Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"I would give both of my hands to be a writer..."

That was a line of the poem I wrote in college. (I only wrote one, as far as I can recall.) Are you appreciating that healthy dose of melodrama/ irony/ gut-wrenching self-revelation as much as I am? I recall being surprised when I wrote it. Wasn't I applying to grad school in math? What's this writing business about? Apparently my inner poet knew (how fitting, I suppose.)

And then the first time I met my new grad school friends at Lehigh, we were sitting around having dinner and talking about what we wanted to do with advanced degrees in math, and I said I wanted to be a writer. It just came out that way- despite my better judgment.

I haven't been blogging because to me, writing anything requires 1) unlimited time, and 2) peace and quiet. As a breastfeeding mom, I NEVER have unlimited time. The clock is always ticking until it's time to nurse someone again. Peace and quiet happens occasionally, though not for great stretches of time. And you know how my M.O. tends to be the "Perfect or Nothing" approach? Since the "perfect" opportunity to write in here doesn't come along very often, you've been getting a whole lot of the alternative the past few months. The past year, really. Ever since Madelaine learned to talk. But as my blogging rate has waned, I've gradually realized something interesting: I can live without doing Math. I can live without a lot of the things that are not part of my life now that I'm a mom.

But I can't live without Writing.

Without the outlet of writing, my mind atrophies. I feel like I live each day waiting for the day to be over, instead of actually LIVING that day. I would say that there's something wrong with this on a spiritual level, except that I believe in what Jorn preached about a few weeks ago- God created us with passions, and we are meant to be using them. So the TV is on, people are talking, I can't hear myself think, but I will write in spite of it. I will publish things on here that aren't "perfect" (whatever that means) or even GOOD, for that matter. Because the only way to ever write anything good is just to write a LOT, and eventually something good will come out.


On a roll!! (Does two days in a row count as a "roll"??)

Yo, my people!! What is UP??? (I'm on my second cup of coffee. Hopefully that excuses that little outburstive greeting by my inner want-to-be-cool* 13 year old, who last spoke out in 1993.)

So I'm really liking this "goals" thing I started in the last post. Time to reorder it, expand the list, shrink the descriptions, and put it in a big bold font so I can look at it later. Also post it on my wall somewhere, I think.

In 2010, I hope to...

1) Have a regular Bible reading and prayer habit (in whatever way God leads me to do so.)

2) Teach Madelaine (and eventually Charlotte) about the Bible.

3) Limit the girls' TV time to 1 hr/day (plus evenings)/ plan a few activities each week, as needed.

4) Walk about 3 hours a week (treadmill or outdoors).

5) Read 25 books (make a list on Goodreads?)

6) Get some photos of my kids printed! and organized in albums.

7) Write in this blog at least once a week (that sounds more doable than every day, right?)

8) Go on a date with my husband at least twice a month.

9) Get a better system for storing recipes, planning meals, and sticking to a grocery budget.

10) Hmmm... need some kind of financial goal here. Would love to say "finish paying off student loan" but that's a WAY long shot (unless Nate ends up with a really high paying job for the second half of 2010.) How about, pay at least $300 on student loan each month, Jan- June? That's $1800, not bad. [This might get revised after I talk to Nate.]

There you have it! There's my list! I am super jazzed about this. And in closing, I will note that these 10 things are suggested because they are, very specifically, things that I am NOT doing now that I constantly am thinking that I WISH I were doing. There are a lot of other things going on in my life now that are not goals because I'm already doing them- church involvement, a ministry opportunity, [some] keeping in touch with faraway friends and family, math tutoring, some basic homemaking activities (cleaning, groceries, cooking, paying bills, laundry), and some activities with the girls (library, song time, playground, occasional playdates). I'm listing those things as a reminder to myself that even though I feel like I waste a lot of time, there ARE things that I accomplish each day, even if they tend to fall into the category of "urgent- not important." It's that "important- not urgent" category I've got to work on (don't we all?) which is what the above list is all about.

So what are YOUR goals for 2010?

Love you all!

*The correct [popularly, not grammatically, that is] term for this is "wannabe"? At least in 1993, it was.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The house is quiet now...

and so I will open up this window and give it a shot.

Oh, gentle readers. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I miss writing in here. I've kind of been obsessed with it recently, to tell you the truth. But I am so tired all the time, and the babies always need me, and the prattle of their little voices overwhelms my internal processor. Virginia Woolf said something about needing a room of one's own, didn't she? (Have I talked about that on here before?) Life, as a whole, overwhelms me. But we've known that for awhile now. Let me try to focus now; in general, because I can't write Everything, I end up writing Nothing. But tonight, for you (which really means, for me) I will write Something.

Let's talk about some goals for 2010, shall we?

*It's time to start doing some Bible stories with Madelaine on a more regular basis. I have flannelgraph. I have curriculum. The reason I didn't start the curriculum a few months ago, when I found it, is that it does take some prep time (and just some time to sort through all the features and activities to pick out what components I actually want to do with her). But I want to start.

*I would love to be able to limit her TV time to an hour a day most days (ie, an hour of kids' programs during the day), plus whatever Nate wants to watch at night. To do this, I think I need to plan a few activities each week that we can do together- simple crafts, etc. Certainly we can spend a lot of time just playing with her toys, but she does get bored once in a while, and that's when we're both tempted to take the easy way out (TV).

*I have a little treadmill now!!!!! Got it on Craigslist for $65. And just like everyone in America, I want to start using it...

*Catch up on getting some photos printed to go in albums

*Get my recipes organized... preferably online. Plan a menu a month at a time... figure out ways to save on groceries (buying in bulk? coupons? making more stuff from scratch? monthly trip to Aldi? online sources...? hmmm...)

*Get a reading light so I can read while I nurse Maddy to sleep at night. Make a list of 25 books I want to read in 2010. (Suggestions?)

*I wish I could write in this blog every day. For now that's a wish, not a goal.

And now I must get ready for bed...

Love to the world,

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Close to midnight

Oh Internets,

My children don't sleep much enough. Nate and I are both really tired.

I have an apple for snack!

This Saturday my parents are coming, and I am super excited! Then we're going to the Lehigh Valley area so Nate can go to a conference Monday/ Tuesday, and we can all visit people. Yay!

Mopping the kitchen floor was supposed to happen today. But it's midnight. I think it's time for bed, yeah?

There is so little time in every day for doing anything other than taking care of my house and kids. At least it seems that way. I miss writing in this blog. But this is only a season of life. And a good season, at that.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Charlotte's Birth Story: The Aftermath!

I guess that should be "afterward?" But I'm a math major, you know, so aftermath is what came to mind. [Why isn't it "afterword," since, you know, it's AFTER all the other WORDS?] But I digress.


Where was I? Oh yes, I had just extruded an infant from my loins.

Charlotte didn't cry right away, she just looked at me with big beautiful eyes. I think I told her about 10 times, I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE OUT... and I think we started nursing fairly soon. Unlike Maddy, who didn't latch well the entire time we were in the hospital, Charlotte figured out nursing right away, which was awesome. (I think it helped that I have more experience, and after two straight years of nursing Madelaine, my, uh... physiology is more nursing-ready.) Anyway, I ended up with a second degree tear, but even though I could feel the doctor touching me, I was quite comfortable during repair (and have had an easy healing process, so really can't complain.) I do think, though, that next time I'll opt for the Regular Full-Force Make Me Totally Numb Please epidural instead of the patient controlled thing, because the whole point of letting it wear off "a little bit" (ha!) so that I could try a vertical position so that I could avoid tearing didn't work so well, did it? I mean, true, I didn't tear quite as badly, but I'm not sure that the significant discomfort during labor was worth the difference... (plus, with the Regular epidural I had with Maddy, I didn't have any itching or nausea- but don't know if that's a regular vs. patient-controlled thing, or if it was just a slightly different drug used...)

So! I will tell you the funny/ odd/ disturbing things about my hospital stay now:

*Chapter 1: Ice Diapers!*

So most hospitals are kind enough to provide you with these great ice packs that you twist to break open (there is Magic/ Science inside! no idea how it works, don't care) and then they work like a cold maxi pad? Yeah. These have been around for quite a while. Well, Mt. Nittany JUST DISCOVERED these and obtained some the week before Charlotte was born. (Thankful it was the week before, and not the week after!) But a lot of the nurses still didn't know they had these available, so they kept offering me the product they'd been using: get this- are you ready? An ICE DIAPER. Yes, my friends, they will pack ice in the lower levels of a PAMPER and give you that to soothe any parts of you that may be sore after childbirth.* Now really, I shouldn't be complaining about this, I should be grateful that I live in a place where things like ice and sanitary disposable products are available! I mean I still think of all the women giving birth in the middle of nowhere without ACCESS to the wonderful, wonderful ice of any kind. But still, I just think it's a bit absurd that they make their own ICE DIAPERS when there's, you know, an actual product out there on the market designed specifically for the need... I mean, really...? If you ask for dental floss, do they give you string? If you ask for Kleenex, do they give you toilet paper? Just wondering.

So at one point, after confirming that they DID indeed now have these wonderful twisty-cold pad things, I went down the hall to the nurse's station to ask for a few more. The nurse who had given the last one to me warned me, "Not all the nurses know we have these yet..." so I was prepared. But it was still hard to stand up to... (duh duh DUUHHHH...)


Yeah. This nurse was just one of those people that looks like they were BORN frowning... like that's their default facial expression, you know? I asked her for the twisty ice pack things. She stated with complete confidence, "We don't have anything like that." [and then I think offered to get me an Ice Diaper.] I was like, "Um...? You do? Because I HAVE BEEN USING THEM." Flustered, she asked other nurse, who said, "Yes we have those, but they do not work as well as the ICE DIAPERS." [I may have possibly snorted through my nose at this point, but you would be proud of me, I only said mildly, "I prefer these pads to the ice diapers..."] So after locating the stash, Nurse Frowny-Face proceeded to unwrap the pad for me, despite my protests that I could do it myself, and then sort of slam it into the counter to break open the magic icy stuff inside, despite my quiet protests that it was meant to be TWISTED. But at least I had my twisty ice pad!!

By the way? They make hot pads too, which are fantastic also (they're meant to be used after the first 12 hours.) Sadly, Mt. Nittany had not yet discovered these. I asked them what they did for a heat treatment, and they mentioned the infamous SITZ BATH. I have never been a fan of the sitz bath... but I'll spare you the details of that.

Okay there's more, but it's late, so...

*Don't you appreciate the delicacy of my terminology? I try so hard for you...!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hazelnut cinnamon coffee + apple cinnamon bagel= Enough morning inspiration for a blog post! Lucky you...

There you have it! So I have some more to write about Charlotte's birth, but I'm not up to it at the moment. But in the spirit of breaking my obsessive-compulsiveness about blogging (ie wanting a Perfectly Organized Comprehensive Blog with Pictures and Everything...), I'm writing this little post just for you and just for me, just so I can be WRITING. I really miss writing in here.

Now that I'm here, what shall I tell you about?

I have tutor training in a few minutes! ONLINE tutor training for ONLINE tutoring! Hurrah! I will not be a scaredy-cat, and I will learn how to use the electronic tablet and the headset to tutor the children! Yay! I will work Sunday and Thursday nights, 8-10 pm. I am excited! I need to come up with some things for Nate and Madelaine to do during that time...

Speaking of Madelaine: I have a confession to make: I let her watch too much TV. WAY too much TV. I am not opposed to kids watching some TV, but the key is, IN MODERATION, yes? We're missing the moderation part. I just have trouble, you know, with the small one wanting to be held all the time (yes, even when she sleeps), and then the Constant Nursing, and then the Daily Tasks of life like getting dressed and eating food and unloading the dishwasher and changing diapers. It is so easy to just turn on the TV when I know there's a PBS show that will keep her glued to the screen... to get a break from the constant barrage of requests to nurse and various trouble-seeking enterprises she pursues. In my mind I think I should be this Supermom that has craft projects planned on a regular basis and is always ready to engage in Creative, Interactive Play... but somehow on a daily basis it doesn't happen much? It's easier to sit here and drink coffee and read random things on the internet. Sigh...

Let's end on a happier note! Uh... Charlotte is waking up now and starting to fuss. I don't know what else to say at the moment. But I think my two beautiful children are Happy Notes. So think of them! And click on the link to see all our Photobucket pictures...


Thursday, August 20, 2009

*Charlotte's Birth Story, Part 3*

Baby steps, people! Baby steps!

So the next phase of labor, when the epidural had me pain-free and I was just hanging out and dilating, was the Golden Phase of labor. Nate and I just got to chat and enjoy each other's company, and everything was very calm and peaceful. Around 11:30 my OB checked my progress (painless! epidural!) and I was fully dilated! Woo-hoo!

So here's a little more explanation... with Maddy, I was totally numb, and not long after I was fully dilated the nurses coached me on pushing, and I pushed her out in 11 minutes. I also had a pretty bad tear (3rd degree), which wasn't hard to recover from in the short-term, but left me with some problems in the long term. So I did a lot of research before this labor, and decided that I wanted to try a few things differently to prevent tearing. This time around, I put in my birth plan that I wanted to wait to push after I was fully dilated until I felt pressure- even with an epidural, the force of contractions will continue to push the baby down, and sometimes you can feel pressure even when you're too numb to feel pain. So I wanted to not have coached pushing- just push when I felt the urge- and try pushing in some position where gravity could help, like hands and knees, or squatting... these are things that help prevent the tearing. Ask Dr. Google, she'll tell you all about it...

Okay, I have GOT to stop beginning every paragraph with "so."


Around 12:30 my mom got there, and Nate's mom showed up at some point too (I have no idea when!) and our assorted siblings and fathers hung out in the waiting room and took care of Madelaine. I asked one of the nurses (Lindsay! My hero!) if I could try different positions, and she said "what did you have in mind?" and I said anything more upright, so that gravity would help. Hospitals tend to be REALLY cautious when you have an epidural, since they don't want you to fall out of bed or something, but Lindsay was super cool and helped me get into a kneeling position, where I could lean on the upper part of the bed. So I stayed like that for awhile, even though it wasn't super comfortable, but it didn't seem to help much in terms of getting the baby's head to descend. At that point I started to get more uncomfortable, and the Golden Phase of labor began to come to a close...

So*, pressure. I was feeling pressure. And the pressure got more uncomfortable. So I decided to push the epidural button again for more medicine- I hadn't pushed the button since 10 am, and it was now maybe 1:30? Repeat dry heaving, only this time I actually threw up a little bit. Then the nurses said that I needed to get out of hands and knees position, because the baby's heart rate monitor kept slipping and they would lose the signal. So I tried lying on my side. I had been doing little wimpy pushes occasionally for awhile, when I felt pressure, but I certainly hadn't felt like I HAD to push yet... but now I started kind of pushing for real, while Nate held my leg. The pressure! It was VERY UNCOMFORTABLE! And the button-pushing! Was not helping! Hadn't my friend warned me about this?!?

Eventually the OB came in, (oh I forgot to mention- I actually agreed to let her break my water earlier, to try to move things along, once I was fully dilated and it was clear the baby would be here soon anyway- ) and the nurses said the monitor was still slipping (and also the baby's heart rate was dropping a bit?) so they wanted me to lie on my back? So I ended up on my back with my feet supported. Sigh...

And then I pushed the baby out. I was pretty vocal... Charlotte was born at 2:31. And she was beautiful. :-)

*I said I would stop, didn't I? Didn't I?? Oh, the addiction of the so. So!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Charlotte's Birth Story, Part 2!

Look! Posting on Consecutive Days!

So we got to the hospital a little before 8. We went in through the emergency room (in case the other doors were closed) and a cheerful lady at the front desk offered us a copy of the newspaper. The Sunday paper! With comics! More about that later... And then a nice elderly gentleman (I think the lady and gentleman were both Volunteers) took me upstairs in a wheelchair, because I didn't feel like walking to the fourth floor with THE CONTRACTIONS.

So, change into hospital gown, urine sample, IV, paperwork blah blah blah... Nate helped answer questions and fill out some of the paperwork, which was great, since I was focused on THE CONTRACTIONS at that point, my stars, THE CONTRACTIONS, someone page the anesthesiologist RIGHT NOW PLEASE. The nursing staff were very efficient really, and after "checking to see" (oh PLEASE let's only do that once, pre-epidural, THANK YOU...) and determining that I was already 5 cm dilated, the nice epidural man (wearing jeans? whatever. He had The Drugs. He could have been wearing a polyester leisure suit with Ugg Boots, for all I cared...) came and did his epidural thing. I think that was 9:30, so really no complaints! And I was excited I was at 5 cm so quickly, because at my last appointment on Friday I actually agreed that they could "check to see" (big mistake! won't do that again! AAUUGGHH!!) and he said I really wasn't dilated at all.

Now, here's where I have to Explain a little to you. I have a friend from church who also had her baby at Mount Nittany, and she said that they had given her the kind of epidural that's patient-controlled... you push the button when you need more medicine. She said it was fine until the end, when it was wearing off and she was pushing the button and it WASN'T HELPING... So I had a little chat with Mr. Epidural Guy- he said both the regular kind and the patient-controlled kind were available and left it up to me which to get. I asked him if the patient-controlled kind could deliver the same amount of medicine as the regular kind, and he said yes, and I thought, if that's the case, I might as well do the patient-controlled thing, right? (do you sense the foreshadowing???)

So with Maddy, I didn't have any side effects with the epidural. This time around, as soon as the medicine went in I started dry heaving. But that only lasted a couple of minutes (thank goodness!) I also had this weird sensation of itching all over... so I kept rubbing my face. That lasted pretty much the whole time. But while these things were annoying, they were NOTHING compared to the pain of contractions... oh I should also mention that I had heartburn that ranged from mild to bad the whole time I was in labor, because before we left for the hospital I insisted on drinking a large cup of coffee and eating most of a bagel. I think it was probably the coffee that did it... at least I was properly caffeinated!

*The End! Tune in tomorrow for Part 3!*

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wow! I still Exist! Also? I have TWO children now...

Hello, amazingly loyal family and friends!!

It seems REALLY hard to start back after being away for so long.

You know what it is, don't you? Overwhelmment. (Yes, it's a word, blogger! Because I Say So.) Too many stories, too many pictures, way too much to write in too little time. Even now that I've actually opened this window and started typing, I'm struggling with where to start...?

How about this: I had another baby, on August 2nd, and her name is Charlotte Roseanna Wentzel and she's beautiful!

And I love both my children dearly. And I have the Ups and Downs of adjusting to life with two children... Sunday morning was a high point, followed by a low point Sunday afternoon (Nap Fail!), followed by a Hard Day on Monday, followed by a Pretty Good Day today... you get the idea. The Hard Days tend to be characterized by lack of sleep and Toddler Behavior Issues (which are really Parent Response Issues... she's just being a normal toddler, and I need to get my act together as her mother.) The good days are quite joyful... Sunday morning I was particularly Happy about life. Really, quite drowning in joy. It was nice. And I'm sure it will come back (once I've had enough sleep to think straight again...)

Alright, well how about this... do you want to hear Charlotte's Birth Story?

*Charlotte's Birth Story*
(Part 1)
So there I was, 40 weeks and one day pregnant. OVERDUE. Which of course is not at all unusual, but since Maddy was almost 4 weeks early, a little unexpected. I was really feeling pretty okay with it- in the final weeks of pregnancy, I felt like I'd sort of gotten used to being huge and achy and so forth. I *was* rather dreading my OB(s) starting to talk about induction, but other than that I was pretty chill.

On my due date (Aug. 1st) I went to bed and couldn't sleep until sometime after 3 in the morning, because the baby was moving a lot and I was having pretty annoying contractions. (Sometimes in late pregnancy I couldn't distinguish between her movements and contractions... which sounds weird, but it's true!) I really wondered if I was going into labor, but didn't get too excited because I'd been having lots of contractions for weeks and they always fizzled out eventually. If fact I felt pretty cranky about the prospect of being in labor because I was SO tired and just wanted to sleep... I felt like I couldn't face the idea of getting up and going to the hospital and, you know, GIVING BIRTH and everything. So I was glad to finally fall asleep, and sure enough in the morning, when I woke up at 6, nothing was going on, so I thought "false alarm, just like every other night..."

BUT THEN (you totally dig my flair for the dramatic, don't you?!?):

At 6:10 I got hit with a really strong, really painful contraction... a LABOR contraction! And a few minutes later, another! And another! It only took a few for me to be pretty sure I was in labor. But I knew I should time them for awhile to make sure they continued, so I got up and got on Skype and talked to my brother for a bit, and then woke up Nate and eventually called my parents and my doctor's office (the OB on call actually called me back IN PERSON. This surprised me greatly!) Adrienne was staying with us then, so she stayed with Madelaine when we left. By the time we got in the car I was pretty uncomfortable, but of course excited to meet my daughter!

*I AM SLEEPY. Going to bed now... must maximize sleep opportunities! Sleep while the children sleep! Part 2 later!*

Love, Neb

Friday, June 05, 2009

Probably setting a new record for how long it's been since I've posted...

Oh dear readership,

I just know, KNOW that you come here to hear me apologize for not posting in so long! And promise to never let my blog go for so long ever again! Which is a sure-fire way for making sure the next hiatus will be EVEN LONGER. What can I say?

Honestly after being gone for so long, it's overwhelming to try to write because there's so MUCH I could write. (Have I said that before? I think it a lot.) We went to Jenny's wedding in New Hampshire, which was lovely in every way and loads of fun- the Reynolds/ Baily family was a blast to hang out with, as always. ;-) Madelaine and I spent a week near Great Smokey Mountains National Park, staying in a cabin with my parents and siblings and their dogs- SO MUCH FUN! And Maddy really got to bond with all of them, learned to say Grandmama, etc. Too cool!

And I am Great With Child. I'm starting to feel rather enormous, really, but overall feeling well and getting really excited for this baby!! Let's make some lists, shall we?

To Do Before The Baby Is Born:

*Pack a bag for the hospital! (Didn't do this with Madelaine...) To include (why yes, there's a sublist in my list!):

  • Couple of nursing nightgowns
  • Bathrobe
  • Underwear
  • Nursing bras
  • Nursing pads
  • Going home outfit
  • Lanolin
  • Breast pump (?)
  • Boppy nursing pillow
  • Comfy postpartum cushion
  • Camera (with fresh batteries!!)
  • Pen and paper
  • Phone card (if they actually MAKE such things anymore, in the age of cell phones...?)
  • Phone number list
  • Snacks (for Nate and for me, when the nurse isn't looking, 'cause I'm rebellious that way!)
  • Maybe a book? (my Bible?)
  • Contact case and cleaner
  • Glasses and case
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Hairbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and soap.

Whew, did I leave anything out? Let me know if you think of something!

*Wash car seat cover, get car seat installed/ checked
*Contact the hospital about the stack of consent forms they gave me (I suspect they left a few out!)
*Install the curtains in the babies' room that we bought last year and never put up... (Babies! Plural!)
*Set up the Pack-and-Play? On the off chance that baby #2 would actually be interested in sleeping somewhere other than our arms for any length of time?
*Paint that cute little wooden shelf to hold photos in the nursery...
*Wash the newborn and 0-3 month clothing
*Make diaper stackers so we can keep our size 5's and newborns separate?
*Research diaper covers that can go over disposables. So as not to repeat the 12-month Poop-Leak-Fest that characterized Madelaine's (exclusively breastfed) infancy...

Also? While we're in list-making mode? There's a few things I want/ need for the baby...

This is the Fisher-Price Starlight Papasan Cradle Swing. And what, you may ask, is so great about it? It has the option to PLUG IN = we will save a fortune in batteries over the course of our next 4 babies. Right? Right?!? Totally worth it! Also, it swings side to side in addition to back and forth. Supposedly, infants like this better. The fabric is super soft and the seat offers lots of head/ body support, which makes a newborn feel more snuggly. And a snuggled newborn is a HAPPY newborn... (we pray...) I'm planning to put this in the corner of the dining room, so (theoretically) Charlotte has somewhere to sit while we eat dinner. (Who am I kidding. She's totally going to want to nurse 24/7 like Maddy, right...?) Still, it's a nice thought.

Anyway, I've searched ebay for this a few times, but with shipping I think the Walmart price is pretty hard to beat. So let's just Get It! :-)

Also, we are going to need a double stroller. You have no idea how many hours of my life I have now spent researching double strollers. The sad thing is, I had settled on one- the British Kidz Kargo tandem jogger-

upon the good advice of my wonderful friend Jordana, who loves hers- when low and behold, THEY SOLD OUT. The manufacturer says they are out of stock; they're popping up on Ebay at the rate of about 1 a month now, but the used ones are selling for the new price because of the scarcity. (Up until a few months ago, they were readily available from a distributor in California for around $200, a true bargain in double stroller world!) So MAYBE these will be available later in the year- I will certainly be patient!- but if not, I'll probably end up getting something else. Here are the pros and cons:

Pros: Great price; width of a single stroller for easily navigating store aisles and walking by the side of the road; smooth steering and ride b/c of three wheel design/ bicycle-style tires, so it would work great on the bike path behind our house; nicely designed parent storage area (drink holder, pocket, etc); handle is high enough for Nate; and other common but important features (both seats recline, five-point harnesses, sun shades with viewing windows, storage basket underneath).
Cons: HEAVY (at 41 lbs) and fairly bulky when folded, but the tires do remove easily, so getting it in and out of the trunk of our car would be doable, if not ideal; not designed to accept infant car seat, so a bit inconvenient the first few months; not entirely sure that the front seat, when reclined, is tall enough to support a sleeping toddler (but once Charlotte is old enough to sit up, I think Maddy could sit in the back and then we'd be good for awhile...)

So anyway, the potential unavailability of the Kidz Kargo has made me go back to the drawing board so to speak and start the hunt for The Perfect Double Stroller all over again...

To make an (absurdly long) story short, I am now lusting after the Phil and Teds Sport with Doubles Kit, which is basically a single jogging/ all-terrain stroller that converts to a double stroller! I can't say that I'm in love with the looks of the thing, but the versatility really can't be matched... first, watch this video and then I'll explain something to you. (YES YOU DO want to watch a 10 minute video narrated in annoying Brit-speak about my stroller of choice!)

Okay, now as you saw in the video, there are two possible positions for the second seat (the "doubles" kit)- either in front, with the newborn lying down underneath (in the main seat); or in the back, down near the floor (as in the picture above). But once I found this car seat adaptor for our Graco carseat, I realized we really have a lot of options here!!!

When Charlotte is little/ lightweight/ still hanging out in her infant carseat (probably around first 4-6 months):
1) I can carry Charlotte in the Beco carrier and put Maddy in the stroller (no second seat needed);
2) I can put Maddy in the second seat in the back, and snap Charlotte's carseat into the main seat (probably the most convenient- and both can recline this way and nap if needed, in case we'll be out a long time, like the mall, or a museum or something);
3) I can put Charlotte in the main seat reclined all the way, and Maddy in the second seat attached up top (which is considered the standard toddler/ newborn configuration for Phil and Ted); this would be lighter to push than with the carseat, and fine for quick trips to the library, dr, etc when Maddy doesn't need to recline for a nap. Also, I can toss the Beco (which folds up super small) in the basket underneath, so that if a "short" trip turns into a long one, I could put Charlotte into the Beco and let Maddy sit in the main seat (i.e., idea #1) so she can rest.

When Charlotte is big enough to sit up more and too heavy to lug around in the infant carseat, anyway (6 months+?):

4) I can put Charlotte directly in the second seat in the back and put Maddy in the main seat (which is the official Phil and Ted's "toddler/ toddler" configuration). Both can recline (I think Maddy could go back far enough to be comfy enough for a nap, even with the doubles seat in the back.)
5) Eventually, Maddy can just walk with Charlotte in the main seat (depending where we're going).

See what I mean? So many options!! I love the fact that the Phil & Ted is a quality single stroller with an option to go double, because the only stroller I have now, the Combi Helio, has been a disappointment in some ways (yes, it's lightweight, folds very compactly, and has a tall handle... but the steering is pretty lousy!) As far as I can tell, the Phil & Ted is ideal to take either one or two kids on the bike path OR to the mall. Plus? It only weighs 24 lbs (that may not include the second seat, I'm not sure...) and folds up to 30x20x9 with the wheels off...

So the only disadvantage? You guessed it, the price. On Ebay they're going for around $350-$450. Heh! We'll see...

Okay, now that I've completely BORED YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND, you non-stroller-interested people, I will try a little non-baby talk to woo you back...

Reading! Sometimes I get to read, because my wonderful husband takes Madelaine for a walk almost every night that it's not raining. Also, my generous family members entertained the little person while we were in TN, so I got some time there, too. So I read "When I Was Puerto Rican," by Esmerelda Santiago, which has been on my To-Read list for ages and ages, and it did not disappoint! Greatly enjoyed it. The Puerto Rico of her childhood (in the 50's) was lush and multisensorially fragrant and an intriguing Latina cross between Little House on the Prairie (fairly rural lifestyle in her barrio, complete with snakes, bare feet in the dust) and the gender roles of, say, Leave it to Beaver. By the end of the book (spoiler alert), she's moved to Brooklyn, near Williamsburg to be specific, and is basically chilling with Asher Lev and his Hasidic posse (context clue: I'm a huge Chaim Potok fan, and find it appropos a book I like that starts in rural Puerto Rico ends up in Williamsburg in the 60's?!?) So anyway, I just got the sequel, "Almost a Woman," from Paperback Swap (fabulous program! Go join today! Tell them I sent you, and I'll get points! :-)), but my long baby to-do list will probably prevent me from starting it for awhile....

I also read about the first half of Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China, and then it was overdue and requested by another library patron (patron! I like that. Patron!), so I had to give it back, but I have every intention of trying to check it out next time. It was cool though, because you know how there are people that say, "Buy American! Don't buy things made in China because the workers are all exploited and also? We need to keep jobs in America!" Well, this author's presentation of the factory world of China was far from grim. Yes, the hours are WAY long by American standards, the pay is much lower than American minimum wage, and there are certainly horrific injustices that occur- BUT- this author presents, through stories of individual young women, the flip side, the view of many young Chinese women themselves: how "going out" as they say to work in the factories presents opportunities for economic and personal advancement that wouldn't otherwise be possible. And I, for one, don't mind buying a cheaper T-shirt, realizing that it is enabling someone around the world to rise from true poverty to something approaching what we think of as a "middle class" lifestyle.

Finally, I've just started "Bird by Bird" by Anne Lamott, also on my To-Read list forever, described by my English Major friend Jordana as "the best book about writing I've ever read." I'm enjoying it a lot- so far it's talking about fiction mainly, which is quite a foreign world to me. It's like hearing a painter or composer describe the creative process- totally outside my sphere of ability, but very cool.

Okay, well, I'm up way late past my bedtime (fueled by some 11 pm coffee) so I'd better skedaddle. I seriously can't tell you how much I miss having long hours to spend composing blog entries. It makes me sad that there are so many funny things and so many cool things that I would love to write about, but I just don't have time (time = time without toddler, with TV off, with no distractions... hardly EVER happens). But you know, life goes on, and my life is full of the funny and cool and adorable, and I will choose to celebrate the Real Life that I have, even if it means giving up things that are important to me. Maybe someday I will go back and remember it all and write it for you...


PS In the days (!!) it took for me to finish this blog post, some of our friends GAVE us a swing!! And wouldn't take any money for it! It doesn't go side to side, or plug in, but hey, FREE is good, gives us more money to go towards the stroller, right? And it has a pretty green and cream toile print...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Productivity Day!!

Because I know just how EXCITING it is for all of you to read my to-do list, here it is!!

*Clean kitchen (including refrigerator...? it's a little sticky in there...) DONE! :-)
*Clean back bathroom
*Finish cleaning master bedroom (including the closet with "Nate's stuff"...? Hmmm...) *IN PROGRESS*
*Sort that big plastic bag full of "random financial documents," update our car maintenance log
*Catch up on social things that I've put off while sick the last two weeks DONE! :-)
*Catch up on Maddy's pictures! Sort them, upload to photobucket, pick out some to go on the blog, and some to print... *IN PROGRESS*

Okay, that's plenty of material for probably the next TWO daysWEEK, right? Once you factor in church, nap, taking care of The Child, and the enormous amount of time I spend Eating. And Sleeping. And Coughing. And Resting because I'm tired from coughing...

I'll cross them off as I complete them! Check back for the nailbitingly exciting updates!!!!

Love, Neb

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Happy Palm Sunday!

Slight smile, no eye contact. Smile sweetie, smile!!

Good eye contact... now please? SMILE?!?

Today's donkey craft from Sunday School. Within a few hours of arriving home, many of the appendages were amputated...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

As the ultrasound technician put it... "'He' is actually a 'she'!"

This goes to show that INTUITION CAN BE DEAD WRONG. My intuition, anyway... I'm really, really happy for Maddy to have a sister, though. :-)

The obligatory foot shot. And it actually looks like a foot, which is nice.

In this picture, you can clearly tell that our baby is a GIRL! How can you tell? Why, those three lines of course! [No, I have no idea what anything else is in this picture, either...]

I've really got to stop reading Narnia before bedtime... so that she grows a body below her head, instead of just faun legs...

Do you see the milkshake* in her brain? Turned sideways, with a straw? It's like finding pictures in the clouds, isn't it?

Our little alien...

So, we're probably going to go with a first name of Charlotte. Suggestions for middle names are welcome, but will probably not be followed. ;-)


*Or, it could be an iced mocha from McDonalds, right? I drink those all summer...

Friday, March 13, 2009


Nate just found out he will be keeping his job at PSU another year! I AM SO EXCITED!! God is so good. Thanks to all of you who prayed for us!!

We are having a blast in Houston... pictures when I get home and can upload!

Love, Neb

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dental Work! Toddler Illness! Oh, the exciting things you read about in this blog...

I have this problem on Facebook. EVERY time I think of a good status update, I realize it either involves 1) Food- what I am eating, what I am craving, what Madelaine has just smeared all over the furniture; or 2) Bodily Malfunctions of some form or another- our sniffles, my fatigue. And, really, the fact that all of my status updates revolve around these two areas makes me think my life kind of revolves around these two things...? Which is kind of... sad? Maybe I should just do what my teenager friends do and post snippets of emo song lyrics...

So on that note! I will now tell you about our Bodily Malfunctions! And maybe some food.

So let's see, we took Maddy for her 18 month check-up last week, and the amazing news is that she actually LOST a few ounces since her 15 month visit. So I have to take her back next month for a weight check. She's about 24 1/2 lbs, which still puts her 50th percentile for weight, and she's 37th for height, so it's not like she's in danger of starvation or anything- really I think it's healthy she's slimming down now after her amazingly chubby baby days- but I am paying a little more attention now to what she eats. She usually eats most of what we give her, so maybe I should be offering more?

Her head is still off-the-charts too big, so the new pediatrician asked us to have her records sent from her old pediatrician (in the Lehigh Valley) to see if her head has always been big, and also asked Nate and I to measure our heads and call them with the measurements- apparently they can put these into an "equation" to figure out how big her head should be?!? Personally, I just think she has a big head...

So of course after the pediatrician visit, she came down with a cold (the germs!! oh, the germs!!) which has now morphed into Croup, so she is a Barking little chicken. A barking, miserable, clingy little Chicken. Poor Chicken.

And then yesterday? I went in for a marathon 2-hour dental appointment. The tooth that had the root canal a couple of weeks ago had started hurting, so they worked me in and took a look, and ended up doing both fillings (in the root canal tooth, and the one behind it) and the temporary crown. I was comfy the whole time really; just got tired of keeping my jaw open, and now my gums are a bit sore. But I am SO THANKFUL for modern dentistry... anesthetic... etc.

Food? I'm eating grapes at the moment. But I think I should post this now and go to bed... Nate's family coming to visit tomorrow. Yay!


Monday, February 09, 2009


According to this article, one of the latest victims of the sagging economy might just be...



Back away from the donuts, and nobody gets hurt...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Also: The Pregnancy!!

And I forgot to mention: I am now 15 weeks pregnant! What-was-his-nickname-again? Truman is now 4 inches long and only about 9 weeks away from being viable outside the womb! And I'm pretty sure I've felt little bitty Movements a couple of times, which is really fun. Also, according to my doctor's scale I have lost about 4 lbs during this pregnancy, I think due to my thyroid dose getting bumped up AGAIN, to 150. Woo-hoo! To put this in perspective, I now weigh what I did when I was about 30 weeks pregnant with Madelaine. Ha!

So maybe sometime I'll actually get around to taking a pregnancy picture... remember my endless photojournaling with pregnancy #1? Again. Ha.

Oh, and an Amusing Anecdote: just now, Madelaine was standing next to Nate, who was on the sofa, and gently running her fingers through his hair. He was like "What is she doing...?" and I said, "just touching your hair." He said "That's fine, she's being gentle, I just didn't know what was up." And, beaming, Madelaine pointed emphatically to the ceiling.

Love, Neb

Date Night/ Bad Children's Programming

Last night, my husband and I WENT ON A DATE like REAL GROWN-UP PEOPLE!! Our pastor and his wife kindly babysat Madelaine while we went to Texas Road House and then went to see Frost/ Nixon. It was very liberating! We had a great time. And Madelaine was fabulous- she knows Miss Bonnie from church nursery and was quite content. I really felt comfortable leaving her- much more comfortable than I would have even a couple of months ago- because I can just sense from her development that she's now much more capable of understanding she's safe with other people, and Mama and Daddy will come back soon. I decided we should probably try to swap babysitting with another couple from church once a month or so, even though we can't afford to do anything expensive. It's hard to balance marriage and parenting, but so very, very important...

In other news, I hit a new low this week with Madelaine's TV habit- we flipped to PBS and THAT SHOW was on. You know. The one with the Big Purple Dinosaur. And internets, I let her watch it. Because she was completely engrossed, and whatever I was doing on the computer seemed worth it... and internets, I even saw her dancing along to the music. And then I threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Let us never speak of this again.

This morning? Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder. Annoying things about Thomas:

1) The name Thomas. Gag me. (My sincerest, heartfelt apologies if you are named Thomas. Please do not hold this against me. We can still be friends, right?)
2) Narration in present tense. Why. Why???
3) The bizarre eye-rolling. Not like teenager "Whatever" eye-rolling... like spastic neurological disorder eye rolling. Do their eyes move so much because they don't have arms and legs to wave around, and running forwards and backwards on a track just isn't expressive enough?

Annoying things about Bob:
1) He's been subconsciously preparing the toddler generation for our current president's campaign slogan. "CAN WE BANKRUPT THE US BUILD IT? YES WE CAN!"
2) I don't know what else. But I'm sure if I keep watching I'll find more!!!

Alright, I'd better take off, the Wee One is attempting to sabotage this blogging attempt by physically taking control of my wrists. Ha ha!! I have prevailed!!

Love, Neb

PS Got to make dinner for small group tonight. And I would like to know what I need other than beef, carrots, potatoes, and onions to make a true beef stew in my crockpot. I have Cream of Chicken soup, but somehow I don't think that will cut it...???

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

An Interesting Day

[Now-Day-Before] Yesterday was kind of cool and different. To start with, Madelaine and I and 300 trillion billion million* other people in America bundled up and headed to Denny's for their special FREE Grand Slam Breakfast promotion. Because, you know, Americans are all about getting up early, getting dressed and out the door, spending gas money, waiting outside a restaurant in line for 15-20 minutes in the freezing cold, all so they can spend a $2 tip on a meal they could have cooked at home for $1. Because it's a FREE MEAL. That's how we think. Our local establishment was crowded with the elderly, small groups of college students, and a few assorted Locals- some in full hunting regalia. I'm really curious if Denny's will find their little experiment to be profitable in the long run... anyway, we enjoyed the pancakes and eggs and bacon and took the sausage home to Daddy Nate. A fun little outing.

*You know, what with the gazillions of dollars being "spent" (printed) for this whole Bail-out thing, all of the -illions seem to kind of blur together, you know? [Oops, I think my kid is eating stickers off the craft we did yesterday.] But as we head into The Second Great Depression (yeah, I said it!) I've decided to adopt the federal government's strategy- when we don't have any money, we'll just PRINT MORE! :-) Where are Madelaine's crayons...?

Then I had my two dental appointments- Nate stayed home from work to watch the Chicken while I went in for my 11 a.m. ROOT CANAL. How come the phrase ROOT CANAL sounds so dreadfully intimidating?!? It was really a piece of cake. I have a feeling that if the tooth had been bothering me it would have been worse, or if there were "complications" (like my poor MIL had recently with a tooth...) I think the dentist only worked about 20 minutes, and it was all over. Then at 2 I went in for my cleaning... so one time I went to this dentist that had this special gizmo for cleaing, some kind of blue lighty- thing (yeah that's the technical term) that just king of, you know, BLASTED the plaque off ultrasonically or something. And CAN I TELL YOU how much more comfortable that is than the scrapy-pick-thingie?!?!? I was like, WOW, I must have this treatment again... so when we picked this dentist in State College, I called them up and asked if they had some kind of alternative to the scrapy-pick thing, and tried to describe the blue light thing, and the lady was like, Yes! We have a (Something)!! So I was like, Cool! But it turned out to just be something called a "Cavitron," which is a high-powered stream of water (like pressure washing your teeth!!) Which would have been fine, that was also much more comfortable than the pick, except that apparently IT DOESN'T REALLY GET EVERYTHING because after using it on my teeth she was like, "Okay, let me just finish up with the hand tools now" and then she did the painful scraping thing for a good long time, so it's like, what's the point?!? Oh well. At least she was good at it and it wasn't TOO bad... one time, I went to the dentist (I think in Atlanta) and the cleaning was so painful, my eyes were watering and I was gripping the chair...

On the way home I stopped off at Giant and stocked up on meat, since our local Walmart Supercenter never has any good deals on Cow, Pig, and Chicken... comparing prices on a few other things, though, I was impressed and persuaded we should probably be buying most of our groceries there.

Then it was back home to grab a quick nap with Madelaine... but "quick" turned into over 2 hours. I woke up around 7, confused and disoriented that it was dark outside, and then sad that I was late for my 6:30 Bible study! I hustled out the door and enjoyed some great insights on Hebrews 2. Jorn says that when we struggle with sin, the key to "activating" grace- ie, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit instead of our own- is believing that our sins are forgiven, and really putting our faith in God's strength. That makes a lot of sense to me.

On the way home it was snowing, and my car skidded and ended up perpendicular to the road at one point when I turned left, but thankfully the car behind me could brake before running into me. We need two new tires on the back. I'm almost getting used to the whole driving-on-ice-and-snow-and-sliding-around-like-crazy phenomenon- ALMOST. I still tend to silently grumble that my husband had to be from a state like Pennsylvania and fantasize about Texas spring, but, you know, what can you do? The Groundhog* saw his shadow, which means that winter will last til early-to-mid April. (If The Groundhog HADN'T seen his shadow, in my opinion this would also mean that winter would last til early-to-mid April, because I am a hard, bitter realist who just says THAT'S HOW LONG WINTER LASTS HERE.) On the positive side, we just bought Madelaine's snow boots- they finally went on clearance at Walmart- Disney princess snow boots!! (Will our son enjoy wearing them, too?) But I have to say, they fit her feet fine, but the velcros will barely fasten around our chubby little Princess's cankles. Oh well, what's a girl to do? The few pairs of knee-high boots I have tried on in adult life don't fit my calves, either...

*The Groundhog is taken very seriously around these-here parts, along with hunting season, Joe Paterno, and the Steelers. Did I tell you that the local school-children had a two-hour delay the Monday after the Superbowl even though the weather was FINE?? So very, very wrong...

I'd better go, apparently there is a Nursing Emergency, although her mouth is still full of Cheerios so I told her she has to swallow first...

Love, Neb

Sunday, February 01, 2009

More Disturbance...

So many of you have probably read about the octuplets born in California recently, and some of the rather unusual circumstances surrounding the family (mom already had 6 kids at home, ages 2 to 7, all conceived by IVF, and is not married- she lives with her parents). Of course medical ethicists are having conniptions about the fact that someone apparently agreed to implant 8 embryos ("in a woman under 35 who already has children"- which I'm not sure should be relevant, but anyway...)

I'm not here to discuss the ethical implications of IVF as a whole, or this woman's personal choices in her journey to being a mom of 14. I just want to comment on a couple of quotes I read in a CNN article this morning...

Once it was clear that the the woman was carrying octuplets, her doctors suggested "reduction"- aborting some so that the rest would have a better chance at survival. The woman refused this option and decided to keep all 8. The ethicists in this article were asked to comment about her decision:

George said that, based on the information available, his personal ethical decision would probably support the woman's choice to carry all the babies to term. But he said that selective reduction is not the same as traditional abortion because the goal is the healthiest possible birth rather than the termination of a pregnancy.

"The babies didn't put themselves there; it's not their fault," George said. "There does seem to be a serious ethical question about killing one or more of them, even for the sake of maternal health."

I just want to know, what in the WORLD does he mean by "The babies didn't put themselves there; it's not their fault"- is this his way of explaining why "reduction" is not the same as "traditional abortion"??? So if a woman gets pregnant unintentionally, does that mean it IS the baby's fault, thus making it worthy of being killed?!? Are the only babies with a right to life those who are intentionally conceived?

But wait-- it gets worse!

Rosenthal, on the other hand, questions the woman's capacity to make a good decision under the circumstances. Some neonatologists believe that when pregnant women are told about dangers of prematurity or have great expectations about giving birth, their judgment can be impaired, she said.

The situation raises the issue of whether a doctor ought to override a patient's wishes for the sake of saving lives, she said. Although the health care system in America gives patients autonomy in making decisions about their own bodies, when emotionally distraught, some people decide poorly, she said.

When I read this, I could not believe this statement was made publicly by a doctor in the 21st century. Is it 1700 again?? Do we think women need hysterectomies because they are, by nature, Hysterical?? The medical field's stereotype of women in general, and pregnant women in particular, as incapable of competent decision making due to their "overly emotional" natures is a disgraceful prejudice that should have disappeared ages ago with the likes of bloodletting. Yes, under the great emotional distress that comes with MANY health care situations, people may (in a doctor's opinion) "decide poorly"- but isn't that truly what "autonomous decision-making" is all about? One of the cornerstones of modern medical ethics is that mentally competent adults have the right to make decisions about what kind of treatment to pursue, or whether to pursue treatment at all, as long as those decisions are intended to protect, not destroy, life. That fundamental right is not subject to compromise due to a supposed state of heightened emotional lability.

Do people think this isn't a big deal? This kind of attitude, expressed by this doctor, is why women don't trust their OB's. This is part of the reason the homebirth movement is growing, for better or worse. For those of us giving birth, this is a Very Big Deal.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

This is just DISTURBING...

"It's a difference of opinion," she says.

I can feel my blood pressure going up every time I listen to this...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Overheard this evening at our house...

Neb: "Do I look pregnant in this outfit?" [Velvet stretchy pants, fitted long sleeve black T-shirt- I'm thinking I look Hott with a cute little Bump.]

Nate: "Yes. [Pause.] Actually, no. It doesn't look like you're pregnant, it just looks like you're... something else..."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

12 Weeks and 1 Day!

Good evening, beloved readers. How is everyone on this fine, snowy evening? It is a balmy 23 degrees here at the moment, with a light snow, which is downright tropical compared to the single digit temps we've experienced in the last week. My husband is enjoying watching The Football, which, to me, has the entertainment value of watching cornflakes absorb milk [The Superbowl...? I go for the snacks and the commercials. I totally zone out during the actual game part. Of course there's usually such a crowd that I can't actually hear the commercials, so really I should just stay home and be a nerd and read a book...], but I'm happy for him, you know? And he's making the Tender Melt-in-your-Mouth Braised Beef for me right now (CRAVING POT ROAST recently, oh my goodness...) which is what people make when they forget/ are too lazy to put stuff in the crock pot 6 hours before meal time. So all in all, there is Peace in the Nebiverse. And a nagging something in the back of my head about Laundry, but we'll get to that in just a bit...

So anyway, as the title announces I am just ONE WEEK away from being done with the first trimester! W00t! Morning sickness has definitely been lighter this time around- which actually lends just a bit of scientific credibility to my entirely non-scientific hunch that I am having a boy. Hopefully we'll find out with an ultrasound in about 8 weeks. Perhaps some of you have noticed the lack of weekly updates and Weight Gain tracking this time around... Chalk it up to the loss of novelty with a second pregnancy, and also the fact that I'm not quite as interested in obsessing over my weight this time because... well, how do I say this...

At the doctor's office on November 26th, right after I first found out I was pregnant, I weighed 165.5 lbs. (granted, I think I was wearing a jacket and shoes.)

When I was THIRTY SIX weeks pregnant with Madelaine (ie right before I gave birth), I weighed about 167.


I am sharing this information with you, internets, to encourage all you Skinny Chicks out there (you know who you are!!) who freak out about gaining 50 lbs when you're pregnant (and then lose almost all of it afterwards.) See! It could be worse! You could START your second pregnancy close to the point where you ENDED your first one!!

I'm probably not as upset or concerned about this as I should be. (Or, I shouldn't be? So it's all good? Why, thanks.) How did this happen, you ask? Well, I exclusively nursed my child for the first 12 months of her life, which is supposed to really help with the weight loss thing. BUT, I also dropped out of grad school, which means that I had more free time on my hands, so that in addition to my grad school diet of donuts, cake, and coffee, I added (not replaced, added) more nutritious choices like Normal Meals. I don't know, too many calories, not enough exercise, plus my BUM THYROID. Yeah, my thyroid numbers have been not so great for the past year, and that slows metabolism, so let's just blame that, shall me?

Anyhoo, I am really so very happy to be pregnant. And really so very apprehensive about doing this 2-kid thing... I would love to hear from those of you with 2+ kids... advice? Strategies? I think my greatest concern is that Madelaine 1) loves, loves, LOVES to nurse- which is great- but it's hard for me to imagine her being patient while I nurse The Newborn? Especially if said Newborn likes to nurse as much and as long as she did? And yes, I am willing to try nursing them both at once, but don't know whether or not that will work for me... 2) is WAY into the attachment thing. Nurses to sleep for every nap, at nighttime, and every time she wakes up in the middle of the night. So let's say, theoretically, that the new baby and I sleep in bed with Nate and Madelaine sleeps in her own bed in her own room. So if she wakes up 6 times in the night crying, and I get up every time to go to her, I'm not getting much sleep, right? So let's say the newborn and I sleep in Madelaine's room. Won't they cry and wake each other up? So I'm still not getting much sleep, right?

Oh internets! I LOVE MY SLEEP!

But I also sort of think I shouldn't worry too much about this, it will work itself out when the time comes (??), because I was overwhelmed at the thought of taking care of Newborn Madelaine and it turned out to be way easier than I thought, in a lot of ways...

Okay, time for something non-baby related...

I have been reading!

Ha, come to think of it, I guess a book about twins and sextuplets isn't exactly non-child-related... anyway I got this for Christmas, and it's a fun book- Kate is way more organized than I am, and, I have a feeling, sleeps a lot less. It's an interesting insight into their family. Also? I want you to know that the 10 Gosselins go through 3 gallons of milk a week. And the 3 Wentzels go through 2.5 gallons of milk a week. No wonder our grocery bill is insane...

Also reading:
This is the riveting first-hand experience of Carolyn Jessop, who escaped with her 8 children (I know, I know, with the kids already!!) from a very abusive family in the FLDS. It is AMAZING to me- and heartbreaking- that these things occurred in 21st century America, and I'm sure are still occuring today. Reading some horrific accounts of the child abuse that took place had the positive effect of making me hug Madelaine a little tighter, and see through the little inconveniences of motherhood to what's really important- my baby is safe and healthy and I adore her more than my own life.

Love, Neb