Thursday, September 30, 2010

Freezer Meal Recipes!!!

The 'freezer casserole making in prep for baby coming' continued  today. Elly was a good little girl and napped for nearly 2 hours so I was able to make 2 Baked Ziti, 1 Beef and Broccoli Pie (all 9x13's), and a lemon bar. I'm hoping to still make spaghetti pie tonight and also 2 pumpkin loaf cakes with cream cheese frosting. My feet are feeling a tad puffy, so once I finish the cooking I'm planning to sit and watch tv or maybe read, but here it is 8:30 already, so we'll see.
When it came time for dinner tonight I was honestly thinking Totinos! They are hardly even edible for human consumption ( I mean, what the heck is even in them?), but I'd be totally lying if I said I didn't love them and could eat them every single day if they weren't a heart attack in a box :) Btw, all pizzas are 30% off this week at Fred Meyer, hehe. So, instead of the frozen gloriousness of Totinos I was a good mommy and made High Protein Pancakes. They are essentially healthy crepes.

High Protein Waffles/Pancakes
*These are great with real maple syrup (how we eat them) and also with raspberry jam and powdered sugar. My blender only fits a 1x batch, but a larger blender would have room for a 1 1/2 or 2x batch. They are fabulous in the fridge for a whole week and make grabbing breakfast super easy.

This is my mom's recipe and is one of my favorite 'meal in a hurry' ideas.


Combine in a blender:

1 cup cottage cheese
4 eggs
1/2 C flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C oil
1/2 C milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Whirl at high speed 1 minute. Bake on lightly greased griddle or waffle iron.

Topping ideas: Syrup, peanut butter, fruit, jam, powdered sugar, etc.


Great Freezer Meals and what's in my freezer right now(For all of these just cover with foil and freeze prior to the baking time. Using a Sharpie write the date made, item name and cooking instructions on the foil)

Mom's Spaghetti Pie (okay all these recipes are my moms, I admit)
 *This was a Better Homes and Gardens recipe that my mom tweaked and perfected over the years

6oz spaghetti
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese plus 1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese for top of pie
2 well-beaten eggs
1 cup small curd cottage cheese (8oz)
1 lb ground beef
2 tsp dehydrated onion bits (I never have this so I always use onion powder or real onion chopped small)
1 tsp garlic salt
3 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
2 cups Original Prego Spaghetti Sauce (this brand happens to be my family's favorite and is also on sale at Fred Meyer this week)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2oz)

Directions:
Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain and put back in pot (should have about 3 cups pasta). Stir butter into hot spaghetti. Stir in 1/3 cup parmesan cheese and beaten eggs. Form spaghetti mixture into a "crust" in a buttered 10 inch pie plate. Spread cottage cheese over bottom of spaghetti crust almost to the edges of the "crust".
In skillet cook ground beef (and onion if using fresh) until meat is browned. Drain off excess fat. Stir in spices and Prego sauce.
Turn meat mixture into spaghetti crust. Bake, uncovered, in 350degree oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup fresh parmesan atop. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese melts. Makes 6 servings.
If freezing, try and allow it to thaw before baking ( pull it out that morning or night before) and add the cheeses as the recipe calls for. Cover with foil. Using a permanent marker, write on the foil Spaghetti Pie along with the baking instructions so you do not have to look them up later.




Spaghetti Pie! (the pasta is literally the "crust", so good!)

Baked Ziti
*Freezes great and makes 2 9x13's

1lb sweet/mild Italian sausage, cooked, and drained
1lb ziti or mostaccioli noodles, boiled in water as package directs and drained
4 cups Prego Original spaghetti sauce
2 cups Ricotta Cheese
6 cups (1 1/2lbs) shredded Mozzarella Cheese, separated ( 4 cups and 2 cups)

In a large mixing bowl mix together the sausage, pasta, sauce, Ricotta Cheese, and the 4 cups Mozzarella Cheese. Coat with pan spray with 2 9x13x2 pans or a 4 quart baking dish. Spoon mixture into pans. Top with remaining 2 cups shredded Mozzarella Cheese. Bake uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Serve.
It's nice to bake one casserole for dinner and cover the other with foil to freeze for a later meal. Using a permanent marker, write on the foil Baked Ziti along with the baking instructions so you do not have to look them up later.

Beef and Broccoli Pie (affectionately called Barf on a Bun by my siblings and me as kids, haha!)

1 lb lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/4 cup milk
3 oz softened cream cheese
1 10oz package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed, well-drained
4 oz Monterey Jack (I actually used 8oz today)
2 cans refrigerated biscuits or croissant rolls (or your favorite homemade)

Brown ground beef and onion in skillet; drain off fat. Stir in flour, salt, and garlic powder. Add milk and cream cheese; cook and stir until mixture is thickened.
Stir in well-drained broccoli.
Pour mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. Top with sliced cheese. Top with biscuits or croissant rolls loosely rolls.
Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
*Can double main ingredients in same 9x13 dish to serve more people.

Turkey or Chicken Enchiladas

2 Cups turkey or chicken, cooked and chopped in bite size pieces
1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
1 pint (16oz) sour cream
4 oz can chopped green chilies, undrained
1 small can sliced olives, drained (I hate olives so I always omit them, unless I'm feeling extra nice towards my hubby)
1/4 Cup chopped onion
1 Cup + 1/2 Cup grated cheddar cheese
1 pkg flour tortillas (I think that means 10 large tortillas- I always just use what I have :) )

Combine all ingredients except 1/2 C cheddar and tortillas. Spread some of mixture across bottom of 9x13 pan (no need to grease). Rollup some of the mixture in each tortilla and lay in single layer in 9x13 pan. Pour remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle 1/2 C cheese all over. Bake at 350 for 1/2 hour or until bubbly.

Mom's Chicken Divan (one of Craig's and my favorites)


1 Rotisserie Chicken-use the chicken meat pulled off this OR 4-6 chicken breasts cooked and pulled apart OR 1 medium whole chicken boiled and deboned

1 bunch broccoli cut up into bite size pieces and parboiled OR 2 14oz packages frozen broccoli thawed and drained (the frozen ends up with a better texture for this dish in my opinion)

SAUCE-Mix 2 cans cream of chicken soup, 1 C Best Foods light mayo, 1tsp lemon juice, ¾ tsp curry powder (the sweet golden colored kind and I always at least double this amount ), ½ C grated cheddar cheese.

TOPPING- 1 C regular dry bread crumbs (from day old bread or store bought) mixed with 2 Tbsp melted butter.

In 9x13 pan place chicken pieces; Layer broccoli over top. Pour sauce over this, spreading evenly. Sprinkle topping over all evenly. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve over steamed rice (brown, white, basmati, etc).

*The sauce is the best part, I usually go generous on the measurements since it’s the part everyone always wants more of  My mom makes it with regular mayo, I always use light and it tastes the same to me.

Mom's Manicotti

3 cups (30oz jar) Original Prego Spaghetti Sauce
1 cup water
1pkg (usually about 16oz) Italian, sweet, mild sausage broken up, cooked
3 cups (22.5oz) Ricotta Cheese
2 cups (8oz) shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
1/3 cup fresh basil or 2 Tbsp dried basil
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
14 pieces (8oz) manicotti, uncooked

Heat oven to 400degrees. Fry sausage, drain. Add sauce, pour half water into jar, shake, pour into sauce, repeat with remaining 1/2 cup water. Add to sauce.
Combine remaining ingredients in separate bowl, except manicotti.
Fill uncooked manicotti using a quart sized Ziplock bag, filling with mixture and cutting a corner to squeeze mixture into pasta.
Pour 1 cup sauce in bottom of 9x13x2 glass baking dish (I use foil dish when freezing). Arrange filled pasta in single layer over sauce. Pour remaining sauce over all. Cover with foil. Bake 40 minutes or until hot, bubbly, and pasta when forked is al dente. Remove foil. Bake 10 minutes more. Let set 5 minutes. Serve.


Wish I had pics of everything to put on here, but I didn't think about blogging the recipes til I was done. Sorry! I promise they are all good. I grew up on these casseroles and now make them for my family- they're that good! Enjoy :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Organizing weekend and making space when there is none




Craig and I spent Friday night (til midnight) and all day Saturday getting the house organized and ready for baby girl coming in 8ish weeks. It was quite a process and pretty exhausting- especially with Craig being really sick!
Eliana went to her grandma's for the night and we went to work.
Step one was putting together the 2nd crib. Some people have asked why Eliana is still in a crib and for me it's because she's still so little (not even 2 yet), has never tried to crawl out of it, and it keeps me from having to worry about her playing when she's supposed to be sleeping. It's still functioning very well for us so no point in changing right now. Both of the girls cribs are convertible, so whenever they're ready for a toddler bed we'll just convert their cribs.
After the crib was set up we kind of got stuck and needed to go to the store to find some things. Storage containers, diaper stacker, contoured changing pad and cover, sound machine (Elly has one, needed one for our room), and another dresser. Eliana has a 4 drawer dresser and it's literally full. With only one tiny closet there was no way we could try and fit both girls things in the one small dresser.
Off to Walmart we went hoping to find lots of things and literally didn't find anything we needed! What a waste of time. Next was Target and they had underbed storage and the dresser (I looked online at every retailer and also checked Craigslist and Target's was the best price), but no diaper stacker, sound machine, and the changing pad was too pricey. So then we went to Toys R Us. They also didn't have a diaper stacker (what in the world!), sound machine, and their changing pad was too pricey also. So, home we went feeling a bit defeated that we couldn't find simple things in the store. I found them all on Walmart.com and ordered them. Craig put the dresser together.
So, Thursday night I had an epiphany during one of my 5 evening bathroom pee trips- why the heck do I sleep on the side of bed farthest from the door and bathroom??? I decided we needed to rearrange the room so I'd be on the other side. That meant my night stand would need to be moved (our room is too small for Craig to also have one), and the huge dresser would need to be moved so the bassinet could fit on my side of the room. This all turned into a bit of a huge task. Moving all the furniture and the bed created a huge allergy attack for me thanks to all the stirred up dust! Even after 2 years of allergy shots I am still very allergic to dust mites (both kinds). We managed to move all the furniture and vaccum under everything. I then had to take a shower in order to go to sleep. Once I am covered in dust mites it's the only solution. Finally around 12:15am we went to sleep.
The next morning we made a list of stuff we needed to continue and we headed to Walmart again. Luckily the 2nd time was more successful. We got tons of storage bins since we kind of have to. We can't just throw everything away that we don't have room for otherwise we wouldn't have anything left! The stuff we needed to store was: gift wrapping supplies, beach towels, water toys, extra crib blankets, sheets, waterproof pads,etc,  misc toiletries that don't fit in our bathroom that doesn't have a vanity, etc. These are things we need but don't have closets, pantries, etc to store them in.
We also picked up a $10 behind the door shoe storage thing-y to put all the girls shoes in. These are pretty handy for kids shoes since you can fit one pair in each slot. For whatever reason the metal hooks don't work over our doors and we can't close the doors all the way if we mount them that way. Craig took the hooks out and we mounted it on the wall behind the girl's bedroom door. We quickly filled our purchased storage bins and now have one under Elly's crib and 3 under our bed. We also bought 2 'Banker's Boxes', one for each girl. It's good to have a place to put keepsakes and store them separately for each child. These boxes will be stored on shelving in the basement.
I then went about the task of sorting Elly's clothes for anything to small or out of season, then cleaning, boxing and labeling them. Then I unpacked all the baby clothes and put them away. They were already clean and ready to go from when I boxed them up after Elly outgrew them.
There was lots more organizing and moving of boxes from our house to the basement that happened and then it was cleaning time.



Storage boxes with the girl's clothes. I wash them and fold them and store them in the basement in these labeled boxes.

The girls room with 2 cribs and 2 dressers. Elly's is the one on the right.

Shoe storage. The clear compartments make it easy to see what they have when you're hurriedly getting everyone dressed.

The one little closet they share.

Extra diapers and wipes are stored here and the empty box is for outgrown clothes. With little babies especially it's nice to have a box to toss the clothes in when you discover they no longer fit. When the box is full I wash, sort, and store the clothes.

 Shelving in the little closet. The bottom shelf is kids books that Elly can reach. The shelf above that has my gift wrapping supplies stored.

'Under bed storage container' full of extra crib sheets, blankets, etc. Things you want handy at 2am when your kiddo is throwing up!

Baby's crib and Elly's dresser and changing area. Craig built the wipe/cream caddy that is on the right.

Baby's dresser. Filled with clothes, socks, hats, bibs, etc.


Our room. Weird angle here. The bookshelf was in Elly's room. Craig is on that side of the bed now. I'm nearest the door and basinett.

Our one side table and also the filing cabinet that was in Elly's room.

See how tricky life is in a small house? There's tons of stuff in storage bins in the basement. We can only have things in the house that we need and use on a regular basis. Everything else goes in the basement and honestly we've already sold everything we can on Craigslist and Ebay.
We also managed to pack up the baby car seat (all cleaned and ready), our homebirth kit (almost ready, just needs a few more things), and all of Eliana's wrapped birthday presents to my mom's house!

Friday, September 24, 2010

quick updates :)

Had a midwife appointment for last Tuesday but needed to postpone it since my miwife was delivering her 4th baby of the week! Sure, an OB can deliver 4 babies in a day.....but a midwife is with the mom from start to finish (hours and hours), not just checking in here and there and catching, so delivering 4 is really a lot. All 4 were healthy babies and mamas :)
We were a bit concerned about my blood pressure after the appointment 2 weeks prior. At the end of my appointment it was around 150/99- yikes! I felt like that had a lot to do with me being upset that Elly was sitting there screaming (rare for her and really bothers me).  I drank more water and prayed my bp would get better. With my appointment being postponed a week my midwife had me to go Fred Meyer and use their machine to check my bp. I took it 4 times before shopping, shopped for an hour, and took it four times after. It was 142/80 before shopping and 135/74 after shopping (averages of the 4 each time). Definitely better than the reading at my last midwife appointment! 130/70 is about normal for me this pregnancy, so it's still a tad high, but not anything scary. The weird thing is that I'm pretty sure if I'd had a reading of 150/99 at the OB's they would've freaked out and done who knows what. That's basically what happened when I was induced with Eliana only it wasn't even that high. There may have been other factors such as protein in the urine, but since they never told me anything as far as I know it was based on the high reading I had the morning they all the sudden said I needed to be induced. They never gave me a chance to relax, take time, try again, etc. I'm thankful for a midwife in these situations. She's so calm and has seen so many moms and babies that she knows to give the body a little wiggle room before doing anything drastic.

I went to my prenatal chiropractor today. She said the baby moved to my right side (she had been laying with her spine on my left side which is ideal for labor). Her head is still down, but my pelvis was all locked up tight, probably from me falling about a week ago, so she moved :( Her current position makes her more likely to rotate transverse during labor and cause me to have back labor. She is also pressing against my liver which is quite uncomfortable. When she was on the left side she only had to press against the spleen which is soft and not uncomfortable for me. There is definitely still time for her to move and that's what we'll work towards.

My sweet little girl is spending the night at grandma's house right now and the hubs and I are getting the house ready for the baby. Setting up the crib, getting the bassinett and carseat ready, getting out the baby clothes, organizing, running to Target and Walmart for supplies, etc. There's seriously a lot to do to make a 763 sq ft home work for 4 people and all their things!
Craig just finished the crib, I better go get busy!

Sausage and Lentil Soup

My sweet girl is napping and I'm making a double batch of Cucina Cucina Lentil Sausage soup to freeze for meals after the baby comes. Here is the link to the recipe: http://www.mom-mom.com/lentil.htm . My friend Tawny told me about it last year and it's probably my favorite hearty soup recipe now. It's one of those that you would eat at a restaurant and wonder what's in it and assume it's hard to make at home. It's really not though! A little time consuming with prep, but not too bad.

Here's the actual recipe so you can view it and see pics on the same page:

1 1/2 cups lentils rinsed thoroughly

4 links (1 lb.) Italian sausage (mild is used in the restaurant and I prefer ground sausage- I'm weird about eating casing)
1 TBSP butter
1 TBSP Olive Oil (Extra Virgin)
1/2 cup diced white onion (I prefer Maui or Walla Walla Sweet)
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup diced leek, white part only
1/4 cup diced celery
1 TBSP salt
1/2 TSP. ground white pepper (or black)
1 QT. Chicken Stock (I use water and granules)
2 TBSP Dijon Mustard (I'm not a mustard fan generally but this is part of the special flavor of the soup, do not omit it!)
1 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup fresh spinach coarsely chopped, divided use
Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese to Taste



In a heavy bottom 2 QT saucepot, add the butter and olive oil. Heat to melt the
butter, then add the sausage links and brown evenly on all sides. (While the
sausage is cooking, reduce the heat so the butter does not burn) Cook the
sausage for about 5 minutes, or until the center is done. Then remove from the
pan and allow to cool. (they will be sliced and added back later) Do not drain the pain, the fat and juices will be a part of the recipe.
After removing the sausage, add the onions, carrots, celery, leeks and seasonings
to the pot. Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender (about 2
minutes). I found that it took more like 5 minutes. Then add the lentils and chicken
stock, stir briefly and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally to prevent the lentils from
sticking to the bottom of the pan. When the soup starts to boil, reduce the heat to
low, and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. While the soup is
simmering, slice the sausage.
When the lentils are tender add the cream, sausage, mustard, vinegar and 3/4 cup
of the spinach. Stir to mix all the ingredients well. Return the soup to a boil, then
reduce heat and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve in warm bowls garnished with fresh spinach and parmesan cheese.



Lentils soaking

Butter and olive oil

Ground sausage cooking in butter and olive oil

All the veggies diced and ready

Garbage bowl to save time running to the trash

This kind of spoon/ladle is great for getting the sausage out of the pan without removing the fat/oil/butter

Sausage set aside to cool

Veggies added to the pan

If only you could smell this!

Chicken broth

Drained lentils

The soup simmers for 45 minutes while the lentils cook

Sausage ready for the soup (cut up in bite size pieces)

Finished soup (this is a pic from when I made it with link sausage). It's so beautiful, hearty, and satisfying!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To the wonderful nurses and MD's :)

To the nurses and medical workers, in regards to births:

I feel like it's important to say that I do not feel negatively towards nurses and MD's. I feel negatively about the 'system' that America has in place. I believe that medical professionals are often victims of their training and the way things are done in America and have been done here for a while now. Many Ob's have never witnessed a home birth or a completely natural birth by the time they finish their residency.
Some Ob's and nurses approach birth moreso the way a midwife does- that it is natural and healthy until proven otherwise. These medical professionals are affectionately called M(midwives)D(inDisguise)'s by Ina May Gaskin :) Some Ob's feel they can make more change by being in the community of Dr's than in the community of midwives and for that I applaud them.
Some nurses see the total value in the mother having freedom of movement and the ability to eat and drink during labor when she wants to- these nurses make such a positive difference in the labor and delivery process for the mother! I was blessed to have a nurse (with Eliana) that had been a midwife for many years (in the UK I think) prior to becoming an RN. I didn't get to have her the whole time since I labored for so long, but I enjoyed the hours I did get her. She looked me in the eyes and asked me how I was doing rather than going straight to the monitors and printouts and grunting a quick 'hi' to me. She could've given lessons to the other nurses :)
I have several nurse friends that actually work in Labor and Delivery at various hospitals. I know they feel differently about a lot of things than me when it comes to the labor process and birthing at home. I don't really blame them. They are a product of their training and experience. In the rare times that a homebirth mother is transferred to a hospital, who sees her??? The L&D nurses. They see the horror stories and that shapes their worldview on the safety and responsibility of homebirths. I totally get it.
I'm sure that I have offended RN's and MD's by my posts and I apologize for that. I can't apologize for my opinions and views, but I truly do value RN's and MD's. My comments about American hospitals are not meant to be a sucker punch to the medical community of friends that I have. I'm sure it feels that way. I was in banking during the worst part of the recession. EVERY SINGLE DAY someone commented in the paper, a blog, facebook, to my face, etc how much they hated banks, mortgage lenders, etc, etc, etc. Sometimes it did feel personal. I knew that banks had made mistakes and things happened that never should've happened or been allowed to happen. But did that change the fact that I worked extremely hard 6 days a week trying to make things better for my customers? Absolutely not. I was a victim of the system I was in.

While banking and medical care are different, I feel that the analogy is fair and I think I do get how it can feel a bit personal. I hope I can be trusted when I say that it's not and if something does happen and I need to go to a hospital, I'm glad I'll have people that work so hard doing what they do taking care of me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What if something goes wrong at a homebirth?

What happens if something goes wrong at a home birth?
(revised 9-22-10)

This is what most people fear when it comes down to it (the issue of no pain killers aside). Does being at a hospital mean that if something emergent happened with you or the baby it would all end ok???

A mother and/or baby can die no matter where the baby is born (home, car, in the woods, labor and delivery room, c-sect table, etc). None of us has any guarantee. There are however more interventions in a hospital labor and delivery that make emergent situations a bit more likely to happen. When synthetic oxytocins (Pitocin and Syntocinon) and synthetic prostaglandins (Prepidil and Cervidil) are used it is not natural. The drugs are trying to do what the body wants to do on its own. In some cases these medicines may be necessary, but absolutely not in the 20-80% (depending on the hospital) of births they are currently being used in. And for the record, the strongest natural prostaglandin is found in semen. This prostaglandin can start labor, help contractions get stronger (only advised when your water bag is still in tact) and it has NEVER ruptured a uterus as the synthetic versions can. So, get busy! :)

 

Epidurals have their own slew of problems (from http://www.nt.net/lerouxma/complications.htm, more risks also listed in Pregnant in America), and it is estimated that roughly 80% of women birthing in hospitals in America have an epidural:
Seizures
Toxicity (CNS & CVS)
Fetal Bradycardia
Fetal Acidosis
Total Spinal
Paralysis
Cardiac Arrest
Back problems
Bacterial Meningitis
Epidural Abscess
Lumbosacral Nerve Injury
Femoral Nerve Injury
Peroneal Nerve Damage
Epidural Nerve Puncture
Cardiac Arrhythmia
Maternal Hypertension
Inadvertent Dural Puncture
Postdural Puncture Headache
Urinary Retention
Nausea and Vomiting
Drug Overdose
Hypotension
Respiratory Depression
Hypoxia
And get this (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidural)- Delayed onset of breastfeeding and shorter duration of breastfeeding: In a study looking at breastfeeding 2 days after epidural anesthesia, epidural analgesia in combination with oxytocin infusion caused women to have significantly lower oxytocin and prolactin levels in response to the baby breastfeeding on day 2 postpartum, which means less milk is produced. Most women with epidurals end up with pitocin augmentation because the epidural slows down the labor.

Problems to a baby from Epidural use by the mother:
Lowered neurobehavioral scores on newborn
Decrease in muscle tone and strength
Respiratory depression in baby
Fetal Malpositioning
Fetal heart rate variability
Increase need for forceps, vacuum and cesarean deliveries and episiotomies (OMG!!!)

In cases where an emergency cesarean is needed, thank goodness we have epidurals available! But the huge majority of women getting one just makes me think that maybe we don't all actually need them. Just because it's available and considered 'relatively safe' doesn't necessarily mean it's the best choice for us and our child. There is also the fact that about 20% of women that do receive an epidural don't experience full or even any pain relief (like me). There's no way to know if you'll be in that 20% until it happens.
Epidurals are shown to slow down labors often bringing with them a 'need' for synthetic drugs to stimulate labor to speed up. I wish that all the risks associated with epidurals were made more clear to mothers and fathers and there was more education about it all in general. "Epidural analgesia is associated with longer labor. Some researchers claim that it is correlated with an increased chance of operational intervention" (and perhaps the climbing c-sect rate in the US).- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidural#Prolonged_labour_and_risk_of_instrumental_delivery .

Why are so many women given the Scarlet Letter of Failure To Progress?
Many US hospitals allow a laboring mom 12-24 hours of labor before she is considered FTP (failure to progress). Some mothers have a first baby in an astonishing 2 hours start to finish- this is not reality for most though! Many women do take 24 hours or more, especially with a first child and experiencing prolonged labor from an epidural. Can you imagine trying to take a poo in a bathroom with strangers coming in and out, checking your 'progress', telling you when to push and when to wait, and then saying you are not able to poo on your own if you haven't finished in 5 minutes? Uh, no! Some people can poo in 20 seconds flat, some people need 45 minutes and total quiet! I know that sounds like a crazy example, but having a baby is a natural bodily function for a women, just like going to the bathroom. Obviously it is not seen as natural by many, but it truly is. When given space, freedom, privacy, and the ability to labor how she needs to- a woman is free to let her body do what it needs to do. Being able to relax in labor is SO important (the same reason many of us have bathroom reading materials). Being able to move around and go pee and have food and liquids if desired is also important.

So, can things go wrong at a home birth? Yes. Can things go wrong at a hospital birth? Yes. Do babies and mothers die in both places? Yes.
When people hear I'm having a homebirth it's usually met with something like this,"wow, no painkillers, huh? That's hardcore. But what if something happens? Things go wrong all the time and then you won't be at the hospital. That's so dangerous.Your midwife can't do a c-sect, etc, etc". And then there's the awesome (being sarcastic) back-handed compliments, "wow, you're amazing and brave to do a homebirth. I would never do one because things can go wrong and I wouldn't want something to happen to the baby." AS IF I DON'T CARE ABOUT MY BABY AND SOMETHING GOING WRONG? AS IF I HAVEN'T SPENT MORE HOURS THAN I CAN COUNT READING AND RESEARCHING EVERYTHING? Having a baby at home is not irresponsible. In the 32 countries with less babies and mothers dying than in America (see previous blog for links), a homebirth or midwife attended birth is actually considered normal!
Often the numbers favor homebirths in terms of infant and mother mortality. The hospital is not the 'be all end all' solution to a problem labor. I honestly believe that situations where a medical emergency arises are more likely to happen in a hospital situation. In the small percent of women (1-10% usually, depending on the midwife) that need to be transferred to a hospital it is wonderful that we have medical interventions available. The other 90-99% of women does not need to be treated like they are sick or problematic just because they are having a baby!

Are there any extra risks to a home birth? (from http://www.nctpregnancyandbabycare.com/info-centre/information/view-32)


Research has found that home birth is as safe as hospital birth for healthy women having a straightforward pregnancy. (This has been confirmed over and over and over again by countless studies. Check into it a little and you'll find this information everywhere- well, except from your local hospital or OB/GYN).


Are there any extra risks to a hospital birth?


Studies have found that there are some problems that are more likely to occur in a hospital birth, such as the baby being born with a lower Apgar score (this is an assessment of the baby’s condition at birth). It is also more likely that the woman will have interventions such as an episiotomy (a cut in the vaginal entrance made just before birth), a drip to speed up labour, and drugs for pain. Also, infections in both mother and baby are more likely in hospital.


Women booked to have their baby at home are less likely to have a caesarean section, even if they need to transfer to hospital during their labour.


So, what does a midwife bring with her to a labor? Good question! This will vary in exactness by each midwife. Peggy Vincent gives her list in the back of her book, Baby Catcher, and I thought I'd share it with you:

Pitocin and Methergine
Syringes, needles, IV intercaths, and alcohol swabs
Ammonia ampoules, Ketostix, and Dextrostix
Penlight and scrub brush
Spare batteries for pager, Doppler, and penlight
Xylocaine and suture material
Cord clamps
Tubes for collecting cord blood
Infant airway and rescue blanket
Gloves (both sterile and non sterile) and KY Jelly
4x4 sterile gauze packets
Amnihooks
Big mirror
Baby scale and flannel sling
Sterile instruments:
2 Mayo clamps, 2 scissors, sponge stick, needle holder, pickups
IV setup and 2 bags of IV solution
Blood drawing supplies
Ambu bag
Box of utility gloves
Extra gloves, 4x4's, amnihooks, etc
Oxygen tank. Oxygen masks for mother and baby

When I talked to midwives and was trying to sort out who to use and whether to do a homebirth or not, what each midwife said was pretty much the same about hospital transfers. They all said that usually there are indications during labor that a transfer may be eminent (meaning the problems show themselves a while before it's a do or die situation) and VARY RARELY is it an emergent situation calling for a transfer. Perhaps this is why my midwife has delivered over 1000 babies and has not had one mother or baby fatality or one mother or baby permanently injured.

I also believe that God knows exactly how each labor will go. No one ever wants to lose a baby or a mother. It's devastating and I can't even imagine what it would be like. But let's be honest here folks, it's not just happening in homebirths and not at all at hospitals- it's happening MORE in US hospitals than in homebirths in the US and in other countries.

Messing with nature has consequences. It's foolish of us as women to think that we can take all sorts of drugs and interventions and have no side effects to us or the baby. Often those side effects are minor, and sometimes they are not.

It's ironic that American women (especially in Washington) are very keyed into all things 'natural' (which I think for the most part is fantastic). Organic foods, supplements, delayed or no vaccinations, cloth diapers, natural fiber clothes, "reduce, reuse, and recycle" campaigns, etc........yet we see no problem introducing our children to the world in a way that is anything but 'natural'. A natural birth to me not only speaks of the lack of pain killers as most people think 'natural birth' means, it also speaks to the ability of the mother and her baby to do what God created both of them to do and in the timeframe and way they want to do it. The same mothers that won't buy their kids anything but organic milk are sometimes the same ones that are first in line for induction ("I'm so sick of being pregnant!"), for epidurals ("I don't want any pain!"), washing off the natural vernix immediately, cutting the still pulsing and natural cord immediately, and wrapping their baby in a super tight blanket not allowing the needed skin to skin contact that is completely natural! Are you seeing the hypocrisy here a little bit?

As I've blogged about before there are black and white issues in life and there are gray areas. I believe this all falls into a gray area. I don't for a second think you are a bad mother or going to hell if you choose to have a medicated and/or hospital birth.

I mostly think that women just don't know details and important facts about all this. It's pretty easy to go into the store and choose organic grapes over non organic grapes- everything is laid out clearly and it's easy to decipher which is which. When it comes to having a baby it's not all so clear. The way our generation (and the one before us) knows how to do things is to have an ObGyn (who is a skilled and wonderful knife carrying surgeon, a la Grey's Anatomy), deliver in a hospital, have all the lab work they suggest we have and ultrasounds they see fit, etc. Most of us have no idea that there is a whole world and group of people here in the US doings this differently.

I feel passionately about all this because I wish I'd known it when I had Eliana. I wish I'd known that I could say no to things and that it was ok to ask questions. I wish when I hadn't felt a good 'fit' with my OB that I would've just switched to someone else. I thought that sitting in a crowded waiting room for anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 1/2 hours (often the lights were being turned off as we were still sitting and waiting to see the Dr) to see a Dr who as nice as she was, only had 5-20 minutes tops to spend with me, was how things had to be done. I never questioned any lab work or ultrasounds and I should have. I got a weird look from the nurse this time around when I declined HIV testing, but I would bet everything I have and both my feet that I don't have HIV. Why should I pay $100 for them to tell me what I already know?

All that said, my goal is not to alienate anyone or make enemies. I want to share information. When knowledge is spread a person then has their own freedom of choice with what to do with that information. Kind of like accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. I could tell someone everything I know about Jesus and what he's done for me until I'm blue in the face- but I know you can't argue someone into heaven! It's a heart issue. All I can do is share why it's important to me and why I feel the way I do and allow God to soften and speak to that person's heart.

I more than anything feel sadness for women who experience what I did in the hospital. Not judgement or anger, just sadness. I don't want any woman to feel the way that I did and to have the dignity and blessing of the birth she wanted stripped away from her. I believe you can have a hospital birth that you will look back on very fondly, but you have to be prepared ahead of time for that. A birth plan is a great idea (I love this site- http://www.birthplan.com/ ), a doula/parent/friend who knows your wishes and will stand up for you is also a great idea. Know the hospital policies and what is and is not allowed. Plan ahead! You can even let the person on the phone know you want a natural birth, or birthing tub, etc...when you call in that you're on your way to the hospital. That way they'll know which room and nurses would be best for you.

Keep in mind though that birth in a hospital is not without risk of the domino effect, especially when all the above mentioned medications are used.

It goes like this:


Induction is suggested or asked for. The mother is given synthetic prostaglandins if needed or just goes straight to synthetic oxytocins. Contraction pains from synthetic oxytocin are BRUTAL (I know!) and the mother feels she has no choice but to get an epidural. The epidural slows things down and more oxytocin is needed. The high levels of oxytocin make for a very difficult labor for the mom and baby (even if the mom can't feel it because of her epidural, the poor baby is feeling it!). The baby then shows signs of fetal distress. Cesarean is required and everyone makes the mother believe that the cesarean saved her baby's life since it was 'in distress'. She never even knows that the baby was only in distress because of the domino of hospital interventions and synthetic drugs.

Food for thought I guess.

Because this is a gray area it's important as women and especially Christian women to pray about it and really decide as a family what our convictions are on things. If you disagree with me on anything, that's fine, you're allowed to! There are many things that I don't agree with friends and other women/moms about and that's fine, too. A lot of this is my opinion. The most previous blog was more facts. Go ahead and disagree with and argue with me, but keep in mind the facts are not just my opinions, they're facts- don't hate the messenger :) I've learned through all the months of blogging that no matter what I post (breastfeeding, gardening, God, raising our children, cooking, etc), someone will be offended/mad/irritated/take it personally and on that exact same blog others will love it and totally agree. I can't please everyone and I sure as heck am not trying to.



So yes, things can happen at a homebirth. Just like they can happen at a hospital. Having an OR down the hall doesn't necessarily mean everyone will be ok, unfortunately. Every time we hear of a fatality no matter where it happened it's heartbreaking.

Monday, September 20, 2010

American women: Smart, educated, yet still duped?

Alright, the blog has been a bit abandoned lately...I'm getting you all ready for when the baby comes and I have zero energy to blog! :)

No seriously, life has been insane. Literally every day has something on the calendar and I see no break for another week. This in turn kept me too busy to make myself, eating healthy like I had been, and drinking lots of water continued priorities- not good. My BP was pretty high last Tuesday at my midwife appointment. Of course it didn't help that Eliana was not having a good day and was sitting in the chair next to me screaming her head off while I had my arm in the BP cuff. Not a mother's best moment in time. I have been trying to drink lots of ice water and be home more (at least a few hours a day). I go see my midwife again tomorrow, Eliana will stay home with daddy, and hopefully I can relax and we'll see better numbers. I don't want to do anything that will hinder me from a healthy and fabulous home birth. High blood pressure can result from a number of things but the best ways to fight it are tons of water and eating healthy foods, the two things that weren't happening with me being gone 12 hours a day. It's always a challenge to make myself a priority when life is so busy.

I am half way through reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. She is essentially the Godmother of the modern American homebirth movement (reviving it after it was nearly demolished in the 1920's by smear campaigns and new hospitals wanting to make money). I truly and honestly feel that every woman needs to read a few books and watch a couple movies;
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent
DVD The Business of Being Born
DVD Pregnant in America

Reading along with What to Expect When You're Expecting is all find and dandy, but to be honest it did very little to prepare me for what it would be like in the hospital and what the experience would or even could be. And I have to say that Your Pregnancy Week by Week is clearly propoganda and seems to actually be written by the ACOG (not literally but it's verbatim their wording and policies)- the same people who have facilitated America having a roughly 30% c-sect rate and even higher rates of medical intervention in labor. It's truly appalling and embarrassing.

There are over 32 countries with better infant and mother mortality rates than America. 32!!! That means more babies and mothers are dying in America than in 32 other countries. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_infant_mortality_rate (as of 2009)
~The percent of countries providing universal prenatal care that have lower infant mortality rates than the US is 100% (as of 2001 from Marsden Wagner, MD, consultant for the World Health Organization). Does this surprise or shock you? It should.
~Another interesting and little known fact is that midwives deliver 75% of babies in Europe compared to a measly 8% in America (although that number is slowly rising as women learn what really happens during labor in an American hospital).
~Great Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland all have over 75% midwife attended births. Which one of them has more babies and mothers dying than the US??? NONE.

Want to talk money? (these numbers also from the wonderful Dr. Marsden Wagner)
~ Health care cost savings if midwifery care were utilized for 75% of US births: $8.5billion/year
~ Health care cost savings by bringing the US cesarean section rate into compliance with WHO recommendations: $1.5billion/year
~ Health care cost savings by extending midwifery care and demedicalizing births in the US: $13-20 billion/year.

WOW.

Holland is the homebirth capital of the world (interesting facts about birth and medical care in Holland- http://birthingthefuture.org/AllAboutBirthPops/HollandsLesson_Pop.htm) .Holland's homebirth rate is around 32% with better death rates than other countries birthing primarily in hospitals! 70-80% of women in Holland birth with a midwife at home or in a birth center. The other 20-30% birth in a hospital. This is opposite of what it's like in America and we have depressing and embarrassing rates of c-sects, interventions, post-partum depression, infant and mother mortality, and low rates of overall satisfaction with birth by our mothers. With C-sect rates near 70%* at some US hospitals (most are over 30%) and rates of intervention over 80% at many US hospitals.........Doesn't it make you wonder, what is America doing wrong? Um, yeah!

These facts are kept hush-hush by the ACOG, sort of the mafia of the American Birthing World. As you saw from the financial numbers they have a heck of a lot to lose if America returns to a midwife based model of care (as many organization and leaders are hoping to see happen, including WHO). Midwives are not in it for the money. There is extreme satisfaction and pleasure to a midwife who feels called to do what she does and does her job well. My midwife commented on Facebook last week after a long labor with a mother and greeting the new baby that she was 'still on a high'. Isn't that fantastic? She spent hours (days really) with this mother and father encouraging them, supporting them, making sure the baby entered the world healthy and yet instead of feeling cranky and tired- she was thrilled!

In her book Guide to Childbirth, Ina May gives the statistics for The Farm, the village that she and a few hundred other young people started in the 'hippy era' in Tennessee. Her statistics are amazing, no hospital in America has even come close to her numbers. Why are American drs and hospitals not following her around to see what they are doing and try to emulate it?

-From 1970-2000 (some of their stats, find the rest in Ina May's book)-
Births completed at home- 95.1 %
Transports 4.9 %
Emergency transports 1.3%
Cesareans 1.4 %
VBACs 5.4 % (108 attempted, 106 completed vaginal births)
Postpartum hemorrhage 1.8%
Inductions 5.4%
  Castor oil 4.9%
  Swept Membranes 0.5%
Ate and Drank in Labor 29.1%
Postpartum depression 1%
Preeclampsia 0.39 %
Continued breastfeeding among the women of the Farm 100% (4-5 women supplemented)
Neonatal mortality exluding lethal anomalies 8/2028 (0.39%)
4 of these deaths occured during labor
2 placental abruptions
2 prolapsed cords
4 of these deaths occurred during the first week of life
1 crib death
1 premie who died from hyaline membrane disease after hospital delivery in 1972
2 deaths from probably infection

These rates almost seemed like a joke to me. Is it really possible to have such successful births without 'technology' and medical intervention? YES. Her book also talks about what makes labor stall and what makes it progress, as well as dealing with pain and even conquering it with Orgasmic Labors :)
American women are taught to fear birth, to fear their bodies, to fear the baby coming out and even pregnancy. This is a tragedy. There is no sense of empowerment and the transformation that God designed to happen to us as women giving birth is not happening here in America. Why are we allowing ourselves to be robbed of these experiences?  I did it once and I won't do it again.
I know many women who have given birth naturally and/or home. They do not describe birth as "horrible", "thought I might die", "worst time of my life", "worst pain I've ever felt", "ruined me emotionally", etc. No, those descriptions come from the even more women I know who have given birth in a hospital. Birth at home is not designed for the mother to be a martyr for the sake of the 'home birth' cause. It truly is about wanting the healthiest, safest, and most effective labor and delivery for the mother and the baby. I am almost shocked, knowing what I know now, how little American women know about their bodies and the whole process of having a baby. We've all been so duped!
I can't quote all the fabulous books and resources here on the blog, but I can say I hope you've learned something from this post and I pray I can encourage you to get a little curious and do some reading and research yourself.

Had a friend ask today, "aren't you scared to death of the birth? It's going to hurt SO bad!" I responded honestly, "not at all." There are unknowns in every situation in life. I have and continue to educate myself voraciously and I have learned that simply being afraid and fearful of the process can keep our bodies from going into labor, laboring more easily, and getting the baby out. The mind plays a very powerful part of us giving birth. I believe that birth, when done the way God planned for us and how most other countries still do it, is beautiful and transformative. It's a most amazing rite of passage! My mom had my sister and me at home and says she wanted to keep having babies because the births were so amazing. And no, my mom did not have easy labors. She had back labor with both of us and it definitely hurt. I don't feel that I can even describe it with justice here (again, please read the books!), but there is a sort of euphoria that takes place (courtesy of the hormone changes that God gave our bodies when not interrupted with synthetic drug versions) that wipes away the pain of the birth and allows us the most amazing time of bonding with our child and spouse. I experienced this a little with Eliana. Her coming out was the best sort of relief. Even though I labored flat on the bed with a fetal monitor on me for 50plus hours, as soon as she was out I hardly remembered the pain. I don't believe it would've been so painful for me if I wasn't having Pitocin altered contractions and had I been allowed to move around, get up and walk, labor in water or the shower, squat, etc. Being flat on a bed is the worst position for birthing as it closes the pelvic area by 10%. Squatting, moving, being on all fours, etc actually all open the pelvis.

Ok, my sweet daughter is refusing to nap, I have to pee and then go rescue her from her crib :) More on all this later. Hope I got you thinking!!!!

*Cesarean Numbers: CORONA REGIONAL MED CTR-MAIN70.5% in 2008! Geez! CITRUS VALLEY MED CTR - QV CAMPUS47.5%, MONTCLAIR HOSP MED CTR41.2%, POMONA VALLEY HOSP MED CTR40.4%, ARROWHEAD REGIONAL MED CTR...35.5%,

Monday, September 13, 2010

What our children teach us

 (pic taken at my mom's in the guest suite bathroom)
30 weeks, wowza! Feeling pretty good; ring still fits, shoes still fit, weight gain total is about 11lbs as of this morning. Seems my body is catching up a bit, but I'm still focusing on healthy eating and keeping the number low :) My belly feels ginormous! I mean, honestly, it truly wasn't this big when I delivered Eliana. My belly button is nearly flat already and may even pop this time around. No new stretch marks....yet. This time around I actually 'feel' pregnant. It was so easy with Eliana that I really thought it was super delightful being pregnant and I wanted to be pregnant forever! My belly never got very big and I didn't 'feel' very pregnant other than the constant movements from her.
This time around it's a tad different. Still not awful or even hard, just more real. My lower back hurts sometimes, I have a hard time getting off the couch quickly or without Craig to shove or pull, my ankles get puffy if I've been standing or walking all day, my nose feels stuffy, I'm SO HOT all the time (aka The Sweat Monger), and even intimacy feels different, not bad maybe even better, just different (just like the books say it's supposed to, but it's a little weird until you experience it). How two pregnancies with two girls can be so different is a little beyond me, but they are! I still enjoy being pregnant, but I can see how women could feel antsy to get the baby out as 40 weeks approaches. I'm still planning to let this one stay in as long as she feels is appropriate and so I'm still praying for me to stay healthy in order for that to happen. My prayer is for spontaneous labor when the baby is ready, a calm and safe labor, a memorable and beautiful home delivery (in water would be cool), and a healthy and happy little girl who nurses fabulously.
God has and is teaching me so much through this pregnancy. I think Eliana was our message of love from God. We'd had a REALLY rough couple of years between court financial and custody drama over Craig's son, Craig's accident and the mess from that, and then infertility. We at times doubted God's sovereignty and love for us and when Eliana came it was like God said, "See, I do love you. I've had a plan all along for you to be parents. It was in My timing and in My way, and I planned from the start to bless you." Eliana continues to be loving, gentle, sensitive, and has taught Craig and I to treat her with gentleness and sensitivity. She is our little lover! Just Sunday she kept breaking during dinner to give Craig and I hugs. Then she'd giggle, go back to eating for 3 minutes, and ask for a hug again. Real hugs, too, where she'd wrap her little arms around our shoulders. How can you not love that? She is a total blessing.
This child, though not even born yet, is teaching Craig and I to follow our hearts and the gentle and not gentle urges that God gives us. I'm learning to trust my feelings on things and to not walk blindly but educate myself and choose the options that are best for me. With how much this baby has already taught us about ourselves and life and advocating I can't help but wonder what mountains she'll move once she's born.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Flashback pics, etc :)

I've been having fun this past week finding old clothes of mine from my childhood and dressing Elly up in them :)
We even found my old dedication gown, although we didn't know about it and didn't put Elly in it :( We can use it for the new baby though!

My brother and I had superman and supergirl jammies as kids and we LOVED them. We'd run around the house 'flying' and being superheros. Eliana now gets to wear them and loves them too!
Eliana in my old Supergirl pj's!

Eliana in my old red 2 piece snap jammies

Me in the Supergirl jammies and also the red set :)


9-6-10 Eliana wearing my old hat (and that's my old 'baby', too)!

And just because I was SO cute, here's some pics :)

My 2nd birthday

5 years old with my dad (who was visiting) and brother

3rd Birthday

With my bestest friend, so fashionable!

With the bestie again. How cute were we?
She is married and has two girls now. I am married and......also two girls!

Me and my other bestie, my cousin! Our moms used to dress us up like twins sometimes :)

Me and my big bro. I was 3 and he was 5. He was tall then and still is at 6'8"!

So cute :) We think this looks a lot like Elly when she was little- chubby cheeks, very focused.

4 years old and already cleaning (on vacation!). I also started washing dishes this summer.

Classic pics with my bro :)

Alright, enough flashbacks for now!!!

Monday we went to the Blackberry Festival in Bremerton and looked around and managed to literally spend $0! Afterwards we took Elly to the fountain park and she LOVED it. Her first thought and word when she saw it was, "WOW!!!" haha



Such a little sweet, ham. We love her so much!
Her vocabulary is increasing every day and it's getting easier to understand what she's saying. Yesterday at Lowes she said Spongebob (where'd she learn that? We don't even watch that show!) and owl :) She also made sure I added daddy in our evening prayers, "please help Elly sleep good tonight and have sweet dreams, " And Daddy! ~ Elly, "yes, and daddy, too. Please make Elly feel safe and know how much she is loved, " And Daddy!~ Elly, "yes, and daddy, too."
Today I said, "I love you, " to her while we were driving and she quickly added, "and daddy!" haha

I am 29 1/2 weeks and time keeps passing quickly. I feel pretty good for the most part. My wedding ring still fits and I seem to mostly just be growing in the belly region. And boy is it growing!
Tomorrow I see a chiropractor who specializes in prenatal care. The purpose is to get the baby in the best position possible to have easier labor and try to avoid back labor. Hopefully we can also alleviate the minor lower back pain I've been having. I figure with all the money I'm not spending on dr's appointments now I might as well spend a little on something that will make my natural birth easier for me :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day Weekend!

Happy Labor Day weekend! Here's some interesting history about what Labor Day is and why we celebrate it: http://www.dol.gov/opa/aboutdol/laborday.htm . Most of us are all for celebrating something that means another day off work! Craig takes 2 three day weekends a year and this is one of them :)

Eliana and I went to my mom's house on Thursday to make homemade raspberry freezer jam. My mom has been making it every year since as long as I can remember. I've helped before, but it had been a long time. We made 13 batches which filled 27ish large jars :) I got to take 7 jars home, yum! Eliana has acquired a snobby jam tongue- she only likes the homemade stuff on her pb&j, she won't touch store bought. After a long day of jam making my mom, sister, and I really wanted Thai food. I decided to stay the night with Elly and we ordered take out from Aroy Dy (yum!). Friday Craig ended up working til almost 10pm so Elly and I stayed the night again. Saturday Craig came out to Poulsbo and we walked around Central Market while Elly napped at my moms. It was fun to walk around and take our time. Shopping with a 2 year old is not so leisurely! Then we all stayed the night Saturday so that Craig and I could go out to dinner that night after Elly went to sleep. We were going to get Thai food since I've wanted it my whole pregnancy and Bremerton has none, but decided to go to the Seafood Buffet at Clearwater Casino since we hadn't gone in literally 2 years. They've remodeled in that time and added a salad bar and pasta bar. The food was so yum. My biggest issue is that I can't eat as much as I wish I could! I get full so fast and the baby is already cramping my stomach space. I would've eaten twice as much if I could've! We laughed and enjoyed having 2 hours for dinner at our own pace, not that of the squirrelly two year old we're handing food, crayons, drinks, toys (anything we can to keep her occupied!) etc. Being a parent is so rewarding and fulfilling and I would never go back to life before children- but it sure does change things! I think it's funny anytime Craig and I are out without Eliana because people look at us like, "oh how cute, they're going to have a baby. Little do they know how much life will change," (the same thing I chuckle to myself when a friend gets pregnant for the first time, hehe), but in our case we DO know how much it'll change and this isn't our first ride at the fair! It's just funny. We could have 5 kids at home for all people know :)
It's Sunday afternoon and we're home and unpacked. Craig is thinking about all the things he wants to get done in the next 24 hours and we're heading to Costco after Elly wakes up. Weekends always go by far too fast.

Our home also came off the market last Tuesday. We'd only had one person come see it since May and it just seemed the right time to call it good and stop trying. Now we can feel more settled and get the house ready for the baby. I'm a little bummed, it would've been great financially for us to sell and be able to rent or buy something cheaper, but it wasn't God's timing. We'll try again in a year or two I think. We may be able to refi to help with the money situation.