Oh Deer! Steak

Hi!  Long time no see!  I am interrupting my customary blogging silence with a yummy dear steak recipe 🙂

My mighty hunter son shot a deer with a muzzle loader rifle from 131 yards away!  I’m very proud, and I’m loving the meat too!  In this recipe, we are cooking deer steak.

First, I melt butter in my pan.

Then I sear both sides of the steaks.

Next, I rub the steak in my homemade rub.

The rubbed steaks

Butter is added to the top of the steaks before roasting at 425° for 15 minutes

We ate the steak with some fresh fruit.  Side note:  We are studying the states in home school, so we eat on a state map covered in plastic. It’s just fun!

The finished product!  Everyone in the family loves it.  We originally coated the steaks in cracked pepper, but the kids thought it was a bit too spicy.  I appreciate being able to feed my family healthy game meat.

Oh Deer! Steak

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients


– 2-3 pounds of deer steaks
– 7-8 Tablespoons of butter (divided)
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
– 1 bay leaf crumbled
– 3/4 teaspoon thyme
– 1/2 teaspoon sage
– 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
– 1 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce
– 1 Tablespoon olive oil

Directions


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Melt about 1 Tablespoon of butter in a pan
3. Sear the outside of the deer steaks in the pan.
4.  Move the seared steaks into a 9×13 glass casserole dish
5.  Mix together salt, pepper, ginger, bay leaf, thyme, sage, marjoram, soy
sauce, and olive oil.  Rub the mixture on all sides the seared steaks
6. Place the remaining butter in slices on top of the seared and seasoned steaks
7. Roast the steaks in the oven for 15 minutes

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Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST)

I sit here and remember the events surrounding Thanksgiving last year.  My three-year old son Jude was very sick last year.  When we ate the Thanksgiving feast at my parent’s house, he was in the bedroom sick, while the rest of us were at the table.  He got progressively worse after Thanksgiving.

Let me give you a little background.  Jude had no history of major illness and no known allergies.  He had an uncomplicated delivery and was a healthy birth weight.  In fact you can read his birth story here.  The family did not have any health insurance, so the story to come gets extra stressful due to that point.

Jude got sick around 11-15-15.  He was running a temperature of 100-101 for about three days, and then his temperature returned to normal.  Then, he got a head cold for about four days with no fever.  Jude was eating and drinking normally during this time.

The next five days, Jude slowly lost his appetite.  He would throw up once or twice a day.  He was still eating some and drinking a normal amount.  On Saturday, November 28th, things worsened.  Jude became weak and feeble.  He was given sips of water and small pieces of candy to increase his blood sugar.  He seemed to perk up with an increase in activity and normal amount of talking.  However, he still did not want to eat solid food and would vomit if he tried.  The fluids would stay down though.  He continued with the increase in activity into the evening and slept normally.

Sunday, November 29th, he was back to being weak and seemed slightly worse.  Undivided attention was given to help him eat or drink, but now he was unable to keep food or water down.  Around noon, we started to give him a teaspoon of Pedialyte every ten minutes in an attempt to keep him hydrated.  After a few hours, we changed the dose to a tablespoon every ten minutes.  It seemed we were making progress, and about 6 p.m., he asked to go to the bathroom.  When we moved him to the bathroom, he vomited up about three cups of fluid.  Our progress was undone!  It was time to take him to the ER.

We took Jude to our local hospital about 7 p.m. on Sunday evening.  Jude was given an IV of saline for dehydration, and he had blood drawn for tests.  The blood test showed that Jude had a very low platelet count, and he was referred to a pediatric hematologist to rule out any underlying cause to his abnormal blood work.  Las Vegas was the nearest place with a pediatric hematologist on the hospital staff.

My husband and his mom drove Jude to the children’s hospital in Las Vegas about 3 in the morning on Monday, November 30th.  Later that day, Jude was transferred to the pediatric ICU (PICU).  Jude’s vitals were not doing well.  His heart rate and blood pressure were low.  His oxygen saturation was also low.  He looked very pale and responded very little, even to needles.

In the PICU, many different ideas of what the cause of the low platelet count were given, including cancer and blood disorders.  We were also told it could be consistent with him eating poison.

My dear friend and I drove down to Las Vegas on Monday evening to relieve my husband and his mother.  We will call this friend Jean, so she can remain anonymous.  This friend is beyond amazing and left her own family to be with me in my time of need!

While we were in the PICU, we realized that our friends the Stines were in the PICU as well!  Their two month old Knox had stopped breathing suddenly.  You can read more of their story on Fox News.

Knowing that others were there with me through this ordeal helped!  The Stine family was praying for Jude, and I was praying for Knox and for them.

In our first room at the PICU, Jude had a CT scan, chest film, 2 EKG, an EEG, multiple blood tests, and he received lots of IV fluids.

jude-sunrise

In the picture, he has goopy hair from the EEG.  This picture brings tears to my eyes!  I was so happy to be able to hold him!  He was more stable than when we brought him, but he had so far to come!

Okay, a little comic relief 🙂  There was an older lady that did the EKGs.  I don’t recall her real name, but we nicknamed her Cruella de Vil.  She had black and grey hair just like Cruella, and she spoke with a French accent.  She was also extremely rough, especially for working in a pediatric hospital.  She did Jude’s first EKG, and he didn’t care to respond.  The second EKG, he hated it and squirmed and screamed.  This momma was thrilled to see the spark of life and energy!

I slept in the chair in the picture, and my friend slept on the couch like thing that they had.  The doctors and nurses came in every hour or less to check on Jude and shine lights in his eyes.  They also had to come in when his monitors would beep alerting them to his bad vital signs.  In other words, not much sleep was to be had!

Jude’s vitals did improve with the IV fluids, and he actually started eating.  We were ecstatic to provide him chicken, french fries, and ketchup!

Because of his improvements, we were moved down to the pediatrics floor.  The doctors continued to question and question again what was happening or had happened to Jude.  They continually asked us if he was dropped on his head or fed poison.  I did NOT appreciate the implication that I intentionally did this to my child!  I was running on fumes, and I was telling the doctors and nurses anything and everything that I could remember.  I was brought to tears by one of the attending physicians in what felt like an interrogation lasting about 45 minutes.  After the female attending physician left, I asked the kind male nurse, “Was she accusing me of something?”  His response was, “I can see why you thought that, but she was just trying to get to the bottom of things.”

About an hour went by, and the accusatory doctor came back.  I assume that the nurse told her what I had said.  She said that she didn’t mean to imply that I had done anything, but she was “professionally dissatisfied” with my son’s case.

A while later, a resident doctor came to sell us on having an MRI for Jude.  My friend and I were confused.  We had moved out of the PICU.  Jude’s vitals were improving.  What were they looking for with the MRI?  They didn’t really give us a sure answer, but I latched onto the possibility of viral encephalitis and conceded to have the procedure.

We had the anesthesiologist pop in our room and ask why my son was being put under anesthesia for an MRI.  He wanted to make sure that we knew the risks.  We did know.

This MRI was the first time Jude was away from a parent during his hospital stay.  We had to drop him off and say goodbye while they sedated him.  We waited for what felt like forever, ate our Ronald McDonald sack lunches, (side note:  I really have never like McDonalds, but the Ronald McDonald Charities really do some great things.)  and prayed.

Jude came back from the MRI delirious and slurring his words.  We finally figured out he was asking for more chicken, french fries, and ketchup.  He had to fast for the MRI, so he was hungry!  Hunger is always a good sign!

Soon the doctors came in to give us the results of the MRI.  They found a large blood clot in the sagittal sinus of Jude’s brain!  They started administering blood thinners and warned us that we would have to give him blood thinner shots at home.  The good news was that Jude’s brain had sustained NO damage.  Also, the blood clot explained the strange blood test results and stopped the doctors from accusing us of child abuse.  They didn’t know how he got the blood clot or when.  They definitely didn’t know how someone could intentionally cause it!  As annoying as the accusatory doctor was, she was the reason we found the answer to what was happening!

Because of the seriousness of his diagnosis, we were moved back to the PICU for close monitoring.  We were in a different room in the PICU than before, and this time we were in the room right next to the Stine family.  They had many tear filled visitors, but they also stood around baby Knox and sang worship songs.  I know that some of the staff found it annoying, but it truly touched my heart.

In the new PICU room, Jude had to be held down to redo his IV.  This is so hard for a mom to do!  I held him down and looked away with tears in my eyes.

The accommodations were not as nice for visitors, and Jean slept on the floor in the PICU while giving me the couch bed.

Some of the highlights while we were in this room is that one of the doctors came in and asked me if Jude has been throwing up for a month!  Ummmm, read the chart!  That’s not what happened!

Jude was one of the most stable in the PICU, so we moved again down to the pediatrics floor.  Doctors still came constantly in and out of our room.  At one point, Jude was watching a movie on the couch.  He was totally into the movie, and a doctor walked in to check on him.  She could not get him to look away from the movie, and she became worried that he wasn’t okay.  She proceeded to yell in his face to get his attention.  It scared my friend Jean to tears.  He was fine.

A body ultrasound was ordered to make sure he didn’t have any clots in his legs or arms.  He was feeling feisty, and he would not hold still.  They had to give him something to settle him down 😦

We also got a visit from a dear friend.  She brought coffee and helpful medical knowledge.  She was going through nursing school, so she taught me how to put the leads on Jude’s chest.  Jude would often pull them off, and the alarms would sound.  The nurses had a higher patient load on the pediatrics floor, so we did a lot of care ourselves.  We mastered taking Jude to the bathroom with his IV cart and also how to redo the leads on his chest.

hulk-leads

It was time for Joan to leave, and a second friend, who we will call Patsy, came to take her place.  Yes, I have amazing friends!  Since she was coming from our home town, she brought changes of clothes, money, and an air mattress for her to sleep on.

The next day, my husband was finally able to come back to the hospital.  On top of that, Patsy and I were blessed with an amazing opportunity to get a full night’s sleep!  My husband stayed with our son, and Patsy and I sneaked away to a free stay at an empty house in Las Vegas for a night away.  I got a shower without worrying that an important specialist would finally come to talk to me the moment I went into the bathroom.  On top of that, they didn’t have showers in the PICU rooms.  They did have a community shower in the family room.  It was still private and all, but all I could think of was athlete’s foot!  I never took a shower while in the PICU.

While Patsy and I were away, my husband learned how to give my son blood thinner injections.  He would require injections twice a day for 3 months.

Jude still was dealing with a lack of appetite, but he was getting more ambitious.  My husband and son got to take a little walk around with the IV cart in tow.  Jude ended up throwing up from the increased activity.  😦

Hubby left and Patsy stayed with me.  Jude gradually regained some energy but nothing compared to his usual vigor.  A mom with a very sick kid gets strangely excited when they have enough energy to be naughty.  One of the nights, Jude decided he didn’t want to sleep in the ridiculous crib with bars all around him.  He wanted to sleep on the couch with mommy.  This of course was against hospital policy, for safety reasons.  Jude then screamed for hours saying, “I want out.  I want to sleep on the couch, please!”  He really did say please every time!

Since Jude was improving, Patsy encouraged me to leave the room and take a walk.  It has been so long since I had left!  I got lost in the halls, and it took me two times around the circle to find our room.  I actually went into the wrong room once!

The next day the IV was removed, and Jude was beginning to eat more.  It was not nearly enough in mommy’s opinion.  I learned to give Jude the shots he would need, down to drawing the meds, cleaning the spot, and administering.

Miracle of all miracles, we were finally approved for medical insurance on the last day!  Oh my goodness!  So many tears were shed from this worry!  At least once a day someone would come and ask how I was going to pay the bill.  I would just cry and tell them to call my husband!  God had it all in hand though!  We were extremely relieved to have the insurance pay for the $150,000 bill from our stay!

It was finally time to be discharged.  I’m pretty sure that the hospital staff was very annoyed by me!  I made them add a decimal to the discharge papers!  The papers said that he would receive 13 mg of the blood thinner, when I knew that the dosage was .13 mg.  That’s a huge difference!  I’m just saying!

As we were getting packed up, sweet friends arrived to see us, and they were able to help us with all our stuff down to the car.

Our eight days in the hospital were finally over!  Patsy drove us home in her car.  It was so wonderful to be back home, but this momma was terrified of him relapsing.  I still had a very sick boy on my hands.  He was still throwing up once a day for about a week after we got home.  We struggled with the blood thinner injections twice a day, but my little man was a super hero!

I couldn’t have gone through all of this without the strength from Jesus and the love and support of all my friends!

One sweet friend set up a Meal Train!

Several friends had fundraisers and sent money!

Friends and family had food delivered to the hospital!

My sweetest friends sacrificed their time and well-being to help me!  Jean brought home a sickness to her family, and they were sick for weeks.  That’s sacrifice!

Another dear friend and her quilting group made pin cushion owls to raise money for us!

judes-owls

This was the beginning of our story, our first hospital stay.  There was another hospital stay and many more procedures to follow.  This story is long enough though!  Rest assure, Jude is much better currently.  Hope is real!  Jesus is real!  I wrote this story with the desire to share some hope and also to possibly find someone else who has gone through an experience with a child as young as ours with CVST (see title).  I have yet to find one!  Please share my story, so that I can encourage someone else who may be going through the same struggle.

To date, we are still not aware of the cause of Jude’s CVST.

 

No more chalky, dry mineral makeup

I’m getting older!  Gasp!  My skin is getting drier, and the mineral makeup that I used to use in the past doesn’t look as good.  I hate wasting the mineral makeup that has been left over, so I came up with a solution.  Add a good oil to it!  That makes it moisturizing to my OLD skin, and I get to use the mineral makeup.

Step one: WASH you hands!  I know!  I’m old school on this one, but it’s been proven to help 😉

Step two:  Put some mineral makeup into your hands.  I mix colors and make what I like.
image

Step three:  Add oil.  I chose to add jojoba oil.  I encourage you to look up the benefits of jojoba oil.  I also added a tiny bit of tea tree essential oil to my jojoba oil.  I emphasize the tiny!  You don’t want to overdo the essential oils and waste or have a harsh reaction.
image

Step four: Mix it in your hand.
image

Step five: Rub it into your face like a liquid foundation!  Enjoy the moisturizing effect and miss out on the chalky, dry mineral makeup!

This is my bottle that contains the jojoba oil and the tiny bit of tea tree oil. It used to contain an herbal tincture 🙂
image

A Fiscal Fast: the what, why, how of it

Hi!  Long time no see!  I’m still around, and I want to get back around to doing some more blogging.

Last October, my family had what we chose to call a fiscal fast.  You may call it something different, but it was good for us.  Let me outline the what, why, and how of it 🙂

What:

  1. Avoid unnecessary spending
  2. Spend money on only necessary items.  Our list included below *
  3. Yard Sale to sort what we have and clean things out
  4. Try to recruit others to join you!

*gasoline for the car, utilities, mortgage/rent, credit card bills, student loan, snacks for our Bradley® natural childbirth class, eye glasses for our son, eggs (We support a local farmer and didn’t want to short change them for a whole month), built in splurge to buy lunch on yard sale day

FISCAL-FASTWhy:

  • To answer the question of whether or not we could survive if the grocery store wasn’t available for a month
  • It’s good to rotate food in the pantry and freezer to make sure it doesn’t go bad.
  • To save money
  • To practice some self-control

How:

  • Plan ahead!
  • Make a month of meal plans.  I just printed out a calendar page of the month that we chose.  My goal was to plan dinner for 31 days.  We would mostly eat leftovers for lunches, but I did plan an occasional lunch.  For breakfast, we mostly ate eggs.
  • Right before the month begins, stock up on fruits and veggies that will keep well.  Since we were in the autumn season, I stocked up on apples, squash, carrots, celery, etc.
  • Start going through your stuff to have items to sell for a yard sale.

yard-saleWhat did we eat?

  • We ate a lot of soups, frozen and canned.  We also had frozen meals that had been in the freeze for a while (i.e.- enchiladas, lasagna, etc.)
  • CONFESSION:  We decided that we could allow ourselves to go out to eat once, because we had a gift card.  WELL, I neglected to remember that a tip is required at a restaurant.  We paid for the tip, of course.  I couldn’t short change our hard-working waitress, because of my oversight.

What did we learn:

  • We learned that we could do it!
  • We learned that we had the self-control to make it happen.
  • We missed the option of running to the store for this and that, but we learned that our friends were willing to barter or share here and there 🙂  We have some pretty nice friends!

We are planning to embark on this fiscal fast again for October 2015!  Care to join us?  My allowances for the month of October will be the same expect for we don’t currently have a childbirth class, and I will also make a day trip out of town to get new eye glasses for our son.

Soaked Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

This is very similar to my soaked homemade granola recipe, but I’m trying to cut back on pasteurized dairy.  I knew that many of my friends were cutting out pasteurized dairy, but I guess I had to see it with my own eyes before I started making the step.

We do homeschooling, and as part of our curriculum, my son had to do an experiment with milk.  He had to put a small jar of milk in the fridge and one on the counter.  He had to hypothesize about which one would turn bad first.  So, he got our Organic milk from the fridge and proceeded with the project.  Lo and behold after over a week, the milk on the counter still had not turned bad!  That just ain’t right!

I will note that we were using ultra pasteurized organic milk.   That does make a large difference.  You will notice the presence of kefir, whey, buttermilk and yoghurt in the recipe.  I’d recommend the raw variety or just the lemon juice 🙂

As the result of our little experiment, I came up with a modification that doesn’t require milk over it.  🙂

Note:  You can easily make this gluten free with gluten free oats and dairy free by using the lemon juice.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • water
  • 8 T whey, kefir, buttermilk, yoghurt, or lemon juice
  • 1 smashed banana
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup flax-seed meal
  • 1 T ginger
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup walnuts or other nuts (I used slivered almonds)
  • 2 T cocao nibs

The night before, place 4 cups of oats in a pot along with 4 cups of water and 8 T of either whey, kefir, buttermilk, yoghurt, or lemon juice.  Cover the pot and let the oats soak.

Soaked oatsThe next day, cook the oats for about 5 minutes or to your desired consistency.  I like to make it fairly thick without too much watery consistency.

Put your cooked oatmeal into a big bowl.

In a small pot on the stove, add the honey and coconut oil.  Cook until a liquid.

Oil and honeyAdd the resulting liquid to the cooked oatmeal.

Freshly ground flaxseedAdd all the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, except raisins, walnuts, and cocao.  I always add the eggs last, in hopes they don’t cook because of the hot oatmeal.  🙂

Mix in the raisins, nuts, and cocao.

adding chunksLine a cookie sheet or two with parchment paper.

Plop the oatmeal mixture onto the parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  In my house this recipe normally fills about 5 cookie sheets 🙂  You might have to make a few batches.

UncookedCook the cookies at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes.

cooked dscf7014The result should be a crispy outside with yummy tasting mushy oatmeal in the inside.  I made the recipe big so that I can have a week’s worth of breakfasts for my family of 6.  I store the leftover cookies in the fridge and heat what we want in the toaster oven each morning.  We’ve decided that they taste the best warm.

Enjoy!

Take a Sad Song and Make it Better

Dearest Jude (Yes, I’m revealing his name because it is significant),

You are the newest part of our family.  Before I give you your birth story, let me provide some background.

When I found out that I was pregnant with you, I was overwhelmed!  The pregnancy was completely unexpected, and I didn’t know if I would be able to handle all that went with it: the midwife cost, raising an infant and a toddler, balancing responsibilities, losing my figure again.  Rest assure, God had all these things handled.  I was just revealing my lack of trust in Him.

Throughout the pregnancy, I struggled with keeping my emotions in check.  Many seemingly well-meaning people decided to share their disapproval that I was bringing a fourth baby into our family.  They were worried about money, as was I.  Did their opinion help anything?  No, it just served to make we want to hide from the world.  Just because they didn’t approve, was your little life that was growing inside of me going to go away?  No, I wanted to love you and cherish you.  They weren’t helping!

The pregnancy had some physical struggles as well.  I got the stomach flu, all while taking care of your big brother and 2 sisters.  I got a terrible cough at the same time I had spasms in my shoulder and neck.  Every time I would cough, I would get shooting pains.  I was actually grateful for a fever that came later with the cough.  The fever seemed to ease some of the neck and shoulder pain.  Your dad and I figured out later that I had a magnesium deficiency caused by the close pregnancies.  Some extra minerals helped the shoulder and neck pain to finally subside.

As we neared the end of the pregnancy, I longed to hold you in my arms and not in my belly.  The end dragged on though.  The end of your pregnancy was unlike any of the other pregnancies.  I had four false labors.  The first one I thought was real, and we even dragged the midwife over.  She was beyond gracious, and we did get a chance to make sure everything was prepared for your arrival.  The first false labor was on July 20th, close to two weeks before your earliest guessed due date.

We were ready, but you were many days away from coming.  My biggest issue with all this is that it was public knowledge that we had a false labor.  Your dad had to put a sign on his office door saying “Closed due to new baby.”  This was the beginning of my social recluse stage.  I was extremely disappointed, and I felt like I let everyone down.  I didn’t deliver the baby they were waiting for.  I didn’t want to go to church and hear another person ask where you were or why you hadn’t arrived.  I just stayed home.

As weeks passed beyond the first false labor, the annoying questions continued.  People strangely asked that we tell them when you arrived.  Really?  Were we planning on having a baby and keeping it a big secret?  NO!  They realized this, but they thought it was a nicer way to nag.  Some of the questions came with implications that I was doing the wrong thing by waiting for your arrival.  Some implied that I was doing something dangerous to you!  If I was face-to-face with these people, I was afraid I would snap, so I just stayed home.

Each day, my body prepared for your arrival with lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions and some more real contractions.  I wondered if I would be able to tell when it was real labor.  I jokingly told close friends that I wouldn’t declare it real until I was pushing.

Each day, my mind and heart grew more sad and disheartened by the fact that you hadn’t arrived.  Each morning, I woke up wondering why you hadn’t arrived in the night.

I know that one of the many reasons why you decided to stay inside mommy a little longer was that you knew that I needed by sweet midwife.  At the beginning of August, my midwife’s mother passed away, and she was dealing with grief and the arranging of her mother’s affairs.  You waited until all the affairs were in order.

On August 14, 2012 (25 days after the first false labor), we had what I thought was more false labor.  It started at about 4 in the morning.  I had a good strong contraction every 20-30 minutes, but they really didn’t get much closer together.  They were stronger than the other false labor contractions, but I still didn’t trust anything to be real.  We tried to pick things up by taking a bumpy ride, but it didn’t seem to change the contractions.

We tried to distract ourselves and enjoy the time.  Your dad took the day off of work, so I was feeling badly for that.  I decided to let everyone draw with washable markers on my belly.  I told your older brother and sisters that maybe you would want to come out to see the pretty pictures they drew.  It was a fun activity to pass some time.  We did take pictures, but there are too many stretch marks to share the pictures 🙂

As the evening came, we had to call the midwife and others to take them off the alert.  When we got to 10 p.m. that night, I had a nervous breakdown.  That’s the only thing I can think to call it.  I melted into a puddle of tears in your daddy’s arms.  I didn’t think I could take it anymore.  I told him that I couldn’t stand going to sleep one more night and waking up with no baby.  After an hour of tears, we finally laid down to sleep at 11:00 p.m.

10 minutes later, I started having a very strong contraction, and the next one came ten minutes later.  Finally, the real thing!  Your dad waited until he saw a real pattern in the contractions to call everyone that would be coming to your birth.  He called your grandma (who helps your daddy by filling up the birth tub and other details), our dear friend Hannah (who would be in charge of your brother and sisters if they woke up), the midwife, and our dear friend Lisa (who would be taking pictures).

The contractions were quite painful, and because my emotions had all unraveled, I was having a hard time dealing with them.  My body would shake with each contraction, and I was completely overwhelmed.  Of course, your wonderful dad was hugging and kissing me and telling me it was going to be alright.  I slowly got into the right mindset to start handling things better.

Your grandma and Hannah arrived first at around 12:20.  They immediately set about preparing the birth pool with water.  During a quick break from preparing the water, Hannah came to my side and said a prayer for me.  Such a precious friend!

When the water was ready, I was very ready for the water’s warm comfort and relief.  Once I was in the water, I relaxed much better during the contractions and didn’t fight against them so much.  Our dear friend Hannah put together an I-pod mix of music for the birth.  As I got in the pool, your dad turned on the music.  The water and the music helped to change the mood and relax me.

Our favorite Photog Lisa Holloway arrived at about 1 a.m.  She and I had discussed photographing a birth, when I was pregnant with your older sister, but it had to work into her busy life as the mother of 9.  The middle of the night worked!  Good timing, baby boy.  Through our friendship, I learned that Lisa would not bring judgment but rather encouragement to my birth.  She was nice enough to give up her precious sleep to provide the amazing pictures you see.  I barely knew she was there except for the noise from the shutter on her camera.

IMG_4501EditAs I labored in the pool, a lot of thoughts went through my head.  I really didn’t see the extra people who were there, but I was aware they were there.  The extra eyes brought extra pressure on me to do a good job.  Your dad says that I did just as well with the other births, but I felt a little more pressure to perform.  As the contractions came, it felt better to have your dad apply pressure to my back.

IMG_4518EditSoon, I felt the urge to push.  Your dad knew I was pushing, but he would say things like “It will be time to push soon.”  He was hiding the fact that I was pushing, because the midwife had not arrived yet.  He knew that your grandma especially wanted the midwife there. He called the midwife, and she said she was about twenty minutes away.

IMG_4519EditAs my body was pushing, my mind was debating.  “Are you sure you should be pushing?…Are you just in a hurry to get this over with?”  My mind cautioned me, but my body knew what it was doing.

With one push, I felt my water break.  The next push your head was out.  Your dad told me to stop pushing, as the cord was around your shoulders.  He quickly looped the cord off.  The next push you were born into your daddy’s hands.

IMG_4521EditThe midwife had not arrived, but your daddy was on the job!  He knew how to skillfully take care of you.  You joined the world at 1:53 a.m. on August 15, 2012.

IMG_4522EditYou can tell from the look on my face that I was ecstatic to have you in my arms!

So relieved!  I put you to my breast right away, and you took right to it!  While I was nursing you and you were wrapped in a towel, I asked, “Did we verify that it was a  boy?”  You dad said, “Oh, it’s a boy!”  Hannah laughed!

IMG_4531Edit

IMG_4535Edit8x10CropThe midwife arrived 10 minutes after you were born, and she saw you happily sucking.  🙂  She said there was no need to worry about suctioning, as you were nursing so well.

IMG_4543EditThe midwife was curious to see if you showed any signs of being past due.  She quickly noticed the large amounts of vernix floating in the birth tub.  She said, “Overdue babies do not have this much vernix.”  I said the vernix looked like mozzarella cheese.  Hannah laughed.

The midwife helped me birth the placenta.  Mommy had her post-birth orange juice.

IMG_4541EditDaddy cut the cord.

IMG_4549EditThe midwife weighed you, and we found out you were 8 lb 11 oz and 22 1/4 in long.

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She checked mommy to make sure I didn’t tear, and she reported that I didn’t.  Praise Jesus!  I made it through four births without tearing!

I’m sorry that your story isn’t all puppies and rainbows, but this is the real story.  Rest assure, I love you so much!

We named you Jude.  It is the name of Jesus’ brother from the Bible, but it is also a great Beatles song.

Now that you know the story, listen carefully to the words.  They fit.

Side note:  The Olympics ended right before you were born.  Paul McCartney sang “Hey Jude” at the Opening Ceremonies!

You are my sweet Jude-jubee!  I have grown through all these struggles, and I wouldn’t trade them in for the world.  If I didn’t go through them, I wouldn’t have my precious little boy.  I can’t wait to see what other adventures your life will hold.

Love,
your mom

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How we keep Christmas costs down

Ready for a shocker? I don’t “really” buy Christmas presents for my children and husband. Okay, I did say “really” 🙂 Let me explain.

My husband and I have decided that when it comes to Christmas that we should buy as little as possible. What that normally means is that we don’t buy each other gifts and we only buy stocking stuffers for the children.

The stocking stuffers are normally dollar store purchases and fruit. Fruit? Yes, fruit 🙂 The stockings are the one item that the children are allowed to open as soon as they rise. My husband and I don’t want to get up at the crack of dawn, so we fill their stockings with activities and something to snack on…hence the fruit.

Before you get the wrong impression that my children don’t know the joy of Christmas or that they don’t get awesome presents, let me explain more. We have been blessed with very generous family members. They give the kids tons, from clothes to dolls and gadgets. We don’t need to go overboard with presents. They are getting plenty.

What do we do for presents for each other? Well, we normally give gifts that don’t hurt the pocketbook. We do massages and dates. I cash in any points that I have earned through various programs to get a few gift cards. I might dip into my Paypal stash that I’ve earned through selling stuff on E-bay.

My situation may also be helped by the fact that my children have never believed in Santa Claus. They know who each present came from, and they are grateful. They have realized that the presents don’t normally come from their parents, and we have explained this to them. Mommy and Daddy provide for them with presents like food, shelter, and clothing. They get plenty of toys and goodies from everyone else.

We have lots of Christmas fun together that doesn’t involve presents.  On the Friday after Thanksgiving/Black Friday, we dig out the Christmas decorations and blare the Christmas carols.  We put up the tree, and the kids put up the ornaments.  They get an ornament every year from their grandma, and they love remembering the years past.  Fun is had by all, and we don’t spend a dime 🙂

We do buy presents for others for Christmas.  We try to make as many homemade gifts as possible, and the kids normally join in the present making.

I just wanted to encourage you that it is possible to not overdo this holiday. You might not be blessed with such generous family members, but you can still cut back to a reasonable level. Christmas isn’t about greed or how much we can get.  It is about the celebration of Jesus and his arrival in this world.  He is the greatest gift, and we should be content even if we have nothing but Him.