Thursday, August 24, 2006


Yesterday was a bad day. It started Tuesday afternoon. I hung out for a bit w/our neighbors and then went home and initiated the nap sequence. Somewhere around 5:00 my dear husband arrived home and I found myself barely able to open my eyes, w/a flaming sore throat, feverish and too groggy to respond to his questions. I went back to sleep for the rest of the night while he drove the soccer bus, served up dinner and did all the other evening chores. Yesterday we went in 3 different directions - I took Nathan and Ben to my doc to get a strep culture while Fr. Joel traveled to the pediatrician with David, JM, JT and Philip. The girls got to play in the Z's basement which is one of their most favorite things to do. The ped appt was supposed to be a 2 year and 3 year well-check for JM and David. JT went along for the ride since he'd been to an emergency care place on Monday for an infected foot and Philip was just along because we had no better place to put him...Turns out the infected foot is probably the source of a staph infection which made its way up JM's nose, around Philip's mosquito bites and who knows where else. So 6 antibiotic prescriptions later, we all met back home to settle back into our quarantine quarters and nurse our wounds. I am pleased to say that my fever broke sometime in the night last night and the antibiotics have served me well. I feel...almost...normal again. Just in time to scrub down the bathrooms with bleach, launder all the bedding and disinfect the floors in the kitchen and dining room! Ah, life goes on...

What would you do for a mango pit?

After slicing up a mango for homemade pizzas tonight (for those who chose to make their pizza a mango/pear/turkey/mushroom variety), I had one mango pit and 8 kids who wanted it. In the throes of an inspiration I decided to auction it off to the highest bidder. The bids would be chores promised. To raise the bid, they had to be willing to do the chore named and add another. Miriam was the happy recipient of the pit and it only cost her:

tidying up the playroom, girls' room and basement
washing dishes
washing windows
washing the door

As soon as the boys realized the stakes involved they dismissed themselves from the bidding and let the girls have at it. "No mango pit is worth all that!" Ben commented. Regardless of the truth of that statement, I now have some very clean windows!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Happy (Burp) Day John Michael!

Well, it's only been a week and a half since the last birthday so it must be time for another! John Michael had his THIRD birthday today!! I learned a new skill too - I can burp the whole Happy Birthday song so this one was a Happy BurpDay! For his birthday dinner he requested chocolate chip pancakes with "cream" (whipped cream) and ice cream cake for dessert. I think he was just going for anything with cake in the name! Here he is with the birthday hat and his plate of pancakes. Behind him you can see our only guest for this party - Adora, our friend visiting us from Sparrow House:
And here's the icecream cake. It turned out really yummy. That's a yellow cake w/chocolate icecream sandwiched in the middle, iced with homemade whipped cream and topped with brownie crumbs, hot fudge sauce and chocolate cat cookies - YUM!
Blowing out the big three candles - he did it (almost) in one blow.
And now the obligatory mess - mmmmmm!!!
Of course, this was the moment he'd been waiting for - PRESENTS! He had a whole tower of them!
Ben felt like he needed to preview one of them before John Michael read it...just in case there was anything objectionable in there. Besides, the big brothers were once again the gracious benefactors of the birthday glow-in-the-dark underpants so Ben needed all the info he could gather on the subject...
I always wanted one of these when I was a kid and wouldn't you know it, I weigh a bit too much now to try it out - at least I can live vicariously through John Michael!
Muff, I said Max and Ruby and you give him a 100 piece domino dumptruck set?! Max and Ruby - it's on DVD, you can't lose it, you can put it away quickly and it's only ONE PIECE!!!

Well, the big brothers get a real kick out of actually playing with the thing anyway - when they aren't chasing down John Michael and David for any number of the ONE HUNDRED PIECES that are being relocated throughout the house.


The Big Rebellion

I get such a kick out of this story I just had to put it here...Maegan is my neice and she just turned 18. She's a bit special to us since we sort of mark our relationship by her birthday - she was born in June and I met Fr. Joel that August, we began to date shortly after that and have been together ever since. She was my husband's "practice kid" for the years leading up to our own children.

Anyway, I guess Maegan figured since she was 18 and finally graduated from high school it was time for a big rebellion. Problem was, she just couldn't decide if it would be a body piercing or a tatoo...So, of course, being the rebellious type that she is, she headed off to the library to research her two options. After reading a bit too much for comfort on belly button piercings, she decided a tatoo might be safer, less painful and more fun. So she decided on a tatoo of a cross for the top of her foot - just two lines - very simple. Her mom was thrilled. "Oh let us take you and pay for it!" she cried. "Absolutely not, Mom!" Maegan retorted. "You will not pay for my rebellion!" And so she agreed to let her Mom and Dad drive her to the tatoo venue...but she would *not* let them pay. That tatoo "artist" took one look at her simple design plan and had a rebellion of his own. "I will not put that on your body," he said. After a little convincing they came to a compromise and Maegan allowed him to add a bit of texture to his artwork.

We saw her tatoo last weekend. She took off her shoe and sock to show it to us - a tiny cross made out of 4 bubbly lines on the top of her foot. "It's permanent!" She announced. "Which is why I chose that spot." I'm sure identifying the best part of her body to tatoo was also part of her research...and who says homeschoolers don't learn anything?!

Three Weeks!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Maryland Feingold - The Gathering

It finally happened - an all-out Maryland Feingold Food and Fun Fest! Four Feingold families gathered at Teresa's house to meet other feingolders and have a day of fun and relaxation with other families who just "get it". It was sooo nice! Teresa's home was perfect for the event. She had plenty of room inside and out for the 17 children and their families. This picture is of all the children with the exception of Nathan and two toddlers. Thankfully, Quinn is actually wearing his pants for this one....

Teresa had the great idea to color code the food according to Feingold stage 1, Feingold stage 2 and SCD (Specific Carbohydrate Diet). Each child had a coordinating color coded dot on their nametag so they could simply match their dots to their food. It was pure genius, really. The children were thrilled to have a safe place to eat and eat they did! Philip even got a bun for his hamburger and hotdogs too! I think he would have eaten until he exploded if we'd let him.

This was a big plus for us - Philip made a true friend! He and Connor hit it off - both on the autism spectrum and both on SCD. They didn't seem to notice each other's quirks and they could share popsicles by the poolside. It was a match made in Heaven!

I was thrilled to finally turn a few internet friends into real life friends. Eileen spent quite a bit of time with Nathan in her lap and I had a great time just sitting and chatting with her and Sharon and Teresa while the dads discussed computers, jobs and the joys of raising Feingold children.

There were no worries. If someone had a tantrum or did something a little odd, well, we'd all been there done that. It really wasn't a big deal. We didn't have to explain ourselves or our children, we didn't have to worry about the wrong food getting into the right child and our children could just relax and be kids.
This picture of JT sums up the day.

Cheers to Feingold!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Wish I'd had a camera...

I got myself a nice, tall glass of ice water and set it next to the sink - don't want to get dehydrated while nursing, you know. Then I set up Nathan for his tubby. I put the baby tub in the sink, ran the warm water, got him all cute and naked and set him down in his baby tub. I looked away for a moment and when my look returned to him, I saw a perfect, crystal clear arc flowing out of him, across the double sink and directly into my water glass. Two weeks old and perfect aim - makes a Mommy proud! I'm really glad I saw that...but if I'd had my camera I probably could have won a big prize on Funniest Home Videos...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Happy Birthday Davey!

Today is David's birthday. He's oh-so-very two (that actually started about 2 months ago!). Today is the actual date but we celebrated last night (shhhh don't tell him) due to the big boys' soccer practice which, consequently, got rained out tonight anyway. Anyhoo, we had our typical family birthday celebration. Everybody got a party hat and David got the special one with the tassle on top and the fringes on the bottom... Even Daddy got a hat.
We had his favorite meal for dinner - noodles! In this case, Muffy's macaroni and cheese. All the kids helped to make his star and heart shaped chocolate cakes. I decided to experiment with carmine powder (otherwise known around here as beetle juice) which came out a wonderful pink instead of the red I was shooting for so David got a rather...retro...color for his cakes.
He enjoyed them anyway. Although he spent more time chewing on the candles than the chocolate.
After cake we moved to the living room for presents. The girls had wrapped up two books they picked out for him so they could read to him. They both had flaps to lift - very popular choice with their little brother! His big brothers presented him with his own size 1 soccer ball and 3 pairs of glow-in-the-dark underpants which are supposed to come with lessons on their use as well. And Mom and Dad sprung for the sit and spin....

The soccer ball made a big impression. He carried that around for the night, trying desperately to bounce it and insisting it was a basketball. Today he picked up the underpants and, after trying them out on his head, clutched them in his little hands and showed them to anyone who walked by - including Nathan's visitors for the day. All in all, I think it was a roaring success of a birthday.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I was nursing Nathan when John Michael wandered into the room. He watched in fascination and finally asked, "What is Nathan doing?!" "He's eating breakfast." "Is he eating *you* for breakfast?!" "Yes, he is." A bit of a pause, then..."Can *I* have breakfast too?!" "Yes, but *you* eat breakfast at the table." His "Oh" sounded a bit disappointed.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Birth of Nathan Lee

Shortly after David was born, I snatched up some books on the Bradley birthing method which someone offered up on freecycle. About halfway through this pregnancy I decided to take a look at them and see just what was the difference. The books are old - lots of pics of something out of "That 70's Show" - but the method had come highly recommended by a Feingold friend so I dove in. Dr. Bradley was jokingly called Barnyard Bradley for his method which he developed after watching all sorts of critters labor and birth on his childhood farm. He felt that the animals were best able to do things the way God intended for their bodies to work and was always amazed that they could have the appearance of calm and sleep all through a labor and delivery. The biggest difference between his idea and the LaMaze idea is mostly the method of breathing. Bradley teaches utter relaxation of all the other muscles in the body while breathing in a regular, sleeping pattern through the powerful contractions of the uterus. (This is opposed to the heavy in and out breathing of the LaMaze method which, quite frankly, had never helped me much the previous 4 labors). After years and years of acting training which teaches first and foremost to relax all the muscles in the body, I always figured that should be some great help when it came to labor. However, it wasn't until I came across Bradley that I could actually put the two together. Relaxation I had down long ago, the breathing was the key...

The other thing I got to do all new this time was write up a birth plan. Actually, I just filled out a form on-line and checked off options we would like during labor and delivery. I specified things like being able to wear my own clothes, intermittent fetal monitoring, no drug intervention at all, a peaceful, quiet and dark atmosphere to labor, my husband to cut the cord, baby immediately to breast and being able to move about during labor in whatever spot I found most comfortable. The birth plan went to my midwives who put it in my file awaiting the BIG DAY.

Well, Saturday wasn't my day but Sunday was! Like I posted before, I spent the day on Saturday doing as much activity as I could to try to entice little Nathan to come out into the big wide, world. It actually seemed to have worked this time. By Saturday night I was completely tuckered out, plopped myself into bed and spent a restless night having regular contractions all through the night. This was a good sign, as up until then any contractions I was having while up and about would always stop shortly after I got myself horizontal - so horizontal and still contracting was good!

About 6:00 am I got up and sat in my most comfy chair (a wheeled desk chair w/good back support which was the salvation of this entire pregnancy!) and continued to contract. I looked up a contraction timer on-line and started timing the contractions once they really started to feel pretty strong. By 8:30 they were timing at about 4-5 minutes apart and lasting over 1 1/2 minutes. They were strong, long and regular - looked like Nathan's arrival was imminent! We had called the midwife at about 8:00 and she said to come on in whenever we felt comfortable. Knowing my history of going quickly once I get dilated, we didn't want to wait too long and we really felt this was going to happen quickly since things seemed to be progressing. So about 9:00 we showed up at the hospital after phoning in for reserve forces on the homefront (fortunately Michelle and Dan had opted to go to the Saturday evening mass!). Surely this baby would be here by 11:00 - we were sure we had timed it just right!

I was thrilled when, upon my arrival, the nurse immediately began to ask me questions which clearly indicated she had already reviewed and familiarized herself with our birth plan. This was all new to me - the idea that *we* were in control of this delivery! In fact, at the end of the day she did say this had been a very different delivery for her because she had been able to be so hands-off and just observe and be there when needed. Because I already knew what I wanted to wear and where I wanted to labor, she pretty much left us alone. I chose a rocking chair in the room w/good back support and spent the first hour or two at the hospital in the appearance of sleep, relaxing and working through contractions. The difference was incredible. Instead of feeling the pain of each contraction, I was able to feel the power of my body surging to bring my Nathan into the world. My husband was amazed at the difference. He was so incredulous with how relaxed I appeared that he took many pictures of me in labor. This picture is me sitting up in the bed, fully dilated and in the middle of a transition contraction! I felt so at peace and in control! By this time w/the other labors, I was screaming and crying and giving it up for the epidural...

To get through the early contractions I concentrated on thinking through how powerful that muscle is that will bring my baby into the world. As the contractions got more intense, I imagined Nathan and I swimming out into the surf on a surfboard. We rode each contraction in like a wave, my little man and I. And, finally, during transition contractions Nathan and I blew up a great big ball - it just got bigger and bigger. Through the whole labor my water never broke. At one point the midwife attempted to use the little crochet hook thingy but the membranes were just too tough and Nathan was just not letting go of that precious amniotic sac. Every time we blew up that beach ball I begged him to let *me* play in the water but he would have nothing to do with that! The neat part of this little imagination game was that I really felt like my body, Nathan and I were all working together to get this job done. I felt so much more bonded to the little guy when he finally came out.

I don't know if retaining the water made it happen or God just had an odd plan for this delivery but just as I got fully dilated my contractions slowed down dramatically. It finally got to the point where I was having them only every 15 - 20 minutes apart and I actually went *backwards* to 8 cm dilated. I thought I should be pushing by now but apparently there was some other plan. I would have a big contraction, we'd all get geared up for those pushing urges and then.....nothing. We found ourselves just sitting around looking at each other and wondering what to do next. I think God provided that little intermission because a few contractions into that odd lull in the labor my midwife had to leave to deliver a 33 week old baby. The mom had thought she was just having braxton hicks contractions and when she arrived at the hospital was already fully dilated and ready to deliver. So our midwife left to handle that situation (the baby weighed over 5 lbs and was just fine - Praise the Lord! We watched her contractions and her baby's heartbeat on the monitor in our LDR and could see exactly when the baby was born) and by the time she returned to me I'd had a total of, oh, maybe TWO more contractions!

But things kicked in a bit more swiftly after that and I found myself ready to push the little guy out. Now, I had never done this before - I'd always pushed w/an epidural so I had someone telling me when to push, how to push and even holding on to my legs since I had no feeling in them but this time I was sort of on my own - keeping with this theme that *we* were in control! I had never pushed out a baby in more than 3 pushes but this time it took more like 7 or 8 and I was TIRED by then! I had a mirror and could see everything happening and I just sort of expected to push a time or two and out he would slide but I pushed a time or two and there was nothing. The midwife did manage to finally get the bag of waters broken which helped to get him out but my contractions were still about 5 or so minutes apart so there was long waiting between opportunities to push. At long last, I pushed his little head out and that was an eerie feeling - I could see the little head hanging out there but the contraction was over and I was afraid he would strangle if I waited 5 more minutes to get the rest of the body out. I begged my midwife for advice - "What do I do now?!" She answered with just the voice of clarity I needed "You push again." I mustered all the strength I had left in my body and out came a whole, live, wonderful human being! We did it!! This pic is right out of the womb and straight to Mama. I was so happy to have him there but sooo tired too..

They let him stick around Mama for awhile and once he got used to the light in his little face he immediately wanted to nurse. He was a good little nurser right form the start and he got lots of time to start and finish the job. In the meantime, Dad got to cut the cord and take pictures of the placenta (he's always been fascinated by that...) Nathan was with me for a good long while before they took him to get weighed...9 lb 7 oz!
And heated up under the warmer:
He loved that warmer!
Some time later he got his bath and got his jammies on.
Then he and I had a night and a day to hang out at the hospital doing all the stupid hospitaly things until he was finally released 24 hours after delivery. Here he is all ready to go home. He had a nice little going home outfit which he immediately wee-ed all over so back he went into his gown. He managed to wee all over just about everybody and everything that got close to him in those 24 hours...
And was it ever good to be HOME! The big brothers and sisters are so happy to have him here. They scramble to be next to hold and cuddle him. I love this discovery JT made - I wonder if Nathan will ever grow into JT's shoes?
I'm sure, though, that God has some shoes of his own just for Nathan to grow into...

Welcome Nathan!

Nathan Lee was born Sunday, July 30th at about 6:15 pm. He weighed 9 lbs, 7 oz and was 20 1/2 inches long. I did have a completely drug-free labor and delivery! Hopefully the full story will be coming about his most amazing labor and delivery. Welcome to the World, Little Man!!