Tuesday, November 12, 2013

To never be hungry

I think I made a painful parenting error last night. Not one that I can joke about. But one that breaks my heart, brings me to tears, and has created an emotional wound of sadness in my sweet 5 year old.  
It all started with my immense frustration with Benji for not eating dinner. He almost never eats dinner. Night after night he tells me that he doesn't like whatever I have cooked. Then he goes to bed hungry.
I had finally had enough.
"You HAVE to eat, Benjamin! Your body needs food for you to be healthy!"
We argued for a bit, then in my frustration, I called him to me so I could show him pictures of what happens when you don't eat food.
Dramatic. I know.
I showed him heartbreaking pictures of skeletal children with bloated bellies. My voice cracked as I told him, "This boy doesn't have food to eat. His family can't afford enough food, so his body is very sick."
Benji asked me question after question about why the starving people looked the way they did. I answered honestly, my chest tight with regret. Regret for not being able to help these hungry people. Regret for presenting this mature topic to such a young child. Regret that some of the pictures we saw were of children even younger than Benji.
This is serious stuff. It is so cliché to tempt a child to eat his dinner by talking about children starving in some remote location. Like that even helps. But I took it one step further with the pictures.
Benji started crying.
"I don't want to be like that."
My heart. I pulled him into a hug, "I promise you will never be like that. I promise we will always have food to keep you healthy. You just have to eat it."
To a 5 year old, full of trust, that is a reassuring promise. To me, it broke my heart even more, because I was so painfully aware of our privilege. We will never be so hungry that our bodies wither away.
I helped Benji eat his dinner. Afterward, he lifted up his shirt to show me his full belly; his body lean, yet healthy.
And as I tucked him into bed, he asked me to comfort him with a prayer. Those sickly bodies were weighing heavily on his mind, and well as mine.
Such a serious topic for a young child. Did I do the wrong thing? Exposing him to such horrors? Will it help him take better care of his body? Or will he develop body image or diet issues because of it? Will it teach him compassion? Or fear?
My heart.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

An updated introduction

I've updated my introduction to this blog. Click the link up under the blog title ^^^ or here in this post to read a little blog history and to get a feel for what these Lamentations are all about.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Just pee already!

It would probably be more enjoyable for all of us to have a sweet update on baby Jedi, how he is deliciously fat, smiley and fitting in with our family very well.

Buuuuuuut.....instead I'm going to tell you about how Gizmo makes me see red, and how the toddler stage sucks, and how I hate it so hard.

Gizmo has been potty training for a few weeks now. Really, he is pretty good at it. I haven't had to do hardly anything. That's the best kind of potty training. (Moms, my advice to you is: if you try potty training, and you are putting in more work than your toddler, then stop and try again in a few more weeks or months!)

We only very rarely have accidents. Of course, I am still doing diapers when we go out for over an hour. And, of course, the only accidents we do have include a horrible mess to clean up (like peeing on my couch, or pants full of crap).

Recently, we started putting Gizmo to bed in his underwear. It started as a mistake. But when he woke up dry and was able to get to the potty to pee, we figured we'd try it more often.

But this morning, Gizmo refused to pee on the potty. I let it slide for a bit, and went ahead and served him breakfast. After his food was gone, I asked him again to go potty. He refused. So I told him that he would be grounded from the tv until he peed in the potty. But rather than deciding it would be a good idea to pee in the potty afterall, he decided to throw a tantrum.

Now, I am not a patient mother. I am a big time yeller. And when a toddler flops all over me in an irrational meltdown, especially while I'm trying to nurse a baby, I get especially ragey.

After about 20 minutes, I had almost completely lost my cool. I was able to lay Jedi down (asleep, by some miracle) and I carried Gizmo to the bathroom, stripped his pants off, and perched him on the toilet seat. (His preferred method of eliminating is squatted with his feet on the seat.) And still, he refused to pee. He climbed down, and I put him back. I told him that he could not leave the bathroom until he peed.

We fought and fought and apparently I was losing, because the kid wasn't peeing in the potty. So I started yelling.

"WHY WON'T YOU JUST PEE ALREADY!?! IF YOU WANT TO GO PLAY! ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS PEE IN THE POTTY!!! WHY DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT!?!?"

And then, over an hour after waking up and holding it in, Gizmo lost control of his bladder. But he wasn't all the way on the toilet. And he still didn't want to be peeing. So he got pee everywhere. The floor, the toilet seat, his legs, his feet, his shirt, and his hands...grasping himself in a desperate attempt to defy the command to pee in the potty.

And then I lost it all over again, because there is no rational reason for that mess to have happened, and I was going to have to clean it all up. Toddlers are always irrational.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Pirate's Life for Me!

(Get ready for a wonky, picture filled party post! Like, really wonky. Because getting pictures to line up where they are supposed to be is dang hard!)

Both the Hubby and I grew up only getting birthday parties on "special" years (i.e. 5, 8, 12, 16, 18...and 14, if your parents are going to be out of town on your birthday, and you are totally bummed out about that). We both approved of this, and so we have implemented the same party-throwing structure for our family.

2 weeks postpartum pirate.
Argh! My salty dog of a husband.



 This year, Bug turned 5. It was finally time to throw our first party! Bug requested a pirate themed party. So about two months prior to party-time, Bug and I started browsing Pinterest for ideas. I let Bug pin the things he liked....and I grew increasingly worried that he was going to be super disappointed. There was no way in heck I would be able to make a pirate ship cake nearly as cool as the ones you can find on the Internet. But party throwing is in my blood (right, mom!?), and I was going to plan an awesome...and hopefully affordable...party for my little scallywag. Unfortunately, Jedi was born the morning of the party, and we had to postpone it two weeks. But we did eventually have that party. Here is the breakdown:

Grandma Marty, Bug and Gizmo

Invitations:
I formulated the wording in as pirate-y a fashion as I could. You know, throw in an "ahoy matey" and a "be ye warned" and you're basically gold. To make it really awesome, I downloaded a free "treasure map" font. Instead of printing on regular paper, I wanted to make it looked aged and I wanted to do it cheaply. Luckily, I had some brown paper lunch bags in my pantry. I cut them open, cut them to size, iron out the wrinkles as best as I could and ran them through the printer. Then I tore the edges and burned them on the stove top. They were pretty awesome.
Invite with letter in a bottle deco.

Decorations:
Way awesome treasure map, that I drew!
I pulled out the most pirate-like scrap fabric I could find and sewed up a pennant banner. It was super simple, I didn't bother to hem the edges, and I strung it on twine. I also had some rough, natural color muslin fabric that I draped around (and had laying on the table). It was perfect for looking like sails. Then we added some balloons in red, yellow, white and black. (I also bought one birthday pirate Mylar balloon for the mailbox.) Grandma Marty brought us a giant Jolly Roger flag to hang up; the perfect touch! On the food table, along with the muslin, were a few glass bottles with rolled up "messages" (brown paper from the lunch sacks), fake gold coins, and bead necklaces.

Games:
We had 5 games to play. We had maps (those lunch sacks got used a lot for the party!) that I printed and aged treasure map style to guide the kids through the games. Of course, they didn't really use them, but it was a fun thought.
Cannonball fight-I acquired a large appliance sized cardboard box and turned it into a pirate ship with holes in it. I also acquired, by complete chance, a large cardboard tube, which we turned into the ship's mast. I made half a dozen round, black bean bags. The kids then got to throw their "cannonballs" at the ship, trying to make it through the holes. The ship wasn't as sturdy as I hoped it would be, but luckily we had tape and both grandmas around to man the ship (and return fire). The kids thought this was a ton of fun!
Cannonball fight! (see my pennant banner?)
Pirate ship, with tons of tape to keep it together.
Pin the Treasure on the "X"-I bought a white posterboard, printed out a bunch of pirate-y/island/ocean clipart pictures and used my mad drawing skillz to create the coolest treasure map. Ever. I almost wish I had kept it, it was so stinkin' cool. Then I printed out little treasure boxes to pin on the map's "X". Add some pirate bandanas, a few spins, and you have your classic party game, pirate style. Bug was the first to play this game, and he cheated and got his treasure box right on the "X". That little stinker.
Swab the Deck-Outside (luckily it didn't start raining until right after we were done with the party), I put out 4 bins (stolen from the toy organizer), two of which were filled with water, and two sponges. The kids had to fill a sponge, run to an empty bin, and squeeze out the water. I was actually on the couch breastfeeding Jedi during this game, but the Hubs said the kids really had fun with it.
Walk the Plank-We bought a 2x6 board and tied it to two empty plastic window planters that we had already. Then the kids were able to walk across the plank as many times as the wanted. I originally wanted to fill our kiddie pool with water to put underneath, but that didn't happen. Of course, the kids didn't care.
Here Be Treasure!-We got a long, shallow Rubbermaid bin (with a lid, hallelujah) and filled it with play sand. then I added fake gold coins, bead necklaces and toy rings. The kids had to dig for their treasure. They played in the sandbox for a good portion of the party! Bug and Gizmo have been playing in it ever since. (And I have decided I hate sandboxes.)

Favors:
Mini pirates, walking the plank.
I really thought about buying pre-made pirate party favors. (Inflatable sword!? How awesome would that be!?) But, I finally decided that putting the favors together myself would be the smarter, cheaper option. Especially since most favors only last a few days before everything is totally trashed. So, I pulled out those brown lunch sacks again (I love that I used those so much, especially since I didn't even buy them! They came from Grandma Marty's pantry to ours when she moved across the country.) Inside each bag: a foam pirate hat, a plastic pirate eye patch, a skull/crossbones stamper, and a page of pirate stickers. And then the kids were able to put their treasure from the dig in the bag, too.

Food:
Ocean water...for your refreshment?
Table set up
I was more excited about our cake/cupcakes than anything, so the rest of the snack foods were pretty simple. A bowl of Goldfish. A bowl of potato chips. (Fish and chips, get it!?) And a fruit salad (with mostly tropical fruits). To drink, I mixed Sprite with Ice Blue Raspberry Koolaid, for an ocean-y looking drink. To make things a little more festive, I bought a set of pirate plates/napkins/cups.

 
I totally made this cake, and I am proud.
Cupcakes
And now, my pride and joy...the cake(s)! We made two dozen cupcakes. Half of them were frosted blue, the other half light brown (chocolate and cream cheese frosting mixed). On the blue cupcakes, we placed chocolate marshmallow fondant pirate ships (really just triangles, for a basic ship shape...heh, ship shape). I cut down bamboo skewers to a good size for a mast and added a small rectangle of paper, stamped with a Jolly Roger, for the sail. On the brown frosted cupcakes, I sprinkled some brown sugar to look like sand, then added a fake gold coin. Then, to make sure there would be enough cake for everyone, I made a 9x13 cake (which actually didn't get cut into at the party, but it was so cute, it was worth it!) I drew, with brown frosting, some land/islands, sprinkled with brown sugar. Then frosted the ocean with blue. A larger fondant boat went in the corner (on the ocean). And, finally, I used red frosting (from an easy-to-use tube) to make a dotted line across the cake to an "X" on the island. The candles went along the dotted line.
So excited!
Bug was so excited when it finally came time to sing "Happy Birthday" and blow out the candles that he blew them out before the song was even over! And after the song ended, we all wondered what to do, and whether or not to relight the candles. Uhhhhh...let's just dig in!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Placenta

It's been nearly four weeks since Jedi was born. My goodness, how the time flies. Of course, it helps when there is a lot going on: family in town, Mother's Day celebrations, more family in town, Bug's birthday party (that we had two weeks late), Memorial day, and Hubby's birthday (today).

May is SUCH a busy month. But, I am proud to say that I have (mostly) kept it together! I have only cried a couple of times since the birth. Which is a significant improvement on how often I cried during pregnancy! I think I can give credit to my placenta capsules (lovingly called 'placenta pills' in our home). Yep, I am officially one of -those- ladies that eats her placenta! And now I'm going to tell you how I prepared it (sparing you pictures, because I didn't get any. You're welcome.)

After the cord was cut, I briefly examined the placenta for completeness, then it was plopped into a Tupperware with a lid and put into the fridge. I wasn't sure when I would get to it, so it needed to be treated like any other piece of meat for planned consumption. I was able to prepare the placenta that evening. I prepared the placenta using the raw method, rather than the Traditional Chinese medicine method, which steams the placenta prior to dehydrating.

First, I placed the placenta in a colander in the sink. I then spent at least fifteen minutes rinsing the dang thing. I removed as many blood clots as I could (many of them were between the size of a large grape and a small lime). On the baby side, the placenta is smooth (covered by the membranes) and has beautiful, visible veins that form what is referred to as the 'tree of life'. I used a sharp knife to pierce the veins, so I could remove the clotted blood from those as well.

I then moved the placenta to a cutting board and used the sharp knife to cut away the majority of the membranes and the cord. Then I sliced the placenta into very thin strips (like jerky). This was somewhat difficult, as the placenta is both tough and jiggly. The maternal side is lumpy looking, rough yet soft and somewhat gritty (I believe this depends on age and calcification of the placenta). It compares more to organ meat than muscle meat...which makes perfect sense, because the placenta is an organ, not a muscle! I learned after the fact that it would have been easier to use meat scissors to do all that work. However, I was able to slice the placenta completely using the knife, and place all the strips on trays of our dehydrator.

Once the strips were all placed, I turned on the dehydrator and let it do its work. The house smelled like very warm (cooking?) birth, which didn't bother me, and I heard no complaints from anyone else.

Approximately 12 hours later, the placenta was thoroughly dry. (I determined 'thoroughly dry' as being dry enough to snap a slice in half easily.) The slices looked like petrified smears of meconium, but I went ahead and put them in our blender. We have a cheap blender, but pulsing it on grate worked well...although it was noisy, it only took a few minutes. I assume a fancy food processor would do an even better job!

Once I had my placenta turned into a powder, I was able to fill my capsules. I had ordered an encapsulator that would fill 24 capsules at one time, and size 00 capsules. Separate capsules, place into appropriate side of encapsulator, pour in placenta dust, scrape to fill, tamp down, add more powder, level off, push on capsule tops, push out completed capsules. Repeat.

I was able to fill 124 capsules. I didn't have a glass jar or anything fancy to store them in, so I put them in a freezer ziplock bag. I also actually keep them in the freezer. Although this isn't necessary (unless you plan to preserve the capsules for use years down the road), I figured it wouldn't hurt. Especially since I am only storing mine in a plastic bag!

For the first couple of days, I didn't know how many capsules a day I should have been taking. After a bit more research, I found that for my size capsules, I should be taking about 6 a day for the first two weeks, then as many as I wanted thereafter. I recently have moved to 4 a day (and they will only last me one more week at that rate...sad face).

I feel like they have been very beneficial. The Hubs has even said he wants me to encapsulate and consume the placenta with all future births! (And he was really squeamish about the whole thing before!) My mood has definitely been improved...especially noticeable has been the lack of breakdowns and tears typically present in the early postpartum period. I also feel like my engorgement didn't last as long as it has before. And I believe my lochia has been tapering off more quickly.

Of course, this is my personal, anecdotal experience. I would encourage you to do your own research on placentophagy. At first I thought it was weird. Then I though I might like to try it. Then I thought I would do it, but keep it on the down low, so as to not squick anyone out. But now, I have actually done it, and I'll talk about it with no reservations! So there you go!

I ate my placenta (well, almost...I still have a few capsules left!) and I am proud of it!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Birth Story: Jedi

Friday, May 3rd: Busy, busy, busy! Bug's birthday party was only a day away, and we needed to get everything ready for it. Clean the house, do the laundry, wash the dishes, make marshmallow fondant. After a day full of doing stuff, my parents arrived in town just after 8pm. We sat and socialized until about 10pm, while I had my typical prodomal labor, and then everybody (exhausted) headed to bed.

Saturday, May 4th: I woke up at 1am. I figured it was a standard potty break. I had an uncomfortable contraction, went through my roll-over maneuvering, and felt some baby wiggles. Then, I felt a warm flow of liquid in my crotch. I thought maybe I had peed myself. But I hadn't lost bladder control before...so I wasn't quite sure. Perhaps it was my water breaking?

I got out of bed, trying to not soil my sheets (we had -just- put clean sheets on the bed, and I didn't want to have to change them again...especially if this wasn't labor). I sat on the toilet and peed, but didn't feel any further leaking. So I thought maybe I had peed myself after all. But when I wiped, there was a definite, although very faint, pink tint.

With the light still on, I opened the bathroom door, which woke up Scotty. I stood there, underwear in hand, and with a nervous giggle told him that I either peed myself, or my water broke. I really wasn't totally convinced that it was my amniotic fluid, because even further moving around didn't allow any more leaking. I was only having my typical prodromal-style contractions, so I figured I would lay back down and try to get some rest. Scotty said there was no way he would be able to get back to sleep.

So, I laid back down with a chux pad under me. Still no further leaking. But my contractions were getting stronger and laying down wasn't really all that comfortable. Since it had been almost 2 days since my last shower (and I had really worked up a sweat making the fondant earlier), I decided to go ahead and take a shower. It was 1:20am when I got into the shower.

I put shampoo in my hair, then swayed through a contraction. Then rinsed and put conditioner in, and swayed through a contraction. Then finished up, while swaying through contractions throughout. While I was swaying, I thought I could feel warmth flowing out of me, but it was hard to tell with all the water. The water wasn't really heating up to where I wanted it to be, so I thought I would get out. But then I thought I would stay in. But then I really got out. (Make up your mind, right!?) As I was drying off, I noticed there was pink tinged fluid running down my leg.

Scotty helped me dry off and put on my robe, and I decided to sit on my birth ball. It was covered with a chux pad, and I sat down. Scotty woke my mom up and had her join us, especially so she could french braid my hair before things got too intense. Then I felt like the pad needed to be moved forward a little bit, so I leaned back to move it and a huge gush of amniotic fluid poured out onto the plastic drop cloth we had on the floor at the foot of our bed. I could see it was a beautiful clear color, with lots of vernix. And it smelled so sweet.

I was giddy by now. I kept announcing that I was having a baby, and joking about the baby coming when it wasn't supposed to (the day of Bug's party), and also joking about the gushing of fluid I would have every time I leaned back. My mom braided my hair, while I contracted.

After a bit, I went to pee on the toilet. When I came back out, I decided to kneel and lean against my bed for the contractions. Around this time, my dad had also joined the party in my room. He is an RN, and moved very well into "nurse mode", asking if I wanted cold washcloths, water, a fan, a window open? At first, we all chatted in between contractions. And I ate some grapes. Then I started getting more into my birth zone. I was focusing more and more on each contraction, and soon I started vocalizing.

My dad excused himself, because he could tell I was getting hot, and I would probably be taking my robe off soon. I had to pee again, but didn't want to go to the toilet, so I peed on a chux pad. Shortly after, my robe came off. At this point, I was very concentrated on my contractions. I vocalized deep, low, humming moans. And I leaned against the bed and squeezed Scotty's hand. Scotty asked a few times if I wanted to get -on- the bed to be more comfortable, but I declined. I was very comfortable on the floor, leaning against the bed.

Things were starting to feel hard. Mentally, I knew I had to be in transition, because it was just so. dang. hard! But I hadn't been in labor that long. Could I really be in transition??? I announced that I thought I must be there (because, again, so dang hard). I didn't say anything else out loud about how difficult things were for me, but I was thinking a lot that I wasn't sure if I would be able to do this! My contractions were coming two at a time, before I would have a small break. One big contraction, thirty second break, one not-quite-so-big contraction, one minute break.

At about 3:50am, I had a big contraction that ended with a grunt. It didn't feel quite like a normal pushing contraction. I started having these contractions that still were so incredibly hard, but they ended with little, grunty pushes. I felt like maybe I had a little bit of a cervical lip left, and maybe that was why my contractions were on the line between transition and pushing. My vocalizing was starting to become a little wobbly. I felt like I was losing my focus. Scotty had moved down behind me, to check on progress, so I started squeezing my mom's hands during the contractions.

Finally, during another contraction, something changed (that cervical lip went away). I felt the baby's head move down. Oh, what a sweet feeling. I knew things were almost over. The next contraction had me pushing hard. I announced that I was pooping (birth is lovely, no?) and my hand went down to my crotch. There was a baby head there! And it burned! I tried to support my perineum, and then my labia as I moved through the push. Scotty was down behind me, watching the progress (and keeping things clean). He announced that he could see an ear. I think Mom and Scotty were surprised, because everything was happening so fast!

The next contraction brought out baby! I had a hand on his head, and Scotty helped support his body and guide him to the floor in front of me. Oh, baby boy, he was here! The cord was wrapped around his neck twice, so I gently and calmly unwound it and picked him up. I brought him to my chest and rubbed his slippery body. And then the euphoria! He was so tiny (it's so easy to forget how small newborn babies are). He gave a few tiny squeaks, but otherwise was very quiet. His tone was great and he pinked up almost immediately.

Gizmo (who, luckily, fell asleep very early that evening) was apparently kneeling outside our door, trying to see in under it. My dad (who heard the squeaking baby) came in and let Gizmo and Bug both in to meet their new brother. I was so happy, I could have cried! I had done it! I gave birth, unassisted!

After about half an hour of joyful family time, I got back onto my knees and gave a few pushes to deliver the placenta. My mom got a Tupperware and I plopped the placenta into it. After the cord was tied and cut (by Scotty), I examined the placenta. It looked whole and beautiful. (And I am determined this time to get it encapsulated!) I nursed the baby a little (once he latches on, he nurses wonderfully)! Then we weighed and measured the little guy.

Shortly after, I took a fairly quick herbal bath (the water wasn't warm enough to keep me longer) and triumphantly headed downstairs for breakfast!

Welcome to earth, baby Jedi! (His perfect nickname, for this May the Fourth [be with you] birthday!) Born unassisted at home on May 4th, 2013 at 4:21am, after less than 3.5 hours of labor! Weighing 8lbs 1oz, and 20" long. Beautiful and perfect!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Birth Ball

This morning, I got it into my head that I wanted to find our exercise ball and pump it up to use for labor prep and during the birth. I have no idea why I wanted it so badly, because I had the dang thing pumped up for my last labor and didn't want it at all!

But today....I NEEDED TO FIND AND FILL THAT BALL!!!! (Remember a couple posts ago where I said pregnancy makes me crazy? Yeah. I wasn't kidding.)

Even though it has been over a year since we moved, we still have three spaces that have boxes and other 'unpacked' things: master bedroom closet, spare bedroom closet, and Narnia-esque under-the-stairs coat closet.

For some reason, I thought the big, blue ball would be in the spare bedroom closet. So I started there. I pulled out boxes. I pulled ligaments. I caused contractions. I grunted. I strained. I dug and I looked and I rifled and I looked. And no ball. So I put everything back. With more pulling and grunting and straining.

Frustrated and tired, I went to my closet. I found the pump to fill the ball. Yay. But after some half-hearted rifling through the closet, there was still no ball.

So I went and sat on the couch for a bit, because I was pooped. And I texted the Hubby, asking if he knew where the heck the ball was. His response: in our closet or the coat closet.

After a bit, I had regained enough of my energy to resume my search. The coat closet. So daunting. Among the things I had to remove from the closet: half a dozen coats and jackets, vacuum cleaner, chair cushions, Christmas tree, 3 sleeping bags, Christmas box, Halloween box, pull-up bar, box full of shoes we never wear, box full of gloves and scarves we use once a year, beanbag chair and footrest, and several random sand toys.

Finally, I opened the box I thought might be hiding the ball. It had a few game boxes, one of which was on its side and fell open to dump the entire contents into the bottom of the box. I found beach floaties, a tote bag that I needed 8 months ago, a bag of crayons, more sand toys....AND the birth ball!!!

And then I had to put everything back. (Commence more grunting and straining and pulling and contractions.) Our closet looks super organized and nice right now, though!

Then I realized that the plug was missing. It would be pointless to fill the ball and not be able to keep the air inside of it! But I was so, so tired. Back to the couch for a rest. I thought a bit about where the plug could be. I watched a YouTube video on how to make your own plug using duct tape (but I don't think we have any duct tape...of course). Then, I remembered that I typically kept the plug with my paintbrushes. (Where else would I keep it?!)

Paintbrushes were back upstairs in the spare bedroom closet. I had to move more boxes. Finally, I pulled out the "paint" box, which was really heavy...probably heavier than I should be lifting without having the proper control over it. Seriously, who knew that a couple dozen tubes of acrylic paint, a few blocks of polymer clay, and a crapload of fancy paper would weigh so much!? (Ok, now that I type out a bit of what is actually in that box, it makes total sense for it to weigh the equivalent of a small whale.)

And, of course, I had to empty the whole box to make sure I wouldn't miss a tiny, white, two-inch ball plug. The good news, though, is that I found it! (With the paintbrushes, where it belongs! Silly!) And that box looks super organized and nice now.

Boxes back in the closet, and no onset of labor, I headed back down the stairs. (Also, I gave the kids a bath while I was organizing the paint box, to keep them out of my stuff. So I had to dry the munchkins off and help them get dressed before I could complete my birth ball quest.)

Pump: check! Ball: check! Plug: check! I let Bug and Gizmo pump the ball up most of the way. Which was really nice, because they thought it was a fun game, even though I could tell it was wearing them out! Plus, that meant I didn't have to do the hard work. But I did finish it up and place the plug.

Then, I sat on the couch while the boys rolled around on the ball. We'll see how much I actually use the dang thing. I'm beginning to wonder if the hassle was even worth it!