Harvest Season (a pictoral update)

I have so few words this week. Mostly pictures. We are working like crazy to be good stewards of the bountiful fruit harvest God blessed us with this year.


The branches in the orchard are literally snapping under the weight of our largest harvest yet.


We’ve been blessed by friends willing to come labor with us, we could never do this without help!


Labor Day we pressed 73 gallons, and estimate that is only 1/4 of our apples!
(These gallons were for the freezer, thus the head space in the jugs)

Thanks to my dear friend, September, for the above photos and all their family’s help that day!


On days we’re not pressing, we are making sauce. It’s so fun to have two helpers in the kitchen this year, with Claire graduating to the kitchen crew.


Pears are also ripe, and even the littlest man was able to help pick our little dwarf tree clean.




Every meal contains apples! Here’s an oven pancake. We’ve also enjoyed pork chops with applesauce, and there’s a pie on the agenda today for a certain man’s birthday today! (Happy birthday, Jeremy!)


Jesse is my right hand in the kitchen anymore. Here he is cranking out yet another batch of applesauce.


Meanwhile, I was paring pears.


Tomorrow we’ll be pressing cider again. If you’re in the area, please feel free to stop in! I make a big pot of chilli for the helpers and everyone goes home with fresh (free!) cider! Email me if you need directions. We’d love to see you!

And if you’d like to follow the fun on instagram, I’m @trinaholden and am using the hashtag #holdensciderpress to share pictures of our vintage cider press in action!

An Interview with Beth Learn of Fit2B Studio

Since finding Fit2B Online fitness studio in January 2013, I’ve been working out more consistently than I ever have in my life. I started to actually have fitness-related questions pop into an area in my mind that used to just have dust and silence. Then, in spring 2013, I got pregnant, and though her site is all about ‘tummy safe’ fitness, I really wanted the low down on what was safe for me as my belly grows. So, I fired off a bunch of my burning fitness questions to Bethany and she came back with these great answers!

Bethany–thanks for all the great videos! Now that I’m preggo, I’m wondering which of your workouts are best for pregnant moms?
Beth Learn of Fit2B: As a fitness instructor, I taught pilates and yoga and step and cycling all through my pregnancies, but it wasn’t until later when I realized I had a diastasis recti that wouldn’t go away that I also realized I may have hurt myself. My births were strong, and my body was strong, but my belly was blown apart. Armed with the information and research that I’ve been tracking down for the past 2 1/2 years, I’ve created a whole section of maternity workouts called the “Fit2B New Mama” pathway. Several of them contain vivid “mama-focused” imagery during the routines, while others are simply upright or side-lying moves that are wonderfully safe yet effective for keeping your core healthy and TOGETHER during pregnancy! Click here to view the Fit2B pathway for moms.

seth doing yoga

Seth doing Yoga Poses!

What is the best time of day to exercise, especially in relation to meals?

Beth Learn of Fit2B: If you define exercise as 30 minutes of moderate to strenuous activity, then my personal favorite time to “exercise” is in the evening about an hour after dinner. The husband has got the kids, and I’ve got my chores done, and I can head out. Some argue for early morning before breakfast. Some argue for 30 minutes after meals or an hour… But what if we define exercise as healthy movement? Because – face it – as moms, when do we have 30 minutes all at once to jump around and breathe hard? So how about we look at squatting down to pick up 47 socks, legos, pencils and bits of potted plant as exercise? How about we look at incorporating our transverse abdominus into doing dishes as exercise? How about we shift our perspective and see wrestling with our kids and taking short walks and gardening as exercise? Can I get an amen? Oh, if you don’t know what a “transverse abdominus” is, well, you have one, and it’s important, and you can find it with this video’s help >> CLICK!

How do you feel diet and fitness work together for weight loss?

Beth Learn of Fit2B: Fitness won’t work at all for weight loss if you just eat more because you’re more hungry because your’e working out more… make sense? Weight loss happens mostly in the kitchen and with your nutrition. That said, I didn’t lose the last of my baby weight until after I put my core back together and healed my diastasis because my digestion and energy levels were massively affected by that injury. If we heal our bodies, then I think nutrition gets a bit easier to manage.

What are some of the health concerns related to diastisis?

Beth Learn of Fit2B: As I just mentioned, diastasis recti – which is when the right and left sides of your six pack file for legal separation from each other (little joke) – can be the culprit behind digestive issues, but it’s also held responsible for bladder issues, prolapse, incontinence, bloating, constipation… basically anything related to your belly! Because if the muscles that are suppose to hold your core together are having a fight, there will be serious fallout. But it doesn’t have to lead to divorce {sticking with that image} because there can be healing and restoration. The two sides were DESIGNED to come back together. It’s just an issue of determining what is happening in your life that is keeping them apart: your alignment? your current exercise plan? your lack of rehabilitative core exercise? Check yourself for diastasis via this link and take our research survey today!

Which exercises are best for weight loss?

Beth Learn of Fit2B: Total body movements are the best weight loss because the more muscles you use, the more calories you burn, right? And the more natural the movement, the more naturally you’ll let go of excess weight and naturally stick to your plan. Walking is THE BEST exercise ever because, according to biomechanist Katy Bowman of Aligned and Well, it facilitates all the mechanisms necessary for life. Wow! It stretches and flexes everything, inside and out. But if you live in a rainy, snowy climate like I do, walking isn’t always a possibility, and that where Fit2B’s totaly body programming comes in ;)
I don’t know about you, but this makes me all excited about doing another workout! I love that I don’t have to wait for mild temperatures to start getting my body fit for summer fun!
This week I dipped into the fit2b kids videos and the kids and I love them! I use them now when energy and wiggles are threatening my sanity. I’ve also made a new rule–they have to do a workout before they watch an entertainment video. I always do them right along with the kids, so I’m benefiting, too! And did I mention the kids LOVE doing the workouts???
If you have more questions, check out Beth’s new Question and Answer page on her site, or connect with her on facebook or twitter if you don’t find the answer there! She has been so knowledgeable and encouraging to me as I have embraced fitness as a mom.

We survived ski season!

I must shout it from the top of some place very high: “I survived ski season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I don’t usually blog about my husband’s absences till after he’s home (that’s wise, dontcha think?) but now that ski season is officially over for us, I can tell you what the last 8 weekends have been like for our family (with pictures of one of them!)

My husband is ski school supervisor for an adaptive ski program at a ski mountain 1 1/2 hours from hour home. This means he helps children and adults enjoy the fun and freedom of the slopes, no matter what their disability. Isn’t that cool? I think he rocks. This also means he leaves at 6am Saturdays and Sundays for the duration of the program, and doesn’t get home till 6 or sometimes 8 that night.

In past years, we have made the effort to join him almost every weekend. This year, because the kids are no longer tiny babies who spend half the day napping in a porta crib in the corner of the ski lodge, and because we were still recovering from our mold problem, we only joined him once. The rest of the time, we cuddled up at home with movies and dad-less dinners (You have those, too, right?) breaking up the monotony by hauling ourselves to church with a challenging ratio of three toddlers to one parent. In the bitter cold.

Fridays lose all their charm as heralds of the weekend during this season, just sayin’.

And yet. And yet. I fully support and embrace what my husband does because:

A) I believe in sharing. Jeremy gives an inestimable gift to the people he give his time to each weekend. Why should I jealously hog his awesomeness to myself?

And,  B) I believe in supporting other’s passions. Jeremy has worked with this program for 14 years–twice as long as we’ve been married. I knew when I married him that our winters would look like this, and I was ok with that and continue to be ok with that because I’m addicted to the light in his eyes when he is embracing his passion. In fact, I began falling in love with him during ski season. (Was it that light in his eyes, or the fact that he would show up to Sunday evening church services still wearing his sexy ski gear? Hmmm. That is a question we will have to explore when I finally get around to writing the rest of our love story. ;))

But yesterday was the last day. The last day that I would watch the clock, serve dinner to the kids on paper plates, glance at the clock again, put on a movie or some wild dancing music for the kids to buy a little more sanity for myself, check my phone to calculate how long it’s been since his “on my way home” text, and finally see lights skim by the dining room windows and yell to myself, to the kids and to the world,

“Daddy’s HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”


Sunday last week we go to join Daddy for a day on the slopes. This is what the lake looks like at 6:30 on a Sunday morning in February. Brrrr.


It’s not terribly fun to get up at 5:30am (after only 5 hours sleep, mind you) so you have time to make a nourishing breakfast (chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal muffins, with soaking directions) and pack a family of 5 to leave by 6:30. Seeing the sunrise in this particular little lake-side town made it all worth it, because this is the town in which my man asked me to marry him 7 1/2 years go. ;)


And this? This moment, watching Seth watch his sister ski? Totally worth it.


Watching Claire ski down the BIG HILL for the first time? Totally worth it! (her and daddy are second from the bottom in the middle of the slope)


And then this. Finally Seth gets his first ski lesson. His brother and sister were 18 months and 15 months respectively when they started skiing. Seth is 2 1/2 — it was high time! He asked all day, “I go ‘kiing now?”. At last it was time.


Stepping into his skis


“So this is what it feels like!…Now what?”


We go up the hill so we can go down.


And this is an even faster way to get up the hill! Already this is a blast for my little monkey.


Then at last we are doing it…we are skiing!


Jeremy is such a great teacher…I just fall in love with him all over again every time I watch him ski backward while teaching our kids how to ski.


After 3 runs down the bunny hill, we only got Seth inside by bribing him with lunch. He just kept repeating “I ready go ‘kiing now!” After lunch a friend took him for 3 more runs. He was the shortest munchkin in the lift line. ;)


Farewell, ski season. We survived you. We even made some good memories with you. Until next year!

Tinsel, Truth, and a Real Live Manger {How the Kids are Celebrating Advent}

I’m in the mood to give y’all a glimpse of how we’re celebrating Christmas around here with a 2, 4, and 6 year old. Do you mind? Great…here we go.


Our new tradition this year is doing the Truth in the Tinsel Advent activity eBook. (affliate link–woot!) The kids adore their daily Christmas craft, and I appreciate something that reminds me to slow down and focus on the kids in an otherwise busy day. Here’s Claire painting a crown ornament that represents Christ’s kingship.


I’m delighted that the crafts are so simply even Seth has been able to be involved. He loves hanging his ornament on the tree each evening.


I’m also loving the maturity of my eldest, allowing us to do some more involved projects together. Here we trimmed the front bushes….


…and turned the trimmings into window wreaths. This is Jesse’s first wreath, people! He made three–I’m so proud.


More truth in the Tinsel crafts..this time they were making a Mary ornament. Can you tell Claire is delighted?


Claire drew Mary’s face herself!


And finally this year, we hung Christmas lights outside. It was sunny that day, so the kids bundled up and went out to help Daddy. Seth saw it as a wonderful opportunity to do some climbing!


Claire says, “I think he’s going to fall, so I am going to stand here to catch him!”

So helpful. Thank you, Claire.

I don’t have pictures yet of the lights actually on, because we still had to find some extension cords….


The other day, during Seth’s nap, I took the eldest outside for some wood crafting. (look! even their playhouse has lights!)


Everyone helped….


And we made this simple manner (tutorial here) out of some wood scraps. Now Claire can stop asking what a manger is every.single. time. we sing Away in a Manger!


And then Jeremy calls me from washing dinner dishes last night–”bring the camera!” There was a monkey in the manger! The tutorial warned me about how appealing the finished product was for two year olds….

I’m really loving how an advent countdown (anything that has us doing or reading something related to the Christmas story every day) keeps my kids focused on the true meaning of Christmas. I love this conversation between Jesse and Claire the other day….

Jesse: “Three weeks till Christmas!!!”
Claire: “It’s already Christmas!
Jesse: “No, Claire–it’s not Christmas yet!
Claire: “Yes it is! Today is Christmas!
Mommy: “Claire is right, Jess–we’re celebrating Christmas all month!”

I just loved this glimpse into how Claire views Christmas. This whole month is Christmas–the presents on the 25th are only a small part of the celebration in her mind. When you celebrate Christmas every day of December, your getting into a habit of Celebrating Christ every day, which could easily be carried into the New Year, dontcha think?

What do you do for advent? Do share–I’m already collecting ideas for next year!



While We Wait for Life to ‘Load’

I watch the blue, pixel stream surge along its banks as my email loads, and remember the days of dial up. Back then I’d set the computer to do a task and go off and busy myself so I didn’t waste precious moments waiting for the page to load. Sometimes it was 3 paragraphs in a book, or one shirt ironed, or a phone call made–I couldn’t stand to just sit there so I chose to fill those waiting moments.

A moment from last summer captured and celebrated

 This week I found myself wishing my life had a status window like my inbox. I’d like to see if I’m 74% of the way there, or have only progressed 13%. As if that would help the waiting. But waiting is waiting. And I was reminded this week to make the most of waiting.

I’m talking about ‘Living like there’s no tomorrow’ but that phrase is a bit cliched for me, not to mention overwhelming. Today let’s ask ourselves,

  • What if I lost internet connection tomorrow? How would I use this connection/platform/window today?
  • What if I was moving out of state next month? Who would I spend one more afternoon with, or what spot would I take my kids to one more time?
  • What if I sprained my wrist tomorrow? What would I create today?
  • What if my camera broke this afternoon? What would I capture this morning?
  • What if I got laryngitis tonight? What would I declare today?


When we’re waiting–

for something to change…

for a mountain to move…

or a life event to ‘upload’…

…we need maximize this moment! If I lost my chance to blog tomorrow, today I want to say to you–Dance in this moment, Sister!

What did you decide to do with your waiting moments after reading this post? Let’s inspire each other in the comments…

P.S If you subscribe by RSS or email, you may want to come by and see the updates we’ve made to the blog! I’ve filled my sidebar with a few of my favorite things, and have updated my header and the “Inspired” page in my menu bar.

P.S.S. If you haven’t subscribed to my newsletter yet, you may want to soon ’cause I just might be finally putting together my first one this week and I don’t want you to miss it…

In which we enjoy our spring bike rides…with a side of milk

I did a crazy thing the other day.

We were just getting the bikes hooked up for a family bike ride, when I remembered we were out of milk. I looked at the clock–there wouldn’t be time to fetch it before a ride, nor after. We would have to do both simultaneously.

Jeremy gave me that look that he does when he’s trying to figure out why he married such a crazy woman. I argued that I would be the one pulling the extra load so that gave me the final word in the debate. He willingly arranged the three one-gallon glass containers I had handed to him into the back of the bike trailer with a towel stuffed between for padding.

And we were off. Seth is always laughing with delight before we even get to the end of the driveway. We all love family bike rides.

Jesse pedaled along behind Jeremy, full of his usua, 5 year old, trying-to-figure-out-the-whole-world questions. “Which way are we going, Mamma?”



“We’re gonna get milk!”

We’re blessed to have an Amish farm with a Jersey herd just down the road that’s willing to sell us raw milk at milking time. Yeah, it’s a couple of miles, but we usually do 4-6 miles on our after-dinner family bike rides, so I thought it was doable.

We made it to the farm easily (it’s a slight incline most of the way…) and as I filled our jugs from the bulk tank, The Farmer came in from the barn. He glanced out the window.

“Ahh, so that’s why I didn’t here ye pull up! That’s quite a set up ya have there…I like it!”

“Yeah”, I replied, “It makes up for not having a horse and buggy.”

The Farmer laughed. He likes my jokes.

Pulling out of the driveway, I asked Jeremy how much a gallon weighs.

“Eight pounds.”

“Yikes – 24 Lbs! It’s like I added a third child to the load!”

He just smiled. He never has to say “I told you so.”

I will conclude this story with the simple statement--I got a good workout on the way home.

And the next bike ride we went on, we headed up-hill, so the ride home was down-hill all the way…

P.S. I have to say it was incredibly satisfying to go and fetch milk on my own pedal-power. I think I’ll do it again.

Looking for your own supply for raw milk?

Letters From Home, Volume 1

Letters from Home is my new format to stay personally connected with my readers even as I endeavor to fulfill my vision of maturing my blog into a resource for a growing audience. So, whenever I have home news to share, I’ll do it under that heading, kind of like the letters I wrote my brother while he was in boot camp.

The kiddos with Uncle Jordan

Speaking of Jordan…
My Marine brother graduated right up near the top of his class and went on to get into just the specialized military he had his sights on  (something to do with bombs and tanks and such). He is now continuing his training and half the time I don’t know what state he’s in. But he did get a chance to visit over Labor Day. He adores the kids and the feeling is mutual.

Claire helped drop (clean, decorative) rocks into the water

We started school this month – even before I’d done the laundry from our trip!! I was determined to get a good start with our first official year of school, and new that if I stuck to my routine I’d make steady progress on all the other things we had to do. Sure enough, we now have 3 weeks of school under our belt, and the house is beginning to feel organized again. (The photos are from hands-on learning about Aesop’s Fable, the Crow and the Pitcher)

Jesse uses a straw ‘beak’ to reach the water

I wanted to use 31 Days To Clean for the month of September, but found I was going to be stressed try to match the exact pattern of the book, so I’m gleaning from the wonderful perspective and advice throughout the book, but doing my own list of daily tasks. Jesse, Claire and I do an hour of chores each morning after breakfast and before school, and that is helping me make steady progress – even to organizing long-jumbled shelves and cupboards. No, the kids don’t work a whole hour – they have specific chores to do along side me, then they get some play time in before school. I took a bunch of photos during chore time the other day so I could make them picture chore cards like Lindsay – I know they’ll enjoy the clear, visual reminder of their responsibilities, and the satisfaction of transfering the cards to the ‘done’ envelope.

Seth climbs to see what’s going on!

In blog news, we’ve had constant computer issues since the spring. We had carbonite keep our data safe, but I was having to do all my writing and internet stuff on this tiny little netbook we have, and had no access to my archives of photos and my beloved bookmarks. At last, this week, we have a new desktop up and running, which means I will be able to resume work on formatting my book for kindle and nook, and finally including photos in my posts with more regularity. (remember the days of show-and-tell blogging? They’re coming back, friends!) Also, I’m really looking forward to getting into vlogging more!

While the computer was out of commission, I got in the habit of taking photos on my phone and emailing them to All That Is Good’s Facebook page just so I felt like I was staying current. My new thing is to take a quick photo of dinner each night and send it to the Real Fast Food page – this helps keep me motivated to create real, nutritious meals for my family, and also hopefully inspire you to do the same! (I just have to mention, that was my first ever screen shot – and I did it by myself using this easy tutorial and just one phonecall to my husband! LOL)

Jesse’s drawing is really starting to develop! He loves art time.

The apple harvest from our orchard was dissapointingly small – we usually have to press 3 or 4 times to use all the apples and make 80-100 gallons of cider. This year we only pressed once and got 17 gallons, which didn’t go very far, considering we love to bless all our friends and neighbors with a gallon or two when it’s fresh. But we have a busy fall and don’t really have time for more pressing and our large freezer in which we would have stored the bounty is broken – the Lord knew! I did make more of an effort toward applesauce this year, and ended up canning about 30 jars (mostly quarts!) so we have sweet, pink applesauce for the whole winter!

Claire had help with her Crow :)

The Lord has been faithfully working in my life and heart, despite my own unfaithfulness in letting so many other things take priority over time with Him. He is showing me how it IS possible to cultivate and grow my relationship with Him in this season of motherhood IF I will make the effort. I have taken to staying off the computer completely on Tuesdays – it’s amazing how much those little moments add up and usually by bedtime I have been able to spend some good time in the Word and have been able to hear from Him because the other voices are quieted. I’d encourage you to try this yourself!

Seth joins in the fun (and poses for the camera)

I’m very inspired and encouraged by these books – if you’re in the same season as me – a busy mother of little ones, sobered by the tremendous responsibility of training and teaching them, these titles will bring hope to your heart…

Shepherding A Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp

Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes in You and Your Kids.

These are affiliate links – if you click through and make a purchase from the links in this post, you support All That Is Good – thank you!

Seth’s Birth Story

So, here, for those of you who’ve asked or wondered, and even for those who haven’t  – the first in a series!

{TMI Alert} This is Seth’s birth story as written in my journal after he was born. I have edited it for
the blog, but it may still be Too Much for you. You have been duly warned and invited to hop over and read some archives if you like. :)

{Background} 3rd Baby, due July 25th, planned water birth at home.

I love how each time I’ve been pregnant the Lord seems to prepare my heart for the sex of the baby, enabling me to welcome the child as the special gift that he or she is, and feeling like I ‘got just what I wanted’.

So it was with Seth. I tried to tell myself I didn’t care, but all along I knew I wanted a boy. Then, as my due date of July 25th came and went, I began to let myself hope that my going late meant there was a boy in there who wanted to bake a little longer.

The newly installed tub

I was having early labor all week, so much, in fact, that Jeremy worked 13 hours straight one day, till 11pm to ensure the tub in our new bathroom was ready. Then he had to stop working on our remodel ’cause the next step was laying tile and that would mean we couldn’t walk through the room for 4 days. Meanwhile, one of my birth team was out of town and I really wanted to wait ’till she got back. So, we waited, and I grew in longing for a boy.

Saturday, July 31st, my father-in-law (who is also our pastor) came buy for something and as he left I asked him what he was going to preach on the next day because, I jokingly said, “I don’t plan on making it to Church”. I was hopeful that the afternoon’s bike ride would kick me into labor that night, and I wouldn’t be in church ’cause I’d be welcoming a new baby.

Bike riding – works every time

Sure enough, that night as I went to bed, I was having contractions, but they were light enough to sleep through. I think it was about 1pm when I woke from them and wondered if this time they were active labor. I went downstairs and bounced on my birthing ball while browsing online. Then I took a warn bath to see if I could slow them down and get some more sleep. Despite the relaxing effect of the water, the contractions persisted, yet in a funny pattern – 3 min. apart, then 4, then 7, then 3 min. again. I’ve since learned that this is a very common pattern.

Finally, around 3am, I just felt it was the real thing. I woke Jeremy, called my friends who were joining us for the birth, and began baking the muffins I’d soaked for breakfast. I figured Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes would make a yummy after-the-birth breakfast, and turned on the oven at 3:30. My friends arrived to the smell of coffee and fresh-baked cupcakes. I was bustling around, making them feel at home and tidying the kitchen and found the contractions were slowing down. I was suddenly annoyed ’till someone explained to me that it was probably all the excitement, and I should just go lay down. Sure enough labor was indeed in progress and within an hour, I asked Jeremy to start the tub.

By the time it was ready, I was very grateful to sink into the soothing water. The contractions were strong, productive, but not intolerable, and I was enjoying chatting with my friends in between them, savoring this rare chance for fellowship, though it was the middle of the night. We checked heart tones and my blood pressure occasionally, but otherwise the atmosphere was very relaxed. (#1 Reason I love home birth – I don’t have to go anywhere and I can just relax in my comfort zone!)

It was around this time that someone reminded me that there was going to come a threshold when I would know that crossing over would mean stepping into a more intense phase of labor, beyond the point of no return, and that when I felt that come, I needed to “cross over the line” – to even consciously picture a line and envision myself stepping over it with determination. I agreed to embrace progress and was so thankful for such excellent coaching. My birth team was so intuitive and right-on with their encouragement and support, I knew it was the Holy Spirit working through them.

I was in and out of the tub – exploring what was the most comfortable yet active place to labor. I found that rather than slowing things down, like at Claire’s birth, the warm water seemed to be stimulating labor, so that at times I felt I preferred bouncing on the ball, or standing up instead of being in the water. That’s when I received some more great advice, as a friend gently reminded me, “wherever you are least comfortable, that’s where you should labor!” I laughingly agreed and climbed back into the tub.

I was out again a while later to use the bathroom and for us to check heart tones, and that’s when I went through transition, or so Jeremy told me. I never would have guessed and nothing seemed different to me, but my birth team all agreed heartily! I was relieved to have sailed past it without incident (I threw up at that point with Jesse’s birth, and almost did with Claire).

After that I stayed in the tub and Jeremy took up position at my shoulders. I love to have his hands to hold on to and feel his strength – makes me feel like I’m not doing this alone, but I have a team member.

Claire’s visits Mommy in the tub

Around 7am we heard the kids wake up. For some reason this didn’t bother me too much, though my ideal plan was to labor at night so I wouldn’t have to worry about childcare for them. But it was fun to see their sleepy little faces and to tell Jesse with all certainty that today New Baby was coming for sure. We took a few photos of Claire visiting me by the tub, then someone took them downstairs, fed them breakfast, then put them in my old bedroom with a Baby Einstein movie (their favorite). It was just in time, for though up until that point I wasn’t worried about disturbing them, when I began to push I did get a little, well, growly, and I was glad I didn’t have to worry them hearing me.

I will remind myself of this in the future – that the really tough part didn’t last longer than a Baby Einstein video. It was about 7:30 when I was encouraged to start pushing when I felt like it. The prompting seemed to clue me in that it was, indeed, time. A few half-hearted pushes with the next few contractions, and then there was no stopping – my body took over and I concentrated on giving my best effort while assuring myself it would all be over very soon now!

It was not as quick and easy as Claire’s – she was so small (7/6, and Jesse had been 9/10), she had slipped right out with just two pushes. I had to work a little harder for my Seth boy, but he was worth it. The thing that helped me endure was that someone mentioned to me the idea of catching the baby myself. I hadn’t realized this was an option, but loved the idea of it – of being that engaged and intimate with my baby at the very moment of his birth. So, through the final contractions, I reached down and felt his head crowning, knowing we were close. At the last, all 4 in the room were encouraging me to relax  – I needed that reminder with every breath – and finally, out came his precious head.

I felt, even as someone exclaimed, “The chord!” that he had two loops around his neck and Jeremy and I quickly looped them off, he turned his little shoulders, and the rest of him was born and I was holding him – holding him – holding HIM! I saw he was a boy and my heart thrilled. Then there was all the excitement as what had been 5 people in a room suddenly became 6 and he was making noises and we were taking pictures and I was so relived it was over, and someone was giving me chlorophyll to sip…

And I had my Seth Franklin.

His color was bit off, but soon we realized that thought he appeared blue, it wasn’t lack of oxygen – the rest of him was nicely pink – it was just his face, which appeared slightly swollen. We decided it was probably due to the chord loops and my blood sugar issues – his little face was bruised and swollen but it faded within days. Meanwhile, I called him my California Raisin Boy.☺

The kids got to come in the room even before I was out of the tub or the chord was cut, which I loved – I was so glad they could bond with him so soon, and that they could be part of the miracle. I was so proud and excited to present their new brother to them.

Then the after-birth cramps started, and clean up, and seeing if my little tear needed stitches (it didn’t), and all that not-so-fun stuff which is so endurable because of the happy after-glow of the birth. I had my little, scrunched-faced baby and I would, indeed, miss Church! I was happy.

A soothing herbal bath

They made an giant batch of herbal tea for me and baby to bathe in – it was the first time I had the pleasure of giving my baby his first bath myself, and he loved relaxing in my hands in the water. Then we were all bundled up, clothed in clean pj’s, and put to bed.

bonding with baby together

Seth was 8 Lbs and, well, I don’t know how many ounces. Somebody told me, but I’ve forgotten. Does it really matter? He had dark hair, big, wild eyebrows from me and, once again, a peaceful, easy-going nature from his father. There was all of 5 hours of active labor, just like Claire’s birth. It was smooth, relaxing, exciting, and only the last 20 min. were something I’d rather not remember. ☺

breakfast in bed

The following days were filled with sighs of contentment, lots of snuggling as a family, visits by a few close friends, and lots of yummy food. I’m passionate about pampering new mommies because I get absolutely spoiled in the days after I have a baby. With Seth it was really nice, because we had stairs and I wasn’t allowed to do stairs for a week! All the dishes, laundry, and cleaning are all downstairs, and I was stuck upstairs. Not a bad deal. :)

so happy to be right here, right now

Friends brought meals, did laundry, loved on my kids, and Jeremy got the week off and continued to work on projects around the house while he pampered me.  The best part may have been watching Jesse and Claire bond with their little brother. It was a wonderful season, and I thank God for the opportunity to birth at home, and for my safe birth and healthy baby boy.

If you have questions about my home birth experiences, will you email me personally? What I have included in this post is all that I am willing to share publicly. Thank you!☺