Archive - October 2012

Saint Kateri
Crockpot Lemon Chicken
Darth Pipsqueak
Journey to pointe
Llama Trek
Dining Room Chair Makeover


Two years ago today, Pipsqueak was born at home.

It was a long time coming, a homebirth. I have a history of quick and pretty easy labors. I can’t stand hospitals. Nobody likes them, though, do they? But I really, really can’t stand them. Especially for giving birth. I was reading somebody’s blog the other day. She’d just given birth and showed a picture of a sign in her room. “Babies are weighed between 2am and 7 am.” Seriously? Like, someone is going to come in during the time that both mother and baby should be getting some much needed rest – just to weigh the baby? . I tend to ignore lame rules. Reason number one right there for having a homebirth.

OK, so questionable hospital policies and previous quick labors were in my top 5 reasons for choosing to birth at home. Here in Colorado we have laws dictating exactly who can give birth at home. Your health history, including prior births, current health, position of baby, number of babies (singleton vs multiples), health of the baby – all factor in. I got a green light in all of them.

I wasn’t scared that something would go wrong. Well, just a little. Not scared that something would go wrong because I was at home, but because sometimes things happen no matter where you are. But I was mostly scared that I couldn’t deal with the pain. I’d had 3 unmedicated births before Pipsqueak, but each time the safety net of the epidural was right there. Any time I needed to I could get some relief. My midwife was really great, though. Not only did she address all my “what if this happens” questions, she also helped me through my lack of confidence in myself. When she told me that she had never transferred a mom to the hospital because of pain, I knew with her help I could do it.

And I did.

It was truly the best birth experience I’d ever had. I was in my own bedroom most of the time. I was encouraged to eat whenever I needed to and in fact I had some of the gingerbread that my mom and Pumpkin Girl had made for dessert. Several times an hour someone was putting my water bottle in my hand and having me drink. My children were in and out of my room whenever they needed to touch base with me. I got a full night’s sleep in my own comfy bed. When my contractions finally got started I had a team of midwives supporting me. They frequently reminded me, “This is all about you.” Never in my entire life has something been completely about me. Whatever I wanted to do, go, or say was fine. It was all about making things as easy for me as possible, while keeping both me and baby healthy.

I labored a bit in my bathtub. Then I leaned on Phil and did the labor waltz, my arms around his neck, his hands at my waist. I got tired – weary – of that, so I laid down. I got sleepy and my midwife nodded sagely, knowing that this urge to sleep sets in right before the pushing is about to happen.

Pumpkin Girl came in to my room to witness her brother’s entrance into the world. She sat quietly on a chair and was one of the first people ever to see him. The boys and my mom were waiting not too patiently in the hallway and as soon as I was ready, Pumpkin Girl let them in. Within minutes of his birth, Pipsqueak was surrounded by the very people who love him the most.

Within the hour Boo was holding Pipsqueak and reading fairy tales to him while Pumpkin held the book up. My mom made me Polish sausage and eggs for breakfast. When everything was cleaned up and packed away, my midwife and her team left. She returned the next morning and again two days later. I was confined to the upstairs of my house to recover and it was wonderful and restful. It was the easiest recovery I’ve had.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Little Pipsqueak!  We are glad you are here.

Saint Kateri

Several people were canonized today and among them was Kateri Tekakwitha.   I don’t always follow Catholic news, so I just found out a couple of months ago that this was going to happen.  Pumpkin Girl was so excited because she has been praying for Kateri to get that last miracle.  She wanted to use Kateri as her Confirmation name and wasn’t sure she would be able to if Kateri was not yet canonized.  And with her Confirmation just 2 1/2 years away, she was running out of time.

But it turns out the miracle that Pumpkin had been praying for occurred in 2006, so the Lord was already answering her prayers.  And I can’t help but think of this day as a special little present for Pumpkin Girl, a way for her to experience God’s love for her.  It is always a good thing when God tells you “yes”.  Not, “no” or even “not yet.”  But a resounding “yes”.

Saint Kateri, pray for us.

Crockpot Lemon Chicken

I got this recipe for crockpot lemon chicken off of Pinterest, but the link to the original is now dead, so I’ll give you the recipe myself.  It meets all my criteria – it is easy and yummy, with a bonus that I usually have all the ingredients on hand.  The original said to shred the meat when it was done and serve over rice or noodles, which I did the first time.  After that I just served it whole.  I don’t have time for unnecessary shredding!



Crockpot Lemon Chicken

Crockpot Lemon Chicken


  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 packet Italian dressing mix
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice


  1. Put all ingredients in crock pot, in order given.
  2. Cook on low 4-6 hours.
  3. Serve over rice or noodles, with juices from the pot.


Journey to pointe

I always knew Pumpkin Girl would be a dancer. Well, not always, but I knew early on.

By the time she was almost two, she didn’t walk – she flitted, like a fairy. I enrolled her and myself into a “mom and me” creative movement class. She didn’t like it. She did look cute, though.

When she was 5 we tried again, with a ballet-tap combo class. At the last moment she didn’t want to go. It was time for class and her eyes were filling with tears. Miss Renee, her teacher, bent down to her level and asked if she wanted to have fun. Pumpkin said yes and Miss Renee said they were going to have lots of fun, then took her hand and led her into the classroom.

Soon it was clear that she was made to dance.

The road has not always been easy for her. We had her switch studios after we’d been here for a year to a school with ballet as its primary focus. She struggled learning new terms and unlearning some bad habits. She even cried almost every day of her summer classes.

In time she learned to love her new studio.

Over the last 6 years, Pumpkin Girl has been growing in grace and skill. When she dances, her face lights up and it is clear that there is no place in the world she would rather be.

This past summer we waited and waited for an important email to arrive from her ballet studio. We were on vacation when it came, about to get in an elevator.
When we got out, we stepped to the side to read the email on my phone. It was the news she’d been hoping for: she had been selected to start pre-pointe classes over the summer and go en pointe this Fall.

And here we are. After many hours of training, the moment every little aspiring ballerina can only hope will happen for her…

Llama Trek

Boo went on another fun adventure with his Boy Scout troop over the summer.  This time the hike involved llamas.  One of the scout dads has llamas that he rents out and he led the boys a two-night excursion.  Boo wasn’t going to go at first, but I talked him into it.  Because seriously, how can you pass up a llama trek?

Here’s Boo with Marshall the Llama right before heading off on the trail.  Apparently, there is quite a bit more to leading llamas than you’d think.  You need to keep them close, but not too close and hope they don’t sit down. You’ve got to keep them away from the other llamas or they’ll spit.  Going uphill was the hardest because the llamas didn’t want to cooperate, so the boys had to tug them.

Malcolm is the white llama with the dark eyes.  Somebody brought him too close to Boo while he was holding Marshall and Boo got spat on.  Took it right in the eye!  The other scouts said it smelled terrible, but fortunately for Boo, he couldn’t smell it.  Their owner told the boys to put their cameras away and got Boo all cleaned up.

This all white llama is Copi, who is Boo’s favorite.  He was the most gentle and patient of all the llamas, even though he was carrying quite a load.  The whole expedition got caught in a hail storm and Copi just kept going, even though he didn’t have any rain gear.  Boo says Copi likes to smell people’s hair.  You’ll just be standing there and you’ll feel something around your ear and it’s a llama nose.  Copi’s nose, specifically.  He and Boo were the first ones up the hill and Copi kept turning around and humming to his friends to catch up.

This is the campsite.  Lots of room for boys and llamas.  Boo said they ate better on this trip than they usually get to  – hamburgers and pancakes and lots of snacks!  Usually they have to carry in all their own food and the means to cook it, but with the llamas doing all the carrying, they were able to bring up a grill! Something spooked the llamas the first night and they managed to escape, despite being tied to nets filled with 5 or 6 very large rocks.  The owner was able to track them all down and return them safely to camp.  The next night they were tied to trees.

Despite the hail and the llama spit, Boo had a good time and said he’d go again.  I call that a success!

Dining Room Chair Makeover

I’m so excited about my latest project!

About 14 years ago, Phil’s mom gifted us with her dining room set. The whole thing was in pretty bad shape, but we needed it, so we used it. Over the years we’ve learned that it is an antique, and 80 years old, at the very least. We had all the pieces restored when we stopped moving around the country and it is looking really nice.

Except the seats. Let me show you…

Not too bad, eh? Take a closer look.

They’ve been an embarrassment to me every time we have people over. We figure the seat covers are about 30 years old.

Well, my friend Niki is visiting and we took the time over the weekend to finally do something about the chairs. We had Phil removing the seat pads, 4 kids and I removing the nasty fabric and Niki cutting and stapling on the new fabric. It was pretty straight forward work, just time consuming. In about 2 hours we replaced all 6 seat covers. Take a look at them now.

Oh yeah!

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