Monday, July 30, 2007

Another onesie

Here's the latest baby gift I embroidered.



Paxon's daddy is a musician.

I'm pretty proud of my speed on this one. I got the pattern on the fabric on a Tuesday night, but didn't start stitching until the next day. I was done by Friday night, and I really didn't sacrifice to get it done, no special stitching sessions or ignoring my daughter or anything like that.

I wrote out the name (short for Paxon) by hand with a washable marker from Eve's stash. Our printer died a sad and sudden death. I think it may be a bit too widely spaced, but otherwise, I'm pretty happy with it, especially considering I have fairly poor handwriting abilities.

There's a bit of puckering, which I'm sad about, but I don't think it will be too much of a problem. There are also a few stitches that are less than stellar. Eve has been helping me embroider lately, and somehow, I can't really figure out how, it does seem to have an effect on the stitches, even though I place the needle and can easily loosen too-tight stitches. I look forward to when Eve is old enough to try doing something like this all on her own. And until then, I pine away for lacing cards.

Diaper pictures

More pictures downloaded to check on the photos my dad wanted. All those diapers I spend so much time writing about.

Here's the newborn diaper stash in the top drawer of Eve's dresser.


You can see half of the small prefolds generously loaned to me by my friend Betsy. Oh how am I going to keep them so sparkley looking?! She also loaned me a few wraps, but those are toward the bottom of the pile of wraps you can see in the lower left of the photom, because of the slightly larger size. I think I have about 6 wraps to use for the newborn period... a few that only go up to 10 lbs and others that go to 12. The top one in the pile has a cute little notch for avoiding the belly button stump. so tiny. Eve prefers these sizes for use on her dolls. :)

You can also see the like-new Kushies all-in-one I found for cheap on the ill-fated Seattle shopping day at the top left of the photo. Just beneath you can see a big zip-lock bag full of some of the cloth wipes my friend Gina gave me. I'll try to remember to get a shot of the really pretty ones she made for me before I use them. ;)

Yay for friends! :)

Here's the rest of the fitted and all-in-one diapers I got when shopping with my mom.


All but the light green one to the very right should fit Peanut as soon as he passes the new-born stage.

The lion one and the green fleece are just diaper wraps (at least, I think so...can't figure out anything about the lion brand or anything, but it doesn't seem to have any absorbent layer inside, just a cotton knit lining. I only bought it because I think it's really cute. well, that and it was cheap and my mom was buying. :) That's a view of the back of it, won't it be cute on a little baby behind?)

The yellow one has an adorable monkey print on the inside, but it's the one that took forever to dry...forever. It's some kind of name-brand, but the logo tag is simply a baby looking through his legs with "CB" on the cloth diaper he's wearing. Can't figure out what the brand actually is. Shrug.

Over to the far left, top of the pile is a Mother-ease fitted one-size. It looks too huge to fit a tiny tiny baby, but we'll see how it goes with a 12 pounder. Beneath that is a "Kooshies" fitted... I'm not sure if Kooshies and Kushies are related.... and then beneath that is a nameless fitted that I probably should have passed up as it's pretty worn out. However, it was a buck and a quarter...and again, my mom was buying... and this was at the beginning of the trip before I realized that it wouldn't be the only fitted diaper I saw all day. :)

I am all set for laundering diapers. Well, almost. I have a cheap additive-free liquid detergent. Should be good for avoiding buildup on the diapers. I have vinegar (I bought two gallons at Costco to start making my own cleaners. I used it all over the kitchen on Friday in a half-water, half-white-distilled-vinegar spray solution, and it really seemed to work well. Quite happy with myself.) and I have a huge bag of baking soda (12 lbs, Costco again, and again, initially intended for non-laundry cleaning purposes. I haven't cleaned my own shower since purchasing the bag (yay for friends!), but that's my main intention with it). I also have a small bottle of dawn dish liquid for the occasional stripping, but since I've already done it once, and intend to do all the recommended things for avoiding build-up in the future, I don't think I'll use dawn too often in the wash. sister is giving me a fairly new washer and dryer set!!! Now Tom and I just have to figure out a way to move it from Sequim where it's stored on the second floor of a storage barn up at her place. May be difficult, since Sequim is not a short trip and moving a washer and dryer down stairs, not to mention into someone's truck, is not exactly a task just anyone can help us with. Then there's the fact that whoever does help will essentially be doing it all by themselves, as Tom can't do it in his current injured state, and I could never do it, even if I wasn't 38 weeks pregnant. But, I'm totally excited, as our dryer is quite worn out, and our washer is pretty darn old. Yay for sisters!

I have a feeling we will have the baby before we have the washer and dryer, but that's okay, I can be patient, for a little while. :)

Eve and things...

My dad wanted a picture of me in my hugeness. I'm not sharing the picture here (though the brave and curious will find an overexposed shot of us on flickr) because it was incredibly unflattering and didn't turn out very well otherwise. But, it did prompt me to download the pics waiting on the camera, just to make sure the pictures were somewhat like what my dad wanted.

I think I'll try a re-shoot sometime this week.

Here are the other pics.

This is Eve wearing a little baby doll in her new sling.


and here she is laughing and pointing at the cat.


She insisted I take a picture of the kitty.


Everyone is always so complimentary of the kitty's appearance. She is a very pretty cat. She is also very mean. A wonderfully generous group of gals from church arranged and participated in a cleaning party at my house on Friday. I was so blessed to have them, and really, so much was accomplished I was blown away. How does that relate to the cat? She attacked and chased my friend Kim several times when Kim was working on the downstairs bathroom. Kim is doing birth coaching for Peanut's birth. I can't believe my cat would be so rude!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Just one car?

I've been thinking lately that it would be nice to eliminate the cost of owning a second car.

But the more I think about it, the more impossible the thought becomes.

For one, my husband's vehicle is not a family car. It's a huge monstrous GMC Safari (not actually very mini for a minivan) that is unreliable and filled with the dirt, debris, and equipment one might expect a professional home remodeler to be toting. Yes, there are 5 seats, and it is roomy, but I really hate to drive it, and I don't much enjoy riding in it either.

He needs to have it with him during all working hours, as it's his big tool-box.

Then there's the things I mentioned in my previous post. We don't live in the city...we live on the outskirts. Yes, there is a grocery store (and a few filipino markets--how can there really be two?!) that is within easy walking distance... and also two hair salons...but not enough of the sorts of services or attractions that I would need to be able to go without a car. No Library, for one, and the grocery store is small and not well stocked, and not to mention, not generally the best for budget shopping. I must drive to get to Target. I must drive to get to the better parks. I must drive to get organic produce. I must drive to find sidewalks!

And so, we will continue to pay for insurance and maintenance on the second car, and I will do my best to drive only as far and as often as needed.

2 weeks

It would be dishonest to say the count down has begun.

For one, the countdown has been continuous since I realized I was pregnant. For another, I'm not in much of a hurry. Yes, I'd love to stop being uncomfortably hugely pregnant, but as I've mentioned previously, I am apprehensive about having 2 kids, and so can wait for the inevitable as long as God allows.

What if I have 28 days left? I highly doubt that's the case, since Eve arrived a day before her due date. On the other hand, the doctor thought she arrived 4 days late--so I guess I should at least be prepared for 4 days late from the due date I have been given.

What if I have less than 13 days? well, it's a good thing my last day of work is Monday. At least then I'll get a short rest (can it really be called rest when I will be chasing my toddler and trying to clean in preparation for the new little one?)

It definitely means I'm running short on time for a few things I really enjoy about working.

The bit of spare time I have for blogging and surfing is going to dwindle. Yes, the laptop belongs to me, but it's not often that either my husband or my daughter simultaneously don't wish for my attention and aren't using it. Which is usually fine, as that allows me to clean, read, or embroider. But I think my blogging frequency is going to suffer a hit. On the up-side, maybe if I stop finding so much out about cloth diapers these days, I will feel less stressed about the decisions, and just make Tom learn to fold. :)

I really love the library up here, much more so than the one nearest to my home. Come to think of it, there's not really a library very close to my home, making it inconvenient even though there are closer locations than the one here.

There's also a couple grocery stores I like to frequent up here. One that's huge and stocks great options on organic and natural foods, and another that is...Walmart...but not gross and shiver-inducing (I worked there the year between high school and marriage, it was awful) like the one, again, not conveniently located anywhere near me, but technically closer than the one up here.

And a nice children's consignment shop that I could sometimes stop at on my way to work.

Now the name of the game will be conserving gas, which probably means no trips to Walmart or the library, or much of anywhere, and certainly no trips north to this litte town I work in.

It's possible I will miss little breaks away from my daughter. But knowing I have such little time left to just be with her, I don't think so. It will be after the baby arrives that I'll miss the little breaks, and I'll just have to slog through and wait until my husband comes home so I can have 5 minutes alone in the bathroom. :)


I feel like this is becoming a cloth diapering blog... ha ha. Obsess much?

On Tuesday I had a somewhat bad shopping day with my mom. She was really sweet and generous, and basically bought me anything I even remotely showed interest in at the various children's consignment stores we rushed to and from.

She bought me a changing table that I do not love. It will certainly do, which is why I allowed her to buy it for me,'s just not my style. Then again, I'm not certain changing tables fit in with my style, period. Eve just had a dresser and a changing pad secured to the top. I used it all the time (even after she fell head first off the thing) and loved it, so I know I'd have a hard time transitioning to the "pad on the couch (or bed)" or "floor changing" that I know many people go for.

She also bought me a small, simple diaper pail (since I'm pretty sure my fancy and worn out diaper disposal "system" won't really do with cloth). I have since decided it's too there's no way it will hold a whole load of diapers...but I'm sure I'll find a use for it. And, it was as pricey used as it is new on Target's I guess we saved on shipping.

However, I'm not sure it was worth it, considering the pain and suffering of the day. Parking lots and small fender scrapes and whatnot...:P

Eve was great, though she did get hurt and that made the last stop a little less fun.

She also picked up an assortment of all in one diapers, a few pocket diapers, and wrap covers. They were all used and all pretty cheap, but not in bad shape. I'll probably take a picture of them in all their newly-pristine glory to show you all soon, I know you can't wait. I "stripped" the diapers with Dawn dish detergent last night, requiring 3 rinses to get all the suds out! And then had to dry them all on low, since most of them say to dry on medium and my dryer only has low or high. This took 3+ cycles. One of the all-in-one diapers finally was simply hung out...because it *still* wasn't dry (I've heard this is an issue). My dryer is so lame, I think this means that I should definitely stop pining away for all-in-ones for Tom and make him buck up (or hope for some miracle from heaven of a better dryer and/or pocket diapers.

I think washing the Polar Babies wrap in the hot water with the rest of the stuff was a bad idea, as it now is all bunched up on the inner lining. On the plus side, Eve likes that one quite well for her doll, so it will be put to good use no matter what.

I got one pocket diaper that is big enough for Eve, or an even bigger kid, I would imagine. It's a "FuzzyBunz" and...ha ha, works quite well! Eve wanted to wear it really bad, and since it was all nice and clean, and the baby won't be in that size for a loooong time, I figured it couldn't hurt. I told her to pretend she was wearing big girl panties, and to proceed accordingly...She must have thought I meant to forget going potty on the potty, because she promptly tested out the capacity of the thing--and it did great! So, I guess that's a good thing. Too bad I didn't find the thing in a small size, 'cause by the time the baby wears something this big, Tom better be able to handle folding a simple prefold--seriously.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Pampers or Huggies?

Okay, so maybe the world of disposable diapers is not that simple, but it is much more so than the world of cloth diapers.

Sure, there's a few less popular brands, and many store brands, and personally, I've found myself delighted with Costco's Kirkland brand. If you buy a package you don't like from, say, Walmart, you only have to live with the mistake for a week or so, and then you go buy a different brand.

Cloth on the other hand? There are (maybe literally, who can tell?) thousands of different kinds of cloth diapers and accessories.

It's really overwhelming. Now, the cheap way to go is with prefolds and simply plastic covers or wool covers made from old sweaters (or hand knit ones, if you happen to knit--which I don't, sadly). Prefolds are what you think of when you think of cloth diapers. There are also tons of different kinds of covers to use... ones that Velcro in a manner similar to disposable diapers...probably more comfortable and way more cute than plastic pants.

But then, there are All In Ones, and Pocket diapers... and these look like mana from heaven to me. As easy to use (washing, of course, is a different matter) as disposables, because they are one piece...and even cute! Like these and these and these. Even you who think cloth diapering is crazy (I hear you, I do.) can't deny how cute these are!

And, then, there's a world in between...diapers that are not rectangle, but rather contoured, and then fitted diapers that are contoured and self-securing (with Velcro or snaps) with elastic around the top and legs to prevent leaks. There are liners and doublers and soakers and inserts, and a hundred brands of every type of item I just can one make a good choice? The cost of a bad choice is much higher than having to finish off a package of less-than-ideal disposables. When you drop 20 bucks plus shipping on one diaper...and it doesn't fit your kid or it leaks or it's just too difficult to use... then what? Not to mention... when you go with a 20 bucks a piece diaper... are you really saving over disposables? Maybe in the long run, since the diapers are very re-usable--even on to second and third children, but in the short run, that's the cost of a large package of disposables... sigh.

And then there's endless discussion on laundering techniques...I can hardly even bear to go there.

However, on the positive side of all of this, I did find out that Viva paper towels work very well as liners to prevent staining... yay! I was going to buy old sheets and cut those up and just throw them away anyway... this seems not much worse as far as waste is concerned. I guess we'll see...philosophically, I suppose this may not be very waste-not-want-not of me...but not having to worry so much about stains? That just might be worth it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


So, I've been having a few weird dreams I thought I'd share with you.

The first was short and vivid, and woke me up with a start. I wouldn't call it a nightmare, but it wasn't a good dream, either.

First, I watched my cat jump away in pain from a spider she'd been playing with. Eve was with me, but not in my arms, and the spider walked away from the cat with two legs it was attacking. We jumped out of the way, and it scurried behind a piece of furniture. Before it was hidden, it grew, turned red, and suddenly had wings, though it didn't fly. It was also oddly shaped, with a pointed front end and a larger rear-end, a bit like a mouse. Which makes sense, because it suddenly turned around and was a mid-sized white mouse. I'm not sure why, but I instinctually stepped on the mouse. I was wearing rather thin shoes, and I could feel it squirm beneath my feet, and could tell that even with all my weight, I wasn't really doing anything to it. I lifted my foot and it began to run away. My cat, meanwhile, was lolled on its side, yet to recover from the spider bite. I told Eve it was okay and stepped on the mouse again. The same thing, only this time when I lifted my foot, it jumped up on me. That's what woke me up.

The latest one was even shorter and not nearly as vivid, although seemed totally real and distressing nonetheless. I can't even remember much of the details, except at the baby's birth someone announced, "It's a girl!"

I was quite upset. First, I've desired a boy because I think sibling relations may be easier when one can be the family definition of feminine and one can be the masculine one... no degrees of femininity, so no worries about creating complexes in a little girl's psyche. Second, we have planned and prepared for a boy (With Eve, I was never positive, so everything was done, at least by me, with the assumption that it could go either way. I didn't even wash up all the new girl clothes we received, just the hand-me-downs. And I took a white outfit to the hospital with two onesies, one for a girl in pink and white stripes, and one for a boy that I can't really remember now.) and if we have a girl, there will be much scrambling to fix the clothing situation. And of course, I'd been confidently stating that the baby was definitely a boy, so now I was embarrassed to be so confident and so wrong. Also, we have a boy's name (if not the middle name) but no girl's name, because by the time we started looking at names, we'd found out the sex, so there was no need to do twice the work when deciding on the name. How could this happen?!

And then I woke up. Phew! It seemed so real, I was quite shocked to find myself still pregnant. I sure hope it wasn't a premonition.


So I've been enjoying my reading of Siblings Without Rivalry. It's interesting and enlightening, and at the same time challenging.


Validate feelings.

I don't think I'm great at this, especially when it's something like, "I don't like him" because there's no reason for her to feel this way, usually. I'll have to keep in mind that feelings are often not based on good reasoning or logic. Heaven knows mine aren't. Validating feelings doesn't have to mean allowing bad actions or behavior. Yay!

Give in fantasy what can't be had in reality.

Basically, just state in clear language what it appears the child wants. Not sure how I feel about this one.

Not sure how I feel about this one. I can't see myself saying, "I can see you are angry. You wish that we could send the baby back and have mama all to yourself again."

Suggest creative or otherwise non-harmful outlets to express negative feelings.

Meh...I've never much liked this, myself. Although I have made great use of writing letters that never get read, that is a little hard for non-literate children. I guess I could always suggest punching pillows or screaming at the top of your lungs--I use those myself.

Don't compare, positively or negatively.

I know I've already been guilty of this with other kid's Eve's age or a little older.

"Oh, Eve, Hannah wears big girl panties all the time because she goes potty in the potty! She's such a big girl!"

I will have to make sure this isn't something I continue.

The hardest part of this includes non-direct comparisons: praising one child in front of the other. I have a hard time already with over-praising Eve. Of course, I think she's the most awesome kind on the planet, so it's hard to keep that to myself, and in my house as a child everything we did was always the best and the greatest, and we were the smarted, most attractive, most athletic, etc. kids EVER.

It's going to be a real challenge to keep praise private as the family grows. Also not sure how this applies to praising infants for milestone accomplishments...something to think about.

The next section is Fair is Unfair, which I've just begun and which says equal treatment is unnecessary and harmful, and that each child should be treated according to his or her needs.

I'm definitely interested in this section, because while I don't feel my parents did this, I get the sense that Tom thought his whole life was unfair...and he's frequently mentioned how certain unfair treatments bother him in other families we are close to.

So far, my only hang up with this book is that the things parents say seem to be way over the top...but then, I guess it's easier to portray extreme examples than more subtle ones in such a format.

Additionally, a lot of the long-lasting hurt feelings and resentment can be healed through forgiveness, given time and God, so I didn't identify with a lot of what the parents said about their own histories--even though I hated my brother, I really love him now and I'm closer to him than to either of my other brothers, who were never subjects of my wrath. And although I recognize that in many ways my feelings toward him had a lot to do with what my parents did, I know they only did what they felt was best and have always had the best of intentions, and simply didn't have the tools or training to do what would have been better. I've forgiven them for it, even though I fear repeating their mistakes.

I guess I should let that be a lesson to me...

Even if I fail as a parent to foster a close and loving relationship amongst my children, all hope is not lost as long as God's in the picture--He can change hearts and minds dramatically, as He has mine.

Of course, that puts the pressure back on teaching Eve the Truth about God, and praying that she chooses to follow him, and back to my fear of screwing her up!

Diapers are so much better than when I was baby

Guess what?

I'm going to cloth diaper this baby!

Yikes, what am I saying?

How did I come to this place from my beautiful world of vastly improved disposable diapers that make life so darn easy?

Well, to begin with, cloth diapering is not just a historical thing in my world. I have the pleasure of having many friends who don't just go with the flow of the modern world and wrap their kids in the latest diaper technology available. They have expanded my horizons. In fact, I have quite a few friends who eschew diapers almost entirely, and instead live a diaper-free existence through a practice called Elimination Communication.

In point of fact, I'm also considering EC, but find myself somewhat overwhelmed by visiting the potty with a newborn who has to go every 20 minutes--especially as I'm in the middle of attempting to potty train Eve. Add to that my squeamish germophobia, and the idea of having little potties all over the house where toddler hands can find them, I'm just not so sure. At least, I know I will wait until 6 weeks or so, and re-evaluate then.

And who knows, after that many weeks of doing my own diaper laundry, I may just be ready to switch to an alternative!

What? No diaper service? No, you see, that's the *actual* motivation behind my plan to cloth diaper. No money! I think I previously mentioned that Tom will be recovering from surgery during my maternity leave (which I really do hope to make permanent, but I'm not going to get my hopes up too high until we see if we can survive that way. It's never worked before, and our financial situation has taken quite the hit since Tom's accident, so we're already starting from a difficult spot). With the loss of my income and living on disability for a month at the least, we'll be at about 50% our previous income. the cost of a few extra loads of laundry a week should be significantly less than either the cost of a service or the cost of disposables, and therefore our most affordable option. The alternative is putting disposables on credit--not cool.

Of course, cloth diapers and covers are not cheap. Although I did find a great resource for making your own at very little expense, I can't really spend any money on something Tom's not convinced we'll be able to sustain. Some very kind friends have offered to loan us all we will need to cloth diaper a newborn. What a huge blessing! And, if I decide cloth diapering is sustainable for our family, but decide against EC, I can probably afford to slowly build a stash of home-made larger-sized diapers and covers to take us through the baby's diapering year(s).

A couple added bonuses:
uh...the crunchy creds and props from my cloth-diapering friends. ;)
No worries about chemicals (with unknown consequences) lying close to my baby's skin 24/7.
Feelings of pride associated with clean laundry (Did I tell you how happy it made me to get Eve's training pants pristinely clean after a soiling accident a week or so ago? I was in alt), conquering a new challenge, and attaining a new skill.
And of course, being a good steward of the environment.

I'll have to say, the worst part about this is the laundry. Not only do I not relish the idea of rinsing diapers in the toilet (ew. eww. Thank goodness I bought a huge stash of disposable nitrile gloves from Costco a few months ago--is that like totally against the cloth diapering code? Maybe I should buy some rubberized kitchen tongs or something for the purpose? and a leak-proof transfer container too. Drips...*shudder*), I already hate folding laundry. Really, aside from putting laundry away, it's my absolute least favorite chore. Yes, I prefer scrubbing toilets, baths and showers, and getting on my hands and knees to hand-mop my kitchen floor to folding laundry. I guess I should be grateful that the diapers should be a lot easier to put away than clothes generally are, but the complicated folding ritual may make up for that.

I'm trying to build enthusiasm in my mind for this. When Cloth diapering was simply something friends did, I could admire it, and imagine myself doing it if need be. Same with EC. But now that I'm faced with actually doing it, I'm a little overwhelmed.

It sounds like so much work, and I'm worried I won't be able to wash the diapers clean enough for my own standards or those of the diaper owners (I had hoped that our last tax return would finance the purchase of a more energy/water efficient front loading washer and a dryer that doesn't take two cycles to dry a load of anything but delicates (you know, the ones you don't put in the dryer?), but we were looking and waiting for the right deal when Tom had his accident, and kept it as a stash for emergencies. We finally used it up in the last financial snafu. So I'm left with a washer that I feel doesn't even clean Tom's work jeans well enough, let alone a load of wet and soiled diapers that I will put back on my baby, and eventually return to their rightful owners.) Plus, I'm not a huge fan of the mondo-butt look so many cloth-diapered babies sport.

Wish me luck and perseverance. I'm gonna need it.

A nice turn around

So I continued to feel lousy all day on Monday, until I got home.

Eve ran to me, so happy to see me, and gave me the biggest, longest kiss. And then giggled and kissed me again and again. And then stroked my hair and looked so happy to be in my arms and to have me home. I couldn't continue to feel sorry for myself with that kind of love.

Then Tom, who had planned on having the night to himself in order to practice his guitar, said he'd watch Eve so I could go to one of those product parties at a friend's. I'd been pretty bummed to have to cancel due to lack of babysitters, not because I planned to buy anything with my no-discretionary-spending budget, but because I knew my friend would be serving something wonderfully yummy to eat, and I would get to relax rather than try to do the nighttime routine all by myself. He was so cordial and encouraging about it, I could tell he wasn't just doing it grudgingly. It was such a blessing to get to go, and the food was, indeed, delicious. Again, how could I continue to be grumpy in the face of my husband's love?

Finally, that night Tom and I stayed up pretty late and had a long conversation about my parenting concerns.

He isn't worried and feels we're doing an okay job. I wouldn't say I totally agree with him, but it was comforting to know that he's not dissatisfied with my parenting, so no extra pressure there.

He also said I need to stop worrying about screwing her up, because in one way or another, we're going to screw her up. Basically, he says I need to stop striving for perfection, because it's impossible to achieve. While not comforting, it is freeing to accept that I cannot be the perfect mother, and that my child cannot be perfect, no matter how hard I try and wish for it.

In addition to all that, there were a couple great comments on my last post with practical and real-world truth on sibling rivalry and discipline--which was encouraging and helpful.

Monday, July 16, 2007

What's my motivation?

Well, I'm just having one of those days today. I shouldn't be, as I'm feeling showered with love and care from every direction. Despite that, my thoughts are drawn toward self-reflection and I find myself lacking--always disappointing.

It's been a somewhat slow journey to this frame of mind, and I wouldn't say I got here until yesterday evening. But it all started Saturday night.

I brought up sibling rivalry with a friend who has quite a few kids. I figured if she'd dealt with it and figured out how to deal with it, then I could safely take her advice on it--because her kids all seem to get along and love each other.

I'll be honest that she didn't seem to have much practical advice, but she assured me that she doesn't think it will be a problem in our family.

I wish I could share her conviction.

You see, when I got my first sibling, it ruined my life. I felt betrayed, bereft, abandoned and unloved. And it was ALL. HIS. FAULT. Dumb little brother going and messing up my life like that. Who did he think he was?! I literally hated him. I wasn't much for the physical abuse, although I'm sure that he got his fair share of shoves and whatnot, but I was much more about the emotional manipulation and cruelty. To this day, I believe that I can see evidence in my brother of damage done by me and by my parent's reaction to my behavior towards him.

I'm very afraid of the same occurring between Eve and her little brother. I'm afraid she will feel unloved and displaced. I'm afraid she'll take it out on her little brother. I'm afraid that anything I try to do to "fix" their relationship will only further harm things. I'm afraid of putting distance between Eve an I, after working so hard to foster closeness and attachment and trust, I'd hate to see it all go to waste, wiped out by the arrival of a sibling.

You might see something in the above paragraph that my friend picked up on. Fear.

She told me she got the feeling I was afraid and implored me not to be. Reminding me that fear is not of God. Unless, of course, it's fear of God. But I can't seem to help myself. It's ingrained in me, and probably something I need to really work on.

Yes, I'm fearful about sibling relations in my home. This led me to examine my parenting in general. I am very much motivated by fear in my parenting.

Now, unlike perhaps many (not all) parents (I suspect), I am not really much afraid that my daughter will misbehave. She does misbehave, but I'm not a behaviorist, or at least, I'm not hung up on the here-and-now of behavior, and I recognize that a lot of what we might think of as misbehavior is really just developmental behavior. Yes, I get frustrated by that behavior, but most of the time, I can deal.

What I am afraid of is screwing her up. I'm sure my fear will double soon as I have a whole new little life I can screw up too. Maybe I'm giving myself too much credit, maybe I don't have so much power.

I really try to trust God over my daughter, and to an extent, I feel I've succeeded. I'm much less fearful for her physical well being and health than I used to be. I'm not perfectly fearless in the face of danger or disease, but I think I've come a long way.

I feel I'm well-equipped to be a nurturer of little lives. I find it easy to be a responsive mother of a newborn and infant (although I do anticipate struggling a bit with doing the infant thing at the same time as the toddler thing). I guess I should say, I know what to do with a baby. I know that they don't have mere "wants" and every desire is truly a need. Every moment is a learning one for a baby. And the goal of the first year is to teach trust and self-worth.

After that, things get more complicated. When do children begin to have mere "wants" and when can such desires be safely denied? When does age-appropriate behavior cross the line into inappropriate behavior (besides the obvious of bringing harm to others), when is it disrespect, when is it something else equally unsavory that should be stopped? I've been stumbling through that with Eve, and I still honestly don't know. I feel fairly confident that at her age of several months past 2 and a half, she's long been in the stage of everything not being a need, I'm just not sure when the transition occurred, and I still have a little trouble deciphering which is which.

I'm not afraid that I'm doing too much in the way of discipline, although I'm certainly afraid of going there. Instead, I'm afraid I'm too far on the "permissive" end of the spectrum in which I'm not establishing enough boundaries, and I'm not training her in good behavior, decorum, or work ethic. I'm also afraid I'm leaving God out of the equation--although He is in my thoughts and I am trying to do things in a Godly fashion, I'm pretty sure I don't communicate that to Eve enough, and I don't feel that we're doing much to teach her about God. Very frustrating, really.

I'm also dreadfully afraid of teaching Eve a God that doesn't exist. I've shared that before. I don't want to present to her "God" who is not true. I want to only present the True God to her, but I am, again, afraid that I'm failing.

I hate failing. It makes me feel really lousy. Failure in general is just one more thing I fear. And being fearful makes me feel I've once more failed.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sweet Eve

Just had to share a little tidbit.

The other night it was soooo hot, and Eve had had such a late, long nap--courtesy of Grandma--that it was 11:30 before she was asleep. Ugh. I wasn't too bothered though because the entire evening, though she seemed to really be grating on Tom's nerves, she was just the sweetest thing to me.

She would hug me and run to me every few minutes. And when I told her once that I loved her, her response was "Thank you for loving me." with her head cocked to the side and her smile just so precious.

A few moments before our second try at going down for the night, she was asking about my "nummy nums" (she's just so darn interested in anatomy these days). I've tried to teach her "breasts" now that she's not nursing, but after, oh, 2 years worth of saying "nummy nums" in reference to my breasts as well as breastfeeding, I think it's a hard habit to break. After we confirmed that she has breasts and daddy has breasts, but hers are small because she's small, and mine are big because I'm big (sigh), she asked shyly if she could have some. I was a bit surprised, but only a bit. I've heard it's common for newly-weaned children to test boundries...see if they are still welcome to what was freely given for so long. After a moment's hesitation, I said yes.

She immediately launched herself into my arms and gave me a long, fierce hug. Then she pulled away and started off on another subject. After a few moments of conversation, I asked if she still wanted to nurse, and she shook her head. Then she asked me if I wanted to have "nummy nums" from her. That made me laugh, and I suggested that she give one of her babies some instead, because babies nurse, not adults. She immediately picked up "Pooh baby" (a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal that she really loves) and began to "nurse" him. She then informed me that he wasn't done yet. She alternated between looking at Pooh, looking off into space, and looking at me. It was so cute!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


At the very bottom of my recently completed, prioritized "baby needs..." list is an item I'm considering removing.

A nursing necklace.

I remember when Eve was young, being annoyed that her little seeking hands would always grasp my hair and pull hard enough to make my eye's water. Then, when she got to the stage of limit testing, it became a great deal more annoying when she would purposely pull my hair as hard as she possibly could.

I thought that the perfect solution would have been to give her newborn hands something else to grasp, creating a habit that would leave hair pulling out of the equation later on. Then, if she grabbed my hair, I'd know she was up to something--I wouldn't have to wait until she suddenly pulled to know she was testing me out.

But I find myself very happy about her habit of playing with my hair. It's become somewhat of a partial replacement for nursing, or rather, a remainder of the full ritual which we no longer practice.

At night when I help her go to sleep she plays with my hair. When she greets me after a separation (Even just the amount of time she's in nursery on Sunday's) she'll play with my hair. When she is tired, or frightened, or in need of comfort, she will often play with my hair. Sometimes she will even ask to do so from the back of the car when she begins to get sleepy. Unfortunately, I have to say no during those times. But otherwise, it makes me happy that she still wants closeness with me like that.

Since I'm unlikely to actually receive a nursing necklace, and since I can't forsee the financial flexibility to buy one for myself, I will soon have to remind myself that when my newborn is a newly weaned child, I will be happy to have him play with my hair rather than a necklace. Maybe that will make it easier to get through the painful hair pulling stages.

Pictures of recent things

Not much to say about these, since the events have already been mentioned, but thought I'd share a few shots with you.

Here are the only pictures we got of the 4th of July. Sadly, my batteries died early on, and I was too injured to want to make a special trip to the house for new ones.


From left to right we have Eve, Grandma, Olivia, Cousin Anne, Cousin Chase, Tosha (the cousins' mom) and Cousin Levi (Cousin Anne's twin brother). We all thought it was adorable the way Olivia just claimed Grandma as hers too.


Earlier, Tosha had ill-advised fun with a Roman Candle. We had tons of them. I'm sure that everyone's hands went riiiiight over the warning not to hold the candle. I'm sure the Engstrom family will persist in this dangerous activity until something drastic occurs to prove the reason for the warnings on the label.


I'm not absolutely sure, since Tom took this shot, but I think that's Tim, the Cousins' dad, helping his nearly 4 year old son to hold a roman candle in his bare hands. Cool, huh?

I had a hard time letting Eve hold a Morning Glory sparkler.

And here are some shots of that really wonderful bouquet that my friend Tanna gave me. Isn't it pretty?!



Keep in mind, this is a day and a half after I received it, thus the slight agedness of the flowers.


Hope you are all having a great day!

Friday, July 06, 2007

What am I really looking forward to?

I've officially got 5 weeks left. Actually, 4 weeks and 6 days.

Due to an injury I sustained on the 4th, I highly doubt all my "nesting" will be accomplished. Hopefully the house will happen to be mostly clean on the day I have the babe so I don't come home to a complete dive which will only get worse for a week or two.

I am really looking forward to being very slightly more comfortable in the heat, but otherwise, since I'm still unsure if I'll be able to accomplish the birth without tearing and going through the months of pain that I went through last time, I'm not really getting my hopes up about feeling physically better. Maybe my digestive issues will subside, maybe not. I certainly can't say I look forward to sleeping on my stomach, since with nursing through the night, sleeping is not exactly going to improve simply because I have a little more freedom of position.

I'm apprehensive about nursing too. Eve was a natural, although with my over-active letdown, it wasn't the most enjoyable activity for her. I'm somewhat worried it will be more difficult this time, and I know that with a toddler running around, I can't look forward to the long hours of couch-confinement with quite the same peaceful anticipation. I do look forward to it, but I'm thinking I'll like it better about the time I may have to return to work. At which point the anti-joy of pumping will intrude somewhat.

But I *am* really looking forward to babywearing again! Aside from the issue of finding a comfortable style of carrier for August, I can't think of any negatives to this. With all the new babies at church and several more besides my own on the way, I've had my carriers out a lot more than usual. And Eve has been wanting to be worn for the first time in...months and months and months. I have realized that I've almost completely forgotten how to back-wrap her, but it's been fun (if a bit tiring). Of course, I have to stop farming all my carriers out. Currently, I've promised the mei Tai to a gal who's toddler hurt her ankle and is more clingy than usual. I gave my woven wrap to another friend who is already into wearing her babies, but hasn't tried a wrap yet. My lovely silk ring sling was loaned out over a year ago to a friend I'm not in touch with much anymore. So... in my possession are a cotton ring sling, some homemade knit wraps and my pouch (which never worked for me in the early days because of nursing enlargement. :)

What I could really use are some new carriers. Like a water wrap, or a cotton guaze wrap, or this carrier, which looks totally awesome. Go sign up for the giveaway (courtesy of All Natural Mommies) if you think so too (or don't so my odds are better. ;))

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Independence day!

To celebrate, here are some pictures of Pointy Kitty, my first stuffed creature crafting attempt, and the first craft Eve helped with. She picked out the fabric (given a few choices) and the button eyes (again, given a few choices) and was responsible for keeping the buttons safe.

She was a free pattern from the delightful Wee Wonderfuls.



I started this way back in September, 2006. I had intended for it to be a Birthday gift. And then a Christmas gift, and then a valentine's day gift. I think I finished it in time for Easter, but it's been a few months since then, so I can't remember. I finally handed over the precious Pointy Kitty, filled with poly stuffing, hard work, and love. And in a matter of hours...


Poor kitty. I only got around to fixing it this past week. And since then, pointy kitty has been mostly ignored. He he, live and learn. I'm sure by the time I get around to making a rag-doll for her, she will have grown out of her baby-loving phase. Maybe Pointy Kitty was simply too un-cuddly, and didn't fit in the stroller. Plus, Eve's real kitty is much more fun to chase.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


So, I sat down to compose this post, all excited to show you my five recently-completed embroidery projects, only to realize that I forgot to photograph the one I completed on Friday.


Well, there is a good chance that I will be able to photograph that one later, so someday you may see it. It was my only little girl shirt, and actually, as lovely as it is, not my favorite. I think in my attempt to make it girly when compared with the other four, I failed to make it also uniquely cute.

Anyway, on with the show!

The first completed shirt is for a little boy whose dad is one of the football coaches at one of the local high schools. I tried to go for a Jersey/Letterman's jacket look. The front is the sport's logo for the school.


And the back.


This is all done in black and orange. The script on the name was hard to create and somewhat hard to stitch...but in real life it looks cool.

This next one is for a little guy born on the same day as Halsey. This was definitely my favorite finished product and my favorite to stitch.





isn't that cute?! I love Sublime Stitching.

Next up, we have Jet(t)'s shirt. Definitely my least favorite, and I think it's merely the lack of lots of color. Jett is by no means my least favorite baby, of course, I just didn't like the finished product of his shirt that much. On the other hand, it took the least time to stitch up, so there's something to that. I only realized a week after I gave the shirt to his mom that I'm quite certain his name is spelled incorrectly. Woops.



Unfortunately, I only had really good lighting available for photos of Eben's shirt. Additionally, even though normally I praise my husband's photography skills, he didn't use the macro setting, so this is as much detail as you'll get for Jett's shirt and the next one.

Ben's! Ben is, I believe, baby number 5 in his family. This is definitely my second fave shirt. I guess I just like a lot of color.



Little Zoe got her name in a lovely curly script in light pink in the upper left corner of the front of her shirt with a small rose (darker pink in the center petals, light pink on the outermost petals and a single green leaf) beside it. On the rear, a larger matching rose in slightly different colors, a little more reddish/orange. Very pretty. Someday I hope to show it to you.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Yes, it's Monday, and I can tell.

Eve has been sleeping terribly for about a week, maybe a bit more. Twice I've woken to her cries for me from her room, and found her wandering in the far corners. I actually wonder if she's sleep walking and then waking up and crying because she's no longer in her bed. Needless to say, this neat-o situation is making it very difficult for Tom and I to get enough sleep.

She had a cold last week, and seems to be over it now, but her behavior isn't quite back to normal yet. Remember the bratty/clingy stage she was in a bit ago. She's back in it again.

I am simply trying to enjoy the end of her being my only child. I want to savor every moment, but at the same time, I'm so tired and so tired of some of the antics, that it's hard not to complain. And then, this morning it took us two hours to leave the house, and I was constantly telling her, no, or wait to requests to play with her, hold her, and sit with her. I don't want to have to say no!

Our financial situation is also very Monday-ish. The last Disability payment Tom got was incorrect, so we had to send the check back, but I forgot to cancel the online payments for some very big bills. I hope they don't try to re-cash the check too soon, because one NSF fee (from the bank and the payee) is really quite enough in my opinion. Why do they charge you more money when you clearly don't have enough to begin with?

Even though it wouldn't have changed anything, I'm feeling guilty about the pizza, Teriyaki, and Lattes of last week.

So, I need a new measure of trust in God, because I don't know when we'll get a replacement, correct disability check, and two weeks until the next payday seems a long long ways out. Especially when we're nearly out of TP. :) Luckily, for once, I don't feel that pressing need for food-stuffs that often indicates distrust creeping into my heart. On the other hand, that's merely because we actually have plenty of food. Yay us! I am supremely bummed that I won't be getting a single Latte for two weeks, but that seems like just punishment for not cooking dinner for my family...even once, this week. *blush*

On top of all this, I woke up sometime this morning with much of my body "asleep" because of laying on my right side or back too long. And now baby is back to head up. I've been slacking too much in the positions and exercises for OFP. In fact, I just caught myself slouching.

So, on the bright side...

Tom has the MRI we've been waiting 2 weeks for scheduled for Thursday. That's great news, because that means sometime next week the docs can tell us if he really does need hip surgery, and if he does, they can submit to L&I for approval. With approximately 5 and a half weeks until my due date, this means he may actually get to have surgery (and recover, mostly) before the baby comes. I hate to wish upon myself the full 40 weeks (or, *shudder* over 40 weeks), but I could really use a husband in fine physical health for labor support. And maybe it will work out to allowing him to be recovered enough to help me, but not enough to be back at work, so I could have his company and assistance when the baby is new, not to mention how much Eve will like that, or how nice it will be if he can bond with the baby more than just in the evenings, when he's exhausted and in pain.

We have plenty of food.

We had a great party at our house last night, one that will be somewhat repeated every Sunday night for the rest of July and August (although, depending on baby, and I suppose on Tom's surgery, there may be some interruptions) It was fun and well-attended, and everyone helped out tremendously. The food everyone brought was awesome, and Tom learned that grilling chicken thighs to actual doneness when they are partially frozen is not something he wants to try again. Eve had a total blast, and only needed to be disciplined a handful of times. Of course, she also has a dozen new cuts and bruises, and seems none the worse for wear.

One of my sweet friends gave me a lovely bouquet and an adorable little painted vase. I was to touched! I need to take a picture of it so I can always remember the sweet gift and how beautiful it is!

Even though (non)cooperation from the babysitters seemed bent on destroying any cleaning ambitions I had for the weekend, I managed to actually clean the cat litter box (with soap and water and it's almost as good as the day we bought it now!), mop the kitchen , clean the downstairs bathroom, *and* do all the usual maintenance cleaning and laundry washing that needed to be done. I'm definitely feeling the "nesting" instinct, as I want everything to be REALLY clean, not just mostly-so and tidy. Logically, I figure if I can get everything spotless and shiny, it will be easier to maintain. I also got all of Peanut's clothes and baby items cataloged--so I know what I have and what I need now. I'm wiped out, but it's a good wiped out.

I have a serger lined up to borrow, with means I can make some really light weight, cotton gauze swaddling blankets for the babe, and maybe (depending on cash flow, of course) a gauze wrap to wear the baby in. And i can finish the edges of a knit wrap (or two) I already own.

Before the great disability check debacle, there was an awesome sale at the fabric store and I got everything (fabric-wise) I need to make some perfect light-blocking curtains for Eve's room. I'm not sure what style they will be yet, but given that my time is limited, I think I'll go with simple. Maybe someday I can buy or make Roman shades, but until then, this project will be a huge improvement on the sheets and table clothes. Now I just need to get Tom to pull my sewing table and machine out of the dark recesses and some place I can actually use it.

I finished all the onesies (Post upcoming) for the 5 babies born in April/May at church. Yay! Now I'm finishing a skirt detail that I started for Eve last summer. Good thing I bought a 3T!! Next up, a onesie for Peanut, and another for Baby H, due in August as well. Oh yeah, and one for Paxon as well, who, being with us in the outside world, will probably be first (after the skirt. must. finish. skirt.)

I finished reading a book on creating a birth plan, and now feel I can go into this birth plan writing stuff with a bit more info than last time around. Now finishing up (half way through) Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth. Very interesting read. I hope to be all done soon, but I will begin my draft birth plan this week so I can have a good working copy to take to my next doc appointment. I think I need to do the pre-registration stuff at the hospital soon too, so I'll need it basically complete by then. I've also devised a plan to not embitter the L&D nurses with my odd desires to buck the system, by bringing along goodies (mostly chocolate) and getting them on my side before I have to put my foot down about things.

Eve and I really had a lovely morning together on Saturday, before the babysitting that almost wasn't. We read books, with several look-throughs of her baby scrap book. we played with her toys. She felt the baby "move" (he wasn't really moving at the time, but she gently pushed on my tummy and imagined he was moving). We snuggled in my bed after she put one of her babies there for a nap. She played with my hair and stared sweetly at me. She wasn't going to take a nap, which is what usually happens in the day time when we lay down and she plays with my hair. It was so precious to look into her beautiful dark eyes and stare at her lovely translucent skin. She said and did such sweet things, and laughed and smiled a great deal. I want more of those moments.

Last, but certainly not least, a friend has offered to loan me her mini-co-sleeper, which means I no longer need a bed for Peanut!! Totally awesome.

And by now, after cataloging all the good things (and I'm sure I haven't put them all down) I'm feeling much better.