Thursday, January 22, 2009

consignment sales here we come!

i'm getting so excited about the upcoming consignment sales- spring/summer season clothes are so fun to shop for... and this time i get to shop for girl clothes too! the two sales i plan to go to are the same week- the third week in feb.

Kidsignment- starts feb. 17th-for more info-
this sale is absolutely gigantic!!! so be prepared to be very overwhelmed... you have to really dig b/c the racks are jam packed. it is at the gwinnet county fair grounds and even has a separate building for large toys. the line is long for check, it is crowded... but what can i say- it can be thrill to find all your pjs for a season and spend less than $20. i don't usually find a ton of super cute stuff here... but it is a good place to find super cheap basic play clothes, pjs, and of course the occasional "thomas the train" VHS for pretty cheap. it is tricky to have e with me and i probably won't try to manage on my own w/ two little this may be the last time i come-- we'll see

Boutique Armoire -- starts feb. 19th --- for more info -
i really like this one... they only sell nice brands like gymboree, gap, hannah anderson etc... which means, not only are most all of the clothes really cute, but they are better quality and have therefore held up better through wear (esp. important when shopping for boy clothes!). this is a MUCH smaller sale, very manageable and really not more expensive for what you are getting.

don't miss out- you have to think ahead of the season b/c the best stuff sells at the early sales... later in the season it is everyone's leftovers. so, it may not be warm yet- but get your children's wardrobe ready for the season change now at a fraction of the cost... they just don't stay one size long enough to justify all new clothes!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

study on labor benefits

this is a bit of a long article, but i think it is worth reading. it is encouraging for those with long labors that end in c-sections... the labor was worth it! it is also good information to have in considering subsequent births-- this is a big factor in my decision to labor again w/ hopes for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)... even if i wind up w/ another cesarean my baby will have a better start having gone through the labor.

Benefit of labor- even for planned cesararens
Babies born by cesarean section before labor are more likely to have breathing problems and to need special care in the early days of life,compared to babies born after labor. Sometimes the obstetrician thinks the baby is older than he or she actually is, perhaps even ignoring the mother's opinion of when she conceived. Other cases seem to reflect the normal human variation which leads some babies to mature sooner than others, just as they roll over, sit and walk at different times. None of the tests are 100% accurate in dating a pregnancy or in assuring fetal maturity. However, even when the baby is definitely mature, a certain number of born before labor suffer from lung disease, particularly complications from excess fluid in the lungs.
A recent article in Scientific American documents why labor benefits,including their lung functioning. ("The 'Stress' of Being Born," Hugo Lagercrantz and Theodore A. Slotkin, Scientific American, April 1986, pp.100-107). Hormones called catecholamines are released in the baby in response to the stress of experiencing contractions, being pushed through the birth canal, and the intermittent oxygen deprivation which occurs in normal labor. Twenty years of research indicates that these hormones not only protect the baby from a lack of oxygen, but also prepare him or her to adapt to life outside the womb.
Adults also produce catecholamines in response to physical or emotional stress. The heart rate increases, while blood is redirected away from many organs and sent to the heart, brain, arms, and legs, all needed for the so-called "flight or flight" response. This is the reason for a mother's fear and anxiety can lead to prolonged labor and fetal distress. (See C/SEC Newsletter, Vol.12(2), 1986). With the immature nervous system of the fetus, however, catecholamines work somewhat differently. Blood is kept in the brain and heart rather than the limbs, and the heart rate shows rather than rises. This allows the brain to survive without damage at much lower oxygen levels, similar to the way people can survive for hours in very cold temperatures under ice or buried in snow. The discovery of this different response to stress in the fetus means two things: 1) Babies are well protected from reduced oxygen in labor; and 2) When the fetal heart rate slows in labor, rather than meaning the baby is in danger, it may mean the baby is being protected from damage. This process explains why over 50% of babies delivered by emergency cesarean after monitor tracings indicate fetal distress are in fact not short of oxygen at birth. The authors recommend that only when fetal scalp blood sampling shows the baby is truly short of oxygen should he or she be delivered quickly.
Catecholamines appear to help the baby adapt to life outside the womb in several ways. First, a surge of catecholamines in labor facilitates breathing by causing fluid to be absorbed from the lungs and surfactant to be released. (Surfactant allows the lungs to remain open once they are expanded with the first breaths.) Lung compliance, the ability of the lung to stretch and fill with air, is partially dependant on lung liquid absorption. In research at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, lung compliance was correlated with catecholamine levels at birth. Two hours after birth, vaginally delivered babies had significantly better lung compliance compared to cesarean babies. This helps explain why even mature babies born by elective cesarean are more likely to have breathing problems.
A second benefit of catecholamine surge at birth is to speed up the baby's metabolism, so energy stores in the liver and fat cells are made available until the baby begins to nurse. Cesarean stored fuel, and were more likely to have low blood-sugar levels. The burning of stored fuel also helps the newborn maintain body temperature.
A third effect of catecholamines is to alter blood flow so more blood is sent to the vital organs. Blood flow in vaginally delivered babies was lower in the legs and higher through the lungs during the first two hours of life. This effect is particularly important for babies experiencing breathing difficulties right after birth. In general, the higher the catecholamine surge, the better the baby can withstand oxygen deprivation. Babies who were moderately deprived of oxygen during birth had good Apgar scores if they had high catecholamine levels and lower Apgar scores if they had low catecholamine levels.
Another effect of high catecholamine concentrations is to produce a state of alert arousal. It is possible that the catecholamine surge leads to the extended quite alert state which usually occurs in a healthy baby in the first hour of life, and which may contribute to the beginning of parent-infant bonding right after birth.
The Karolinjska Institute studies also found that babies born by elective cesarean without labor had markedly lower catecholamine levels compared to those born vaginally, while those born by cesarean after labor had begun had only slightly lower levels. The message seems clear: A mother who wants a VBAC is not putting her own experience ahead of her baby's well-being. Babies benefit from a vaginal birth whenever possible. When it is not possible, they benefit from experiencing labor before a cesarean birth. The authors conclude, "Taken together, the weight of the evidence indicates that the elevation of 'stress' hormones in the normally delivered newborn reflects not only a response to acute stress but also an attempt by the body to enhance the chances for survival at birth. Such findings suggest that infants delivered by elective cesarean section before the mother begins labor may be at some disadvantage."How Labor Benefits Babies:Adaptational Effects of a Catecholamine SurgeImproves BreathingIncreases lung surfactantIncreases lung-liquid absorptionImproves lung complianceDilates bronchiolesProtects Heart and BrainIncreases blood flow to vital organsMobilizes FuelBreaks down normal fat into fatty acidsBreaks down glycogen (in liver) to glucoseStimulates new production of glucose by liverActivates heart-producing brown fat in response to coldFacilitates BondingDilates pupilsAppears to increase alertness(From "The 'Stress' of Being Born," by H. Lagercrantz and T.A. Slotkin, Scientific American, Apr.'86, p.106.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

i saw some cute little toys on -- i was thinking about all the things we may not be able to buy as of feb. 10th when the new child safety rules put small companies out of business. (if you don't know what i'm talking about- research it-- you'll be shocked about how different things will be, and how screwy it is that the big businesses that caused the trouble of lead paint are the ones who will benefit from this law!)

anyway- i realized that i had taken geometry and could therefore sew my own cloth blocks. it was quiet fun! i just can't figure out how to stuff them so that they stack like blocks instead acting like balls... they are a bit fluffy ;-)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

potty training update

i case you are on the edge of your seat, wondering if my good fortune was continuing w/ regard to potty training... here is your brief (he he he) update: if we are at home and e is naked from waist down-- he is probably 90% successful.... and self initiating most of the time! short errands- such as the grocery have been successful as well... it is just nursery and at other peoples houses. too many fun toys and people that distract him i guess. i'm sure we'll get there- we are not quite 2 weeks in to our final push. i'd love to hear any suggestions- i read somewhere to put socks on them and they will hate having wet socks on... e has definitely complained more about the wet socks than the wet underwear when he has accidents... i guess diapers just make them get so used to the wet "underwear" kind of feeling-- whereas having wet socks on is a new sensation.

Monday, January 12, 2009


about this time of year i start to walk around inspecting the ground for tiny little green shoots of hope... hope that the days are indeed getting longer and warmer and best of all -- greener. i love daffodils. i always have- for as long as i can remember. one of my most treasured memories is of a field of daffodils that i went to with my mother.... i was less than 5 years old and from my perspective the field went on forever and was covered in daffodils. we picked handfuls of them-- it was so magical!andrew and i have a tradition now of planting daffodils the first day we own a house... the closing date for our first home and for this one has been in the fall... so it works out well. it is a fun way to put our mark on a place and know that come spring we will be enjoying the sunny faces and fresh scent of daffodils.... and the best thing about them is they multiply every year- so you get increased benefits for your labor!

i was thrilled to walk up the bank in our backyard the other day... i was scanning the ground- not really expecting to see anything yet. but, there they were - the brave little shoots. now i have something to watch; every few days i can note how much taller they are and when the first buds appear. i will watch them as i watch for 70 degree sunny days. it's little things that help you get through the hard stuff... and for me the dark days of winter can be hard... but i've got my little green bits of hope now to watch!

Friday, January 9, 2009

save some $$$

for those of you who don't read my friend laura beth's blog- i'm going to share with you what she just shared... if you shop at publix you can go to this blog -
this kind mama has links to coupons that you can print that match up with the "buy one get one free" deals that publix has (which start over every thursday- i just found out). i looked up the bogo deals for this past week's shopping trip and was sure to take advantage and stock up on things we really use- and i saved $20! now, these coupon pro's save so much more by doubling the bogo deal w/ a coupon(or two) for that product. laura beth has been saving hundreds a month i think and i have been a bit intimidated(the cvs game still confuses me) ... but this lady has made it so easy for-- i can't wait to plan my shopping for next week and print off my coupons!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

the joys of potty training

i bet you think i'm being sarcastic... not today-- it is amazing the high you can get when potty training is going well! today marks one week since we started focusing on potty training again- no diapers except naps and night... and we had NO accidents ALL day!!! and we even hosted a very rowdy playgroup for ~3 hrs. he peed twice in the potty amidst the craziness... and the icing on the cake was that he pooped in the potty this morning! ( he usually does it in his diaper before he lets me know he is awake). let me assure you-- i am not counting on perfection from here on out.. by any means! we will have days w/ many misses and he still needs to decide to sit on the potty when in the nursery etc. but hey, one great day is encouraging us that we are doing the right thing with elisha right now.

i know some may think we are nuts for trying to get our 19 month old, a boy none the less, to use the potty instead of diapers. i figured- even if it takes twice as long as it would if we started later... at least i only have one little one to focus on right now. i was getting frustrated the first few days-- mainly b/c you have to focus on every move your child makes so that you can be consistent... but then i started thinking about how this is a really special time for us to spend one on one before our little girl comes. we have spent A LOT of time together coloring (e's favorite thing to do), putting together puzzles, playing w/ trains, playing with the little people in his bus, and reading books while he sits on the potty.

i should probably give a little background to our progress. when elisha was very young I read somewhere about "elimination communication" (it's worth looking up on wikipedia--aka infant potty learning). it sounded crazy... and really cool-- the idea that babies have certain cries or squirms when they need to eliminate, and they would prefer to not do it on themselves and then sit in it-- makes sense... the idea that babies are "diaper trained" to ignore their elimination, but that they can be "cued" as they pee and poop over the toilet or a bowl and then they will start to wait and signal to you when they need to eliminate... just so cool. think about it- babyhood w/ out diapers-- it almost seems sacrilegious. well, from what i understood at the time it was an all or nothing kind of thing... and as e was already 4 months, we had missed the early window. Well, i stumbled upon some ec info later when elisha was about 10 months and i read "the baby whisperer's suggestion to potty train around 1 yr... it got me thinking again. it was warm outside, so i decided there was no harm in spending some time w/ e half naked outside w/ a little potty and see what came of it. i started reading more about ec and early potty training and realized that it could be done part-time... that a little 'potty/ elimination awareness" is better than none at all. instead of a 3 day thing i expect that elisha would learn about his elimination and the best thing to do with it gradually, just like he did crawling and walking and eating. believe it or not- it was a really fun summer! it was amazing to realize what e was capable of... i feel like i paid a lot more attention to him and what he was communicating about everything b/c of the attention i was giving to what he was communicating about eliminating-- by the middle of the summer he was doing the sign language for "potty" and then going in the potty some of the time... it was so amazing, and he was having fun with it too... you could just tell how pleased he was! then he went through some developmental stuff-- i think just deciding that he wanted to be in control of the process and enjoying his increasing language skills. he went through a "potty pause". every time i mentioned potty he said emphatically "no no no"... and we found out about my pregnancy and found our new house... and had construction on our home and did many projects to get it ready and on the market. you can imagine-- the little potty took the back burner. i offered it to e here and there, and sometimes he would see it and say,"tee tee"... and sometimes he would sit on it to "tee tee"... but it was just here and there... once or twice a day at the most.

but, b/c of our communication and use of the potty over the past 9 months this week has been so much easier... we weren't trying to start from scratch w/ a foreign concept... elisha has understood about pee and poop for a long time. he has connected the feeling of eliminating with what it produces... and don't believe what you read and about babies under 2 not having control of their sphincter muscles. elisha would hold it on purpose and then release when he wanted to when he was under a year old... our children just lose touch with that muscle b/c they can just let it trickle out here and there all day and not even feel the wetness.

so sorry to ramble and get on a soap box... there are all kinds of ways to potty train- i just thought i should share about what we have tried b/c it is not as mainstream, so not as many people know about it. at this point in my long post, if you are still reading i'll leave w/ a few resources for continued reading- in case this sounds as fascinating(and dare i say fun?) to you.
there is a book called "early start potty training" - i really enjoyed it... especially the part about the history of potty training in our country(did you know that in this country around 1900 the debate was whether to start the process at 3 or 4 months!). this book is a nice blend of ec with more (modern)traditional ways of doing things. "diaper free baby" is a basic handbook for ec.

100th post!

i don't know what to do to celebrate my 100th post... i guess i'll just say a big whoo hoo- i can't believe it!
and now onto the real business of this post-- brewing... i am brewing a little girl in my belly, and i guess andrew wanted in on the brew action and has started brewing beer in our basement ;-) yes, the super cool bar with the odd bucket on the counter is in our blast from the past, built in the late 60's basement and andrew's first batch of beer is brewing away!
* i thought the basement was going to be my studio... but as soon as the guys saw it they started filling andrew's head with dreams of poker nights and a flat screen tv... luckily there is enough space to share-- and no sign of a flat screen down there yet!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

new sling

here is a lovely sling i just finished... i'm not usually drawn to purple, but i just love this silk fabric. it is purple woven with a goldish color and i put silver silk and a black and natural patterned cotton applique on it... i think it is just lovely... and i hope that bailey will think so too!

Monday, January 5, 2009

new year (with a birth in it!)

i think this video clip from the little new year's eve party we went to is so funny! kind of shows how things have changed for those of us with young children... babysitter on new year's eve- forget it! enough energy to stay up til midnight- no way! our kids were half out of their minds being up until after 9 and it was very entertaining ;-) elisha had a blast dancing for everyone with his friend claire (who is 2 weeks older than he is). andrew and i were startled from our sleep at midnight as kids in the neighborhood did fireworks and yelled- i think in our sleep we wished each other a happy new year ;-)

i have resolved to take a brisk walk everyday at least throughout this pregnancy in hopes that it will help get this little girl in the optimal position for birth- i've heard it work for others... at the very least it will get me in shape for labor, which as i have gotten well into this second half of pregnancy, has become more of a reality. my doula (sweet pam- who was also my doula the first time) was reminding me of how worry is the work of pregnancy-- you address all your fears and concerns then so during labor and those first weeks w/ a new baby you can just do what you have to do. i have had moments of fear and dread when thinking that this labor could be similar to my last, but thankfully i can feel that i am working through those and getting back to the realization that whatever it winds up being- i'll deal with it then. it will be one(or a few ;-( day(s) out of my life and with every breath a prayer, i will make it to the other side. but, you better believe that i am praying now that this baby will have her head positioned well, that my pelvis will cooperate, and that she won't be tongue-tied--- basically that labor and nursing will be normal at least, if not easy, which would be nice

** if you happen to be pregnant and interested in what positioning has to do w/ labor is a fascinating website w/ tons of info. a lot of c-sections are performed b/c a baby has it's head turned the wrong way... it makes the part headed out of the birth canal much bigger, so people think they have CPD (too small of a pelvis to birth) when really if the baby were turned the right way it would've worked out just fine. our lifestyle leads to this-- instead squatting in fields and walking upright most of the day we spend our time in the bucket seats of our cars and in recliners. just thought it might be of some interest to some out there--- if i hadn't learned how elisha being in posterior position made birth difficult/impossible? for us, i would just think i had too small of a pelvis to birth any baby and i would not be attempting a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).