Sunday, December 28, 2008

quotes from nov, dec.

"moses lost his pharaoh." 11-01 (watching 'the prince of egypt')

sp: "where's moses?"
me: "he's in heaven."
sp: "...and he's coming back!" 11-02

"when she gets older, she will have some teeth and eat it!" 11-02

sp: "you look like a roly-pop." (lolly pop)
me: "how do i look like a roly-pop?"
sp: "cause i'm gonna eat it!" 11-05

"when i get bigger, i'm gonna be a mommy and i'm gonna wear a wedding dress!" 11-05

(it's really cute in general that she thinks every long gown is called a wedding dress.)

(singing) "i got a mommy and i got a sister, i got a golden and i got a daddy toooooo... i got an aya and i got an uncle and i got everything i neeeeeeeeed." early nov.

11-19: we were reading a book about a normal kid going over to a rich kid's house for a sleep over. on the page where he enters the house, sparrow looks at the illustration and says, "well...this is uncle rod's." she remembered what uncle rod's house was like, i was amazed! the last time we had been there was in the summer.

"kay, here's what you do. you dip it, then you taste it, like this!" 11-03 (eating carrots or something, and talking to herself

"kay, i got some cheese and i cannot think about it, and i cannot pay money for it, and i cannot eat it!" 11-06

sp: "God always goes pee."
mom: "well, you know, He's in heaven, so He doesn't have to go pee. when Jesus was on earth, He did have to go pee, but now he's in heaven, so he doesn't have to."
sp: "but He's coming back!"
mom: "that's right, He is. And He is God, but God is with us all the time."
sp: "well, where is God's hair?"
mom: "we're gonna have to ask Him when we see Him, sparrow."
sp: "i'm gonna say, 'Jesus, can i borrow your hair?'" 11-08

"swan lake needs more money." 11-09

"we're going to parks class. would you like to come, God?" 11-10

"God is getting SO tall! and he will be able to play play doh, (thinks twice) ...he is with me when i play play-doh." 11-10

"God, you died on the cross!" 11-10

me: "your shoes are on the floor."
sp: "oh! i thought they were in the basket!" 11-10 (pretty good sentence structure for a pre-3!)

"i love my baby! i wanna name her spot! i wanna name her stripe!" 11-10 (golden was wearing a stripey onesie)

me: "come over here!"
sp: sticks her legs under her nightgown and says, "I don't have legs to walk!!" 11-16

me: "don't touch her eyes, that's very very dangerous."
sp: "that's very, very owie." 11-10

sp: "what's that?"
me: "it's the couch cushions. they're made out of corduroy."
sp: "no, they're made out of pillows." 11-10

(sparrow sitting on the toilet)
sp: "it splashed me!!"
me: "yeah, sometimes poopy can do that."
sp: "um...poopy splashes me ALL the time!" 11-11

"maybe next week we could get some money and then maybe we could go to trader joe's." 11-12

we had just come back from viewing the ocean at sunset and i was talking to sparrow about how the ocean was all pink and purple. she says,
"can the ocean be like a dress?" 11-13

"i will pray for lily and i will pray for asher, and we'll pray for bananas." 11-19

sp: "i'm eating the wind!"
me: "what does it taste like?"
sp: "it tastes like chicken. tastes like vanilla." 11-21

sp: "are you doris?"
me: "yeah."
sp: "auntie christy calls you dodie." (how does she remember!?) 11-21

(going pee)
sp: "i like it!'s like rain!"
me: "your pee is like rain?"
(stops peeing)
sp: "the rain stopped!" 11-21

me: "do you want deck the halls, or joy to the world?"
sp: "i want duck to the holes." 11-24

"mom, is your scissors eating the leaf?" (i was cutting out a leaf for our thankfulness tree) 11-26

"look! the wall has a nose!" thanksgiving day 11-27 (putting a pointy object on the wall)

(borrow your hair! hahaha, but it's amazing, she does know the concept of borrowing. sometime in sept. or oct., we were going to the lomelino's and in the car i was all bummed when i realized i had forgotten Golden's pacifier. sparrow said, "you can borrow Hope's." and i did!)

"make sure it doesn't get dark so much." 11-22

one november day we saw an X on the sidewalk.
sp: "oh look! a cross!"
me: "ooh, what is a cross for?"
sp: "it's for God."

"some children are good and it makes God happy." 12-05

sp: "we're getting a kitty in two months."
me: "we can't get a kitty, daddy's allergic. do you know what allergic means?"
sp: "yeah."
liz koppa: "what does it mean?"
sp: "it means we can't get a kitty." 12-08

"dolphins don't have butts." 12-08

"they scampered along! and the little one is gonna scamper along!"
(bouncing carrots on her tray) 12-10

"mom, i'm eating a brown valise." 12-10
(she had no idea what a brown valise was, but she remembered the word from a book)

"God is with me when i'm washing my haaaaaaaiiiiiiiirrrr!" 12-09 (wailing in the tub. at least she knows God is with her at this *traumatic* time!)

"i began to fall down!" 12-13 (when she almost fell off a chair)

"is she gonna sleep for 20 minutes?" 12-14 (when i put golden down for her nap)

sparrow singing so accurately:
"you are beautiful my sweet, sweet song..." 12-15

"oh--we LOVE cardamom!" 12-15
(hearing me read a recipe aloud)

me: "sparrow, you're so observant! that means that you really look at things, and you see things, and you notice things..."
sp: "and i grab things!" 12-16

"the cars are going in time-out." 12-16

"a dog is not gonna eat us!" 12-16

" i saw a boy-lion in einstein!" 12-16 (she was referring to a baby einstein video)

"i'm cough-able." 12-17 (coughing, of course!)

"we live in january." 12-17

(holding a red candle)
"it's as red as a tomato!"
then, "mommy, remember not to eat it!" 12-19

"this soap is very smell-ful." 12-19

"YOU cut the banana. RIGHT NOW." 12-20

"i was eating an orange and i was watching the little prince of egypt!" 12-22
(telling me when she learned of hippos wanting to eat the baby moses basket.)

"mama, you smell like a wildebeest!" 12-26 (something she picked up from thomas!!)

sparrow was playing an alphabet game (god forbid) on a baby lap top. you were supposed to fill in the missing 1st letter in the word "moon." she looked at the image of the moon on the screen and said,
"it starts with goodnight!" 12-26

me: "do you have to go to the potty?"
sp: "no."
me: "then why are you clutching your bum?"
sp: "it means that i want to read a story." 12-26

(singing 'the lord is my shepherd, i'll walk with him always')
"always, always, i'll walk with camel ways!" 12-26

(we were looking at the lines in the sky created by airplanes and i wondered aloud if it was pollution that created the lines.)
sp: "wow, pollution! i love pollution!" 12-27

then she said, "that grass is named pollution." 12-27

"God pretects us! God pretects us in the cloud!" (we were driving to the beach and it was really foggy at the coast. we drove right into it and i told her we were going into a cloud. then she broke out with the "pre-tecting" heha, not protecting, mind you. then, since i always ask her in the car if the sun is in her eyes, she decided to let me know:
"the fog is in my eyes. I would like the fog to move." 12-31

"oh, there's a santa claus outside!" 12-31 (it was a bum with a white beard off the side of the road!)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

prayer and wet socks

we were supposed to drive to tucson on christmas for the missionary-kid reunion, which we decided we were going to attend after all--just before the deadline to register. so i was immensely excited. i love planning trips, getting ready, talking about the fun times ahead, the anticipation of new things. now i would get to introduce thomas to a bunch of the kids i grew up with! and we would get to remember my childhood in mexico, and how formative that experience was to my life. i felt a grace to go. holly had sent us a check for gas money!--what a sweet christmas present!!! and i really felt that we were all going to get a boost on this journey. change of scenery, get out of the rut we have seemed to be in lately... we celebrated christmas a day early in high excitement, and drove down to san diego christmas day, to spend the night with friends, planning to travel on to tucson on the 26th.

sparrow had had a cold the week before. i was so happy that she had kicked it a few days before we were due to leave. but the day after her coughing stopped, she got a new little cough, a very little one, and i was SO worried. why are you coughing!?! thomas said it was nothing. but sure enough, the cough got worse and worse and by the 25th she was so ill that all she did was lie around all morning and shriek instead of talk. shrieking. all. day. i was really not inclined to cancel the trip because of a cold so we prayed for her and headed down to san diego anyways. i was of the opinion that 2 days in the car wasn't gonna hurt her too much. it would be either sitting around in the car or sitting around at home, right?

the shrieking, however, did not stop in the car or at our friends' house. i had just run out of elderberry syrup (powerful natural cold fighter), and of course all the stores were closed christmas day so i couldn't get her any. it just seemed to be getting worse and worse. i felt so bad for sam and judy that their christmas was getting overtaken by this high-pitched wail... we tried EVERYTHING to get sparrow to calm down. movie, milk, blanket and pillow, hot water bottle, back rub, mac and cheese, stories... we would ask her something: "do you want some mac and cheese?" (which judy had specially made for her) "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" or she would periodically just burst out into painfully loud cries. what have i done? by nighttime i was so scared that this was something serious--meningitis? should we take her to the emergency room? no. no. all they would do is give her tylenol after waiting around for hours. i knew how hospitals worked. and she had a cough. this was not meningitis, i told myself. just a cold. but i had never before seen her this way, even though she gets PLENTY of colds. we kept inquiring as to where she was hurting, and all we got out of her was "MY MOOOOOOOOOOOOOUTH!!!" but her breathing was semi erratic and like shallow little contractions. other symptoms: fast-beating heart, lethargy, pallor, bad breath, high irritation. (she kept screaming at sam and judy's dog, poor pup.)

i sent out a text message to some friends asking for prayer because i didn't know what to do. i was ready to turn around and drive home that night. lauren, who is in naturopathic med school, responed to my text with the strangest treatment suggestion: put a pair of wet socks into the freezer, then put them on sparrow's feet. cover with dry socks. wrap the rest of her up so warm that she is sweating. leave the wet socks on all night, and they will be dry by morning. "knocks out most acute illnesses." thomas especially was QUITE sketched by this proposal, but i was desperate. sure, she would hate the wet socks. but she was hating life anyways, so might as well. so that is what we did to see what would happen. the night was awful, and golden wasn't doing so hot, either. she wasn't sick, but she knew she was in a strange place and had a hard time going to sleep. at one point i got off a brief phone call with holly and walked back into the room. sparrow was shrieking in the bed. golden was wailing in her pack n play. thomas was in the bed with a pillow over his head! he had given up. hahahaha...(i found out later that he was getting sick at that point too.)

i crawled into the little bed with my butt falling off and trying not to inhale sparrow's germs too much. crying, praying, i managed to doze off a few times and survive the night. the next morning we made our coffee and headed straight for home. sparrow's personality was back to its normal chatty self! wow. what a relief. she was still coughing, and we were exhausted. arizona was out of the question by then. she would have infected the other children anyways.

and that is the story of our family christmas trip 2008. bizarre! i was so disappointed to have missed the reunion. but as always, God knows best.
here's to prayer wet socks!


christmas is so much more exciting with young children in the house. i love being the mom who gets to coordinate the christmas and advent activities, and create traditions and stimulate the excitement that the kids have for this day.

my mom was like that in our household growing up. she died when i was 15, and we tried to keep a semblance of christmas together for a year or two, but the magic had flown. i remember that first christmas; here's how my dad did presents: we all went on a shopping outing at some point in december. he gave us each $50 and told us to buy ourselves christmas presents, and to meet back in an hour. it was kinda fun, but it wasn't christmas. my mom had always known what to get that we would love, even though we never made christmas lists in our family. after a few years we didn't even bother setting up the tree anymore because we couldn't be bothered to take it back down again. i am so glad that it has all become fun for me again.

the other thing i grew up with in my family and plan to continue for my children is the lack of the santa claus fable. of course we knew "about" santa claus--how can you not these days--but my parents never made him out to be real, and i am grateful. people who grew up with the fable of s.c., for example, and then become christians, have the dilemma of what to do about santa, because they remember how magical it was to believe in him, and yet probably don't want their kids having that focus instead of Jesus. for me--not an issue at all, see? i didn't know what i was missing! christmas, let me tell you, is magical for a child, period. santa or no santa.

well every time december rolls around, i start singing christmas carols to sparrow in the car. i know she loves it when i do these things for her. this year she would ask for christmas songs at various times. like one night when she was going to bed. "can i have a christmas carol?" "ok," i said, "which one do you want? joy to the world, deck the halls, or silent night?" she said, "duck to the holes!" alright!
"duck to the holes with boughs of holly, fa la la la la, lala la laaaaaaa..."

another great christmas moment happened this year when we encountered our neighbor janny out in the parking lot one morning. she was wearing a sweater with houses, snow, snowman, etc. depicted on it. sparrow said, "is janny wearing a christmas sweater?"
me: "yeah!"
sp: "christmas lives in winter."
j: "and you live in warm weather."
sp: "no, i live in january!"
oh, naturally! i was half expecting her to say california.

it was a lovely christmas season. we did advent every night that we could manage it, including a wreath with candles, and a jesse tree with specific readings about jesus' ancestors, and crafts. i haven't got a lot of advent songs down yet, but christmas songs work just as well. i cut out a jesse tree out of paper grocery bags (the blank back side) and made up the crafts as we went along. i had gotten some suggestions for characters and their symbols from a website (abraham-star, boaz-sandal, etc.) but we improved the craft and method according to our materials and creativity. sparrow still asks for advent crafts, and the jesse tree looks so fun that i don't want to take it down!

we celebrated christmas eve and christmas a day early because we were supposed to be traveling on the 25th. it was all really fun, i made a nice dinner on our "christmas eve." and mince pies--vegetarian (the idea of sweet beef grosses me out)--which i had been really excited to try, but have concluded that a simple apple pie is more satisfying. and we read the nativity story and had good family times.
From december 08

From december 08

on our "christmas day" we had french toast, bacon (which i seem to never eat anymore but on christmas), sweet chicken apple sausage, and opened presents and packages from germany! these are my favorite nowadays. my sister sent a fabulous one, as did this woman erika motzkus, who was like a second mother to my mom. she never forgets us at christmas time, even though i bet it's been over 10 years since i've seen her. it's not christmas without the german chocolate. a friend had given me money to buy sparrow (and golden) christmas presents, so i had thought about it and ended up buying her s bunch of clothes, which she really needed. i had gotten a bit panicky about which gimmicky toys she would like best and then i remembered: she doesn't need more "stuff." she says she wants something but usually doesn't end up playing with things that much unless i am playing with her. what she needs is more focused time with me. that is what she'll remember. but i had the best time picking out clothes at naartjie. we had been praying for months for some long-sleeved shirts for sparrow, expecting them to show up at the doorstep, but this is how God provided for that. along with another friend who had asked us what she needed and bought shirts for her! her really special present was a pair of real ballet slippers. she had been confiscating golden's mary-jane socks and stretching/wearing them out, calling them her ballet slippers, so i thought it might be time she get some real ones. melissa had also found a kids' ballet bar and saved it for us. the other favorite was a pink suitcase/backpack with stuffed pig included, from uncle. and a pink princess blanket/pillowcase that i had found at ross several months earlier, and had saved for chritmas. as for golden, she didn't care that she didn't get much. the only year i can get away with that! but i wrapped for her a little stuffed dog and soft blankie that cybil had given me for golden's baby shower. and a blanket that larry and paula had handed down, that we hadn't used yet. basically, golden just wanted to eat the paper and curly ribbons. yeah!

we had several soups, as well as crackers with a cheese torta thing, dates, cuties, cookies, etc. set out to eat throughout the day. the soups was an idea from one of the MOPS ladies. she said her family never cooks big meals on christmas but has a variety of soups cause no one wants to be that busy in the kitchen all day long. what a brilliant suggestion. plus, it was really christmas eve for everyone else, so we were going to church in the evening. i think we should have church on christmas night every year. a great way to end christmas. and when the kids were in bed, i listened to christmas music and sipped mulled wine while i packed our things for arizona. too lovely, and the weather all cold outside. see, the kids brought the excitement back into this, but it lingers on even when i am by myself.

From december 08

From december 08

From december 08

From december 08

in our christmas (eve) finery

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

christmas cards 2008

well... in the interest of saving stamps, time, etc. but mainly stamps, the christmas card will be an e-card again this year. and there will be two of them! here they are:

From december 08

From december 08

sorry that first one is a little small. anyone whose email i have will be getting one emailed anyways. i haven't quite figured out yet how to work the picture function here in the best way yet.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

a blessed morning

this morning as we were praying before thomas left the house, sparrow said "pee! pee!" we had JUST asked her before we'd started praying if she had to go potty and she hadn't responded, so i whispered to her now that she would have to go by herself. she ran off in her footed pj's. i was a bit concerned about her ability to get them off in time, but resolved to stay with the prayer. but sure enough, a minute later she started to wail. she had not been able to loosen the button, and had peed all in her pajamas and undies and all over the bathroom floor. i had gotten a pretty good night's sleep, so i wasn't gonna trip too much. it was only pee. we'd clean it.

when thomas left, i resolved to give sparrow a bath so she could wash the pee off. i also planned to wash her hair, which is always an enormous challenge. but i was letting her play in the tub a little before we started that process. i had to tend to golden with something for a few minutes. it was rather quiet in the bathroom. finally i hear sparrow's voice cheerily coming from down the hall, asking me to come in there. i walk in and sparrow says "look, mama!" and points into the tub. whot! poop! she had made a whole loaf in the bath water! i quickly got her out and told her that that was not really an ok place to go poop. then i drained the water, scooped the poop out with paper towels, and cleaned the tub. then she got back in and we did the hair washing. and though i talked to her a lot about pooping and where it's supposed to be done, i can tell you that i was thinking about my great blessing in being a mom to these kids. i should be so lucky as to get to scoop their poop. here's jen and joseph who will forever feel the loss of their baby sarah, and here i am with not one, but two healthy girls. who am i to deserve this. i know i don't. and today that knowledge was with me as i wiped out that tub. on a tired day i might have yelled. but reading the sarah pages blog last night made me completely sober. i was a better mom today because of it.

new and improved baby burping!

thomas and i discovered a new and improved baby-burping method the other week. why the need for such a thing, you ask. well. i was sitting around one day just thinkin' "hm, i wonder what it feels like to golden when i smack her back like this to burp her all the time!" because seriously, the nurses in the hospital will tell you, "don't be shy! don't be timid! give the kid a good solid whack!" i think one of them even laughed at me when i first tried to burp sparrow with nice, gentle taps. well here's news to the nurses and to every mother out there: getting hit on the spine by hard, bony hands is NO fun! it rattles your brain! try it on yourself.

so my innovative husband comes along and takes this information to the next level, creating a back-burping alternative. instead, you can use this very effective method: tap the baby--gently--on the side/back right about where their ribs end, near the stomach, but not on the front side of the belly. (if i had a scanner i would draw an illustration of exactly where and add the visual. perhaps i can do a video tomorrow!) this works so well that the baby usually burps huge burps in a matter of seconds. when thomas tried it on himself, it worked on him too! he wouldn't stop doing it and burping. anyways, the medical/social peeps are soooooo concerned about people shaking their babies (legitimately), and spankings (way too paranoid), yet they inoculate youngsters with poorly tested rabbit-brain, monkey kidney, formaldehyde vaccine cocktails and tell mothers to hit their babies on the back 8 times a day!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

golden the smiley and other short tales

golden is an amazingly smiley and sweet baby. she has wide cheeks and it just kills me when i look across the room and she is beaming at me for no reason. she learned to roll over about 2 weeks ago or so, onto her belly. by now she has even rolled herself back a few times. anyways, at first she didn't so much like being on her belly, but she felt the urge to move, so she would roll anyways. then she'd be stuck on her belly and would start to complain a little. now that she can lift herself up with her arms a bit more it is loads more fun. she just stares at everything and smiles. she loves to stare at sparrow in her activities. i just can't believe how mellow she is. at naptime today i put her in her pack-n-play and sparrow in the crib, and told them both to go to sleep. neither of them did, but they were both very quiet, and i must have slept for about half an hour. when i got up, golden was turned all about with her head on the foot end of the pack-n-play, but she was all shiny and happy and sweet!!! m, i want to eat her all up!

we took the girls to the sb museum today. i told sparrow that when we woke up, we would go see picasso. i told her who he was and everything, and she said "he was a man" and "he was a daddy." all true. anyways, she remembered after the nap, because when i asked her to tell daddy what we were gonna see today she whispered "picasso." it was the last day of an exhibit of "picasso on paper," and sundays is free. i was really excited to get to go see it. there was also a gorgeous chagall with the red horse; i think that is one of the museum's permanent pieces, which is SO COOL! i love it. i wanted a shot of me and golden and the chagall, so i stood in front of it with her and took it myself. i love those kinds of pictures, and i was not at all embarrassed to do it, but soon enough someone came along who offered to take the pic. for me so i let them take one too. then i felt a little embarrassed. hee hee! but i do love art.

here are sparrow and thomas with one of the picassos:
From december 08

here is golden with picasso:
From december 08

golden and me with the chagall! sorry about the blur in all of these, they didn't allow flash in the museum.
From december 08

more detail on the horse head
From december 08

the cage

sparrow's favorite toy at the moment is the laundry basket. she goes under the empty basket and says, "you're in a pet store!" she pretends to be a lion or tiger. yesterday she spent 20 straight minutes in "the cage!" she insisted on going in there at nap time. i told her that when she changed her mind about sleeping in the cage, she could come out and get in her bed, but she would have to tuck herself in because i was going to sleep now. and i dozed off. but i was still aware of her little shuffles and sounds 20 minutes later. i realized she hadn't changed her mind, and yet she couldn't fall asleep because she was too cramped, and i couldn't properly fall asleep because she was stirring! HA! i had her get into her bed at that point, shaking my head in confounded awe over her cage-endurance!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

tree decorating adventures

today was such a lovely day; the family got to go get a christmas tree at home depot. sparrow and i were REALLY excited and were chanting "christmas tree! christmas tree! we want a christmas tree!" in the car as we waited for thomas to join us. thomas ended up picking out one of the all-tied-up ones without us even looking at it; we were going in faith. and it turned out perfect! it has the gorgeous A-line that you want, with a nice, full bottom. tonight as we decorated it, i was half encouraging sparrow to get involved, half directing her with "NO!"s because she really wanted to throw the globes around and such. she was in complete christmas glee and was jumping around in a fairy dress while vigorously swinging around her crazy purple swirl/bell ornament that she had picked out at the store. this ornament is huge and i don't believe any of the branches on our douglas fir can actually support it, but nevermind. i had told her i would let her pick one out and that is what she chose. i like the tree decorated in just white and red, so it was quite the exercise in restraint for me not to direct her to the red ornaments and say, "no, pick one out from heeeeeere."

well, purple ornament in hand and bouncing around with her dad, she was laughing vigorously until suddenly she began to shriek and jump, crying, "hurt! hurt!" and clutching her bum. wot! we realized she hadn't put her panties back on after going potty last time around, and that she had scooted onto a pine needle! thomas got it off her and showed her what it was, but she made no change in her behavior and kept screaming "hurt, hurt!" and dancing about. i thought there might be a spider in her dress or something, so we took it off, and finding nothing unusual on her body, i realized i had to check the butt again. sure enough, in the anal cavity there was another pine needle, stuck perfectly straight in! i extracted it at last, which required some precision. immediately sparrow returned to her happy play as thomas and i continued to chuckle. naked toddlers and pine needles are evidently a dangerous mix. panties back on, the evening continued in peace, harmony, and the glow of twinkling little lights.
From december 08

From december 08

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

we're gonna die!

11/17 at chase palm park.

at chase palm park the other day, a little boy about sparrow's age was playing with a jeep. he was really friendly and kept on coming over to our blanket and running his jeep in sparrow's "space." i could tell she was slightly put off by his outgoing behavior, and i used the opportunity to try to teach her to respond kindly and engage with the lad. after awhile, she decided to talk to him. she bent over, looked into his face, and said enthusiastically, "we're gonna die!"

ha! i couldn't help laughing. we'd had a conversation about dying that morning--i was telling her all about heaven and how all things must eventually die. well evidently the kid had had some concept of death, too, because he looked a little worried, and said, " we're not!" then he ran off and didn't come back.

isn't it interesting that he had been introduced to the concept of death but didn't know it was going to happen to him. and he obviously didn't know that there could be a good side to death. i want my children to be acquainted with the idea of redemption in death: eternity with the Lord. yes, it is sad and unnatural, as our spirits obviously "know" that we were not made to die. and yet, the sooner kids grasp the reality of it, and the glory for christians on the other side, the better. these girls have to grow up to be warriors in a difficult world. we are not to raise them in expectation of a comfortable, easy life. kingdom-minded. i think that was sparrow's first attempt to spread the gospel! i am sure as time goes on she will learn to soften the approach.

Friday, October 31, 2008

october quotes

"i wanna go poop again!" 10-01 (after getting a vitamin reward for going poop in the potty.)

the neighbor girls (twins) are about 4 yrs old and they NEVER say hi or smile. they always just stare and sometimes make comments about us like we're not even there. the other day sparrow went out into the courtyard where they were playing with dolls, and she asked me: "can i visit the girls?" i said "i don't know, you'll have to ask them." she bravely goes up to them and says, "can i please visit you?" they said nothing. but sparrow would not be intimidated. she hovered close by and inched ever closer. soon she was sitting happily on the steps next to them. they pretty much ignored her but were not mean, as i had feared, and even let her touch and play with some of their dolls. she is so brave!

i was talking delightedly about new baby golden and how little she is. sparrow cuts in:
"and i'm OLD!" without missing a beat. her eyes were wide and round. 10-01

lately, sparrow is sooooo funny with baby golden. she rushes up to her, gives her a huge, in-the-face smooch, then without even watching her for a reaction, shouts out immediately "LOOK AT THAT SMILE!"

"mom! the girl doesn't want me!" 10-03 (about a little girl at our 'growing times' class who would yell "NO!" every time sparrow came into her vicinity.)

(arranging the 3 cars of her toy train)
"you first and you first and you first.." 10-06

(looking at a book about parades. the st. patrick's day parade page comes up.)
"just like we went to irish!" 10-06

(looking at a picture of strep throat bacteria in a magazine. it was purple and green.)
"oooh! look at that! ...we're gonna eat it!" 10-07

(singing to the tune of "pony boy"):
"sippy cup, sippy cup, won't you be my sippy cup. don't say no..." 10-08

"bougainvillea!" 10-09 (yes, she knows the bougainvillea plant. she also knows other flowers by name like morning glories, except she calls those "morning glorias," and now i do too!)

(watching "24"--yes, we did let her watch one episode with us.)
thomas: "oh no, what a hag!"
sparrow: "wook! another tag!" 10-09

"honey! i made art project!" (yelling into the phone at thomas) 10-09

(pics of sperm on computer) "looket! bugs!" 10-11

"does kristy have a butt?" (she fell in love with kristy maligro when we saw her briefly, and now continues to think about her...) 10-12

(playing with sand and a funnel.)
she comes up to me with a funnel full of sand and says,
"i'm havin' some wine." 10-12

(sees rattle in a book.) looks for awhile, then says
"einstein!" (reminds her of the einstein videos i guess!) 10-12

(me kissing golden numerous times on cheeks.)
sp: "are you gobbling her up?" 10-12

(drinking water)
"it smells like avocado." 10-15

(finishing breakfast.)
sp: "all done! can we go to oregon?"
me: "well...not today, but maybe next year!"
sp: "i wanna go to it!" 10-15
(because i had told her a few days ago that kristy had gone back to oregon to be with her kids.)

thomas: "so...what do you think? should we go to oregon?"
sparrow: "can i come?"

"mom, can you talk to the words?" (when she wants me to start reading a book that she has opened.)

"oh! lion dandies!" (dandylions) 10-16

"maybe in a couple of days i will kiss her." (because sparrow has been sick and i haven't been letting her kiss golden.) 10-16

"the alligators were sick, and i haven't didn't kiss them." 10-16

sp: "this is baby jeremiah. i wiped his bum." (with a tiny doll after we visited new baby jeremiah. then,
sp: "here's his sacrum." (pointing to the correct area on the doll.)
me: "oh! yeah! good job! ....and here's your sacrum." (i point.)
sp: "no, this is not my sacrum."
me: "where's your sacrum?"
sp: "here." (points to her ribs.)
me: "oh! ...well, where's baby jeremiah's sacrum?"
sp: "his sacrum is in the house."
(she meant "in samuel's house. duh, mom! that's where baby jeremiah is!) 10-16

(singing to herself after we put her to bed)
"daddy's in the living room and he's not coming back. he's not coming back. and he's done teaching the girls...and miss paula..." 10-21

"did we get some ganic milk?" (organic) 10-22

(singing)"i don't like feathers, and the mountains are playing dress-up, and we're going to mops, and i'm singing." 10-22-08

"i bedda get ta sleepin'." 10-22

"the balls are fighting!" (see-thru rain stick) 10-24

slightly butchering the title of a book called big time olie, where rolie polie olie messes with a shrink and grow machine, sparrow said,
"rolie polie time eater!" 10-25

she dropped my bobby pin into the toilet. she knows better than that. i asked her, "why did you drop mommy's bobby pin into the toilet?" she said happily, "in the water!" i couldn't be too bummed. 10-26

sp: "mommy, are you sleeping?"
me: "not yet, but maybe if you stop talking, i can fall asleep."
sp: (whispers) "i stopped talking." 10-29

me: "stop pushing that button, or i'll have to take it away."
sp: "just a little bit?" (pushes again) 10-29

reading a book where a dog knocked over a bowl of balls and a man slipped on them, sparrow says,
"maybe i can be a doggy and maybe i can be a man, and maybe i can go in the book and slip on the balls!" 10-29

(she was playing with daddy making a tent with a blanket. she stuck her head out but the rest of her was still under the "tent.")
"it's so warm for my butt!" 10-31

sparrow doesn't really love peanut butter but i have been trying to encourage her to eat it. i made her a dip with peanut butter for her lunch today, but she wasn't touching it. at some point she said, "i was eating my ice cream!" just playing, i guess. i took a little carrot stick and dipped it in the peanut dip and said, "mm, i'm eating my ice cream right now!"
sparrow: "but i'm not eating it!" (she won't be fooled!) 10-31

"it's singing a song about my lunch!" (she was playing with a little musical toy during lunch.) 10-31

me: "we should get some snap peas to put in the salad tomorrow."
sparrow: "and roly-pops!" 10-31

(today she got her first candy ever: a lolly pop. she kept calling it a "roly-pop," it was so cute! in the car she was saying, "isn't it beautiful?" she was truly in love with her roly pop.)

sp: "oh no!"
me: "what's wrong?"
sp: "it just got an owie."
(then i was recording what she had just said onto my phone, and she heard me talking ahout how her roly-pop just got an owie.) she says,
"no! you forgot the kiss!" (her roly-pop needed a kiss on its owie, apparently.)

sp: "mommy, are you really sad?"
me: "yeah."
sp: "it's gonna be alright." 10-31

sp: "i'm talking to God!"
me: "oh yeah? what are you saying to him?"
sp: "hey God! i got letters!" 10-31

Sunday, October 19, 2008

sparrow's avant-garde pumpkin

we are going to a little class every friday called "growing times." it is put on by sbcc adult ed and is a fun preschool-style setup, except all the moms are there too. (which is why it's so cheap!) it has been saving my sanity cause i don't have to come up with the activities! the one drawback is that of course the discussion topics are from a liberal standpoint, and i get no say in the kids' crafts.

october is here, so of course the crafts involved black spiders and jack-o-lanterns this past week. but sparrow, she has no respect for the traditional jack-o-lantern. she pasted those eyes, and mouths every which way, and kept on pouring the glue on top as if it were paint. hah! that's my girl. all the other moms were strictly directing their toddlers where to paste the shapes--doing it for them, in fact, but hey. i figure, it's sparrow's craft, and she should paste the shapes wherever the heck she wants. hers was the only avant-garde jack-o-lantern in the room. making mama proud!

she loves this thing, and even tried to take it to sunday school to show miss paula today!

Friday, October 3, 2008

quotes galore at 2 1/2

"i did sleep good." (we didn't ask!) 06-08-08

"daddy, mommy did get my tutu." 06-08 (i love how she substitutes "did" when she is not sure how to conjugate something into past tense. she is so smart! she goes with "did" and keeps the tense as she knows it.)

"yes, jesus! yes, mommy and daddy!" 06-14

"oh my goodness. that's nasty. my ice cream is nasty!" 06-27

"grabioli." (ravioli) -sometime in june or july

we were looking at a book with a drawing of some goats; they had scraggly little beards which she looked at and said:
"the goats are eating some spaghetti or something!" -sometime in july

there was a homeless man in the parking lot of albertsons. he had a big old hat on and a big old shopping cart piled with stuff. sparrow, seeing him, said,
"look! the farmer is here!" 07-03

"i got my fingernails in the bagel store." 07-03

"i wanna play with the burst-a-bulb. i wanna read about the burst-a-bulb." 07-03
(this was in reference to a story book that talked about the sun that burst a bulb.)

"night-night, belly. night-night, tatas. night-night big belly." 07-31

"it's morning time! ...uncle's still sleeping." 08-04

"God makes GREAT popsicles!" (miracles) 08-04

when she prays at night nowadays, she prays gibberish a lot. baby tongues? we do trust she will be filled with the holy spirit!

"i will see a bangeroom in this book." (boomerang) 08-17

"i need to crash (crush) my mountains." (trying to flatten the bumps her zipper makes on her pajamas) 08-17

me: "it would be good if you could walk."
sp: "it would be good if i could be happy." 08-18

"the goats are eating some spaghetti or something." (august)
(she was looking at a book. the goats had stringy beards!)

"he's sitting down like a tall tree." 09-01

sp: "is she still sucking on your finger?"
me: "no."
sp: "is she still sucking on your eyebrows?" 09-01

she is saying "kay" before speaking, because that is what i do!!! so funny, i noticed that i usually start with K (as in "OK"), like "K, we're gonna have to go pretty soon," or "K, be really gentle with that." now she is speaking similarly!

"god loves my tea. god is gonna taste it too." 09-03

"mama, can you teach me how to make an ampersand?" 09-03

sp: "i want normal milk."
me: "you have normal milk."
sp: "no, this is water milk." 09-24
(during a stage where i was trying to save money on almond milk by watering it down slightly. she will not be fooled!)

"mom, are you burping the child?" 09-10

me: "are you a birdie?"
sp: "yes, i'm a birdie!" (runs off to play.) later:
sp: "hey mommy birdie!"
me: "hey baby birdie!"
sp: "baby birdies is in the bedroom."
me: "well what are you?"
sp: "i'm still a bigger birdie."
me: "oh."
sp: "where's daddy birdie? where's rick birdie?" 09-10

"my hands are all prinklied." 09-10 (after a bath)

"here goes a storm!" (dumping water in the sink) 09-10

because sparrow loves to climb and bounce on me when i'm nursing, i have been telling her, "i'm not a jungle gym!" the other day she realized it before i could tell her:
"mom, are you not a jungle gym?" 09-10

sparrow playing with a cutout character she got from a craft at sunday school.
sp: "here's a bath for jesus. i'm gonna get his nice long hair wet." (dipping him into a toy bread pan.) "he's crying."
me: "oh yeah? what does he sound like?"
sp: "he sounds like...a weasel." 09-10

sp: "people ate derika, mama."
me: "what? people like derika? people like her?" (trying to hear correctly)
sp: "no. derika got eaten." 09-10

"can i come up here? i still need lots of love." 09-13

me: you're gonna grow up and leave the nest...
sp: "and i got my father,"
me: "yes, and you'll get a husband and babies..."
sp: "and then, i'm gonna find an heir!" 09-17
(just kidding! what she actually said was i'm gonna fly in the air, like the ducks that were flying away in the story. but i sure was trippin' when i thought she said she was gonna find an heir!)

"oh yeah!" or "oh. yah." all the time!!

"when daddy gets bigger, he will sleep in my bed." 09-20

"the deepness" 09-21 (she kept talking about "the deepness" for some reason but i don't know where she got that lingo from!)

(hears music from swan lake on the tv)
"swan lake! swan lake is here! it's waiting for me!" 09-22

"a bat flies! but only purple bats can fly. but no gray bats can fly." 09-22

"when golden gets bigger, she will able to say bungy bungy! and she will able to take a bath and wash her hair and get her toys and go on the big potty, an dgo on the potty, and walk, and spray something, and get her spray bottle..." etc. 09-23

"when uncle gets little, he will able to cry." 09-23

"be careful little goat where you walk...
be careful little trees where you grow...
be careful little brushes where you paint...
be careful little guitar where you sing..." 09-25

me: baby, don't put your spoon in the salsa."
sp: "it's gonna get too salsy." 09-25

responding to the question "what did you do today?"
sp: "i did sleep good and i did some food and some tea and some toys and some books." 09-27

me: "what time did you wake up?"
sp: "i woke up for 10 hours." 09-27

"my armpit is actually kinda wet." 09-29

she randomly named my big blue exercise ball "mr. jillian." WHERE do these things come from? but now she always refers to it as mr. jillian, and so do we, of course! (sept.)

(thomas on computer)
thomas: "so i'm just gonna go to craigslist."
sp: "i wanna go all together!"
(sometime in sept.)

"is jesus comin'?" (looking suspiciously around her.) (sept.)

i am usually pretty tired and monotone with poor sparrow. well one day, i decided to try to get a little more enthusiastic (was probably inspired by marylinn byers) and i started saying something to sparrow enthusiastically, with big eyes, and apparently freaked her out, cause she said immediately,
"No! i don't want a voice!" (sept.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

golden's sunny self, and discussion on baby poop

a little progress note on the newest mcdonnell! i have written about sparrow so much, and this IS supposed to be primarily a family journal, so i can't neglect to write about the cutenesses of golden as well.

she is such a precious child of God. she is clever and charming. she has gotten really smiley lately and likes to gurgle and coo gently. she smiled for the first time at 3 weeks! she is now noticing when someone comes into the room, and has started to "track" people with her eyes. Golden has slept til 5 or 6 am several times already! yessssss. it depends on how soon she last nursed or pooped before bedtime. honestly i think her bowel movements more often wake her up than does hunger.

i have been attempting to infant potty-train, which has been really interesting: I try to be in tune with her body language enough to notice when she is pooping. then i take her diaper off quickly and set her over a little pot (old yogurt container) and i say her trigger word. "doo doo!" reminiscent of a dog, i know, but this is the trigger word used by the pearls in the book that 1st introduced me to the concept of infant potty training, and well, i was too lazy to make up my own. so doo doo it is. except sparrow seems to find this word highly amusing, and now she runs around gleefully exclaiming "doo doo! doo doo!" which is obviously going to render the trigger ineffective! i have been trying to explain to her that that is mommy's word and that she should call it poopy. now she says when golden is doing her thing, "DOO DOO!... poopy! i said poopy!" hhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahaha. so accommodating.

the idea of the trigger word is that eventually Golden will associate it so much with pooping that i'll be able to set her on the pot and say it, and then she will go, not the other way around. usually she takes quite awhile to push it all out, with long breaks in between; which is why it's so challenging. (well, one of the reasons.) she tends to pee right after she is done pooping, and i have a separate trigger for peeing: "psssssssssssssss." but the pooping is the main issue.

i got a few more ideas for helping her along yesterday while reading ina may's guide to childbirth. she describes a technique for helping a woman in labor to relax her leg muscles, which in turn relaxes her sphincters. you shake or roll the muscles of her thighs and butt. germans call this "shaking the apples." i love germans. anyways, so i thought, what if it helps to relax the cervix-sphincter, it probably helps relax the anal one also! i have started grunting along with her too, because for laboring women it helps to get down and make the noises with them. bingo. now i just treat golden in her b.m. like a woman in labor and it has been much funner (and effective?) ever since.

another idea i got for saving money on diapers was to use cloth diapers and hand wash them. this was made possible by thomas' brother sending down all their daughter's recently outgrown all-in-ones. i never would have been able to afford the initial cost of buying the diapers, so i am really excited that i got some free ones. however, i am beginning to doubt that i will actually be able to accomplish this hand washing. it is already more than i can handle to spray and wash the stained clothes before it's too late. what am i thinking!?! i can't keep the bedroom picked up, the kitchen swept, or the living room vacuumed, yet i am going to sit and scrub diapers every night during my free time? ...well, i am ambitious, i guess, and eager to do my part to help save money. my excuse for not having started doing this yet is that i will need a fairly large tub where i can soak the diapers in vinegar til they are ready to be dried (so they don't get mildewy). i could do a dryer load every 3 days or so and still save a bunch of money. so we haven't gotten me my tub yet. waiting to pay the major october bills first. gotta keep these priorities straight, you know. rent before pooping gadgets.

Friday, September 26, 2008

feelings of evening

a rambling of some things i was feeling when we were putting the girls to bed/ praying. is it just a temp attack, or am i becoming somehow clinically depressed?

i am angry, irritated, or on edge most of the time. i hate the person that i am becoming. i hate that i snap and yell at sparrow so much instead of giving her sparkle and joy and song. i feel helpless in my circumstances. i feel lusterless. getting uglier. i hate that i slouch all the time, that i can't speak german. that we can't even go visit germany. i hate that i wasted away my whole interitance on everyday expenses. i hate that i haven't become a professional in anything, but am an amateur in many things. it is useless. i am afraid of profession. i feel fated and unsupported. frowny. cynical. unwilling to support my husband in his dreams. my own opportunity to work right now is next to nil. i know my job as a mother is immensely important, yet i feel like i am failing at even that. the one thing i have ample opportunity to do. so many other things i'd like to do but am crippled because of a lack of money or time. it's just not how i ever pictured my life. i feel like becoming a missionary, but only because it would give some meaning and honor to our poverty. i feel scatterbrained. unable to complete basic tasks, like vaccuuming. all day i spend trying to just barely keep the house in a semblance of livability, but while i wash dishes, sparrow is ripping up and strewing paper everywhere (for example). then i spend the next 10 mins. cleaning that up but get interrupted cause she has to go poo and needs me to sit there with her for 15 minutes while it comes out, then it takes me 5 to 10 mins. to finally get her to put her panties back on, then while i am cleaning her potty she dumps out her toys and comes into the bedroom shaking a loud rattle which makes the baby wake up and now it is noon and i haven't even showered yet. i get so frustrated. i am graceless. i feel like i spend my whole day trying to minimize fallout from hurricane sparrow and never have time to really clean anything thoroughly. anal. never able to think and do a task at the same time. lazy. unresearched. opinionated but unexcited. apprehensive of the future. self-cursed. pessimistic. losing hope for change. a permanent drain on society. a constant burden to my friends. charity case. i'd like to be the one who has money to give. the one extending blessing to others. but all i do is complain (even now) and batter friends with my issues and opinions. i feel stuck. wishing to find the reason but unable to sort through the chaos. unable to keep a schedule. unable to formulate goals. indecisive. i feel no clarity in my mind or life yet don't know what i've done to cause this.

these little people are gonna grow up to be my strong daughters. let me be a person of substance, Lord. make me like steel, nay, like gold. pliable, beautiful.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


sparrow hit a major milestone today in her artistic development: the mandala! let me explain.

in the book young at art, the author, susan striker, outlines the artistic development of children in the stages through which they all progress as little creative beings. first they scribble. the opportunity to scribble--and to scribble a lot from a young age--is super important to a child's mental development. it is a stepping stone to their ability to read and write. there are several different kinds of scribbles, and children will naturally progress through all the types. (there are visual examples of these in the book.) eventually, around the age of three, a child will begin to make circle shapes, connecting one end of a line to the other. then follows the mandala. a mandala is technically two or more shapes with a common center. in the case of a child's mandala, however, it is a bit more loosely defined. it can be a circle with lines intersecting or lines sticking out of it (like a "sun"). but it can also take a "ladder" shape. at any rate, it is quite amazing because the mandala is the precursor to the human figure. the circle/outer shape will soon be made into the common head/body and features drawn within, limbs without. it is not til later that a child will make separate shapes for the head and body. the incredible and interesting thing is that all children progress this way and make these shapes--culminating in the human form--on their own, without being taught or shown.

it is thus important to a child's artistic development that she not only be given opportunity, but also be left alone to explore and progress through these stages at her own pace. it can be crippling to the creativity of the young artist to have adults draw cute pictures for her or show her "how" to draw, or to even suggest that anything the child creates looks "like" something in the real world. the early work of a young artist is more about the kinetic exercise of it all rather than the visual outcome. to encourage a toddler to create things that somehow fit into the parent's concept of artistic "product" can be detrimental to the freedom of their own learning process, expression, and emotional release. children want to please their parents more than anything, and when they end up doing art that is tailored to please mom or dad, it is a sad loss. this is why it is key to hold off on even making value judgments such as "i like that!" it is ok to encourage the child by telling them they are a good artist, but in general, the child will know they are being encouraged if the parent simply provides them with plenty of opportunity for creating, and engages them with descriptions that help them learn about what they are doing: "that is a thick, black line," "i see you made a round line and a straight line," etc.

see exhibit A for the gorgeous mandala that sparrow made today. to break all the rules, i will describe it as looking like a little amoeba or roly-poly bug. it is an oval-shape with a scribble inside of it as well as several short lines sticking out. on the same page she also made another one that is more like a big outline with a smaller shape enclosed within it. they are absolutely incredible; i snatched the paper away as soon as she was done with it and placed it on my desk where it could not be ruined. every time i walked by my desk today i simply got a bursting glow from the accomplishment of my offspring.
From artkidsblog

exhibit A

the first time i noticed that sparrow was even connecting her lines was at the beginning of this month when she produced several gorgeous examples one day of bold pink and purple circles. i saved those, too. susan striker managed to save every single drawing her son ever produced, which was a wonderful affirmation for him, i'm sure. i am not quite so realistically able to do the same, as we live in an apartment, not a house, and don't have space for a whole extra trunk for each kid's artwork at the moment. i save what i can. the highlights. and try not to ever let sparrow see me throwing anything away. i think it is more important that she be allowed the experience and that she has me engaging her about her art in a positive way. too bad she has already figured out by some outside influence that people draw "things." she asks me most every day--to my chagrin--if i can draw her something or other; a bird, a cat, a snail... but i tell her that she should draw, and sometimes i scribble with her. i hope that the sunday school coloring-book-style art is not ruining her too much either. i have sighed much about her sunday school art. it is the antithesis of everything that should be given to a toddler artistically. seriously! christians may eventually get wise to the fact that giving 2-yr-olds cute drawings of bartimaeus to scribble on has nothing--nothing! to do with scripture or helping embed a love for the Word in their hearts. it is kitschy distraction, really. in the meantime, well-meaning parents must appreciate the benefits of sunday school while undoing the creative damage as much as possible from home! but i digress. sparrow has come to her mandala despite it all. and i could not be more proud.

From artkidsblog

exhibit B--what sparrow was doing just before the appearance of the mandala

Thursday, September 11, 2008

what defines me

on those grey
mellow sky
california mornings
drifting through screens
into my opened life:
me, a baby, and a cup of coffee.
it's a picture
black and white
that will stand with me
til i am grey
and drafty

Monday, September 8, 2008


my mind has been ablaze these last few days with thoughts and questions about homeopathy. it is amazing! but is it ok? is it legit? and most weighing on my mind: is it kosher for a Christian to participate in?

i have been reading a great book called "raising a vaccine free child" by wendy lydall. in it, i have encountered a comprehensive explanation of homeopathy and its origins, the first i have ever read. (previously my reading about homeopathy was limited to a phrase or two out of a brochure from a health food store.) i am intrigued, amazed, and slightly disturbed.

evidently, the principle behind homeopathy is "like cures like." (from greek homoios-same or like, and pathos-suffering) a toxic substance is taken and diluted in water which is shaken. then part of this shaken water is diluted in more water and shaken again. this is repeated many times until the toxic substance is so diluted that it is extremely minimal in the water. then the substance is put into pill form, usually, to treat any symptom similar to the toxic reaction the original substance would have created if ingested. (quinine elicits symptoms similar to malaria, therefore the homeopathic remedy derived from quinine is usually the one used to treat malaria patients.) the idea is that the energy of the substance is captured in the shaking, and that it exerts its influence on the energy of the human body, harmonizing to eliminate the symptoms. it can be likened to the phenomenon that when one string of a guitar is plucked, an adjacent guitar's same string would also vibrate while the other strings remained still.

understandably, it is sworn off by many christians on account of this "energy" principle, as new-agers and occultists are usually the main types that are on about "energy." but there has to be more than just wording similarity, in my opinion, to ascertain a real connection. internet and radio are also based on "waves" and vibrations of sorts, and that is not considered occultic. the other issue is that homeopathy is not currently explainable by modern science, as "the electromagnetic field cannot be seen under a microscope" (wendy lydall). it doesn't fit into the paradigm. (to read a great book about how science is slow to change due to bureaucracy, read "the structure of scientific revolutions" by thomas kuhn. it is an enormously influential work. hour modern usage of the 'paradigm' idea comes from this text.)

the crazy thing about homeopathy is that it works. much better than "conventional medicine," sometimes. it can cure the craziest things. tuberculosis. malaria. tetanus. food poisoning. cholera. forms of cancer. and it works on animals as well as on humans, so it has nothing to do with belief. in recent trials, homeopathy was shown to be 2.75 times as effective as a placebo, whereas widespread antidepressant drugs were only 1.3 times as effective. another crazy thing is that homeopathy must be administered by symptom, not by disease, so the treatment for any given illness might not be the same for one individual as it would be for another. a homeopath would have to personally assess each person's symptoms before deciding which remedy is best. and yet another crazy feature is how delicate the "energy" field is: if your homeopathic medicine or a person being treated by such gets near any strong smells (such as peppermint or tea tree oil), it is inactivated. so when i was taking my arnica after giving birth, apparently it was being deactivated every time i brushed with my minty, tea tree oily toothpaste! who knew? at any rate, i was so intrigued about all this that i started thinking i would like to study it in-depth, apprentice with someone, do an official education in this stuff!

so i was thinking that i had better research homeopathy and its origins a little more before i launched full-on into this discipline. i discovered that the founder, samuel hahneman, was not occultically connected at all, and he just happened to discover the method of homeopathy. no seances, no spells, no prayers to obscure deities to bless his mission of healing the world through evil energy. some of the websites i looked at were accusing the man of "not being a christian." hahaha, anyways, if we were to reject anything that originated from anyone who was not a christian, we would be an odd folk indeed! the bible says that god rains on the just and the unjust, and it is clear to me that he gifts people, all his people, whether they acknowledge that their gifts are from him or not. also, "all truth is god's truth." i fully believe that when a good thing about god's world is discovered, the thinking christian embraces it and thanks god for how amazing he is!

another issue discrediting the christian naysayers is the issue of allopathic, or modern western medicine. what are ITS origins? when one goes back to the greek history, it has some crazy hokey roots, i'm telling you. have you ever read the hippocratic oath? it's the one doctors get to take upon graduation (though i believe it's no longer mandatory.) they swear by Apollo, Asclepius, Hygieia, and Panacea and all the gods. that is something directly from the beginnings of modern medicine that remains. if a christian wants to reject homeopathy on grounds of possible demonic connections, the same must be done to modern medicine. also, note the crazy and barbaric things that have been done in the history of modern medicine: bloodletting, leeches, removal of tonsils, vaccination, etc. hokey? look in your own back yard!

here is just one example of a fundamentalist arguing without thinking:

Once Christians start worrying about food combinations and energy levels, one wonders where our faith has gone in the God who heals us.

Having followed Holistic healing principles for two years Alice found it was becoming a religion in itself; feeling guilty when she ate red meat or dairy products or even when giving the kids medicine.

Her focus became on herself believing that she could heal herself.

She didn't feel she could ask God for healing as it was her own fault for being sick.

You the reader might be saying, "But I have high blood pressure and Homeopathy is the only thing that helps!"

In the light of what you have read, and as New Age thought becomes prevalent in medicine, you will have to choose between supporting occultic based practices and following the word of God.

Jesus promised an abundant life; a wholeness, peace, joy and hope that transcends health and wealth and offers a fullness of life that rests on the grace and mercy of the Creator.


so basically we shouldn't think about trying to eat healthy or use knowledge to make smart choices about our vessels? man, i am thinking if God gave you a brain to learn and research the effects of red meat, then comprehend that it is bad for you, you SHOULD feel guilty for eating it, YOU KNOW BETTER! this guy's line of thinking is completely backward. by that logic, if someone were to break in to his house, he should not call the police because it means he is trusting in man rather than God. if his wife has a complex about being able to ask God for healing, that is another problem, it doesn't stem from becoming smarter about how to take care of yourself and your family. it comes from a misunderstanding of God's character and how much he loves us and forgives us and wants to heal us, even when we make bad choices. and note that she is quick to want to give her kids "traditional" medicine but decides to reject homeopathy. no sense! yes, jesus promised joy and hope that transcends health and wealth, but does this mean we suppress intelligence about managing the body or the money God gives us? (i find interesting his use of the phrase "health and wealth" anyways--the people who advocate the health and wealth gospel are completely on the other end of the spectrum as those who would seek to improve their health intelligently. they think God will basically give them whatever they want, instead of acknowledging that we have a huge part in stewarding ourselves.)

in conclusion, i am convinced that homeopathy is a gift from the Lord. He has always been ahead of the times regardless of the scientific paradigms. example: in the Bible the jews knew not to circumcise til the 8th day, it was part of their God-given tradition. now we find out scientifically that a baby's clotting factors take about a week to kick in, til they can develop vitamin k in their bodies! so the fact that it doesn't fit into western medicine doesn't bother me. and judging from the things i have read, it doesn't check out as a spiritual crock conceived by satan to lead us astray.


can you really vote for a guy who refers to a baby as a punishment comparable to an std?

quote obama: "Look, I got two daughters — 9 years old and 6 years old, I am going to teach them first about values and morals, but if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby. I don't want them punished with an STD at age 16, so it doesn't make sense to not give them information."

i don't know WHAT parent could refer to a child as a punishment. i mean, i'm no big fan of mccain, but this is just SO sad. life is a gift, whether it was planned or not. besides, having a baby that you put yourself in a position to conceive is a matter of taking responsibility for your actions. no, the baby is not the punishment. if obama's daughters don't wanna be "punished" with a baby, let them be punished with the dang PREGNANCY and then put the baby up for adoption.

can you imagine if we raised our kids that way? "well, sparrow, i don't think it's a good idea to play with knives, but just in case you DO, here's a band-aid in advance." no! i have to teach her more responsibly than that and it IS possible. i can leave a sharp knife on the counter these days and KNOW that she will not touch it because i have taught her to know better.

anyways, this was not intended to be a parenting lesson. i am just baffled that he could say something like that. but i guess this is the same guy that stood up in the senate twice, vehemently speaking against the passing of the live birth protection act. basically, now, if an abortion fails and the baby is born alive despite the doctor's best efforts, they LEAVE the baby out to die, not giving it ANYTHING until it finally expires and then they take it to the morgue. the live birth protection act was an effort to try to create safety for babies born alive. obama is the only senator that actually stood up and spoke to condemn the efforts of this act. i know politics is a messy business, and i can understand why some politicians would vote for certain things just to stay alive in their job. but getting up to actually speak on something is a totally different level. what would his six and nine year-old daughters think of him if they knew he was orating in his day job to keep babies dying slow, helpless deaths on the clinic table? i wonder if he could even watch one of these die like that. does he know what he's saying?

so, ok, if life doesn't begin at conception, but rather at birth, then wouldn't you call it birth if a baby comes out alive? i guess to them what makes it life is the mother's will: if she wants the baby or not. but by this line of thinking, it won't be long before it will be legal to kill our babies days after they are born, should we decide we don't want them.

this is all screwed up. a government employed social worker comes to barbie's house to make sure her kids don't have bruises. where are the government social workers trying to make sure that these slowly dying babies don't have any "bruises?" SICK discrepancy.

enlighten me as to why he is votable, i am disgusted.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

simplicity by necessity

now that i have quit my job working for rod (the most interesting boss, no doubt, i will ever lay claim to), my life is once again a domestic bliss punctuated by social events. and wine. "she does enjoy a sherry if you know what i mean." no, no, i really only use sherry to cook, but i watched "miss pettigrew lives for a day" last night, and incorporating movie quotes into my life was always one of my greatest strengths. does anyone remember this? i think it got so out of hand at one point that 50% of everything i said to anyone was straight movie quotes. i really SO rarely watch movies anymore, reason being: parenthood. but it's more complex than having less time on my hands to entertain myself. i suppose that compared to the intense, gritty joy of parenthood, most movies are basically crap and not worth watching. ESPECIALLY since you are spending two hours and some amount of money. i mean, we used to watch movies every single night in college, and go to the at least once a week! (where i got the money for this sinful extravagance i can't tell you.)

so what are the social events that punctuate my life? baby showers. wedding showers. weddings. house warming parties. birthdays. in little golden's four weeks of life she has been to many such events already, when babies should technically stay at home for six weeks to build up their fragile immune systems. oh well. most of these things could really not be missed. my life sounds so frivolous when described this way, but what's key about social events is relationships. i LOVE my friends. but the older i get, the more i realize what an inconsiderate person i am. and i always come away from said events analyzing conversations i had, usually feeling awkward or remorseful about something that i said or didn't say to someone.

i really, really hate how i tend to especially judge people that have more money than me, that spend money on their hair or their babies or nice things for their lovely, private homes. i always think that these things are so trivial, that there are kids in africa that would kill to even have three meals a day, and here people are, spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on one silly oriental rug or a flashy engagement ring or a designer wedding gown or a snazzy stroller when a thrift store stroller would do just as well. but then i inevitably re-realize that the the only reason i am more "humble" than they is that God has forced humility on me by circumstance. not because i choose to spend my extra on starving children in the third world as opposed to curtains for my living room. i know i WOULD spend a ton of money, if i could, on west elm home decor, clothes from, and a dang oriental rug, i suppose. but i can't. i've been wearing the same green gauchos and tank top every day since god was a boy and i suppose i will continue to wear them daily until someone else has pity on me and sends me on a shopping trip.

(this has happened to me at least twice. the most recent one was when rod looked over his occhiali designer glasses at me and scanned my frumpy blue sweater and greasy hair. then he slowly and deliberately got his wallet out of his pocket, got a credit card out of his wallet, and tossed it across the desk. "i want you to go out," he said, "and buy yourself...200 dollars worth of clothes. NOT food, not gas, not baby gear. clothes. you can give me back my credit card on friday." hm. boy did i have fun with that one.)

but anyways, part of me just really wants to chuck it all and move to mexico, ESPECIALLY if we ever end up having more than what we live on now. so that i would be kept in perspective about what it means to truly lack, and hopefully be able to make conservative choices in what i buy for myself, my home, or my kids. i have yet to see in santa barbara someone who lives far below their means so that they can donate the rest to the cause of the afflicted.

(next day)
yes, God has definitely chosen this simplicity for me. i thought of some more stuff i would spend money on if i weren't a financially struggling mother of two: i am probably one of those kinds of people who would have her eyeliner tattooed on! i have a hunch. but we'll never know for sure...unless i end up rich, of course. but by then i hope i'll know better than to be so vain. wait, is it vain or is it practical? my dad always said time is money, too, so adding up all the time i have spent over the years putting on eyeliner (ESPECIALLY attempting to perfect the art of liquid eyeliner!)... it could be a good investment! for the record, i now only wear eyeliner on special occasions. but here's a funny story: when i was in high school and first experimenting with makeup, i heard through the grapevine that my friend's mother had said at one point: "oh, here comes doris with her ten pounds of eyeliner!" hahahaha. not so now.

so it is for me simplicity by necessity. i am many things inside. i am just as much a city lady as i am a country lass. i am a fashion vixen and a fashion shunner. i am a martini girl and a granola girl. part of me wants to acquire, to live in a nice home, to travel around the country and the world, see it all and have it all. and part of me is a minimalist and a homebody, recognizing the ultimate importance of quiet time with family, and the frivolity of thinking anything truly enlightening can be found in the entertainment of globe trotting. "there is nothing new under the sun." nicely spoken by the wisest man that ever lived.

but i am sure, apart from the purely materialistic aspects of it, my other "selves" will get their outlet in heaven: my desire for a home, the draw to experience other cultures, etc. for now, i have one body and one life, and twenty seven years of it have already been spent. the past is a road that is deeply etched, not a fluid river, like the future. there was one way that my childhood happened, and it is past. one college education. done. one marriage. one definitive step into parenthood. it could have been so many different ways. but here i am with my humble life and i really don't think it's been a bad one! no matter what you live, humanity always clings to life. hope springs eternal, even for those that DO have horrible lives and no God. they usually find some hope in the fluidity of the future, to make them want to live on. this is one clear aspect of being made in the image of God. he, too, values life. even when the resemblance is only seen in our love for our own life.

but i am not only someone that has been. the ever passing present is also making me into someone more concrete, perhaps chiseling away at my "other selves" as i get used to what this life has been for me for so long: simple. i find myself making decisions now that i would not have made before. i got a used double stroller for my baby shower, for example. it is functional, but it is worn. i have gotten offers from people to buy me a new stroller or "anything i want" for the baby. but i have made the decision to stick with the old stroller. because i need to know that it is ok to stop competing, that useful things, and things i am immensely thankful for, can be old and sub-prime. IT'S O.K. i do NOT need the new, spiffy stroller. it is good for me, and it is good for my kids, to walk around in santa barbara amongst all the hot rich yoga-pant moms with their nimbus 2000's, so to speak, with our old, functional, loved, humble stuff. and our heads still held high with a smile. goodbye to my martini self, my bigcitynewyorkstilettoheelprofessionalwhitesuitedgroomed self. i can feel you fading more and more.

but will she make a comeback when i am older and my kids have left the nest??--i fear i may still turn into an old, lipsticked cougar!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

the good quotes keep rolling on

"i wanna hear the perfect little sound!" -mid-june

me: "i don't know where your binky is."
sp: "but can you go get it, though?" (such faith!) -mid-june

"mom! the tv is dacked up!" (jacked up) -june 23

"twinkle, twinkle, little bunch of stuff, how i wonder what you bunch of stuff." -june 26

me: "why are you crying? do you need help?"
sp: "no, i'm just carrying a whole bunch of heavy blocks." -june 27

"look, i pushed this little star into mama star!" -june 30, when she was playing with different-sized cookie cutters.

"my name is sparrow and i like to eat dinner!" -june 30

sparrow is loving sunday school which is great. her teacher's name is miss paula. one sunday (june 29) when i picked her up at sunday school, i learned that they had heard about paul and silas getting out of jail that day--how God broke the chains. sparrow told me earnestly before we left: "miss paula and silas broke the chains!!!"

(reading a nursery-rhyme based picture book)
me: "where is baby bunting? do you see baby bunting?"
sp: "baby bunting is in the lions' den!" -early july
(hahahaha--the basket with the baby is pictured in a stream, about to go under a bridge. she really really remembered the lesson about the lions' den from sunday school. in fact, she referred to the fox's hole in chicken little as the lions' den as well. she's such a funny one.)

"are you getting a special treat for me?" -july 1st

(singing) "i got a poopy, poopy, poopy poopy down in my heart." -july 1

(singing) "gracie got a booby, booby, booby, gracie got a booby all day long."
-july 6

(i was late getting somewhere and frustrated and speeding and mumbling about the idiocy of other drivers under my breath...) sparrow:
"mommy has to go faster!" -july 7

first thing in the morning, she said to me,
"what's YOUR name?" -july 7

"Psalm four three cow three B!" -july 8 (verse references can be confusing to 2-year-olds!)

"thank you for my mommy and my daddy and sparrow and the door"--pause--looks at me-- "you're gonna pray for the door!" -july 8

hahaha this is a good one: we were having a bunch of power outages during the fire and whenever the power would come back on one of the 1st things i would notice was the sound of the freezer so i would say "the freezer turned back on! that means we can check our email" well one of the times sparrow heard the freezer go on, and she says,
"Oh! the freezer turned back on! that means i can watch bear in the big blue house!" -july 8

"i wanna read animal pie soup! circus pie soup!" (the book was called alphabet soup.) -july 8

"i want some more johnny brown cake!" -july 8

"sparrow and mommy and daddy and jesus are going to peets!" -july 12

"thank you for deers and thank you for mosquitoes and thank you for my mommy and my daddy." -july 12

we are both going to the bathroom, sitting on our respective potties. sparrow gets up and comes over to me and sticks her face really close to mine and says earnestly, "mom, did baby sister come out?" -mid-july

(talking to my belly:)
"baby sister, auntie christy is coming to visit, did you know that?" -july 12

"baby sister, we're gonna read stories." -july 12

(super bummed that sparrow had pooped in her diaper during errands (again!) and REALLY not feeling up to changing her in the car)
me: "oh sparrow, you might have to wait cause... i just don't think i can handle it right now!"
sp: "you can't handle it, mom. let's just go outside and handle it, ok?" hahahaha! -july 13

me: "we're gonna do some laundry and eat some breakfast, and... what else are we gonna do today, sparrow?"
sp: "um...have a birthday party!" -july 17

"i'm not goofy! i'm named BABY SPARROW!" -july 18

july 14th or so she discovered a favorite new activity: pushing our heads together to make us kiss in the morning when i go to work and we are all saying goodbye. (one of us will be holding her.) she would never stop if we didn't tear ourselves away from her little grip on our necks!

"ein maedchen!" (in sing-songy voice, looking at her german book) (it means "a girl" in german, which i might have told her once or twice.) -july 18

"oh look at that blub blub fish! ... that catfish is doing an acrobat!" (pic of fish jumping out of the water) -july 22

(drawing) "look mom, i'm making a wormie!" -july 23

(still drawing)
sp: "can you draw on your present?"
me: "is that my present? thank you SO much!"
sp: "i'm gonna make another present." (keeps drawing.) -july 23

we were reading a book about cars. there is one page with an illustration of a "car" on the moon--some sort of vehicle with astronauts around it, and the page says "this car has no lights." sparrow looks at it for a second and says, "this man has no eyes." hahahahaha! they were wearing space suits with helmets of course! -july 26

we were singing "tomorrow" in the car and she adapted the words and started singing "in a minute! in a couple of days!..." -july 26

(talking to her stuffed animal)
"baby, would you like to sit on my lap? do you wanna look at the pictures? don't put your foot on it. don't." -july 27

"thank you for my mommy and my daddy and my vegetables and my food and salad and onions and amen." -july 31

"Night night, belly. night-night ta-tas. night night big belly." -july 31

she has also been praying nonsense words lately. praying in baby tongues, perhaps? we just kind of go with it and let her ramble.

"PA! i made a corner!" -aug. 2 (she is also calling me 'mother' sometimes now. HAH.)

(playing a game she calls "morning time/night time with liz koppa):
"it's morning time!!! ...uncle's still sleeping." -aug. 4

(i was talking to liz about her sunday school and how they are teaching them about God doing great miracles.) sparrow:
"God makes GREAT popsicles!" aug. 4

(to her dolly)
"i'm gonna put your clippy in your hair so you can be happy and eat your birthday cake, ok?" -aug. 9

she brought in her scissors and was wanting to cut everyone's hair: her doll's, mine, thomas'... (he actually let her cut off a tiny bit of his!) then she discovers thomas' leg hair and says,
"i'm gonna cut your feathers, ok?" -aug. 9

sparrow notices my after-birth belly and says,
"mom, are you gonna have another baby sister?" -aug. 11

but actually now that she realized she can sit on my lap again, she's been saying happily every night at reading time, "you don't have a big belly anymore!"

the other night, baby wakes up and is crying in the room where sparrow is also sleeping. i go to retrieve the baby, and sparrow says sleepily,
"she needs nu-nus!" (if she can know the baby's needs while she is half-asleep, i know she is much more aware than she lets on when she is pretending not to know something that we ask her to do!!!) -aug. 13

me: "sparrow, don't wake the baby."
sp: "i'm just saying hi to my Golden!" -aug. 13

(giving sparrow breast milk in a cup)
me: "i made it for you last night."
sp: "you made it for me when i was born." -aug. 13

(we saw a praying mantis outside in the hall that day)
me: "what did you see outside in the hall today?"
sp: "i did find a cricket salamander!"
me: "a cricket salamander? it's called a praying..."
sp: "a pringamander!!!!" -aug. 14

i was talking to melissa and alan about my labor and telling them about who all was here with me and how i was making a lot of noise or whatever. sparrow cuts in, "...and mommy was MOO-ing!" -aug. 14

Friday, August 15, 2008

golden and sparrow photo shoot

golden's birth

where to begin with the story of a new life, a new soul on the earth. i look into my baby's eyes and think, "hello, old soul." so tiny, yet the spirit inside is big, as big as it will ever be, and it is such a sacred and fear-inspiring task to be bringing up a new human, to be charged with introducing her to life and the world and to give her the tools that she needs to live it. with that, i am so pleased with how the birth process went and i think it will be a good little legend to start life with. so here are the details, Golden Maisie McDonnell, so that you can know exactly how it was, your arrival; and always remember that this is your story, deep within you and deep within me.

wednesday night, august 6th 2008 i stayed up til midnight with my sister talking about labor and birth. i had been experiencing a LOT of pre-labor in the weeks preceding, and i was reading a few good birth books. christy had just arrived from germany the night before, so we were getting to catch up a little, and i was sharing with her some interesting tidbits from "ina may gaskin's guide to childbirth." "are you scared?" she asked me at one point. scared? no. the time frame God has allotted to the gestation period is absolutely perfect and brilliant. by the end of the pregnancy, you are so ready for the baby to be OUT that you really don't care how the labor process will be. you just want to do it and get it over with. but beyond that, i felt really well prepared for this to happen, i had everything that i could control under control and a light enough attitude to expect the best from what i couldn't control. with that conversation, we said goodnight and went to bed. two hours and some minutes later, i was awakened by contractions.

i thought this might not be the real thing, as i had already had at least one night of some long and strong contractions in my sleep. however, something about the way these were feeling told me that i should at least get up and finish packing the birth bag. i was unsure about the validity of this labor start because with sparrow it had begun with a feeling of having to go pee, that was not at all relieved by peeing. only after this sensation had the contractions started with her. but this was already a steady pulsing of waves and i guess it was a little more intense than the previous few nights because after all it had woken me up and i couldn't go back to sleep with them. i called thomas. i told him this might be it but i would take a shower and have a little wine and then call him back in half an hour. a shower and wine is supposed to relax you enough to stop a false labor. besides, i knew if it was real i would have to shower now or never because i would hate to have to go to the hospital all greasy. and from experience, my labor wouldn't allow for too much time to shower. i also called jenna, my doula, and told her the same thing. but once in the shower i knew for sure. this was the real labor, it was happening now, and there was no turning back. i don't quite remember how i felt exactly, some sort of mixture between excitement and steady calm, i suppose.

when i got out i called back thomas, who said he would leave at once, and jenna, who promised the same. thomas was in san francisco in the middle of his first week of 3 weeks of feldenkrais training, and he told me he would hop on his motorcycle to get here asap as renting a car this time of night would be a little difficult. we were anticipating this kind of situation, so it wasn't the end of the world that he was gone and might not make it to the birth. that is why i had chosen a strong birth team: jenna humphreys is a doula-in-training who had introduced herself to me on the beach one day. then i had cybil gilbertson on my list, also training for doula stuff. holly lomelino who has had kids and knows what's up in the hospital and what i would and wouldn't want. and ander, my friend, who was with me during my miscarriage exactly one year ago... also tara jones, my awesome wedding photographer (flare productions.) cybil and holly were out of town so it ended up just being jenna, ander, and tara. and christy of course. oh yes. and sparrow. and my brother as well.

actually we had a pretty full house that night! i was really really bummed when sparrow woke up as i was getting out of the shower. this was NOT in the plan! if it was nighttime she was supposed to sleep through it, and had the labor happened during the day, i would have sent her away with someone. i was just unsure of how she might react to my labor. would she get scared? would she be clingy? maybe not, but i hadn't wanted her to stick around so i could find out! however, now here i was naked, whale-like, in the full swing of labor in the middle of the night; and here she was, being quite as whiny and clingy as i had feared. the reason she had woken up (and why she was so grumpy) was because she was sick with a mean old cold that she had picked up a few days beforehand. hence, not sleeping as soundly as usual. i did my best to get through the rest of my getting ready routine with her crying to be picked up the whole time... this was not going to work! help! i noticed, to my relief, that my brother's light was on and recruited him to read her a story while i got myself together. thank God he's a night owl.

ander arrived shortly thereafter and then jenna too. i woke up my sister to tell her what was happening. i remember a general hubbub in the apartment as we all got up and prepped ourselves for what was happening. my brother cooking his oddly early breakfast of eggs and toast in the kitchen. various people taking turns reading to sparrow. christy making me and sparrow some toast. ander feeding me chicken. jenna doing the double hip squeeze for me whenever a contraction would come along. i was able also to cuddle sparrow and read to her for awhile. i was able to wander around gathering the last-minute things i would need. i was quite optimistic and able to talk and laugh, although the contractions were getting more intense and they seemed to be coming quite often, close together, sometimes two at a time. i would "sound" my way through them, making my low-pitched droning noise. i would say, "sparrow, mama's going to get down on the floor now and sing a little song," when a contraction was coming on. then i would kneel and groan til it was over, then get back up and continue reading to her...

sparrow actually cheered up dramatically after she ate some food, and she never exhibited fear or anxiety about my labor activity at all. she ended up being quite an asset, actually, because she came over when i was laboring on the birth ball, and began to roll around on the floor with me doing pilates moves! it was great. she also lent me some of her stuffed animals to squeeze in both hands as i tried to concentrate tension in my arms and relax my core. once i had eaten, things were definitely getting more intense. i spent the next 2 hours or so kneeling on the floor and leaned over the birth ball, rocking, sounding, eyes mostly closed, getting deeper and deeper into the primal "coping" state as i dealt with the rock gripping in my abdomen. it was really interesting, actually, to go through it. i felt very "with" my labor this time, as i had been expecting it to go fast and was prepared for what that would entail. it was as if i was observing myself--i WAS observing myself, as i was experiencing the sensations. i thought about my baby coming down and out, what a joy she would be, and how i could handle this and do it for her. i tried thinking of myself as in a sea of rocking waves (as suggested in 'guide to childbirth'). this image didn't work as well for me as a comfort measure, but i was able to deliberately try it out nonetheless. ander was reading psalms next to me and i remember crying at one point as i felt the amazing and intense love of God for his people israel. she has the perfect, calming, soothing voice for a labor reader. i was glad i had chosen to go with this in labor instead of music. jenna settled on a chair behind me and just did her double hip squeeze thing faithfully. it was all i needed.

hahaha! i remember deliriously looking up at one point and noticing my brother sittin' on the couch staring at me, eating a banana. with quite an expressionless look on his face, of course! this is one of my most amusing snapshots of that night. but sparrow amused me as well. she came over and hugged me when i beckoned to her. i wanted to let her know that i loved her so much. i was squeezing her elmo when she decided that she really needed elmo and grabbed him from me! so i gave him up and was handed another stuffed toy to squeeze. she really wanted to be involved and squeezed elmo as i squeezed my toys. i am so glad she was there after all.

at some point when it was getting really intense i deliberately decided not to go to the hospital until i started wanting to push. i had been a bit apprehensive in the weeks prior to labor as to knowing when i must go in to the hospital. but kneeling here dealing with these contractions, it was pretty clear to me that the last minute was the best time. it was all i could do to deal with the crunching in my belly in the comfort of my own home. i certainly did not want to have to handle it in the hospital with their poking and back lying and monitoring. i was getting pretty sweaty by this point and noticed that the contractions didn't seem to be letting up completely in between--there was still pain, it was just a little less than during an actual contraction. and then it felt like they were coming so fast, too, one after the other and not much relief in between, and i thought, "wow, i just don't want to do this anymore!" and then immediately afterward, i thought, "WOW--i must be in transition if i am thinking this way!!" which was such a sweet realization--things were happening, moving along. and sure enough, pretty soon after that i felt the first pushing urge. a small one, but it was there! "we have to go now," i said decisively.

sadly, sadly--and this is one of my biggest regrets about this labor--my sister had to stay home with sparrow. rick had taken off for an early morning bible study just minutes before, and i hadn't been with it enough to ask him to stay so christy could go with me. such a bummer! i mean, this just solidifies that she has to come to my next birth so she can be THERE when the baby comes out.

they got all my stuff together. "pillows, pillows," i said, remembering last time riding in the car--how it really helped to have pillows to squeeze. "towel!" because i was pretty sure i would be peeing a bit as i sat in the car. we waited for a break in contractions and then hustled down the stairs. i could see the first light of morning. it was shortly before 6 a.m. all down the 2nd flight of stairs i was going through a crazy pushing contraction, and i was groaning really loud right past our neighbors' windows. when i got to the sidewalk, i suddenly cried, "i have to poop--i have to poop right now!" so urgent! jenna was a bit hesitant, but said, "well--ok, i guess you should poop," leading me to a spot just off the sidewalk. i started to get in the motions--i was really gonna do it!--when jenna said, "you know, i think that's actually probably baby wanting to come out." and thank God, by then the contraction lightened up and so did the pooping feeling. i was able to get in the car.

the car ride would have sounded really amusing to anyone listening in. i had read in IMGGtoC (ina may's) that when trying to breathe through pushing contractions it really helps to either blow "raspberries" or to moo like a cow. well the mooing suggestion was the one that really stuck for me, and so i ended up mooing all the way to the hospital. but it was no calm, benign mooing i tell you. this was like life-and-death situation mooing, frantic. every time a contraction would happen i yelled "MOOMOOMOOOMOOOMOO!" all the way through it, straining and desperate. jenna was a chum and mooed with me. evidently she sped all the way there! i guess she even ran a red light. poor thing! was NOT wanting me to have the baby IN the car! she was describing things to me as we drove, too. "beautiful sunrise, no traffic, almost there," etc. but i had my eyes closed the whole time. i barely opened them when we got there to see the "emergency room" entrance sign. i did not look at the parking attendant or at the person who put me in the wheelchair or at the front desk nurse or at the person who rushed me upstairs. "water, water," i panted. jenna gave me some from her own bottle. i was determined not to have to answer any questions. i let my friends speak for me. "what's her name? is this her first baby? who is her doctor?" i could hear the girls fumbling on this one. "i don't know--do you know?" "" inside, i was answering, "it's county clinics, i don't have a doctor!" but i think i remained focused on my mooing, which i continued to do all the way up to the room.

finally there, i got on the bed. hands and knees. the first thing i remember the nurse saying was, "i am going to put an IV in you." "NO! NO IV--I AM NOT HAVING AN IV!" come ON lady--that was like the ONE thing in my birth plan! not that she would have had time to read it, i suppose. so she laid off on that thread. but a few minutes later jenna told me, "she says she really has to put a hep lock in you." a hep lock is a needle with a little tube attached where an IV can quickly be snapped in if it needs to be. i didn't want the hep lock either but was unsure if they would honor this request. anyways the nurse pretty much forgot about the hep lock with everything else going on so fast. she checked me and said i was fully dilated. YES! so the pushing now wouldn't have to be so restrained. the nurse was asking me to try to breathe through contractions--the doctor was on his way. uh-huh, i said. but had other intentions. little did she know i was not the type of customer to want to hang on for the doctor! she asked me to put on the belly monitor and i had the girls put it on me while i was still on hands and knees. i was definitely pushing now! they were still trying to get me in the computer system too and said, "do you have your clinic paperwork?" oh CRAP! i had it in my glove compartment! in my car! in GOLETA! "well someone is going to have to go get it. we need it," said a nurse. ander volunteered and headed out the door. the next thing i knew my water broke, gushing out. poor jenna got wet, and i don't know who else did but i said, "there's the water!" as i surrendered to another crazy pushing urge. the nurse told me i had to get on my back. "can i get on my side?" i panted, and she hesitated but i did not wait for an answer. i flipped to my left side. oh but the pressure! "LEG!" i yelled, and jenna came over to lift my leg. another pushing contraction. out of control!! straining and surrendering. the nurse is saying something about moving me over: "you have to move! scoot onto the bed, your bottom is off the side!" haha, she was really nervous that she was going to have to catch the baby off the edge! i hoisted myself over. stretching! all of a sudden jenna says, "the head is out! WHAT? "praise God!" i exclaimed, totally shocked. i had barely even noticed, i mean, i didn't know it was coming so fast! next contraction, more stretching, i felt i could not do much to restrain my pushing. body out! DONE! there was a baby, lying on the bed, all purple and screaming. 6:16 a.m.

i laughed and laughed; i felt SO exhilarated. oxytocin, endorphins. sheer relief at how well it had gone. "that was AWESOME!" i said over and over, "that was SO cool!" poor ander had only missed it by a minute. this is another of my regrets (WHY did i forget that paperwork?) but i was SOOOOOO happy that the doctor had not gotten there in time. it was perfect. perfect!

the nurses tried to cut the cord, but i asked them to wait til it stopped pulsing and they left it alone. she was attached til the doctor came in to deliver the placenta, actually. the doctor had to stitch me where i had torn in four places. little tears, he said. so--not as bad as last time. i had honestly tried to control my pushing as much as possible! with sparrow i had felt more the capacity of control during the pushing stage, i think, because it was slower. this time it had just--blitzkrieged, basically. so it had gone pretty well under the circumstances. the doctor sure could have been a bit more gentle with his sudden poking and prodding, though. geez! later on, holly told me that she had heard that doctor is notorious for his bad bedside manner. it was not dr. green, to say the least. i was even more grateful to have avoided him for the delivery.

the nurse who came in to complete the paperwork was so nice--her name was robin and she was super excited and supportive about my wanting to let the baby climb her way up to the breast. but first they had to take her off to the side and suction some fluid out of her lungs. she was a really "wet" baby, having come out so fast, and so it was inevitable. but jenna suggested i talk to her and tell her what they were about to do before they took her off my belly. she screamed, but they got the fluid out. then i got her back and she got to wriggle around on me for the next couple hours and find the milk! what a cool thing that babies can do. she screamed the whole time, too. (the nurses joked that she should be joining the choir--she had quite a loud voice on her!) but i knew it was making her stronger to get to find it on her own, and let her struggle on to complete the task. this method of letting the baby find the first meal is also the parent's first lesson in letting go, in allowing the child to learn things by doing, by discovery, independent. it is also truly amazing to watch. it is miraculous how perfectly made they are.

in the nursery, they said that she was going to be a blondie. really? yes, see, her eyebrows are light and so are her eyelashes. i could not for the life of me tell who of us she looked like. not distinctly like either one of us, but also not like sparrow. she was herself. later it dawned on me: she looks like my mother. little ilse. ...well, we'll see. but it is precious to me to have that as the current most obvious family resemblance. the baby was confirmed to be 8 lbs. even! i thought she was smaller than sparrow (who'd been 8 lbs 7 oz), but i think the closest guesser had guessed seven-something. and she was 20 inches long. (sparrow was 22) having come out 3 days early and sparrow 3 days late, this weight made perfect sense. they gain half a lb. per week in the last few weeks.

thomas had been sporadically texting and calling on his cold, long motorcycle ride down from san francisco. he sent me a picture text msg. of his happy face when he heard the news of the birth. i texted him a picture of his new baby. the girls stayed with me for quite a few hours. i got to look through tara's shots on her camera. we discussed the birth over and over. liz koppa came by and brought me a peet's mocha. mmmmmmm! this is becoming a birth tradition for me! thomas finally got there around 930--yaaaaaaaaaaay! i was so relieved to see him, all cold and road-weary with a pillow stuffed into his jacket and wearing 3 pairs of pants and 5 sweaters. reunited and familiar. he had done well.

and there are the details. there is a lot more to say about the stay in the hospital, the drama of choosing THE name (which we couldn't settle on til a week later), and don't even start me on the horrible process of trying to get discharged. it was like the frickin' CIA, as rod would say. (with all the bureaucracy and security measures--just to simply let a mom go home with her baby! it seriously took ALL DAY.) but more on all that later, perhaps. here we are, exactly 3 weeks later. with our baby, our golden. golden. it feels so nice to say. after all these years of having that name in my mind. she is perfect for it. a good little, plump little, soft little blondie of a baby with that peachy downey baby smell still lingering... she is golden.