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My Regular Name

I removed my oven door yesterday so I could completely clean the inside. Now I can’t get the door back on. Today I have been searching online for videos to help me figure out how to restore my oven, my sanity and my aching biceps to normal working order!

As I searched online Sean (my four year old) was ‘writing’ on the notepad of my iPad. Have you ever tried to follow an instructional video with a little one asking you, “How do you spell…?”, over and over? After a while, I decided to stop for a moment and give him some undivided attention.

Sean: “How do you spell your name?”
Me: “S…U…S..A…N.”
Sean: “No, I mean your regular name?”
Me: “My regular name???”
I had a puzzled moment trying to interpret the request. Lightbulb!
Me: “Do you mean ‘Mum’?
Sean: “Yeesssu.”
Me: “You can spell it Mum or Mom. M…U…M or M…O…M.”
Sean: “Thanks.”

So there you have it. My “regular name”. I’m grateful that when I checked later he at least went with the spelling for “Mum”!


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FYI, I will be publishing archives in chunks to incorporate my old blogcity blog here into wordpress. I’ve figured out a way to prevent email subscribers from receiving these posts and having their inbox flooded with notifications. (I’ll publish 10 archives tonight to test if it works. If you receive email notifications, please let me know. Then I’ll troubleshoot some more before continuing.)

For those receiving the rss feed, I’m not sure if you will see these posts as new posts. Again, please let me know. If your end up receiving them I’ll add archives in small chunks over the rest of the year rather than try to get my 300+ archive entries posted over the next month or two!

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Archiving Begins

This blog was originally hosted over at blog-city.com and you can view it here. Blog-city will close by 2012, so over the coming months, archives from this previous blog will be showing up here as I transplant earlier blog entries to wordpress. If you subsribe to this blog by email or RSS feed you will see them appear as they are added. Be sure to check the date when you read the post so that you’ll know if it is a current posting or one from the archive. Think of the archive postings as a chance to walk down memory lane with me 🙂

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Awaiting Baby

From July Highlights

Day 1 overdue. We certainly didn’t expect him to arrive yesterday, nor do we really expect him any time soon. Ashley and Caitlin both went 8 days over due date and Ethan went 11 days over. So we reckon we’ll be seeing this little one around the end of July or start of August. And so we wait. Patiently. Happily. Knowing that he will eventually be with us, all going well.

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A Request for Baby

Early on Saturday morning, before Ashley was awake and up, Caitlin told me she wanted to talk with the baby and wanted to know if he was awake and could hear her. At the time he was asleep, or at least I hadn’t felt movement for a while. So I told her I would let her know when I felt him moving around. She gave me a summary of what she wanted to tell him and later when I felt him move and informed her he was awake and could hear her, she sat with me on the sofa in our kitchen readying herself to make her request. She lifted my top so she could make skin contact as she rubbed my tummy and spoke to her little brother.

“This is Caitlin, your sister. I really want you to be born on August first so that you can share your birthday month with Ashley.* Ashley, your sister would really like this too. Susan, your mum would really like this and James, your Daddy would like it too. Your brother Ethan would like it too…well he doesn’t really understand, but if he did he would want it too. So please wait until then to be born.”

She then continued to stroke my tummy, snuggling up to me and sucking her thumb. She looked very pleased with her conversation with her newest little brother. She was confident he would at least try!

*A little background: James and Ethan each have their birthdays in April and Caitlin and I have our birthdays in May. Ashley and Caitlin for some time now have called this sharing a birthday month. Even before Ethan was born Ashley felt the wait from May until the end of August for her birthday to be long and difficult. Hence she would love to have the new baby be born in August so that they can share a birthday month. We find that we are all rooting for this, even me despite the extra time in the summer heat and its accompanying discomforts. Given that Ashley and Caitlin each went 8 days over and Ethan went 11 days over, there is a possibility this new little brother could pull it off. With the due date on July 21st, 11 days over would get us to August 1st and that would do it. While we are all excited for him to come whenever he comes and realize he might be a July baby, we all understand it’s fine to hope and even make direct requests 🙂

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I’m nearing the end of the pregnancy. There are only 12 more days to go before this little baby's due date, with a possible week and a half of overtime as my pregnancies tend to run late. I’m a little sad that this will be my last…not my last child, but my last third trimester. I love the third trimester of pregnancy. I have so much energy and drive to get things done. Projects merely in mind get started and completed. Projects stalled or on hold get a new lease of life and are worked on until checked of the list of things to do. New projects are formulated and brought to life that will help keep life with a growing family more organized and efficient. Oh, it is so satisfying.

As the end approaches, there is a certain obsessive compulsiveness that seems to set in with the awareness that this nesting energy is coming to an end. After the baby arrives, less will get done in terms of projects and organizing and I will then be relying on what I accomplished in the third trimester to get me through the first few exhausting months with a newborn plus siblings.

Looking back over the last number of months I derive a thrill from one particular project: organizing my baking cupboard. When we moved into this house last August I knew I wanted to have one cupboard for all my baking ingredients and I wanted it right at the heart of the kitchen above the center of the kitchen counter. Baking pans and accessories are stored beneath the counter in this central spot.

The cupboard with all the ingredients was organized but a little cumbersome because everything was just on the shelves and I had to move lots of items around to access other items. I needed containers. When it comes to containers and storage the Japanese are a great source of functional ideas. After a little thought and planning I turned to Daiso, the Japanese equivalent of a dollar store. There are a few of these stores in Seattle, one of which is conveniently located near James’s office in the International District. Once I settled on what I wanted, James became my personal shopper returning home in the evening with treasures to delight my organizing little heart to no end. I categorized ingredients, assigned them to containers and shelves, and then created little labels for each box and container to make it easier to access anything I might need.

Sadly, I did not take a before photo, but here are the results of my nesting frenzy in the baking cupboard:

A Thing of Beauty

My Baking Cupboard: A Thing of Beauty

Beauty in the Details 1

I used a table in Word to make labels for the individual boxes. I printed the table on card stock, cut the table up into square labels and used a hole punch to attach the label to the boxes with white embroidery floss. 

Beauty in the Details 2

Some containers are organized as clusters of similar ingredients and some hold packets of pre-prepped dry ingredients for some of our family's favorite recipes.

Beauty in the Details 3

I borrowed a friend’s Brother label machine to complete the labeling on the lidded containers of dry ingredients. This was a project that I had started a couple of years ago. When I started baking bread this year I added some new containers of dry ingredients for the bread making and those containers just looked positively naked to my eye without their labels. The cornmeal container was one of these poor newbies but as you can see has been accepted into the fold with the addition of its new label.

I have to say, it is hard to keep the kitchen as consistently tidy as I would like with our growing, bustling family. Whenever I feel frustrated with not staying on top of it all I merely open my cupboard, take a breath and know that there are pockets of bliss amongst the chaos. Calm is restored to my order seeking brain and I remind myself that some day my house will be very tidy and I will then sadly be missing the children who are children no more…maybe 🙂

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A Little Dose of Reality

I've been awake since 2:30am. Ashley had a headache and joined us in our bed. After an hour and a half of listening to James, Ashley and Ethan sleeping and having no luck joining them myself I decided to get up. Otherwise I'd just lie there and feel stressed. Coming out of the most exhausting first trimester of all my four pregnancies I thought I'd be coasting for the second trimester. Things have definitely improved, but evening nausea and uncomfortable bloating tend to leave we worn after already full days caring for our family.

I've been feeling irritable and frustrated at things l find myself leaving undone or half done. I'm craving more time for myself to engage in my interests or just to be alone and quiet. I made a start tonight and had a pleasant couple of hours at a local Diva Espresso, sipping a chai and sorting through photos for Ethan's baby album. It helped a little.

And then came my little dose of reality, thanks to Ashley's timely headache. If I hadn't gotten up at 4am and opened Facebook to catch up on what my circle of family and friends are up to I wouldn't have learned about Johan. My former sister-in-law's husband is battling renal cancer in Holland and hoping to come to the US for treatment. The cancer is aggressive, with a current prognosis of life expectancy at about 24 months. Insurance probably won't cover the expensive treatment that may save his life because it isn't available in Holland and thus requires traveling out of the country. A fundraising site was recently set up by six of Stephanie's friends and it's amazing. They have already reached their target. However, Johan and Stephanie are waiting for scans on February 24th and March 2nd to see if the cancer is slowing enough for the treatment in the US.

Johan has a weblog on the fundraising site. Stephanie started her own blog (here). Reading both has helped me catch up on all they have been going through since they found out about the cancer three days before New Year's. It certainly puts the discomforts of pregnancy and ups and downs of regular daily life into perspective. While Johan and Stephanie bravely battle cancer and contemplate death, I am at the other end of the spectrum creating life and nurturing growth.

Stephanie and Johan gave me a great gift tonight. They gave me inspiration and a stark reminder to appreciate my life. Here are some photos of good times from January and February.

From 01 January 2010

Ethan enjoying his oranges. He LOVES clementines, both to play with and to eat.

From 01 January 2010

Ashley and Caitlin enjoying Woodland Park Zoo

From 01 January 2010

Ethan and Pauline in Anacortes


From 01 January 2010

Caitlin feeding a Scottish Longhorn in Anacortes

From 01 January 2010

James, Ashley and Caitlin playing in Anacortes

From 01 January 2010

James enjoying the view with Darren in Anacortes (Caitlin having fun in the water, brrr!)

From 01 January 2010

Sunrise from our new home

From 01 January 2010

James playing with Ashley and Caitlin

From 02 February 2010

Enjoying time with Grandma

From 02 February 2010

Ethan and Grandma having lunch at Picolino's in Ballard

From 02 February 2010

Ethan and Mum having lunch at Picolino's in Ballard

From 02 February 2010

Susan and Ethan and the magnificient view of Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach, Oregon


From 02 February 2010

Susan and Ethan

From 02 February 2010

Ethan's first encounter with sand


From 02 February 2010

Ashley looking adorable on Cannon Beach

From 02 February 2010

Caitlin, Ashley and Isabella having fun on the Beach

From 02 February 2010

Juliana and Caitlin having fun in the waves

From 02 February 2010

Caitlin, Rosemary, Isabella, Juliana and Ashley in the hotel's hot tub, Cannon Beach, Oregon

From 02 February 2010

Susan and Ethan playing in the hotel's heated pool, Cannon Beach, Oregon


And on a final note, we really miss not having Granddad here to enjoy the fun. Hopefully his visa will be sorted out soon.

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