After two wonderful years here at Blogger, the day has arrived for me to stretch out and move forward. As of today, February 11th, you can now get your SortaCrunchy fix at my new address. See ya there!
SortaCrunchy has moved!
Come see me there!
Monday, February 11, 2008
Friday, February 08, 2008
Well, I am in my final days here at Blogger!
I'm fast at work arranging the furniture in my new digs, but I wanted to take a quick second to remind everyone that this coming Monday, February 11th, is the day for our Big Bloggy Move. You can read the original post at Christy's, and I wanted to reiterate that you do not have to be leaving Blogger to play along! We would love to have your participation if
a) You started your blog no earlier than December 2007
b) You moved to a new blogging platform or started self-hosting no earlier than December 2007
c) You completely redesigned your blog no earlier than December 2007
Christy and I are doing giveaways, but you do not have to do a giveaway to participate. The Mr. Linky link-a-roo will be over at Christy's on Monday.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
There was a whole 'nother post planned for today. And then there was a doctor's visit (just well-child, no one's sick . . . for now) in which each sweet thing got a mean shot. And my hands have been busy ever since.
This morning, however, I came across this great post from Crunchy Chicken on how to Have a Green Valentine's Day. I actually sorta don't like Valentine's Day (issues), but if you are going to celebrate it, I wonder if you could find another way to do it this year?
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Hello my dear, sweet, lovely friends and readers! Have I mentioned how gorgeous you look today? I haven't? Well, let me tell you - from where I sit, you look gorgeous, darlings. That color really brings out the brown/blue/green in your eyes. You should totally wear it more often.
Do feel as if you are being buttered up? Good call. You are.
I need a favor!
As I mentioned yesterday, we have less than a week until The Big Bloggy Move. This feels like a good time for me to stop and think on my readership. For some sorta crazy reason, traffic through this crunchy spot has grown dramatically since last summer. (And by dramatically, I mean that I can be pretty sure I have more than six readers now.) Although SortaCrunchy is my lil' home on the virtual range to share that which is important to me, my readers are never far from my mind. I would love to get a snapshot of who is reading these days.
Plus, as you regulars know, I've been known to toss out a random giveaway now and again (and if you like giveaways, you will DEFINITELY want to be around next Monday on Moving Day!) and it would be tremendously helpful to know what you guys are "into." (As far as giveaways go, I mean. I am sure there are other things you are "into" but you most assuredly do not have to share those things with me. Unless you want to. I'm always up for some inspiring ideas!)
Anyway, could you guys indulge me in a roll call? If you stop by here fairly regularly, I would love to know two things - if you have children (how many?) and whether you consider yourself not at all crunchy, totally crunchy, or sorta crunchy (like me). Those two pieces o' information would be supremely helpful. If you just want to share other things (where you live, how you found me, just whatever), then you go right ahead and do that, too.
Many, many, many thanks, friends!
Monday, February 04, 2008
Got five minutes?
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We survived Project Birthday Party, but Operation Clean-Up has yet to be stamped Mission Accomplished. I'm off to finish that and if I get a chance, I'll get some pictures up later.
BY THE WAY, don't forget The Big Bloggy Move happens one week from today. So exciting!
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Loved the discussion from yesterday's Another Way Wednesday. Looking forward to more of that!
Princesa D is having her birthday on Saturday morning, and this Queen Mum has about ninety-seven things to do between now and then, so it's gonna be quiet around here for a bit. I'll be back early next week and will (hopefully) have pics to share.
Be gentle to yourselves and others!
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
(First of all, thank you all so much for your feedback on my Negative post. I debated on whether or not to post it, mostly because it reveals that as much as I struggle against it, I still wrestle with fear. Sharing that goes against my natural tendency to package myself up a lot more neatly than that, but my ever-growing desire to be real and unpackaged won out. For those who have asked, I may test again, but it could really all just be me misreading my body's signs.)
So, going back to my problem with Stuff. And how God is dealing with me about Stuff. And how I want to be free from my bondage to Stuff.
As my dear friend Shaila would ask, What does that look like? Freedom from stuff? And how can I connect that to my desire to leave behind a more gentle impact on this planet?
Most of the time, I'm all about big ideas and little follow-through. I find big change to be more manageable in small steps. So I wanna break this down into something that is real and lasting. Each week, let's talk about some ways we can live Another Way. A way that is outside the consumerist paradigm. A way that speaks of financial integrity and resource responsibility. A way that make us, yes, a little uncomfortable, but perhaps also encouraged that if a lot of us make some little changes, something bigger than ourselves might take place.
My first Another Way Wednesday challenge to myself - *deep breath* Buying mostly (if not all?) gently used children's clothing.
This is huge for me, girls. Huge. Oh gosh, this is about to get ugly. You might wanna hide your eyes. But there is this awful, vain, shallow voice somewhere in my mind that has been known to say disdainfully, "But your girls deserve better than that!" Yuck. There is just no way to package that. It's as ugly as it is true.
To be given gently used clothes? Sure, I'll take 'em! (Seriously, if you're reading Ali, I'll take anything you clean out from your girls' closets!) But to intentionally buy used clothes? My pride . . . it wants to stand up and say NO!
But watching the Story of Stuff movie challenged me on that. I have shopped at Once Upon a Child and The Children's Orchard and there is really cute, nice, unstained and untattered clothing to be found. There really is no reason I have to keep feeding into this broken consumerist system by buying brand new clothing for the girls when I can buy clothing someone else's little girl has already broken in. And you know, this is the time to begin training my girls in a different way of looking at clothes shopping, one that might help to ward off future self-esteem problems caused by materialism. And maybe discourage any training I might unintentionally but inevitably be doing to cause them to have their own problems with Stuff.
The timing is right for me to take on this first challenge to myself because D really does need clothes as she woke up one morning having outgrown her 3Ts. The grandparents were generous with birthday money and mama needs to go shopping. Just not *gulp* at The Children's Place.
So, how about you? Anyone wanna start down Another Way path? If changing your clothes shopping ways isn't where you want to start, maybe you could check out this article my sweet reader Elizabeth emailed me about Green Grocery Shopping. Or check out Jen's list of her goals.Whatever small steps you are taking, I want to hear about it! Share in the comments or link me to your own Another Way post(s).
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I took a pregnancy test yesterday.
We've been practicing natural family planning since D arrived (and by "we" I mean me, I suppose, because I've not once seen The Coach charting temperatures or measuring cervical mucus in the past three years . . .). I thought I had gotten to know the usual signs pretty well, but evidently not as well as I thought.
According to my calculations, a certain long-lost visitor should have shown up last weekend. When she was a no-show, I decided I'd better toss a test in the cart next to the birthday candles and the rice cereal and the Diet Coke. It's funny, really, how many times both the grocery checker and the grocery bagger will ask a mama (with one baby strapped on her in a Mei Tai and another koala joey riding shotgun in the cart) who has just purchased a home pregnancy test, "are you sure you don't need help out to the car with these?" Seriously, it's funny. I laughed.
So anyway, the test was negative. I was relieved.
And as The Coach and I talked about it last night, I became aware of something else . . . how fearful I was feeling. Not the fear you would think. Not the fears that speak of "how can we afford it? where would we put another? how will the girls respond?"
No, instead, this Fear traces its finger over the now smooth scar at the base of my belly and whispers in my ear of two uneventful pregnancies, two sets of chubby cheeks and bright eyes, two times that two slender pink lines yielded two wardrobes fat with pink.
Then Fear lifts my eyes to that shoe. That shoe that swings recklessly over my head.
When will it drop?
Monday, January 28, 2008
It occurs to me I have never told how my Miss D joined us in this world . . .
By January 27, 2005, I was hugely pregnant, hugely miserable, and cursing the notion of a “due date.” As soon as I had a positive pregnancy test in hand, I looked up an online due date calendar and cemented January 18 in my mind. Our earliest ultrasound at ten weeks estimated a January 21st arrival, so I mentally allowed a few extra days for Sweet Baby’s arrival; but a first time mama at ten weeks, when each day seems to fly off the calendar, can’t really know how those last, tortuous days of being fully full-term and “past due.”
Here I am at the beginning of December 2004 - almost nine months pregnant.
And here I am on Christmas morning. It's the last known picture of me pregnant with D. Behold the belly. And you know what? It would be over a MONTH before Dacey would finally be born!
So anyway . . .
My beloved OB practice errs on the side of caution and is slow to schedule inductions, but at last my doctor had mercy on me and scheduled me to come in early on the morning of the 27th. “Call first,” she said, “and make sure we have room for you on the floor.” I be-bopped out of the office that day, never once dreaming that so many babies would insist on arriving on January 27th. At 6:00 am, I called the L&D floor and the only thing delivered to me that day was the spirit-crushing news that there were, in fact, too many mamas on the floor that day for there to be room for me and my great-with-child self.
But the Lord, He ministered to me with the words of one of my favorite Psalms, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (27:14) Wait we did, and not too long after that, my OB called and said she wanted to see me at 1:00 for a non-stress test and ultrasound.
Discouraged and weary, The Coach and I followed orders and went in for the testing. At L&D, we had the non-stress test and discovered everything looked fine for the baby, but my doctor could also see right away how disappointed I was. She offered to strip my membranes to see if that would get some action going. Downstairs in the ultrasound room, the ultrasound tech asked, “Has anyone given you a guess on how much this baby weighs?” I told her the last guesstimate from the doctor had been “no more than eight and a half pounds . . .” and the tech replied that what she was seeing looked closer to nine. I didn’t really linger too long on that part because I was starting to feel so crampy and uncomfortable.
We left the hospital under instructions to call if contractions started. In all the (non)excitement of the day, we had somehow forgotten to eat, so we pulled through the Whataburger drive-through on the way home. By this time (close to 3:00), I was having a hard time concentrating. The Coach ordered me a Whataburger and we went home to eat, but I think I ate about three bites before I discovered I had no appetite.
“I don’t feel right. I don’t feel good. I think I might be in labor,” I told him. The next few hours are kind of blurry now. I remember getting one of The Coach’s stopwatches and timing the “cramping.” At one point, the pain became so bad that I didn’t want to talk anymore, so I went up to our bedroom to watch "Friends" and continue timing. I called my sister-in-law around 7:30 to ask her (mother of four at the time, five now) if it sounded to her like I was in labor. When I had to stop mid-sentence of my explanation of what I was feeling, she told me, “Yeah, I think this is it, girl.”
As Donald Trump’s big head filled the screen announcing the beginning of "The Apprentice", I called L&D to tell my OB (who was thankfully still on-call) that the contractions were lasting about a minute and coming every five minutes. She told me to come on up and bring our bags this time.
I remember breathing through contractions at check-in, and I remember that The Apprentice was still on by the time we got settled in our room, but I could not for the life of me tell you who got fired that night. My doctor checked me and found I was at a three already and this sounded like the best news ever. The Coach read quietly as I continued to breathe, and I remember thinking there is really no way words could describe how much I was hurting. It was around this point that I started to curse quietly to myself with each contraction, and my husband started to get pretty nervous.
(I guess this would be a good time to tell you that we had not taken any childbirth classes. Dacey was born at a time before I was even a little tiny bit crunchy. In fact, to be honest, I had no idea what “crunchy” was, other than the other kind of peanut butter. I have a decidedly low pain threshold and there was no question in my mind as to whether or not to choose pain management. In fact, we didn’t take a childbirth class, but I sure DID attend the hospital-required “epidural class.” At the time, I was much more focused on being able to breastfeed and took a breastfeeding class, too. Again, not because it was the natural thing to do. No, no, this was in a season of life when we made just a *little* too much money to qualify for WIC, and so in my mind I had to breastfeed because we couldn’t afford formula. True story.)
The next time the nurse checked me, about an hour later, I had made it to a four, which is evidently the Magic Number for getting that epi. The nurse anesthesiologist was a tall, jolly man named Rocky and he became an instant hero for me. The Coach had ducked out of the room at that point to go gather our bags out of the car, so he missed that experience . . . seeing what I hear is a very long needle being inserted into my back.. I didn’t care how long the needle was, I just wanted relief.
I dozed and half watched TV for a while. When I got to a five, my doctor broke my water. I remember feeling disappointed that I didn’t get to have that “Oh my gosh! My water just broke!” experience. Every check from the nurses showed more and more progression, and everyone kept congratulating me on doing such hard work with no pitocin. That seems silly to me now, but at the time I needed all the encouragement I could get. By 2 am, I had made it to a seven. “A baby by dawn at this rate,” my OB said. But it was also around this time I noticed the nurse kept coming in every fifteen minutes or so and reading the long strip of paper being spit out of the machine measuring the baby’s heartrate. At 3:30, my progression had stalled. I was still at a seven. My doctor ordered pitocin, but told me they were concerned about the baby’s heartrate – that it was becoming erratic. She said she’d give me an hour to get past seven and then we would need to make some decisions.
It’s funny, really, if you go into a birth experience like I did with absolutely no desires other than to bring home a healthy baby. My mother-in-law delivered a stillborn baby between my sister-in-law and husband, and for some reason, I just could not get that out of my mind. I honestly did not care how the baby was going to come out of me. I just wanted her out and I wanted her healthy.
This is where it all gets really fuzzy. I spiked a fever and the next check revealed that not only had I not moved past seven, but there was also now meconium in the fluid. In a ten-second conversation, my OB said she felt strongly that we needed to get the baby out now, and of course we agreed. I remember them starting me on antibiotics for the fever that indicated I had developed an infection (in the amniotic sac? Why can’t I remember these details?) and being given a medicine to stop my contracting uterus. They had me get on my hands and knees on the transport table to be wheeled down to the OR, and it was about this time that I started crying. I was so scared.
Again, lots of fuzzy details, but before I knew it, my man Rocky was by my side in a freakishly cold operating room. He spoke softly and gently to me about everything that was happening, and that helped ease my mind as I lay there, completely naked, arms stretched out and secured to the table. So vulnerable. So very scared.
In a few more minutes, my husband was beside me, and I remember my doctor quietly talking to me as they started. A pediatrician I had never met came in, scrubbed down and in scrubs and my doctor said he was there “just in case.” I cried some more.
There was lots of quiet, tense conversation between her and her surgical assistant. My husband stroked my hair and cheek and told me everything was going to be fine. I heard my doctor sort of murmur “cord tightly wrapped,” and then, “It’s a girl! Daddy, you can stand up and see your baby!” She explained they didn’t want the baby to cry until they were positive she had not and would not inhale any meconium. As every mama knows, those seconds until the first cry reverberates through the room are so much more than seconds. I cried softly while we waited.
Finally, finally, Dacey’s first scream of protest filled the room. I cried again, this time with relief. Later, my husband told me he had never been so terrified as when he saw Dacey freshly pulled from my womb. “She was so, so blue,” he said. I was told later her APGARs were four, and then nine. They escorted Daddy up to the nursery to stay with the baby, Dacey Allyse. The mood was much lighter as the team finished working on me, and after what felt like an eternity, they rolled me into recovery.
I was the only patient recovering from surgery at six o’clock on the morning of the 28th. The post-op nurse was friendly – very friendly – and I remember as he chattered away that all I really wanted to do was sleep. I was so very, very tired – emotionally and physically. My doctor came into the room and began working on paperwork at the far end. The phone rang. The nursery nurses reported that Dacey Allyse had arrived at a staggering nine pounds, twelve ounces. I think she was twenty-three inches long. Or was it twenty-one? Or was that AJ? Oy vey! Anyway, she was, um, big.
After another eternity went by, I was finally released to leave post-op recovery. When they wheeled me past the nursery, I got to see my Dacey for the first time. Oh, I am all teary just thinking about it. I remember that shock of black, black hair. And she was, as you may have guessed, the biggest baby in the nursery that day.
The Coach met me in my room and told me how Dacey had cried and cried while they cleaned her up, but when he reached down to stroke her forehead with his finger, she immediately calmed down. I had never seen him smiling so big.
A little while later they finally brought my sweet new baby to me. The nurse helped me get her ready to breastfeed and she did latch on right away, but didn’t stay on long. I was so sleepy from the various medications and Dacey was, too. I fell back to sleep for a good while, but didn’t sleep much after that the whole time we were in the hospital. I don’t think I took my eyes off of her for more than a minute at a time. I just stared and stared and tried to wrap my mind around this miracle. Our attachment one to the other was instant and fierce and completely surprising.
And that’s the story of Dacey Allyse. As she’ll tell anyone who asks, she’s “fwree yews ode TODAY!”
Happy birthday, my lovie.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Let it not ever be said that the voice of God is always hard to hear. Sometimes, I gotta get still and quiet to hear Him. And sometimes, He pulls up a chair next to mine, turns my eyes to meet His, and says, "Listen to Me."
In the past few weeks, I have been bombarded with subtle hints that He wants me to deal with my love of stuff. It started out simply enough with my sweet friend Jen (from The Things you Didn't Do) encouraging us to watch The Story of Stuff. She created a poweful and challenging list of ways she is responding to the message of the Story of Stuff movie, and I kept thinking, "Okay, okay . . . I know I have a problem with stuff. I can stop anytime though. Really."
The truth is I didn't wanna talk about my problem with stuff. Because I, um, love stuff. I can package it however I want . . .
(but AJ needs these new cloth diapers! just doin' my part to save the earth! D needs this sweet stuffed puppy dog! she's still suffering from displacement angst! I need new boots since my feet have expanded a whole size in the past three years and my beloved black dress boots have proven to be unwearable and what's a girl to do without a trusty pair of darling black boots?! 'Cause I get all dressed up to go to the library a lot these days!)
. . . but at the heart of it all is the fact that I just love stuff.
And I read Jeana's (Days to Come) But I WANT That, and I knew He wasn't going to leave me alone about this.
And then AJ woke up at 5:30 this morning and after she agreed with me that 5:30 is far too early to start the day and drifted back to sleep, I found myself wide awake and hankering for a good devotional. So I looked up one of my favorites - My Utmost for His Highest.
This would be when God pulled up a chair next to me.
"A warning which needs to be repeated is that 'the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches,' and the lust for other things, will choke out the life of God in us (Matthew 13:22)."
Oh, and it gets better from there. Go read it yourself, if you're feeling brave. And if devotionals aren't your thing, take twenty minutes from your day to go watch The Story of Stuff. I did. It's very much worth the investment of your time.
So get ready 'cause Mama's been convicted, so you've not heard the last of my battle with stuff. Oh no, gentle readers - it's just beginning!
But first, I have to say that at this moment, precisely three years ago on this lovely January day, I went into labor with my sweet D. And you know I'm gonna have to write about that.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Laurie Berkner duets with Tom Chapin in a song called "The Happiest Song I Know," and this fun ditty is on the Most Requested list from DJ Jazzy Dacey. The lyrics are an ode to all things happy ("happy as a newborn pup," for example) and one phrase caught my ear as we drove home and I hummed along . . .
The way you shout when school is out
. . . and for a second I thought back to the school days of my childhood, waiting and watching and sighing as the second hand ticked off those last minutes of captivity. I remember that sweet anticipation of the freedom to be relished on the other side of that school bell's ring. I remember the day I counted off the years ahead of me on my fingers and discovered it was to be 1995 when at last I would be relinquished from the bondage of my school years.
My college years flew by in a blur of classes and papers and meetings and tests and dates and functions, and yet always I was looking ahead, X'ing off the days on the calendar in my mind as I hurtled toward graduation. For surely after I was finally, finally done with school, surely that was when I would really be free, right?
And then I turned around and I was married and teaching and once again counting down the days until the school year ended, this time from the other side of the teacher's desk. I was teaching so The Coach could finish his Masters work, and after that? Freedom from teaching! Freedom to start a family.
And then I had a babe in arms and found myself a far cry from free. Convinced that successful parenting was built on solid scheduling, I found it difficult to leave the house for fear of upsetting the delicate equilibrium of naps and nursing. When opportunities knocked, I would sigh and say, "I can't . . . I have a baby" as I wistfully closed the door.
And that's where I find myself again. Times two. As we prepare for D's Big Three and as AJ inches ever closer to five months, my frustration levels rise in the face of so very little freedom. Jealousy wells up in me as I drive past co-eds jogging up and down the hills of our town. I used to jog . . . before I had babies. I thumb through old Bible study workbooks and look longingly on the notes I scribbled on the pages when I had nothing but time to share with the Lord.
And even as I write this, I realize it all smacks of undeniable selfishness.
And I gaze down into AJ's smiling face and I crack up at D's antics and I know I am deeply, unspeakably blessed. So why I am not content? How can I create freedom for myself when there appears to be none? When will I luxuriate in the freedom that is most certainly mine? And if I do discover newfound pockets of freedom, what then? Will I spend it on myself or do something that might just have an impact on eternity?
These are things I think about as I drive and think and whisper Laurie Berkner lyrics to myself on the way home.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
It's been quiet here, but only because things are not quiet offline. We've been weathering tummy bugs and teething woes and those two things have been more than enough to keep my hands too busy to type.
I did come across something at Christianity Today I wanted to share. I hear there are some emails flying around (again) about Barak Obama practicing Islam. If you have received such an email, or even if you haven't, I encourage you to check out this article for a Q&A with Senator Obama. It's a quick read and highly informative!
Christianity Today Q&A with Barak Obama
Monday, January 21, 2008
Weekly Home Blessing
launder bed linens
menu plan and grocery list
Noticeably Absent From My List, but Priority Number One On Aliza Joy's List:
Wake up for a party in the middle of the night
Invited guests - Mom and me
Party for an hour
When it looks like Mom is sufficiently partied out, fall contentedly back to sleep
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Although it's not my idea of fun, there is something sorta magical about being up in the middle of the night. It's so deeply, darkly quiet. The humming of baby monitor static is the only accompaniment to the lyrical thoughts that get shoved to the side during the day.
At about 3 am this morning, I was in the dark, quiet living room bouncing AJ in my arms and indulging in a stolen moment with the Lord. How long had it been since we were able to talk with no interruptions? I asked Him how on earth I was going to be able to function the next day, what with this unscheduled appointment nearly guaranteeing a slow-down to the day's master plan?
These words gently filled my mind . . .
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor. 12:9 (NIV)
Sometimes it seems as if there is no rest for the weary. How it ministers to me to know I don't have to do this thing by my(weak)self.
Friday, January 18, 2008
So, raise your hand if you read Time magazine.