Cow Eye Dissection Lesson

Cow Eye Dissection Lesson

We liked this video helping us understand the eye ball.  My mom had us dissect a real cow eye ball when she homeschooled us, which I thought was really cool.  But moving, and homeschooling doesn’t lend itself to hunting down real cow eyeballs.  And because of you tube, I just may never dive in for the real thing.  You’ve got to love you tube, (sometimes.)

Siamese Twins

Siamese Twins

Before I gave birth, a conversation about Siamese Twins emerged between my mother, husband and I.  The conversation starter was due to a book my mom brought us, about interesting life situations.

As my  mother told me about a particular Siamese Twin case, and how this physical body so entwined, was indeed two different spirits, it made me think about my new to be infant.

It proved to be something Heavenly Father prepared me with to joyfully receive this infant boy, because he would not even sleep unless being held.  Thinking of the delicate tap dance of two spirits, deeply connected and harmonizing together, from my Siamese Twin example, I received this attribute and decided to joyfully receive this quality my son had, and give him his time as he worked toward independance.

It was not more than 5 days before he took his very first little nap of 20 minutes alone, and then the next day he took a very long nap. I felt so free that I went down stairs and put pictures up on facebook and rather over did it for my healing…but I was so happy to have harmoniously reached this point, and now each day he’s become just a tiny bit more independant.

My midwife bidded me to spend the first 2 weeks in bed to rest up as much as possible and let my body heal, for a happy, peaceful and depression free recovery. 

I’ve truly enjoyed this time with  my sweet pea, and for my time to journal, talk with loved ones on the telephone, journal, make goals and plan out and re-route some home systems.

But my two weeks is almost up, my husband is getting fried and burned out and my feelings of guilt at not helping him more are turning to sadness…and I feel I am approaching a cliff where I just don’t know what realistic expectations with stretching goals I should make, or what  my body will need in its healing plan.

Thankfully, I visited my friend’s blog, Love and Laughter listed on my homeschooling inspirational blogs.  She discussed her last empowering birth story and discussed how we can look inward for trust, faith and confidence in our body’s ability to make right choices. 

I prayed to the Lord and told him my feelings of overwhelm…and he sent me the sun.  Yes, at 3:00 it usually comes and Sweet Pea and I enjoy the sun together.  But today I noticed it was over cast just like yesterday.  But just as I was praying, He sent the sun from behiind the clouds,at 4:15, all warm and bright, and as the Sun shone on me, my prayer turned into one of complete grattitude for what the Lord has given me, all he has helped me, his Grace that has supplied me patience, change, and has been helping me become the woman I dream of coming.

And with the Sun shining me as I pondered the Son, He gave me another special gift: Hope.  I realized I was now feeling hopefull.

I hope to listen to my body and to figure out my new limits to let my body still heal.  I hope to maintain the home how I can and that I can persuade my children to help, that I will have clarity and peace of mind to discipline, urge, inspire, and correct, compliment, praise, empower.  That I can figure out where I was in my homeschool and pick up the reins my husband has been helping with so wonderfully and know that I can do this again and assume the ability I had before.  That I will be able to nourish the minds and bodies of us all, and this all with a new and little Siamese addition who will gain his little sweet independance day by day, but that for now, I can empower him with the foundational feeling that will one day help his relationship with God: that someone cares for him deeply, can be trusted to take care of his many needs, and will sacrifice for his comfort.

God bless.

Welcome Baby Balling Boy: My 6th Natural Child Birth.

Welcome Baby Balling Boy: My 6th Natural Child Birth.

Little Sweet Pea came to our family, after a long awaited spell…10 long days to be precise.

Here is the story, the long and detailed version.  I am guessing you are a woman if you proceed.  Either curious as to why I could be crazy enough to experience natural child birth, or a natural junkie yourself.  All others I assume have already tuned out or never visited.

This is the VERY long version, so I will do subheadings…

Why another Christmas Baby?

I started counting my children and the number seemed small, or felt like there were missing members various times.  Then, many months before our planned starting time, I felt an urgency to bring the next one here right away!  One time my hormones practically jumped upon Riley as they never do.  To his delight, of course!  I explained and we prayed.  But, I didn’t get pregnant.  We didn’t get pregnant the next time either, and our prayers were united that this was right; which would give us a November baby.  Wisely, I thought, “Well looks like we’ll be skipping this month…I already have 2 Christmas babies!”  But, quite uncannily, our oldest son prayed for a baby in the prayer, and Riley and I hadn’t told the children we were trying!  When I told Riley about this unique prayer, he told me he’d listened to a talk at work about not putting of child-bearing.  This was a second witness to us and we both knew in our hearts we should bravely proceed.  And go-go gadget pregnancy~We got pregnant.

Because of this certain re-directing of our plans, I knew we were supposed to have another Christmas baby.  I didn’t bemoan it over and over and over like I re-hashed my feelings to a pulp with our fifth Christmas baby who came as a 2 month before we were planning surprise.

 The Fears that Came:

First, I had some early contractions and once went to the hospital to check for a bladder infection. I felt such peace and love from God and my family…but I prayed my heart out then and later that baby would come full term, Lord willing!

I didn’t bemoan and stew, and walked forward in faith…that is…until end of November and December hit.  At this time, I was slammed with worry, with pressure, and with fears.  I wanted more than anything to get my Christmas gifts done and I bemoaned this knowing I was ill-prepared to welcome a son into the world with my mis-aligned priorities.

I was cautioned by the spirit through a woman at church, to care more about my son’s birth then finishing Christmas gifts, and I took the call seriously.  Emotionally, I did all I could to work my fastest and best, but for my heart to be more sweetly anticipating the birth of my son.

This was a war inside for longing to give my children a dreamy home made Christmas, and …I was scared silly!  This time it wasn’t for six children which I usually fear a new number.  No, I think we’d already hit rock bottom insanity and I knew grace and angels and such would somehow make a way.  But I was more scared of actual child birth!  Even though it had gone so well for me five times before.  I was scared of a still birth, scared that this time I would need an epidural.  Scared of an emergency C-section.   Afraid to die in child birth.  Just plain scared.  These are all valid fears, that every woman has to face every time she goes to heaven’s gates and picks up a child…and some women wade through unearthly sorrows at these vulnerable gates.  I felt a small portion of the grief others I knew personally going through these specific things went through.  And when I say small, I mean infinitely small compared with their actually experiencing it.

 The Climax of Hope

But at the same time I made great head way.  In fact, one night, was nothing short of blissful.  It was after Paul Bunyon’s birthday, and he was so grateful and felt so loved as I served him with all my heart on his birthday, and I knew that the Lord was giving me the best.  Three absolute treasures, at a time of year of the celebration of births of all births.  I knew it was my hearts fondest desire to have three Christmas treasures.  My heart was beyond poignant, in gratitude as I finally truly came to terms with this timing.

The Let Down: A Late Birth.

Little Sweet Pea was due Christmas Eve.  Christmas Eve came and went, then it was Christmas.  I had visited an old woman in a nursing home who had 2 Christmas babies, one was at 3:00 on Christmas day.  I was sure it was foreshadowing.  Christmas day came and went, and we had the children do a lovely Christmas puppet show, with the threat of going to bed and not getting to watch 7 brides for 7 brothers if there was any complaining.  The show went without a hitch and was lovely with the children’s impromptu acting and singing.

And then the night time fell.  No baby.

At 3:00 in the morning, I went and took the little baby Jesus from the Christmas Creche, and I layed him down in his manger by the tree.  I knelt in prayer and I waited.  I waited for my birth with joy and anticipation….Aha!  He was my late Christmas gift and I was REALLY ready now.

In disappointment I greeted December 26th without a baby treasure boy.  And the 27th.  And the 28th.  There was a day that tears and grief would over come me and I plead for the grace of Christ to bear me up.  And…it did.  In pain and sorrow, it did bear me up, and for that reason alone it was worth it to feel the grace of Christ on the silver edges of my wings, but the edges only.

Here are some scriptures and a Priesthood blessing from my dear husband, that brought hope and comfort, or just a feeling like He understood my pain:

“For ye shall not go out with haste nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel shall be your rearward”. 3 Nephi 20:42

(So discouraging yet a spark of hope.)

“For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit…For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee…And all they children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” 3 Nephi 22:6, 13.

Boy did I feel like a neglected woman, especially as the time my  mother could help dwindled before my very eyes.  My hope there in being the promise of peace with the children and that the Lord understood I felt neglected!

And here was my blessinig from Riley, that’s fruition was absolutely true, and in raising the boys, will be unfolding I hope with such joy!

Riley’s Priesthood Blessing to me:

~That I would have angels attend my birth

~That I would feel the Savior’s love with every contraction

~That I would raise my son in joy as well as with my other boys.

~That the Lord di have trust in me in raising righteous men to the Earth.

I got excited and hopeful again on New Years. I was geared up for a New Year’s Baby, alright!  The First of January greeted me with not a Happy New Years and Happy Birthday, but Happy Flu instead!  On a completely unhealthy level I could say maybe I was grateful all those New Year’s Calories couldn’t reach my hips…but in all truth I am sure plenty was packed on as throw up isn’t nearly as much food as it seems, or least I’ve been told.  My Dad cautioned me not to become bulimic in Sixth grade and I was ever grateful for that golden moral caution that kept me safe through stormy years of highschool over- eating and sorrow that never ended in a tragic habit.

At any rate, the next day, Jan 2nd had my hopes up only to realize my care takers, Riley and my Mother, were now sick.  I had to wait for them to get better, mean while my mom’s flying out date inched fretfully closer.

At Long Last, baby comes!

On Jan. 3rd, I prayed with more faith and less fear than ever before.  This just had to happen before my mom left.  I pushed on my pressure points that supposedly induce labor, did my rigorous squat exercise dvd again….and had relations with Riley!  All of which we’d been doing before, but never all three on the same morning.  By this time contractions were starting every 15 minutes, and for me consistent ones with a consistent time between them, means labor!

I knelt and said a prayer that the labor, if it were the Lord’s will, would be beautiful, lovely, and smooth if that matched his will.  And I suppose it was according to His will, not in His extra love for me by all means, for a trial can mean He loves you that much more, and thinks that much more of your ability to refine….truthfully I think I had no mental stamina for any sort of a trial at this point, and I do feel undeserving of it, but the labor was perfect if you measure perfection as to without a hitch…which isn’t a heavenly measure I am sure without a doubt.

I folded laundry with the children and my mom, buzzed about doing light housework, and calling Riley over for contractions.  These were what I call the ‘whisper’ contractions, you breathe through them with a deeper breath, listen to birthing music and think easily happily visualizations that can easilly distract you.  I was happy as a lark.  Paul Bunyon stood in for Riley for two of the contractions as I hugged and leaned on him.  He was so proud, it was so sweet, and his Dad was so pleased of how he was treating his mother.  He ran for water for me and was so excited and sweet.

Then began my hummers, a low hum helps me so much to manage pain, and a wonderful husband to lean on, and apply slight pressure to my low back, lifting up a tiny bit.  I love to have Riley sing to me too.  I find alone these contractions are so much harder but leaning into my husband’s chest, receiving his love and comfort, humming, and sometimes still getting to tap into a beautiful visualization helps.  (I take baths and listen to my birthing music before hand to have a store of visualizations in my mind ready to easily retrieve when I can feel the hill of a contraction coming on…its sort of like walking up a hill; mounting it with greatest pain, and walking back down as it cools down.  My aunt told me its like riding a great wave and then coming through it….or traveling through blue and cool colors that brighten to orange and red and then cool down to purples and blues.  All these sort of thoughts keep you like a mama bird over her nest of eggs, the eggs are the pain that is under you, with you managing it, never letting the pain rise above you, and receiving the pain letting it warm  down your legs and hips and feeling it expand and work its wonder, relaxing as much as you can so that it won’t be resisted against to lengthen labor.

Here are my imaginings this time:

~Throwing snow balls with a happy running 10  year old boy

~Ice skating on a rink with him, a classic that began with my first child.

~Watching Sweet Pea run as fast as he could with a big grin on his face.

~Coming into Sweet Pea’s room as he worked on a science or building project and asking him what he’s been thinking about

~Seeing him Chop wood in the winter, he’s practically all grown up and the sound echos through the valley.  I can see he’s a hard worker and then he smiles and I can feel of the goodness and  happiness of his soul

~This one was a favorite and a new one: Him as a grown up man, showing me his new baby, with wife greeting me, I in a shawl, now Grandma Em.

~And during the car, when the pain got so intense the bright orange color shone  brightly, and I could see the Savior’s outline in the color as in the Second Coming Picture many are familiar with and I could feel He Loved Me!

After lying down to rest for a few contractions they slowed down and then Riley took me for a walk after bundling me up on this deeply cold day.  It was so refreshing and so beautiful as we slowly walked and stopped so often for contractions.  He sang hymns to me the every 2 1/2 -4 1/2 minutes contractions came.  I loved these hymns and his low voice is always so peace inducing, but my favorite was when he sang: In the bleak Midwinter.  A song I felt symbolic as the next few days were a record low for the year in cold for MN.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,

Earth stood hard as iron, water as a stone.

Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow on snow,

In the bleak mid-winter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;

Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.

In the bleak mid winter a stable place sufficed

The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom Cherubim, worship night and day,

Breast full of milk, and a manger full of hay;

Enough for Him whom angels fall before,

The ox and ass and Camel which adore.

Angels and Archangels may have gathered there,

Cherubim and Seraphim thronged the air;

But his mother only, in her maiden bliss,

worshiped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb,

If I were a wise Man, I would do my part;

Yet what I can I give Him, give my heart.


Riley and I both felt it was time to go to the hospital, and not too shortly was it.  On arrival we spent the first half hour registering, yes I am in labor, no, its not my first birth.  Heading up the birthing room and casually getting measured, so thick was my peace, so full was my joyous calm through contractions, that I was astounded to see I was a 7!  I best get in that water and make some use of it!  As our birthing room had the birthing tub all set.  Riley left to get something when it was foretold I was a 7, and upon his arrival back, I made him aware, and none too soon did he come, for I had my first transition stage contraction; it hit with full force in my legs and caused my moan to escalate to a plaintive higher pitched moaning hum.   I felt a pop, it was my water.  I stood for a hug contraction hoping the pain would lesson with a different position; asked Riley to fan me with the fan my son had contracted out of Lincoln Logs and paper plates as I was so warm, Riley kissed my face as I lay back in and half out of the tub and oh how it eased the huge pain.  I was getting the urges to push but my midwife said I wasn’t quite ready with my cervix…so I let that urge bring baby closer and then while standing on my knees, the contraction came that brought the pushing involuntarily, 2 big waves and me bearing down because my body told me, forced me to, and I felt the familiar ring of fire.  I remembered my first baby and the nurse who told me to push past the ring of fire, so I knew to push, and I did, and….baby came right out once the firey ring was past.

Now this transition time, for a birthing woman is the  hardest point of labor as the body gears up to push baby out.  Its usually now that I say, pathetically, “Oh, I can’t do it”, and Riley urges me forward.  Then usually I have 20 minutes to an hour of pushing, and then baby is in my arms.  But this time, it was so fast.  It was like 10 minutes of an almost steady intense contraction as my body went from 7 to 10 and pushed out the baby too; but felt like 3 minutes…and the baby usually comes with a series of these contractions that tell me to push.  And  usually I have to remember to cry a jungle call and give it all I have for the baby to come forth…it was almost sad to all be over and I know that sounds strange…but there he was!  All pink, and so small and handsome and perfect, “You already!” I said, and kissed  him lightly in wonder and a little shock too I think!  Soon they clamped me from him cutting the chord so I could come to the bed.

And there he was skin to skin on me and soon nursing contentedly and me in wonder that 10 minutes after hopping in the tub, that baby was in my arms all safe and beautiful.










After Bonus Plug:

Now to most of you this will sound unusual, but I had Riley and the midwife make me a shake that had a tiny bit of the placenta in it.  This is the second time I have done this, and the second birth without baby blues or post partem depression…I know the feel good hormones stalked up in that puppy and shedded causes an imbalance and so I am thankful for trying this ‘weird’ technique and advocate it to any willing to try…it can’t hurt!  I had it dried as well and took it in capsules for the next month or two.  Post partem blues or depression can steal away that heavenly peaceful time to enjoy an infant, which is so sad.  So if this might help, I urge you to give it a try.  I had Riley put in THREE frozen bananas a CAN of cranberry juice and many mixed berries and strawberries.  Literally no hint of anything faintly funny, it was like getting a fresh Italian Icecream or the fruitiest fruit smoothy.  So there’s my ‘strange’ plug to happy post partem feelings for you and baby.




My Modest, and Me-ish Preggie Attire (Modest Maternity for those googlers.)

My Modest, and Me-ish Preggie Attire (Modest Maternity for those googlers.)

Well, I had the goal to wear clothes that were ‘me’ in this pregnancy.  I wanted to enjoy my pregnancy and the changes in my body as never before.  Plus I’d put my husband through school and lived in other’s hand me down bags, and was ready for that small splurge of clothes bought and chosen by me.  (Not that I lived without any splurges before…but atleast now they could be justified.)

In previous pregnancies, I have bemoaned and double bemoaned, the growth of my hips and bum.  I felt I was endowed with a generous portion of these with no need to expand whatsoever, to compensate for the lovely bump.

In the past, I discovered how much skirts truly helped spare me of un-needed body anxt and self hate or frustration, or even unnecessary body resistance.  I found skirts to also be wonderful for after baby came so that I wasn’t frustrated and critical of myself while waiting to ‘fit back into’ my jeans.

(A woman feels she has paid her dues at expanding for 9 months, and it doesn’t cease to be a let down that its not over for 6 months at best to get back to normal…the first one being the initial shock that some changes are life long such as expanded hips or rib cage for baby arrival.)

I wore pants a few times in my pregnancy but also developed some new gripes.  If the belly thing falls under your waist, it gives you that uncomfortable low hanging crotch feeling.  If it stays on, it often constricts the belly and with the tight underwear I have to use, two tight waist bands are an instant no-no.  I did have one perfect pair of black pants that have a belly band that works great, and that don’t get too tight in pregnancy, that I wore.  Other than that, usually I was uncomfortable in some way when I wore pants.  Soooo, I hardly wore them: but here’s what they looked like when I did.











Here’s a Saturday kicking it in the back yard in comfies…watching this cutie enjoy the lawn mower given to his brother by the grandparents.  This elastic waisted skirt made from sweat material works both before pregnancy and during the first trimester.  Worn with a boxy brown 2 dollar from the craft store.








My mother in law gave me this shirred fabric that was simple enough to whip up a summer dress out of in a matter of an evening.

My shopping spree for ‘me-ish’ pregnancy attire, was actually before I was pregnant.  It was a leap of faith telling the Lord, I wanted to do this thing for Him, and bring another little one to my home.  The thrift store wasn’t the cheapest, but one trip can save in and of itself by purchasing in one lump rather than a lot of nickel and diming, although I had some of that going on too.  I did find a few other stragglers at a local thrift store but those purchases were about a total of 10 dollars, and one garage sale that probably totaled about 15.

Alot of my finds were either vintage, or plus sizes I modified.  I was excited because in vintage wear you can really find modesty and personality.  PLUS sizes often give more generosity in sleeve amount and over-all length.  I just zipped up the side sleeve seam to make an arm that fit and took in the sides down to the bosom but for apparent reasons, left the extra room from the stomach down.

This black and white gingham was a plus sized capped sleeved shirt, but by sewing in the seams on the side, it made the cap sleeve longer and not able to gape open.  It costed around 3.99 thrift, I think.  The skirt I wear pre-pregnancy and its loose in the waist but that is covered, and it sits nicely under the belly through first 2 trimesters.








Here is the swim suit I designed and sewed for maternity.  I wanted to keep the sporty raglan sleeve people associate with swim shirts to help say “Swim” for my swim outfit.










I have a few flaws.  I had only a bumpy under support wear that exaggerated my size on this trip, but normally I wore a better under support system, as in the middle picture demonstrates.  One big flaw was that I had plenty of yellow fabric for the shorts, but then cut them to high water pant length and while fixing it, I had to attach white to the top by essentially wasting my material when I first cut them too long.  That white stripe attached to the top of the shorts, was covered by a yellow under portion of the top…but that white stripe sometimes peaked out, which was an unfortunate awkward feature I found myself needing to tug my shirt down to cover…you can see that white peeking out from the top in the middle picture at my seat area.  Oh well.

I got the fun glasses for like 3 dollars on-line.  The hat and glasses gave me the spunk and style I felt helped my modesty demonstrate that coverage can be stylish and happy. The fabric all together was probably 30 dollars, purchased quite a while ago.



This summer time vintage moo-moo was a favorite.  Light weight, cool, and airy.  The neck was a pinch low so I wore a t-shirt whose sleeves were cut off for a home made cami to wear with it.  I spent lots of lovely hours in the garden traipsing in this Brown Betty. ( A dessert but what fun to name this dress the Brown Betty.)  It was 3.99 or 4.99 thrifted.








This polka dotted navy polo was about 2-3 dollars thrifted.  I just had to take in the bulkier sleeve side seam down past the bosom and tapered back out to keep the stomach space.

I am wearing this with a long A-framed wide elastic waisted, very comfortable, very utility skirt, I got it at a garage sale pre-pregnancy and it works very comfortably in both stages.

There is a batch of apple jelly I put up. I also made my Christmas stocking home made candy, and froze it, thinking while the kitchen’s a mess, might as well!

This nice plaid was 2 dollars at a garage sale, and I am wearing the same utility jean skirt I just mentioned with it.











A favorite: Black and white polka dotted Thrift Store dress: 4.99-6.99 (Memory evades me.)

This black and white polka dot dress is a moo-moo supreme.  I only took in the arms because I didn’t want it tight at all on the chest and so I left it as is from the arm pit seam, down.  A belt under the bosom gives plenty of shape to the dress.  I love everything about this dress, but if I had one gripe, it would be such a high neck on a no-necker such as myself, and could be slightly more flattering with out that extra ruffle collar.  I wore it with a white cardigan, 1 dollar garage sale, and this fun black and white polka dotted jacket, found right after the baby before’s birth, and stored in the maternity box for the next pregnancy….Who would have known I was going to find the perfect matching dress?

My sister sewed this lovely top and I loved it at Christmas time and it paired so nicely with a burnt orange and ragged edged jean skirt for a great fall look.  The skirt is a fabulously comfortable winter skirt made of a sort of lined fleece but looks like sweat shirt material on the inside.  I can wear it through ALL stages of pregnancy as well as when not pregnant!  Its a simple tiered skirt with outward sewed seams, sewn with a zig zag stitch for the stretch of the fabric.  It was very simple and made with out a pattern, I just made sure the first tier would measure about 4 inches past my largest hip size which I knew to be 41- ish, and that this tier had a wide elastic so I could wear comfortably in pregnancy, but it works great in all sizes.  Also I adjust the elastic with a big saftey pin so there’s room to spare in big sizes and can be cinched in for small sizes.











 This is the same polka dotted shirt above.  I am wearing it with a boring jumper that I added some cute bows, buttons and anchors to, to make it my style.  I did this while I was waiting to get pregnant.

And here’s the previously boring jumper with some funky, spunky, and admitted, slightly frumpy, layering for warmth.









Garage sale fallish jacket, I couldn’t resist this dollar item for dressing in fall colors in the fall.  The corduroy skirt is a thrift store item from last pregnancy and the boots, too big, from a garage sale 2 dollars.  The scarf is a Super Saturday craft for 3 dollars, made from a t-shirt, worn once, then gifted to my sister for Christmas.  Had to sneak a wearing before giving.  Slightly better than being an Indian Giver, right?








Ok folks, I made this totally superfluous night gown for myself.  I know, shouldn’t flannels and a t-shirt do for pjs?  A years long dream.  I LOVE it!  Because after having my baby I have worn it days straight, it hides the post pregnancy lump…sort of well doesn’t, but I just feel prettier over the whole thing.  I totally felt I’d wasted 25 dollars on the flannel a few years ago so it was the best birthday when hubby took the kids for the day and I sewed this sweet thing.











Gray cardigan, $2, Gingham shirt, 4.99 about.

This cardigan helped me wear the gingham in the summer, fall and winter.  I zipped up the sides from sleeve and tapered the seam down just under the bosom leaving the full belly for fitting.







Another vintage treat I couldn’t say no to, for being so “Emily”.  It was found in the Halloween section and was $8 thrifted.









I had some fun wearing Christmas colors, and this cherry knit shirt I made is raglan, high modest neck with elastic neck and sleeves…used a 70′s pattern to make it loose and long…but its a summer.   So this 1 dollar pin striped green shirt was a fun warmth and Christmasy adding bonus.  In this photo I am giving Paul Bunyon a special birthday present.








That red gingham shirt above worn under a peasanty mint colored old pregnancy shirt and paired with a red gingham apron.  Love how my collar is flipped up.  This was a lovely moment singing a Christmas hymn on Christmas Eve with Riley.

And there again is my sister Mim’s shirt with a red collared shirt under, with a Christmasy apron:  And do I spy another flipped up collar?  Oh bother.










Plus a few non photoed items: White skirt, red sunday top, 2 dollars/ Nice big well covering navy coat, garage sale 6 dollars.  Warm, but not that cute.

Yes, I’ve outfitted my pregnancies before, way back at the first one…bought things here and there to supplement, inherited many hand me downs, and new additions along the way.  But I think this pregnancy was my first real only get items if I loved them, type of pregnancy.  It was fun!



Extra plush bonuses I treated myself to:

While I have treated myself necessarily to new tight underwear for my varicose vulvar veins in pregnancy, this time I bought new bras!  Ever before I have wrangled those sad sisters with thrift store and even…garage sale purchases!  I also bought a support system I thought might help even better than the underwear.

A prenatal Cradle: A gadget that wrapped my back and kept my vulvar varicose veins up and tight to reduce pain: 50 dollars.

Right after I purchased this, a friend loaned me 2 back braces, so I alternated this nifty, albeit wedgie inducing gadget, with the back braces paired with  my underwear.  The “Bali” or Barely there in 2x, or XL being the best kind if you suffer from varicose veins in that tender spot.  They don’t restrict on the belly at all but do give some lift and pressure to the tender area.

How to make Fig Newton Bars! MMMMmmmm….

How to make Fig Newton Bars! MMMMmmmm….

My lovely home schooling group does fun culture days through the year. (Thank you Elary for the fabulous idea!)  This one was a must: Mexico’s Day of the dead.

We studied the holiday and found out that Mexicans make foods that remind them of their kindred dead.  We decided to honor my Grandad that day, and brought peanuts and home made fig newton bars.  It was so tender learning about Grandad and sharing stories with my children for the children to share with the group.  If you’d like, you can get to know my sweet, handsome ole’ Grandad yourself, here.  I can’t watch it without tearing up…but he’s my dear Grandad.  You might not be able to watch it without swooning, (young pictures) and smiling (old pictures.)

I could not find a you tube video on how to make the bars, and because both recipes I found, on line and in my cook book were a quite confusing to understand the instructions; I made my own you tube video!

To find out how to make this really quite simple snack if you do a few tricks (such as speed freeze your dough in the freezer by rolling it thin on a cookie sheet so it chills quickly), use parchment paper so your dough doesn’t stick, and learn the nifty folding technique, your soft chewy healthy bars will be unforgettable and undeniable.  (You may or may not want that.)

Watch: How to make Fig Newton Bars

See Recipe Below.

I enjoyed invigorating conversation with the mothers as always, and learned so much as these mothers read stories and shared relics and facts about the day.








One family honored their dear baby sister, and daughter, who had passed away a few years ago.








It was a wonderful day, and I am thankful for the new friends that I made.  One of them is going to surprise her hubby with home made Fig Bars like his mom used to make!  Knock his socks of Lindsay!

Home made Fig Newton Bar Recipe:

From “Naturally, It’s Better” by Erleen Tilton  (I modified the instructions a bit, but the recipe itself is flawless, I thought!  You could experiment with the 4 cups of flour with different blends for a nuttier taste, or fun texture, like put in 1/2 cup oat flour and the rest whole wheat flour, etc.)

Fig Filling:

2 lb. dried figs (approx 4 cups packed) (I used about half dried figs and half craisins)

1/4 cup honey

1/4 C. lemon juice

1/8 tsp salt

1. Put ingredients into your heavy duty blender and blend.  I suppose if your blender isn’t heavy duty I would add some apple juice or something till it will blend for you.  Chill while making cookie dough.

Bar Recipe:

3/4 Cup honey

1 Cup butter

1 tsp vanilla

4 Cups whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp soda

1/2 tsp salt.

A.  Mix ingredients.

B. Speed chill (Roll/press onto a medal cookie sheet and place in the freezer.  It will need only about 1/2 to 1 hour.)

C. Assemble:

1.  Gather your dough and divide your dough into 4 different balls.  Keep balls you aren’t working with in the refrigerator.

2.  Roll the first quarter of the dough onto waxed or parchment paper till it is 1/8 inch thick.  You will want it to look like a long rectangle that is four inches, by however long (About 14 inches).  You may trim it a bit so its a long, fairly rectangled shape.

3.  Place 1/4 of the filling in the middle of the strip, and spread it evenly down the middle.  Keep the filling atleast 1/2 inch or so from the long edges.

4.  With the help of the waxed paper, bring both long sides of your rectangle one at a time to the center.  Press and seal the edges so you have one long seam down the middle.

5.  If you used parchment paper, you can bake it at 350 for about 15 minutes till barely browned.  If you use wax paper, remove from the paper and place seam side down onto a lightly greased pan.

6. Repeat the process with each of your other 3 balls.  When it comes out of the oven, allow it to cool about 10 minutes, and then with a pizza wheel, cut into bars about 2 inches wide for each bar.

7. MMMMMmmmm….enjoy!


Modest Maternity: First Trimester, one of my favorite outfits!

Modest Maternity: First Trimester, one of my favorite outfits!

Ha!  This picture won’t go in right!  Leave it to me to not be able to figure it out!  The turn feature isn’t working!

So this is one of my favorite pregnancy outifts.  I love the bloomers, I made them a few years ago and never have had the confidence to sport their adorable pleated bottom peaking out of something.  But when my legs aren’t getting chubby, they aren’t too tight, and then I can feel comfortable about letting them show a bit.  What a tiny cute little bubble I had then.  Wow, I am seriously looking 10 months pregnant at 7 right now!  This was back in the days!  Course then I had some major vertigo, but my garden was therapeutic like no other!  I felt so great when I was outside.  I forgot completely how I felt like I was on an ocean fishing boat.  You better believe I had an awesome garden.














This is my brave fun version with a print that doesn’t match, but a color that does, and a parallel style going on, spunky and happy, and it does help that now a days I see people wearing contrasting prints which gives me the courage to do it….though before it was in style I ached to sport different prints that contrasted.

Now I tell myself if quilts can not match, but match, then so can I!


This shirt was a little baggy in the sleeves, so I believe I took it in at the sides some and I know I took in the sleeves so they wouldn’t be boxes, (that incidentally can be peeked in through if your arms are just soooo….creepy!)  Course I like the sleeve length and the fact that the shirt has give, which is hard to find in cotton…they tend for tight.  Its another reason I like to shop thrift-store.

Brown shirt- Hand me down of many years.

Turquoise Shirt- a bit pricey at 3.99

Tunic- 6 or 7.99–even more pretty pricey for thrift!

and bloomers home made.

(I bought a whole bunch of clothes when I was deciding to get pregnant, at a thrift store- helping myself take a leap of faith that I wanted joyfully to be pregnant, and vowing that this would be the pregnancy at number 6 that I felt mostly cute…but I still do have some outfits I don’t love…guess I wouldn’t be mortal if that weren’t the case! :)  But happy 6th pregnancy to me, I do have more outfits than ever before that are ‘me’ and cute.

P.S.  I do apologize about the wrinkles…I finally have started ironing clothes after so many years, but either this outfit escaped that, or I didn’t do too hot of a job.

Gaining from my Children’s Strengths: The Beauty of Give and Take

Gaining from my Children’s Strengths: The Beauty of Give and Take

The other night was quite a magic home schooling moment.  It was my reading history day, and I couldn’t find our history book. So I grabbed a sort of geography book and read about England, which was where our history was taking place.  The story talked about ‘pass-ports’ and before I knew it, the children ran upstairs and got paint palettes, and were making their own pass-ports, after asking to see mine and copying it.

Not only that but they grabbed bags to pack for a trip to England, and they got aboard on the futon while I read, and we looked at our big map on the wall at the places we were traveling too.

We were experiencing an exciting ‘learning tree’ as described by my friend Angel, here, as the children’s adventurous educational expansion ensued, and my mind got busy thinking of other things we could pull in to help the children better visualize the context of the period, which enhanced our learning as poetry, movies and connections began to branch out.  (Some of that was provided right in my book with the paralleled poetry.)

So much imagination and adventure and all’s I did was grab the wrong book!

Then a few days later while on a family walk, I realized what we could do to decorate Baby Bunting’s stocking!  (I make a stocking for each child, and this turns out to be a really wonderful thing when I serve my unborn child, and begin to look forward to meeting them.)  My idea was, we could have Paul Bunyan decorate it with his beautiful medal creations.

The day I asked him to run out to the shop and make a few creations, was a real delight for him.  He had that cute skip to his walk which is his body language for a happy son.

And I was so happy because his creations were absolutely beautiful, and added just the boyish charm I wanted for Bunting’s stocking!
























































This project zipped together in one evening and an hour or two on Saturday, so it wasn’t too overwhelming.

I am thankful for the life my children bring to our home-schooling, family traditions and education.  The blend of a mother creating meaningful routines and traditions, and a child bringing in their talents and strengths is a harmony that is beautiful to create and experience.

Modest Maternity: First Trimester, pants and modified shirt

Modest Maternity: First Trimester, pants and modified shirt


Ok, what I want to show off here, is this 1 dollar shirt that I modified a bit.

First, a bit on sleeves.  This long one was made short by me, because it was summer.  Ever since my Mennonite friend pointed out sleeve length, I’ve realized how sexy that upper curvy portion of the arm is, and have been more particular in finding a short sleeve that isn’t so capped.  I have found two clever ways to deal with this, as many short sleeves are really quite short.  One is making your own sleeve length by cutting off a long sleeve and hemming it as shown here, and the other is finding a larger shirt which naturally comes with it a longer short sleeve, and simply sewing in the seams to fit, up the sides and on the arm; are two quick ways to create a sleeve that feels nicely modest on the arms!























I just sewed the bottom cuff to the part of the arm I wanted, and did a little tie to accommodate the extra material.  I may have sewn a bit of elastic in there too think I did.

























Uh-oh, the elastic piece I put in to give the shirt a bit more shape and less frump…is crooked slightly!  I can’t always bother to be a perfectionist!








In the 80′s we wore stretch pants, in the 90′s we showed our mid-drifts, in the early 2,000′s long shirts were back in but then low cut was popular, and now we are back full circle with tight pants.  If you love to be in style, I think tight pants are very tasteful with a shirt or dress that covers as much as you would be comfortable with wearing without anything under, because tight things show about the same amount of dimples as bare skin.  But covering skin of course is more modest than not, so if covering is your modesty leap, than good for you in that awesome step!

I love feeling classy in my pants and a loose fit feels that way to me; its worth a try to see how you feel!  If you feel awkward and uncomfortable at first, that is natural because feeling chubby is an awful feeling and looseness really does that.  But I encourage you to people watch closely and you may find that chubs don’t look any less that way in tight, and in fact it often draws attention to the problem.  Over loose can chub you up too, and I may be there, but I like to stay on the safe side…God and my husband know the real, hot truth! ;)  Atleast they have more mercy about the situation, that is.

Good luck, and if you are pregnant too, happy pregnancy!  Congratulations!

Outfits from the Beginning of my First Trimester

Outfits from the Beginning of my First Trimester

I love that scene in Hook, where the lost boys get into a food fight with Peter Pan with their imaginative food, and when one of those lost boys scrape that food off Peter’s face, he says, “Its you, Peter!”

I am getting to know myself, what qualities I have and what qualities are in embryo.  I am working on developing patience, meekness, self confidence and self-control.  I am determined, brave and mostly happy, naturally.  I like to share pieces of this process here and there as I get or make time to.

But one gift I have had since I was a little girl, was the gift of being able to have an innate sense of what my own style is, and a desire to adorn my body with modesty, atleast, the portion of modesty that includes covering one’s temple of a body sufficiently as to not induce physical stirrings with in others.  Lastly I have innately and an aspect I continue to work on, a desire to please the Lord not man in the way I dress, which comes with a price of sacrificing some style and social normality, but for me, this is essential for a deep and abiding inner peace.  I am still working on gaining modesty sufficient unto the Lord in all aspects of what modesty should be.

In the light of these gifts and my natural love for clothing, beauty and adornment shared by many women,  I’ve had a dream to share my pregnancy outfits with others.  At six months, I have hesitated in this.  I have felt it was silly and that there are far more weightier matters that I could share.

But in the end, I feel that my gift of knowing my own style and beautifying myself to an appropriate degree, and my deep desires to cloak my temple devoid of lust and a plenty with bringing refreshment and joy as others look upon me, is one that could refresh you and inspire you in the beautifying of your own temples.

Because this is fun and invigorating for me, I feel that it is worth sharing at the expense of your feeling that this is a main priority for me, when it is literally a very side aspect of my days.  Yes I get dressed every day, but shop very occasionally, and sew even less, just on that occasion I find myself somehow sitting by my machine, somehow stealing a moment for me.  I usually take clothing already sewn and modify it because though it would be my dream to create every outfit from scratch with every fabric, form and detail, “Emily-ish” that will have to wait till the hereafter.  And besides, after reading Olivia’s article, I concur that I owe it to myself to share the gifts God gave me.

I do wish I could capture just what the Lord would want of me from what matters most in my life.  But for now those moments are reserved for my own journal and memories.

And here is a single aspect of who I am, what I choose to wear:

Obviously as a mother, a lot of what I choose is simple and practical.  But I hope still refreshing and pretty.

Here are some pictures of my first trimester:








I got this nice long plaid shirt when it was on sale for a dollar at my thrift store and the skirt at 3.

I like the sleeves because they cover enough of the arm and this can be worn obviously after pregnancy which is a quality I like in clothing, items that can be worn in atleast 2 seasons (normal, first trimester, or second and third trimester.)








We made a may pole for my daughter’s sixth birthday; it took quite an exercise in patience and we yelled back and forth at eachother figuring it out, unfortunately.  But it was a real joy once we figured it out.










I know it…you can barely see my bump!  But at this point, you start seeing your bump so its nice to accommodate it with something you feel cute in.
























And how satisfying to look up and see our work for Fairy Princess, Hoppity and our sweet birthday guest~!


And here is another, this shirt  I got at Khol’s on sale last year for 10 dollars; it has an empire waist and is looser about the abdomen, but obviously slimming in black.  Again, I like it pre and post pregnancy.  The skirt was 1 dollar from our thrift store, and not new to this pregnancy.  It is a sort of shirred summer sleeveless dress that last year I bought, and inserted a wide loose pregnancy wide elastic to the top.  It is a comfortable skirt for normal wear, and first trimester, as well as fresh post baby (a stage of its own.)