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Thursday, August 30, 2007

The physics of it all

One class on my high school transcript kept me out of my graduating class's Top Ten.

Physics.

From the first day of class, I was bewildered. Try as I might, there was so much I couldn't wrap my mind around. Perhaps because I am more of a whole-to-part or Big Picture thinker, and much of the study of physics is found in the details. Or perhaps because my academic love language is found in reading, writing, and analyzing the written word while formulas and laws have a numbing effect on my thought processes . . . For whatever reason, I just couldn't quite grasp it. I muddled and struggled and was thankful to escape with a bright shiny B, but alas, I always felt like I didn't really learn all I could have learned.

Interestingly though, my big-picture-seeking mind exploded in epiphany one day in class as it dawned on me that in life, really, it all comes down to physics. Even though I just don't get the study of physics, the reality of physics fascinates me. After that class, I found myself subconsciously reflecting on the physics of any given situation. To this day, I unintentionally irritate The Coach when he is trying to explain some new play the defense is going to install and why it will or won't work and I have to interject "well, the physics of the situation demands it."

As I count down days until Little Sister arrives, I have been brushing up on some physics again. The physics of breastfeeding a newborn, of babywearing after a c-section, of one lap and two daughters . . . which is what troubles me the most.

The law of conservation of mass/matter decrees "that the mass of a closed system of substances will remain constant, regardless of the processes acting inside the system."

regardless of the processes acting inside the system.

"An equivalent statement is that matter cannot be created nor destroyed, although it may change form."

although it may change form.

If God in His mercy allows for all to go as planned, then next Wednesday I'll wake up as the mother to one and drift off to sleep later as the mother of two. Such a monumental change of process within my systems will surely require more of me. More room in my lap. More hip on which to carry little ones. More arms for snuggling. More patience, more focus, more compassion, more, more, more . . .

One mom, two children. Time? Divided. Love? Multiplied. But at the end of the day (and through the sleep-interrupted night to the beginning of the next day), it's still just me. Only I am called Mommy to both. No more of me created. And yet, no more of me destroyed.

I have found some solace in another law . . . the law of conservation of energy which states, "that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant, although it may change forms . . ." And there it is again . . . although it may change forms . . .

Without a doubt, the biggest form change I have undergone began on the 28th of January back in 2005. The change in form was not instantaneous, rather it has been an evolution. At times it required a resistant and resentful tug-of-war in which my Pre-Mommy self strained at the rope against Motherhood, unwilling to yield up one more inch of ground. But there were other days, better days, later days when the form change flowed with acceptance, a languid float on a river embracing change as I traveled over rocks worn smooth by time.

And so I find a strange sense of assurance in these laws. Indeed, there will be no more of me to handle the more that is to be required of me. But there will be energy. Energy untapped, energy that has been there all along, waiting to be called upon. It's hard to fathom it at this point, but I have to believe that when it's required of me - all this more - that I will find within me far more than I knew existed.

I believe this because, well, it's the physics of it all . . .

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - The Nine Months No-No

Before:



After!!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

And her nest? It was feathered . . .

*big, huge sigh of relief*

Well, sweet friends, as I sit and type, I can rest in the knowing that if Little Sister decides to surprise and delight her hot, tired, and cranky mama by arriving early, at least we have things prepared for her.

I can assure you that the very fact that we are mostly ready for her to be here will certainly guarantee that she will stay put until the appointed day (September 5th - have I mentioned that lately?). Oh, sure, there are a few odds and ends on the list to be completed (such fun treats as cleaning out and cleaning up my car and making a trip to Sam's to stock up on some household stuff), but for the most part, I feel satisfied in where things stand right now.

And speaking of lists, I wanted to share a few things I have come across in the midst of my nesting craze that I think are pretty neat. (It seems nesting and spending are synonymous in my vocabulary these days. It's shocking, really, the amount of moolah I have dropped on Little Sister . . . perhaps already anticipating and overcompensating for Middle Child syndrome?)

My new carrier dilemma solved itself when I came across a darling adjustable Mei Tai Baby on the for-sale-or-trade forum at thebabywearer.com. I cannot wait to try this lovely out with LS and will be sure to post action pics for everyone.

I could not decide what to do about the nursing pads (reusable or disposable?), so I got some of each. A big ol' box of trusty Lansinoh disposable pads and a set of Imse Vimse pear shaped wool pads. (I really wanted to try the LANA wool pads that Noah so highly recommends, but I just couldn't quite make that big of an investment yet. I would need the medium size in the Ekstra style, so that adds up. I may still get some, though, if the Imse Vimses don't work out.)

Let's see, what else? Oh yeah - I discovered these really great nursing bras, at Ebay of all places! YES nursing bras may very well be the best of the bunch I have tried so far. I'm of the larger-chested tribe of mamas and no underwire bras (nursing or otherwise) usually just don't meet my needs, but I am loving the design this mama has put together. I ordered one to try (I mean, for $17.99 including shipping, what the heck?) and loved it so much that I ordered another in the next size up to get me through those first weeks/months of nursing a newborn voluptuousness . . .

I've gotten newborn cloth diapers and covers galore and I can't wait to share my experience with you as we begin that journey. I love the idea of a newborn swaddled all in cloth from her sweet-smelling head down to her tiny, tiny toes.

And speaking of swaddling, I was thrilled to see new designs available in our family's very favorite swaddling blanket - the Ultimate Swaddling Blanket. D's is the very sweet but very basic lavender dots print. (To this day, that blankie goes with her most everywhere. Such a Linus!) I decided to be a little more bold in choosing for Little Sis, so I picked out the Pink Mod Circle print this time. Fun!

Lots of things swirling about and cluttering this mama's mind these days . . . I hope to get them posted, if for nothing else than to be a record for me to look back on and remember one day. Thanks for your patience during my brief sabbatical. I look forward to catching up with everyone soon!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

psssst . . .

I know, I know, I'm not supposed to be here, but I am too excited to not share this news . . .

One of my fellow expecting-in-September-07 blogging friends had her baby!!

Read Reesh's husband's story of their amazing homebirth here and see pictures of the gorgeously perfect Nadia here.

Congrats Reesh and family! Happy babymoon!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Time Out

Well, sweet friends, as much as I hate to do it, I need to call a time out.

I never really nested too much with D, but this time around I am feeling a pressing sense of urgency about getting everything ready for Little Sister's arrival. This sense of urgency has only been exacerbated by my sister's repeated proclamations that she just "really thinks this baby is coming early" coupled with the fortune I cracked out of a cookie earlier this week:

There may be a crisis looming, be ready for it.

*gulp*

I have never been one to put much weight in fortune cookie prophecy, but that one little sentence has certainly lit a fire under my seat.

So for now, I am focusing what (oh-so-little) energy I have on finishing off my to-do lists. I apologize for emails unsent, comments unleft, and posts unposted. Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Nine Months


Monday, August 13, 2007

Menu Plan Monday - August 13th


Well, friends, the sweet days of a mild summer are long behind us now, and as I write, the temperature outside my kitchen window is 85 degrees. In the shade. At nine in the morning.

Needless to say, this Mama is too hot and tired to do much in the way of fancy in the kitchen. In fact, you will see several dinners from last week's meal plan because I just big fat didn't get around to cooking a few nights last week. (Not to worry! D and I still ate - we just went ahead and had Sonic corn dogs instead of that tofu miracle.)

Monday: We'll try again to do the Black Bean, Tofu, Spinach Miracle
Tuesday: Cheese Tortellini and Mushroom Sauce
Wednesday: Dinner out with D's Aunt Mimi (my sister! hooray!)
Thursday: Coaches' wives get together!
Friday: whole wheat spaghetti and leftover peanut sauce from last week
Saturday: chicken nuggets, mac n cheese, corn on the cob
Sunday: Joe's Famous Breakfast Tacos (Thanks Keara and Joe! Welcome back to Texas!!)

As always, many thanks to Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie for hosting!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Her Royal Highness Requests . . .

So here's a question for the weekend . . .
If you are the Mommy to a Princess, can you yourself be a Princess as well?

Evidently, the answer is (at least sometimes) yes.

My sweet new friend (and gorgeously gifted writer) Megan at Fried Okra has bestowed upon me the I'm a Blogging Princess award!
Thank you, Megan! Really, if ya'll haven't added Megan to your trusty feed reader by now, you are sorely missing out. That girl can get me to giggling like no other, but there are many beautifully written truths in the midst of the hilarity as well.

So I believe it is now my turn to bestow the honor on two more Bloggin' Princesses:

First, another blogger blessed with a great name: Meghan at Pyreflies over Zanarkland. (Meghan has that added "h" in her name that I so wantonly coveted when I was growing up. Oh, how I begged my parents to let me legally change the spelling of my name! Alas, at age thirty, I think I have finally found peace in being "h-less.") Meghan is an outrageously gifted photographer, writer, and mommy. She was my inspiration to start a blog myself and was a great source of encouragement when I was first getting my feet wet around here. Plus, she and her Prince just found themselves a new castle, so I think it's time we make her title official!

Secondly, I am passing this award on to Christy at After a Cup of Coffee or Two . Christy is a funny and courageous mom who openly shares the ups-and-downs of the life of a military wife. In the past month or so she has had to handle everything from a dastardly dishwasher to potty training - all on her own. More than anything, I think this says it all! Someone give this woman a tiara!


So that takes care of that business.

Now, on to my royal request . . .

I am going to make one more plea for all of you readers who haven't yet "checked the box" to go ahead and check that little guy. Katherine at Raising Five wrote on this again this week, and her clickable link in that post explains the how and why to check the box far better than I can.
And yes, I know some are hesitant to reveal their personal email address in the blogosphere. Not to worry! It's super easy to create one just for blogging. I have chosen gmail to handle my blog mail and am quite happy with the choice. One of my fave features of gmail is I can easily have all of my blog emails forwarded to a personal email account so I am not constantly checking separate accounts during the day. If you would like to open a gmail account, I have many invites available! Just let me know. Seriously, people.

Now, while you are out tootling around in blogland this weekend (because my gosh, isn't it too hot to do much of anything else?!), here are some things to keep ya busy:

You can go meet my "mind twin" Laura at Sweet Awakenings. Laura and I have known each other for a little over two years (already?!) in what started as a message board friendship. It's scary to me sometimes how much she truly does read my mind. Take a minute to peruse her Rebel Mama post and you will have my parenting philosophies in a nutshell.

Melissa of Little Woolgatherings recently rolled out the shiny new Melissa Garrett ~ A Writer's Woolgatherings. Go check out her new digs!

Ever creative in her ability to get bloggers writing and mingling, Jordan at MamaBlogga is hosting BlogOlympics next week! This looks to be great fun.

Finally, if you are itchin' for an exhilarating read on what God is doing world away from here, check out Beth Moore's report on her recent trip to Africa.

If you're looking for me this weekend, I'll be set up somewhere with my feet in buckets of ice water and the floor fan directed primarily on me and set to high . . .

Friday, August 10, 2007

Bit O' Crunchy, August 10th: WHOLE FOODS AND GOOD EATS

It's summertime and not only is the livin' easy, but it's also that time of year when your local farmers' market is brimming with all kinds of fresh-from-the-earth goodness. But if you grew up in a family like mine where a salad consists of a head of iceburg lettuce hacked into sorta bite-sized pieces, then it might be a little overwhelming to know what to do with foods that you know are good for you, but you don't know how to prepare.

For today's Bit O' Crunchy, I wanted to spotlight a few of my favorite go-to sites for all things whole food.

One of the most useful sites I have come across is The World's Healthiest Foods. This non-profit organization has collected an immense amount of information on choosing, preparing, and enjoying whole foods. The Healthiest Foods List is an exhaustive listing of "health-promoting foods" that allows you to discover in just one click the growing season, health benefits, shopping tips, recipes, and preparation ideas for 130 whole foods. Amazing! They also have recipes of the week, food of the week, and condition-specific health-promoting menu plans.

Another SortaCrunchy fave is VegWeb. I have been using this website for recipe ideas for over a year. Tons and tons of recipes with helpful reviews! Perfect for anyone who wants to dabble in vegetarian meal planning but isn't quite ready to invest in a new library of cookbooks.

Finally, I wanted to introduce you to Carrien at the real food revolution. This bloggin' mom has just started her real foods blog and it promises to have lots of practical, budget-friendly, and kid-approved ideas on how to get healthy, whole foods into the tummies you love best.

I would love to hear from you on what your favorite whole foods and healthy eating resources are! What whole and healthy foods have you been enjoying this summer?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Come and see what the Lord has done . . .

A few weeks ago, I shared thirteen areas of my life that testify to the fact that my life is very much a work in progress. As I concluded that list, I made the statement that perhaps I should share thirteen areas where the Lord God has brought victory to my life. Strangely, I feel much more hesitant in sharing these areas of victory than in openly sharing my imperfections. Basically, I just don't want to let God down, and I certainly don't want to embarrass Him or His Name with my words. It's easy for me to blather on about myself . . . not so easy to try to speak to the mightiness that is my God. And yet I feel that a follow-up in order because I don't want my insecurities to preclude testimony to His glory over what HE has done in my life.

As I reflected on how and what to share, a theme of freedom continually rose to the surface. I was reminded of the Apostle Paul's words in Galatians 5:1 "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free . . ." (NIV). I want to share these areas of victory in my life all within the context of this freedom I have found in Christ.

Personal freedom
1. Freedom from fear
2. Freedom from worry

In my Fine Lady post, I mentioned that I struggle with fear, but the struggles I encounter today are nothing compared to the bondage in which I used to live. I come from a long line of fearful people who can turn the most trivial of circumstances into shrines of worry. I used to believe, "Well, I am just worrier. That's how I was raised, it's in my genes, that's what I am destined to be." In the past ten years, God has shown me that this is most certainly not the case! I am free to live life free from fear and free from worry because I have chosen to serve a Savior who encourages His followers with "Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid" (John 14:27). It's true - my first instinct when a troubling situation comes up is to panic or fret, but day by day, God is leading me to a life more victorious over this tendency.

3. Freedom to be sure of my identity in Christ
The enemy, the accuser of the brethen, is quite adept at dancing in front of the eyes of my mind images and remembrances meant to keep me in bondage to my sin and to my past. Just as surely as the Lord God has a plan for my life, so does the enemy of my soul. Part of his scheme for my life is to go around with a distorted image of myself and of my God.
Based on the truths of Ephesians 1:3-8, I find freedom in refuting the enemy's attacks by choosing to believe I am loved, blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, and forgiven.

Freedom in my marriage
4. Freedom to practice biblical submission
Surely this sounds to some like a contradiction in terms. Free to submit? Yet God has allowed me to discover through some powerful teaching and even more powerful life experiences that there is indeed freedom for a wife who is willing to allow her husband to be the leader of the home. I could write a lot more on this (and maybe I will another time) but this is surely at the top of the list of victories God has done in me in our marriage.

5. Freedom to open myself to emotional intimacy with my husband
It would not have been possible except through the work of God in my heart for me to be able to reveal to and trust my husband with the heartaches and heartbreaks I brought to our marriage.

6. Freedom in mental purity and fidelity
For years after we married, I struggled with mental fidelity. Anytime I was mad at my husband, I would retreat to a fantasy life in which I had married someone else, someone who surely better understands me, better meets my needs. I don't want to dishonor my husband or our marriage by revealing anything beyond that, but I do have to say that God used the book Every Woman's Battle to bring about much victory and much freedom in me and in our marriage.

7. Freedom not to rely on my husband to have my every need met
What wonderous freedom there is in discovering that my husband is just a human being (just like me!) and that he can't possibly fulfill my every need and desire. It really lets him off the hook when I choose not to live in bondage to our culture's message that his purpose on this planet is to make sure I am fulfilled in every way, every day.

Freedom in relationships
8. Freedom from emotional manipulation from others
Again, this is an area in which I don't want to dishonor anyone, so I will say briefly that there are those in my extended family who have fine-tuned the practice of emotional blackmail and manipulation to the point where I was in deep bondage to their every thought, feeling, and crisis. God has gently led me to understand I am not responsible for their choices or for their reactions to my choices. When confronted with this type of manipulation, I have the freedom to find peace in that.

9 and 10. Freedom in the area of finances and jealousy
For whatever reason, God has not (yet) seen fit to bless us with an overflow of material wealth. (I sorta have a sneaking suspicion that He thinks maybe we can't handle it. I sorta agree.)
It's very hard for me to forgo the poisons of jealousy when for much our married life we have found ourselves in groups of friends who do have much more than we have (materially). And this led us to be irresponsible with the resources God entrusted to us. Finally, finally, we are both allowing God to work in both of our hearts to convict us of our sins in these areas and restore us to the wholeness that comes with being " . . . content in any and every situation . . ." (Phil. 4:12 NIV).

11. Freedom to be a stay at home mama
Simply put, being a SAHM to our children is the realization and fruition of a life-long dream for me. Certainly we struggle financially. Certainly, I struggle in all areas of motherhood. But to be able to live out this dream, this calling on my life . . . there is a sweetness of liberty here that I am unable to put words to.

12. Freedom to forgive
Earlier this year, my father chose to end a thirty-two year marriage to my mother. I truly don't think I could ever, ever, tell the volumes I have learned about forgiveness in the past year. What I can share is that I now know I can forgive anyone of anything at any time. Am I called always to restoration of relationship? No. Am I called to put my trust in a person again? No. But I am called to rely on the power of Christ to practice forgiveness if for no other reason than I am willing to accept the forgiveness afforded to me through Christ.

13. Freedom from religion
I am one of those born and raised in The Church. Southern Baptist since nine months before I was born. Hardly ever missed a Sunday School class, Girls in Action meeting, or youth group function. I accepted Christ as the Lord and Savior of my life at the age of six, and so it would be easy for me to coast through life with my grape Kool Aid and graham cracker theology and my handy fire insurance policy. But oh, my God was not content to settle for that. In my early twenties, He aroused an awakening within me that opened my eyes to what relationship with Him looks like lived out. I am coming to know more and more every day that God is - as Beth Moore writes in her study on Daniel - "relational to the core." Every single one of these freedoms find root in the tender beckoning for relationship from a God who loves me like no other.

Perfect? Hardly. Again, my Fine Lady list testifies to that. And ya'll don't even know what I chose to leave off that list! But free? Oh yes, glory to God.

"I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing pow'r revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, "Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,"
And somehow Jesus came and bro't
To me the victory
."
(Victory in Jesus, words and music by E.M. Barlett, 1939)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Monday, August 06, 2007

And so she made some lists . . .

Seth Godin recently wrote that "the mistake most blogs and books make: they are about the writer, not the reader."

Last month, I shared with you that I try to keep my audience in mind as I write and post here at SortaCrunchy.

But today I am going to be selfish and post some totally me-centered stuff just because I big fat want to. So feel free to skim on by if you feel so led, but I do want to say I am posting this publicly because I welcome advice and feedback and suggestions!

We are now staring down the barrel of less than one month until Little Sister's delivery. (Scheduled c-section date is September 5th.) As I panicked mulled this over yesterday, I found it very theraputic to make some lists. Helps me feel a little more, oh I don't know, centered? In control? It at leasts organizes my thoughts and helps me break free of this pervasive sense of denial which hounds me . . . denial that in less than one short calendar month, the SortaCrunchy family will be a Party of Four.

Humor me.

TO DO:

* wash and sort all of Little Sister's diapers
* figure out some kind of organizing solution for the cloth diapers that are slowly taking over the nursery (D's and LS's combined)
* find all the parts to my trusty hand pump and figure out what parts need to be replaced
* make appointment with our pediatrician to go over delayed vax schedule
* go over birth plan choices with my OB and clarify what hospital procedures will allow for (Can I have one arm unstrapped to hold her for a minute after she is delivered? Can she be with me in recovery? these kinds of things . . .)
* write thank you notes from LS's shower
* wash newborn clothes
* get a haircut
* pack hospital bag

TO BUY:

* more infant prefolds and small covers
* button-front pj's for Mama for the hospital and home
* at least one more decent nursing bra
* Lansinoh
* breast pads - cloth or disposable? Would love to hear feedback on what worked for you!
* more post-partum pads
* snacks for the hospital bag
* Mei Tai? Which one? I am to the point of having anxiety dreams over this one. Of course, I want an uber-cool, uber-chic BabyHawk, but the Budget Mistress within is balking at the price tag. But a Mei Tai will definitely take us through toddlerhood, isn't it worth the investment? But couldn't I find a fully functional Mei Tai for less somewhere? And so goes the circles of debate in my mind. DEFINITELY open to feedback on this one, mamas!

And so that's that. For now. Thanks for bearing with my all about Megan indulgence.

Menu Plan Monday - August 6th

Hola, mis amigas!

I am so excited to start a brand new week. Over the weekend, I finally started to feel like myself again. Wow - that was one eeeeeeeeevil tummy bug!

Yesterday, the players reported to the stadium to kick-off "fall camp." (For you football-knowledgable ladies, this is what they used to call "two-a-days," because the majority of the days leading up to the start of the football season were days of two practices in one day. For various reasons, there are now only a handful of actual "two-a-day" practices, so that adreline-inspiring term from my youth has been replaced with the less exciting but more accurate "fall camp.") Because The Coach will be out of the house much of the week, and because D is my born vegetarian, our menu is pretty basic and light this week.

Monday: Whole wheat spaghetti and four cheese pasta sauce, veggies
Tuesday: Bean and cheese quesadillas, veggies, fruit
Wednesday: Kids Choice Yummy Peanut Noodles
Thursday: Soup night
Friday: Frozen pizza (yep, I get lazier as the week goes on!)
Saturday: Chicken nuggets, sweet potato fries, veggies
Sunday: Yummy Black Bean, Tofu, Spinach Miracle on spinach wraps, fruit, pudding

Hope everyone's week is cool and tasty!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Bit O' Crunchy, August 3rd: POUCH SLINGS

This week has certainly been full of downtime, though not in the way I expected. Kicking this tummy bug has proved to be quite daunting, but I am feeling pretty hopeful that I am on the upswing. Finally.

I started feeling a bit nostaglic this week as I began to get serious about shopping for a few things we need for Little Sister. Thankfully, we have a wide array of baby gear and sweet girl clothes, but one thing I would really like is a new baby carrier. This got me thinking back to our first "real" carrier . . . a pouch sling.

I say "real" because my first foray into babywearing involved the unfortunate purchase of an Evenflo Snugli. I am sure these work wonderfully if the baby you are wearing doesn't top out the scales past the one hundredth percentile at each well-baby visit. D did. The Snugli was not a good choice for us.

By the time D was 4 months old, I realized I had a high-needs baby on my hands. She wanted to be carried all the time, everywhere. A friend of mine on a parenting message board posted about how happy she was with her recent Lucky Baby sling purchase, and when I began to investigate, I knew I had found what I was looking for. And so a Lucky Baby pouch sling became the first "real" carrier in our babywearing stash:


July 20, 2005 - who can believe it's been over two years?!

POUCH SLINGS - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

1) Pouch slings are sized. This means you will need to take careful measurements to get the best fit. A pouch sling that doesn't fit right will be uncomfortable for you and for baby.

2) Pouch slings are either padded or unpadded. The Lucky Baby (and pouch slings from mynestlings, another favorite company of mine) are unpadded. A very popular pouch sling that is padded is the Hotsling. These have a light layer of padding around the edge to allow for a cushier fit around baby's legs. Hotslings have become so popular, you can even find them at Target!

3) As long as you get a pouch sling with the right fit, I think these are a great "starter" sling. No ties, no buckles, no rings . . . just a simple design that has lasted through many eons of mamas needing to wear the baby. This is also a sling that could feasibly last you from infancy to toddlerhood, and the price point for this style of carrier is reasonable for those who are working with a tight budget.

Looking forward to questions and comments!