Wednesday, December 31, 2003

My First Decluttering!

Well, it took me till I hit 20 weeks, but I finally started to do some decluttering this pregnancy! I wanted to start with a small project, since I still don't have my usual energy. So yesterday, I decided to tackle my computer desk. I spend quite some time every day on that desk, so it made sense to make it a nice place to be. Instead of a 'covered in papers and stuff' place :-) I spent a few hours on it, and it looks tons better now.

I know it's not much, but I am very happy about it. I found some software that had been lost for ages. Addresses and phone nrs to be added to my address list, which I did!!!! And then threw out the scraps of paper with the addresses. Instructions on how to register for the Dutch voting registry, which I did not just put somewhere else. Instead, I wrote the letter, and then threw away the instructions!!!!

And today, I did another desk, but there was much less stuff to organize on it. Most of it was papers which could be thrown away, so that was easy. It's the desk next to my computer desk, so that it looks like the neatness is spreading. Some day I am going to be organized! But for now, I am just going to enjoy one tiny decluttered spot in my house! LOL

I have been thinking back to last year New Year's Eve. I had just found out that my baby had died, and that a miscarriage would be inevitable. I hadn't started miscarrying yet, but was very much dealing with the emotional part of the loss. I remember that I bought a bottle of champagne, since now I didn't have to be careful for the baby anymore. It was my way of dealing with the loss and the anger and the sadness. If I couldn't have the baby, at least I could have some booze! I usually drink wine about once every one or two years, so I didn't need much champagne to make me feel all warm and glowing. But at the same time there was this huge hole in me, where my baby should have been.

And here I am, one year later, pregnant yet again, hopefully with a keeper this time. But I still miss my lost babies, mourning them, even while being happy with the new baby growing inside of me. What a mixture of emotions! If only one of them had lived, this current baby would not be here. Hard to imagine.

It's New Year's Eve, and I made a ton of oliebollen, and pineapple fritters. The oliebollen are a traditional Dutch New Year's Eve treat. It is a kind of deep fried raisin bread dough. Very yummy! Making them reminds me of my father. He always used to make buckets full of them, and everybody who visited us had to eat some and to take some home. We would have oliebollen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for days and days after New Year. He passed away last year, but his memory lives in the oliebollen that I made today, and the stories I told my kids about him.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Gingerbread House

One of our yearly traditions is to assemble a gingerbread house a few days after Christmas. The kids do all the decorating, tons of fun! But the best part comes on New Year's Day, when they actually get to SMASH the gingerbread house. I hand them a hammer and let them go for it. This seems to be their favorite part of the whole project, I wonder why LOL

It's amazing how, every single year, I manage to put the house together totally wrong. Some people would learn, but somehow I don't LOL. I guess I should do it more often. I always end up yelling for Sander to help me keep something up before it all falls apart. And then eventually just taking it all apart and putting it together the right way after all. Muttering all kinds of choice words in the process. That's why I tend to do this part after the kids are in bed :-)

I didn't dare to breathe for the first hour or so after I assembled the house. Everytime I walked into the kitchen, I was sure I would be greeted by the ruins of my gingerbread house. But to my utter amazement, it stayed intact!

Had another King Arthur Flour class this week, named Razzle Dazzle New Year's Eve Desserts. It was fun! Now I even know how to make chocate pastries shaped like champagne corks :-) A very important skill, right? :-)

I am pretty sure I am feeling some kicks now, but still not totally confident. I mean, for all I know this can just be some very active gas, right? How could it be the baby after all those losses, it is almost unimaginable that this one could be working out. But maybe this one is!

I got 2 big bags full of nursing clothes from a friend today. Wow! Lots of Motherwear and other good brands. Looking forward to wearing them for this new baby. Even a few dresses, which made my girls happy, since I don't wear them very often. I guess they are looking forward to seeing me dress more 'girly' too LOL The best thing is that all of those clothes actually fit me! Amazing!

Yesterday I was very tired, spent part of the day in bed with a good book. But today, I actually had energy to do some things, baked bread, decluttered some, and took Kate to the opthomatologist. It was just a checkup. Everything was ok, so she doesn't have to come back till she is 6 years old.

Saturday, December 27, 2003


Well, this sure was a memorable Solstice and Christmas. All three girls had chicken pox, and Tara spent half a day throwing up on top of that. Jane only threw up a few times that day. But she developed cellulitis on her leg. And Kate seemed to be recovering, but yesterday she was back to being totally miserable. She worsened enough that I took her into the dr, who diagnosed an ear infection on top of the chicken pox.... She never has ear infections, so I guess her immune system must be having a hard time keeping up with all the sickness. She keeps crying, wants to be held, and then screams because when you hold her, her pox hurt :-( :-( Poor little one!

Now the antibiotics is giving her stomach aches and diarrhea, so that doesn't help either. And Erik's intestines must still be messed up too, he was on antibiotics for the impetigo a few weeks ago. About an hour ago, he pooped all over the bath room floor, and then came over to the kitchen to tell me about it, spreading the poop all over the hallway too...

But the good news is that I got a new digital camera for Christmas!!! Love love love it!!! It's a 4.0 megapixel, with a nice zoom lens. Quite an improvement on the 'old' 1.2 megapixel I have been using up till now. Have been playing around with it, but not found all the features yet. And I have noticed that when I sit down to take pictures of birds in my back yard, they all decided that on second thought they didn't really want to be here... So I spent a lot of time sitting in front of the window, staring at nothing. When I get up and do something, they will be back of course LOL. Made a nice picture of a red squirrel though, using my zoom lens, you can almost see her individual hairs in her tail in the full size picture.

I got some nice books too, including one on investing. Now I want to stop paying off my mortgage, and use the money to buy stock instead. Ok, ok, I can dream right? I think I'll pay off the mortgage first anyway :-) We just did a refinance and will pay a lot less interest now, so I can pay off even more of the principal each month. We should be totally mortgage free about four to five years! So for now I'll just dream about investing and practice on paper. But by then, I will have money to spare to actually do it!!

Another good present was the chocolate!!! High quality chocolate, which is my down fall LOL. At least at this point I can blame the pregnancy for gaining weight :-) Talking about the pregnancy, I have been feeling some things that could be kicks. But I have convinced myself that it can't be true, somehow I am still too unbelieving to be able to accept this as real kicks. I keep telling myself that I must be imagining things, and the dream where I had my prenatal without a heartbeat keeps coming back to me. Feeling kicks is just too good to be true. On the other hand, my uterus sure is growing, but even that hasn't convinced me yet. So I will still welcome any kicking vibes any one has to spare!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Pox Party

We always celebrate the winter solstice, but it looks like sickness is going to be a regular partner in our celebration. Last year, we had the Puke Party. Quoting from an email I wrote 'Our Party started off by Kate puking five times in our bed in the very early morning hours. Next night it was Jane's turn, another few hours of early morning puking, including some blood. It detoriated from there...

Erik's first episode was when he wanted to be picked up and puked all over himself, me and the kitchen floor. Tara's first episode was while sitting on the toilet, she even managed to hit the walls...

I lost count somewhere, but we must have had at least 80 vomiting episodes on the solstice. Most of them hit bowls or towels, but of course not all of them...

I thought we were over the worst, but Monday morning at 5am we got woken up by crying from the girls room. Tara had puked all over herself, Jane, the bed, and other stuff... And it had a nice black color from the cake frosting on the solstice cake... (it was yellow/blue/black, but black clearly was dominant after a night inside her stomach...)

Erik still was vomiting this morning. And a few hours later he complained about wet feet. Turned out he had dhiarrea dripping out of his pants...

We got hit by 2 feet of snow last night, so today has mostly been spent shoveling snow, poop, and puke... Happy holidays LOL At least nobody threw up on Christmas day, we just dealt with diarrhea.

That sure was a solstice to remember, but luckily I knew that this would be a one time occurrence... Looks like I was wrong! Although, technically, chicken pox is another sickness I guess. And at least it's less messy than the puking was. But still, it's a bummer to have sick kids during the holidays, they will for sure miss the fun spirit training at karate this week.

Cees and Tim are the only two who have had chicken pox. Tara and Jane are having it now, and I am wondering whether Kate is coming down with it or not. It's hard to tell with her eczema. And we have been wondering whether Erik's impetigo maybe really was chicken pox after all? Somehow I am not convinced of that, but I guess we'll see whether he comes down with chicken pox or not, either now, or two weeks from now.

I did get my last xmas shopping done today! Both the presents and the grocery shopping! I am so organized! LOL Now I just need to wrap 5,000 presents and I will be all finished! (ok, maybe a few less, but that's how it feels right now :-) We went for a lot of consumables, paint, paper, notebooks, craft supplies, quite some family gifts (gymnastics stuff, dvds, nintendo games, etc) and of course lego, books, and a few other presents for each kid. I got a barbie video camera really cheap last year after christmas, which will be the big gift for the girls and Erik.

For the solstice, I'll bake a solstice cake and we'll make a solstice fire in the fire place. Roasting marshmallows, and making s'mores. I hope the girls will feel up to it!

Friday, December 19, 2003


And still waiting! Geez, I wish this baby would start kicking. NOW!!! Actually, yesterday would be even better! LOL It's amazing how anxious I am to feel the first movements of this little one. I don't think I have ever been this impatient with any of my others. I guess the miscarriages really did shake my basic body confidence, and I have a hard time believing that this one actually could work out. My belly is growing though, as is my uterus, so that should be a good sign. But I can't get the dream of the first prenatal without heartbeat out of my head.

At least the weather has been 'cooperating' by keeping me plenty busy shoveling snow. And more snow. And whacking ice. And shoveling even more snow. We must have gotten more than three feet already and it is not even winter yet!!!! At least the kids are enjoying it. They are spending lots of time sledding. We got a big sled that fits four of them together, and they have gotten so much use out of it already!

I have an amaryllis and a bunch of paper white narcissus blooming in my window sill. It helps with the winter gloom, but I have to admit that I rather would be gardening outside than inside! LOL This is the time of the year that I always think we should move down south, but then during the summer I am so glad we didn't! :-) And I hate moving anyway, after the Moving Year From Hell a while ago, so I better get used to New England winters :-)

I am still waiting for that second trimester energy surge. My house sure does need it. But it hasn't happened yet, although I do think that I am a tad less exhausted than I was before. But not enough yet to actually get things done! I did send out a lot of Christmas cards though, which I hadn't been doing for years, so I feel pretty good about that!

The swimming hasn't happened this week, on Tuesday I plainly overslept. The training is such an awful early time in the morning! I woke up five minutes after it started, so decided to just go back to sleep LOL That was after spending most of Monday snow shoveling though, so I wasn't worried about not getting exercise :-) I think my body just needed the rest after all the shoveling. On Thursday we had an ice layer covered with a few inches snow on our driveway, and somehow I didn't want to deal with that early in the morning. So had to miss that one too :( Oh well, there's always next week :-)

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Waiting Impatiently!

Still no kicks, still waiting, still wondering, I wish this baby would make his presence known a bit more!!! I am 17.5 weeks now, so it should be soon. I just wish it had happened already, I am anxiously awaiting those first kicks! The waiting is nerve wracking.

Snow! Luckily there are lots of things to keep me busy while waiting. We got our first major snow storm last weekend, dumping almost two feet of snow on us, sigh. We have a pretty challenging driveway, and no snowblower, so we spent a lot of time snow shoveling. A few hours on Saturday, and then the whole morning on Sunday. Well, at least I didn't have to swim or walk to keep in shape :-)

On Tuesday I went swimming again early in the morning, the master's swim team, pretty intense, but a very good workout. I am glad I signed up for this. Now if only I wasn't the slowest in the whole team :-) Well, I guess at least there's a lot of room for improvement!! LOL

I had to take Erik in to the doctor this week, he had a weird rash. Turned out to be impetigo, so he is on oral antibiotics now. Blech! At least it does seeem to be clearing up. It looked enough like chicken pox, that the nurse freaked out when she saw us. I didn't think it was chickenpox, but she clearly was not convinced :-)

Friday was wall climbing day. Our homeschool group got permission to use a climbing wall in a local school. The four older kids all attempted to climb this wall. Cees was the only one who made it to the top, but they all did have fun. And it's good gross motor activity now that it's so cold outside. Although sledding stays fun, they just can't do it for too long before coming in frozen solid :-)

This weekend was chocolate class at the King Arthur Flour Baking Education. It was with Lora Brody, and she is an excellent teacher. She has a wicked sense of humor. We made tons of chocolatey goodies, I think I will have gained a lot of weight at my next prenatal :-) The chocolate playdough was the biggest hit with my kids. Although they enjoyed the chocolate pecan torte with espresso glaze too :-)

Now we are not looking forward to yet another snow storm, supposed to start tomorrow night. I am so ready for spring!!! But I guess that's another thing that I will have to wait for :-) And hopefully the first kicks at least will be here a long time before spring!

Friday, December 05, 2003

First Prenatal!!!!

I know it's a bit late for a first prenatal at 16 weeks, but I just was not ready before this! Not even sure whether I was ready now, but I figured it was about time to go in :-) We talked a lot about my birthing options, she will need my surgery records to see how extensive the damage to my uterus is. From the way things went during the surgery, I don't think it can be too bad, but we hope to find out more when we see my records. The ob said that she was chipping away at the fibroid, and then she perforated the uterus (this was during a hysteroscopic procedure). She tried to repair it via a laparoscopy, but that didn't work. So she ended up doing a myomectomy, where she just cut me open to get the damage repaired.

She told me that the fibroid wasn't very big, it just was in a very awkward place. All this makes me hope that the scar can't be too big either, but I guess we'll see.

When the midwife has the records, she'll talk to the obs she usually works with and see what they think of it, and what my options are. She did not expect them to be supportive of homebirth under those circumstances, but that was not really a surprise to me. She is hoping that they might 'approve' me for birthing at the hospital they are practicing, which would be a much better choice for me than our local teaching hospital. I trust those obs a lot more than I would trust a ob on call at our local hospital, since they had homebirths themselves. I used them as backup for my last four homebirths, and always have been happy with them. Not that I really needed them, since I had uncomplicated homebirths, but it was nice to know that there were good, trustworthy obs that I could transfer to if I ever did run into a complication during birth. I also have heard a lot of good things about the hospital/birthing center where they practice, more than about our local teaching hospital. So I hope this will be an option for me. Although I have to admit that I really just want to have this miracle baby at home!

My uterus measured 15.5cm, which is right on track for my 16 weeks pg. She said she wants to see it within 2 cm, which this definitely is. But can I confess that I really had preferred it to be 16cm or 16.5cm? LOL I am just too picky! Or too prone to worrying during this pregnancy.

We tried to figure out when I felt movement with the other pregnancies, and it seems to be somewhere between 17 to 19 weeks, so it should be soon now. I just wish it would start already, I don't think I will really relax till I feel this little one kick!

Blood pressure and weight were perfect, and she took blood for prenatal labwork. We didn't listen for the heartbeat yet, since it's too early for the fetoscope, and I don't really want to use the doppler. But next appt, we should be able to hear the heartbeat. By then, I should feel kicking already too, so I won't really need that reassurance anymore, but it still will be neat.

We are preparing for Sinterklaas tonight. I am making borstplaat, a traditional, Dutch, Sinterklaascandy. It's pretty easy to make, but I still have managed to mess it up a few times over the last few weeks LOL. Today's is a caramelly variant, going to try to make a white one and a brown (chocolate) one later. Here's the recipe for borstplaat if any one wants to try it.



- 2 Tbsp water
- 5 Tbsp heavy cream
- 250 g sugar (about 1 1/8 cups, so a bit more than a cup)

Combine ingredients in saucepan, bring to a boil, stirring almost continuously. Once it boils, let it boil for about 6 minutes (on medium low), keep stirring. Check the temp, I have found that 210 F seems to be the optimal temp, but I have to admit that I am not an expert yet either :-) But I have had the best results with this temp. Take the pan off the heat, and keep stirring, stirring, till it gets thicker, thick enough that it gets harder to stir, and that it starts keeping its shape when you take a few drops and drop them on top of the rest. Now pour it into greased molds, or just on some wax paper in a 8x8 inch baking dish. It won't cover the whole bottom, if it does, most likely it wasn't thick enough yet (in that case, don't panic, it's still edible, just will be a bit too crumbly). Let it cool down in a spot where the bottom gets air too, I usually put mine on a cookie rack. After a while (15 mins or more) you can take out the wax paper and borstplaat carefully,and put it on the cookie rack, so it will cool down faster. When it has cooled down, remover the wax paper, and break the borstplaat in small pieces. Enjoy!!!

If you want brown borstplaat, add 2 Tbsp of cocoa to the saucepan when you combine the ingredients. The brown will taste more chocolatey, the white tastes more creamy.

Thursday, December 04, 2003


I have really been enjoying our health club membership. Even more so than the kids I think :-) Went swimming again on Sunday, lap swimming, and easily did 40 lengths this time. Well, I had to rest a few times, but it went much easier than the week before. So either I am in better condition already, or my swimming technique is coming back to me :-)

Encouraged by that, I decided to join the 'Master's Swim Team'. It sounded good, just a nice, workout type of training. They said something like it didn't matter how good you are, as long as you can swim 2 or 3 laps you are ok. Wow, it was a bit more challenging than that! LOL Tons of swimming, timing, counting strokes, learning all kinds of drills with flippers. Totally exhausts me, but so much fun! And I feel more energetic during the rest of the day, just not during the training LOL. Today we did a lot of 50m series, with all kinds of mathematical formulas about how many strokes and how long to rest. She timed me and said I usually made a time of between 1:00 and 1:05 minutes, so I guess now I need to work on improving that. At the end we had to go FAST, and I managed them between 51 and 53 seconds! Woohoo! Took all my energy though. I know it's not much yet, but I am happy with it anyway, since I haven't been doing any swimming for almost 10 years. Geez, I am old! :-)

I almost don't dare to admit it, but I am 16w2d already! How did that happen???? And how can I still be in disbelief and wonder? Happy to have made it this far, but afraid to fully believe I will be holding a live baby in the end. I am less nauseous, and I think a bit less tired too. But the heartburn has started, which seems early. Now if only the kicking would start, that's what I am really waiting for!!!

Tomorrow morning will be my first prenatal. I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand I am looking forward to seeing my midwife again. On the other hand, I am so not looking forward to having to birth in the hospital this time because of the myomectomy. I haven't really been wanting to deal with it too much yet, since I first wanted to make it past the danger zone. After six home births, I have a hard time with the fact that a hospital birth seems unavoidable this time. On the other hand, a high risk birth still beats all those miscarriages. I also have a certain trepidation because everything has been going so well without seeing any one medical. Somehow I am afraid to jinx it, now that I have my first appointment.

Tomorrow night, we celebrate Sinterklaas, a Dutch predecessor of Santa Claus. There will be presents, and special candy. The weird thing is that everything has been wrapped already! Over the last 2 days too, but still... What happened to procrastination and 3 am gift wrapping sessions? LOL