Saturday, December 20, 2008

And we're off!

Hi all! Just letting you know that we will not be blogging for the next few weeks because we will be in Pennsylvania!!! Yay hurray!

Our plans include, but are not limited to:

*Eating yummy food
*Playing with Ravenna and other lovely family members
*Going to Baltimore
*Playing with my friends Mara and Sara, and maybe more
*D.C. Temple
*Observing the Amish
*Oh, and other fun stuff

If you have any suggestions or if you are in the D.C. area and want to say hello, send me a message. Otherwise, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Many tags all in one!

I was tagged by Brighton Woman do this six things meme, but I was also tagged forever ago by Becky to do seven interesting things about myself and it wouldn't be fair to do one and not the other so I will combine them, and it will involve a pseudo holiday theme. The tag begins:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Seven Interesting/Weird Things about Carrie:

1) I don't like Santa. Yeah, yeah, bah humbug and all that. No, I don't think the idea of Santa Claus is a bad one, but I just don't want to lie to my children and make them think that if they don't pretend to believe then they won't get gifts. I don't think parents who do Santa are evil, but Andrew and I agreed that in our family Santa is not going to be a part of our family's Christmas celebration.

2) Follow up to #1: "What?! What a horrible parent you are!" some might be thinking, and while that very well may be, Andrew and I prefer the German tradition where children receive gifts not from Santa, but from the Christ child. In fact, we would like to incorporate many German Christmas traditions into our celebrations which include Advent. In many ways, I think the German traditions are much more Christ centered, and that is the way it should be.

3) I saved up for months to buy an Aero Garden so that I could include "grows own produce" to my domestic goddess C.V. I scouted the Internet anxiously looking for bargains and finally stumbled upon one on Ebay. The delivery day was the 15th and when the jolly UPS man dropped the long awaited box at our door, I was a bit puzzled: the box said The Ultimate Kitchen Gardener. Huh? I had been scammed! Sorta. Apparently Aero makes a cheaper (i.e. crappy) version which I ended up with. The seller on Ebay marketed the product as the genuine article, and he could do so because Aero makes the product. Now I am trying to figure out whether or not to return it. Sad day.

4) I am insulin resistant and should be on a diabetic diet but have you ever tried that at CHRISTMAS of all times? Ugh, my body craves carbs constantly, but they are oh so bad. How does one drop the cookie or cookie dough truffle, and grab an apple or carrot instead? The natural woman is winning this round...again.

5) Trailer parks are the bane of my existence. I have been driving around lost in gargantuan trailer parks too often than I care to recall since moving to Gillette. What do you expect? The whole town is pretty much one large trailer park. Anyway, it is nearly impossible to find where you are going with all the darned deadly speed bumps and invisible trenches, not to mention all the ice and lack of clear addresses on the trailers.

6) Now for something I love: I love my new sewing machine. It is the perfect gift for me as I try to add other divine attributes to my above mentioned domestic goddess C.V. Although it took me an hour today to figure out how to thread the needle and then another hour of cursing and intense irritation to sew a straight stitch, I feel gratified and successful. Maybe one day I will move on to bigger and better things, like pillow cases, curtains and dare I even suggest it? A dress!

7) Another thing I love: my Pampered Chef knives! Last month I hosted a party, with the sole intention of buying a can opener and the curiosity of actually attending what feels like is the only "home party" I have never been invited to. When it came down to my hostess rewards I could chose any item in the catalog for half price. Then I saw them! 8 of the professional series PC knives with a bamboo knife block, kitchen shears and a sharpener for the bargain basement price of nearly $400! With the half off it came to just under $200. Was I out of my mind? Probably, but I can now cut veggies like the the chefs on TV and that makes me feel pretty special.

As a Christmas gift to the blogger world, I tag: NOBODY!

Ravenna opens her gifts (early)



Here is Ravenna opening up one of her Christmas gifts from her Grandma and Grandpa Hettinger.
Since they are far away in California, we thought they might like to watch her "open" her gift.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

-11.9 F and Christmas Goodies

As I write this blog post it is -11.9 degrees Fahrenheit outside and bitterly windy. The above picture is of my breakfast dregs after I left my bowl of oatmeal in the car while we were in church this morning. We returned 3 hours later to find that the spoon and the oatmeal had frozen to the bowl. Pretty cool, I mean, cold.


For our Christmas goodies this year I decided to make Seven Layer cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough truffles and Gingerbread cookies. I didn't really feel like making the Gingerbread yet, but I will probably do so this week.

Seven Layer cookies are absolutely my favorite cookies during the holidays. My mom made these when I was growing up and my grandma made them as well. I will even bet that my great grandmother made them. I noticed that they now sell kits, calling them "Magic Cookie Bars," to make these which is so silly because they are super easy.

Seven Layer Cookies
1 package of graham crackers, smashed into crumbs
1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted
12 oz. (2 cups) butterscotch morsels
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
7 oz. (1 1/3 c.) Shredded coconut
1 cup. chopped walnuts
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 13X9 pan. Mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter and press evenly into the bottom of the pan. Layer the remaining ingredients, topping with the can of condensed milk. Bake in oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and cut into bars. Store covered at room temperature. Makes 2-3 dozen bars.

*The Eagle Brand Recipe says to pour the condensed milk over the crumbs and then layer the remaining ingredients over the top, pressing down firmly with a fork, but I haven't ever tried it.

One day I was watching the Food Network and I saw this truffle recipe and I wanted to make it instantly, but didn't think it would be a good idea to eat 60 some truffles on my own. They really do taste like cookie dough, but without the worry of salmonella.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate morsels
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 lbs. chocolate bark candy coating, melted

In a large bowl cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla. Gradually beat in flour and add milk. Add chocolate morsels and pecans, mixing well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on waxed paper; chill 2 hours.

Melt chocolate bark candy coating in a double boiler. Using 2 forks, dip cookie balls into candy coating to cover. Place on waxed paper and chill to set. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. *Since the dough is sticky, roll your fingers into flour.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The "Mom" Hair

I guess now that I am a mom, I gotta have the hair, right? I had an idea of how I wanted my hair to look, but this wasn't quite it. It isn't the stylist's fault; she did EXACTLY what I told her to. That is what upsets me the most. Was I subconsciously wanting a hairstyle that would make me look like a typical 30-something Utah Mormon mom sans bouffant and highlights?

Maybe I will do something really wild and crazy, like a pixie cut next time?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ravenna, Ravenna, Ravenna!

I have really been slacking on my "Ravenna Photo of the Week" posts so I will make up for it doing a photo-post extravaganza! Enjoy!

Ravenna helping with the laundry

So you think she is ready for solids? Right.

Ravenna loves to stick her tongue out

She still has great, big, blue eyes, but for how long?


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sometimes...


...I feel a part of my heart is missing.

My first experience with this emotion began when I went to SVU and observed the relationship my roommate Jennifer had with her parents and siblings. She hung pictures of them all over her desk and would call them often and talk with them just as you would a best friend. Weird. The next time I felt this way was when I visited my friend Mara's family for Thanksgiving. The genuine affection they showed one another was so bizarre, I couldn't quite wrap my mind around it.When I dated and then married Andrew I could not understand why I felt so irritated when I witnessed how he and his family members interacted with each other. They genuinely seemed to LIKE each other! What was wrong with them?! Eventually I realized that there might be something wrong with me.

I can't say I have a good relationship with my family members. I don't have a bad relationship with them necessarily, but it is not one that I would ever call friendship. It never really bothered me, though. I thought that was the way all families were. But then I started to feel an emptiness inside that grew every time I closely observed other people's families. I realized that I was jealous. Obviously these families are not perfect, but somehow over time they had been able to develop friendships with each other that I had not.

What got me thinking about this? Obviously, the holiday season and so many people blogging about their families, especially my cousin. I want so much to be friends with my family members. Maybe it will come in time, however even if it never does, I will always be so grateful for my own little eternal family of Andrew and Ravenna. It is such a blessing to know that we can be together forever and that the wonderful friendships that I have cultivated in this life will endure in the next.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

“Microwave safe” containers release chemical BPA

I just read this article and thought it was good to share.

This just seemed like a given to me but apparently a lot of people don't know that when a container says "microwave safe" it really has nothing to do with whether or not the plastic will leach BPA, but that the container won't melt in the microwave. BPA is a dangerous chemical that companies in the US are only now starting to warn consumers about despite the fact that plastics that leach BPA are being banned in many countries. You should NEVER microwave plastics that leach BPA, or freeze them either for that matter. Extremes in temperatures cause the plastic to degrade which leachs BPA faster into the food or liquid.

What other options do we have then? Well, there is always glass or ceramic, which may be more expensive, but it will last you longer (pending breakage), heat more evenly and is better for the environment. Another plus that I have found is that with glass, food can be baked, served and then stored, all without changing the container. Less dishes to wash! Yay! One mom suggested looking at thrift stores for old Pyrex which would definitely save a lot.

What plastics should you look out for? You should definitely avoid: #3 PVC, #6 PS, and #7 PC. The "safer" plastics are coded as such: #2HDPE, #4LDPE, #5PP and PLA.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Carrie's Babywearing Top Ten



1) Daddys who wear their babies look even more handsome

2) Ravenna loves to be worn! Up until she was about 3 months just putting her in the wrap would put her right to sleep.



3) It is super convenient for traveling. Going through airport security with Ravenna was a breeze in the wrap. It also was great when I was traveling alone and needed to use the bathroom!

4) The adjustability of many types of carriers is amazing. A hard carrier like a Baby Bjorn cannot be adjusted to the size and age/development of the baby. The Moby wrap can support up to 35 lbs. comfortably.

5) I love to have Ravenna close to me and it saves me from having to cart around all that extra baby gear.



6) These carriers are much more affordable than hard carriers. My Moby wrap was $35 and my sling was $20 on sale. You can even make your own if you are handy with a sewing machine.

7) So many colors and patterns! Not only do you get to show off your cute baby, but you can be stylish too!

8) Babywearing is good for a baby's development. As I said in my last post, having your baby close to your body, as with the Moby wrap, really helps the baby learn to breastfeed and there are lots of other benefits as well.



9) I can get tons of stuff done when wearing her. Somedays she just doesn't like to be put down, especially when she isn't feeling great so this way I can get my tasks done and fulfill her needs.

10) It is fun! Think of all the things that you can do with your baby that you can't do with hard carriers. Plus, babywearing is a great conversation starter.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy International Babywearing Week!

Ravenna at 2 weeks old, sleeping happily in Alisa's Moby wrap (Thanks again, Alisa!)


Yay! Notice the blinkie to the left!

I love babywearing! It has been such a great thing for my little family, and such a lifesaver, too. We have worn Ravenna since she was a newborn. I had always planned on wearing her because I knew of the benefits, thanks to my crunchy friends and Dr. Sears, but I never realized how important it would be with helping Ravenna learn how to breastfeed. Keeping her close to me, skin-to-skin (in a Moby wrap), for those vital first few weeks was highly recommended by all four of the lactation consultants that we met with. I credit babywearing with helping Ravenna learn to breastfeed sooner than she might have without it.

Wearing Ravenna attracts a lot of attention here in Gillette. I always wear her in a sling when we go out, it is much easier, and I get so many comments. Many people have said, "Oh, I wish I had one of those when I was raising my kids!" A lot of people have asked me where I got my sling or wrap, which gives me an opportunity to tell them about the shops on Etsy (if you make them I will happily pass on your name when I get asked). We get a lots of comments from little kids especially, I guess because they are delighted by the novelty. I am pretty sure that we have become the ambassadors of babywearing in Gillette.

Later in the week I will do my Babywearing Top 10 and post some great pictures from our baby wearing adventures. If you want more info about babywearing check out Brighton Woman's blog or clink on the blinkie. TopHat is having a great giveaway of a versatile Ring Sling if you are dying to try out babywearing for yourself. Remember, there are LOTS of different ways to wear your baby and lots of different types of carriers with a range of prices, but the best advice I can give you is, whether your make your own carrier or buy it, try it! You and your baby will love it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ravenna Photo of the Week


This is Ravenna's favorite toy, mainly because she likes to chew on the tag.
It looks like she is saying, "Daddy, this is a turtle."

Sourdough Success!

No, Ravenna with a plastic container on her head doesn't have anything to do with making bread but she sure does look cute!

For the past few weeks, probably due to my lack of friends here in Gillette, I decided to take up a new hobby: bread making! Alisa's blog has done a great deal to inspire and help me in this process, so she should also be given due credit. My sourdough story starts with lots of flour, tears and frustration, i.e. creating a sourdough starter. I failed at this more than I should admit considering how "easy" everyone else says this is. Most people don't realize that when someone like me is trying to learn something new, we need precise instructions. Things that would normally be obvious to others, are not so obvious to me. For example, I pondered why the starter smelled so bad and why I was missing the bubbles (oh yeah, you have to FEED it every day). Another time I wondered why the starter just kept getting bigger and why it never seemed to ferment (oh yeah, you have to throw half of it away every time you feed it!). After this last adventure I found that I had used nearly 2 lbs. of whole wheat flour and had enough starter for SIX normal starters, so I kept 3.

Probably one of the reasons that I kept failing, and Alisa commented on this, is how confused I was because of how freaking complicated most people make this process. Example: You can only use non-chlorinated or distilled water, no metal anything, stirring only counter clockwise on odd days etc. Ok, the last one I made up but there are lots of unnecessary rules out there and everyone has their own way of doing it. Seriously, this IS supposed to be easy. Well, after using another pound of flour I finally had three working starters ready to go. I dried one and I have two working starters in the refridgerator.

So far I have made three loaves and they just keep getting better as I figure out the mysteries of bread making. Here is a great site for all things sourdough and for baking with a starter, including a great FAQ section to help solve a sourdough novice's woes.




Today's bread; quite a beauty if I do say so myself


My first attempt! Not very sour but a great crust!

Monday, November 3, 2008

You can't be LDS and a Democrat...or can you?

In 1998 Elder Marlin K. Jensen, at the time speaking for the Church as the chairman of the Public Affairs Commitee, addressed the subject of political affiliation and Church membership and especially the issues that it has caused in Utah because there is such a political imbalance. Here is the link to the entire article, orginally published in the Salt Lake Tribune, which is very much an antidote to the widespread belief in the LDS Church that being a member of the Democratic party goes against Gospel teachings. I love this quote:

Pro-choice and, more recently, gay-rights stands of the national Democratic Party have helped Republicans paint the donkey-symbol party as taboo.

Jensen said it is time for LDS members to take a broader view of political affiliation. "We would probably hope that they wouldn't abandon a party necessarily because it has a philosophy or two that may not square with Mormonism. Because, as I say,[parties] in their philosophies ebb and flow," Jensen said.

"You know, the Republicans came very close last time to bringing a pro-abortion plank into their platform. That was maybe the biggest battle of their [1996 national] convention," he said. "Which shows that if you're a pure ideologue, eventually you're going to have trouble in either party."

"Everyone who is a good Latter-day Saint is going to have to pick and choose a little bit regardless of the party that they're in and that may be required a lot more in the future than it has been in the past. But I think there's room for that and the gospel leaves us lots of latitude."


What I love about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that it does not dictate to us everything that we should do or believe. Instead, we are to guide our lives by the two great commandments: To love God, and to love our neighbors. When I make choices about politics, I decide based on the principle of charity and the example of Jesus Christ, not by what any politician or pundit may say. That is my litmus test.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The East Coast Invasion!


Guess where we are going for Christmas this year? Pennsylvania! Yay! We are so excited to be able to spend Christmas with Andrew's family and also to see some friends that we haven't seen for years because of our never ending hiatus in the West. In addition to spending time with the Whitlock's our plans include going to NYC, Washington D.C., and of course, Buena Vista, Virginia! We are really looking forward to it!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ravenna as a lion

This weekend our stake had a trunk-or-treat and Halloween carnival. Even though Ravenna is too young to eat candy (but I am not! he he he) we thought it would be fun to take her anyway. She was super excited when people would put candy in her bucket and would wave her arms and say "ooooo, oooo" which I am sure means, "more, more." I was pretty disappointed, though, because most people took one look at her and then proceeded to dig around their bowls trying to find "baby appropriate" candy...ummm hello? There is no such thing as "baby appropriate" candy. The only way that she is going to get it is through me, so load me up with the CHOCOLATE! I didn't actually say that, but I appreciated what chocolate I got anyway. I am looking forward to when she is older and I can more fruitfully reap from her Halloween rewards.
After trunk-or-treating and rubbing off all her makeup from chewing on a bag of pretzels

All ready to go get some candy!


Ravenna Photo of the Week!

Andrew was wearing Ravenna in the wrap and to keep her extra warm he zipped up his coat around her. I love it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ravenna's "Crib"

Because I can never find an ideal time to do a video tour of the whole apartment I decided to do it room by room. Here is Ravenna's room.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"You, too, can be a gooder writer" or blogger!

I saw this in the September Reader's Digest and I found it very clever and entertaining, and so fellow bloggers, I share with you, "You, too, can be a gooder writer":

Avoid cliches like the plague--they're old hat.

Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

Do not use a foreign word when there is an adequate English quid pro quo.

Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

Don't repeat yourself, or say again what you have said before.

Be more or less specific.

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Tips courtesy of plainlanguage.gov

Ravenna Photo of the Week

Eating the Ducky
Bath Time!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tagged- Crazy Eights

8 Favorite Restaurants?
1. PF Changs
2. Magelby's Fresh (In Provo)
3. The Smoke House (Also in Provo)
4. Macaroni Grill
5. Jack in the Box (seriously? Yes, seriously)
6. Costco Food court (not really a restaurant, but I love it anyway)
7. The Cancun (I believe it is in Sandy or Murray, Utah)
8. Ruby Tuesdays

8 Things I did yesterday?:
1. Woke up butt early
2. Drove 3+ hours to Billings, MT
3. Went to the temple
4. Went to Costco and begged the tire people to PLEASE fit us in, which they were nice enough to stay late and do
5. Went to Red Robin...not as good as I remember it being a few years ago (sigh)
6. Went to JC Penny and bought some shoes which really hurt my feet today, but it isn't like I can return them without driving 3 hours
7. Drove 3+ hours back to Gillette and enjoyed a stimulating conversation with Andrew
8. Fell exhausted into bed at 11:30 PM

8 things I look forward to:
1. The Summer
2. Moving away from Gillette, Wyoming
3. Seeing my Provo friends in December!
4. Buying a home
5. Visiting my friends and family in the East
6. Going on dates with Andrew (soon, I hope!)
7. Pay Day
8. Ravenna waking up at night so that I can cuddle her

8 things on my wish list?:
1. I wish that I could wake up with my hair perfectly styled
2. I wish that I didn't have to live in an overpriced apartment
3. I wish for peace and happiness for everyone on this earth and will do my best to make sure that I do not hinder that wish for anyone else
4. I wish that dinner would make itself a couple times a week
5. I wish that my family would love and respect me, always and that I would love and respect them always, as well.
6. I wish that Andrew could get his wish and live in Germany
7. I wish that I could be one of those cooks that knew exactly what a dish needed just by smell
8. I wish I had more energy!

I now tag anyone who wants to be tagged; just send me a message so I can check it out!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tagged & Photo of the Week

This is a photo tag from my cousin, Dejah (I have also never been tagged before!). You go to your pictures, and post the fourth picture in the fourth file. This is Ravenna when she was two months old. Pretty funny if you ask me, and even though this isn't very recent, I think it will work for the photo of the week.
Oh, and I tag TopHat, Jordyn, Natalie R., and Lindsay

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Squeal it out?

If you have seen any of Ravenna's videos from the past few months you will notice that she loves to squeal. She doesn't really babble, just squeals. It is her happy noise and she does it very often to entertain herself. For example: If I run to another room to get the phone, I will hear her in the other room squealing happily, and return to find her playing with her feet or happily knawing on a toy (yes, she can knaw and squeal at the same time).

The other night Ravenna woke up in the middle of the night wanting to nurse, so I did the usual and brought her into our bed to nurse and snuggle, but instead of falling asleep as she usually does, she wanted to announce her happiness at having a full tummy by squealing. Although this is normally funny and endearing, in the middle of the night and when her Daddy is sick, it is less so. I tried to soothe her back to sleep, but she was having none of that, so I put her back in her bed happily squealing away and munching on her bear. I stayed awake to see if she would cry (so I could soothe her if needed) but for half an hour she squealed and giggled, blew bubbles and then fell asleep. Needless to say, I am certain that I fell asleep with a smile on my face. Take THAT, "cry it out!"

On a side note, I was reading Parenting Magazine the other day and found this interesting quote from Lawrence Balter Ph.D, a professor of child psychology at NYU: "Too much stress on an infant's nervous system-such as crying continuously-isn't healthy for her development." He goes on to say that it is NEVER a good idea for babies younger than 6 months to "cry it out." I think it is also interesting what the article says for after 6 months of age: "Even then, an older baby probably isn't capable of manipulating you to get your attention." Holy Hannah! I think this guy is on to something!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Our Vaccination Schedule

I am so grateful for modern medicine, especially vaccines. My grandfather almost died of Polio as a child and has suffered from its effects his entire life. Thanks to vaccines, Polio no longer exists in the U.S. and there are positive reports that in our lifetime it will probably no longer exist in the world. With that said, Andrew and I decided to delay vaccinating Ravenna and only selectively vaccinating at that. We feel good about our decision and it was based on a lot of research and thought. Today, Ravenna got her first vaccination.

I thought that I would share our delayed/selective vaccination schedule for the first two years which we decided on thanks to the research and advice found in Dr. Robert Sears' The Vaccine Book. I have also included the names of the commonly used brands of the vaccines that contain the least amount of aluminum:

5 months: DTaP (Daptacel)
6 months: Pc (Prevnar), HIB (ActHib)
7 months: DTaP
8 months: Pc, HIB
9 months: DTaP
10 months: Pc, HIB
15 months: Pc, HIB

Why this schedule? Because I am exclusively breastfeeding for at least 18 months and Ravenna is not going to daycare, many of the vaccines are unnecessary. I might even accept the argument that ALL vaccines are unnecessary in this situation, but I don't know what the future holds. Before Ravenna goes to school she will probably get the MMR, but we aren't 100% decided on that; let's see what happens with the research on the vaccine in between now and then. If we go to Africa or India, Ravenna will get the Polio vaccine beforehand.

As far as the actual vaccination went, I was a bit miffed by the nurse trying to convince me that the DTaP vaccine doesn't contain ANY aluminum. Uh, hello, it says it on the packaging? Oh, and she also gave me a hard time saying that it was going to be harder on the baby to get the shots every month instead of the combo every other month. Ummm, but it's not hard to get 4 at once? In any case, the nurse who actually gave the vaccination was very nice and we got a free board book: Goodnight Moon. Ravenna handled it pretty well, too.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Five Months Old & Photo of the Week

She is starting to look a lot more like Andrew; notice the drool?

My Kid is Better than Your Kid Syndrome

Lately I have been concerned about Ravenna's development. A lot of my friends babies around the same age are already rolling over and sitting up unsupported, whereas Ravenna, not so much. I worry if there is something that I have done to cause her developmental delay. Yeah, I know, babies all develop in their own time frame and the "normal" period of development for these milestones is between 3-6 months. I also realize that I shouldn't compare my child to other children, but hey, I am a mom!

When expressing my concerns to a middle aged female acquaintance of mine with two grown children, I stumbled upon a world of unhelpful advice I never dreamed I would find, and have since noticed its effects far and wide. I call it: "My Kid is Better than Your Kid Syndrome" and it seems to afflict mom's everywhere. The most obvious symptom of this affliction is a classic disregard for normal conversation etiquette in order to insert comments about how great their children are. A classic example, as demonstrated by my conversation with the above middle-aged female subject, you may observe below (this is based on actual events):

Woman: "How is the baby doing?"

Me: "She is doing just fine, but I am a bit worried that she is not rolling over yet."

Woman: "Oh, well, I wouldn't worry, you can't expect your child to be as smart as Devin (name changed) is. Yes, he rolled over at three months, sat up on his own at four, and was crawling by five. But he wasn't a normal baby."

Me: "..." I am speechless as this point.

Woman: "Oh, don't look so worried. My babies have always been smarter than the average. Ravenna will catch up in her own time. Just look at how well she holds up her head."

Me: (Trying hard not to laugh) "Yeah, she will catch up."

Though these weren't the exact words she and I used, they were pretty close and the "you can't expect your child to be as smart as Devin" is spot on. Why on earth do women do this to each other? As if being a new mom isn't hard enough, to have someone tell you that your child isn't up to par or just average is supposed to be helpful? Isn't a little early to be setting the bar so high for kids? Luckily I have a good sense of humor and filed this one away in the old "brain box" to share with y'all in hopes that you can come up with some wittier comebacks.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ravenna Laughing

This is just for you, Rachelle!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Ravenna photo of the week!


Sweet Baby Blue Eyes

Being a Conscious Consumer

What does being a conscious consumer mean, anyway? According to the New American Dream it means making informed choices about what we buy and how we consume. But what does it REALLY mean to you? Being "poor," i.e. lacking very much (if any) discretionary income, Andrew and I are always looking for ways to save. There are some amazing crunchy people, and non-crunchy people, I know that have found ingenious ways to save money, spend wisely, and reduce their waste.

Take Lindsay for example: even living in New York City, one of the most expensive places to live in the USA, she managed to set a goal of spending only $150 dollars a month on groceries to feed two adults, and well, I might add. How did you do it, Lindsay and are you still doing it?

One of the things I like to do is to use reusable grocery bags. They aren't very expensive and I get .05 off per bag at Smith's grocery store. It isn't a huge thing, but if you use 10 bags, which I easily do on my bi-weekly shopping trips, I get .50 back. That is $1 a month and since these bags usually cost $1 each you will recoup your cost in just 10 months and have these bags for a lot longer than that.

Or you could be like TopHat: Take the challenge to ditch the disposables. I cloth diaper and I try to limit how many disposables I use but, gosh darn it, it is tough! One of my crunchy friends, Brighton Woman, doesn't use ANY disposables! Her family is an all-cloth bunch. It helps that she is amazing at sewing, although, I doubt that even if I do learn to sew that I will ever stop using TP or Kleenex.

Reduce, reuse, recycle! One of the best ways I have found to be Green and save lots of money is the 3R's, especially when it comes to buying things like children's clothes, books, etc. Buying used is often just as good and SO much cheaper. I learned this lesson in college when just the thought of buying costly textbooks at the beginning of the semester made me feel sick. I saw a great post this week on someones blog (can't remember whose it was!) about fixing up garage sale finds for her son's b-day and it ended up saving the mom $200 over buying all the stuff new! Anyone who has kids knows how quickly they grow out of clothes, which is why garage sales, craigslist, freecycle, consignment stores and thrift stores are such great things. Most of the kids clothes are in great shape and they will cost you a lot less. Things I will not buy used: underwear, bedding, or shoes (unless I know the source).

That is all for now, but if you have great ideas on things you do to be a conscious/savy consumer, post a message and share! Plus for fun you can check out Living Green Below Your Means.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Beef Brisket? Seriously?

Just to illustrate what is considered "news" in our new home, this is a blurg from Gillette's local newspaper. I am sad to say that it really doesn't surprise me.


"A 48-year-old man made a disastrous attempt at stealing a meal from Wal-Mart at 4:41 p.m. Saturday. He first caught a Wal-Mart employee’s attention by sticking a beef brisket, valued at $27.04, into his pants. Caught red-handed, the man ran out of the store, with the employee giving chase. Some customers helped the employee take down the criminal behind the store, where the smell of alcohol on his breath became apparent. Deaton said that the man was charged with larceny and public intoxication."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Man Van

I got a car! This beauty belonged to the Relief Society president's daughter who just went off to college. It is a 1988 Dodge Caravan and has only 35,000 miles! The car is called "the man van," but I am not sure why because there isn't a whole lot manly about this car; it is more like a granny van. Perhaps after driving "him" around a while I will figure it out what makes it so manly. In any case, now I can get around Gillette without having to hitchhike.

Mount Rushmore

At a diner with my mom and Josh

Family Picture in front of Mt. Rushmore
Ravenna is excited to see the "big rock"

The last weekend of August we went to Mt. Rushmore with my family. South Dakota is really pretty and it was nice to get out of Gillette. Now we can cross off one more national landmark off of our list.

Ravenna Picture of the Week



Watching Mommy drink is pretty amazing

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Carrie's Favorite Flicks

This is not an all inclusive list, but I was thinking about one of my favorite films tonight and it made me feel good, so I thought I would share in the hopes that some of you might enjoy these just as much:

Sunset Boulevard: A recent favorite thanks to Netflix. This film is the best of the best of Hollywood, in my opinion. It is gritty, beautiful and just plain mesmerizing. This is truly film as art, as it should be.

Across the Universe: Very original, artsy, stirring and who doesn't love the Beatles?

Pan's Labrynth: Gorgeous! I saw this edited and couldn't help but love it. Again, I love originiality in films and unforunately most of these films come out of Europe and we never get to see them. I am glad that I got to see this one!

Once: I also saw this one edited. It is such a great film, but has an issue with foul language. This film really left me feeling good about life and it had SUCH great music!

P.S. I love you: Ack! My girly heart breaks just thinking about it. A pretty original story and it really makes you want to show those you love just how much you love them. It made me appreciate life even more.

Girl with a Pearl Earring: Vermeer is one of my favorite artists, which is what attracted me to this film, however this movie is BEAUTIFUL! A lot of people I talked to said it was boring, but how could I be bored with this feast for the eyes?! The set and filming techniques in this film are SO well done and the details! Oh, the details!

Ok, there is a very short list of my favorite films, and I will probably update it again after I get thinking a bit more about it. What films do you recommend?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Adventures in Eco Friendly diapering, part 2

Fuzzi Bunz

bumGenius 3.0


At the end of part 1 of my adventure I left off with a comment about how much I love cloth diapering, so here is part 2:

After doing a lot of research I decided to try two brands of cloth diapers: fuzzi bunz pocket diapers and bumGenius 3.0 one-size cloth diapers. If you are unsure what these terms mean here are some definitions courtesy of cottonbabies.com.

Pocket diaper: "A pocket diaper is usually made of two layers of fabric sewn together to form a pocket for an absorbent insert. The entire diaper fastens onto your child and does not require the additional use of a cloth diaper cover. Pocket Diaper Inserts can be made of microfiber terry, cotton terry, hemp Chinese Prefold Diapers or even a regular kitchen towel folded to size."
One-size diaper: "A one size diaper usually fits a child from birth up until about 30 or 35 pounds. This sizing is achieved by strategic placement of snaps on the front of the diaper. This allows for the front of the diaper to be folded over and for the closures to be snapped on top of each other. As the baby grows, several snap settings allow for waist and leg growth."

There are lots of different types of cloth diapers and it all depends on what you are most comfortable with. I wanted something that was easy, somewhat inexpensive and durable. I chose to use Fuzzi Bunz because my SIL uses them and I was able to find an amazing deal on them on craigslist for $7 each. Usually they go for $14-20 on Ebay, so this was not to be passed up. Fuzzi Bunz come in LOTS of different colors and patterns, which is one of the things that make cloth diapering lots of fun. The fleece lining inside the diaper is very soft and they are pretty easy to use. Now the cons: their insert is not as absorbent as I would like and we did have some leaks because of it; these diapers also come in different sizes, so they don't grow with your baby. The medium size lasts for most the time you have your baby in diapers however.

My favorite cloth diaper is the bumGenius 3.0. These are, in my opinion, the most similar to disposables and the easiest to use. They are also more economical as they will fit your baby from 7 to 35 lbs. These are trim diapers and they fit great! The Cottonbabies insert that comes with this also has the highest rating for insert absorbency. The downside to these diapers is that they only come in a few colors and the "velcro" tends to wear out quickly. Diapers that use snaps to fasten tend to be more durable and baby-proof. (edited 6/12/2009)

How much does this cost? To start, CD'ing parents say you need about 18-24 diapers. I bought 12 bumGenius ($203.40) and 4 Fuzzi Bunz ($28) and I do laundry every other day and haven't had any problems so far. I used a normal 13 gallon trash can with a lid for my diaper pail ($10) with a Whamies pail liner ($16). I also bought a wet bag for my diaper bag from a friend on Etsy ($9 w/shipping), but you technically can just use any old plastic bag. For the stink of the diaper pail, I bought Tea Tree oil ($10 for 1 fl. oz.) which I use 1 drop of per batch of diapers and this will last a LONG time and it works wonders. I wash my diapers using Purex Free & Clear detergent ($3 for 64 loads of CD's; by the way I use HALF the detergent to wash these puppies). Ok so the grand total comes to: $279.40 to get started. I will probably end up buying 6 more BG diapers because I like them so much, which is an extra $100, but I probably won't do that until Ravenna is a year old.

As for the total cost of CD'ing the Diaperpin.com has a great calculator to help you figure it out and compare to disposables. I will continue to keep posting on this adventure and please, feel free to ask any questions!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The loneliness of a new place

Now that the newness of Gillette has worn off (it really didn't take that long, unfortunately), I am beginning to feel very lonely. Andrew works a lot, which surprises me because I can't remember many of my teachers ever putting as much time and effort into their lesson plans, but I am glad that he cares so much about being a good teacher; Joshua has moved in with us but he is at school during the day which leaves me alone with Ravenna during the day. I love being at home but I still crave adult female interaction. My new ward is nice, but I haven't been able to make any friends yet, due in large part to my lack of a vehicle to drive me to activities during the day. To top it all off, I live in an unfinished apartment complex with no landscaping and the closest neighborhood is two+ miles away with no sidewalks to speak of.

All of these factors have combined to make me feel pretty sorry for myself to be here in Gillette. Despite the fact that I am grateful that Andrew has a job and I know that we are so blessed to be here, I miss my friends and I miss the familiarity and convenience of living in Provo. It is difficult to be in a place where, despite the vast amounts of money made because of the mines, the majority of people refuse to better their situations and instead squander their money on liquor, cigarettes and cheap thrills. You might be thinking, "welcome to the real world, Carrie," but I have honestly never lived in such a "trashy" place even compared to Southern California and po-dunk Virginia.

With all of that said, I am done venting. I was blog-hopping this morning and read a friend's blog all about her moving experience this past year. She moved from a small town to a big city and her attitude is very inspiring. She chooses to "bloom" instead of wither and I guess that is a decision we all have to make. The other night as we were on our balcony enjoying a sunset our upstairs neighbor came out on her balcony and lit-up and started cursing about how much she hated Gillette (I guess she was on her cell phone). At the time I thought, "oh great, another potentially great moment of my life ruined by Gillette, WY," but now I have a different thought about it: I can choose to be like her (sans the smoking and cussing, of course) or, I can try to bloom in the prairie desert that I now live. It isn't going to be easy, but I will try to do better.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ravenna goes swimming

Before we left Provo we decided to take Ravenna swimming at the Helaman Halls pool. Thanks to Grandma Hettinger for the cute swimming suit!


Check out that farmers tan on Andrew! It's a good thing we moved to Wyoming instead of Florida.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Adventures in Eco-friendly Diapering, part 1

Did you know that it takes a disposable diaper 500 years to biodegrade? Did you know that disposable diapers add up to 3.5 million tons of waste on average per year according to EPA estimates? Well I didn't know that before I became pregnant and one of my friends, J, told me about her cloth diapering experience. My first thought, "ick." Seriously, who wants to clean up bodily fluids all the time? Ha! Then you become a mom and cleaning up bodily fluids becomes just a normal part of daily life. So, I pondered my friend's advice and did my research. My research turned up lots of eco-friendly options other than cloth diapering.

Because I was living in a place without a washer/dryer my first options appeared to be those that did not require washing diapers every day. First I started using regular disposables for those newborn poop 5 times an hour days. I used Pampers Swaddlers, which were not bad at all, but expensive and I didn't intend to use them long-term. After that I was given a gift of regular Pampers and HATED them. Ravenna had horrible diaper rash and they leaked all over the place. Also during this time I used Huggies which I liked better than the regular Pampers, but not loved.

During my research I stumbled upon Nature Babycare biodegradable disposable diapers on Diapers.com. I LOVE these diapers! They are trim, they hold a lot of fluid and even newborn baby poop and they are pretty cute. No leaks, whatsoever. The downside is they are pricey, even more than Pampers, but they are good for the environment. I recommend them highly. Also, I found G-diapers (http://www.gdiapers.com/) which is a cloth/disposable hybrid. Great idea! They are cute and I haven't had any problems with leaks or flushing. Pretty easy to use, but I don't use them that often because I fell in love with cloth.
By the way, for wipes I tried out the biodegradable kind from Nature Babycare but didn't like them much. You had to use tons of wipes to clean up newborn poop and they don't dispense well. They were soft though. I also tried the generic 7th generation wipes from Whole Foods and REALLY didn't like those. They suck, suck, suck. Oh yeah, they suck. Don't buy them! So I use Huggies Sensitive and really like them. I will probably continue to use them until I run out of the giant pack I bought a while back. After that I would like to try the Bum Genius Bamboo cloth wipes with Kissaluvs diaper lotion potion.

For more on my eco-friendly diapering adventures and cloth diaper reviews, stay tuned.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Adventures in Wyoming






So, I haven't gotten around to getting pictures of the "palace." I am waiting until I get all the rooms done, and since Josh isn't here yet, his room is really empty. However, I have taken some pictures from some of our outings. Here are some of the oh so exciting things that we have done lately:

-We drove to Sheridan to visit the local farmers market. This was a great outing in theory but not so much in execution. Sheridan is a cute little town about 100 miles from Gillette (yeah, everything in WY is far away), so we packed a picnic dinner and headed out to Sheridan. We got to Sheridan without a problem, however finding the market was an issue, but thanks to Lenzy H. we found it. Unfortunately, we arrived 20 minutes after it opened and there was nothing left! The market was pretty small to begin with but I never expected that there would be no fresh produce left, but alas, there were slim pickings. There was a vendor selling cookies, so we bought two of those and then camped out on the grass for our picnic. It was a nice picnic but I was pretty disappointed we didn't get any super fresh organic produce. Alas. I hear the farmers markets around Rapid City are supposed to be better, so maybe when we have more disposable income we can try those out.

-For some reason people in Wyoming really like fireworks. All this week there has been a huge fireworks show at the CAM-PLEX (the local arena). We went on Sunday evening and though we were eaten alive by mosquito's, except for Ravenna, it was pretty awesome. It felt weird considering it wasn't the 4th of July, but still cool. Ravenna definitely seemed to enjoy it.

-Some of our dining experiences here in Gillette have been pretty interesting. Mostly I cook at home, but a few times, including our anniversary on Tuesday, we sampled the fine dining of Gillette. I use the term "fine" loosely, but it was food. We tried out the China King Buffet, which was recommended by Ken and Mishelle. It was no P.F. Changs and some of their items were a bit weird (stuffed mushrooms and french fries?) but we didn't have to wait to eat, which was a plus. On our anniversary we went to a local pizza place...definitely NOT fresh ingredients and very expensive for what you get, plus although we were the only people in the place when we ordered we didn't get our pizza for over an hour. Maybe they were waiting for the dough to rise? Oh yeah, it was frozen dough. Huh...?

So those are some of our experiences of Wyoming so far. I hope that my next entry about activities in Wyoming will be more exciting. One positive thing that I can say is that I am glad there aren't any really good places to eat-out here in Gillette because otherwise I think the temptation would prove irresistible. Watching the Food Network is definitely getting me more psyched about cooking, though.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

I wouldn't normally blog about something this personal but I thought that maybe sharing would help others in the future. Moving to a new place and starting from scratch is often scary and expensive: In addition to your regular monthly expenditures you have security deposits, moving truck expenses, fees up the wazoo for everything you can imagine, not to mention the fact that you sometimes have to wait for the first paychecks to start arriving from your new employment. So it is with us. Andrew doesn't get paid until the end of September even though he starts work on August 12th. Our savings have dwindled to just enough to pay our rent and utilities next month and little more, so today we found ourselves at the community food pantry.

This is probably the most humbling experience I have ever had. We were told to go to the pantry by an employee of the DFS because other aid takes a lot longer to recieve. I had no idea what to expect and I was embarrassed to be there. I kept thinking: "I am not lazy, I am not a druggie, and I shouldn't be here," but the kindness that we recieved was astounding. The woman who was helping us didn't ask us embarrassing questions or even ask why we were there. When we told her, she understood and told us that she had been in a similar situation and had to use the pantry when she moved to Gillette. At the pantry we were given the basics, mostly canned foods and dry goods, but some surprises like frozen cheesecake. What we received was enough to help round out what we currently have in our food storage and make me feel much more secure.

Tonight as I was pondering our situation and grateful for a far from empty pantry I thought about all those times that I was asked to give to the local food bank and used it as an opportunity to clean out the things that we didn't eat/want. I am ashamed because I could have given more and didn't. The point I am trying to make is that you never know when you might be in a similar situation, so the next time you are asked to give, please think of all those other families who, like us, worry because they don't have money to buy groceries; I certainly will.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Wyoming! Whew...what a ride!

I finally have a moment and I thought that I would update everyone on how our move went: First of all, I want to thank everyone who helped us move and clean, especially Sterling, the Clements, the Hursts, Lindsay H. We could not have done it without you guys! I especially want to thank Jillynn for all of her help and support. She has been such a true friend to us!

So moving day, Wednesday, was crazy busy but we finally got done in the early evening. Thanks to Lindsey O. for letting us stay with her overnight. We departed from Wymount Thursday at 7:30 am towing our car behind us in the Uhaul. It was NOT a quiet ride, as is advertised on the truck, but overall it wasn't too bad and we even got 10! miles per gallon thanks to the mostly flat Wyoming terrain. We arrived in Gillette around 5:30 pm and stayed with my aunt Mishelle.

Early Friday morning we arrived at our apartments, signed our lease, and waited for members from the E.Q. to help us move. And we waited...and waited. Eventually we realised that nobody was coming, so the two of us got most of the stuff moved in by ourselves (nearly broke our backs doing it, I might add). After a few hours the E.Q. president called and sent over the missionaries to back us up. Thanks to the Elders we were able to get the really heavy stuff unloaded. About a half an hour after we finished a few members showed up to help. Don't worry, I was mad at first (more panicked actually) but I still have a testimony.

Aside from the unloading difficulties, the move went great. Our apartment is AMAZING! I have taken to calling it "The Palace" and I will refer to it as that from now on. We are the very first people to live in it and have a whopping 1150 sq ft. to ourselves! Our apartment is equipped with such luxuries as three bedrooms (including a master suite), two full bathrooms, central A/C, a dishwasher, and the best part: a WASHER/DRYER! Oh my goodness, I have never been so happy to have an appliance in my home! I have already done like 10 loads and I still giggle with joy every time I do. OK, you may be thinking I am crazy, but after using a laundromat for SIX years I think a little bit of craziness is understandable.

I will post some Palace pictures soon and blog about some of our adventures. Our impression so far is very good: the people are really nice and our ward is very friendly. Oh, another factoid about Gillette/Campbell County, WY: there are 2 antelope to every 1 person.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Family Pictures

We just had our family pictures taken before we left Provo so as to preserve the memories. A good friend took them, I think she did a great job. There are some of my favorites, though definitely not all. I will add some more later!





Friday, July 25, 2008

Legefoue

Doesn't that sound like a cool title? It looks like it could even be a French word. I was posting on a friend's blog and had to type that in for security purposes and thought, "What a cool word; I should blog about it." And so, here I am blogging about "Legefoue." Tell your friends! Is this a real word? Who knows, and I don't really care, but I would be interested to hear some of your ideas for a definition of "Legefoue."

On another note, I was bitten by a mosquito tonight and as I contemplated how good it would feel to itch it, I thought about West Nile Virus, and then about our move to Wyoming this coming week. It is funny how that all seems to run together in my crazy brain. This move has been extremely stressful on me, but we have been so blessed. For example: my friend Lenzy called me up tonight and said (in a condensed version): "I had a really horrible, no good, very bad day; can I bring you some yummy dinner?" Although I should be the one bringing her food, it was a very nice time and a great break from packing. Hopefully it cheered her up, too.

We will load our moving truck on Wednesday and head out early Thursday morning to arrive in Gillette, WY in the late afternoon/early evening. Another blessing is with the moving truck: thanks to a moving thread on slickdeals.net we were able to get our moving truck rental down about $100 and saved an extra $150 by picking the truck up in Sandy instead of Provo. A bit of a hassle, yes, but well worth the $250 saved.

Yet another blessing is that I realized that today was the very LAST time we will have to wash our clothes in a laundromat (theoretically, of course). This also means that I can start cloth diapering! I am going to go with the Bum Genius 3.0's and I also have some Fuzzi Bunz and G-Diapers to experiment with. I will post in the future with the results of my diapering experiences so as to better inform you, my reading public who currently or will soon diaper.

Legefoue to you, my friends! And with that, I end.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

And the winner is...Wyoming???


Driving Through Wyoming


Our prayers have been answered, and this answer definitely shows that our Heavenly Father has a great sense of humor. After months of despairing that Andrew wouldn't find a job he was finally offered one in Gillette, Wyoming! How is that for putting a kink in our well-intended plans?

We had always intended on moving to the East after we finished school and had dreams of all the lovely trees and landscapes (not to mention all the cool places to visit), but it seems that we are needed in Wyoming for some reason or another. We really hope that it isn't too permanent, though! We will keep dreaming of trees in the meantime.

A little info about Wyoming and Gillette. Did you know that Wyoming is the LEAST populated state in the Union? I wonder why...I guess we will find out as soon as we move there. Gillette is situated in the north eastern part of Wyoming and calls itself "The Energy Capital of the Nation." Gillette is a small town of about 30,000 people and it has great schools, which is the main reason why we are moving there. Andrew will have no worries about losing his job because of budget cuts (unlike most of the nation). It is also near such sites as Mount Rushmore and Devils Tower, so if anyone is looking to do some site seeing, stop on by!

Monday, June 30, 2008

"Who Says Kids Make You Happy?"

I found this article today via MSN.com and was so sad to read what it said. http://www.newsweek.com/id/143792/page/1

I was even more saddened by the comments that people left after reading the article, such as:

"I happen to think that in this day and age, having a child is the more selfish of the two choices."
"I have to agree that married people without kids are probably happier. I know my husband and I were. I love my kids who are now 20 & 22 but if I had to do it over again I think we would have chosen to remain childless. Sure there were wonderful times but once they got older & started school, it became less wonderful. Perhaps if my husband and I shared a parenting style it would have been less difficult but it's too late now. When you really think about it do people have children for the right reasons or just because it is expected of them?"
Ok, I haven't been a mother for that long but honestly, I have never been so happy before. Every day I wake up and know that I am doing something sacred and wonderful, and that alone brings me great happiness. I love the quote by Julie Beck in this month's VT'ing message:
"Women have distinct assignments given to them from before the foundation of the world...These are vital responsibilities in the plan of happiness, and when women embrace those roles with all their hearts, they are happy!"
I couldn't agree more! Yes, parenting is difficult and sometimes not very fun. No, I can't do all the things I could do before I was a parent, but I wouldn't trade my child for the so called "freedom" that you have being without children. Has my marital happiness decreased? Heck, no! Seeing my husband as a father makes me love him a hundred times more. We actually appreciate our marriage much more now just because of the extra effort we have to spend making our time together special. The point that I am trying to make is that being a mother and KNOWING my divine purpose and embracing it with all my heart makes life truly joyful and everyday worth living to its fullest!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Reflecting on the birth of Ravenna

I just read such a beautiful home birth story on a friend's blog and it got me thinking about my own birth experience. For those who don't know, I chose to be induced when I was 41 weeks and 4 days. At that point I was emotionally spent and very ready to have the baby. Technically I could have waited 3 more days (possibly more, but I didn't ask).

When I went into the hospital at 7 AM with my husband and doula, I was already in early labor having regular contractions about 3 minutes apart, but not very intense, and I was 3 cm dilated and 90% effaced. We three decided to wait it out a while to see if I progressed. Unfortunately two hours later, the Pitocin was started. According to the L&D nurse, who wasn't very nice anyway, I wasn't progressing fast enough so she kept increasing the dose every hour or so. Four hours after starting the Pitocin I had only progressed to 4 cm and I was getting very discouraged. A hospital is a TERRIBLE place to have a slow, calm labor. Even though I had done my research and felt strongly for as few interventions as possible before I entered the hospital, I began to cave under the pressure of the mean nurse and the one midwife I didn't like. So, I let them break my water.

Looking back, I think that was where I gave up control of my birth. What I can remember from the experience was shaking uncontrollably and the student midwife (who delivered my baby BTW) asking me what was wrong. I told her it was just the contractions, but really, I was scared out of my wits! I had never been afraid of giving birth up to that point. After the waters ruptured the labor progressed quickly and the contractions became unmanageably intense (thank you, Pitocin!). Things continued to go down hill from there.

I will stop there because this is getting too long, but the conclusion that I have come to is that there is NO WAY, unless it is absolutely necessary, that I will EVER deliver in a hospital again. I didn't get to push in the position I wanted. In fact, I felt tricked into birthing in an unfavorable position. I was shocked by how many people were in the room when I was about the deliver; it ruined my focus and it was entirely unnecessary. No body asked me if they could come in. I still don't know why they were there. Birth should be peaceful and relaxed, not a circus! The worst part is that once the baby was out, she was on my stomach briefly then whisked away. I felt totally robbed! My baby was crying and I was strapped into stirrups, unable to go to her. Then I wasn't even allowed to deliver my placenta in my own time. Now, don't get me wrong, I had protested these things while they were going on, but I couldn't move much less assert my rights. I am grateful for my doula for supporting me while the machine raged around me. How lonely I would have been if she had not been there holding my hand and comforting me (Andrew was with the baby making sure they didn't do anything to her that they weren't supposed to).

The sad thing about all of this was, I had a birth plan and everyone in the room was aware of what I wanted. Only my doula respected those things. There are lots of other things that displeased me about my hospital birth, but I think the cards were a bit stacked against me. I am not trying to say "don't give birth in a hospital!" because I know people who had very satisfying births there. Perhaps the purpose of this experience was to teach me to go with my gut, and have a home birth. I never wanted to give birth in a hospital in the first place. Why did I do it, then? Well that is fodder for another post, another day.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A tough week(end)

If I have seemed a bit stressed lately here is the D.L.:

1) My midwife discovered that I have retained placenta tissue which should have resolved itself by now. She gave me meds to fix it and we thought it had, but it turns out it hasn't. Fun.
2) I got a cold which I then passed on to my dear sweet baby. We have not been handling it well.
3) A clogged milk duct thanks to a fussy sick baby who didn't want to nurse and being out of the house all weekend and thus unable to pump.
4) An extremely busy weekend with family coming in for the baby blessing and everyone wanting to see Ravenna at once!
5) Running around the Salt Lake Valley trying to attend a 50th Wedding Anniversary Party, meet up with Andrew's family, and somehow keep my baby happy all at the same time.
6) Putting on a luncheon for out of town guests here for the blessing.

Basically, by this afternoon I was trying so hard to keep smiling while holding back tears. I loved seeing my family, but this was all just too much for one Carrie to handle. So now I am trying to pack for Andrew's family reunion which we are leaving for tomorrow. Unforunately I didn't realize that I needed Ravenna's birth certificate to get on the airplane so I have to rush over to the health department tomorrow morning and see if I can get it. It seems like the stress will never end, or at least abate! I am also really sad because I felt like I didn't get to enjoy the time I had with the family and having Ravenna get blessed. I hope that upon my return I will have been able to enjoy the family reunion and we will all be healthy again.

Anyone else survived this kind of week? Care to share survival skills?

Thursday, June 5, 2008