The Story of Her Birth, Part 2

For the first part of this story, read here.


I woke up around 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning with some contractions that almost immediately felt pretty strong, so I started timing them with an app while I got up and started to get things together for the hospital, just in case.  I was already mostly packed, but there are always the last minute things you need to get, so I was doing that.  Since it was 1:30 in the morning I didn’t want to wake anyone up unless I was pretty sure that I was actually in labor, and I was assuming that even if I were in labor I had several hours ahead of me. The contractions were incredibly intense.

By 2:00 the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and over a minute long and really painful.  So I went to wake up John, and as I walked down the hall to get him I remember sort of shivering and thinking that it felt the way transition felt with Will. But surely it couldn’t be that yet, right? John got up, started a pot of coffee, and jumped in the shower.  I called our friend Carrie (who was going to come watch Will) and our doula (both of whom said they would get here in 20-30 minutes).

Pretty soon after I made those calls (I think while John was in the shower) the contractions got crazy.  Like actually out of control insane.  I think I have blocked out most of this part of the labor, because they would come and I would just involuntarily scream at the top of my lungs.  It’s hard to describe, but it was just qualitatively a different kind of pain than I have ever experienced or can even imagine experiencing. A little after 2 I could tell that the contractions were pushing the baby down. (With Will I never felt an urge to push, and I had to physically, consciously push him out, and it was horrible.  With this labor it was like my body was squeezing the baby out whether or not I wanted it to.) Around this point I yelled at John to call our midwife at the hospital because I knew I wouldn’t be able to use the phone. I don’t know if he had time to make the call, because right around then I could feel the baby nearly crowning and things got intense really fast.


Right around then Kate, our doula, got to our house. It was 2:25 a.m. (I wasn’t paying attention to the time at this point, but later as we were trying to piece together the story she told us that’s when she arrived).  As soon as she came in the door she said, “Ok, let’s get you to the hospital.” And I told her I could feel the baby’s head coming out and there was no way I could get in a car, let alone drive to the hospital (even though it was only 5 minutes away). So she very calmly but firmly said, “Ok, Laurie, go get in the bathtub.  John, call 911.”

I obeyed and knelt in the tub. I grabbed a towel that was hanging next to the tub and set it underneath me in case the baby fell out.  I didn’t want her to get hurt. John called the paramedics.  Our friend Carrie showed up soon after I got in the tub, which was beautiful because around then Will started to cry, so she was with him. (The bathroom and his room share a wall, so he could hear everything.)  Kate sat next to me and called the midwife at the hospital to have some support on the other end of the phone.  I remember her saying, “I don’t do this! I don’t deliver babies!” while also telling me to try to slow my breathing to slow the baby, which I tried but couldn’t really do.  At some point during all of this my water broke.

Looking back it feels like such a blur. I remember being so relieved that I was actually in labor and giving birth (because I was so over pregnancy at that point). And also being ecstatic that it was happening at home (see previous post). And also being terrified that it was happening at home. But I think mostly my body just took over and every part of me was just so consumed by the contractions that were just coming on, one after the other.


An ambulance and a fire truck showed up but they went to the wrong house, so John ran outside, showed them where our house was, and then sprinted back inside (I was oblivious to all of this).  By the time he came back in I could feel the baby’s head crowning. I held her head with my hands and tried to push back a little to slow her down. John straddled the tub and Kate told him to get ready to catch the baby. And with one contraction my body pushed her out, all at once. John caught her and Kate told him to hand her to me.  Kate looked and announced that it was a girl! And so there I was, kneeling in our bathtub, covered in blood, holding my little vernix-covered girl, shaking with pain/elation/adrenaline/shock/etc. It was 2:38 in the morning, just a little over an hour after labor started.

I’m not sure how long it was before the paramedics came inside, maybe two minutes? A female paramedic came into the bathroom and suctioned her out (I think) and clamped her cord.  She let John cut it. They wrapped the baby up in one of those crinkly survival blankets that kind of looks like aluminum foil and someone took her for maybe two minutes while I was getting out of the bathtub.  (Pictures of the paramedics’ baby delivery kit below. The remnants of it were still in our bathroom when we got home from the hospital, so I took a few pictures.) Someone (or maybe me) grabbed a beach towel from our shelves and wrapped me up from the waist down, and I walked out to a stretcher that was waiting outside the door.  At this point I could hear Will inside screaming, “Mommy, Mommy!” and it was one of the hardest things in the world not to run back inside to him.  But anyway, they got me in the ambulance and handed Margaret back to me, and we went to the hospital.  The paramedics wanted to hook me up to an IV and I managed to decline it. I just lay there (still in shock, and still in quite a bit of pain because I hadn’t delivered the placenta yet). But I was cradling this tiny little person and everything else sort of disappeared.



We got to the hospital, they whisked us through the ER and into one of the L&D rooms where the midwife who would have attended the birth delivered the placenta and then stitched me up. The stitching was by far the worst part of everything. I had a 2nd degree laceration and I don’t know how many stitches she put in, but it seemed to take an hour.  But while the midwife was stitching I held little Margaret and John and Kate sat on either side of me and we all started talking about the birth, telling Lisa the details and just laughing about how crazy it all was.

After that, Kate left, and John and I were alone in the room (picture below– the room was BEAUTIFUL) for a long time, just talking and gazing at our little girl and just re-telling our parts of the birth story over and over in complete amazement. We both just couldn’t believe what had just happened. I kept little Margaret on my chest for hours.  She had started nursing quite well while I was being stitched, and she kept at it. The two of us watched the pink sunrise outside our window (picture below) and existed in the golden newness and joy of our precious, tiny girl.


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And that is the story of how little Margaret entered the world. It was amazing, and essentially my dream come true. The quickness of the birth left me more torn than I probably would have been otherwise, and I was upset about that for a few weeks afterwards, but I’m all healed up now and just thankful beyond measure that she was safe and healthy. And even now, almost 3 months later, I cannot believe that I have a daughter. A little girl. Who is now bright-eyed and smiles at us with these radiant smiles and is just too sweet and darling for words. And on her birth certificate, the location of birth says: home.

The Story of Her Birth, Part 1

(A quick note– I wrote this weeks and weeks ago but have been so reluctant about posting about the birth for some reason.  But here we go.)


I should be taking a nap.  Or folding laundry. Or vacuuming the floors.  Or organizing the 3-drawer dresser that now is supposed to hold clothes and diapers for 2 children. Or cleaning up the table from lunch. Or lots of other things. Mostly, I should be taking a nap.

But I wanted to write out Margaret’s birth story, because it was pretty amazing and I wanted to share it. I’m also hesitant about sharing it because I think we live in a culture of idolatry of birth stories: who had the most natural labor, who birthed at home, who birthed the biggest baby without tearing and was running a half marathon two weeks later, who gave birth in the gentle waters of the Caribbean while swimming with dolphins, etc. So I’m not sharing this to say, “Wow, look how awesome my birth was.” Because it was beautiful, but it was also hard.

Our doula, when we were preparing for Will’s birth, told me that there might be points during labor where I felt like I was dying.  And she said, in a way you are dying.  Your old self is dying and you are being reborn as a mother. She’s not a Christian (as far as I know), but she said that. And I found that to be so true with Will, and true again with this little one.

And as I have been recovering from this birth with a 2nd degree laceration in a place of the body you really don’t want lacerated, I’ve been thinking about the story of Jacob, and how he wrestled with God and was broken but victorious. How the mysterious man/God “did not prevail against Jacob” but “touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him” (Gen. 32:25).  And Jacob clung fiercely to the man/God until he received a blessing. So Jacob walked away in the morning blessed but “limping because of his hip.”


And I think birth is like that. This massive encounter between us and God, in which we fight tooth and nail and are pushed beyond every limit, beyond our capacity for pain, but we hang in there, we keep fighting, and we leave the wrestling match broken and transformed and yet blessed.  And I think the three tend to go together, the brokenness, the transformation, and the being blessed.

So I’m sharing this story not as a story of “Look how amazing I am” (because this birth literally just happened to me) but as a story of how I went through a labor and emerged from it broken and stitched up and limping and somehow a mother of a daughter.

So the birth… This story really begins a few years ago, circa 2010, when I watched the documentary The Business of Being Born.  I knew then that I wanted a home birth.  No hospitals for me, thank you very much.  I would be like Ricki Lake! I would be one of those amazing, strong women who pushes babies out in their very own bathtubs! I told John this plan, and he immediately said, “Absolutely not.” Those were his exact words.


But we were awhile away from having kids, so we kind of dropped the whole thing. When we got pregnant with #1 I read all the books about birthing, home birth, natural birth, etc., and was convinced by Ina May that I would NOT be able to give birth in a hospital. After a few conversations (and after personally reading Spiritual Midwifery from cover to cover) John was on board with home birth.  To make a long story short, we met with the most amazing midwife, loved her, and then hit the brick wall of our insurance company who said they would not pay anything toward a home birth.  So we found a lovely family practice doctor who still delivers babies, and I drove a few towns over for all my appointments with her. And she was amazing.

So I gave birth in a hospital but it was beautiful and I survived and I didn’t get MRSA and life moved on. With the second pregnancy I once again looked into the possibility of a home birth, petitioned our insurance company for one, and they granted it. But we also knew that it might be hard to get them to reimburse us all the money, and for a variety of other reasons (including the fact that the hospital here was renovated this year and each room comes with its own tub, see picture below) we decided to stick with the midwives at the OB practice and give birth in the hospital. It was a really hard decision to make, and I was pretty much torn over it every single day.

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I really wanted to give birth in that beautiful tub in the hospital.  And spend 2 days recovering without a toddler climbing on top of me. But I mostly really, really wanted to have this baby at home. So I daydreamed of going into labor and giving birth in our bathtub, or on the side of the road on the way to the hospital.  Glamorous things like that. I would read stories of precipitous births on random people’s blogs and think wistfully how lucky those women were.

So my due date came and went, and I was getting massively impatient.  So impatient that I even bought a bottle of castor oil and was very close to throwing caution to the wind and trying that method. On Friday, 3 days after she was due, I took Will on a walk for about 2 hours, and that night we went to dinner at Ithaca Brewing Co. with some friends and I ate a beautiful amazing hamburger and drank half a beer.  Came home and went to bed, preparing for yet another night of feeling like an elephant and dreading another day of pregnant existence. And then…

(Read here for Part II)

And Finally, Here She Is

DSC_1420 DSC_1436Little Margaret Joy was born two weeks ago, after about an hour and fifteen minutes of labor, in our bathtub. The short version of the story: by the time I realized I was actually in labor things progressed so quickly that we didn’t make it to the hospital.  John caught her, and our doula was with us as well. The paramedics got there within minutes, and MJ and I rode in the ambulance to the hospital. The pain was unimaginably insane but it was also one of the most incredible and glorious experiences ever.  Hopefully a longer version of the story to come at some point….

37 Weeks and the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up


37 weeks.  Massive nesting continues.  I have literally crossed off a list of about 20 project-y type things that have been lingering on my to-do list for months.  And gotten rid of 2 more bags of books, several more bags of clothes, and several more bags of things for Goodwill.  I’m emphasizing the word “more” because I already got rid of so much stuff a few weeks ago, so the fact that there was more of everything to go feels really satisfying. This second wave of purging was inspired by The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Amazing, lovely, wonderful little book. I highly recommend it.  I found that there seemed to be a symbiotic relationship, somehow, between getting rid of physical objects and also having the energy to accomplish onerous, project-y tasks that have seemed impossible until now.  Or maybe it’s just the fact that it’s not -15 degrees every day.  Or that I’m not working now.  At any rate, I have been super productive and our house is free of junk and the book is lovely and I highly recommend it– we have more open, free, clean spaces in our tiny apartment now than we did 4 years ago in the same space with no children. (Oh, and most of this second wave of cleaning stuff out was made possible by the most AMAZING HUSBAND IN THE WORLD, who single handedly put together a massive IKEA dresser, cleaned out a bunch of his own personal stuff, hung pictures for me, and basically did hours and hours of cleaning/organizing/etc. with/for me last week.)

So, pregnancy stuff:


Weight gain: 25 pounds

Cravings: Just ice, but it has to have sort of a crinkly texture, and I can only find the right kind in a few locations in town.  And weirdly, chamomile tea with a splash of half and half. And this kale salad. I literally can eat an entire bunch of kale in one sitting if it’s made this way.  I’ve been making it with just salt, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, a very scant number of raisins, and lots of crushed red pepper flakes. A foodie friend of mine brought the most amazing kale salad to a potluck awhile back, and she said the secret to kale salads is to massage the greens for awhile once you have them chopped.  Maybe everyone already knows that, but it was a revelation to me, and it makes the salad much easier to eat!

Other stuff: John has been gone all week, so it’s just been my huge pregnant self and the crazy toddler.  I may or may not have curled up in the fetal position for about an hour and  a half this morning while Will watched Daniel Tiger. But otherwise we’ve been making it ok.  The worst pregnancy thing right now is that I’ve been sleeping pretty badly, waking up around 3 or 4 and just being wide awake for hours, sometimes all the way until morning. I drink chamomile tea, use lavender essential oil, take calming baths before bed, have calming bedtime rituals and everything.  Nothing seems to work. Otherwise, I’m doing pretty well.  At least being up at night with a baby won’t be a shock to the system?!

And some pictures of random things: a tiny, rose pink shirt I found at the consignment store and fell in love with, in case it’s a girl; peonies finally in bloom; and a Matisse print from IKEA!  (We went there when we were in Maryland two weekends ago to buy a dresser for John, and I also finally got this!)


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A Few Things

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My mom came to visit for a bit last week and just played with Will, washed dishes, babysat, and generally was a wonderful grandmother!  She sang songs, played and read with him nonstop, and treated us to delicious meals out.  Will is smitten with her. And we are so thankful for all her help.

Will is saying new words every day.  I’ve stopped trying to keep up.  He pronounces flower “fwowee” and it melts my heart. His car/truck/construction site vocabulary is quickly outstripping that of all other categories.  He has a little green dump truck that he takes to bed every night and calls “dump.” Oh the little boy-ness of this little boy.

It’s getting warmer here, finally.  It is a miracle. We finally took the plastic insulating wrap off the windows.  I’m 30 weeks along in pregnancy and have been wanting to write a pregnancy update, but that will have to wait for another day.  The short version: things are going well, except my poor bladder.  And all the excessive weight gain. But other than that.  The baby is kicking around like crazy, and these weeks are going by fast.  Eating lots of almonds and cashews, and salads with soft boiled eggs or sardines or chickpeas on top.  With this salad dressing, when I have enough cashews and energy to make it. Drinking nettle and raspberry leaf tea.  And seltzer water, oh the seltzer water. Trying to remember the cod liver oil but forgetting most days and just taking my gummy prenatal vitamin and hoping that I haven’t completely ruined this small person’s chances in life by drinking a small, tiny, minuscule amount of coffee most mornings since around 20ish weeks.  (It should be ok, right?) Anyway, more soon, including a picture of my enormous self! So stay tuned!

La Grossesse and Other Matters


Will is entering a stage of sort of incomprehensible, ineffable cuteness.  I just literally do not even know where to begin. This picture sums up quite a lot.  He’s saying new words every day, random ones like “candle” and “steam” and I think he said his first two word sentence today.  We’ve told him that we can’t play in our yard because the lady who lives in a small house behind ours lets her dog poop all over the yard and doesn’t clean it up.  Today Will looked out the window at the yard and wistfully said, “Poo poo, ruff ruff.” (“Ruff ruff” being “dog”– he calls all animals by the sound they make, except for rabbits, which are “hop hop.”) So, basically, my child is a genius.

Anyway, I swore to myself I wouldn’t write a blog post to complain about the weather, but I just have to say that March in the north is worse than all of winter in the south combined.  Every year I forget how terrible March is, how it’s still 10 degrees at night, still in the 30s every single day, and how April actually won’t be that much better.


We had one day a few weeks ago that was sunny and 50 degrees, and when I got together with a few mom friends this morning (at an indoor gym for little kids, because it’s 34 degrees and raining here), one of the moms and I were talking about how we both felt like we were a different person that day.  She said wistfully, “I was a nice, happy person.” I was too, my friend, I was too. But most of these other days we are mean and sad because the weather here is soul-killing and horrible.  I haven’t told John this yet, but if we live here another year I am moving back in with my parents (in Nashville) right after Christmas and staying until at least mid-April.  (Is that ok, John? I hope it is because it sounds like I’m kidding, but I’m actually not.)

In other news, I ordered a pair of maternity panty hose a few days ago because I’m going to a wedding this weekend and that’s just one of the things you need.  The package arrived and quite charmingly was written in French and English: maternity hose.  Which in French, apparently, is “collants de grossesse.”  I took just enough French to know that “grosse” is the French word for “fat.”  So, basically, pregnancy in France is referred to as fatness. It’s an apt word, at least for me, because something really primal kicks in when I’m pregnant and no matter how much or how little I actually eat my body becomes INSANELY efficient as storing it all as massive amounts of fat. I’m not even going to talk about it. Except that I am hungry ALL THE TIME and I am still gaining more weight than I should be gaining.  But whatever.

I guess I’m ok with being fat if it means growing a tiny human being in my uterus. Except I hate all women who are able to be pregnant and have skinny legs.  Other than that I am just fine and not bitter at all. But if it weren’t for the grossesse and the miserable weather I think Will’s cuteness would actually kill me for joy, so I’ll take being fat and cold if it means getting to live this sweet life with John and my precious baby who says whole sentences about poo poo.

This Happened


My baby was born on Monday.  William Emeth (the ‘h’ is silent), 7 lbs 7 oz, after 12 hours of labor.  John is basically the best dad ever– he is literally the baby whisperer, somehow a lactation expert (multiple times he’s come over and re-attached the baby for me, shown me a better way to hold him, etc.), and also has changed 99% of the diapers so far.  And is waiting on me hand and foot.  Amazing.  My precious mom has been in town for a few days and has been selflessly washing every dish, doing all the laundry, and giving our little place a thorough scrubbing down.  So thankful and completely in baby heaven.  It might be awhile before I write more, but I just wanted to let everyone know.

9 Great Books for Natural Pregnancy and Birth


38 weeks pregnant. Haven’t cooked a real thing in the kitchen in weeks.  It’s been toast with avocado smushed on it, or toast with liverwurst from the Piggery, or toast with scrambled eggs or toast with cheese or toast with sardines or beans with tortillas.  And collard greens.  And celery with hummus.  That is literally all we have eaten for weeks I’m pretty sure.  So not much to write about in that department.

I am experiencing a weird, not quite out of body but close, kind of feeling.  Just super loose and a little clumsy and I can feel my brain encased in a fog.  It’s bizarre but also kind of awesome.  The baby’s head is down (thank goodness) but posterior (hopefully he’ll roll over at some point?!).  Doing cat/cow pose as much as my wrists and knees will allow.  We’ll see.

Anyway, since I don’t have much else to write about I thought I would share some of my favorite books about pregnancy and birth.  Most of these I checked out from the library, many of them more than once.  I read several others but these are the ones that stand out.  (Actual photo of my huge self below.)


Health, Herbalism, and Nutrition

Real Food for Mother and Baby, Nina Plank.  Great book about prenatal nutrition, and not just the typical “eat lean protein and drink skim milk” kind of stuff– Nina talks about raw milk, eating chocolate and having the occasional glass of wine.  She also talks about foods for fertility, breastfeeding and first foods for baby.  Really enjoyable read.

The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition, and Other Holistic Choices, Aviva Jill Romm.  This is a wonderful reference book for pregnancy. (This was probably my version of What to Expect, which I didn’t read, and I wouldn’t recommend.) The first half contains a ton of information about what to expect during pregnancy, information about diet, posture, exercise, even a chapter called “Emotional Changes by Trimester,” which is incredibly affirming and helpful. The second half is basically a reference for various ailments that commonly occur during pregnancy (backaches, constipation, fatigue, heartburn, etc.), and how to treat them naturally.  She gives herbal and nutritional remedies and includes recipes for different teas, etc.  I followed her guidelines for a mild UTI early in pregnancy (rather than taking the antibiotics that my first doctor prescribed) and it healed up in no time.  I’ve been using the library’s copy of this, but it would be worth buying as a reference.

Herbal Healing for Women Rosemary Gladstar.  Oh, this book, how I love it.  How I do not love the taste of red raspberry & nettle leaf tea, but I do love this book.  Recipes for salves and lotions and mostly teas and tinctures to help with various issues and ailments.  A TON of great information on herbs to take for fertility issues through the end of pregnancy, covering specific ailments during pregnancy as well as general teas and formulas for toning the uterus, etc.

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year Susan Weed.  Another great book on herbalism, focused exclusively on (obviously) the childbearing year.

Pregnancy & Childbirth

Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May Gaskin.  Part midwifery manual, part collection of amazing birth stories from the Farm, this book is a must-read for pregnancy.  The birth stories at the beginning are beautiful and inspiring.  No birthing horror stories– just positive, encouraging narratives of natural births.  The rest of the book gives you a lot of great detailed information about labor and delivery, written as an actual manual for midwives, but also good stuff to know.  John read all the way through this one and knows more about birth at this point than I do.

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, Ina May Gaskin.  This book also contains a lot of birth stories but doesn’t include all the super technical instructions for midwives that Spiritual Midwifery does.  Just really great information about birth from a perspective that you’re not going to get in What to Expect or other mainstream books.  A must-read.  This book also has some great pictures, including one of a baby emerging face up (p. 58), which ladies, you must show to your husbands at some point to startle them out of their minds.

Natural Hospital Birth, Cynthia Gabriel.  If you’ve read a lot of other books about natural birth, parts of this can be a little repetitive, but I found most of this book to be really clearly written and a helpful overview of what to expect during labor, ways to cope with pain, etc.  A really, really good read for women wanting to give birth naturally in a hospital (and a great section on why hiring a doula is the best idea ever, if your partner needs convincing, which blessedly mine didn’t).

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, Henci Goer.  Great and super informative overview of a lot of the medical stuff surrounding birth.

Hypnobirthing  This one is a little out there, I’ll admit, and the cover is a little creepy, but it also might be my favorite book about labor.  The premise (which the author adopted from Grantly Dick-Read) is that fear of pain during labor actually causes more pain.  It’s a little seductive, because the author says that birth doesn’t have to be painful, so I think it would be possible to read this and then get really discouraged when labor turns out to be, well, painful.  But there are some great exercises in it for breathing and staying calm during labor, and this is one of the few books that I still care to read at this point– no super technical terminology or worst case scenarios.  Just calm, encouraging, positive perspective on the birthing process and super practical, if totally out-there, exercises to practice for labor.

Anyway, I’d love to hear if any of y’all have great pregnancy book recommendations, or if anyone has a different perspective on any of these books!

Living in Small Spaces: Nursery, Part I

DSC_0549It was in the 60s today, and the sun was out.  Old hat for everyone who doesn’t live in a sub-arctic region, but for us it was pure heaven.  The baby is due in a month and the “nursery” is still full of our office-y kind of stuff and all our other storage spaces have seem to run out of room.  So we went on a sort of cleaning/clearing out frenzy today.  Or I started to and then John graciously stepped in and helped.

So now I have a bag for Goodwill and another bag for Trader K’s (a consignment store here that gives you store credit for nice used clothes) ready to go.  In the past few weeks I’ve also taken bags full of books and random, unused home goods to donate (sheets for beds we no longer have, some kitchen things that never get used, pillows we had too many of).  So now we have a little more space. Though the nursery is still half office and pretty much a mess.

DSC_0548I think the usual thinking with having a baby is that you’re adding another person so you need a bigger car and a bigger house or apartment or whatever.  Our thinking has been: let’s get rid of enough stuff so that we can bring in a baby and still have enough space to breathe.  This means that we’ve had to clear out our 8.5′ x 7.5′ guest room/office to make a nursery.  We’re keeping a high shelf on the wall with some office things, but we got rid of our twin bed (sorry, guests!) and we’re going to buy a new bookcase from IKEA for our living room to move the rest of our office-type things into (as well as all the books that are double stacked on our current bookshelves).

DSC_0550Along with getting rid of things we’re also trying not to accumulate much new stuff for the baby.   We got a mini-crib instead of a full-sized one (we’ll see how long it lasts– the mattress can be adjusted and goes down almost as low as the floor).  We have a desk/table that we might use for a changing table if it fits in the room once we get a little dresser in there.  If it doesn’t fit, I’m going to change the baby on an old towel on the ground.

Anyway, the room is still in progress.  I’ll post more pictures once everything is finished.

Also, for the record, I’m not trying to be all “look how frugal and simple we are,” because most people in the world would look at our tiny apartment and think that we must be some kind of royalty. (Running water that is clean!  Electricity! Pantry and fridge full of food!) And some people we know here lived in a 400 sq ft. apartment with 2 babies– the younger of whom slept in her car seat for 6 months because there wasn’t room for two cribs.  And there are people who have more space than us who are able to take care of foster kids or offer rooms for people to stay in.  So I’m not saying that we’ve arrived at some holy pinnacle of simplicity or that we’re virtuous because we live in a (relatively) small apartment. Not at all.

I’m just writing this for people who for whatever reason live in a small-ish space or for people who feel like they are too cramped wherever they are.  I’m just saying that you don’t (necessarily) need a bigger house or apartment.  It’s possible to go through boxes and drawers and closets and find things to give away or sell or donate and carve out enough space to stay right where you are.  And if any of you have ideas about how to make a nursery in a small space I would love to hear your thoughts!

Resources for clearing out clutter & living simply:

8 Tips for Editing Your Life that Work for Any Budget

Living With Less

Simple Mom (blog with lots of ideas for organizing and living more simply)

Great series on simplifying:

Simplifying in the Bedroom
Simplifying in the Bathroom
Simplifying in the Kitchen
Simplifying Your Wardrobe
Simplifying Your Purchases
Simplifying the Toy Collection
Simplifying Your Home Office

Organized Simplicity: Clutter Free Approach to Intentional Living (book)

From Clutter to Clarity (book)

Collection of Soups, for Those Still in Winter

DSC_0564I know it’s been awhile.  Life has been a little busy.  John and I went to the panhandle of Florida for a long weekend visit to his brother’s family.  It was wonderful to see them and also wonderful to bask in 70 something degree weather for a few days.  It’s funny how much you can start to miss sunshine.  We came back to snow on the ground and more snow last night.

We stopped at the grocery on the way home so I could buy a bunch of collard greens.  After a day of airport food all I could think about was some sauteed collards.  I’ve been eating a lot of those lately.  Don’t know if I’ve mentioned that.  At 32 weeks pregnant I am mostly craving heaps of chocolate ice cream (which I try not to eat) and collard greens (which I do try to eat).  Maybe I can write out a semblance of a recipe for them soon.  (But until then here’s a good basic recipe that works for collards as well as the suggested kale or chard.  For my greens I use the basic elements of her recipe, but I don’t use parmesan and I cook the stems and also usually add a little splash of apple cider vinegar and some hot sauce and maybe 1 tsp. of honey or maple syrup if I’m feeling really fancy.)

Also when we got home John wanted to check my car to make sure it would turn on (the battery has been a little temperamental lately) and sure enough the battery was dead.  So at 9:00 after a full day of traveling (three separate airplanes…) and in the freezing cold he took my car to get a new battery.  Incredible man.

But back to the point of this post:  Heidi Swanson just posted a collection of some of her favorite soups on 101 Cookbooks, so I thought I’d share the link for any of you who live in a land of perpetual winter and might want a little inspiration.  I’m trying to decide which one of these I’d like to make this week.  Maybe this one?  Or this garlic soup…..