Friday, October 20, 2017

The Homecoming

After getting the medical all-clear for both me and the new addition this morning, A. and Jack--who was most assuredly not going to be left behind again, thank you very much--showed up at the hospital with an infant car seat and we were off.

We had to stop at the butcher on the way home so I could give my instructions for cutting up the half cow we bought, because I may be recovering from childbirth, but I know my priorities.

You might be a woodchuck if . . .

When we got home I found balloons on the mailbox, a welcome home sign on the front door, a plate of freshly baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies tied up with ribbon (and I didn't even have to clear any snow!), and a bouquet of flowers on the table.

SuperNana strikes again.

I was particularly touched by the bouquet of flowers after Nana explained that she and the two older children had gone to two neighbors to ask for flowers from their gardens--this not being a place where one can easily buy flowers--and the two ladies gave her the flowers they had cut before the first freeze and had in their own homes.

The first thing I did upon arriving home was eat some yogurt with maple syrup and blueberries. I'm pretty sure the "yogurt" I had at the hospital (which was a popular name brand kind) isn't even the same food as the kind I make.

Hospital food, man. It's a very unfunny joke.

Shortly thereafter, A. put Jack down for a nap, Nana took Cubby and Charlie for a walk, and Poppy blew out her diaper.

Newborns are fun!

But after cleaning up the explosion and nursing her back to sleep, I got to lie down myself for a nap in my own bed, which was even more satisfying than eating my own yogurt.

Currently, Poppy is still sleeping (newborn gold star for her), the older three are at the playground with SuperNana and A., and I am sitting in a quiet house drinking seltzer.

All is right with the world.

This photo was taken at the hospital, which accounts for the disgruntled expression. Well, that and the fact that all newborns look like grumpy old men. But check out the hair! Poppy has great hair. She gets that from her mother.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Child Is Born


2:40 p.m.: Hey, that was a contraction! Could it be actual labor?

3:20 p.m.: Ow, more contractions, closer together and more painful. Better let SuperNana and A. know.

3:40 p.m.: Okay, calling the hospital to let them know I'm on my way.

4:10 p.m.: Apparently, a pregnant woman having a contraction in the middle of the admitting procedure will cause an aide to show up with a wheelchair right quick.

4:15 p.m.: The midwife does an internal check and tells me to let her know when I feel like pushing.

5:50 p.m.: I feel like pushing.

6:05 p.m.:

Ta da! Magic! REALLY, REALLY painful magic.

Yup, exactly 3 hours and 25 minutes start to finish. It's definitely a girl. You can call her Poppy*. She was just a hair over 8 pounds, is 20 inches long, and her hobbies include nursing. A lot.

So now we just nurse and recover. And in my case, revel in not being pregnant anymore. Hooray.

Yesterday was a good day.

* Not her real name. When I first found out I was pregnant, I looked up my due date on one of those baby websites and it informed me that my baby was the size of a poppy seed. We called her Poppy early on, and although at some point that changed to Buttercup while she was in utero, I still think Poppy is a better blog name. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Personality Clash

As a compulsively punctual person, I think it's clear that I'm going to have to have a serious talk with this little lady baby whenever she finally makes her appearance. Two days past her expected arrival already? That's just not going to be acceptable in our family*.

Plus, I would really like to be able to bend over to tie my shoes without a feeling of imminent suffocation.

And that's our grumpy update for the day. Carry on.

* My mother's sister, who is Very Southern, remarked that the baby is just arriving fashionably late. I am, lamentably, far too much of a Yankee to be so comfortable with the idea of tardiness being the way to make a good entrance. Especially for overdue babies. But I thought that was a funny comment anyway.

Monday, October 16, 2017

On This Day in 2017 . . .

We've finished up the absurd quantity of cheese from last month, which means those seventeen pounds didn't even last quite one month. In fact, the mozzarella was finished last week and A. already bought more of that. Now he has to go back for another insane cheddar brick.

At least we won't be deficient in calcium.

Also, today is my official due date, which doesn't seem to be impressing this baby at all. I'm going to the midwife this morning, so maybe something dramatic and exciting--you know, like birth--might happen today. Or maybe we'll all just sit around waiting some more, with everyone eyeing me like a ticking time bomb and the kids saying, "But I thought the baby was supposed to come TODAY."

Probably that.

Good times all around.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Cultural Exchange Courtesy of Craigslist

A. decided last week to list his remaining three ram lambs for sale on Craigslist, either for butchering or breeding. One less thing--or rather, three less things--to worry about with a baby due any day. Plus, we thought it would be nice to get some cash for some of the lambs and then buy a half of a cow for some variety from lamb meat.

On the very same day he got sick of dealing with the escaping lamb and slaughtered it, he got a call about the Craigslist ad. It was a man from Vermont who didn't speak particularly good English, but managed to get across that yes, he wanted to buy the lambs, and he wanted to slaughter them himself.

A. figured he was Muslim and wanted to follow the Islamic law of halal by making sure they were properly slaughtered. So he arranged for the man and his friend to come this morning to slaughter the lambs here.

They rolled up in a maroon Toyota Scion at 11:30, exchanged their bright white sneakers for slightly older white sneakers, pulled some beat-up track pants over their jeans, and pulled out their fillet knives. Approximately three minutes later, the lambs were on the ground and kicking their last.

These were obviously some men who have slaughtered sheep before.

A. then helped them bring the lambs to the back of the house where he hangs them to work on skinning and gutting and so forth. And then A. got an education in how a Bosnian butchers a sheep.

Because it turns out that the men were from Bosnia, and they had a very particular method of butchering. The one guy who seemed to be the more professional butcher told A. he could start skinning one, but when he saw how A. did it, he jumped in and took over. And then proceeded to cut the hide off so cleanly the resulting hide was perfectly smooth on the skin side.

They kept the head, tail, and everything else on and just skinned the whole thing. After the skinning, they removed the innards in one go and separated out the lungs, heart, and liver in one big chunk for separate cooking.

The man who was doing less of the work told me these lambs were for a wedding, and showed me on his smart phone a video of how they cook them. The entire lamb is put on a wooden pole, which sticks out through the mouth and the rear, and then the pole is attached to an electric rotisserie device--brought, apparently, from Bosnia--which is in turn hooked up to a generator so the animal continues to turn without any further labor from the cooks.

The same guy handed a spectating Jack twenty dollars and told him to buy some chocolate*.

The men worked for almost exactly two hours, finishing up by carefully wrapping the lambs up in plastic bags, along with the boxes of the innards they wanted to take with them.

Then they paid A., pressed an apple into Jack's hands, and drove back to Vermont.

They were very nice men, and it was extremely educational for A. to see how an expert dresses out a lamb. Plus, now we have cash in hand and an extra apple in exchange for two lambs we don't have to butcher ourselves.

Works for me.

* I took the twenty dollars for safekeeping and future chocolate buying, as I don't think Jack is getting to the store anytime soon.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Of Cookies and Carcasses

Two important food-related events yesterday: I finally made a double batch of chocolate chip cookies, and A. slaughtered another lamb.

The reason I made the cookies is because Charlie happened to be assigned the class Halloween party as his turn to bring in a treat, and I really don't think I'm going to be up to treat-making at the end of this month. So I decided to make a bunch of cookies and freeze half of them so I can just pull them out of the freezer and send them in on October 31*.

They're not as fun as, like, cupcakes decorated to look like ghosts or something, but they're better than buying a box of Little Debbie snack cakes, right? And anyway, the odds of me making intricately decorated ghost cupcakes are . . . well, it's not going to happen even when I don't have a newborn baby.

And by the way, baking chocolate chip cookies when on a restricted diet due to gestational diabetes is no fun at all. All that delicious cookie dough . . .


A. slaughtered the lamb because it kept escaping the pen, and after the fourth time it got out yesterday morning, he decided the forecast was favorable enough to hang meat. And just like that, that lamb was done for.

You did it to yourself, lamb.

So my mom was going down the stairs yesterday with Jack to play in the playroom and was treated to the sight of A. skinning the hanging sheep just outside the downstairs door. We may not live at Blackrock anymore, but we still know how to roll out the welcome mat for guests.

I suspect testicle parmigiana might be on the menu tonight. I'd rather eat the cookies, but I suppose I'll have to content myself with roasted vegetables. Whee.

* The first person to so much as whisper the word "nesting" gets a chocolate chip up the nose.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Bonding Moments

Although there isn't much about being hugely and unmistakably pregnant that I enjoy, one thing I do find endlessly amusing is the comments it inspires in other people.

Now that it's obvious I'm pregnant and not just hopelessly addicted to doughnuts (how I wish . . .), total strangers ask me when I'm due and then invariably tell me how many children they have. Usually they ask if I'm having a boy or a girl, and when I say our first girl after three boys, they are always delighted and then tell me the breakdown of the sexes among their own children.

The elderly gentleman at church on Sunday who asked me when "the blessed event" is shared that he had eight children--five girls and three boys.

One woman told me she had five boys. I told her she got me beat.

The woman at the grocery store today told me she had four girls and one boy, and the boy was the easy one: "No drama."

My favorite, however, was when the priest offered a blessing for "expectant parents," at which point I'm pretty sure the entire church was staring at us, and then a lady stopped me after church to tell me that she was glad he prayed for me because she sees us every week and I look like I could use prayers.

I was not entirely sure how to respond to that, but I thought it was very funny.

She hurried on to tell me that it's obvious I'm doing very well with our current children, but that she doesn't know how I do it. She didn't tell me if she has any children. Maybe not, which might account for her undeserved admiration.

Or maybe she had ten kids of her own and remembered what it was like to try to contain multiple small bodies for an hour while in the advanced stages of pregnancy with another. She didn't say. But I kind of wished she had.