Saturday, July 31, 2010

my darling clementine

It wasn't exactly spontaneous, but at long last and with great relief I went into labor on my own.  Our wee raven-haired lass was born yesterday morning.  We are filled with wonderment, great joy, and profound gratitude for the blessings of a safe delivery, healthy baby, and abundant grace throughout the journey culminating in seeing her sweet face.

She is the "smallest of the small ones" (to borrow a descriptive from Judy Schachner's Skippyjon Jones books, some of our lads' favorites), weighing the same as the elder lad at just shy of eight pounds but a tad shorter in length.  Tiny little thing she seems compared to her three smitten siblings, she is our little peanut girl -- or maybe our clementine.

Diminutive food references aside, she -- like her siblings -- is a keeper.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


What is up with these lads -- especially the elder one?  Eating *entire* bagels with peanut butter?  Fresh -- not freeze-dried -- strawberries?  Those "saucer" peaches -- seen 'em?  Ham and cheese sandwiches?

Grilled turkey?!

And now the younger one is even eating entire halves of bagels with cream cheese -- not just quarters!   They're keeping pace with their sister, whose appetite has only increased since her first dabblings in solid food.

I think I better brace myself.  This could be serious.  I already bought the lad's uniform pants.  Will they fit when school starts?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

familiar territory

I come from a long line of slow cookers.  Our babies pay nary a moment's notice to that day circled on the calendar as the "expected date of delivery".  They couldn't care less about that.  The lads both came nine days after that day, and the lass six.  My Grannie's babies were nine days late (except Aunt Robin, who came nine days early), my mom was "late", and I myself was a few *weeks* tardy (sorry, Mama).

Today I am five days "overdue".

I've been down this road before.  I know the people in this neighborhood, so to speak.  Being as familiar as I am with being past the 40 week mark, I am both (more than) ready to meet this fourth baby and reconciled to that meeting happening later rather than sooner.  I am not one to resort to induction.  I've been induced, and I've gone into labor on my own.  I'd *much* rather go the latter route.  It makes for a much better experience for both mama and baby, since it's more in keeping with the body's natural rhythm and (for me, anyway) far more manageable, both mentally and physically.  With an induction, Pitocin (the drug administered to bring on contractions) is in charge.  In spontaneous labor, the mama is.

"Spontaneous" is probably not a word my loved ones would use to describe me. 

This is why I was so surprised to go into labor on my own with the lass after having the lads by (reluctant) way of Pitocin (used to "augment" labor with the elder lad and induce it with the younger).  After the vastly different, far better experience that third labor was, I've been committed to doing what I can to replicate it this fourth time and avoid induction.

This is not to say I will refuse induction warranted by medical necessity.  I'm just not in a hurry to schedule one to "get it over with," knowing as I do the difference in the journeys and preferring the more natural one.   Fortunately, my OB is of similar mind in this regard, which is one of the reasons I like her. 

So while there is no one who is more anxious ready to see Quattro face to face than I am, I will take the remaining time before that moment to rest, pray, and prepare to care for another soul.

Monday, July 26, 2010


What do we do with a whole mess o'maters?
our basil and heirloom tomatoes: "pinkheart" (yellow), "carbon" (dark red in back), & "Grandma Suzy's beefsteak" (bright red)

Make salsa, of course.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

twiddling our thumbs (or not)

We're keeping ourselves busy with projects around here:
The elder lad made a necklace for me.
My beloved and my dad brewed some beer.
We baked a double batch of cookies.
And -- of course -- the laundry continues.

Quattro is on to our tactics, still holding out...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

this is not that post

Since my loved ones are awaiting baby news with great anticipation, I open nearly every phone conversation I initiate with something like, "Hi ... it's Bonnie.  This is not *that* call."

Friday, July 23, 2010


Things to do when you're overdue*:
  • pray 
  • laundry
  • canvas the entire expanse of local mall, both floors, with three children and their grandmother; be sure to include a fun lunch
  • lie down and rest -- even if the bambini don't -- so long as the grandmother is still up for wrangling them
  • snuggle with said three bambini
  • pray
  • sip a favorite beverage (even if it is hotter than Hades outside) after the bambini zonk out in the car on the way home after traipsing all over the mall but not resting at siesta time
  • laundry
  • read books with the bambini
  • feather the nest for loved ones arriving to help
  • rearrange the kitchen counter top accessories
  • pray
  • build things with the bambini
  • brush up on newborn care and nursing fundamentals
  • laundry
  • get a pedicure, massage, chiropractic adjustment, or any combination thereof
  • bake something with the bambini
  • pray
  • laundry
*Really, the due date is more of a general "expected" date and is just one day in a window of a few weeks when the baby is "due" .  Every person and pregnancy is different.  Just goes to show: babies come in God's time. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

cheesy goodness

This is Quattro's "due date," but I'm not going there.  Instead, I'm waxing nostalgic about true comfort food from my childhood: cheese grits.  I consider it an appropriate way to mark the day, as many times these have been the only thing that sounded even remotely appealing to this pregnant mama green around the gills (at least in previous pregnancies).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

steady, ace.

In days of yore when gift-giving time would be coming up (say Christmas or my birthday), and I would notify those in positions of ability to procure that which I had on my wish list (say my parents), I had what I'm sure was an annoying tendency to get a little mopey and fretful that I would not receive the requested gift when the time for gift-opening at long last arrived.

Charming, no?

And yet, they still love me.  And most of the time, I did receive what I was pining for, silly girl.
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for your forbearance and unfailing generosity.

Here we are at the 40 week mark of this pregnancy, and wouldn't you know? I have that same feeling.  Like it's never going get here -- Quattro's birthday, in this case.  

But it will.  And in the end we will have one of the greatest gifts we could ever receive -- temporarily entrusted to us, of course, as Quattro is not ours to keep but rather to care for and prepare to one day return to God.

As my dad would often have to tell me, so now I tell myself:
Steady, Ace.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


"Mom, when I finish my [lunch], can I have some dolci?"
"What are dolci?"

close enough.

What was his sweet selection?
Two chocolate chips each for him and his (grateful) younger brother, who tells me "I think you got cuter."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Marjorie Flack's 'Angus' books

With our preschool co-op we utilized a curriculum called Before Five in a Row geared for children ages two to four.  Using classic and more recently published children's books, we'd read a certain book at home several days in a row (hence the name) and together as a group.  The activities were drawn from the books in some way.

One of our family's favorite books was Angus Lost by prolific children's author Marjorie Flack, about a little Scotty dog named Angus who wondered about the big world outside his window and one day made it out the door to find out for himself.  This gave rise to some good discussions about safety, both around dogs and broader personal safety issues such as when out in public.  It was also interesting to examine the illustrations, some of which are in color and some in black and white.

Angus also stars in Angus and the Cat and Angus and the Ducks, both equally delightful to Angus Lost in their charming prose and depiction of Angus's insatiable (or is it?) curiosity.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

rockin' and rollin'

Our stereo set-up has been out of commission for a while.  We've been using my computer to play music here and there, but not nearly as much as we did before the bigger rig went on the fritz.  Late this afternoon my beloved brought the boom box I've had since high school in from the garage and hooked it up.

The elder lad got a lesson in how to make the thing work, rifled through the CD collection for his long-silent favorites, accepted a few requests, and queued them up DJ-style.  We took a dinner break, but he finished speedily and said, "now it's time to rock 'n' roll!" 

As he strummed his air guitar, I watched him intently, wanting to impress upon my memory forever the delight on his face and revelry he took in operating the equipment.  Though we agreed that a volume level of 10 was probably about right, he informed us that when he is in college, he's going to crank it up to "11 or 12."

Rock on...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

crouton love

Laughably simple and tasty beyond all get out, these homemade croutons are simply fabulous vittles.

Friday, July 16, 2010

simple stain solution

and now for something completely different...

I'm always researching natural stain removers and other green ways of homekeeping and to this end regularly employ plain white vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, borax, rubbing alcohol, and dish washing liquid. Sometimes, though, the simplest solution is quickest, gentlest, safest to users and bystanders (especially pint-sized ones), *and* most effective.  Soap and water work wonders on a multitude of messes and stains, happily and especially on those that, um, emanate from humans in a variety of formulations.

Realize that I am fairly well desensitized to the icky-ness factor of such messes, dealing as I do with them day in and day out.   I do not wish to offend any delicate sensibilities.

We use fragrance-free bar soap (not anti-bacterial) and castile soap, a soap derived from olive oil which we buy in liquid form and dilute with water in a foaming pump dispenser for hand washing (and other uses). Both kinds of soap have proven to be up to the challenge time and again.

My mother (who is one smart cookie) taught me long ago to try soap and water first when cleaning up certain stains specific to females, and it's a lesson that has stuck with me, resurfaced, and been applied many a time as I've gone about cleaning up the many messes of daily life...

(thanks, Mama!)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

epic failure: a success story

Blessings upon the angel of mercy in the person of my beloved's mother who came to our domicile this afternoon to wrangle three overtired bambini so that I could rest. I am beyond grateful.

Her arrival was well-timed, as Mama was reeling from a lack of sleep and a need for a successful siesta time.  That wasn't happening.  The lass awoke within minutes of falling asleep, and the younger lad fought off the sandman despite having circles under his eyes dark enough to resemble a raccoon.

The bambini all seem to be on a heightened state of alert just as I am, and this translates into a more intense need for physical closeness at times of rest.  Usually I am happy to provide this, awed by the intimacy of those moments just as they surrender to sleep (which may have been a *long* time coming -- this is one reason why I don't pray for patience) and humbled by the trust they have in me to be with them as they drift off.  This afternoon, however, Mama needed a bit of a retreat.  Without help, I wasn't going to get it, and the rest of the day would likely have been doomed to lots of ups and downs -- possibly (probably) even tears from some or all of us.

After some time alone in my room which included some much-needed shut-eye, the elder lad came in to check on me, and I was very nearly busted when he spotted the little container in which I keep bittersweet chocolate chips in for quick snatches here and there.  He eyed me coolly when I told him it was empty and left the room.  He came back a little while later complaining of something in his eye, snuggled up with me, and fell asleep.  Like his mother in his gallant sleep-fighting tendencies as well as his selective eating habits, this shed some light on the earlier less-than-charitable comments and less-than-gentle handling of those around him as we were attempting to settle down for siesta. 

"Just what we needed, right?" I asked him as we snuggled.  He concurred.  When we emerged, we found the younger lad and lass happily splashing in the bathtub (brave woman, considering what can happen).  Not only had my mother-in-law kept them awake so as not to derail bedtime (which came on the early side for them), she had also brought us dinner.

With some tender loving care, what was looking to be a failure of epic proportions (maybe I exaggerate) turned into a sweet success.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

ready and waiting

We're at that point now where Quattro could come at any time, but we have no way of knowing when that will be.  Thus, we carry on as though each day is "normal" (whatever that is), ever knowing that things could change just like that.

This is a really unsettling stressful uncomfortable place to be in.

We make plans (and contingency plans), get things ready, carry on as ever, and try to keep in proper perspective this life-changing event that could happen tonight, tomorrow -- or next week, or even the following (especially my track record for tardiness).

Quattro will come in God's time.  I pray for the grace to trust Him (notice I didn't say patience), and the wherewithal to attend to things right here right now.

Monday, July 12, 2010

open wide

What was I thinking taking three wily bambini -- including one lass with a just-discovered molar whose nap was thwarted by four bouncy balls going pell mell in a previously-posted no-fly zone -- to Target at 4pm this afternoon for "a few things"?

One wonders.

But I digress.  A successful trip this morning to the pediatric dentist (purveyor of the dastardly bouncy balls) brings to mind a couple of *toothsome* books:

Laurie Keller's Open Wide: Tooth School Inside is a fun trip inside the mouth in the guise of teeth going to school.  With the al dente* pupils, we learn about the anatomy of teeth and how to care for them.  The artwork has a sense of silliness and includes lots of wisecracks and sidebars that will probably be funnier to the bambini with subsequent readings as they get a little older. 

*thus concludes my rampant tooth-related wisecrack spree*

Other books we've liked by Laurie Keller include Arnie the Doughnut and Do Unto Otters: A Book about Manners.

There is also a book by Fred Rogers called Going to the Dentist from his series called First Experiences.  These books walk children through such firsts as learning to use the toilet, going to the doctor, having a new baby in their family, and moving in just the sort of gentle, straightforward way one would expect from Mister Rogers.

Such reading has been a part of our preparations for a first dental visit, like today's was for the younger lad.  He and his brother were seated side by side for their cleanings.  The elder lad had been a couple of times before, so he knew what to expect (including the bouncy ball prize at the end) and had been telling the younger lad all about it.  I'm sure this helped ease the younger lad's mind and any uncertainty he had going into the experience.  Upon arrival, the elder lad helped his brother out of his car seat harness and slung his arm around his brother's shoulder as we walked into the building.  Just to keep things real, these kindnesses were later followed by recurring fisticuffs between the brothers -- outside the Bambini Ride, thankfully.

Afterward, the younger lad described going to the dentist as "fun" and was thrilled to have his own new toothbrush, toothpaste, and little square of floss (which he tucked into his pocket). 

What can I say?  It's minute to minute around here.  Now that I think about it, a bevy of bouncy balls is actually a pretty good analogy for our home life, even when we haven't been to the dentist (or Target) ...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

nesting: family-style

While we wait on the stork to bring Quattro, the whole family is in on this nesting business.  Yesterday the lads helped* my beloved clean up the Bambini Ride and rearrange the car seats to make room for a fourth one.  Both lads are now in the "way back."  Mama is hopeful there will be a minimum of fisticuffs. 

*by "helped", I mean they unearthed the younger lad's long-missing favorite ball cap, helped vacuum up a school of Goldfish crackers, wiped down seats scuffed with footprints, then climbed into the front and pretended to be driving their firetruck.  This was followed by some construction with PVC pipe outside the vehicle which soon devolved into whacking things.

The washer is on overdrive, laundering teensy tiny (or "tinsy", as the elder lad used to say when he was about the lass's age) baby clothes, blankets, bedding for the helping hands who will be staying with us once Quattro comes home, and car seat covers (in addition to the usual queue).  The current incarnation of our drinkable yogurt recipe is posted prominently on the fridge for hasty refills.  We're baking things in big batches to "feed the freezer" -- pancakes, cookies, muffins...

The recently-unearthed infant carrier is drawing lots of attention.  The lads have each tested to see if they can fit in it (just barely) and laugh at the thought of themselves small enough to have been strapped in.  The lass says "baby! baby!" and tucks her baby doll safely inside.

I'm wondering if Quattro will have dark hair like my beloved's, sea glass-colored eyes like the elder lad's, or his or her own unique combination of features and coloring.  And speaking of "his" versus "her", will Quattro even the gender score in this household or tip the scales even further? 

We're so looking forward to meeting you, Quattro.  We love you already.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

in a pickle

Gracious me: do we ever have a lot of cucumbers...

Good thing we've got some pickle eaters here.

Friday, July 09, 2010

wait a minute

It's been raining a lot here lately.  By this time of year, such rain is a bit unseasonable, but we'll take it.    Sometimes the rain comes down in a deluge, as the heavens open and the thunder rolls.  I keep thinking the barometric pressure might signal Quattro's arrival, but so far Quattro is content to ride out to the storms in utero.

Severe weather season may have passed, but figurative storms and flash floods still pop up around here on what seems like a near daily basis to this enormous/hormonal/preoccupied-about-Quattro's-imminent-birth mama.  Such a mix for Mama probably contributes to the atmosphere that lends itself to these types of disturbances.  Whether it's one of the bambini or all of them, when they get upset and loud about it, the direction of the course of events depends largely on *my* response -- or lack there-of.  Mine is the only response I can truly control, anyway.  It's hugely important for me to do so for my sake as well as theirs, and to model healthy emotional management.

If I've learned anything from the severe storms that come every spring to our part of the country, it's that they hardly ever last very long.  There might be a successive string of them, one after another, each intense and scary and loud, but rarely does one storm have the energy necessary to sustain a prolonged fury.

This seems to be true for bambini storms as well *if* Mama can keep her wits about her and be prudently responsive to the situation.  That might mean letting the storm pass on its own (ascertaining everyone's safety, of course), or by actively seeking out a solution with the one (or several) who are raging.

I would rather quell the tempests before they break, but this doesn't always work out.   While my initial reaction might be to jump in and squelch the outburst, usually this only worsens things.  For me and us, a more reserved response seems more effective in both the long and short runs. 

Riding these emotional roller coasters takes a lot out of me, but it comes with the territory.  To paraphrase Will Rogers, if you don't like the weather...

wait a minute.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

paradigm shift

In a startling break from tradition, I have posted a marinade recipe over at Foodie Proclivities rather than some baked good or beverage.  Even more alarming is what transpired at dinner last night:

elder lad: "Mom, tonight I'm going to try some of Dad's grilled chicken" (using the aforementioned marinade recipe).

And he did! *and* baked potato *and* some of the yellow "pinkheart" heirloom tomato my beloved brought in from the backyard. 

By "some" I mean the teeniest little smidgen of a taste -- if you can really even call it that -- but the willingness to even attempt that still has me stupefied.  This is after he tried (in a similar fashion) some fresh local corn off the cob the previous night!

Who is this child?

He *has* been saying that he'll try these things when he gets older, and he *has* been talking about being a bigger boy now that he's five.  He's a lad of his word.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

the poetry, prose & paintings of Douglas Florian

My bath time ditty was inspired by some books of poetry we've been reading of late.  In all honesty, I'm not really into poetry.  I know it's supposed to be super-dee-duper helpful for kids learning to read, what with the rhyming (some of it anyway) and the meter of it and all that, but a lot of poetry I just find so dull or silly or ridiculous.  

Not that of Douglas Florian, however. 

I've already mentioned Dinothesaurus, which is a collection of his original poems and mixed media paintings.  This is one of the elder lad's favorite books.  He fancies himself the Barysaurus, which was something like 40 feet long.  Whenever queried, the younger lad is always a T-Rex.  

While we're still working our way through his stuff, of his poetry we also like Comets, Stars, The Moon, and Mars; Bow Wow Meow Meow: It's Rhyming Cats and Dogs; Zoo's Who; and In The Swim.  Florian's paintings, as he describes them, are complex yet accessible, clever, fun, and compliment the rich text superbly.

Interestingly, his earlier work was more prose-like, and much of it chronicles various trades and jobs people have or days in the life of various types of people.  We've liked An Auto Mechanic, Beach Day, A Carpenter, and A Potter.

Florian's prolific output provides fodder for multiple library trips.  And I have to give him lots of credit for my willingness to read poetry with my bambini after so many disappointments (One exception is Jack Prelutsky's Good Sports: Rhymes about Running, Jumping, Throwing, and More, illustrated by Chris Raschka -- one of my favorites.).

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

bath time

rub a dub dub
tré bambini in a tub

wet 'em down
lather 'em up

lots of toys bobbing 'round
spongy letters, boats and cups

the water not to slosh
else mama or daddy will be cross

in the shower they fare far better
(with or without the letters)

the definition of "potable"
pertinent and most notable
when one of 'em goes to drink
the concoctions they devise --
how they can improvise --
remember when we bathed them in the sink?

sudsy water = bambini magnet
look: there's some on the floor

all done!  c'mon out!
"no!" they say -- "more!"

already mayhem
what will we do when
there are four?

Monday, July 05, 2010


elder lad: "Mom!  I can sneeze through my nose!"
funniest because it came out of nowhere.  He hasn't been congested or sneezy or anything like that (just itchy)

younger lad: "I'm making beer!"
as he plays in the sink, mixing water and the mixing bowl from our cupcake icing project

lass: "bird!" "goggie!" [translation: "doggie"], "pillow!"  "climbing!"
it's all about stream of consciousness for her...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

a deposit in the bank of experience

The edible chemistry lesson didn't end how I hoped it would.  The colors weren't right, and the consistency was a bit ... um ... sludgy. 
So instead we whipped up some cream cheese frosting, left it white, lopped it into a zip-top bag fitted with a star piping tip, and decorated the cupcakes (which we inadvertently left at home when we departed for our Fourth of July festivities).  Both lads had great fun with the piping bag (and sampling the frosting for quality control).

This is one of those experiments my beloved would call "a deposit in the bank of experience."   Not that we won't give the other icing another go some other time, but in this case, we're likening the white frosting to the snow-capped mountain peaks for that whole patriotic association. 

Here's the whole recipe...

Saturday, July 03, 2010

skirting the issue

There's nothing like a pretty skirt to perk up my tired maternity wardrobe *and* make weathering the beastly heat a little more feasible.  I've amassed enough lightweight skirts with either smocked waists or drawstrings that aren't even "maternity clothes" to wear nearly every day (especially given our laundry schedule).

This suits my girly-girl tendencies quite nicely, as I like to look my best.  Happily, the skirts are long, so they're modest while still allowing me to get down on the floor with the bambini (though they don't make the actual getting up and down any easier) or crouch to their heights when necessary.  *And* there's far less hiking up of the waistline to be done than on the wretched elastic-waist maternity pants I have.

In all, this skirt idea is one of the best I've hit upon in a while.  I'm as comfy as a mega-pregnant mama in the final weeks of pregnancy can be, and wearing something so pretty and feminine perks up the sense of self in a very welcome way.

Friday, July 02, 2010

"this is like chemistry"

On our date earlier this week, the elder lad and I went to Whole Foods (where the fun rocket ship carts are) and swung through the bakery section.  Thereupon we discovered some cupcakes decorated in a patriotic fashion with red, white, and blue icing.  The lad was captivated.

So I've been trying to come up with a home-baked version of the cupcakes for the Fourth of July holiday.  We baked some yesterday, and today it was about the icing.  I wanted to try a recipe from The Sneaky Chef using organic powdered milk as the base and fruit juice (black cherry and blueberry) for coloring instead of dye.  I substituted agave nectar for the powdered sugar.   The result is a little short of what I was hoping for, so we're still working on it.

As we added this to that and stirred and taste-tested, the lad made a keen observation:

"This is like chemistry," he said.  Little does he know...

Thursday, July 01, 2010

menu planning

We just finished breakfast, but the lads are already thinking about the evening meal.

"What would you like for dinner, ma'am?" the elder lad asks, Color Wonder marker and paper in hand.  He has informed me that we are at Ted's, one of their favorite Mexican restaurants (they only eat chips and either queso or salsa, depending on the lad, kind of like their mother used to do).

I dutifully give him my order.

"What would you like to drink?" the younger lad (wearing a tool belt rather than an apron) inquires.

"Maybe some peach lemonade?"

"We only have water."

The elder lad designed this menu for his brother today: ham sandwich, macaroni & cheese, Sun Chips, fruit punch, and lemonade -- not that any of this is standard fare around here. 
Related Posts with Thumbnails