Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Hoarders is an excellent new A&E show that profiles, well, hoarders, and the people who try to help them. This isn't an upbeat TLC makeover show, though--the hoarders have deep-rooted problems and they're usually deeply resistant to outside help. I don't watch it often because I find it too disturbing. On the upside, it usually leaves me with the urge to clean something. Last night, a man with mountains of scrap metal in his front yard was days away from serving jail time for a long history of city ordinance violations. The apparently lucid, hardworking, middle-aged man simply couldn't grasp this fact.

Professional organizer: "If we don't get this cleaned up, you're going to jail. That's the reality."
Hoarder: "...I wish you'd lose that word."
PO: "Reality? Well, that's the reality."
Hoarder: (visibly uncomfortable) "I know. I just wish you wouldn't say it."

This exchange struck a chord with me. Reality avoidance seems to creep up on almost everyone, not just scrap metal hoarders. I just started Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality by Dr. Henry Cloud, a book that focuses on this very issue, and others related to the key components of integrity and character. I've always thought of character as "doing the right thing" and telling the truth. I vote, I recycle, I volunteer--I'm a good person, right? Dr. Cloud outlines how this faulty belief keeps people from developing other essential aspects of character. No matter how honest and hardworking, a person without a fully developed character will always fall short of his or her potential. One important facet of character and integrity is the ability to embrace negative realities--and solve them--instead of avoiding, ignoring, and running the other way. Boss doesn't like you? Budget isn't working? Career hit a rough patch? That's life, folks! Left unsolved, problems like these can develop into blind spots that cloud your judgement and keep you from seeing the big picture. I know it's happened to me.

Unlike most of us, the hoarders' main problems are extremely visible to the outside world. It's hard to overlook a mountain of scrap metal, but most of us have less trouble sweeping our own problems under the rug. This book is challenging me to embrace the negative realities in my life (everyone has 'em!), lean into them, and work them out. I guarantee that if scrap-metal guy had embraced his reality, he wouldn't have been facing jail time. In fact, if more people did this, A&E might not have a show. But I don't think we're in any danger there.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Coffee and Tea

We stopped for coffee after my 34-week appointment yesterday...Bianca got some chocolate milk, but she insisted on drinking my decaf latte instead ("Bianca like Mommy's coffee!"). She's such a little grown-up--she's also insisting that I stand OUTSIDE of the stall when she uses a public restroom. She's 2! I can only imagine how independent she'll be when she's a teenager. Come to think of it, she's been a teenager since the day she was born. I'll be a pro by the time she hits 13.
At the appointment, I told her that the doctor was going to look at my belly, and she whispered "Look where the baby lives," and I said, "Yes." She said (still whispering), "So baby can come out." "Yup." "So baby can sleep." Well, we certainly hope so! :)
She's into playing "tea party" these days and we LOVE her new tea set from Green Toys. It's made out of recycled milk jugs, plus it's food-safe (a must for B since she has to actually drink out of her teacups) and super cute.

She may be into tea these days because I've been gulping down red raspberry leaf tea as recommended by my doula...and I finally got a real teapot of my own. Tea really does taste better brewed in a pot! I'm also the proud owner of a Gail Pittman cream and sugar set--finally! It's a retired set that I've wanted for ages. Thank goodness for ebay.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Web site

I forgot to post this last week--my Web site 1.0 is finally finished! Thanks so much, Kendra! I love it!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Jilly and Holly

Cousins Jillian and Holly (and mom Bec) visited Seattle last week from Arizona (where it's still 100 degrees out). We squeezed in a playdate and lunch with them. The girls had fun playing, and we can't wait to see them again at Thanksgiving--and we'll be +1!

Jillian and B--sitting still for a minute.

And she's off again!


B and Jilly with Farmor and Papa.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Carried Away

Very soon I'll be carrying Deuce on the outside, and we need a few new carriers. From my experiences in several playgroups and just seeing moms on playgrounds, I know that a carrier is absolutely essential for baby #2 (or 3, or 4...). Baby two has to be portable, because we're out and about with B all the time. I never knew much about babywearing when B was little--as a working mom I just wasn't around other moms enough to see carriers in action, and there weren't any stores in Pullman selling them. Anyway--I'm doing my research this time! From my zillions of questions to mom pals and questions on message boards (http://www.diaperswappers.com/ has a great message board for babywearing and carriers), here's what I've learned and what I'm leaning toward:

The number-one thing that I heard was YOU NEED SEVERAL! One carrier isn't going to suit every purpose, every child, or every stage (allthough they all claim to). The basic categories are WRAPS, SLINGS, and SOFT-STRUCTURED CARRIERS (SSC).

And my choices are...drumroll please...

Moby Wraps in a back carry and a front carry

Wraps are usually just big pieces of fabric without buckles or straps. They're great for newborns, usually super versatile, and pretty comfortable. I see these everywhere with tiny babies in them, but no so much with older kiddos. The only complaint I hear is that it takes a few minutes to get baby wrapped up every time. I'm going with the Moby Wrap, the one recommended most often for itty-bitties.

Zolowear ring sling. A mom at the ICAN meeting had this pattern and I loved it!

Slings go over one shoulder, and can come with our without rings. Moms in my mom's group swear by ring slings. They're infinitely adjustable and make great nursing covers too. I had a pouch (non-ring) sling for Bianca, and it was hard to get it comfortable...she either felt too loose or too tight. Another problem I had was the fabric bunching up over my shoulder and digging in...YEOWCH! This time I'm going with a ring sling from Zolowear. The shoulder is padded and wide and won't bunch up. Slings of both types need to be fitted very well in order to work properly, so they're usually a one-wearer thing (unless mom and dad are the same size!)
Beco...sigh. They're adorable.

Mei Tai

SSC are the ones that moms and dad can both wear (yes, dads can wear slings but I don't see it all that often--a sling fitted for mom usually won't fit dad as well). The baby looks like they're in a backpack, but they can be in the front and they can face inward (facing in is recommended for babies until they're 6-9 months or so). This is the hardest choice, because it's the biggest investment and it will probably be the one we use until the little bugger is 2. The main ones out there are Mei Tai, Beco, and Ergo. (MTs are less structured, so not technically a SSC, but the idea is the same). I'm leaning toward a Beco...it seems better for smaller babies, supposed to be better for moms and dads with narrower shoulders, and yes, I think it's cuter than the Ergo! But the MTs seem so soft and comfy too. Did I mention how cute they all are? Mei Tai is actually a style, not a brand, so there are many companies and work-at-home-moms making awesome Mei Tais...(like Glory Mei Tai and Baby Hawk) just to make things a little more difficult! You can get custom ones too! I can see how some moms get "carried" away, hee hee.

Tomorrow Steve and I have a "baby shopping" date booked. Among other places, we're headed to Blooming Kids, an "upscale" baby resale shop in North Tacoma, and hopefully they have a few carriers there so we don't break the bank! http://www.babycarriers.com/ is another good resource for carriers and information.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sibling rivalry

I think my kids had a fight today. Well, Bianca did, but Deuce kicked back! Bianca and I were sitting on the floor in her room, and she gave a hug and a kiss to her doll and then to me. I asked her if she could give a kiss to the baby, and she said "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Then instead of lifting my shirt to pat my belly like she usually does, she started pinching it and pushing it and yelling "MYYYYY MOMMMMMYYYYYY!" Out of nowhere! And yes, there was some kicking on the other side too. I put a stop to her outburst right away, and of course she can't explain her behavior. It was almost funny--now I know that she really, truly, 100% understands that there is a baby coming out soon, and that she's going to have to share her mommy. At least she's dealing with it now! Later on, she came over and kissed and hugged my belly and said she loved the baby. So I guess they're good--for now!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cider Squeeze

With Steve at the Seahawks game, B and I went to the annual Curran Apple Orchard Cider Squeeze. We'd planned to get some fresh-pressed cider, but the lines were too long (and I'd forgotten that raw juice is a no-no for pregnant women, anyway) but we did get some yummy apple pie and about 10 lbs of gorgeous apples. I'm going to try to bake a pie this week--it will be the first one I've made in ages, so we'll see how it goes. Even bad apple pie is better than no apple pie, right?
Bluegrass band
B under an apple tree.

A tree near our house, changing colors--is it that time of year already?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Baby talk

I had my 32 week appt yesterday and all looks good. B came with me for the first time and she enjoyed it--she gets a little protective of her mama when the doctors are poking and prodding, but she mostly takes it in stride.

She's getting more and more excited about the baby and I can honestly say that I know she "gets it". I was skeptical about how much a 2yo could really understand, but she talks about "Baby coming out!" quite a bit. We have several books that have helped a lot. After my appointments yesterday I thanked her for being such a big girl and she corrected me: "Big SISTER!" She also got ahold of some of my prenatal DHA supplements and I told her they were vitamins for the baby--she immediately lifted my shirt and tried to insert them into my belly button. :) I'm not sure how excited she'll be at the prospect of the baby actually LIVING with us permanently, but she's a kid who loves noise, chaos, and other kids. So we're hoping for the best.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Baking cookies for Daddy

She said "Mama my hands can smile" which meant "take a picture of my hands!" I love being around her enough to understand 99% of what she says--even when she speaks in code!

Believe it or not, she can actually help in the kitchen now--she's a great at stirring (and tasting).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book exchange

I've been wanting to host a book exchange for Bianca and friends, so we planned one for this week--I thought it was good timing for a "back to school" themed playdate. I really wanted to thin out and refresh her book collection but wasn't sure how it would go over with Bianca, since she's attached to all of her books (in fact, she gets attached to any book that crosses our threshold!). And two-year-olds aren't known for their sharing. :) But, it was a hit. Between looking over all of the new books ("Lookit all the BOOKS mama!!!!") and playing with her friends, she had a ball. When it was time for her friends to leave she announced "Books STAY HERE!" Everyone got a few new books, and we'll donate the extras to charity.

Tonight I'm carpooling to my first ICAN meeting--the International Cesarean Awareness Network's Seattle Chapter, to talk VBAC. I'm trying to surround myself with as many positive success stories as possible as we get closer to the due date. And, AHEM, my ticker makes it loud and clear--we have fewer than 60 days until Deuce arrives!!!! Where has the time gone?

Monday, September 7, 2009


We had a fabulous time at Seabrook near Pacific Beach, Washington, on yet another getaway with the Lundahl clan. We had some nighttime and early am rain, but we were cozy and happy in our gigantic "cottage" (as the Seabrook brochure calls all of the houses, some of which sleep 14) and we spent lots of time outdoors in nice weather. Seabrook and the houses are amazing--they come fully stocked with hot tubs, outdoor showers, bicycles, every cooking item imaginable, huge grills, even sand toys for the kiddos. We can't wait to go back!

Seabrook "cottages" all have cute names--this was ours.

The house.

Sandy toes at Pacific Beach.

We have a total beach bum. She couldn't get enough.