Friday, January 30, 2009

All You Need Is Love (and a new stroller)

This will be baby #4 for us. So one would assume we have everything we need. For the most part, we do. I'm a big advocate of the concept, "All you need are boobs and a bed." Got those covered. Now, however, we need recommendations for a stroller and a bouncy seat.

When I had the twins, we researched double strollers like crazy and settled on a Graco DuoGlider. It was reasonably priced, held two car seats, worked well and survived through their toddlerhood. Although, I will never stop cursing the fact that the models in the early 2000's had no cup holders for the parents. If I have to deal with twins, then I sure as hell need a drink of somesort. There was no storage at all on the top for parents. Today, you'll find holders for Ipods, sunglasses, and drinks galore. Not so in my time. (in my best creaky bubbe voice, "Back in my day, we had to walk to school uphill both ways 10 miles in the snow while pushing a double stroller with one hand and clutching deseperately to our drinks with the other hand.")

We bought a single Graco travel system for TheBoy ( just found out that stroller has been recalled and I had no idea). Oh holy day! It had TWO cupholders for me AND a box inbetween the holders with a lid that latched and everything. Of course, the latch broke relatively quickly, but damn it, I had cupholders. All was right with the world. Once TheBoy learned to walk (at 18 months after freaking everyone else out thereby making them insist there must be something wrong with him, when I knew full-well there wasn't), the stroller was folded up and "temporarily" left alongside the shed. My son is 3 now. The stroller rests in the exact same place and has held that location through two ice storms. Yeah, that's not gonna work for the new kid.

So now we need a new stroller, or at least new to us. I looked at some of the ones with the option for a bigger kid to sit/stand, but they just seem cumbersome. I would prefer something light and easy to open/close, but I need more than an umbrella stroller. We bought a used Maclaren from a friend last time, but I just wasn't impressed and we sold it. I'm not a slave to fancy names. I also refuse to pay a fortune for a stroller, particularly since this is our last baby.

Here's what I want from a stroller:
  • light weight
  • easy open/close
  • small enough when folded (doesn't have to fit in my pocket, but must not be so big it has to be strapped down to the top of the van).
  • easy enough to manuver
  • cup holders
  • good size storage basket underneath that you can access even with the seat down (that was a problem with the Duo Glider)
  • extra storage is a huge plus (side of the basket, behind the seat, etc)
  • If it fits a Graco snugride infant carseat, even better, but not a requirement
  • Visor cover for baby
  • seat that reclines completely

We haven't been big fans of jogging strollers. We've tried a few, but they seem so cumbersome and they can be a pest to manuver.

We'd love suggestions for a new stroller. And hey, if you run a review blog, feel free to talk to any companies you may work with and suggest they send us one to review. :-)

We're also in the market for a bouncy seat. Ours is broken. The vibrate feature stopped working when TheBoy was tiny. The seat doesn't work nearly as well when it doesn't shake the kid. When we bought ours, we had two tiny colicky twins. We sat a crying Girl2 in each of the bouncy seats on display at Babies R Us. She continued crying in every one until we got to the one we eventually bought. To make sure it wasn't a fluke, we ran her through them all again and yet again, she screamed in them all until she got to that same one. We threw it in the cart and thanked G-d. It was then that we heard a father-to-be turn to his very pregnant wife and say, "Now THAT'S the one we're getting." Our twins still hated sleep, but at least we got some relief with that seat.

So I'd love to have that option for this baby, but which one? There are far more advanced features now. Do we really need them? Are they any good? Is there anywhere where we can find a simple bouncy seat that just bounces and vibrates without all the bells and whistles?

Honestly, I'd prefer to borrow one, but many of my friends have either already given theirs away, have pre-teens so their bouncy seats are long out of comission, or are firm believers in baby wearing and therefore never had swings, bouncy seats, or bumper jumpers (I believe in baby wearing, but my first kids came as a matched set which created a need for something in addition to slings).

Once again, if any of you out there in Review Land would like to offer us a stroller and/or bouncy, please feel free. I've been entering all the contests I can to try to win them, but so far, no luck. If you're having a contest for either of these, feel free to post a link in my comments.

To all you parents, I ask, what stroller/bouncy would you recomend? Are there any you think we shoud avoid? What has your experience been?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday:
Trapped Under Ice

My submissions for Wordless Wednesday for January 28:

Dear Robeez, You're Mean.

Oh, this is simply unfair. I adore shoes. I admit that I'm a bit of an addict. I like Robeez, but I've never actually bought a pair new. I've always gotten them second-hand either as hand-me-downs or at consignment shops (RIP my favorite shop which has closed its doors thereby eliminating any chance of finding great bargains). I've bought other (much cheaper) brands of soft-soled shoes online (through co-ops and eBay), but never Robeez.

Today, I get an e-mail from Robeez featuring their new shoes. Many of the soft-soled shoes I had for my other children were loaned to friends and have since been lost. So this baby will need new shoes. Our bank account, however, does NOT need us spending insane amounts of money on baby shoes. If this was our first baby, I'd be more willing to spend the money since it would be an investment that we could use in the future. This, however, is our LAST baby and so I'm reluctant to spend the money. Man oh, man, these new shoes are adorable, though. Check these out. They are, quite possibly, the cutest shoes ever. The new Mini Shoez are my very favorites.

I'm very nearly drooling over these. Unfair--it's simply unfair. Robeez, you make adorable shoes, but you're such a meanie!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Currently reading

I have about 4 books currently checked out from the library. I'm reading two of them right now (which is strange for me because I usually only read one book at a time). I started with Joseph Telushkin's Words That Hurt, Words That Heal. I'm probably a bit more than half done with that one. It's an interesting read. I think his stance may be a bit too extreme, but it has made me think twice and it has affected what I say. I think a mark of a good book is whether or not it causes you to evaluate and change behavior.

I'm also reading The Art of Blessing the Day which is Marge Piercy's collection of poems. This is an easier read for me and is going much faster. I'm probably 3/4 of the way done. Overall, I'm enjoying it. I find that difficult to say because many of her poems touch on difficult subjects. Still, they're very compelling. Thus far, my favorite line is from a poem titled, "House built of breath",
"When we are alone, the walls sing
and even the cats talk but only in Yiddish."

I can't quite explain it, but I love that line.

I'll be back when I finish them to give you my final thoughts, but thus far, I like both books. I read David Wolpe's Making Loss Matter, but was not impressed. Genius me brought it back to the library before I posted here about it. Sorry about that. I'll get it back out again and do a propper review on a future date.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Let My People Go (out to eat).

On Monday, the kids and I reviewed some things on Martin Luther King Jr. They did print outs, a word search and some coloring sheets plus we talked quite a bit about the marches and the significance of our newest president.

Later that day, I caught all three of the kids marching around the house chanting, "Let my people go.". When I asked them what they were doing, Girl2 said, "I'm marching like people did with Martin Luther King Jr." TheBoy then chimed in, "I'm marching for grapes." Girl1 added, "We're Obama's kids." (they are absolutely fascinated by the fact that Sasha Obama is their age). To which her brother added, "I'm Obama's kid with a banana."

During the inauguration, chants of, "Yes we did," could be heard (yes, I admit, they were coming from my mouth). To which, my son added, "Yes we did--get ice cream."

Some of us are struck by the historical significance of the day and the eloquent words and actions of MLK. Apparently, some of us just want a snack.

Always an Olivia--Not Your Typical Jewish Children's Book

I'm taking part in the Jewish Literature Challenge. So it was perfect when my daughters came home from Sefer Safari (the library portion of Sunday school) with Carolivia Herron's Always an Olivia.

This was such a neat story and so very unexpected. It's reportedly based on the author's own family.

It was a great way to begin broaching the subject of our ancestors being expelled from various regions. The grandmother in the story tells of how her family was forced out of Spain during the Spanish Inquisition and relocated only to be forced out again. There's even a pirate kidnapping too. I've been reluctant to try to explain forced migration to the kids because I just don't know how much they'll understand and honestly, I don't know how much of it I want them to understand. Who wants their children to carry the notion that we're different and no one wants us. This book gave us a chance to discuss history in a non-threatening way.

One family member eventually makes it to the States and, in time, their family intermarries with the descendants of West African slaves. The story does make it appear that from there, true Judaism is lost, but the family continues to light candles on shabbat. As a traditional Jew, that bothered me. My kids didn't seem to pick up on it, though. Through the generations, the family clings to two things--shabbas candles and family names including those which mean "Peace," (Shulamit becomes Olivia).

On (where the book has 5 stars), one reviewer referred to the story as "A Great, Great Story of Jews, African Americans, and Civil Rights!" I have to agree. I thought it was particularly fitting that the kids brought this one home just before not only Martin Luther King Jr. day, but also just before President Obama's inauguration. It was even more fitting given the diversity within the Obama family (did you now Michelle Obama has a cousin who's a rabbi?). I thought the story was a great way to show how we're all connected at a simple level that children can understand.

The kids and I all liked the book. It opened up all sorts of discussions from trying to pick a name for this baby, to the meanings behind our Hebrew names, to friends who come from mixed families, to our family history. I can't explain how grateful I am that they didn't come home with yet another book on Chanukah (as the vast majority of Jewish books are). This was definitely an unexpected, but very appreciated book.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I promised photographic evidence

and who am I to let you down?

If you give two kids some potholder loops, the ability to finger knit and a small dog, you will wind up with this:*

When they first lavished the dog with their crafty goodness, I couldn't help but think that they're giving this guy a run for his money:

In one day, the twins have finger knitted various goodies for the pets, toys, and various others (including a pink and yellow wig for a giraffe, a multi-color leash for a camel and countless bracelets for friends and family). By the end of this coming week, I'm sure we'll have an entire wardrobe to rival that chihuahua clown's.

*No pets were injured in the making of this entry. I can't guarantee there was no humiliation, but I can assure you the dog wasn't permanently scarred.

Insert witty title here. I'm out of ideas.

Oh, the thrill ride that is my life!

Friday was my mom's last day of work. They're going to have her come in once or twice a week to run checks, but that's it. My mother is not the type who can go all that time without working. When she had a hysterectomy, she was back at work 2 weeks later. She says she's going to put her energy into getting the house ready to sell. It's in fabulous shape, but my family has lived there for four generations, so there's lots to wade through. I'm trying not to think too much about the house. There are so very many family memories there. Must. Not. Dwell.

I've already told you all we know about my FIL and his cancer. Nothing new there.

Pregnancy is going well. Baby is active. Mom is exhausted. No film at 11.

I'm still searching for birds. I've found some gorgeous art work and some sewing patterns for crafts I want to try.

My daughters have learned to finger knit and our poor animals are now suffering as a result. They had a difficult time with yarn, so I grabbed a big bag of those nylon loops used for making pot holders. Those they can use for finger knitting and oh boy have they ever! They decided to make collars for all the animals. The pets are THRILLED. I'll post photographic evidence soon (assuming I can chase one of them down and wrangle the collar back on 'em).

As far as resolutions go, we're doing pretty good with that not eating out thing. I did break down once and dh ran and got me food, but only once. It wasn't even very good, so I decided not to do that again. Have not played the lottery and therefore have not won the lottery which is keeping with the resolution I make every year. :-)

My son is still having a baby. Actually, now he's having three babies. Oh and he says his breasts hurt too.

The excitement, it's unending. :-)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Flight Tracker FAIL

Through This is True, I found this horrifying gem:
@AcmePhoto: FlightAware flight tracker FAIL on US Airways #flight1549

Oh my stars and garters! Arrived? Where? WTF? That's awful.

Doing the baby dance to a military beat

This realization just occurred to me: I'm having a baby. My husband is here. There are no plans for him to go anywhere.

With my first pregnancy, we got pregnant on the day we were reunited (Oh boy were we reunited!). We had been trying to conceive before that with no luck, so it was a very welcome turn of events. My pregnancy was a high risk one, so he wasn't deployed and I didn't have to worry about it too much.

Then the US went into Afghanistan and Iraq. The twins were just babies when we took them for pictures with dh in uniform. There were rumors of impending deployments for him and I wanted pictures of them with their daddy before that happened. He was gone for a few weeks for training, but that was the worst of it during infancy. We were very blessed and he stayed home until just before they turned 18 months old. He didn't make it home in time for their second birthday.

We actually started TTC earlier than originally planned with our second pregnancy because we knew he was going to be deployed yet again. We had to evaluate pregnancy, birth, early infancy, and toddlerhood to decide what point he would be least willing to miss. How awful is that? You have to decide what part of your child's life from which you're willing to be absent. Either we would have to wait to TTC until after his deployment or we needed to start ASAP so that he could be here for the birth (birth and early infancy was what we decided were most important. It was important to him to be here in toddlerhood too when the child could remember him. The girls had a rough time when they were toddlers and daddy left).

Luckily, they kept post-poning his deployment because we had a difficult time getting pregnant. Eventually, we got pregnant and he was able to stay around until TheBoy was 4 months old. Dh made it home in time for TheBoy's first birthday. Before he left, though, dh donned his uniform and took pictures with the baby. I never said it out loud, but it was, "Just in case."

This time, we were able to start trying for our 3rd (and final) pregnancy on our own schedule. Dh is still military, but he's currently innactive. For the first time ever, we didn't have to take deployments and military schedules into account when deciding when to have another baby. I've been very comfortable during this pregnancy with my husband by my side for the entire thing. Hell, he's only missed one midwife appointment (the first pregnancy, his crazy work schedule made it impossible for him to make some of my appointments and the second time around, he was often gone for training). We can plan a birth knowing that he'll be right there with me. We can look forward to infancy knowing dh be a part of it. When this child says, "Dada," for the first time, we know that he/she will NOT be refering to a telephone.

The reality of this is just now hitting me. This is such a surreal feeling. Woah!

Thursday Thirteen: Labor Playlist

I'm trying to come up with a collection of songs to put on a labor playlist--songs I can listen to while I'm in labor. Here are my choices thus far in no particular order. Jump in in the comments if you want to throw out some more ideas. I'm still on the hunt.

1. & 2. Maya Raviv's version of Avinu Malkeinu and Shalom Aleykhem (one of my very favorite songs of all time). She has such a wonderfully full voice that keeps me calm, but energizes me as well. Watch Maya in this great clip.

3. 10,000 Maniac's Verdi Cries. That's one of my very favorites. I worry that it's too slow and that maybe I'll need more drums.

4. Tori Amos' Etienne. LOVE that song. It's gorgeous.

5. Liz Phair's Rocket Girl

6. Tori Amos' Raspberry Swirl

7. Dave Matthew's Band Lover Lay Down

8. Carebears on Fire Everybody Else

9. Tori Amos Space Dog (I'm still undecided about that one, but Tori will definitely be prominently displayed on my playlist)

10. Mattisyahu, although I can't decide which one. I'm leaning towards Jerusalem, but I'm sure I'll add more from him.

11. Vienna Teng's Soon, Love, Soon (wishful thinking)

12. Vienna Teng's Eric's Song

13. Sublime's 5446 That's My Number/Ball and Chain (yes, I'm an odd duck) Be forewarned, that's Sublime, so you must assume lyrics are NSFW

I'm hoping for some more suggestions. Don't worry if your musical tastes vary from what you see here. I'm open to all suggestions.

11:57 am EDIT: I just got this all typed out--ready to jump back in the TT game, only to find the TT link no longer works. I'll try to find out information and until then, I'll post this as is.

ANOTHER EDIT: Thursday Thirteen has moved. Get the TT code here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'm Taking the Jewish Literature Challenge

As if I ever needed an excuse to read. :-)

This is perfect for me. I plan on giving brief reviews of the books I read for the challenge. I'll probably read more children's books than adult, but at someone's great suggestion, I have the titles of a few books on Judaism and birth/pregnancy that I'm particularly interested in reading.

Wordless Wednesday: Me in Hello Kitty form

Monday, January 12, 2009

Watch out, kids. Moms say the darnest things these days.

Dh just got off the phone with his father. The cancer is definitely back. He starts radiation soon. 5 days a week for 35-37 sessions.

I shook my head over the fact that he and my MIL had to weigh the side effects for surgery and radiation before his made his decision (surgery). They picked what they believed was the lesser of two evils, but now they're gonna be stuck with both.

I asked dh if his father had said anything about side effects from the surgery and he hadn't, but dh told me a bit more about his conversation with his mother yesterday. She rambled on about the percentages and risks. Then she said, "Well, they say they can always give him Viagra." At this point in the retelling of the conversation, dh stopped and said, Then he added, "Noooooo.""But I don't know if what she said next was worse." Apparently, she said, "But after 40 years of marriage, I guess it doesn't matter anyway." After he told me what she had said, he turned, left the room and yelled, "STOP. Don't tell me this stuff."

My MIL is the queen of InappropriateWorldLand, but damn it, we needed that laugh. :-)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Take these broken wings and learn to fly.

I have become a bit obsessed with birds. Ever since I quoted my dearly beloved Ms. Dickinson regarding hope and feathers, I've been on a bird quest. Actually, I suppose I started following the feathered path long before that. When my cousin was dying, I listened to the Beatles' Black Bird quite a bit because it reminded me of him. After he passed, I started seriously considering a tattoo. Yes, I am a Jew. Yes, tattoos are against my religion. Still, my cousin had star tattoos on his back and so I started wondering about getting a star tattoo myself. The more I thought about it, the more I decided I wanted a simple star with a bird sitting inside it. No, I have not gotten that tattoo, but yes, that image has stayed with me.

Now, at a difficult time, I find myself searching the web for pictures of birds to put up around the house. I want them to remind me of Ms. Dickinson's hope and my cousin's spirit.

The Bad News Bears

We got a call from my MIL today. They got some test results and it looks like my FIL's cancer is back. He meets with his oncologist tomorrow, but they already know they're going to start radiation. I don't know when or any other details. She had to sneak us a call today while he was out because he's upset and doesn't want anyone to know. Hopefully, we'll learn more tomorrow.

This week is my mother's last at work. She's been very blessed that she was able to stay this long. She's one of only five people in the entire building. Since she was still there in January, she IS entitled to 4 weeks vacation pay which will help. She'll have to apply for her remaining vacation pay from 2008 in the courts (her company filed bankruptcy), but she is guaranteed her vacation pay from this year. She has applied for Social Security and given her age and the fact that she's been working since she was 8 years old, she qualifies for an amount not too far off from her salary. That should help as well.

As always, positive vibes, good thoughts and prayers are appreciated.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


I swore I wasn't going to make a resolution. I hate them. I think you're setting yourself up to fail.

That being said, I recently came across the Modern Mom Challenge. I kind of tagged along to a chat and then decided to sign up. Through that chat, I got some great suggestions from some fine folks about exercise ideas. You may remember that I was quite the gym rat not too long ago. Since then, my membership lapsed and then I finally got pregnant again. The sheer exhaustion from the first trimester completely ruled out signing a contract at a new gym. Now, we want to focus our finances on preparing for the future, so my 2 hour sessions at the gym are a distant memory.

Still, nutrition is particularly important during this pregnancy. I've never exercised in my pregnancies and I've always regretted that. So this time, I've been making a point of exercising. It's only 1/2 an hour of light exercise (a far cry from my hour of cardio and hour of weights every day), but it's something and it's helping.

For a while, I fell out of the habit of exercising and my diet has not been the best since the holidays. So I want to use the challenge as my inspiration to change that.

I've been feeling so very positive lately about this birth and I need to do everything I can to make sure it's a healthy one. So I'm resolving to be better about my nutrition and certainly my exercise.

Although, I'm not abandoning my standard resolution: I resolve NOT to win the lottery. Thus far, it's been one resolution I've been able to keep year after year. :-)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all...

I am now two months away from my due date. Gasp. Cheer. Hooray! I'm feeling more and more hopeful about a homebirth. When the new year came, it brought with it a sense of electricity and optimism.

On a whim, I checked out my year over-view horoscope and found this:
Year 2009 Overview

In 2009, Pisces will enjoy swimming in new dimensions, as the highly charged Aquarius energy allows you to dream big and manifest your ideas. Your imagination soars, awakening a deep desire to seek spiritual truth and meaning in your life -- and in the world.

Your awareness and new perception helps to serve others. You are able to live freely in the world of transformation, and this encourages others to do the same. They feel supported by your wisdom and understanding. Your inspirational qualities are a large part of your purpose in the world -- your ability to heal and inspire.

Ohhhh, I like that. Let's hope my healing and inspiration extends to myself as well as others.

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with the chiropractor. I've never seen one before, but my midwives are hopeful that adjustments will help repair the damage to my back (a skiing injury 20 years ago may have contributed to my pelvis issues and my back has never been in correct alignment since then). I'm hopeful as well. I'm really looking forward to this appointment.

Tuesday, I have a midwife appointment. I always look forward to those. I adore my midwives.

I'm not as apprehensive as I was. I'm still trying to hold firm to realism (which is difficult for me. I'm a Pisces. As my horoscope continued to say, "At times, it may be difficult for you to live in this world of concrete realities, and conversely, sometimes it's hard for others to understand that all you want to do is live in a world of endless possibilities."), but I believe in hope. We wouldn't have even tried to get pregnant again if hope had abandoned us. Hell, we would have never even tried for a second pregnancy without hope. My first pregnancy was so dangerous, yet none of those problems appeared in my second pregnancy nor have they manifested now.

Hope is real. Hope is strong. Hope, I haz it. :-)

No Saving Money or Recycling for Parents

You'll notice a new little image on my side bar.

I've been promoting the "Save Handmade" campaign, but I never realized the CPSIA was this far-reaching: Gov't Says, Sorry, No More Reselling Your Kids' Stuff

I've sold and donated used kids' things. I buy consignment all the time. I prefer to buy kids' and maternity clothes from consignment shops. It's one of the tips I give for those trying to "Go Green," (if you reuse items instead of buying new, there will be less to fill the landfills). I've Freecycled lots of my kids' old things. I'm a big fan of garage sales. We wouldn't have been able to clothe twins all these years (and now their little brother and soon the new one) without consignment shops, garage sales and the kindness of friends with hand-me-downs.

This could be an even bigger disaster than I ever imagined.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

I love my kids and the things they say.

Dh just sent the kids to brush teeth. When he turned around, Girl2 was still sitting on the couch. He asked why she was sitting there in the same room and her response had me absolutely rolling.

"Because the couch exists and so does the playroom."

These are SO my children.