Saturday, November 30, 2013

Baptizing and Barfing: 7 Quick Takes XXXVI

Quick Takes late Saturday afternoon, because I just had a baby and I can . . . 

So, things are still mostly great around here. Thanksgiving was delicious, Baby Lulu is sweet and squishy and sleepy. But also, there was barfing. Some on Thanksgiving, but most waited until Friday. About half of the people in this house, including some of the people who came here intending to be helpful and bringing toddlers of their own . . . were barfing.

Betty, Bobby, and Frankie got sick, and my mom and my sister. Whatever it is seems to be quick and just the tummy. But, not ideal. Fortunately, it seems like a quick illness and everyone's been fine all day today.

I guess whatever it is, it's probably not the flu. But just in case it is, I will share the results of my highly scientific survey of flu shot effectiveness. 

In the interest of the furthering of scientific knowledge and/or because I only had some of the kids with me the last time we went to the pediatrician, half of my kids got the flu shot: Bobby, Gus, and Frankie. Of the kids who have barfed, two had the flu shot, one didn't.

I am a supporter of vaccines, but I'm not convinced about the flu shot. And this little bout is making me less convinced all the time.

Update: thank you to the nurses who have commented, it's definitely not the flu (and I'm really glad we don't have the flu, it sounds awful).

Lulu and I haven't gotten the stomach thing so far (fingers crossed), so we're just focused on regular old recovering from giving birth/being born.  It's been interesting to me how my recoveries have been as different from each other as the labors and births have been. Some babies I've had terrible cramping, but that really hasn't been so bad this time. And very little clotting either. But I don't remember having much pain associated with nursing (aside from the milk coming in part) with the last couple, and, whew, that's really been socking it to me this time around.

It's fine overall, milk's in, she's latching, but I'm having to fight her a bit on keeping her mouth open wide enough, and I had a very unfortunate incident of sticking to the inside of my nursing tank on one side and now I've got some bleeding and getting her latched on is bringing back all those first-time nursing memories. Ouch.

I know it will all sort itself out soon. But in the meantime, ouch. Just, ouch.

We decided to go ahead and baptize Louise right away. Our baptisms have gotten earlier and earlier as we have come to focus more on the removal of original sin part and less on the cake part (but we do always have cake!).

And this time around, it happened that we have family in town and our dear friend Scott was ordained a Deacon just last week and is around town for the holidays before heading back out to the seminary, so this weekend seemed like perfect timing.

Until I realized that I hadn't mentioned the plan to my mom, and she had the girl's baptismal gown, which she and I and my other daughters have all worn, down at her house in San Diego. Oops.

That was Friday around 10am. So the reasonable choices were to a) borrow one, or b) go out on black Friday and buy one, or c) just relax and make do with something we have around the house.

Well, a) everyone I called had lent theirs out as well, and b) the one we've used before seemed special and i hated the idea of just grabbing whatever was cheapest and also the idea of shopping on black Friday, and c) Have you MET me?

So we moved on to the UNreasonable choices of a) driving a total of five hours down to San Diego and back to get it, or b) make one.

And then a) people were barfing, so b) I made one.

I grabbed some white fabric from my stash, cut out a gown shape and sewed it together. Lulu slept on daddy for an hour, and I was able to put something white and gown-shaped together in that amount of time.

Then I spent the rest of the day sitting in the glider with the baby embroidering it over her head!

So, the baptism was today, it was Deacon Scott's first one, and we're pretty sure it took. 

My parents and cousins and sister and her kids were here to join us, plus our friends and Lulu's Godparents the Soejotos, some lovely neighbors and friends, and live on Facetime, Jim's parents and sister and her family!

I'm not sure if I'll be doing this again tomorrow, so here's what Lulu and I wore!

Fascinator: Amazon
Shoes: Zappos
Skirt (stretchy!) and sweater: Modcloth
Lulu's dress: scrap pile

Here's the look we were going for, how do you think we did?

So, does anyone want a slightly rustic homemade baptismal gown? Only used once! Leave a comment if you'd like to be the next owner of Lulu's custom baptism dress. I'll ship it anywhere, to you or to the baby of your choice from you.

Update: Okay, so my lack of sentimentality is proving troubling to many of you. I just generally hate the idea of holding on to something for years and years and maybe she'll be a nun or won't have any daughters and then it's been sitting about for twenty-five years when it could have been being used.

I saved Betty's baby clothes for six years, then Anita was born in summer instead of winter and so I still couldn't use most of it!

But, I think I have a solution that will work for everyone . . . A friend from our homeschool group who is expecting would like the baptism gown. So, I'll give it to her to use, and then it will be local, so if I have second thoughts maybe I can get it back.

So, giveaway rescinded I guess. Thanks to those of you who were interested. Give me ten or fifteen years and I'll open an etsy shop and sell 'em cheap.

Happy Advent everyone!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

"The life of a family is filled with beautiful moments: rest, meals together, walks in the park or the countryside, visits to grandparents or to a sick person… But if love is missing, joy is missing, nothing is fun. Jesus gives always gives us that love: he is its endless source. In the sacrament he gives us his word and he gives us the bread of life, so that our joy may be complete."                                                                          --Pope Francis October 2013 

We certainly feel blessed this year.

for snuggly new babies . . . 

and family . . . 

(thanks to Nana, who's cooking today, and Grandad,
who's wrangling kids so we'll have Thanksgiving!
and the two extra little girls in there are
Emma and Skylar, our Iowa cousins.)

and for all of you who make this blogging thing so much fun.

May God bless you and all your celebrations today.


The Tierneys

Jim, Kendra, Jack, Betty, Bobby, Gus, Anita, Frankie, and Lulu


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Birth Story #7: In Which THAT Is More Like it

The way things were going with pregnancies number five and six, I have to admit to being a bit worried when I turned up pregnant for a seventh time. I had been pretty ill for three months with Anita, then really ill for six months with Frankie, so I had to allow for the possibility that I was getting older and that getting older just meant my pregnancies were going to keep getting more challenging.

But I'm happy to report that with pregnancy number seven I was back to a livable level of first trimester all-day-but-mostly-afternoon-and-evening sickness, and then after that it was a pretty great pregnancy. I did have some sciatic stuff, which was a pain in the you-know-what (literally). But, honestly, the whole third trimester I felt pretty great, considering that there was another person living inside me.

Having big kids around sure makes a difference. They were able to be in charge of things in the afternoons, so I could always nap. And Betty even made dinner a few times when I just wasn't feeling up to it. Ten year olds for the win!

So, birth story . . . Jim's brother and his wife were visiting us for a long weekend before Thanksgiving, and I was really hoping that baby would come before they had to leave late morning on Tuesday. The week before had been a flurry of finishing the kids' first semester and cooking and sewing and errands and kids sports and an ordination and a high Mass. I knew I had to get all that stuff done, but then came Sunday night, and all day Monday, which seemed like a perfectly good time to go into labor, and quite convenient for our visitors. After my long labor with Frankie, I figured it had better get going sooner rather than later. So I walked and walked and walked and ate spicy food and, nothing happened. Well, a couple of twinges Sunday night, but really nothing.

By Monday evening I figured it just wasn't going to happen in time for Uncle Pat and Aunt Brie to be here, and I wrote a post about how I wasn't in labor yet and set it to publish at midnight and went to take a quick bath and get some sleep. But THAT turned into a long bath and drying my hair and watching just ONE episode of Battlestar Galactica (a little racy, but really interesting so far) and I didn't end up turning out the lights until a bit after midnight.

And the first contraction hit at 12:18am. I was pretty sure it was a contraction, but I knew it might still be a long time getting going, so I still tried to get some sleep. Then the second one hit at 12:24 and the third one at 12:30, so I sent the husband (who was still up working) a text message. He came back to the bedroom to check on me and take a quick shower.

The contractions were coming quickly, every five minutes or so, but they were really short: 20-30 seconds and not very painful. But since I did have a history of one VERY fast labor, we figured we'd head to the hospital. Especially since we had decided to let Betty come with us for this birth, and I didn't want her to miss it because I had the baby in the car.

Once we were on our way, I knew it was really too early to be going in to the hospital. We were listening to What Does the Fox Say? in the car and I found it way too hilarious to be very far along in labor. 

But the decision had been made, so we went ahead and checked in. They checked me and I was at a six, after having been at a three at my OB appointment that morning, so at least things were happening, but it just didn't seem like they were happening very quickly.

At first the nurse wouldn't let me leave the room (grrrr) so I ended up just walking and walking and walking in these ridiculous laps around the bed and bathroom and curtain in the room. (While Betty took a nap on the little couch.) Finally my OB intervened and got them to let me out, and I tell you what, I was THRILLED to see that ridiculous cabbage baby. Thrilled.

But lap after lap, I just didn't feel like things were serious enough. The husband and I were talking and laughing and I was able to get though each short little contraction without even making a face. I figured it was going to be a long night. I was able to think about the intentions for which I was offering my labor, but I wasn't sure I could even count what I was going through as suffering. I was still kinda giggling about that fox song.

At about 3:45am they hooked me back up to the machine that goes ping and they said I was having contractions every 2-5 minutes, but I wasn't even feeling all of them. Then my OB came back in to check me again. She said it felt like the baby's head was just a bit off center, and not applying full pressure the way it should be, so she had me lay on my side and shifted baby's head over a bit with her fingers, and then all of a sudden my water broke and I immediately started having these two minute long crazy contractions one on top of the other, and in the words of my all time favorite children's book, "There were sounds: sad sounds, loud sounds."

So . . . things got serious in a big hurry. And I got pretty noisy.

I've said it before, but I really hate the pushing part. It just feels like it couldn't possibly work. But my OB and my husband are both awesome at encouraging me through it and reminding me that if I just do it, it will all be over that much sooner. And at that point I'm pretty much out of it anyway. So I pushed really hard three or four times and out she came, looking right at Betty!

I was so impressed with Betty (who will be 10 in February) by the way, she was totally calm and interested throughout and not troubled by the craziness. We had talked about how mommy would be in pain, but it was okay, and she believed us. I'm so happy that I was able to share this experience with my daughter. She even got to cut the cord, although I think she'd tell you that was her least favorite part of the whole thing. It is kind of bloody and gross.

And baby was a girl, of course! Which is what I had been thinking the last couple of months, and it's nice to balance things out a bit I guess. That boys' room is pretty full of, as Anita would say, stinky brothers. I was surprised, though, at how big she was! Eight pounds, twelve ounces is a pretty darn big baby (for me anyway), and I really never felt that huge and didn't gain more weight than I had with the last couple of babies, who were much smaller. She also has quite a head of hair on her, like Betty did at birth. Other than that she looks just like all the other Tierney babies. We only have one model.

My parents and all the kids and Aunt Brie and Uncle Pat were all able to come to the hospital and meet little Louise Marita first thing in the morning. Everyone was so excited to meet our new baby. 

So it's Tuesday night, still November 26th, as I write this. We have brought Lulu home to her adoring public, and I'm feeling good, if pretty beat up about the nethers. Fortunately I have plenty of helpers, because it's going to be a mostly sitting in the glider Thanksgiving for me.

But the nice thing is, all those things the fox might say work quite well for muttering under one's breath while trying to stand up from a chair after having busted out a nearly nine pound baby in about a half an hour. 

I knew I liked that song.


And now for the big winner of Haley and Daniel's awesome eCookbook: Feast!

The facts are:
November 26
Early morning
8lb 12oz
4 hour labor

The folks who in my opinion came closest were . . . 

November 26th (my sister's birthday) in the morning, 7 lbs, 9 oz, 5 hours, girl :).

Nov. 24
7 lbs 6 oz
3 hours labor
4 am

November 25
Late morning- early afternoon
4 hr labor
7lb 4oz

Baby GIRL (because I like to even up the numbers)
Born 1 day before her due date
Born in the morning
After a short labor (2.5 hours?)

I'm going to guess November 26th, 4:30pm (after 6 hours of labor) - Girl 7 lbs. 13 oz.

Happy Homemaker:
Nov 26 (my birthday)
4 hours long
8 lbs 3 oz

So I put all your names in my virtual hat, and Amanda is the winner. I don't have an email address for you though, so please email Haley at haley.s.stewart(at)gmail(dot)com to claim your prize!

And if you didn't win, you can get a copy if the book here for less than $5, but hurry, after Thanksgiving it will be back up to it's regular price (but still worth every penny!).



Introducing . . .

Louise Marita Tierney!

I wrote up my last post about how <sigh> I hadn't gone into labor yet and set it to post at midnight, then I went to bed and started having contractions at 12:18!

Birth story to follow sometime after we get home, but the facts are she was born on November 26 at 4:17am, after a mostly very easy (then really, really hard for a bit) labor. She's our second biggest baby ever at 8lbs 12oz (Bobby was 9lbs 1oz) and is second only to Betty in the hair department.

She is named for St. Louise de Marillac and our dear neighbor Louise, who passed away last spring. Her middle name is for her paternal grandmother. We're going to call her Lulu for short, except for Frankie. Frankie is going to call her Baby Uhweeze.

The rest of the kids have all been over to the hospital twice today.

Betty was with us for the birth, and loved it. She really did great.

Lulu is nursing like a little champ and has passed all the tests they keep coming in here to do to her, so we're on track to be home by this evening.

Thank you all for sharing your intentions with me. I offered my labor especially for people suffering from infertility and miscarriages, plus for the other specific intentions. I'm also using them as my inspiration to be pleasant to all these meddlesome, I mean . . . helpful nurses. Thank you for your prayers for my family.

And someone is going to win a cookbook, I will announce the winner later this week!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Pregnant Lady's Thoughts on Suffering

Well, as it turns out there's still time to enter the baby pool to win a copy of Haley and Daniel's new ebook: Feast. (Since I haven't had this baby yet.) It isn't even my due date until Wednesday, so I really shouldn't complain. But I will anyway, just a bit. My entry in the pool would have said Monday, and while there are still four hours of Monday left as I write this, it's not looking all that likely.

I was thinking that I would be happy to have all of our schoolwork and my errands and projects wrapped up last week and have a few quiet days to relax before the baby comes, but as it turns out I'm not very good at relaxing and I'm just antsy and and want this baby to come already so I'll have something to do. I told you guys I was crazy.

Anyway, as I sit around (or walk and walk and walk around) waiting to see if any little tummy bubble will turn into a contraction, I've had time to reflect a bit on my own take on physical suffering as it relates to childbirth. It's been on my mind ever since I read Christy's take on trusting God during childbirth and one of Haley's essays in Feast, in which she talks about how scared she was of childbirth until she finally got so big and pregnant and uncomfortable that she was willing to take her chances with labor.

this isn't me, but it seems about right

I had the exact same experience. When I was pregnant with my first, I knew I wanted to have a natural childbirth, but I was the first among our siblings or close friends to be having a baby, so I really didn't know what would happen. It was very scary to know that I was inching closer and closer to what was surely going to be a painful experience, and to dread and desire it at the same time. Eventually I just got so uncomfortable being pregnant that it didn't seem like labor could possibly be worse. But, really, I viewed it more as a physical challenge than anything else. I figured if people could do it, then I could. And I did.

I should say here that I really believe that different people are naturally better suited for different challenges. Obviously all women used to attempt natural childbirth, but I'm sure it was very traumatic for some. I seem to be particularly well suited for the physical challenges of pregnancy and unmedicated childbirth. I absolutely understand that other women are not, and I do not begrudge them whatever means they need to use. You have to do what works for you.

But, as I was saying, with my first two, I viewed the natural childbirth process as a physical challenge to be conquered. Run a marathon, check. Natural childbirth, check.

It wasn't until I was expecting my third that I began to think of it in terms an an opportunity for suffering that I could offer up for myself and others. And, really, what better opportunity could there be? Childbirth is an intense physical suffering, but for a finite amount of time and without lasting trauma (for me, so far). Plus you get an extraordinary payoff at the end.

Even with my first two births, before I had a concept of redemptive suffering, I willingly endured the physical pain of childbirth in order to a) have a baby and b) not be pregnant anymore. But with my third, I was able to prayerfully add another dimension to the experience that really made it richer and more meaningful for me, even though I would point to that as my most painful birth experience.

I have been blessed with excellent physical health. I don't suffer from backaches or migraines or Hodgkin's Lymphoma, so pregnancy and labor are my big chance to attempt to unite my suffering to Christ on the cross. And, to be honest, I'm a lot better at making the big effort to mindfully suffer through labor than I am at being cheerful when I'm tired or my kids are just driving me crazy.

The point is, my labors with my first two were a missed opportunity. I was going to suffer anyway, but I didn't have any intentions in mind. So my suffering wasn't meaningful in the way it could have been.

In the comments of one of my birth story posts, Colleen pointed out that I never really mentioned the suffering part of my labors and she wondered if she was the only natural childbirth gal to kinda lose it at the end there. Well . . . she's not. I do usually lose it at the end. I hate the pushing part. I'm always convinced I'm going to just rip right in half (although I've never required more than a couple of stitches).

So that's the part I'm going to try to focus on this time. I want to find that trust, even at the really scary part at the end. And I want to offer it up.

I'm blessed to be having all these babies with my husband by my side. He's a Catholic and a Marine, and both Catholics and Marines understand that there are things in this life well worth the physical suffering they require. Honestly, I can't imagine what it would be like were our roles reversed and I had to watch him in acute pain. His cancer treatments were a much quieter suffering. I'd like to think I would rise to the occasion. He certainly does. He gives me the strength and confidence I need, and he's the only person I can bear to have talk to me once labor gets serious. 

Even after going though it as many times as I have, I'm still apprehensive about going into labor. I've done it before, so I know it's going to hurt. I just can't remember how much it's going to hurt, which is an odd feeling. Despite that, I still really am looking forward to it, but now it's for three reasons: a) to get a baby, b) to not be pregnant anymore, and c) to be able to offer my suffering for my intentions and yours.

So, if I can pray for you during this labor, please leave a comment. It can be as specific or vague as you'd like, God will know. You're also welcome to email me at if you prefer. And if you haven't entered the baby pool, leave a comment over there too! Someone is going to win a copy of a great book, it might as well be you.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Just the Book I Needed

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how we were able to start celebrating the liturgical year in our home only by taking baby steps. And I mentioned how overwhelmed I had felt reading the first book I found about the celebrating the liturgical year in the home. Basically it made me give up on the whole idea for a bit.

If only Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas had written her new ebook way back then!

Feast! Real Food, Reflections, and Simple Living for the Christian Year is just the book I needed when I was a young wife and mother, trying to learn to live my faith. But I'm plenty grateful to have it now.

It includes essays on how to begin to make the church calendar part of the rhythm of your family's day to day life. You'll be inspired and encouraged by how Haley and Daniel have found simple ways to celebrate the traditional feasts, fasts, and liturgical seasons of the Church.

They've also included exotic but uncomplicated recipes from all over the world that will help you introduce your family to some great saints!

I've already made the Simple Black Beans and Rice recipe and it was a big hit with the whole family. And Shepherd's Pie is on the menu for tonight!

Anyway, go here to Haley's blog and get the eBook already. You'll be able to pull the recipes up on your home computer, tablet, or smart phone. (I keep all my recipes on my iPad now!) It's on sale for less than $5 only until Thanksgiving, so don't wait! It would make a great gift for anyone you know who'd like to live the Christian Year, but just isn't sure how to start.

You can still enter to win one here . . . 


Since it's Sunday, I'm linking up with the lovely ladies from Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday, for (probably. hopefully.) the last maternity edition . . . 

Dress: Motherhood Maternity hand-me-down
Necklace, boots, sweater coat: Anthropologie
New Haircut!
Bump: 39 weeks (39 weeks 4 days actually, but who's counting?)


Happy Feast of Christ the King!

We're planning on having Haley's Shepherd's Pie for dinner, unless plans change :), and something for dessert. I don't know what, I'm not feeling super creative. But there will be dessert!

The Old Mission where we attend Mass is having a High Mass for the feast and the boys are serving, and Jack gets to do the incense. He is pretty excited. So I was hoping I'd make it through this morning, and that's looking likely.

But, come noontime, I'm totally at my leisure to have this baby.

Keep an eye on Facebook if you're interested in that sort of thing . . . 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hey Look! I Made This: 7 Quick Takes XXXV

I had intended to write up a few posts in advance of the new baby, and schedule a couple each week. But that hasn't happened. Instead, this is my tenth post in as many days. Apparently, the new plan is to make you all so sick of reading my blog that you'll be grateful for a reprieve.

Anyway, here's a post about some stuff I've made . . . 

A real book!

A Little Book About Confession for Children

Here's the cover of my book! It's a question and answer catechism for kids, focusing on preparing them for their first (then all their subsequent) confessions. My goal was to write something for people who weren't happy with the standard "God made rainbows and you are special" version of Catholicism that seems to be what's usually offered to kids, but who wanted something a little more accessible than the Baltimore Catechism. 

My friend Maria did the illustrations.

It's being co-published by Ignatius Press and Magnificat Kids and will be available in early February!

Also, a fake book.

The Advent Jesse Tree (NRSV Readings)

Last week, during the Advent Jesse Tree Set giveaway, I posted a tutorial on how to make the ornaments yourself, which included a link to Shutterfly in case you wanted to buy a copy of the book I made with all the readings. However, it turned out that that was an old version of a Shutterfly book and it wasn't available to be ordered. But I was able to get it converted to a new version, and I reformatted it, and while I was at it I replaced the readings so they are now New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition. I honestly don't know what version the first book included. Back when I first put it together I'm not sure I knew that there were multiple versions of the Bible to choose from.

Anyway, it's fixed and better than ever and if you'd like to buy one you're welcome to do so. I'm not making a commission or anything, but if it would help you in your celebration of advent . . . have at it!

To order, go to the Catholic All Year share site, sign in to your account or create a new one, then save the book to your account and order it at your leisure.

If you live outside the US, you can't order Shutterfly books, so here is a google+ album with all the images in case you'd like to download them to your own computer and create a book yourself.

Some Liturgical Garments 

Anita's Godfather, Scott Corie, is in the LA Diocesan seminary and will be ordained to the 
diaconate on Saturday! Unless I'm having a baby, we'll be there. As a gift, I made him a cope, humeral veil, and stole. My mom gave me my first sewing lessons when I was a little girl, and I've put a lot of time into figuring it out as an adult. But I certainly wouldn't say I am an expert. I have sewed a LOT of baby blankets, and curtains, and dresses for the girls, but this was by far the most complicated thing I've ever attempted. 

Brother Scott is a 6'5" Scotsman for starters, so the thing is enormous! And I didn't have a pattern, so I was totally winging it. AND it was expensive fabric, so if I blew it . . . yikes. Oh, and have I mentioned that I'm pregnant?

Anyway, it was the most stressful thing I've ever attempted to make, but I finished it on Sunday and I'm really pleased with how it turned out!

Please take a moment on Saturday to pray for Brother Scott and his classmates. We're so proud of him!

P.S. If you are a liturgical garment expert and I have done something improperly, please be a dear and DON'T tell me. Awesome. Thanks.

The Baby Quilts

Since we don't find out if we're having a boy or a girl, I always make two baby blankets. One for each. Here they are for this go round:

Haley's Black Beans and Rice Recipe

I was lucky enough to get to see an advance copy of Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas' new liturgical year e-cookbook. It's called: Feast! Real Food, Reflections, and Simple Living for the Christian YearI'm looking forward to posting a whole review soon, but until then I'm just going to taunt you with the fact that *I* got to make her Simple Black Beans and Rice Recipe already and it was amazing! I made a triple batch and we ate it for dinner, put some in the freezer, and brought some to a friend who just had a baby last week. Yum.

In related memes:

And I was saving this spot in case I needed it to introduce the new baby. But since, as of post time I have yet to go into labor, let's all take a moment to bond over those two most Catholic of endeavors: giving birth and games of chance.

If you read all the birth stories I posted this week, you'll know that these are my current ranges . . . 

  • Time of Labor: 1.5-50 hours
  • Dates: +/- 3 days from my due date
  • Weight: 7 lbs 5 oz - 9 lbs 1 oz
  • Time of day: morning, noon, evening, night, I've had them all
  • Current ratio: 4 boys, 2 girls
  • Due date: November 27 
So, leave a comment with your best guess for this baby. Date, time of day, length of labor, weight, and boy or girl. Whoever gets closest gets bragging rights and a shout out on the blog and maybe even a fabulous prize if I get around to it. But, I might flake on that part. Bragging rights for sure. And the shout out.

Update: Haley has generously offered to give the winner of our baby pool a FREE copy of the awesome ebook I mentioned in take 5! So you will get a fabulous prize and you won't even have to wait to see if I can find my way to the post office.


But if you want your own copy of the ebook in time for dinner tonight, go here and buy one today. It's on sale for less than $5 only until Thanksgiving! And maybe the baby won't have come by then. Do you really want to take that chance?


p.s. Thanks for all the great Netflix suggestions, I've been trying them out and will update you guys at some point. I figure I'll probably get some more Netflix time than usual over the next few weeks! 


p.p.s. Thanks to everyone who voted for Catholic All Year over the last week or so at The Homeschool Post. We did not win, but ya know, honor to be nominated, yada yada yada. :0)


Happy Weekend everyone! 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Birth Story Week: #6, in which it turns out I totally do NOT know what I'm doing

As baby number seven's due date fast approaches, I figured I ought to do a Birth Story Week of all six births so far.

Need to catch up? Here are birth story #1birth story #2birth story #3, birth story #4, and birth story #5

And, finally (for now), here's birth story number six:

So, by the time baby number six was on the way, I thought I knew everything there was to know. But, of course, that was before I knew Frankie.

My pregnancy with Anita had been my hardest so far. I had made the jump with that one from mostly just nausea to actual throwing up, a couple of times a week, for a little past the first trimester. So I thought I knew what a "challenging" pregnancy was like. 

But I did not. 

During my pregnancy with Frankie I threw up at least once per day, nearly every day, for a little over six months. I know some of you have had it way worse than that, and God Bless ya, because, whew, what I had was certainly bad enough for me. I was able to get the kids through their school days, I prepared our meals, but I felt like I was underwater. I was functioning, but not really engaged with the world.

But the third trimester was okay, and as my due date approached my main concern became whether the husband would be able to make it home in time to get me to the hospital if I went into labor during the day. We're in LA after all, famed for its traffic, and my husband drives all over town for work. My previous labor had lasted an hour and a half, and it could easily take him longer than that to get home during rush hour.

In keeping with my policy of not making a fuss, I would be much more likely to attempt to drive myself to the hospital or just make my nine year old deliver the baby than call an ambulance.

None of my previous labors had been quite textbook, but they had all progressed in a predictable way. So when I woke up in the middle of the night on the 24th of October, with that tightness that I had learned was what my contractions feel like in the first stage, I figured I was having a baby that day.

I got up and did some tidying and answered some emails and watched an episode of Downton Abbey. A half an hour passed, and an hour, and an hour and a half, and not only had I not had a baby yet, I hadn't even had a contraction yet.

It felt like at the beach, when the ocean gathers up the water from the shore, gathers and gathers it until, boom, another wave crashes down. But all I had was the gathering, never the wave. So, eventually, I went back to bed.

In the morning things still hadn't really started, so I sent the husband off to work. Usually he knows better than to listen to me, but really, I hadn't even had a contraction, so off he went. And all day, nothing really happened. Or that night.

It was nuts. I had heard plenty of stories about women having super long labors, but wasn't that always with the first baby? Who ever heard of being in labor for two days with your sixth?

But that's what happened. I sent the husband off to work again the next morning and sat down to do school with the kids, resigned now to the fact that I was never EVER going to have this baby and all I would ever have were these weird almost contractions and I would just be pregnant forever.

I was so convinced of it that I didn't even really notice through the day as the contractions did slowly start to be the real thing. I do remember sitting there at the school table helping Jack with his math . . . with my eyes closed. 

"Are you okay Mom?" 

"I'm fine, I'm fine. I just . . . Need. You. To. Finish. Your. School. Week."

By the time the husband got home from work that evening I was totally in labor, but still somehow wasn't consciously aware of it. I was making spaghetti for dinner. He thought maybe I should call my doctor and check in.

So I did. As I answered her questions on the phone, I realized that it did kinda seem like I was in labor. So I told her that I just needed to finish up making dinner, then we'd head in. She thought that was pretty hilarious.

She still brings it up sometimes, actually. Apparently it is atypical to finish up making dinner first. But that's what I did.

And even when we got to the hospital, I didn't want to go inside yet, because I wanted to be able to walk around without being hooked up to a lot of stuff. So I asked the husband to drop me off out front while he parked the car. But by time he got back to me from the parking lot walking around outside sounded like the worst idea I had ever heard and, frankly, I was surprised he could even suggest such a thing.

So in we went. But even though I knew the contractions were the real thing now, the whole labor was still a bit lackadaisical. We were in the delivery room, I was all hooked up to the stuff, I was having real contractions, but the husband and I were still able to joke around in between them.

We walked some laps around the hospital, where I got to enjoy this photograph over and over again:

"But wait!" you say. "Didn't you say there was a black and white picture of a baby in some cabbages that bugged you at the hospital in Chicago?" Um, yes I did say that. But according to my husband (and his stupid iPhone photo evidence to prove it), that picture is not in Chicago, nor is it in black and white, and I don't think those are actually cabbages. Which begs the question why I think I can write these birth stories at all if that's the kind of accuracy you're going to get out of me. But hey, it's the last one (until it isn't) so let's just ignore this incident and keep on with it shall we?

My labor and delivery nurse was young and expecting her first baby. She kept coming in to say things like how "cool" she thought it was that we had so many kids. And how she couldn't believe that we were talking and stuff during labor. She was so cute.

But eventually, after over 50 hours of the dumbest labor ever, Frankie was born. He was 7 lbs 5 oz, my littlest baby.

And he was born before bedtime, so my parents were able to bring all the kids over to meet him that very night.

About 30 seconds after they handed him to me, there was a huge commotion outside my room and everyone went running out there. Apparently the next gal hadn't quite made it to the room and gave birth halfway in and halfway out of the elevator. While being held up under the arms by her husband. I could hear them shouting, just put her down, put her down!

Which just goes to show that I don't really have any good birth stories after all. But hey, there's always this next one.

Stay tuned . . .