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December 31, 2011

New Years Resolutions…

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 2:19 pm

I used to think I wasn’t a resolutions kinda of gal. I scoffed at the idea that we’d all make some big life improvements tied to the changing of the calendar, it seems simple-minded and ridiculous. Well, things change. Actually, I’m still not really looking to make impossible lists to frame the start of a new year, but I have embraced the power over setting goals, making plans and repeating affirmations as a way to get where you want to be.

I feel like I spend about 30% of my day in the pursuit of improvement. Typically it’s more intellectual pursuit than practical application, but I feel like making life better is a cornerstone of my days. Whether developing better ways to respond to tantrums, justifying ways to accept or tackle the clutter in my life or re-affirming my desires in order to re-frame my reactions to situations. I know that thought is not as strong as action, but I continue to hold firm that if I think about it long enough it’ll slowly turn into reality. And honestly, that has been my experience thus far - change may not be as swift as focusing only on the actions, but it’s still changing and things are always improving.

I have great hopes for the upcoming year and I can see wonderful things happening. The littles are slowly leaving that emotionally intense, super-clingy, drain-away-your-life-force infant stage and just moving into the more general childhood stage. I finally feel like I’m turning back into a person a bit more and more. I now see how wrong I was when I convince myself, and Chris, that having two closely spaced children would only be torture for a year - nope, make that two years of insanity. But we’re on the upswing now and it’s not been all bad, though I freely admit I’m not sure how much I really can recall about the past two years. :)

I don’t have a list ready and waiting for posting as my resolutions grow organically and shift and change over the days. Instead I spend time daily thinking about what I want and realigning how I’m getting there or accepting if it’s just a line item that makes me feel better to say. I’m trying hard to have less of the latter and more of the true desires manifesting in my life. I have some really big goals for this year, some are life changing big, and I can’t wait to share the success in reaching them. For now, lets just say that my new years resolution is to keep moving forward, making life better, and enjoying it more each day.

December 8, 2010

It’s family stuff or nothing.

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 8:02 pm

I stopped blogging a couple weeks ago — well at least 130 weeks ago, though probably longer. I kept thinking that if I didn’t have anything of interest to say, I’d just shut up. Well.. that got boring. But the only thing that happens consistently around here, and is the most probable source of content, is family life. So, family life it is. You can read it or leave it - I don’t mind.

Charlotte is 8 months old and is developing a sense of entitlement to everything her sister owns and is doing. I don’t think she realizes that she isn’t 2 years old, too, and instead just butts right in where she can. Sometimes that means a spectacular, head-over-heels with a double-somersault-flip when the rightfully-2-year-old disagrees with the jockeying for position and attention.

Sara is 28 months old (2.5 years for those mathematically challenged) and awakening to the world of language. We’re still in this non-ending loop of repetition.
“Sara, did you want another cracker?”
“Another cracker.”
“Sara, do you need to potty?”
“to potty”
“Yes or no”
“Yes, no”
“Sara, no or yes?”
“no, yes”
So we’re not to the stage of deep and meaningful conversations, yet. But at least I can shape her expectations in how I phrase a question and she seems happy to accept whatever repeated-answer I wanted her to give. Though more amusing is the moments when she lets out a sentence or two of amazing insight — I imagine more will come with time.

Alex is fifteen — is there a lot more to say about that? Well, there is actually. She has entered high school and I think she likes it. She played soccer on the JV team and is now playing basketball on the freshman team. School and spots pretty much fill all of her time, so I don’t get to see her as much as I’d like.

Chris and I are just treading water most days but life is good in a million different ways.

so there, maybe I’ll update again in anther 100+ weeks.

March 18, 2010

Welcome Charlotte Minerva Daniel - Born March 16, 2010

Filed under: family — suzanne henderson @ 1:24 pm

Charlotte Minerva

Name: Charlotte Minerva Daniel
Date: March 16, 2010, 11:05am
Weight: 10lbs, 9oz
Length: 22.25 inches
Head Circumference: 15 inches

Charlotte was born at home in the birth pool with Mom, Dad, and midwife present. Older sisters Alex (14y) and Sara (20m) were playing downstairs and welcomed her shortly after she arrived.

Birth Story, for those interested….


I decided I wanted to try something different to prepare for this birth. With Sara’s wonderful homebirth, I remember feeling like I wasn’t really in control of the experience as much as I wanted to be and that there was more I could have done to make it more empowering feeling. It certainly wasn’t a bad birth, heck, Sara was 10lbs,1oz born at home with no tearing, but I still remember feeling like I could have done better for some reason. So this time I decided that I wanted to try the Hypnobabies hypnosis program that I’d heard recommended many, many times.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure it was going to work and was nervous that I was going to be out a lot of money for something that might end up being useless. Also, because we decided to go with this program, we chose to not have our awesome doula from last time come for financial reasons — that was a hard choice to make. I started using the program at 30 weeks and was diligent about doing the practices every day. Luckily, having a napping toddler made it fairly easy to get the daily tracks in. The last couple weeks, I was usually listening to things twice a day and had learned some wonderful relaxation techniques that helped me get some decent sleep when my body would allow.

I was very excited about going through labor again, which I attributed to the hypnobabies programming (aka brainwashing, but hey - it’s a good kind of brainwashing). This was also a very easy pregnancy - very little to no morning sickness, no overwhelming exhaustion, and mostly SPD-free for the entire pregnancy too. People kept telling me I was having a boy just because it was such an easy pregnancy compared to Sara’s, but I wasn’t so sure. I had boy thoughts during the beginning of pregnancy, but towards the end I noticed that all my baby thoughts were “her” and “she” based and figured we were having another little girl — though I wasn’t as sure as I was with Sara.

Labor, or not?

So labor started in the middle of the night on Monday or the Thursday before - depending on how you look at things. Thursday night before, I was having very consistent contractions 10 minutes apart all night long. I really didn’t want labor to start then, though, because 1. it wasn’t the 20th yet (my preferred birth date) and 2. Chris and I were supposed to meet his visiting friends from high school for lunch. Friday morning came and the contractions went… and so the pattern began that I’d have contractions each night that would mostly vanish during the day. By Sunday, I was getting pretty frustrated with this pattern because it left me feeling unsure about when things were going to happen and anxious to get going. I didn’t like feeling impatient about birth and preferred being comfortable waiting for it to happen. Monday, during the day, I had more contractions than before, but again, it wasn’t going anywhere. Before leaving work on Monday, Chris wanted to know if he should bring is laptop home (in case labor started, he could work from home as needed), and while I didn’t think anything was going to happen, I figured it was a good plan just in case.

Even though the contractions I was having were pretty inconsistent, I knew they were doing something. I figured my body was slowly dilating and effacing in the on-again-off-again ordeal. I also had a mucus plug that would not end — I joked about how much came out, sometimes clear and occasionally streaked after a few stronger contractions.

Labor and Hypnosis

Monday night. before going to bed, I was reading up on birth stories and the Hypnobabies listserve stuff and ran across a reminder to be using hypnosis for the small contractions and to be careful of not waiting for the things to get serious before starting. This perfectly timed reminder helped wipe away the apprehension about the program that had developed, mainly because I hadn’t been using hypnosis for the random, sometimes sharp contractions. Once reading that ad practicing with smaller contractions, my confidence and excitement returned.

At some point in the middle of the night, I realized that contractions were picking up consistency and intensity. Hypnosis was still keeping me very calm but falling in and out of dreams was making things confusing. I started to wonder how close together things were, but wasn’t coordinated enough to use hypnosis, watch the clock, and stay awake. I tried waking Chris at one point, probably about 5am I think, but when that failed I just headed to the shower. I have no clue how long I was there, but I know I was very grateful for our endless supply of hot water as I refilled the tub at least once. While in the shower, I trued to check my dilation; all I could determine was that I ws probably about 50-60% effaced… at least something was happening. I thought.

I was still curious about the spacing of contractions, so I finally headed back to bed to wake up Chris for real this time. We laid in bed a bit timing things and he was reporting that they were 4-6 minutes apart and I got a little nervous… that was “call the midwife” kind of timing. So, we ended up getting out of bed a little before 7:00am because it was time to test if they were going to fade away again like before. Being up and around didn’t run them off and I was able use the online contraction timers to get better numbers for how far apart things were: 3-5 minutes apart.

Monday I’d called my mw’s office to check up on our scheduled homevisit and was told she had 2 ladies going. I figured not being in labor then was a good thing, but I’d hoped those women had delivered and she’d gotten a chance to sleep. I had planned to call her at 8am, but the timing was making me nervous. I was really torn at this point — using hypnosis, I was very comfortable during contractions. I honestly had no pain in dealing with them and all the cues I’d learned were working wonderfully. My logical brain was telling me that things were pretty close together and I better have her head over, but I was worried it’d be a false alarm.

I caught my mw as she was on her way home from a birth — so no, she hadn’t had any sleep yet. I apologized but said that I was going to need her as well, but we’d have a space for her to nap until we really needed her. She altered course (she was in the car) and showed up about 8:40am. I was sitting downstairs when she arrived, listening to my hypnobabies Easy First Stage track and enjoying contractions that were now about 3 minutes or less apart. We chatted as though nothing was happening in between contractions and I’d flip totally “off” each time one would approach. I was still a little nervous about things stopping or not being the real deal because I was so comfortable.

While waiting for the midwife to arrive, Chris began filling our new birth pool - a 100-gallon stock tank. For Sara’s birth, we’d used a kiddie pool that lots of homebirth mom’s seem happy with — but it wasn’t a success for me. In the kiddie pool, the water didn’t even cover half of my belly, which basically defeated the point. In researching new birth pool options for this birth, I’d come across some photos of a stock tank that had been padded with pillow/cushioning and lined with a white sheet and plastic (to make it easier to see bleeding and such since the stock tank is black). It looked like the perfect option because it was cheaper than other pools of a similar depth by more than $100 and we would be able to find a use for it later.

After 30 minutes or so of chatting with mw, we headed upstairs to do a heartbeat check and I went ahead and had her see how far along I was. This was a scary point for me, because while contractions were coming pretty fast, they weren’t painful — surely this was all a joke of some sort and I still had days to go or something. But my mw was very happy to report that I was already at 8cm, 100% effaced, with a bulging bag of waters! I was ecstatic, that was great news! With Sara’s birth, I remember her telling me I was at 7cm and being devastated because I felt like I was reaching the end of my rope and there was still so far to go. With 8cm and still no pain, I knew things were going just as planned.

I hopped in the pool and it felt blissfully wonderful! The midwife went off to nap and let me do my thing. I was so happy and excited at this point. Chris would come and touch my arms or face when I’d turn off for a contraction and just be there next to me. It felt wonderfully loving and connected this time because I was in such a happy state of bliss at this point. I knew that if I wanted things to kick up a bit more, I could try breaking my water, but I enjoyed the bit of snuggling I was getting, the perfectly warm water, and working with the contractions as they came.

Laboring in the tub, I selected positions I’d purposely avoided last time because they felt too intense. Using the hypnobabies cues, I wasn’t worried about the intensity at all and was excited to meet our baby. The tracks really helped me stay focused - during a contraction, if I’d start to feel a little overwhelmed there would always be a perfectly timed suggestion that would help me refocus and stay comfortable. About an hour into the tub, I felt a gush of water and realized that my water had broken. I figured that pushing would start pretty soon and was anxious for Chris to get back to me — at the moment he was looking for options to drain out some water because it’d gotten a little chilled and the hot water we added put the water level a little closer to the edge than we wanted. When he came back, I let him know that my water broke and that solving the water level problem wouldn’t be an issue since our little one would be arriving soon.

I had Chris switch Hypnobabies tracks to the Pushing Baby Out and it seemed perfectly timed that the next contraction I began to feel the change in labor to some pushing feelings — just as the audio track commented on how labor would start to feel different. It took about 20-30 minutes to feel more pushing-like contractions, they weren’t super intense but I would vocalize through them and try to work with my body. One suggestion in the track was also that I’d be smiling either during or between contractions and I remember laughing at that because it was true. In between contractions always felt so calm and comfortable, I was willing to talk and chat and laugh. I had Chris wake the midwife up to join us because I knew when pushing got really serious, I wouldn’t want Chris walking away to get her then. I still feel like this was a painless birth experience so far and was still happy and excited. For one pushing contraction, when things were getting more intense, I reached down to see if I felt anything yet and ended up finding a huge gush of mucus and doubled over laughing, mid-contraction and all. Silly me had commented on Sunday that I didn’t think I could possibly lose any more mucus and my body continued to prove me wrong on that statement time and again.

I played around with different positions to push in to see what would be the most effective. The midwife set up a little area outside of the tub commenting that I also might want to get out and push — or might need to get out if we ended up with another instance of shoulder dystocia. I knew that I did not want to get out of the tub to push, so I kept moving around a lot during contractions. Finally, I stood up fully and the midwife commented that would let gravity help out and she was right… the contraction that followed was a no-joke, time-to-really-get-baby-out contraction… I went back to squatting in the water pretty fast once it hit and boy did it hit. There was no using hypnosis at this point, there was no gentle breathing baby out, there was just straight up pushing with the lovely yelling that helped get the job done. I yelled a bit about wanting to slow down a little just because I didn’t want to tear, but the babe’s head came out pretty quickly. And then there is the wait, the uncomfortable, awkward wait for the next contraction. I knew I’d really need babe out then and felt a bit reassured that her head was out in just one major push that things were going just fine — with Sara, it took many contractions and pushing to get her head all the way out. So waiting for the next contraction, I’m working up my resolve to push really well to get those shoulders out, trying to be patient as I’m in a most uncomfortable and awkward squatting position, and thinking about how there is no way that I’m going to be climbing out of the tub with a head between my legs (what would be needed if we felt her shoulders were stuck). The next contraction comes and with some good strong pushing, I feel that freeing gush of baby fully out — wow!

I pull her up from the water and carefully work so I can get in a reclining sitting position. She’s covered in vernix, more so than Sara was, and just looking as peaceful as can be. It was so nice to get to just rest there in the water holding her, watching her, getting to know this new little person. I took a moment to check her sex as I thought I’d felt boy parts as we were getting situated, but was happy to see that it was another girl that I’d been expecting. Chris eventually had to mention that while I checked, I hadn’t bothered to tell anyone else if it was a boy or girl, so I got to share that he had another daughter. Alex and Sara came in to see the new baby and Sara was all about saying “Baby! Baby! Baby!” and hasn’t stopped since.

We hung out in the pool for a bit, me mostly resting and looking at the vernix covered baby. I decided I wanted to get out of the pool to keep a better eye on the bleeding since I kept feeling lots of gushing while sitting there. Getting out of the pool with the baby and no energy was amusing since the cord was still attached and not exceptionally long — but we made it work. We moved to the bed to deliver the placenta and to rest some more. We waited a little while after the placenta was out to cut the cord this time and used ties instead of the hard plastic clamp.

I felt much more exhausted this time following labor and feel like my recovery has been a bit slower. But even being exhausted, I was certainly on a birth high of being just amazed at how well the hypnobabies worked. It was an absolutely amazing and comfortable birth!

We took a while to pick a name — something we hadn’t even discussed yet — because she didn’t open her eyes until about 7pm in the evening. We finally settled on a name and have been snuggling and nursing ever since.

December 29, 2009

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Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 4:51 pm

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July 28, 2009


Filed under: family, life — suzanne henderson @ 12:09 am

a dear friend has pointed out how silent this site has been. It’s not for lack of desire to write, I often come up with something I’d love to share as I’m driving down the road or otherwise out and about and not near a computer. And I can’t say that it’s a lack of time online that is keeping things so quiet either since I still manage to spend way too much time on the computer each day. I guess I’ve just felt that there was no one listening anymore and that there wasn’t much to say.

Life is busy and it’s been so long since I’ve found inspiration for written commentary, I’ve wondered how I ever found it possible to write at all. Sara turned one last week and I can’t really say where that year went. It’s gone both super fast and excruciating slow at times. Tonight is one of those slow times. We’re up now, almost midnight, after a couple hours of crying when I finally gave up that sleep was ever going to happen and decided to drag us both back downstairs. Now she’s playing with a pair of starry socks and taking bites of yogurt here and there as I wonder when we’ll get back to bed.

This is soccer training camp week for Alex, so she’s on the field all morning long Monday through Friday this week. Next week regular practices start back up after a nice little break. Just a few short weeks from now will bring us to the Gettysburg Tournament and then weekly games will start again. I’m also signing her up to play rec (she’s been playing travel/competitive soccer this past year) with some of her friends as well, though that coach realizes that her primary team takes preference. I don’t really think she needs more soccer in her week, but it’s something she loves and wants to do, so why not? The rec games and practices she can ride her bike to and manage on her own time, so it’s not as much of a commitment from the family. It’s the 4 hours a week of travel team practice and the games that can be in another state on the weekends that takes the commitment from all of us.

Our old house hasn’t falled over yet, though I often wonder if it might just happen out of the blue. We still have half of our sad tree threatening to collapse on us at any moment. The garden grew in possibility this year but not in actuality. We have garlic curing in the shed, lettuce has all finally bolted to seed, and broccoli is probably on hold for the next few weeks. I think we managed to plant about 16 tomato plants, a couple pepper plants, and we have a rouge squash plant emerging from the compost bin. They’re all poking along and soon we’ll have some more fresh produce for the table. Fall might bring some cabbage and brussels sprouts since they’re always so slow going when started in spring.

Our adventures in chickens has been very depressing this past 2 months. We lost 6 chickens in that time and are now down to just one lonely bird. I’m very disappointed in the entire process and our complete failure to manage the chickens properly. I’m not sure if we should keep the lone bird or let her join a friend’s flock. A fox and maybe the neighbors dog got the majoirty of the birds and our own stupidity got one (well honestly, our stupidity caused the loss of all of them, but one getting caught in our own trap was a whole different level of dumb). Alex and I killed and processed that bird and the meat is still in my fridge — I’m not sure if I’ll be up to cooking it anytime soon.

My sewing business keeps me busy as I’ve added a monthly market and a weekly farmer’s market to my grouping of shows. I feel like I’m always behind and that I’ll never catch up. Some days I want to just give up completely and just sew up all the fabric I have and give items away for free. But our budget isn’t going to let that happen anytime soon. Plus, I have so much fabric, that task would be another job in and of itself. I am pleased that things are going so well though, not everyone that works from home can say the same lately.

Well Sara is blowing raspberries on my leg, not sure if this is a sign that she’s ready to sleep or that I might need to take a cot to the soccer field to catch up tomorrow instead. Hopefully we’ll be to sleep soon and hopefully I’ll post again before 6 months or more passes.

February 16, 2009

My Coupon Savings of $107.35 ($119.35)

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 2:02 pm

Coupon Savings: $107.35

Originally uploaded by xixstar

Having learned about the exciting world of coupon savings, I decided to go in for a major shopping trip to save as much as I could. We shopped at two stores (located in the same parking lot) and bought $149.89 worth of stuff for just $42.54 out of pocket. We used $107.35 worth of coupons!!! (oops, just noticed I missed $12 in coupons, will go today to correct this and then out total savings will be $119.35 and just $30.54 out of pocket).

If you’re interested in how…

To prepare, we first needed to get more coupons than what I’d collected from a couple weeks of Sunday papers. I’d read about people dumpster diving in recycling dumpsters for coupon inserts and I wasn’t sure if that was something I’d be willing to do. Saturday afternoon, Alex came downstairs moping that she was bored, there was nothing to do, there was no one to play with. So, I suggested we go dumpster diving. She really wasn’t interested, but she didn’t have any better suggestions so we jumped in the car and headed off to a dumpster I’d noticed the day before.

Alex climbed right into the dumpster and I reached in from the side. We ended up with a decent chunk of coupons after about 20 minutes of searching. Alex had so much fun she wanted to go find some more dumpsters, so we went cruising the countryside and found 3 more but decided that a Sunday visit would be better for those. Sunday morning, we set off for more diving and came home with even more coupons (and a dozen donuts).

That evening, we filed the intact inserts, scanned the sales and made up a shopping list. I also cross referenced coupon databases to know which coupons to take with us and cut out any that we needed from the filed inserts. In all, it took about an hour to an hour and half of time with us both working together. It’s a fun family actvitiy since Alex is super excited that we’ll get some items for free that we usually don’t buy at all (pizza rolls).

I put my shopping list on an envelope and stores all the coupons I knew I’d be using in there. I took my other cut and sorted coupons with us, just in case. There were several items we picked up after looking through the extra coupons we hand and we’ll probably look for more in our filed inserts to use on our next trip. We stocked up on items that we use often and purchased items that were free after coupons. Items we got for free: cake frosting, candy bars, sour cream, soda, pizza rolls, snack chips, listerine strips, mustard and tuna mixes. The cereal and poptarts were a little splurge since we’ve not been buying cereal lately and poptarts are a workplace staple for Chris and worth stocking up on for $1/box. Also, the soups were $0.25 each and a luxury item for us. The best non-free deal with the $1/pound for shredded cheese, I’ll probably be looking for more coupons to stock up on more cheese.

[posted via BlogThis on flickr]

February 9, 2009

taking pictures

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 1:59 pm

I love my digital camera… I’ve had it for 6 years or so and it’s a regular little workhorse. I’ve banged and slammed and knocked it about so many times but it keeps on clicking. I used to drag it with me everywhere I went, constantly looking for any and every shot I could get. And then time passed. Now I use my camera a lot of business purposes as my flickr friends probably notice, but I don’t take fun shots with it.

Sara is over 6 months old now and I haven’t taken a picture of her in weeks. I want to mark her growth and development in pictures, but my camera is never at the ready or there is some other excuse in my mind for why I should take pictures. I think I moved from taking photos for myself to taking photos for others. So now, if the living room is a mess, I hesitate to take a shot because I wouldn’t want to share my cluttered life with the world.

But, my cluttered life is my life. I’m not a good housekeeper, I never have been. Only taking pictures in a freshly cleaned room is rather misleading and certainly not a true “moment in time” memory either. So I either need to suck it up and take pictures of my lovely girls, messy background and all, or I need to start cleaning like a mad woman. Oh, but even a clean house is a cluttered house with Chris’ ever-towering piles of things. So really, what am I waiting for, I need to get some pictures of these girls before they move on and move out of my house. How sad a say when I won’t have their beautiful smiles to wake up to.

January 18, 2009

yet another creative passion…

Filed under: creative, family — suzanne henderson @ 1:57 am

p.s. (yes, I’m putting the post-script first.): I still don’t have time to breathe, 3 months since my last exhalation seems about right.

Several years ago, about six I’d guess, I started talking dance with a dancer friend of mine — we wanted to take some classes in tribal style bellydancing. In fact, I signed up for a workshop in PA, made a skirt, and got all excited to go. The weather or general craziness kept me home, I don’t remember which, I just remember a last minute decision with my friend that we wouldn’t be making the trip. There were a few more attempts at taking a class, but beyond the one random class in Hampden, nothing ever came of this desire for myself.

My friend however went right along with the dancing and before long she was also teaching bellydance. I kept trying to take one of her classes, but life always got in the way — perhaps just as expected for single-parent-college-students without extra time or funds. During this time, another friend also started to take classes, though I was aware of this peripherally through her occasional posts since we also never spoke or really saw each other during this time, or since for that matter. But I recall the tinges of jealously as I saw her progress from the first class or two to a deep induction to the art and eventual transformation to performer and teacher. All along, I’ve constantly thought that if I’d just taken those classes or workshops, I would be where she is now.

I’ve been a member at our local gym for a year now and knew they had weekly bellydance classes. I wanted to at least try one out to see what it was like, but shyness got in the way. By the time I felt I was ready to get past my nervousness, I let a silly thing like pregnancy talk me out of taking the class (well more like morning sickness than the pregnancy). A couple weeks ago, a woman on my local parenting list mentioned that she was going to be teaching a new bellydancing class at the gym. Woot! Here was my chance, but I was still rather timid. I inquired as to the style, mentioning that I was really only interested in the tribal style of bellydance, figuring this would be an easy out of actually attending, but sure enough that is exactly what she would be teaching. I said I would be there and felt excitement brewing.

I think I tried to mention the class to Chris at some point, but it was always the wrong time to discuss upcoming obligations amongst current obligations. In fact, the conversation got pushed off until the night before the first class when I crawled into bed around 2am. I casually mentioned to the minorly-coherent man that I wanted to take a bellydancing class that was taking place the next evening and asked if he could make it home in time so I could go. Somehow that actually worked, perhaps it was late enough to just melt into his subconscious, and at 7pm the next evening, I was on my way to class.

As expected, I loved the class. It was the break out of the house I’d been needing since Sara’s arrival. It was the motivation back into physical movement that my mind-body connection was desperately asking for. It was the exact style of dancing that had been calling to me for six years. I loved it so much that I decided I wanted to take the class 2 nights a week (another instructor was teaching the ongoing Friday night class), but wasn’t sure how I was going to make that work with the baby. I knew I couldn’t ask Chris to consistently make it home early two nights week (lets ignore the fact that I really don’t find 7pm to be *early* at all). So I had to come up with a way to take Sara with me.

I considered asking Alex to come and watch her, but that didn’t really sound like an ideal situation. I knew Alex would hate being asked and I was pretty sure I’d regret asking as well. I debated what kind of bribe I could offer her, but knew that wouldn’t work out for very long. I briefly considered the gym offered childcare but I realized I’ve gotten pretty crunchy and sending my baby off to their care facility sounded like torture (yes, I’m sure it isn’t, but there are many reasons why I thought it would be for a little 5 month old infant!). So, I wondered if I could just take her to class.

I’ve fallen into the wonderful world of attachment parenting and the beautiful art of babywearing. Since Sara’s arrival, she’s spent much of time in a sling or carrier or wrap of some sort. As she’s grown and my confidence has grown, she’s been spending more and more time in a carrier, usually on my back I as I get housework or sewing work completed. So I wondered if I could just wear her during the fifty-minute class.

I jumped online to see if anyone had ever talked about babywearing while bellydancing and sure enough someone has — now, was that really a surprise? The internet also provided a photo tutorial for Alex when she had a dead mouse in hand and was going to skin it for it’s pelt - I thought for sure ‘ask google’ would have turned up nothing in that situation. Either way, the internet provided what I needed to know, it was possible and I figured that if someone else could do it then I could give it a try.

Just a couple days after my first class, I was frantically working on a new wrap carrier that would better coordinate with the bellydance costume (this is still me we’re talking about here, of course it had to coordinate!). I also spent the morning with Sara on my back trying all the different moves we’d already learned and more that I found on you tube, just to make sure my body would cooperate. I was confident I’d have no issue wearing her for the duration of the class and figure it’d be an excellent work out with her extra 20+ pounds to shimmy around. However, I wasn’t so sure that the class instructor would let me wear me in with her on my back.

I was so scared of being turned away, that I timed my arrival so I’d sweep right in as class was starting, hopefully unnoticed. I figured that if I showed up with complete confidence in attending the class and with Sara securely fasted to my back, that no one would say a thing. To do this, I had to get Sara all wrapped up outside in the freezing cold while working around the dancing costume as well. That wasn’t much fun, but it got the job done. I swept into class with full confidence and was instantly the center of attention - so much for sneaking in unnoticed. But, all I got were smiles and Sara got even more — no one said anything negative about her being there. In fact, partway through the class, the instructor even stopped to express her joy at seeing me wear her to class. At the end of the night all I could think was “Wow, I did it!”

October 22, 2008

is breathing allowed?

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 12:11 am

wow, sometimes there is just so much on my plate, that I think I can’t fit in the simple things like breathing. I kinda feel like I’m being slammed around like a racquetball this week - it’s good in the “ohmyfreakinggodi’mgoingsofastandsohard” and bad in the “ouch! that wall hurts!” kind of way. I kinda feel like I’m never going to take another breath and will just pass out and never get up again.

But all in all, this is an awesome week…. really, I’m not being one bit facetious either.. well maybe just a little bit.

and to those who’ve I’ve not written back to lately, sincerest apologies, I will get back to you at some point in the next year. I’m positive I will. If that’s too long of a response, send a request for some custom sewing work — that gets a pretty fast response these days…. oh, but no, I’m not suggesting you try and buy my time and attention, I’m saying it might be your only hope, bwahhaha. Okay, done cracking myself up, I’m sure I’m only funny in my head and that’s okay!!!

September 4, 2008

making sauce

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 12:33 pm

Alex has been wanting to do more cooking and decided that she wanted to make spaghetti sauce. Since our tomatoes seem to mysteriously vanish off the vine daily (mmm, I suspect two-legged tomato-predator), we had to get tomatoes from somewhere else. Luckily, it was time for our weekly trading group meeting yesterday and one of the ladies, a local organic farmer, brought a big batch of tomatoes. We made of an even exchange of 2 dozen of our eggs for about 20-30 lbs of tomatoes (maybe there was less, I didn’t weight it). Of course, I’m sure I got the better end of the deal on that exchange, but it all works out.

Tomatoes for sauce Alex making spaghetti sauce

We washed them up and started cutting them up. It didn’t take long with both of us working together; Sara napped just long enough for us to get that step done. We didn’t have the right size pot, but made do with what we had — it’s a very full pot. The onions are from our garden, at least, and all the seasonings are from my favorite spice shop - Penzeys, which opened a retail store in Maryland. The sauce will simmer for about 6 hours, and then take a million years to cool before getting put up in the freezer. If we had a pressure canner, I’d put the extra sauce up in cans, but we’ll have to make do with freezer storage for now.

August 30, 2008

egg production increasing

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 11:55 pm

Our chickens are upping the egg-anty. We now have 4 laying hens. Today we got our very first Green Egg (where are the pictures? I know!) from one of our Americana chickens. I assume that all 3 New Hampshire’s are laying and our Egyptian Americana (the lovely white one) based on their behaviors.

Today, we let them all out a bit earlier than usual and it was the day of strange behaviors. One chicken just kept following Chris around every where he went, not totally unusual, but just the way she was doing it. We eventually discovered that she’d hurt her foot on something, maybe she just wanted sympathy. The Egyptian one was getting into all sorts of strange places — like on top of one of our bushes, looking very uncomfortable about it too. We figure she was trying to find the perfect spot for laying — turns out she went and laid an egg in the tractor, the nest box was disassembled for cleaning and repairs. Another one kept trying to get into the vehicles as Chris was working on stuff. There were a few scratches on the new car (I’ll post about later) where she was trying to get in the trunk. She tried climbing into Chris’ van and at one point she finally got up in the Blazer and hunkered down by the gas and break pedals. Sure enough, a little while late we found an egg in the Blazer — she just needed a spot to lay I guess. And a fourth chicken went around to all of our open house windows and sang a little chicky-ditty — honestly, she wanted an audience and knew one of the windows would eventually produce one.

Chickens sure are interesting creatures and it made for an interesting and amusing morning.

August 28, 2008

farmer’s market outisde my front door

Filed under: garden, life — suzanne henderson @ 12:43 pm

There are lots of little perks to living in a rural community and networking with a group of folk that like growing things and supporting each other. For a few weeks, a small group of us have been gathering weekly to trade and sell items we grow or make. This came about as a way to use up abundant harvests and get a variety of items. I hosted this weeks trade which works out to a mini farmers market right outside my door.

This week I offered up fresh baked whole wheat bread, still warm from the oven, and free range eggs. People got to see, and children chase, the same chickens that laid the eggs. I sold and traded for some peach tomatoes (not peaches and tomatoes, peach tomatoes - alex says they’re yummy), basil, homemade dip mix, roma tomatoes, canned dilly beans, fig-raspeberry jam, and mouse melons. We also had carrots, cukes, beets, pumpkins, fresh herbs, vinegar mixes, canned peaches, local honey, canned jellies and jams, salsas, and hand-ground wheat flour available that other people traded for. I’m probably missing a few things too.

This is such a great idea and a great experience. We’re meeting weekly as the produce is available and then I imagine we’ll scale back when fall arrives. People bring things to trade or cash to buy outright. I’m sure I broke even if not made a little in exchange for what I offered and took home.

August 23, 2008

bad mom. awesome kid. other stuff.

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 10:53 pm
  • soccer tournament in Gettysburg this weekend - it’s more fun than I expected it to be.
  • Even with avoiding direct the sun, using cover ups, and staying in the shade - Sara got sunburned.
  • Sara’s sunburned face makes me feel like the worst mom ever.
  • It’s really red on one side, I feel awful.
  • Alex is make serious skill improvements with her new team.
  • There is a difference in how the recreational teams play compared to the competitive teams.
  • We’re now watching games where all the players have a clue of how to play and work together.
  • I find parents yelling from the sidelines, at players and refs, mildly amusing.
  • Alex is doing really well, I’m proud of her, I wonder how she feels.
  • I just finished making Sara a sun hat for tomorrow.
  • I’ll also ignore that 6 month thing for using sunscreen on Sara tomorrow as well.
  • I was going to put sunscreen on her today, but let one little comment from Chris (”but she’s not 6 months”) deter me.
  • I guess I could blame Chris, but I also was pretty sure that some sunscreen would be better than none.
  • Especially being outside from 8am - 7pm.
  • I really feel like a crappy mom now, looking at sunburned cheeks is heart breaking.
  • Alex and I both used sunscreen and still got sunburned a little.
  • Maybe I should be appreciate that it’s mostly limited to just one side of her face and not her arms and legs too.
  • Nope, I’m still a horrible mom.
  • Considering a baby burqua for tomorrow.
  • need sleep.

August 21, 2008

School starting soon.

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 4:09 pm

Alex and Craft Room

Originally uploaded by xixstar

Back to school season seems in full swing everywhere else but here. We’ve decided to homeschool Alex and there just isn’t any hustle and bustle in preparation. Especially, because we’re even following the unschooling philosophy, which seems to have even less back to school fanfare than the more school-at-home philosophies.

On top of the unschooling, we’re even starting out deschooling - basically not really focusing on anything “school-like” and just taking time to rekindle the natural, intuitive drive to learn. We’re taking things slow, picking up just a couple of activities (all sports driven: competitive soccer, archery, bike riding) and taking advantage of free programs offered at the library (which we’d do even if we were in school).

So far, I’ve planned one small activity for school and I’ll admit it’s mostly for me and so that I’ll have something to present for the annual reviews we’ll have to do with the county school system. While at the library, I picked up some books on poetry and ran the idea past Alex - “hey, how about we start off the school year looking at poetry.” Alex groan at this and I shrugged and said that I just wanted to do some daily reading of poem out loud, and nothing more. No analyzing required and she certainly doesn’t have to write poetry. That idea sounded great to her. She’s happy, I’m happy, sounds good.

The schooling comments have already started with family members though. I don’t mind, people can comment all they want and have all the opinions that they want — it’s not their life or their choice. Though, I still find it amusing that so many people feel the need to share their “concerns” based soley on their personal perception (or imagination, since so far, there is nothing to percieve) of what we’re doing and what we should be doing.

This was rather amusing in talking with my sister - she was commenting on how teaching Alex the “hard” math classes (ya know, calculus, and such) will be a lot of work. I just agreed, letting the subject pass. Didn’t think it was worth saying that I have no intention of teaching calculus nor do I think Alex has any interest in learning it - and if she does, we’ll figure something out (Chris said he’d love to teach calculus). But, what I found amusing was how she then told me about a college math class she just completed, how hard it was (though she still did well in the class), and we both agreed on what a waste of time learning most of it is because we NEVER use it. Plotting graphs and slope and all that fun stuff — absolutely pointless in my day to day life. I remember my math classes, I passed with awesome grades - after failing the placement tests - but couldn’t solve a single problem is presented it today. So, my sister is all concerned about me teach Alex one of those hard math classes and at the same time recognize how useless those math classes are. Now, I must acknowledge that Chris uses those math skills every day at work - they’re related to what he wants to do. If Alex wants to pursue something that needs those skills, then it makes sense to study them, but if she doesn’t, there is no point.

So, school is starting up — though were holding off until September 1 to begin deschooling (ha, were going to start up stopping off) and I can’t wait.

[posted via BlogThis on flickr]

August 20, 2008

Our First Eggs

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 8:37 pm

Our First Eggs

Originally uploaded by xixstar

Our chickens started laying eggs this weekend. On Saturday Chris found an egg in the chicken tractor on Saturday. Sunday he found another egg in the bushes near the smoke house — woot, someone was laying.

We were pretty sure we knew who too - one of the ladies had taken to some very loud, awkward squawking that actually got us out of bed early on Saturday thinking something was getting attacked. I guess chickens kinda freak out a little when they first start laying - a “what the hell is going on!” type of muttering.

We put a makeshift nest box in the tractor on Sunday but the chickens ended up just knocking it over. Monday morning, I let the chickens out, much to the urging of our squawking chicken. I also threw down some scratch grains (which is like crack for chickens) and the laying hen took a peck or two but then rushed over to the bushes to take care of business. I got to spy on her a bit, but left her in peace to take care of business. Sure enough, half an hour later, Alex came in with a still warm egg.

Monday night, Chris built a beefier nest box and placed it in the tractor. Tuesday morning when we went to check, we found 2 eggs in there — someone else is laying too. Were not sure if this second hen just started laying, or if she’d been hiding them better, and maybe we’ll never know. Alex searched the property again, but never found another egg.

So, we now have one hen laying the cutest little brown eggs and one laying slightly larger, lighter, slightly pink eggs. Hopefully the other 7 hens’ development will be delayed and we’ll stick to just getting 2 eggs a day for a while. Because once we’re getting 9 a day, life is going to get interesting.

[posted via BlogThis on flickr]

August 7, 2008

9 - 10 - 9

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 9:30 am

Crap, this is depressing. Turns out that our missing chicken was still alive the day before yesterday and yesterday. The neighbors noticed it running about the yard yesterday and chained their dog up. The dad eventually went out to get it and she was looking really bad. He got Chris’ attention in the evening (8pm-ish) and she was still alive but looked terrible. Most of her wings were gone and she’d obviously been chewed a great deal, but it wasn’t clear if anything had broken the skin. The neighbor handed over a live bird to Chris and they chatted a bit, the bird flapping and bit and what not, and then it just went limp. Chris thought it’d just exhausted itself. He brought it in to show me, did I mention how bad she looked ?, and I said she sure looked dead. Sure enough, she’d finally just give up and died.

We’re both pretty upset by this, though I was hiding it fairly well cause a million other things were calling my attention at that time. Chris was upset thinking that if he hadn’t chatted with the guy a bit and had prompty brought her back to try and care for her, that she would have lived. I don’t know if thats true or not, she was pretty mangled looking.

I’m pissed that I didn’t call the neighbors as I had planned. I was just going to call and let them know that the chicken got in their yard and looks to have been eaten. Mostly wanted them to know we were aware of it and also weren’t upset by it, since it wasn’t their fault. Since we’d gone and talked to them before when their dog got out and attacked our chickens, I had wanted to just make sure we kept up a positive relationship with them and didn’t want a dead chicken in their yard to freak them out a bit. If I’d done that, then we’d probably have a living chicken because it’d mean one less day of being a play thing for a big dog (would have called Tuesday, they didn’t notice her until Wednesday).

Sigh, I wasn’t this upset when I just thought she’d been eaten. Now feeling negligent in the care of our chickens, I feel like crap over a stupid chicken that crawled into the dog yard - sigh. And, as I said, Chris was really upset about this as well, especially in realizing the chicken lived up until we had her back. Also, we lost the chance to make the decision to go ahead and kill her (which we probably would have since she looked so bad) and put her in the freezer. I’m not sure what the time limit is on bleeding out birds, but I’m sure it’d passed and honestly, at that point, I really wasn’t up to doing it. Sigh.

August 6, 2008

Down to 9 Chickens

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 2:26 pm

Our chickens have been free-ranging it to the limit. They have full access to our nearly one acre property and permission to also explore our neighbors well trimmed lot as well — she enjoys their amusing presence. When they tire of those two places, they go wandering around our other neighbor’s yard — I’ve yet to find out if the neighbors care or not, I doubt it since we see them all the time and they’ve yet to say anything. And on occasion, they’ll really push the limit and wander on over into the neighbor’s yard two houses down, luckily still someone we “know” — Alex is friend’s with their daughter, so I assume that counts.

Yesterday, it seems the chickens, or at least one chicken, felt that wasn’t enough freedom and started looking for green pastures. I went out around lunch time and counted 9 chickens - uh oh! I walked the yards for half an hour, leading a chicken parade (our chickens follow me around everywhere), looking for the missing chicken with no luck. When Chris got home, there was still just 9 chickens.

We walked the yards again and found evidence of our missing chicken. It seems that the chicken actually dug a hole underneath our back neighbors fence and entered their yard. I guess curiosity got the best of it and it just had to see what life was like on the other side of that fence — and that life involves a big, black dog and a little, yippy dog. Chris and I imagined that it got to the other side and then started running back and forth along the fence trying to get back out of the yard — chickens are flock creatures, they don’t like being separated. But at some point, this chicken got the attention of the resident dogs; whether the dogs were already outside or had been let out to find yummy little surprise waiting for them, we don’t know. All we saw was the hole under the fence (with the dirt spray on our side of the yard, so we’re pretty sure it was chicken dug) and a line of feathers along the fence on the other side.

The last time we almost lost some chickens, I was really upset about it. But this time, I feel no sadness or sympathy. I mean, just how much pity can you feel for a chicken that dug under a fence and got itself eaten? Thats just natural selection in process.

August 4, 2008

obsessing on numbers

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 10:20 am

I obsess about stuff, things run, run, run, through my brain, over, over, over again until I’ve exhausted myself thinking about it. Lots of times it stupid little details that just repeat, repeat, repeat. It’s annoying but I’m used to it at this point. Sometimes it’s not so bad, other times it’s exhausting. In all, it eventually stops, or a new obsession takes it’s place.

Right now, my mind is stuck on numbers - scale numbers. Before getting pregnant, I weighed 208lbs. At 7-weeks pregnant, I was up to 210 for one week and then I was back down to 208. At 12-weeks pregnant, I dropped down to 207. At 16-weeks pregnant, I was back up to 208. 17-weeks had me up another pound to 209; 20-weeks I was at 213. It took 3 more weeks (23-weeks) to add on another pound, 214; repeat for 26-weeks at 215. At 29-weeks, I was up to 217 and 34-weeks put me at 221. I stopped weighing myself at this point, mostly because I stopped going to the gym each week and just walked next door to our neighbors pool to swim instead. I imagined that I’d gained 7lbs more between week 34 and week 41, when Sara was born — a 20lb weight gain seemed a reasonable guess, but I’m starting to think that I was a little too generous with my guesstimate.

Sara was 10lbs, 1 oz - that would be about 50% of my pregnancy weight gain, if I stick with the 20lb number. At birth and shortly thereafter, it’s likely that another 10lbs would be lost with the loss of water/amniotic fluid, blood loss, and placenta weight. If thats so, I should be looking at a scale number of about 208 — right where I started. It took me two weeks after the birth to finally step on a scale, and the number there isn’t what I expected…. 185. If I give myself the 20lbs gained during pregnancy, that means that I lost 43 pounds at or shortly following the birth. Most likely, I didn’t gain much past my last weight check at 221. Assuming I didn’t gain another pound, unlikely, thats still 36 pounds lost since birth.

I’m obsessing over these numbers, if you can’t tell. They’re not bad numbers, upsetting numbers, or anything negative. They’re just numbers that I keep thinking about. And the fact that I’ve spent a couple years eating fairly well and exercising enough to make some progress. However, even with a good diet and exercise, I’ve not been able to lose any weight. It’s been frustrating — not depressing, just frustrating. I got myself to stop fretting over numbers and just enjoy the improved health and mental wellness. But now, now there is a number to obsess over - 185 — just 15 higher than my magic number of 170, a place where I’d like to be.

But now, just weeks after birth, and also while feeding this hungry little girl round the clock, isn’t a time to focus on numbers. It’s not a time for diets or for the strenuous exercise I was doing before. But, it’s hard for me to ignore that number, it sooo close to the number I want… it makes me want to go swim laps, hit up the weight training machines, pull my bike out of storage, jog on hiking trails…. it makes me want to go out and do something about it. But now isn’t the time, I need to heal a bit longer, so instead I obsess over it.

July 31, 2008

Harvest - 07/31/08

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 3:11 pm

Harvest - 07/31/08

Originally uploaded by xixstar

This is what we pulled out of the garden today. Our garden plots are seriously infested with weeds. I was actually just working on getting rid of the unwanted invaders, but ended up pulling out some produce as well.

The onions and shallots need to dry in the sun a bit — or I think they do. The turnips are huge and heavy — I don’t really like turnips all that much, but we need to cook them up because it’s too hot for cold storage at this point.

There are some tiny little beets — I planted them way too close together and then the turnips overshadowed them. I’m hoping that the ones that are left will grow a bit bigger as they get more room from the few beets I picked and the turnips.

We have some more broccoli that I need to go out and cut and our tomatoes are turning red. I took pictures of our garden plots, but I’m a little embarrassed as to the state of them and didn’t post them. Looking at the garden just reminds me that I know nothing about gardening — oh well, everything is a learning experience these days. Some day I’ll know plenty, for now playing in the dirt is fun.

I wanted to spend a while out in the garden, but my energy is still pretty low and I don’t have a baby monitor so I kept worrying that Sara was inside and crying and I didn’t know it.

[posted via BlogThis on flickr]

July 29, 2008

Long, Detailed Birth Story

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 10:49 pm

Warning: I post this version, with lots of details that may be too much information, because I devoured birth stories while pregnant. The more detailed they were, the better. I wanted to read stories that seemed to capture the details of what was really doing on, not just smoothed over summary of events. So, feel free to not read this if you don’t want to hear the extra details. You can read the short, smoothed over version instead.

The quick details:

- homebirth attended by midwife and doula, Tina Overton, along with my most supportive partner Chris and my 12-year-old Alex
- second birth, 41 weeks gestation
- 25 hours of labor
- baby was 10lbs, 1oz; 21 inches; 15 1/8 inches head circumference
- shoulder dystocia
- no tears or stitches

Labor and birth, times approximate and exact — I didn’t really keep track of time at all, but our camera and cell phone helped give me time frames to work with.

Friday night - Full Moon

9:30pm - Joked about the full moon inducing labor and went out with Chris and Alex to check out the full moon. It was still rising, deep red behind the trees. The mosquitoes kept me from staying out and watching it for a while. Chris said that we’d have to wait until it was high in the sky for it to make any impact on labor.

11:00pm - I finally went to bed and took my last heartburn pill and thought to myself that labor better start because I didn’t want to have to buy more. Chris pointed out the window at the world filled with moonlight.


12:34am - woke up for the 4th in the past hour time feeling a very urgent need to pee. Realized it was actually a contraction and impossible to stay in bed because of the bladder pressure. Also realized that this was the real thing (labor) this time - don’t know why I knew it, I just did. Also noticed some bloody show.

Contractions about 12-15 minutes apart. Contractions felt like a very painful urge to pee, for the entire labor! Had a very uncomfortable BM and a hemorrhoid that had appeared/disappeared the previous week returned. My body started cleaning itself out which was very painful with the hemorrhoid.

Couldn’t sleep, so we all got out of bed and started getting things together. We had the birth supplies, but nothing was ever gathered in one place. We got the bedroom cleaned up and moved out some boxes to have more room for the birth pool and the attendants.

4:00am - Things were continuing but our energy totally faded. We all crawled in bed to get some sleep. It took some concentration to relax enough to get to sleep, but I managed it.

6:15am - A couple times contractions woke me up and had me a bit panicked and I decided that being woken up by contractions was no fun and got up.

7:00am - Called midwife and doula/Tina to let them know things had started and we’d need them later. And then everything stopped for about 30-60 minutes, I was really frustrated. This would happen through out the day each time I talked to either of them.

Things eventually started again. When I would lie down, they’d come strong and consistent at about 12 minutes apart. If I was up walking around, they’d space out to 15-19 minutes apart and wouldn’t been too uncomfortable.

10:00am - Decided walking around might help get things going stronger. Tried walking around outside but it was hot (upper-90s I think) and boring. Chris suggested going to the farmers market — I thought it sounded like a terrible idea, but was disappointed things weren’t advancing.

11:30am - Head off to the farmers market, having contractions as soon as we arrive and I wonder why I agreed to go. Someone commented that I looked a bit miserable - said I was and that I was in labor. Our farmer’s market visit was short, but enough for about 3-4 contractions.

For some reason, I agreed to also stop at a local bakery we’d been wanting to try since moving to the area a year ago. Again, once I had to get out of the vehicle, I was wondering why I agreed to go. But, ended up getting a very yummy sandwich to boost my energy and took home a dozen donuts too. After leaving, Chris tried to convince me to head north to a yard sale we’d heard about, I refused and we headed back home.

1:00pm - Back home, talked to Tina and midwife again and ended up with another break in contractions. I tried to go lie down again, and contractions started coming around 10 minutes apart. That lasted for a little while until it was too uncomfortable to be in bed.

Got up and decided to get some sewing done. I still hadn’t made up the postpartum cloth pads I needed. I cut a few out, but decided that contractions and a rotary cutter were not a good mix. I asked Alex to finish cutting for me and then started sewing them up. I probably only got about half of them done before contractions at the serger were just too uncomfortable. Contractions were staying about 7 minutes apart and needing more concentration to get through them

4:34pm - contractions now consistently 5-7 minutes apart. I took my best attempt at judging my progress and found myself to be 4 finger widths, bulging waters (that was the coolest thing to feel), and very little depth left to my cervix. We pulled out the calipers to measure my finger and ended up with 5.7cm - of course, this was a totally uneducated guesstimate. However, I got a little anxious since I went from 6cm to delivery in less than 20 minutes with Alex.

5:00pm - I gave Tina and midwife my update. Midwife reminds me that if I’m in active labor she needs to head over since she’s an hour out and is aware of my previous labor. I’m not yet ready to have an audience, so she decides that she’ll come over and spend the night and that she goes to bed early usually. Tina was considering going to a performance at Artscape in Baltimore with her family, but I said that I’d probably need her before it was over and suggested she come over when her family left for the performance without her.

I was always so worried about having anyone come over too early. At this point, I was starting to feel like I could use a little more help, but that I was also worried everything would stop if someone showed up too. Luckily, my contractions kept going even after talking with them - so that was a good sign.

6:00pm - My contractions had a strong shift and I suddenly started worrying that no one was going to make it in time. Tina called a half-hour later to say she was on her way.

6:54pm - The increased contraction strength had me worrying enough to have Chris call the midwife and let her head on over.

7:30pm - I think things backed off a little bit when Tina arrived, but memory is failing just a bit. She suggested a lying down position to help make sure the baby way in a good position. Baby wasn’t posterior, but Tina felt that we could get baby turned a little more anterior to help things progress.

I know that I was vocalizing at this point and it really helped me center more and relax. I also tried listening to my imagery birthing cd’s at some point (have no concept of time/order of events at this point) and ended up throwing it back onto my nightstand because I was pissed she was saying that I was feeling no pain and I sure as hell was feeling pain - so much for a hypno birth.

Contractions continued to feel like the intense pain of needing to pee. While on absorbent pads, I tried once to relax enough during a contraction and just pee if I needed to, but that didn’t work. I felt like my body was working against itself because of this, instead of relaxing and opening, it was closed up trying to not pee.

8:00pm - Our midwife arrives but I really didn’t notice her being there. She did a quick check of the baby’s heartbeat, with the fetoscope, and Chris got his first listen. She got her things all set up, chatted with Chris and the doula a bit, and then went into Alex’s room and went to sleep.

9:46pm - I was back on the toilet peeing when another contraction hit. I managed to whine to Chris, “great, a contraction while peeing, what more could I ask for?” when KERSPLOOSH! “Oh, my water just broke too!” Chris said the timing was perfect, I was just amazed at how much came pouring out. I thought it’d stopped pouring and tried to stand and the faucet opened up again.

Again, my sense of time and sequence of events is very vague at this point.

Tina suggested getting in the shower for a while. The water felt nice, my aromatic soap was great, and for once I could relax and just pee when a contraction came on. But, pretty soon things were picking up a lot, I was sure that all my neighbors could hear me since the window was open in the bathroom (we had the window a/c unit on in the bedroom). I started feeling very caged in and Tina suggested that we should probably get started filling the pool.

Waiting for the pool to fill, I was on sitting on the bed, and every time I tried to move, it felt like gallons of fluid came pouring out. I remember Tina and I just bursting out laughing at the sheer volume that we could barely keep up with chux pads and towels to soak it up (I’m glad we’d put the shower curtain and sheet on the bed well before this point).

11:05pm - I was happy to finally get in the pool. I recall yelling a bit for one contraction and Tina pointing out that I can certainly scream/yell, but that my throat would be very sore the next day. Seemed like a nice, logical reminder and I worked on making lower moaning sounds. In the pool, I contracted a few times in a hands-knees-squatting position. Those contractions were very overwhelming and I ended up flipping over and just tried to open my pelvis as much as possible for each contraction. Chris called them my yoga contractions. I recall mostly falling asleep between contractions.


12:05am - Contractions were taking a lot of work and I kept feeling like we were getting close to being done, but then I also kept whining that they were “just contractions”. I kept having thoughts like I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to be able to do this again — which was disappointing since I want about 5 more children.

I tried checking myself and couldn’t figure anything out - everything felt very fleshy and I couldn’t find my cervix to get an idea of where I was at. Even though I originally didn’t want any checks or anything from our midwife, I asked Tina to wake her for a check. She said I was about 7cm — I was devastated.

7cm sounded like the worst possible thing in the world. My mind was reeling with this information, the intense disappointment I felt, and doubt that I would be able to make it to the end. I instantly insisted that I get out of the pool since I obviously had a lot more work to do. I could tell Chris and Tina were trying to be supportive and encouraging and I was working hard to get past my disappointment, but didn’t feel like I was winning.

Tina suggested laboring on the toilet a little bit. I agreed as long as I could face the wall with a pillow so I could also try to rest. It took several contractions before I could get out of the pool and move to the bathroom — if I waited too long after one stopped, I’d have to wait for the next one to come and pass before I could get up.

I’m not sure how many contractions I had on the toilet, but I was miserable. On the toilet, the pressure and pain in my bladder and bottom were just too much (I was still dealing with a very painful hemorrhoid still). I wanted a break and wanted to lay down a little bit. Tina suggested that I at least walk our stairs first.

I agreed, also admitting that I was exhausted, getting dehydrated, and needed some food too. We went downstairs, following Chris down the stairs and freaking out as he kept moving (or I thought he did) as I was trying to get through a contraction. Once downstairs, we made it to the kitchen and they kept asking me about what sounded good — not being in the kitchen and not answering so many questions.

Back in the living room, contractions seemed to all be on top of each other. I was still freaking out about how much it hurt and that I was only “7 cm”, but I didn’t mention this to anyone. I didn’t think I could do it and was terrified, but kept quiet. (umm, transition anyone?) My legs were also exhausted and once I tried kneeling on the stairs, but that didn’t help.

Tina kept feeding me mouthfuls of applesauce and giving me something to drink. I recall shaking my head no to her offers but still eating/drinking anyways and wondering why I was saying no. I’m glad she ignored me. I think I was begging to be able to just go back upstairs to lie down for a little bit and finally headed back up stairs.

12:45am - I don’t recall much at this point other than I’m in my bed, lying on my side, and a contraction hits and all I notice is Tina walking out of the bedroom. I then realized that I must be pushing, not because I felt it, but because there would be no other reason for her to go and wake the midwife at that point.

At the beginning of pushing, I was freaking out a lot and feeling very frustrated that I didn’t feel like my concerns or questions we’re being heard. Being in bed, on my side, was very distressing for me. Never in all my birth planning had I considered side lying for birth and I was stressed out that I was in a horrible position for labor. Nothing I could think of would reassure me and I felt like I kept asking about it but not getting any feedback from the doula or midwife (I don’t know if I ever managed to voice my concerns out loud or not). I was also panicking because of the intense pain in my bottom, made a million times worse with the current hemorrhoid, and I felt like I was just going break open. Tina kept telling me I had to push through that pain, but what I really wanted to hear was that I wasn’t going to split in two.

After a couple pushes, I reached down and felt nothing and that just pushed my panic button a little harder. All I could think was how a friend had just labored and pushed for 5 hours and I asked out loud for someone to reassure me that I wasn’t going to be pushing for 5 hours. My midwife said I wouldn’t be and that was a huge relief. During this time, I was having to hold my right leg up and it was srarting to cramp a lot. Again I felt like my body was fighting against me as I had to deal with my leg pain and manage to push.

It took a little bit for me to really get into the pushing routine. I would push, but I knew that I wasn’t really pushing because when I did it was a whole different sensation and level of pain. I was really in my head during pushing too, over thinking everything, and I think that really slowed things down (which was probably a good thing after all). I would notice that I was holding my breath and pushing and then I would start breathing out thinking I wasn’t supposed to hold my breath so long — but it was after holding my breath and pushing a bit that I’d finally get to the good hard pushes.

Finally, there was something to feel and that really helped me focus as I eventually forgot about the bottom pain. I recall struggling with the fact that Chris wanted to look, but that I also needed him close to me for support. Finally, a mirror was produced and Alex held it so that Chris or I could see what was happening.

Pushing slowly progressed - I’d really push but the head wouldn’t make much progress and then I’d feel it slip back in and be mad about it. As more crowned, it was the intense burning pain, but it was also a “we’re almost there!” reminder. My midwife had me help support the top of my perineum. I kept thinking about all the stories I read where women just couldn’t wait to get the baby out and pushed super hard and out the baby came. I also kept thinking that I didn’t want to tear.

At some point, I looked over at Alex who was sitting at the end of the bed in full view of everything watching intently and asked if she was doing okay — not sure what I was going to do if her answer was anything other than “yes”. Also, at one point I saw her with her fingers in ears too and fussed at her not to do that — guess I was being a bit loud at this point, I don’t remember, but I didn’t want to feel like it wasn’t okay to be loud.

Around this point I started noticing the break between contractions — I don’t know if they got longer or I just noticed them. But I was getting annoyed at how long they were because I needed a contraction to push and it was just mild burning pain while I waited. Tina suggested I enjoy the breaks as I got them — but I was really wanting the baby out. Finally, a big push came and I was certain her head was out! I reached down and she was only out to her eyebrows (!!) and there was lots more pushing to be done. All in all, it didn’t take a terribly long time, but it was exhausting just the same. Finally, her head was finally out, but then my midwife said I needed to turn over onto my hands and knees.

1:14am - I knew then that the baby’s shoulders were stuck and couldn’t figure out how on earth I was supposed to roll over with no energy, a head between my legs, and already resting on the very edge of the bed — but it happened — and once on my hands and knees I pushed harder than I had the entire time to help get her out. I noticed the midwife’s hand(s?) in and helping free her shoulders, and didn’t really mind. Finally, there was this freeing gush of baby and she was finally out.

1:15am - My midwife passed the baby up between my legs, laying her on the bed under me. She was covered in super thick vernix and I was rubbing her back, say “hi” over and over again. She moved her lips a bit, but looked completely asleep. I remember asking once that she was alright, she didn’t seem blue or anything, just very much like she was asleep — the midwife assured me she was fine. I know she started crying at some point, though still not opening her eyes much because they were very covered in vernix too. Everyone commented on how cheesy she was and also how big she was too. Sheepishly, I admit that part of me didn’t want to be rubbing her since she was so gunky — the stuff was flaking off and still leaving behind a thick layer. Finally, Tina reminded me that I wanted to know the sex and I looked and saw that she was the girl I was expecting.

I had to get off hands and knees and into a more comfortable position, as I was completely exhausted. There was plenty of cord to allow me to roll over and go back to holding the cheesy baby. I delivered the placenta about 15 minutes later. Alex and the midwife looked it over — Alex was sitting on the side of the birth pool, depressing the edge enough that her backside was getting soaked, but the placenta was obviously so fascinating that she didn’t notice.

Our little girl nursed a little and someone brought some much needed food to me. Our midwife finally did the newborn check because we were curious at how big she was. When the midwife went to weigh her, she commented that she was probably at least 10lbs — something I didn’t believe at all. But sure enough, 10lbs, 1oz. The midwife also commented that her head was pretty big too - 15 1/8 inches. She checked me over, seeing nothing but two tiny skid marks, no stitches needed — not bad considering the baby’s size and the shoulder releasing maneuvering. I was very relieved to hear there was no tearing.

I was very low on energy (not surprising) but managed to get a shower in - getting all the vernix off of me. I came back to a ready bed - I never saw any of the mess that was made from the birth, though Chris commented that it was a pretty big, bloody mess. Everyone got it cleaned up while I showed and I crawled in, snuggled up to my little girl, and went to sleep.

…….. days following ….. I felt a lot of nervousness about my labor/birth in the day or two following. In my head, I kept thinking that I’d not done a good enough job, most particularly when it came to the pushing part, and it was a very distressing feeling. A lot of talking to my partner and deep introspection finally soothed my worries. I realized that not only should I be proud of my natural, homebirth, but proud of a homebirth of a big baby with no tears after a lengthy labor. There is nothing in the world to be disappointed about in that! It was a lot of work, I wondered if I’d be able to do it and if I’d ever be able to do it again, and my body showed me that it can do what it was made to do.

July 25, 2008

passing the day away

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 5:51 pm

Sara - 4 days old

Originally uploaded by xixstar

I just sit and watch or hold this little bundle of joy all day long. Seems like a perfectly reasonable activity that I’ll never grow tired over. She’s oh so sweet.











July 22, 2008

Birth of Sara Nicole

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 11:49 pm

Birth Announcement

We’re excited to announce that Sara Nicole joined our family on Sunday, July 20, 2008 at 1:15am. She was born at home, as planned, after a 25 hour all natural labor. She weighed 10lbs, 1oz, was 21 inches long, and had a head circumference of 15 1/8 inches.

Birth Story – The “Short” Version

I had joked about the full moon inducing labor and sure enough, when the night was fully illuminate with moonlight my contractions began. The first few hours were filled with excitement that labor was finally happening and finishing all of the final prep for birthing at home. Around 4:00am, our energy faded, and we all managed to fall asleep. I got almost 2 hours of sleep before contractions were too much to sleep through and I had to get up.

I called my doula and midwife in the morning to let them know that things were happening and that we’d need them later. And then, after talking to them, everything stopped – a pattern that would continue throughout the day each time I talked to them. I finally started just emailing my doula to avoid the 30-minute downtime that would follow each phone conversation.

To get things moving again, we tried walking around the yard but it was hot and boring so I let Chris talk me into heading up to the farmers market. We picked up a few items and chatted with a friend/vendor before heading over to a local bakery for some yummy sandwiches. I was very happy to head back home because dealing with contractions out in public just wasn’t my idea of a good way to spend a Saturday morning/afternoon.

Things picked up in the afternoon and around 4pm we were finally in a consistent labor pattern that continued even though phone updates with our midwife. Around 4:30pm, I checked myself and decided that I was about 5.7cm dilated – for the curious, yes, we pulled out the calipers to get that precise measurement (no, the calipers didn’t go there! we measured the exact width of my finger and multiplied by 4). We had our doula come over around 7:00pm and our midwife showed up around 8:00pm.

Labor continued to pick up, following a rather unusual pattern of being stronger and more consistent while lying in bed and spacing out and backing off while walking around. At 9:46pm, my water broke. I spent some time laboring in the shower until our doula suggested we should get started filling the birth pool. The pool was a nice plus, but it didn’t relieve pain as much as I expected. I had no concept of time at this point, and kept thinking I was both close to the end and nowhere near done at the same time.

I finally asked for the midwife to check me and was devastated when she said I was only 7cm. At this point, I lost a lot of confidence in my ability to keep going but decided to get out of the pool to get things moving. Our wonderful doula offered lots of suggestions that I tried, including walking up and down the stairs, to help things along.

I was very overwhelmed by contractions at this point, obsessing on the 7cm number and feeling like there was no way I was going to be able to make it to the end. I missed the obvious signs of transitions (feeling like I couldn’t do this) and in less than an hour after the disappointing announcement, pushing started.

It took about 30 minutes to push out our not-so-little girl. After her head was delivered, my midwife told me I had to change positions – her shoulders were stuck. Afterwards, Chris mentioned that he had no clue that’s what was going on at first – but having read enough about birth, I knew that was the issue was shoulder dystocia as soon as she told me I had to change positions and push her out.

After some serious pushing and lots of maneuvering on our midwife’s part, Sara Nicole was finally out and placed on the bed before me. She was huge and covered in vernix – the midwife and doula both commented that she was the “cheesiest” baby they’d ever seen – it was thick enough to flake off her arms and legs and still leave her very covered. Thanks to her huge head, she ended up with some bruising around her eyebrows and had busted blood vessels in her eyes – but otherwise traveled the journey quite well. After some time I delivered the placenta and Chris eventually cut the cord. Momma and baby have been doing well since.

    Random Comments and Observances

  • Someone commented on my obvious discomfort while at the farmers market, responding that I was in labor was an amusing response to give.
  • Also, saying that you’re in labor now is the best response to the “when are you due?” inquiries.
  • I spent many contractions at my sewing machine finishing up a small stash of cloth pads – it eventually became too uncomfortable to finish them all.
  • I discovered that chocolate donuts and honey sticks bring on very strong and intense contractions – I refused both for the rest of labor.
  • “Oh great, a contraction while peeing, what more could I ask for?” SPLOOSH! “Oh my water just broke!”
  • In the middle of pushing, I commented on the point of no return saying “oh crap, we’re gonna have a baby soon, what are we going to do then?”
  • The entire labor felt like it took just 3-4 hours in all – not bad considering the actual number.
  • Laboring on your own schedule, in the comfort of your own home, is wonderful.
  • Trying to figure out what to eat during transition isn’t any fun, and thank goodness your doula knows to just start giving you food and not ask questions.
  • Speaking of food and late labor, baby carrots are not a good choice – there isn’t enough time between contractions to get one chewed up and swallowed. Applesauce was a much better alternative.
  • I love the midwife we chose; she was very respective of our wishes for a hands off, no intervention birth. The entire time she was there she was invisible, which is what I had wanted, and actually spent the whole time napping except when woken when I wanted to be checked and when she came in just as pushing had started. I was very happy to have her there, especially at the end, when I ended up needing Chris 100% by my side and she was able to help me deliver without tearing and was able to get Sara unstuck.
  • A 10lb baby was a total shock to us — I only gained 20lbs during the entire pregnancy and certainly wasn’t “huge” by any account.

It's a Girl!

July 18, 2008

just waiting

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 5:44 pm

it’s hot today - too hot to drive somewhere. plus, I really don’t want to go anywhere, I just want time to pass. Time is passing super, super slowly right now and then it’s too hot to get up and do anything about it. Plus, my motivation is non-existent at this point anyways. Just keep waiting for time to pass…

July 14, 2008

lost 1/2 our tree

Filed under: house — suzanne henderson @ 1:12 am

So, the sad tree has finally succumbed to it’s fate of instability. I was lying in bed, fighting back the miserableness of having now power and no fans and no a/c and no breeze for several hours this evening, when I heard a crack-thump…. crack… crack-thump….CRACK_SMASH_BAM. Since I’d been fighting the heat for hours at that point and wasn’t getting any sleep anyways, I started getting up to check it out. I was pretty sure it was our tree that fell this time, versus the neighbors’ much healthier trees that had lost lots of branches during recent storms. The loud crack also woke Chris who’d somehow managed to fall asleep in the sticky heat, much to my frustration and anger since I couldn’t do the same, and he was quickly up and ready to investigate too.

It only took a step outside to see half the tree had fallen - thankfully the back half. Initial inspection in the middle of the night during a light rain with no power showed no serious property damage other than to our ancient lawn mower. It seems some pretty hefty branches landed right on the steering wheel totally mangling it, so who knows if we’ll be able to fix it or not. I’m sure that if it’s possible, Chris will find a way to keep the 30-plus-year-old mower that came free with the house running. After the quick survey, Chris promptly moved his blazer out from under the other half of the tree because now we have no faith in it’s stability since it’s opposite ballast has fallen. Unfortunately, this is the side of the tree closest to the house and also where we lay our heads when we sleep… I’m thinking I might keep the opposite sleeping configuration we were in before the tree fell as we were trying to take advantage of any possible breeze coming in from the balcony.

As we were checking out the tree, the power finally came back on - oh what a relief. I was not looking forward to returning to my bed damp, hot, and sticky just to continue fighting the fact that I was too miserable to sleep. I will get pictures come daylight and we’ll now have a much sunnier yard than before. I’ll continue to worry about the stability of the rest of the tree in the mean time and I’m sure we’ll be taking most of the remaining tree down. Especially because the branch didn’t fall during any serious storm winds or anything, it just fell after some good soaking rains that it couldn’t hold up against any longer. I find the situation somewhat interesting because just the day before I was lying in the hammock inspecting that very branch and wondering about how it could be supporting the weight of it’s branches with it’s ever increasing extent of decay and damage.

It’s going to take a lot of work to get this tree cleaned up, but I’m sure Chris and Alex will be able to get it done and I’ll enjoy the fact that I’m in no condition to help. Chris estimated about 2 weeks of work to get it all cleaned up and sawed up. Before heading back in for the night, he rescued the chainsaw from the garden shed, just in case we lost the shed over night if the next branch fell.

Updated for pictures:

Sad Maple Tree Damage - Front View

We Lost 1/2 of our Sad Tree

July 1, 2008

happy anniversary

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 10:36 am

Today is our second wedding anniversary, how sweet. :) We’ve both agreed that we got married at the wrong time of year because life seems incredibly busy this year and last. Maybe it’s just because last year we were super swamped getting the house ready to move into and this year there is baby stuff and Independence Day party prep. Last year while working like mad on the house, we still managed to get cleaned up a bit and visited two local vineyards that are within 10 miles of us. This happened mostly because I insisted that we could not let the event go buy uncelebrated. I pretty much had the same opinion this year, I’m so worried that this day will just get brushed aside every year if we let it. I’m not big on valentines day and such, so I gotta get in one day a year to celebrate the fact that I married a wonder partner in mischief.

This year’s plan are rather laid back, dinner and a movie - what a concept. We’ll be meeting in Columbia and I still haven’t picked out the place for food. I’m thinking burrito is sounding awesome right now, plus I think it’s pretty quick. I have no tolerance for sitting for long periods of time in a restaurant waiting for food (or the check, as is often the case). Then we’ll go see Sex in the City and yes, Chris actually said he’s interested in seeing this with me - it’s not just some pity concession for the very pregnant lady. Plus, there is a reason to it. Chris and I first started hanging out when I invited him upstairs (he lived in the basement apt of the house I lived in) to watch Sex in the City on DVD with me. I assured him that it wasn’t a totally stupid chick show, though I’m not sure he cared, and of course the very first episode we watched together had to be one of the stupidest ones in the entire series. So, I made him watch several more with me to make it up. Many nights and bottles of wine later, we’d pretty much figured out we liked hanging out together.

So yay, maybe two years isn’t all that long of a time, but it’s just two more on the road to forever. I love the feeling knowing that we’re both committed to this relationship until the end of time and that we both made a perfect choice of partners as well - I couldn’t ask for someone better.

June 29, 2008

titles are lame

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 4:22 pm

I hate coming up with titles for posts sometimes. I think I’m finally getting over being sick for the past two weeks. it’s been a very long two weeks where breathing seemed to take all the possible energy I had. i thought something was wrong with me for a while because everything was just way too exhausting, but now that I’m finally feeling like my sinus thing has passed I have more energy. guess i was too tired to put two and two together - Ive also kicked up the vitamin intake, so maybe feeling better is a combination of not being sick and the vitamins.

of course, this new burst of energy is more mental than physical. walking between the living room and kitchen isn’t as exhausting, but I’m still not up for any real type of exertion. i think this is just par for the course until i’m no longer waddling around with a life-draining-parasite devouring me from the inside. of course, I now realize that I’m saying all this after waking up exhausted around 9am, going back to bed, sleeping until 1pm, and being up less than 2 hours before wanting to go back to bed. But, I have some energy now and thats all that counts I guess.

this is supposed to be a pretty quite week. i’m dropping off my last diaper order tomorrow and life should be good after that. since i’ve only been getting about 1 hour of usefulness a day out of myself lately, I can now put that one hour towards things that have needed done but I haven’t been able to get to. that should seriously reduce a lot of stress and then I can just sit around and wait on baby.

oh wait, we’re having a huge party on friday — scratch that quiet week comment. guess I’ll be running around a lot this week getting things together - but I’ve gotten pretty good at planning my outings so hopefully it’ll only take 2 days of errands to get all the last minute stuff. I’m not making any food for the party and am just picking up some grill-able items and chips - screw the healthy stuff, I’m going for super easy at this point!

I think I’ve decided to not buy another car either. while thats not an ideal situation, I just hate spending money on the unknown and another used car feels like a huge “what if” situation that I don’t want to get into. Plus, I really don’t want to be a 4-car family, where would we put an extra car? And then there is the increase in insurance costs and well, I’m cheap, I’m broke, I don’t want to deal with any of that. So, I think we’ll pretend to be a 1 car family to some extent - Chris will keep driving my car to work but when I need to run carefully planned errands, he’ll drive one of the other vehicles and leave me my car. The other option is that I get used to driving the finicky blazer, but that just doesn’t sound like fun to me. It’ll be here if I have to go somewhere, but otherwise, we’ll just trade off using the fuel efficient car. maybe we need to get another car seat base after all.

June 24, 2008

where did all the time go?

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 7:49 pm

I swear that life has been on hyper drive for the past few months or so. Each week just vanishes, poof, like that. So here are just the random collection of thoughts and whatnot…

  • We’re only 1-4 weeks from having a baby - thats very scary. stuff isn’t ready. i don’t think I’m ready.
  • We still have 10 chickens, I don’t think they’re ever gonna get big enough to slaughter — maybe this is some cruel livestock joke.
  • Our garden is doing well, but we still have stuff that never made it in. I think it’s too late now.
  • Our July 4th party is a week from Friday - eeeegads! I don’t think we’re ready for that either.
  • Trying to buy a decent, cheap car is a pain in the butt.
  • I have two more sewing orders to finish and then I’m taking a month off - so I can sew up the things we need for the baby.
  • I seem to have forgotten how to plan meals and cook - I’ve also developed a huge aversion to going anywhere to eat.
  • I come up with long lists of things I want to post about, and then forget everything.

June 13, 2008

chris the wonder man

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 6:58 pm

I love my partner, he constantly amazes me at how many things he’s capable of doing. He’s managed to pull us through homeowner hell and get us back where we need to be, always with some creative maneuvering and problem solving. When I declined the annual service contract with our heating oil company, I insisted that we had someone to take care of our boiler and maintenance needs (chris!). I’ll admit that I wasn’t 100% convinced that was true, but figured it was worth saving a couple hundred dollars a year to test it out. Twice this year our boiler has stopped working, at least it isn’t 30-degrees out this time, and twice he’s gotten working again.

I will toot my own horn in being able to help out this time. As we were getting our ‘new’ tank inspected, the tech asked if Chris knew how to get the boiler restarted and such. I said sure but also mentioned that our boiler currently wasn’t work and we were still working on solving that (and that it’s failure wasn’t related to the lack of oil). Just the day before, Chris had finally pin-pointed the actual problem, but was somewhat lost as where to go from there since getting replacement parts is tricky — most companies only sell to contractors/heating companies and these parts aren’t just sitting on the shelf at your local plumbing or home improvement stores. The tech asked what the problem was since he might be able to help and I gave some lame description. Since he still had some paperwork to fill out, I called Chris to get the real description of the problem (because mine probably made no sense at all) and as soon as I relayed what Chris said, the tech went to his truck and handed me the missing piece! Viola, next hurdle solved! Chris came home and got the boiler going again in no time.

Like I said, I love this man’s ability to figure things out and fix them. Sometimes it takes a while, like the boiler which involved lots of head scratching as well, but it usually gets fixed in the end!

June 12, 2008

homeowner hell?

Filed under: house, life — suzanne henderson @ 9:37 am

Yesterday, Chris called into work saying that he was in homeowner hell and wouldn’t be in that day. This is after staying home Tuesday morning, and then working form home in the afternoon, for our annual termite inspection (no termites, the annual inspection is just to keep the warranty on the $1,000 treatment that was done before closing on the house). It seems this hasn’t been the best couple of weeks for home stuff.

Earlier this month, I mentioned an invasion of bird mites. That was a pretty horrible experience, but I’m excited to report that we are finally free from mites and can use our upstairs bathroom again. Having the bathroom available is a huge plus, in my book, and not stressing over mites is a huge relief. We’ve not opened the bathroom window up just yet because we want to be very, very sure they’re gone on the outside too because I do not want to go through that process again.

Before, this problem was solved, we ran into yet another problem - our boiler stopped working. You’d think that having no boiler in the summer would be no big deal, but it also supplies our hot water. Chris has spent hours working on it and finally discovered the actual problem yesterday afternoon. But, in this process, we ran out of fuel oil (but this isn’t why the boiler isn’t working). We’ve been working on running out of oil since January because we wanted to switch out tanks. But, we weren’t quite ready to make that switch since the ‘new’ tank still needed painting and because it was 100 degrees outside. We decided to get the tank filled, partially, and wait until fall to make that switch.

We’ve had oil deliveries on hold to switch out tanks, so I call to get a delivery but they insist the tank must be inspected. I argued that it’s the same tank they’ve been filling but they insist and I don’t push it. Well, of course the old tank fails inspection and suddenly we now have to change them out - great. We get this news Wednesday afternoon, so Chris stays home yesterday to make this happen and did. Today I wait for it to be re-inspected and hopefully we’ll have oil again.

In all of this, we’ve even had a service fellar come out to help solve the boiler problem. Over the phone I’m sure he’d said he works with fuel boilers and well pumps (to address yet another, non-serious issue we were having) so I was excited about killing two birds with one stone. Of course, he gets here and then we find out that he doesn’t really do anything more than routine maintenance on boilers and can’t help solve that problem - crap! - but does trouble shoot our well pump problem. So, we send him off with $75 for the visit and still have no working boiler and the same well pump problem (the solution will be several hundred dollars and he even suggests living with the problem would probably be wiser). Chris talks to another plumber that I’d called as well, got a better lead on boiler problem and eventually found the actual issue. Of course, we don’t know how to fix what is broken, but hopefully he’ll call the other plumber back and get some good advice and we’ll have hot water again soon.

In the meantime, Alex is getting the pool bath method while Chris and I went up to the gym to shower last night. Guess there are some perks to gym memberships. tried the cold shower thing and it may be super hot out but the well water is damn cold and I couldn’t force my body to walk under the stream of water. In all of this mess, we’ve had another round of serious storms roll through and again all our neighbors lots huge limbs and some lost entire trees, including the apple tree I kept pretending could possibly be ours (its right on/over the property line). But, our sad maple still stands and this time just lost one dead branch that I’d already foretold to be coming down soon.

I guess the house saw fit to gift us all of these experiences in honor of our one-year anniversary of buying the house (June 7th). Someone remind me why I wanted to buy a 140 year-old house…

June 7, 2008

Growing Chicks

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 3:54 pm

Baby Chicks - 10 Weeks Old

Originally uploaded by xixstar

Our chickens are pretty big now (10 weeks old). They’re getting pretty fast and not so interested in hanging out around us, so I’ve not had a chance to get pictures of them lately. Even in this picture, Chris had to herd them toward me, but they took off pretty quick to a better area.

They seem to like their tractor, in fact, after being out for a few minutes this afternoon, they headed right back into on their own. Guess that’s a good sign. But, they’re also having a hard time in the heat, just like we are, and perhaps they felt it was a little cooler in there.

[posted via BlogThis on flickr]