Tag Archives: pregnancy

So, It’s Been a Busy Spring…


Life is twice as good as it was when I last posted. Eight weeks ago today, our second son joined our family. And as much as I hated to be induced, I’m grateful he came out when he did, because he was ten pounds even and 22 inches long!

OK, so just a condensed birth story, y’all. If it’s not your thing, just skip this paragraph. I was worried that an induction (and the epidural I ended up getting) would lead to a c-section, but as it turned out, labor only lasted 9 1/2 hours, and when he finally decided to make his appearance, it only took 9 minutes. In fact, when he was born, the doctor had just gotten into the room and wasn’t fully gowned and gloved yet. Ben said something funny, and I laughed, and the nurse said, “Don’t laugh too hard!” Still laughing, I thought, “What on earth is she talking about?” And then I heard her say, “Doctor! He’s coming now!” And the doctor ran over and caught him. I’m pretty sure being born in laughter has to be a good omen, right?

First Snuggles

First snuggles with my little man.

Proud Daddy

Proud daddy.



First Smiles

First smiles.

I’m biased, I know, but he is a truly beautiful boy. As my sister says, Ben is well-represented in this one. His big brother adores him, and the feeling is definitely mutual. His eyes widen when he hears his brother’s voice, and he immediately turns his head to find him.

So while we’ve been busy falling in love with The New Boy (Boy Two? Little Boy? Any suggestions for his blog alias?), spring has sprung outside! Two weeks ago was my favorite part, when the leaves were tiny and brilliantly green against the grey tree branches. It was also wisteria season, which always goes by too quickly. The woods up the road from my parents’ house are full of it, but there’s none on their property or ours, so I just admire it when we’re out driving.


Things seem especially beautiful on my parents’ farm this spring. We’ve had lots of rain. so everything is a super-saturated shade of green. The Boy loves the chance to run around outside until he can’t run anymore. He also loves the horses, and they seem to enjoy his company, too.

Running to the pasture

I’ve had the chance to enjoy the farm on a regular basis over the past five weeks, because we’re in the process of weaning last summer’s foal off of Calypso, so she’s closed in the stable and has to be taken care of every day. To avoid dealing with this issue again, we had Admiral gelded earlier this month. He was a very sweet stallion, so I’m pretty sure that as a gelding, he’ll be trying to climb directly into our pockets.

Sweet Admiral

And although I hadn’t planned to add any new chickens this year, somehow we’ve ended up with six Gold Stars and seven Easter Eggers. They followed me home. Honest.

It’s a beautiful spring. But best of all is definitely the little snugglebunny who’s currently gumming my shoulder and staring around the room with the biggest blue eyes you’ve ever seen.


40 Weeks and Counting…


Well, I’m officially overdue. Again. This baby is apparently very comfortable in there and in no hurry to move out, in spite of what feels to me like very cramped conditions. I’m trying to keep in mind that there are lots of parents out there with preemies in the NICU who would have given anything for their babies to stay safely inside for 40 weeks, but I am so ready for this little boy to get here.

I’ve spent the last few days cleaning the house, making sure I’m all caught up on laundry, and just generally trying to be ready for any visitors who might come by after the baby arrives. This is not to say that my house looks (or will ever look) perfect. It looks like exactly what it is: home to an active 3-year-old, two adults, four cats, and a dog.

Speaking of trains, we went yesterday and got The Boy’s much-anticipated electric train. It was his reward for the amazing progress he’s made in the past few weeks. After understanding the theory for about two years, he’s finally decided to start using the toilet consistently, and he’s suddenly sleeping in his “big-boy bed” all night every night. We’re so proud of him! He knows it, too — every morning when he wakes up with a dry pull-up, he says, “Are you so proud of me and so impressed?” Anyway, he was thrilled to go get his train. His daddy built a great, sturdy table for it yesterday afternoon, and he was out in the Florida room first thing this morning to play with it.


He keeps asking me about the hospital — how long I’ll be there, what will happen, how soon I’ll be home, etc. He’ll have his Nana, Aunt Gigi, and cousins to play with, so he’ll probably handle the separation better than I will. I’m dreading it. I haven’t even left for the hospital yet, and I already can’t wait to get home.

I go to bed every night thinking, “OK, this is the night. Tonight the real contractions start.” And I wake up the next morning thinking, “Crap.” At this point, I’m scheduled to be induced next week, and I’m praying like crazy that this child will decide to come on his own before that. I’ve heard it said elsewhere, but it really does seem crazy to avoid so many things throughout pregnancy (including any and all medications that actually work) and then pump our bodies full of multiple powerful drugs because it’s suddenly supposed to be safe. I do not want this pregnancy to end that way.

This post isn’t meant to be a pity party. So to lighten things up, I’ll tell you about one of our cats. Gilligan was born the week before Ben and I got married in 2005, under the back porch of the guesthouse we lived in for the first five years. He and his mom and littermates lived in a big dog crate in our living room for about six weeks after we got back from our honeymoon, and when we got home from work at night, we would let them all out to play. Gilligan would sit inches from the open door of the crate and watch forlornly as his siblings jumped out and wrestled on the rug. But he literally could not find his way out of the cage without our help.

He grew into a huge, sleek, jet-black cat, but he’s always been a few bricks shy of a load. Before The Boy was born, the cats slept in our room, and most nights, Gilligan would wake us up by knocking something off of my dresser. We would turn a light on and find him standing on the dresser, wide-eyed, looking totally shocked by the racket he’d just made. We got so frustrated with him, but he was truly incorrigible.

At almost eight years old, he finally seems to have grown out of the kitten stage. Now he’s pretty mature, with only the occasional act of craziness. But he’s a cat with fetishes. He’s completely obsessed with brushes — makeup brushes, basting brushes, paintbrushes. He can sense their presence, and he will dig for them until he finds them. Then he will carry them around in his mouth by the bristles, knock them around on the floor, and happily chew on them for hours. He’s also fascinated with ponytail elastics (which he chews to pieces and devours), used q-tips (which he will knock over the bathroom trash can in order to retrieve), and Crocs (of which he has destroyed three pairs by chewing through the straps). Oh, and plastic shower curtains. He actually fell into the tub once while I was showering because he was trying to chew on the curtain liner and lost his balance.

But for all his quirks, he is the sweetest cat imaginable and has never met a human or animal he didn’t immediately love. All of our cats are wonderful with The Boy, but there’s something especially cute about such a massive cat being so affectionate with him. Here he is, in all his craziness, watching birds. The funny thing is that even after eight years, if the window were wide open, he still probably wouldn’t be able to find his way through.


Thirty-Nine Weeks


Thirty-nine weeks, and I am beyond ready for this baby to get out of me! I’m quite certain that God deliberately makes the last few weeks of pregnancy this uncomfortable so that labor will be a more welcome prospect. At this point, even though I know about the sleep deprivation that awaits me, all I can think of is being done with these itchy stretch marks and the claustrophobic-in-my-own-skin feeling. Plus, I want my Boy to be able to sit in my lap again without sliding off my knees!

I’m hoping to labor at home for as long as possible this time, because last time I didn’t feel the need for an epidural until I was lying flat on my back in a hospital bed with nothing to think about but the discomfort. But I ended up hating my epidural and hope to avoid it altogether this time, so I want to stay active for as long as possible! Still, I’m trying to keep all of the animals fully fed and watered in case we do have to head to the hospital quickly for some reason. Do you have any idea how much food two nursing rabbit does and eight growing baby bunnies go through? They seem to view a full food dish as a personal challenge, so keeping them prepared for us to be gone for a couple of days is not the easiest thing.

I do have to mention that we had a small poultry tragedy this weekend. The hen I removed for egg-eating spent the last week or so living the life of a happy free-ranger. We called her Mabel (or Marbles, as The Boy said at first), and she had a great time digging through leaves, tearing apart the straw bale in the carport, and laying eggs (which she never ate) in the compost bin. She also insisted on sleeping there, although there were plenty of safer places she could have roosted. The Boy loved the novelty of having a chicken that came running over as soon as we went outside. On Friday, we came home from a trip to the grocery store and found her digging through the straw in the carport again. My Boy went over near her, and when I called him to go into the house, he said, “Oh, just let me explore with Mabel!” It was pretty cute. Unfortunately, on Saturday night, something found her sleeping spot, and on Sunday morning, all we found were feathers. I hate losing any animal, especially one with so much personality, but I’m really glad she enjoyed these last couple of weeks so much.

The one good thing about losing Mabel is that it lets me know that our coops are secure, because there are obviously predators around. We’re still making improvements, but at least the coops are already doing their most important job well.

My mom got 18 new chicks last week — 6 each of Buff Orpingtons, Ameraucanas, and Black Australorps. It’s very hard to not be getting any of my own right now, but maybe later in the season I can add a few. My Boy is absolutely in love with the little dibbies and handles them so gently. Here he is cooing over one of the little Ameraucanas.


He’s going to be such a wonderful big brother. Hopefully he’ll be one by the next time I write here!



This third-trimester “nesting” thing? I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to have something to do with cleaning my house, doing laundry, putting meals in the freezer, and generally preparing for the arrival of Baby #2.

Instead, my nesting seems to be centered on… well, nests. And chickens. And by the time I’m done with that, all my energy is used up, and I collapse on the sofa and hope that I’ve solved all the problems and tomorrow can be about nesting for the benefit of the humans in my life.

While the front partitions have cut down drastically on the egg-eating, we’ve still found remnants of a broken egg here and there. Yesterday, I caught a Golden Comet who seemed a little too interested in what was going on in the nest boxes. She was craning her neck to peek over the front of the box while other hens were going about their business, and I was pretty sure she was the same one I’d found standing over a broken egg last week.

I grabbed her and put a zip tie on one leg so I’d be able to keep an eye on her, and sure enough, this morning I went up and found her sitting on a roost all by herself, watching a hen in the nest. While I stood there, another hen jumped out of a nest at the far end of the coop, and by the time I got there, the Comet was off the roost, across the coop, and peeking over the partition at the fresh egg. I grabbed the egg and put a golf ball in the nest, and she hopped right in and started pecking at it. Right in front of me. The brazen hussy.

So right now, she’s hanging out in solitary (also known as the compost bin) with food and water while I figure out what to do with her. I’m hoping that a few days on her own will be enough to break the habit. If not, I guess things will have to get ugly.

And of course, now that I’m getting close to having one problem solved, another one is cropping up. We have a hanging metal feeder with a 30-pound capacity under the front of the coop, and for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been finding a lot of feed on the ground. I haven’t seen how it’s happening, but yesterday, Ben put 20-25 pounds of laying pellets in the feeder, and today, there’s about an inch left in the bottom. The rest is spread over about half of the run.

Obviously, when the feeder is full, it’s too heavy for them to spill by jumping onto it or bumping it. It swings freely, so I can’t see how they could scratch the feed out in such large quantities. I can’t raise the feeder, because it’s already hanging directly from an eye hook by a carabiner clip. And there’s nowhere else in the coop or run to hang it. I’m really at a loss as to a) how they’re making the mess and b) what to do about it.

For the time being, I’ve removed the feeder so that they have to eat what they’ve spilled. And I’m trying to decide if I can cut a piece of hardware cloth that will fit in between the tube and the outer rim. But if anyone else has any suggestions, please tell me!

The baby bunnies are as cute as baby bunnies always are. I suppose it’s because of having another baby of our own on the way, but we seem particularly susceptible to the cuteness this time around. So we’re hoping to find homes for these litters instead of putting them in the freezer. Lucky little critters — their arrival was well-timed.

Anyway, the animals are keeping me busy, but I keep hoping that tomorrow will be the day that I white-glove the house, fold all the clothes, and make a bunch of meal plans. And maybe this time, it’ll be true.

Catching Up, Starting Fresh, and Just a Little Bit of Showing Off


The holiday season always flies by, but for us, anyway, it was especially crazy this year. We had a couple of pretty major projects going on in the house — finishing up the new room for The Boy and his soon-to-be little brother, turning his old room into a guest bedroom, and general touch-up, cleaning, and reorganization of the rest of the house, which has felt like a combination of a storage unit and construction zone since we started work on the new nursery.

From the moment we got the tree home, all The Boy could talk about was putting the star on top. He needed Daddy's help, but he got it up there!

From the moment we got the tree home, all The Boy could talk about was putting the star on top. He needed Daddy’s help, but he got it up there!

Christmas was lots of fun since The Boy was so very excited about it. We celebrated with my family the Friday before, and let me just say that it’s a good thing the world did not end that day, because I would have been very upset to miss out on my Mom’s famous standing rib roast and Yorkshire pudding. Then on Christmas Eve, Ben’s family (who were in town visiting his grandparents) came over to have dinner and to see all that Ben has been working on around here.  Christmas morning was nice and quiet with just the three of us celebrating together one last time.

So excited on Christmas morning!

So excited on Christmas morning!

Outside, we’ve been breeding rabbits, cleaning chicken coops, rebuilding nest boxes, and spreading what seems like half a ton of chicken and rabbit “contributions” on the garden area. Anticipating life with a 4-year-old and a newborn, we’re planning to keep things very small gardening-wise this year — mostly large pots close to the house for things we use the most (tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, etc.) and feed sacks for growing potatoes.

Egg production has been spotty for the last few weeks due to the frequent changes in weather. The girls also got into the nasty habit of egg-eating recently, probably because one or two eggs got broken around Christmas Day when schedules made it difficult for me to collect them as frequently as usual. This is why we ended up altering the nest boxes, adding a ramp and partition for the eggs to roll down and under, so that they end up in a nicely padded spot where they’re much less accessible to the hens.

Sweet, crazy Silkie.

Sweet, crazy Silkie.

We realized about a month ago (after moving the last of the bossy SLWs from the chicken tractor to the large coop) that two of the Easter Eggers we’ve raised this year are roosters. Crazy, right? Apparently they were too hen-pecked by the slightly older pullets to ever assert their masculinity, and honestly (maybe for the same reason), they didn’t even look like roosters until the past few weeks. Now, they’re making up for lost time and conducting multi-round crowing competitions anytime between 11:00 p.m. and dawn. At least one of them definitely needs to go.

The Boy snuggling with Dickens, his favorite cat. No, this photo doesn't "belong" here, but who cares?

The Boy snuggling with Dickens, his favorite cat. No, this photo doesn’t “belong” here, but who cares?

There should be a couple of litters of baby bunnies arriving this weekend, although we haven’t decided yet whether they’ll be ending up in the freezer or the classifieds. I haven’t been able to cook rabbit since getting pregnant — something about the tiny bones reminds me of dissecting things in high school biology class, and every time I try to handle one I end up smelling formaldehyde. Completely baseless and psychosomatic, I know, but I can’t seem to get past it yet. Hopefully the crazy will go away after the baby is born.

It’s sinking in now that this baby is coming next month. This pregnancy has flown by and lasted forever at the same time, and I’m ready to see his face. My first pregnancy was a surprise, and I was too naive to know what to worry about. I miss being naive. This time I’ve known from the beginning that I wouldn’t feel safe until I could hold this baby in my arms. We’re almost to that point now, and while I’m dreading the sleep deprivation I know I’ll be dealing with by March, I also can’t wait to hear that first cry and snuggle with another newborn.

BABY 11-29-12_0005

My sweet baby — can’t wait to see this face in person!

So, back to that new room we’ve been working on since last fall. I think we’re finally ready to post before and after shots! Ben has done such beautiful work, and I’m really proud to show it off. When we moved in, the room had old, funky-smelling, green carpet and this strange, indoor/outdoor feel, mostly due to the exterior siding on the walls. the old sliding glass door leading to the living room, and the window looking into our master bedroom. It had apparently once been a screened porch, and when they turned it into a sunroom, they didn’t change it much. (Nor did they insulate it much!) We ripped out the carpet and put down vinyl flooring, painted the walls a light blue, and basically put the whole room at the bottom of our priority list. So here are pictures starting with the “before-before,” through the “before” and the construction process, and a bunch of “now.”

The room when we moved here in October, 2010.

The room when we moved here in October, 2010.

Lovely view of the "Before" living room through the glass door.

Lovely view of the “Before” living room through the glass door.

Our temporary fix for the room. That window looked into our bedroom, by the way.

Our temporary fix for the room. That window looked into our bedroom, by the way.

Windows and door opening into the carport. Lovely.

Windows and door opening into the carport. Lovely.

Exterior siding partially down, drywall going up. The window's days are numbered...

Exterior siding partially down, drywall going up. The window’s days are numbered…

The two large windows into the carport had to go. They added nothing to the light or the view. The Boy was thrilled by the huge hole in the wall.

The two large windows into the carport had to go. They added nothing to the light or the view. The Boy was thrilled by the huge hole in the wall.

Look, no more window! Now I have a door directly into the nursery from our room.

Look, no more window! Now I have a door directly into the nursery from our room.

New floor going down. The Boy loved the sound underfoot and crab-danced back and forth.

New floor going down. The Boy loved the sound underfoot and crab-danced back and forth.

Flooring is down, light is up. Huge improvement.

Flooring is down, light is up. Huge improvement.

It's almost unrecognizable. Seriously, go back and look at the first pictures. It's amazing.

It’s almost unrecognizable. Seriously, go back and look at the first pictures. It’s amazing.

I wish my bedroom had these windows!

I wish my bedroom had these windows!

Cozy crib. I'm in love with the tree branch decal.

Cozy crib. I’m in love with the tree branch decal.

New French doors into the living room!

New French doors into the living room!

The Boy's "new" bed. The quote above it is from Thoreau: "All good things are wild and free."

The Boy’s “new” bed. The quote above it is from Thoreau: “All good things are wild and free.”

Tree branch

Crib and tree branch again. Still love it.

The Boy's "new" dresser. I love this, too.

The Boy’s “new” dresser. I love this, too.

So happy. This isn't a huge space, but it's finally useful, and it's more beautiful than I ever thought possible.

So happy. This isn’t a huge space, but it’s finally useful, and it’s more beautiful than I ever thought possible.