2013 in 13 Photos

Linking up with Dwija!


We found out that a new member of the family was on his/her way...


After a tumultuous few weeks of scary bleeding, we saw our new family member, alive and growing...


Papal conclave! So exciting!


We announced our baby's upcoming arrival to our families on Easter Sunday


We found out that the baby had bilateral clubfoot - tears, fear, and research ensued


The baby's bilateral clubfoot was confirmed at a Level II ultrasound


We vacationed in Rocky Point, Mexico


Elanor started 3rd grade and William started kindergarten!

Baby grew, and so did I...


Peter David was born on 10/7/13, weighing in at 9lbs, 0oz! Definitely the highlight of our year.


Peter continued treatment for his bilateral clubfoot, including minor surgery on November 22.


Peter finished casting and got his brace, and we celebrated his first Christmas!

Happy New Year from the Wahlunds!

7 Quick Takes Friday - December 27, 2013

--- 1 ---

Miracle of miracles, I have time for Quick Takes today! It's been a while. I'm still gonna throw up a bunch of pictures and call it good, since that's how I roll. ;)

--- 2 ---

Peter got his last set of casts off on December 12 and received his boots and bar brace.

He hated it for the first few days, but quickly adjusted and is back to his happy self. After a rough couple of nights, he's sleeping better, too.

We're getting used to the brace, too. Collin and I are getting pretty adept at doing up all the buckles, and snapping his bar off and on when needed. I've started using the Beco Gemini carrier as it's easier to use with the boots and bar than the Baby K'Tan.

--- 3 ---

Peter smiles and coos a lot now, and it's so much fun! He had his 2 month appointment a few weeks ago (he's 12 lbs, 9 oz!) and was flirting like crazy with the nurse.

--- 4 ---

Christmas was a lot of fun. My MIL invited Santa to come! He handed out gifts and read "A Visit from St. Nicholas" to the kids.

The Christmas birthday boys (my BIL Chaun and Collin, both born on December 24 - five years apart) took a picture with Santa too!

--- 5 ---

Christmas outfit!

--- 6 ---


Peter's favorite gift was a soft Snoopy doll - a gift from his uncle Chaun and aunt Keri.

Gabriel enjoyed the novelty glasses (and the caramel Santa!) in his stocking.

--- 7 ---

Our living room, decorated for Christmas. Which I finally did around midnight on Christmas Eve. *sigh* The life of a busy mom (not to mention a sick one - I got a very annoying head cold the week before Christmas, ugh).

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Merry Christmas!

(Tried posting this yesterday, from my phone, but it didn't work...)

A blessed Christmas from our holy family to yours!

Back to Work

I went back to work yesterday and Peter did great at his first day of daycare. He was a little clingy last night, but that's okay because all I wanted to do was hold him. I missed my sweet boy!

Brief Update

I know I've been quiet lately - I've mostly been posting at my Clubfoot blog, as we're nearing the end of the casting phase of treatment.

Peter had his tenotomy procedure yesterday and it went smoothly, praise God!

I go back to work on December 2. Not thrilled about that, but unfortunately I don't have a choice. I only had six weeks of paid leave and I'm using vacation time to cover the remaining two weeks. I was hoping a miracle would happen and Collin would find a new job with better pay that would allow me to be a stay-at-home mom, but that hasn't happened.

I know Peter will be in good hands with our daycare providers, but I'm still dreading having to leave him. :(

7 Quick Takes Saturday - November 2, 2013

--- 1 ---

We've had a lot going on the last few weeks! I'll start most recently and work my way back.

--- 2 ---

William had his first T-ball game this morning!

He did really well and had a great time. His team name is the "Lansing Lugnuts." No, I have no clue how they come up with those names, but it could be worse. The opposing team this morning was the "Sand Gnats."

--- 3 ---

The kids had a blast at Halloween. William was a cowboy, Gabriel was a Cow Boy (heh), Elanor was Dorothy Gale, and Violet was, as she described, "a pwetty pwincess."

Peter and I stayed home to hand out candy, but he still got into the spirit of things in his mummy costume:

--- 4 ---

Kara's little Samuel was baptized last Sunday, and Collin and I were honored to be his godparents. Welcome to the Church, Samuel Francis!!

--- 5 ---

Peter was baptized last Saturday, and Kara and Kyle were his godparents! Originally we were thinking of waiting until Kara & Kyle got back from Eastern Europe (they left this morning, on their way to bring home their adopted son, "Colton") before having his baptism. Then, however, we started thinking about the fact that he was going under general anesthesia in a few weeks, when he has his tetonomy, and we decided it was better to get him baptized sooner rather than later. So we called the church and basically scheduled an "emergency" baptism, and thankfully Kara & Kyle were able to work it into their incredibly hectic schedules.

All the baptism pictures are on my father-in-law's camera and I haven't been able to get any copies yet, but here's a picture of Kara and Peter:

--- 6 ---

Tomorrow is my 33rd birthday. Due to a tight budget we probably won't do much - our plans right now involve putting the kids to bed early and renting a movie on iTunes. I'm sure popcorn and wine will be involved as well. My life is just so exciting. :)

--- 7 ---

As mentioned above, Kara and Kyle are on their way to Eastern Europe today to adopt their son!! Please pray that they have a safe and uneventful flight, and as smooth an experience as possible with all the adoption red tape.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Peter's birth story - October 2013

The birth story of Peter David
10/07/13, 4:27am MST
Weight: 9lbs, 0oz; Length: 20.5 in.

I had prodromal labor for weeks leading up to Peter's birth, starting around 38 weeks. On two separate days I had contractions that were 30-45 seconds long and coming 10-20 minutes apart, for twelve hours. As soon as I went to bed, they'd stop. As my due date approached, I was getting more and more frustrated. I was huge, uncomfortable, constantly exhausted, and sick of working. (I started working from home full-time at 37 weeks, so thankfully there wasn't a 90-mile round-trip commute on top of it.) 

I was also experiencing bouts of insomnia, to the point where Collin called in sick to work on October 5 because I'd been awake since 3am for the third night in a row, and I was too exhausted to function. He took all the kids out of the house to let me have a day of complete rest; I took a three-hour nap and spent the rest of the day watching episodes of One Born Every Minute on YouTube.

I really didn't want to go to work the next week, so I was trying every natural labor induction method I knew to get things started - sex, walking, evening primrose oil. I also whipped up a batch of Labor-Inducing Cookies and ate about 6 of them. (I normally don't like spicy food but these gingersnaps were delicious - I plan on making them even when I don't need to induce labor.) 

On October 6, we walked to and from church in hopes of getting things going, but nothing happened. Around 4pm, I decided to try what had worked with Violet - castor oil. In fact, I still had the same bottle I'd bought while pregnant with her. I figured if my body wasn't ready, it wouldn't work, but it was worth a try given that it'd worked once before. I mixed a tablespoon with eight ounces of orange juice and a teaspoon of baking soda.

A few hours later, I was losing my mucous plug (a sign, for me, that has always meant baby's arrival within 24 hours) and having steady but weak, painless contractions. I took a warm bath with Epsom salts, and while the contractions kept coming, they weren't getting stronger or closer together. Collin and I discussed bringing the kids over to my brother-in-law's place just in case, but decided against it in case it was another false alarm. (In hindsight, this was the wrong decision.)

We went to bed around midnight, and I fell asleep. I woke up at 3am on the dot, and my first thought was, "Darn it, I guess it was just prodromal labor after all." Then I had a contraction, and it hurt. 

I had another one a few minutes later. It also hurt.

When the third one came around, I woke up Collin and said, "Call Laura [our doula]. I think it's the real thing this time." Originally we told her to come to our house, but we quickly changed our minds and called her back, telling her to meet us at the hospital instead.

The contractions kept coming, and coming, and coming. They were strong, but I was able to manage the pain. I bounced on my birth ball, updated Facebook asking for prayers, and drank the Labor-Ade I'd kept ready in the refrigerator. Collin rushed around as fast as he could, getting our hospital bags and the kids' overnight bags into the van, calling his brother to let him know we were on the way, and getting the sleepy kids loaded into their car seats. We were delayed further because I couldn't find my wallet and insisted on hunting for it before we left. (It was sitting on the couch, of all places -- I must have set it down there and forgotten about it.)

I had a blanket wrapped around me because I was cold, and I kept it around me as I climbed into the van -- actually, I ended up sitting on it. I don't know why I didn't just grab a coat instead, but it ended up being a good thing we had the blanket along. 

We finally set off for my brother-in-law's house, about a mile south of our own, around 3:45am. Contractions were still coming fast and hard, and I was starting to feel anxious about getting to the hospital on time. We were driving south on Highway 303, and I was moaning through a hard contraction, when I heard an audible *pop* -- the closest sound I can think of is when you cluck your tongue against the roof of your mouth. I felt a gush of warm fluid and, horrified, told Collin, "My water just broke!" 

My water had broken on its own in last two labors, and in both cases baby arrived within minutes. (In fact, with Gabriel, my water didn't break until his shoulders were being born.) I texted Laura -- it was 3:53am, according to my phone -- and told her that my water had broken. She asked if I could check it to see if the fluid was clear, and I replied that no, we were still in the van on the way to drop off the kids!

With the next contraction, my body started to push. I had no control over it whatsoever, but I huffed and blowed like crazy to try and stop it. We made it to my brother-in-law's house, and, although my sister-in-law came out to help, it still seemed like hours before they got all the kids and carseats unloaded, plus their overnight bag and Gabriel's travel bed.

Finally we got back on the road, and I told Collin that I was pushing but trying not to, so he had to drive fast. I was actually starting to wonder if we should just pull over and call 911, because my body was pushing with every contraction and I was terrified that I was going to give birth in the van. He was running red lights and, once we got onto the highway, flooring the accelerator. Later he told me that we'd been going 95 miles an hour on the highway. The entire time I was struggling with all my might not to push and praying, "Please, God, don't let me give birth in the car. Please, God, let us get to the hospital!" over and over.

Amazingly, the pain of the contractions wasn't that bad - when I think back on our wild drive, what is most memorable is the terror I felt at the prospect of giving birth on the side of the road with only Collin there. The pain was secondary, and much less memorable.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief when we made it to the ER, and I saw my doula waiting for us at the door. She had already told the orderlies that I'd be arriving in hard labor, so they had a wheelchair waiting. I somehow managed to get into it, and Laura grabbed the keys to our van and told Collin that she'd park it for us so he could go up with me. (Collin later said that at that moment he would have gladly and gratefully paid someone $500 to park the van for him, so she more than earned her fee with that one action alone!)

As I'd expected, and feared, as we raced by the admitting desk they tried to flag us down and ask questions (so apparently preregistering was, like always, completely pointless). I kept yelling, "I'm pushing! We don't have time for this!" Collin yelled my name and birth date and said, echoing me, "We don't have time for anything else, she's pushing!" The ER orderly - bless the man - ignored them as well and got us into the elevator as fast as he could. Laura again saved the day by stopping at the desk and giving them all the information she could on her way back from parking the van. She had a copy of my birth plan with her which had all the information they needed, thankfully.

We rushed into L&D. I was still chanting my litany of, "I'm pushing! I'm pushing!" so the nurses wisely skipped triage and wheeled me into the closest empty room available. I somehow got undressed from the waist down (but was still wearing my T-shirt and a sports bra) and into the bed in about 30 seconds, with the help of the nurses. I breathed a huge sigh of relief once I was on the bed and said, "Thank you, God, we got to the hospital." 

One of the nurses did a quick exam and said, resignedly, "She's complete and +2 station." (Translation: baby is imminent.)

Laura made it up to our room amazingly quickly, and she'd had the foresight to grab the bottle of Labor-Ade I'd left in the cup holder and bring it up with her. All my panting and blowing to keep from pushing had made my mouth bone-dry, and I was incredibly grateful to have something handy to drink. She also had my birth plan in her hand and made sure the nurses got a copy - and I saw at least one nurse actually reading it as well, which was a relief. Laura also let the nurses know about the baby's clubbed feet so that no one would be surprised by them once s/he was born. 

I am so grateful we decided to to hire a doula, because it was such a relief and a benefit to have someone to run interference with the nurses -- I was too wrapped up in the pain of contractions and the urge to push, and Collin was intent on supporting me.

I was also feeling frustrated, though, because even though we were at the hospital, the nurses were telling me not to push, because my midwife wasn't there yet. As it turned out, she had left the hospital about ten minutes before, so she had to turn around and drive back. The nurses kept asking questions (when was my first contraction, when had my water broken, etc.) and even inserted a heplock -- they wanted to do a full-blown IV with fluids, but luckily both Collin and Laura told them I didn't want that.And they kept telling me not to push, because the midwife was on her way.

I kept thinking, "You people don't understand. My body is pushing, not me. I have no control over it. This baby is coming now whether you like it or not!" 

What actually came out was, "Uhhhhhhh - uhhhhhhhhhhh - I can't stop it!" And now that we were safely at the hospital, I had no desire to stop pushing -- I had fought to stop pushing for the endless journey to the hospital, with the thought that once I got there I could finally stop fighting the sensation. I wanted the baby out so the pain would stop, and so I could finally find out if we had a new son or daughter. The fact that the midwife wasn't there was absolutely inconsequential to me -- I figured there were enough medical professionals around who could handle catching a baby (including Laura, who was a student midwife!).

So, when I felt the urge to push, I pushed. About two pushes later, the baby's head was born. He had a nuchal cord (the cord was around his neck, although not tightly) so the nurses quickly unwrapped the cord and suctioned out his mouth. I pushed again, and delivered the rest of his body. The midwife hadn't arrived, so a nurse named Liz caught him instead. (He wasn't the first baby she'd ever had to catch, either!) He was born at 4:27am, about ten minutes after our arrival and about 90 minutes after my first painful contraction. Collin took a peek between the baby's legs immediately and said, "It's a boy!" I said, first, "Thank you, God!" and then, "His name is Peter."

The nurses ended up cutting the cord after about thirty seconds (despite the fact that my birth plan specified we wanted delayed cutting and clamping) because he wasn't breathing immediately after he came out - they guessed he was a little stunned due to the speed of his birth. (I could empathize.) We did consent to the immediate cutting/clamping once we understood their concerns. His first Apgar score was a 6, which is a tad lower than they like to see. After they cut the cord they took him over to the warmer, rubbed him down, and did a bit more suctioning. He perked up right away and started crying healthily. His second Apgar score was a 9, so he recovered quickly.

They brought him to me about a minute after he was born and laid him on my chest. Oh, he was such a gorgeous boy! My first thought was, "He looks like Gabriel, but with less hair!" He had a stork bite right between his eyebrows, exactly like the one William had when he was born. Collin and Laura commented on how chubby he was -- he had chunky arms, thighs, and cheeks, and adorable rolls of fat on the back of his neck. The minute he was laid on my chest, Peter started rooting for my nipple! I've never had a newborn that enthusiastic about nursing before (and now, three weeks later, he's still a very enthusiastic nurser.) He was ready and raring to nurse, and ate for a good twenty minutes on each side once I got him latched on.

Soon after, the midwife arrived -- minutes too late to catch the baby. She was a bit disappointed to have missed his birth but understood that sometimes you just can't wait. :) She stayed around to help me deliver the placenta (that took a while -- it was probably a good 30 minutes after his birth) and to stitch up my second degree tear.

At one point, Collin and Laura left to turn the van's lights off (she had thought they were the type that turned off on their own, but they need to be turned off manually -- and luckily she asked about this fairly soon after the birth so we didn't have to deal with a dead battery!) and to retrieve our hospital bags. They checked out the front seat while they were there. As it turned out, the blanket I'd been sitting on, as well as my sweatpants, had soaked up all the amniotic fluid so the seat hadn't gotten wet at all! Whew. :)

It was nearly change of shift for the nursing staff by that time, so it was a while before the new nurses came in to introduce themselves and complete the newborn procedures. Peter wasn't weighed until about 3 hours after he was born, but that gave us a nice long stretch of time for bonding. When he was weighed, I couldn't believe the number on the scale - nine pounds exactly! I knew he was chubby but he really hadn't felt that much bigger than my other babies when I pushed him out. He's our biggest baby by 13 ounces (Violet was 8lbs, 3oz at birth).

Amazingly, for the first time ever I did NOT need an IV bag of pitocin afterwards in order to control heavy bleeding! I credit this to the fact that I'd been taking alfalfa supplements since 34 weeks, after reading online that they could help control heavy bleeding. I did some research and spoke to my midwife, both of which confirmed that taking the supplements wouldn't hurt and could help. As it turned out, they did help, significantly. (Specifically, I took two of these each morning.) My postpartum bleeding, both immediately after birth and in the days following, was significantly lighter than it had ever been with any of my previous births. One thing I would change could be to find some alfalfa capsules instead of tablets -- I have a sensitive gag reflex and sometimes taking the tablets was difficult because it tasted like swallowing grass. But they worked out so well that I will definitely use them again with any future pregnancies.

One thing I'd been wondering/worried about was seeing his clubbed feet for the first time. I just wasn't sure how I'd react. Once he was born, however, his feet were the furthest thing from my mind. I was too busy falling in love with my little boy to notice anything else. Once I did see his little feet, though, it wasn't as scary or traumatic as I'd feared. Yes, they were clubbed, but they were a part of him, and that made them beautiful. 

Laura stayed at the hospital with us for several hours, finally leaving around 7am once she was sure we were comfortable and settled. It was several hours before I updated Facebook with the news of his birth, because I wanted to tell certain family members via phone first, and it took a while to get in touch.

The story behind his name: I liked Benedict Francis, after the current and former pope, but Collin was unsure. He's a great admirer of the Pope Emeritus, but we'd already given William the middle name of Joseph as a way to honor him. As a compromise, he proposed the name Peter, which was a nod to the see of Peter and a way to honor both popes. I was iffy, though, because I had a former boss named Peter who had been a nightmare to work for, and told him I'd think about it. 

However, the strangest thing happened. I started seeing the name Peter EVERYWHERE -- in books, magazines, online, etc. It was like God was purposefully putting the name in front of me at every opportunity. We spent some time with Collin's aunt, whose hobby is genealogy, and found out that Peter is actually a family name -- I think Collin's paternal great-grandfather (or maybe great-great-grandfather) was named Peter. 

I was also mulling over using "David" as a first or middle name, as it's my father's name, but didn't think about using it in conjunction with Peter until Collin and I went to Phoenix Comic-Con and met one of my favorite sci-fi authors, Peter David:

When we were in our hotel room, I commented to Collin, "You know, Peter David is actually a really nice-sounding name." He agreed, and we talked it over a few more times before deciding on it definitively a few months later. (Regarding my hesitation with using the same name as Nightmare Boss -- ultimately, I decided that I wasn't going to let some jerk over a thousand miles away, whom I hadn't seen or talked to since 2007, spoil a great name.) It fit, quite nicely, all our naming criteria - saint's name, family connection, and a tangential connection to geekdom.

So, that was Peter's birth. It was a pretty wild ride, but had a very happy ending:

We are so in love with this little guy.
Check out my other blog, The Clubfoot Chronicles, if you want to know how the treatment for his clubbed feet is going.

International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

I received an e-mail asking if I would help publicize this campaign on International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and I'm happy to do so. The following is cut and pasted from the email, as my blogging time is limited at the moment. :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013 officially marks International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, a day of remembrance for pregnancy loss and infant death which includes miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or the death of a newborn.  The National Institute of Health estimates 26,000 stillbirths out of the 4 million births per year in the United States, meaning one in every 160 births results in a stillborn.  These statistics can change dramatically with your help!

After learning that Norway had effectively reduced its stillbirth rates by one-third by conducting a public health campaign on kick counting, five Des Moines-area moms who each lost babies to late-term stillbirth or infant death founded a non-profit organization called Healthy Birth Day with the goal of preventing stillbirths and infant deaths through research, education and advocacy.  In 2009, the non-profit launched a statewide public health campaign in Iowa called Count the Kicks to prevent late-term birth complications and stillbirths, urging parents to contact their health care providers immediately if they notice significant changes in their babies’ movements. Scientific studies indicate kick counting (a daily record of a baby’s movements, kicks, rolls, punches, and jabs) during the third trimester is an easy, free and reliable way to monitor a baby’s well-being in addition to regular prenatal visits.  This year, the campaign is going nationwide with the help of Count the Kicks Ambassadors, seven women (Shawn Soumilas for Arizona, Kari Davis for Ohio, Meghan Petty for Tennessee, Karina Bennett for New York & California, Stacey Gripshover for Kentucky, Sapphire Garcia-Glancy for Kansas, and Sarah Firianni of Florida) from across the country who will be spreading the word about the importance of tracking fetal movement during the third trimester of pregnancy. These women will be the feet on the street, connecting with healthcare providers and expecting parents in their communities to spread Count the Kicks' life-saving message, with the ultimate goal of reducing the national stillbirth rate. 

Stillbirth and infant death may be a sensitive subject, but spreading awareness WILL help prevent the loss of more lives.  To join the movement, start by visiting and liking the Count the Kicks Facebook page: www.facebook.com/countthekicks

Here is an important message from the Count the Kicks Ambassadors, Mom to Mom: http://youtu.be/h5Nj9FRTZcQ

About Healthy Birth Day: 
Healthy Birth Day is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing stillbirths and infant deaths through education, advocacy and parent support.  Founded in 2003 by five Iowa mothers (Kate Safris, Kerry Biondi-Morlan, Sen. Janet Petersen, Tiffan Yamen, Jan Caruthers) who met after each lost a daughter to stillbirth or infant death,  Healthy Birth Day has helped with getting Iowa’s Stillbirth Registry law enacted (which has brought more than $2 million into Iowa for stillbirth prevention research), created a local parent-to-parent network to reach out to grieving families immediately following their loss of their babies, and launched the “Count the Kicks” public health campaign to help prevent stillbirths.

Tiebreaker is here!

And the winner is.... Team Blue!

Peter David Wahlund
10/7/2013, 4:27am
9lbs 0oz, 20.5 inches

Super short version of the birth story: Holy sh*t.

Short version: woke up to hard contractions at 3am. Water broke in the car. Got to the hospital at 4:15 after dropping off kids. Midwife didn't make it in time so he was delivered by a nurse. 

We're all doing great. :) His feet are definitely clubbed but otherwise he's 100% healthy.

Longer version coming soon!

7 Quick Takes Saturday - September 28, 2013

--- 1 ---

No baby yet. I'm 38w4d today. Elanor was born at 39w0d and Violet at 40w3d, so I have a ways to go before declaring this my longest pregnancy, but it sure as heck FEELS like my longest pregnancy.

--- 2 ---

I had two bouts of prodromal labor last week - one on Sunday, one on Wednesday. On both days I was having contractions averaging about a minute long and 10 minutes apart for about 12 hours (around 10am-10pm). Some contractions were more painful than others, some were Braxton-Hicks. We gave our doula a text to let her know what was going on each time, but didn't head to the hospital or anything. Once I fell asleep, the contractions either stopped or were so mild that I slept through them. Since then, I've had sporadic Braxton Hicks but no more of the prodromal stuff, thank goodness.

--- 3 ---

I had an appointment on Friday and asked the midwife to do a cervical check, as I was curious to see if the prodromal labor had effected any changes. I'm still not dilated but I am mostly effaced. I was pleased that there was some progress, anyway. William was born two days after my midwife did a cervical check where she declared me not dilated or effaced at all, so I know the numbers don't necessarily mean anything. Still, mostly effaced means less work when labor finally does kick in for real.

--- 4 ---

After my appointment Collin and I went to the hospital to preregister, because the nurse gave us a heads up that they've completely changed the registration process since the last time I gave birth there. Apparently now everyone has to stop by the admitting desk on the first floor (or go through the ER, if it's before 5am or after 8pm) instead of going directly up to L&D in the 2nd floor, as was standard practice before if it was during business hours. Something to do with their new intake system. The lady we spoke with said that moms in labor were pushed to the front of the line, and moms in hard labor just had to give their name and birthdate before going to L&D. Still, seems like an unnecessary hoop to jump through to me.

When Gabe was born we did have to go through the ER, since it was around midnight. But with Violet it was around 9:30am so we went straight up to L&D, and she was born at 9:46am. If we'd had to go to the admitting desk first with her, she might have been born in the elevator or something. Hopefully we'll have more time with Tiebreaker!

--- 5 ---

In non-baby-related news (sort of), our washing machine is acting up. During the spin cycle it makes an unearthly rattling noise, like there are coins or screws or something under the barrel (and if I gently shake the barrel when the machine is off, I can hear rattling as well). It's shaking quite violently too. I've had off-balance loads before and this is markedly different. Collin tinkered around with it for a bit but nothing he tried worked, so we've scheduled a repairman to come on Monday morning.

We're afraid to use it in the meantime because if there is a bolt or something that's loose, we don't want to make the problem worse and possibly cause a flood or something. Dirty laundry is piling up, sigh.

On the other hand, scheduling a repairman for Monday pretty much guarantees that Tiebreaker will come this weekend, right? :)

--- 6 ---

Better get your guesses in while you can. I guessed today so I've already lost my own poll. :P

--- 7 ---

This morning, Gabriel lifted up my shirt, poked my belly, and said, "Baby all done!" From his mouth to God's ears...

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Examining Scouting Choices - A Letter from My Husband

My husband wrote what I consider to be a kick-ass letter to our parish the other day, and he gave me permission to post it.

Greetings [Parish] Scout Leadership and Pastors,

My name is Collin Wahlund, I have been a parishioner at [Parish] for several years.  I have had a great interest in sharing the experiences that scouting had brought to me with my children at our parish, especially with my oldest son who has just entered Kindergarten this year.

Unfortunately, in light of the recent decision by the BSA to allow open and active homosexual behavior to be declared acceptable I simply cannot in good conscience allow my children to be involved with that organization.  This stance that the BSA has taken is even more disconcerting given that the incoming president of the BSA, Randall Stephenson, is on record in a homosexual activism publication for being committed to allow actively homosexual men as scout leaders.

Since homosexual activity is gravely sinful by the teachings of our Church, I cannot take this stance lightly.  Given that boys in scouting should be abstinent (as they are not married) there should be no involvement of sexuality in scouting at all.  Adults should also be an example to the scouts on how to be "morally straight" and "to do my duty to God", as the Oath says.

I do not want simply to complain without ideas on how to improve the situation though.  It would be a harder decision if there were no options whatsoever other than exiting scouting or compromising our morals, but there are morally-acceptable alternatives.

I would like to suggest that we look into migrating our scouting group to Trail Life USA.  This group specifically is trying to facilitate scouting that returns to the morals intended originally.  They're trying hard to make scouts feel as welcome as possible and to transfer all achievements of the individual scout to them inside of the new organization so the boys are rewarded for their prior hard work.

This organization follows the same guidelines about homosexuality that our Church does, that the inclinations towards evil behavior are not inherently sinful, but that homosexual activity is wrong.  Therefore they will not be searching to try to remove boys who try to resist evil urges.

Similarly, openly being involved with heterosexual premarital sex is also wrong and this is against the organization's values, which are committed to Christian morals. Teaching and illustrating right from wrong should absolutely be an integral part to scouting and should not be put aside or shrugged off because making a change would be inconvenient.

I highly wish for our church's scouting leadership and our pastors to read the following article about Trail Life USA and consider that this organization may be a better fit for our parish to be actively involved in:  http://www.worldmag.com/2013/09/rapid_response

You can also find more information as well at the Trail Life USA website: http://www.traillifeusa.com

I hope this is strongly considered as a possibility, and I'm more than glad to help look into this option (or others, such as the dedicatedly Catholic Scouts of St. George - http://scoutsofsaintgeorge.com).

I really wish to get my sons and myself involved in our scouting program at [Parish].  Please help turn my family's disappointment in the BSA into pride that our parish are leaders in a return to morality in scouting.  I look forward to hearing the responses from our scouting and church leadership.  Thank you very much for your serious consideration in this important issue.

Mr. Collin Wahlund and Family

7 Quick Takes Friday - September 20, 2013

--- 1 ---

Still pregnant. Boring OB appointment today (which is a good thing). I declined a cervical check because I didn't feel like it. My group B strep test was negative. I'm at 37w3d and so far it seems like Tiebreaker is content to stay where s/he is for now. That's kind of a good thing, as I still have quite a bit at work that I'd like to accomplish before I go on leave, but at the same time I'm anxious to meet this baby.

--- 2 ---

I'm now working from home full-time until labor starts, hallelujah. Not having to commute 90 miles per day (round trip) has helped a lot.

--- 3 ---

I'm happy to report that the doula drama is over. After the last doula's no-show, we set up interviews with two other doulas in the area. The first interview went extremely well, but we didn't want to officially hire her until we'd met the other doula and given her a chance to knock our socks off. Well, other doula ended up cancelling due to illness (she sent me an e-mail the night before, so it wasn't a last-minute thing) and we decided that was a sign that we should just go ahead and hire the one doula who had actually shown up. :P

Since then, we've paid our deposit and had our initial prenatal visit (and she proved to be very punctual!). Collin and I like her tremendously and we are both very happy she'll be a part of our labor and birth experience.

Here's her website if you know if anyone in the northwest Phoenix area looking for a doula!

--- 4 ---

We got Elanor & William's school pictures back the other day:

Pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself.

--- 5 ---

And here's one of me.


--- 6 ---

Congratulations Kara and family! Baby Samuel is precious!!! (I don't have a pregnancy buddy any more, *sniff*.)

--- 7 ---
Have you checked out the Dobrovits fundraiser yet? If not, you should!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes Friday - September 6, 2013

--- 1 ---

 Collin and I celebrated 12 years of marriage on September 1! 

We hired Kara to watch our kids and spent the whole day playing Dungeons and Dragons. It was glorious.

Our joint gift to each other was an iPad! I've wanted one for years, so I was very happy when he proposed that idea. It'll come in handy when the baby's born; we can FaceTime with relatives and show him/her off.

--- 2 ---

Quick word of warning - the rest of my quick takes are all pregancy/birth related, so if that bores you, feel free to skip them. :)

I could very well have a baby this month (I'm full term as of September 17!). Whoa.

34 weeks, 3 days

Last week, my ExpectNet game appeared gone forever (the domain had expired and was redirecting users to a bunch of Internet ads), so I created a new guessing game at BabyHunch.com. Then ExpectNet came back up, so now I guess I have two. Sigh. Feel free to guess on one, the other, or both.

--- 3 ---

On that note, my to-do list for this weekend involves packing my hospital bag, as well as an overnight bag for the kids if they end up staying over at someone's house when I go into labor. If past experience is any indication, if I'm all ready to go by 36 weeks, I'll go past my due date (*cough* Violet *cough*).

I don't really WANT to go past my due date, but it can't hurt to be prepared for a change. With every kid except Violet, I was packing my bag while in early labor.

--- 4 ---

The doula drama continues. I set up an interview with a doula in the area, and she canceled at the last minute (sent me an e-mail 20 minutes before we were scheduled to meet) saying her kids had been sick all night so she'd rather not risk getting me sick. Okay, fine, perfectly understandable. So we rescheduled for later in the week, and she didn't show up. I called twice and sent a text, but didn't hear from her until nearly 11pm that evening, when she sent a text saying that one of her kids had hit her head and they'd been at the hospital, and she didn't have my number with her so she couldn't call. Okay, emergencies happen, and maybe in her panic she left her cell phone at home. I called her twice and left messages, asking her to call me so we could talk... and since then I've heard nothing (it's been nearly two weeks now).

You know, I understand that emergencies happen. But if you're running a business, shouldn't you make it a priority to be responsive (as much as practicable) to current and potential customers throughout?  I told Collin I'm starting to think we're on some sort of doula blacklist, given how two in a row have suddenly and inexplicably become incommunicado.

So, our search continues.  We have an interview this afternoon, and another on Sunday afternoon, and hopefully one of them will work out.

--- 5 ---

If anyone is incredibly bored and wants to take a virtual tour of The Nesting Place (where both Violet and Gabe were born, and where this baby will be born), you can do so here.

--- 6 ---

I start working from home full-time once I hit full-term, thank goodness. The commute is getting pretty rough, physically.

--- 7 ---

I've been obsessed with birth stories/videos lately (so much so that I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to them), and this is a terrific birth video (nothing too terribly graphic). Feel free to link me up to any that you find especially inspiring (I prefer natural birth stories, especially ones in a hospital setting.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

11 On Her Own

I can barely manage four (well, five) kids with the help of a fully present and supportive husband, so I can't fathom how Kristin manages as well as she does.

Please help her in her goal of going to nursing school so she can support her family!

Financial support is awesome, but I know prayer support and social media sharing are also much appreciated.

A Working Mother's Prayer

For those of us working outside the home when we'd rather be at home with our kids...

"O Lord, since I must now entrust my precious child into the arms of another so that I may go forth to earn bread for our table, accept my offering of tears and deep regret.

Take my child, Lord - and my aching heart - and lay them together in your dear Mother's lap where both may rest secure until I come again to claim my treasures.


from "Prayers to Form a Mother's Heart" produced by the Women's Apostolate to Youth, accessed online here.

7 Quick Takes Friday - August 23, 2013

--- 1 ---

I took a leaf out of Kara's book and created an ExpectNet.com guessing game for Tiebreaker's arrival. (She won Gabriel's game, so we'll see if she can go two for two!) Winner gets bragging rights. :)

--- 2 ---

Speaking of, allow me to indulge in a short, shameless brag:

William took the DIBELS reading assessment at school this week. The benchmark composite score was 23 and he scored a 60. Yes, I know that assessments and test scores and whatnot aren't necessarily an accurate gauge of learning or retention, but still. After years of IEPs and so forth with Elanor, it's a pleasant change of pace to have a child who scores above average on reading tests.

--- 3 ---

We had a fantastic time at the Children's Museum of Phoenix last Saturday! What a fun place. Gabriel was simply bowled over by the fact that he could run around and do pretty much anything he wanted without being constantly told not to touch anything. They had a room just for kids 3 and under, and he probably spent an hour climbing up the stairs and going down the slide.

The kids barely stayed still for more than two consecutive seconds for the entire time we were there, but I managed to get a few pictures:

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Anyway, it's a terrific place. We're definitely going to go again.

--- 4 ---

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As you can see, we habitually read the classics at bedtime.

--- 5 ---

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I love these guys. (Gabriel was already in bed so he didn't get in the picture.)

--- 6 ---

I'm a little stressed with finding a new doula. Originally we'd planned to hire the doula I had at my last two births. I e-mailed her in January, soon after getting the positive test, and she responded enthusiastically to my request to be my doula again. We e-mailed back and forth for a few weeks, and she told me she was having car troubles and could let me know a good time to meet so we could sign the paperwork and pay her deposit.

Since then, I've heard nothing. My e-mails have gone unanswered, and so did the message I sent via LinkedIn. The only phone number I have for her has been disconnected. I'm 34 weeks on Tuesday, and I've had two babies at 36-37 weeks before, so I'm running out of time.

Sigh. I did not need doula drama this late in the game. Collin and I will probably be okay our fifth time around the block, but still... it makes me feel so much more relaxed to have someone there to help him help me.

--- 7 ---

No big plans this weekend. We're still recovering from last weekend. I hope yours is more exciting. :)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Welcome to The Catholic Working Mother

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