about that now. Now I am going to feed the baby, say a prayer for my family, and be ever so grateful for the abundance of goodness God has placed in my life.

Friday, April 24, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes Friday, and I'll try to get seven things, but I am not certain I have that much to say.


I joined Flylady again. The postpartum fuzzy headedness has reared its ugly head, and I spin in circles all day. So now I am dressed to shoes, have a shiny sink, and spent 15 minutes decluttering. Like a breath of fresh air~


I am already discouraged by my flower beds. I have a few aggressive plants that are taking over, and I can not get them out. Roundup? That may be my next step. I also need a truck load of mulch, before the weeds and grass take over. I also see an abundance of garlic mustard, a weed straight from satan himself. And blackberry vines have infiltrated my flower beds, so they need to be dug out. I can not seem to kill those things. Ah, the perennial struggle between virtue and vice. That is what gardening is like to me. Exhausting, but rewarding and ultimately quite lovely.


I heard my house wrens today for the first time, just outside my bedroom window. They are so delightful, and I have a few birdhouses just for them (tiny little openings). I will now be awakened by them every morning, and there is no more cheerful way to wake up, except maybe with a darling baby face.


Speaking of waking up, I usually wake up just moments before Melanie does, which I think is a lovely reminder of how in sync we are. She is five weeks old already, and while it seems as if she was just born, she seems to have always been here.


I bought red geraniums yesterday to put in all my empty pots around my house. It is a little early, but maybe by getting a good start, they will get really big. I have them up against the brick house, so they stay a little warmer, since it could still get chilly at night. As the weather warms, I'll move them out where they go. Maybe I'll bring one or two in the house for a little while. They are so very cheerful.

I found some lovely summer dresses and skirts for my middle two daughters this week at the thrift store. I also got myself a few summer skirts that fit, and now feel ready for the warm weather. It felt terrific to pack away the sweaters and dark colors~


A friend of ours brought us a wild turkey he had shot yesterday. Very fresh, but was only field dressed (meaning it had its head, feathers, feet etc. still). My middle five children spent a few hours plucking it and then my 13 year old daughter finished getting it cleaned up by cutting off its head, feet, tail and wings. Turkeys have beautiful feathers, but really ugly heads and feet. I really am delighted I didn't have to do any of the cleaning myself. Now it is all ready to get stuffed and baked for tomorrow's dinner. Wild turkey is so much more juicy and flavorful than farm raised. We are really looking forward to that!

well, I managed to fill up seven things! I am off now to engage this lovely, lovey day! Blessings!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Small successes

Time for Small Successes once again. These are the only kind of successes I have these days!

1. Boxed and shipped my son's clothes to his school. United Airlines completely messed up his reservations and then refused to check his bags. WE ARE NEVER USING UNITED AGAIN, by the way. So I had to spend $70 to ship him his stuff. But, just getting to the post office is a big one for me. I also got a bunch of forever stamps, since the rates are going up in May.

2. I found a fabulous pram style stroller at the thrift store for 12 dollars. I love it, it is so cute, and baby fell asleep in it as we took a walk.

3. I took a walk. One mile. Once this week. Now this could be a failure, because I was hoping to go every day, but I am counting it as a success, because last week I took zero walks. Moving in the right direction.

4. and Finally, I got Melanie's birth announcements printed up yesterday. Next task, addressing and actually mailing them. Hopefully that will be on next weeks small successes list.

Have a blessed day, everyone!

(plus more gratuitous kid photos!)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fleeting thoughts, caught and trapped. Only a very few make it to this stage these days.

1. My 6 year old son's favorite toys right now are sticks (guns, swords, light sabers, etc.), empty pop cans (grenades) and empty paper cups (for building towers, playing shell games, and making stacking patterns). His birthday is coming up, and I just have no idea what could beat these items for playability. He is also terrific at sound effects.

2. Baby loves the bottle. I am pumping after each feeding, and she acts frustrated at the breast, and gets real excited when it is time for the bottle. She is finally gaining weight, which is good, but I wonder if she'll ever be a good nurser?

3. Our insurance company raised our rates after we added the baby, despite the fact that in the last few months, they have refused to pay for most our medical bills. Dealing with them is FRUSTRATING. Getting past due notices in the mail from the hospitals while we hash it out with the insurance company is making my stomach hurt.

4. I have been watching quite a bit of "A Baby Story" on TLC since Melanie has been born, since I am either nursing or pumping most the day. It is so sad to see how many new moms are subject to C-sections because they aren't allowed to let labor progress. There are more C-sections on that show than natural births it seems to me. Also, almost no one perseveres with breastfeeding, which I can sympathize with, but the lack of support for pregnant and newly delivered women is appalling!

5. I am liking the pumping and bottling more than I thought I would. I can make quick runs out to the store and know baby will not be screaming the entire time I am gone. I can pump the same amount of milk in 10 minutes that it takes Melanie an hour to nurse. Hopefully, I'll be able to go for some walks if the weather ever warms up.

and that's all. Baby must have know I was using both hands to type and will have none of it. She is calling, and I must go. Toodles!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Small successes

Well, just posting this is a small success!

I have managed to go to the lactation consultant twice now, and have become competent at using the breast pump. I have never used one before. Baby takes the bottles well, and I have never had a baby do that before, either (at her age, any way). The current plan is to breastfeed Melanie, then have someone feed her a previously pumped bottle while I pump another one for the next feeding. She is taking an hour to breastfeed, and according to the lactation consultant's scale, getting the same amount as 5 minutes with the bottle. Her latch is poor and her suck week. Hopefully she'll get bigger and stronger and that will improve. But for me, it is a huge success to admit I needed advice, take the advice, and follow through. Usually I am an "I can do this myself" type.

**Edited to add ~ I just got TWICE the volume in my last pumping session YES!!**

I brought up my vaccination concerns with the new pediatrician we have. I was never able to be that straight forward before, usually just "avoided" and now, feel like an actual adult.

Found and purchased new walking shoes. Now I am waiting for actual time away from lactating to go for a walk, but it is a step in the right direction!

Check out more small success at Faith and Family Live!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Argh !! (but isn't she precious?)

I am getting a little discouraged with nursing. I need a pep talk, okay?

Melanie only gained 3 oz this week. She is still 12 oz below her birth weight, and is 4 weeks old. She still has a lazy suck and poor latch, and we both have thrush. I am sore and tired, and tied to either her while nursing, or the breast pump when she is finished. Someone remind me how glad I will be that I persevered in nursing. That this is really a good thing for her, that she will chub up, that this really isn't that big of a deal. Thank you. I feel much better now =).

Monday, April 13, 2009

What we did this Easter ~ Christ is Risen!!

Melanie's baptism, Easter Vigil

My eldest two children are her Godparents!

Our first family picture since the gang has all been back together. Quite a crew, eh?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Holy Thursday

I have missed most of Lent this year, Liturgically speaking. Between a serious illness of our priest, which prevented our church from having any daily services, and my pregnancy and Melanie's birth, I was only able to go to a few services. I didn't fast very well, either, or at least the prescribed fast. My pregnancy required me to follow a certain diet, and I did that. Since Melanie's birth, we have had a few struggles that remind me it is, indeed, Lent, but the reminders are unique to this year, and most likely, unrepeatable in future Lents.

Giving birth during Lent is a special grace. Very physically connected to the passion of Christ, His "being transfixed with pain" is a familiar phrase to a woman who recently gave birth. But then, "Where is your victory, o Hades?" In birth, as in Christ's death, death loses, life wins, and pain is redemptive, rather than destructive. Nothing in my lifetime has been a better description of giving birth than the phrase "and to those in the grave, He granted life". Those last moments of labor are certainly like being in a grave, a tunnel, a dark, lonely isolated time. But then LIGHT! JOY! NEW LIFE! Christ is risen from the dead!

I was, however, able to attend church last night, for the twelve Gospels. These Gospel readings recount the passion and death of Our Lord, interspersed with other prayers and litanies. Every year, there is one prayer that brings me to tears; this year was no exception. My memory of past Holy Weeks was fuzzy, and I couldn't remember if I had already missed this prayer. I was sitting in the empty choir loft, so I could nurse the baby and still hear and pray. Our priest had just made his return to church, although he isn't fully recovered. But he came out of the iconostas, turned to the icon of The Theotokos, and in a very mournful and beautiful voice, began to sing. The cantors quickly joined in with an eason, which is a low, deep droning that follows along the melody, but underneath it all. I got shivers and then tears.

As she saw her own Lamb being dragged to slaughter Mary, the Ewe-lamb, worn out with grief, followed with other women, crying out, ‘Where are you going, my child? For whose sake are you completing the course so fast? Is there once again another wedding in Cana? And are you hurrying there now to make wine for them from water? Should I go with you, my child, or rather wait for you? Give me a word, O Word; do not pass me by in silence, you who kept me pure, My Son and my God.’

(FYI, the twelve Gospel reading are as follows:

John 13: 31 to 18:1
John 18: 1-28 (Arrest of Jesus in the garden of Olives)
Matthew 26: 57-75 (Jesus before the Sanhedrin and Peter disowns Jesus)
John 18:28 to 19: 16 (Jesus before Pilate and Jesus crucified)
Matthew 27: 3-32 (Death of Judas and Jesus before Pilate and the way of the Cross)
Mark 15: 16-32 (Jesus is crowned with thorns and crucified)
Matthew 27: 33-54 (The way of the Cross)
Luke 23: 32-49 (The way of Calvery)
John 19: 25-37 (Jesus' last words and Jesus is pierced)
Mark 15: 43-47 (Burial of Jesus)
John 19: 38-42
Matthew 27: 62-66 (The guards at the tomb)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Typing one handed

So, I'm not very good at typing one handed, thus the dirth of bog posts lately. Little miss is not gaining weight fast enough to please the pediatrician, so i have been literally "plugged in" 24-7. I have not ever had this problem before, so I am a little flummoxed. She has lots of wet and dirty diapers, is quite well hydrated, but not yet back to her birth weight (2 1/2 weeks old).

Any way, part of the difficulty is her latch. She wants to act like she is sucking out of a straw. Thankfully I know better, and have been correcting her latch every. single. time. she nurses, otherwise I would be so sore I would probably give up. But it seems as if her nursing style isn't stimulating my supply very well.

So my hands and heart are full. I can read your blogs one handed, but not type very well. I'm off to feed her again. GO weight gain!!