Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Complete the Old Create the New

Every New Year for the past five years or so, I have enjoyed going through an exercise called 'Complete the Old, Create the New'. The original form of this was developed by life coach Virginia Kellogg; I will share an abridged version of it here. I hope you will use it to get your year off to the best start yet!

1. Complete: Being complete with the events of the past year helps you to clearly see the lessons you have learned and allows you to move on to new opportunities that await you in 2008.
Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper. On the left hand side, write Highlights of 2007. Under that heading list all of the highlights (wins, successes, breakthroughs, etc.) of 2007. On the right hand side next to each item jot down what it means to be 'complete' with each one. On a new page, do the same thing for the Lowlights of 2007 (losses, failures, breakdowns) of the year.

2. Create: This is the fun part. Articulating your intentions for the year ahead immediately improves your chances for success.
Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper. On the left hand side, write Highlights of 2008. Under that heading list all of the wins, successes and breakthroughs you would like to experience in the coming year. Write this list as if it has already happened, and make it as specific as possible (i.e. Instead of 'I took a vacation' put 'I went on a 5-day Carribbean cruise'). On the right hand side, write down one action you can easily take toward making it real.
Finally, I sometimes like to give the year a theme. For me one year it was The Year of Going Out of My Comfort Zone. It can even be very specific (The Year of the Clean House) or totally abstract (The Year of Soaring Eagle).

Keep this document handy so you can easily refer back to it over the year. Gotta go, it's time for me to do my own list! I wish you the best for this year.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ask and It Is Given

I'm not sure how to describe what I want to communicate to you. It's so simple and so weird at the same time. I'm not even sure why I want to tell you. I have been typing and retyping the next paragraph for 20 minutes.
Here's the short form: For the past couple of weeks I have been focusing on really positive, energizing things. I don't know why I'm so surprised, but uncanny things have now started to happen. I want to give you the details so that you might be moved to try it yourself, but they're about private things like finances, relationships, etc. Maybe I won't move you with this little blog entry, but for those who know me, in time it will be hard to ignore the incredible changes that are happening in my life.
If you are curious about this and don't have the opportunity to watch the transformation that seems to be happening in my life, there are a few books you could check out: The Secret, Conversations with God, Ask and It Is Given, The Circle, to name a few.

Friday, October 12, 2007

We Made the Big Time--or Were We Already There?

Isn't this just the coolest thing? We made the paper! This blog is mentioned in an article in today's Cape Cod Times. When I was interviewed for the article, though, it got me thinking: is the paper the big time? Yes, I suppose it is. After all, the Times has a readership of something like 60,000, doesn't it? But...how big is the web?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Football: The Great Consolator

It must be a relic from so many years of school and then teaching, but to me the months of the year have a rhythm similar to that of the days of the week.

June is Friday. It's still technically work time, but the end is so near you can just taste it. It can crawl by, but it's really quite bearable. The promised land of July is right around the corner.

July is Saturday--whoopee! Got no responsibilities and lots of long sunny days to fritter away. The only reason any other month exists is to be a foil for the brilliance and joy of July.

August is Sunday. This is good and bad. It's still a free day, and like June, it marks an ending. Unlike June, the end is not something I am looking forward to. I wake up each say knowing it's a day off, but also knowing that it's just one day closer to putting away the flip flops. It's kind of hard to enjoy fully.

September is SOOOO Monday. Shortening days. Fading tan. Waking up early. Back to the books. Ugh. I don't know how I survive it every year. Though I do have a theory.

I think it's because of football.

I grew up in a football-friendly household. I won't say my parents were quite fanatical, but they were enthusiastic for sure. Sunday afternoons meant going over to our friend's house for junk food, soda and witnessing some very loud and embarrassing parental carrying on. When our Patriots ever made it to the playoffs or, heaven help us, the Superbowl, it just meant more friends, more junk food (and unfortunately more embarrassing parents). Those were good times.

So when August rolls around and that end-of-summer letdown is kicking in all I have to do is stumble across a preseason game on TV and for a moment I am strangely soothed. I don't even know which channel it's on, or what the name of the announcer is. In fact, I honestly don't know or even care much about the game itself. I just know I like it.

Then before I know it, Sunday and Monday and even September are some of my favorite times. Heck, football carries me right through Christmas!

Now what to do about February...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Toot toot!

I gotta toot my girl's horn a little here. She is a member of her school's Roots & Shoots program. She was one of a half dozen students chosen to represent her school and her country at last Friday's celebration of International Day of Peace at the United Nations in New York City. How cool is that??

Thursday, September 20, 2007

They're all my babies

When I started teaching I was only 25 years old. I couldn't (still can't) wrap my head around my own mortality, much less that of anyone younger than I. My middle school students were the utter, if awkward, embodiment of of aliveness. I had just had my first child for goodness sake! My world was saturated with life.
Which is why recent tragedies involving some of my former students just stun me. This past January one of my brightest and most beautiful students, now 23 and a new mother, was on her way home from picking up her infant daughter from Grandma's house when she skidded out on black ice and was killed. Killed! Her beautiful baby girl now lives with her grandmother. You don't even have to know her to feel the pain in your own gut.
Imagine if you did know her...
The picture you see here is of Caleb Potter. He was so out of place in his little 8th grade body. He gushed vitality so intensely it left stains. This past July 4th he flirted with disaster, and this time she called his bluff. Two months later he's still hospitalized in Boston with traumatic brain injuries (Read his ongoing story at http://www.calebpotter.blogspot.com/). He's 25 years old.
I can't think of anything to say that isn't trite. Hm. Perhaps all those tired cliches are what they are because they really meant something to so many people over so much time. Hm.
Kiss your kids. Count your blessings. Live every day like it's your last.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

There was a time when this would have bothered me.

Some people say that breast-fed babies' poop smells vaguely like fresh-baked bread. It's one of the many perks that comes with nursing your baby, along with the daily 500-calorie draw and the natural (though somewhat unpredictable) birth control.

It was this benign odor that I detected this morning as I opened my bed covers to retrieve my beautiful Ellen. It was our day for carpool so we were on kind of a tight schedule. There she was, gurgling and smiling at me like she does every morning, happy to greet the new day. However, unlike other mornings, today from the waist down she was laying in a sticky, yellow puddle. Did I forget to put her diaper on last night?? It was everywhere--beyond the standard-issue up-the-back mess that is part of new parent initiation. This was in-between-the-toes messy. It was even behind her knees.

Another time I would have panicked. Holy sh*t Batman! Get the HazMat suit, and call for back up! But today I just strategized. Okay, how can I remove her clothes and diaper and minimize further contamination? I think I need paper towels. And a squirt bottle. Going over the head with the onesie seems a little risky. I think we'd better take it down over the bum with this one. I don't know, Ellie, we might lose these jammies.

And so I calmly extricated her from the scene of the crime, cleaned her up and stripped the bed. I'm proud to say that I achieved this with nary a schmear of poo on my person. Now we had to get ready to head downstairs to resume our morning routine, albeit a now few minutes behind schedule. In the hopes that maybe the other girls had already woken themselves, I gave a warning shout from upstairs, "Time to get up!" And I got a response--yes, they're up already! But my hopes were quickly dashed.
"MUMMYYYYY!! Sarah got into the trash last night and dragged it under our beds!!"
Serenity now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Will I Be on TV???

Last weekend my dad and brother surprised Caroline and Margaret with tickets (very NICE tickets) to Fenway Park. Margaret, almost a veteran having already attended one Sox game, was quite excited.

But Caroline was beside herself. Straight from her id she blurted, "Will I be on TV??"

Well, if you want to get on TV, you gotta make yourself into something to look at (and it doesn't hurt if you're seated right behind a cameraman.) So the girls banged out these signs you see them holding. Their plan was to whip them out during the traditional Fenway singalong, "Sweet Caroline". My mother and I watched every second of that game. The middle of the 8th inning came, and with it we can only assume Neil Diamond and his famous song. But for the folks watching at home all we saw was a pile of commercials. Oh well.

And then the phone rang.



"I WAS ON THE JUMBO TRON!!" The ecstasy in her voice fairly melted the phone.

"No way!!"

"WAY! Okay, I gotta go!"

By the way, the Sox won that game.

Friday, August 31, 2007

You: The Active Ingredient

A few friends have recently announced their intentions to embark on ventures in direct sales. I wish them the absolute highest achievement available to them. But I think the only ones getting rich are at the top of these companies. This is not because I lack faith in my friends' potential for success, and it's not because I think the companies are run by shysters. On the contrary, I have great respect for these friends. Individually they each have achieved or overcome huge feats in their lives. And as for the folks at the top--they are intelligent businesspeople with vision.

Direct sales works like so: you get recruited by a 'consultant', shell out some dough to buy inventory and become a consultant yourself. And then you hustle, hustle, hustle to get your wares peddled and bring more souls into the flock, thus advancing yourself along the food chain (some call it a pyramid). The check writing part is easy for most people. The hustle is where they usually lose it. They just don't have it in them. 'It's not me,' they say. Whatever it is, it's human nature, and direct sales companies are making a ton of money off of it.

So what about the success stories? Women who are rolling in luxury cars, taking their families on posh vacations and spending quality time with their kids, etc. They're out there. You might guess it's because they just have the personality for it and you would be partly right. But if that's really true, why weren't they already wildly successful in their lives? Maybe it's the products. What was it about the Tupperware/scrapbooking supplies/cooking gadgets that was so great? The products are terrific, but everyone gets the same stuff. The difference has little to do with the companies, products or personality types.

Success in any venture comes from only one place: inside yourself. Want to lose weight? Get rich? Earn a college degree? Sure you do. Do you know why you haven't reached those goals yet? Because you don't want them badly enough. When you really decide that you are going to do/have/be something, there is nothing that can stop you. Great time to consider selling candles.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Happily Ever After

I love happy beginnings, don't you? I had the pleasure of going to two beautiful and wildly divergent weddings this month.
The first was meticulously planned and perfectly executed. Seaside against a flawless blue sky we witnessed them take their vows. It seemed even the gulls were well behaved. Inside we sat at lushly appointed tables and drank to the happy couple with one of our three choices of stemware. Even the toasts were poignant, dignified and concise. I left with a heart full of hope and happiness. We got our thank you note in the mail three days later.

The second wedding started on Thursday and I suspect now, on Sunday, there may still be glowing embers. Most of the festivities happened in their verdant, inviting backyard, the product of over a year of their own sweat and elbow grease. They hosted a swanky cocktail party on Thursday, then an adventure day on Friday where the groom emptied out the inventory of his company, Sturgis Boat Works, into Cape Cod Bay for the entire guest list to enjoy. This was followed by a barbecue (I think there had also been talk of a pig roast at one point). When it was time for the wedding on Saturday, guests parked among beachgoers to stand with the bride and groom on a bluff overlooking Nantucket Sound. With minimal pomp and circumstance they arrived, told their story and made their promise. Then off they zoomed in a little convertible, whooping and hollering the whole way. Back to the cozy backyard where friends, family and neighbors partied hard to a rowdy, talented band, ate jerk chicken from a giant grill and washed it down with a local brew. I left with a heart full of hope and happiness.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I Can Have It All, Just Not Today

Most days I succeed to bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never, never let him forget he's a man. But not today. Not even close.

Today was a crappy day, full of frustration and

My children were

Scratch everything above. As I try to lay out for you all the miserable day I had and why my kids were rotten, etc. I keep getting hung up on not-crappy things that also happened. True, my kids each had their moments: #1 swung hard in the direction of adolescent petulance, #2 was spastic and fresh, #3 had a meltdown at our friends' BBQ and #4 was a puke and poop grenade all day long. Schedules got all f-ed up, we're out of coffee, I missed two fun opportunities, I haven't spoken 3 sentences with my husband in ages, and I'm really sad that summer is winding down. And I was a total bitch today.

However, I did some good work at my job today, the house is reasonably clean, the children are in bed, it's still summer, and it looks like I'll be able to spend a little awake time with my main squeeze before we both pass out tonight.

That's a pretty good day, I think.

I'm still a bitch, though. I'd better get some sleep. :)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Wag Your Mama

Wagamama is a cool noodle joint which up until this past April could only be found across the pond and beyond. This spring (and most recently last week) Ellen's Auntie Meredith was part of a whizbang team to open the first two Wagamama restaurants in the U.S.
Ellen is seen here happy to endorse this tasty temple of tempura.

'Little Mermaid' awash in talent

Excerpted from Cape Cod Times
August 09, 2007
WEST HARWICH — ...The team of nine ensemble actors deserves kudos for how much they add to the show. They were crucial to creating the special effects that make the production so beautiful. They parade around the theater with enchanting tropical fish, shimmy with trailing jellyfish tentacles, and hiss in a menacing way as the Sea Witch's eel minions. They also flutter long lengths of blue silk, creating a beautiful illusion of waves that rise and fall to allow the mermaids to peek above the water and then whip them to create the storm that almost kills Prince Stefan...

Scared to Life

I don't exercise for my own good. Don't get me wrong, I have never looked back on a day and regretted working out. But as I sit with a hot cup of coffee, wrapped in my fuzzy robe with a kid (or 4) snuggled up on me, the thought of dragging my butt to the gym or on a run, etc. generally holds little appeal. It's a cozy scene, I know. And it just gets cozier (read: fatter) the more workouts I skip. But this is unacceptable to me, so I know I need a solution. The question is: If I won't exercise for my own good, why will I? What motivates me, for real?
Well...anyone in marketing knows that if you want to get someone's attention, you show them what they stand to gain. But if you want them to DO something, show them what they stand to lose. Fear is a much greater motivator than hope. How sad. But 'tis what 'tis, and if I want action and results why make it harder than it has to be?

So...fears that I can capitalize on...hmmm...




I know--I'll pick up some extra classes at the gym! I actually talked to Willy's and I will be back in the Spinning saddle starting next week. And last week I started training to teach Pilates reformer classes. So I've got all the fears covered. Humiliation: You can't blow off a class you teach, plus if you look like a cow who's going to take you seriously? Poverty: Well, the annual income of a fitness instructor isn't going to pay the mortgage, but it will cover Power Bars and pedicures. Death: Really, it's aging I'm talking about, but I understand the ultimate fear. 40 is 18 months away for me. I want to hit it HOT.
People who use 'will power' are working way harder than they have to.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Coming Soon to a Theater Near Us

As many of you know, our two oldest are very active at Harwich Junior Theater. Margaret is in The Little Mermaid which opens Tuesday night. Check out the preview press here.

If You Go
“The Little Mermaid,” adapted by Linda Daugherty

from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale,
presented by Harwich Junior Theatre; 7:30 p.m.
Mondays through Thursdays and 4 p.m. Fridays
and Sundays, Aug. 7-23; at the theater, 105
Division St., West Harwich; $12-$18; 508-432-2002

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Three Weeks

It's hard not to just lean over and bite her...

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Ellen Meets Nana

Yesterday Ellen got to meet her great grandmother, Nana. Nana thought it was pretty cool. Ellen was pretty happy, too. :)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Before Pic

I just can't bring myself to submit to the humiliation quite yet. Of course, the grosser my before shot, the better I'll look after, but what if...what if I stay like my before picture??

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The After Before Picture

It's time.

The two-week grace period is over. It's time to get down and dirty with the last 20-odd pounds I have to lose from this pregnancy. Granted, I gained about 50 with that massive edema I endured at the end (Good news--I can see the veins and tendons in my feet again! And I can see my feet...) so I'm thrilled that I dropped 30 just by surviving the birth. Maybe that's why I was so weepy that first week--sweating like a pig and peeing like a racehorse just didn't do the job of getting rid of all that water. I had to cry some of it out too.

But seriously, I have nearly nothing that fits and I've got to get back to work next week. Not to mention the fact that I have two weddings to attend next month--both of my triathlon friends... I can see it now: crowds of type-A hardbodies and there I am, all mushy and amorphous, one boob inevitably bigger than the other and probably leaking. She must be the fat cousin. Ugh. Not gonna happen. So tomorrow it begins. I am going to take advantage of the surprising popularity of this blog and publicly post a horrid, humiliating Before Picture of myself.
You'll enjoy that, won't you? You will--admit it! You looked at the Elepheet, you laughed at the tick pic. You know you're going to be hitting F5 all day tomorrow until I post that photo. Wow--she really looks like crap. Better her than me. Well, at least someone's fatter than me...
Not for long, Porky! I am nothing if I am not vain and competitive.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Before There Were Blogs

In December of 2001 we were blessed with baby #3 (Linny). If I thought keeping my family posted from the hospital about Ellen's birth was difficult, all I had to do is remember what it was like trying to communicate with them from China! Maybe there were blogs in 2001, but I didn't know what the heck they were. So I used the next best thing I knew of at the time, a Yahoo! Group.

I was thinking that since Linny is feeling a little displaced that perhaps I would let her share a little of the spotlight. If you have a Yahoo! ID or are willing to get one, go to www.groups.yahoo.com/group/linmaryslist and check out the drama of six years ago (I can't believe it was that long!!).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

First Post-Bellybutton Bath

Anyone who is having fertility issues, do this: hold a newborn milk-drunk baby against your chest and let her freshly washed fuzzy head nuzzle in your neck. If you don't have a newborn handy, buy a bottle of Johnson & Johnson's baby shampoo and dab a little under your nose 3 times a day. Ovulation should occur within 12 hours.
Ellen had her first real bath today and loved it! She just hung out in that nice warm water and enjoyed it. Look at that big tummy--Mummy might be suffering, but this kid is not going hungry!

I Christen Thee

Follins Pond is a place that holds much fond history for our family, and today Ellen had her first ceremonious dip--an informal baptism if you will. It seemed to suit her just fine!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Both Engines Up and Running

Back from the brink! I really thought I was not going to make it with this BF-ing thing. But it is so important to me to give her what's best, plus I sort of feel like it is part of my feminine purpose on the planet. So when I was having so much trouble it really got me down. (A comment from Linny, "I don't think we should have gotten a baby sister. She just makes you cry and yell.")
However, with a peek from the OB and another session with Angel Anna, we are now nursing on both sides. It's still a little rough to start, and I am giving her a bottle at night, but she's getting all the good stuff, and I am fulfilling my destiny, so it's all good.

Monday, July 23, 2007


That's not really what she's thinking. She's actually thinking, "HURRY UP AND CHANGE MY DIAPER!!" Well, I couldn't let the bellybutton thing pass without documenting it.
She survived the ordeal just fine, by the way.

I Make Milk--What's Your Superpower?

I wish I could take credit for that quote but I actually saw it on a t-shirt.
Wow, ask and ye shall receive! So many people have responded with all different kinds of advice--thank you all so much! Today I had an appointment at the Center for Breastfeeding in Sandwich (who knew they even existed?). Anticipating the torture I was about to endure I was in tears before I even sat down. My consultant, Anna (heretofore referred to as 'Angel Anna'), asked me a few questions and then suggested we take a look at how Ellen nursed. With great trepidation I got started. Well, Angel Anna saw right off the bat about nine things I was doing wrong, had me make a few adjustments and in a minute I was nursing Ellen like nothing ever happened. Unbelievable! Of course, that's only on one side. The other side has been pretty traumatized and I might have to get my OB's help there, but that's fine. I now actually have hope that it will all get worked out. I can actually feed my baby--yipee!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Calling all experienced BFers

I need to hear from all experienced breastfeeding moms. I'm nine days in and my you-know-whats are cracked, bleeding and raw. It is too painful to nurse, in spite of Motrin, Vicodin and Tylenol. For the past 24 hours I have just been pumping and putting it in a bottle instead. I'm still so sore... I seem to recall the last two times that the first week was rough and then we settled in, but we're past that now and I am getting very discouraged.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Some Days...

...will be better than others. I hope tomorrow is one of those days.
I don't know who cried more today, me or Ellen.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I Learned a New Trick!

I just figured out how to insert pictures into my posts, so during Ellie's nap today I moved a bunch of pics into the posts and even added a few that I hadn't had places for before. Go check 'em out!

Ow, Part 2. Not For the Faint of Heart (or any male member of my family)

I posted something earlier that suggested nursing doesn't have to hurt. I still believe that is true. Just not for me. I'll put it this way: Ellen spit up blood the other day, and it wasn't hers. I can hardly notice the 6-inch gash across my belly. In fact, I almost didn't fill the pain med scrips. Good thing I did, because my nipples are hamburger!
For some reason it is taking me and my body a long time to get used to this breastfeeding thing. I've already been through at least 2 lactation consultants, all the nurses at the hospital and most of my Percocet. The good news, though, is that Ellie is getting plenty of milk (at today's doctor visit she was already right back to her birth weight!) And, actually, I do think we're turning a corner. I nursed twice today without any Percs. Yay me!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Safe to Approach?

I know many people have been wanting to see sweet baby girl and we would love to see you too. I really do want to see people. I just need a little warning. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are kind of lonely here, as the big kids are all off doing their summer activities, so I'd love company then. And, of course, anybody who wants to bring dinner is welcome to visit anytime!

Delivery Day

Who doesn't love to see the UPS man stop at their house? And then the Edible Arrangements guy? And the DHL guy? And the USPS guy? And other various men bearing gifts?? It was a pretty good day, considering I'm housebound.
First the Edible Arrangement arrived (Yum--Thanks Auntie Judy and Coach!), then the UPS man brought a thin padded envelope, inside of which was a personalized t-shirt and tutu (pictured above) from the Graneses (Lez--you rock!). In the mailbox was stuffed another padded envelope. When the DHL truck pulled up I was almost relieved to find it was for Mark! But then Mark came home and his hands were full of gifts from a customer, followed right behind by a Clancy Homes employee toting a fat cigar for Mark and a gorgeous new outfit for Ellen
But really, you are all so generous. THANK YOU for all of the cool fun presents!

The Daily Weep

As you know from my previous rantings, or perhaps from your own experience, pregnancy triggers the release of a truckload of high-test hormones whose overflow can express itself in vast and sometimes unusual ways. For instance, I bet you didn't know that the 'tan' I sported on my face for the last month was actually rogue melatonin all jacked up on estrogen. Or that my bloodhound sense of smell was just a fancy progesterone trick.
Well, the party doesn't stop after the birth, not by a long shot. Some of the hormones do back off, which is nice, except they do it cold turkey. So I'm not just dealing with sore nipples and a severed belly, I get to experience the DT's, too. One of the manifestations of my detox is the ability to cry spontaneously and for no apparent reason. Here is a sampling of some recent sob sessions:
-Going to bed in the hospital Sunday night without my husband (Hello? I had 19 pillows and a bed that sits me up, lays me down and has a little red button on it I can push if I need someone to pass me the remote...)
-Leaving the same hospital on Monday.
-A country song on the radio
-The thought of my MIL bringing my family a hot, tasty and nutritious dinner that I didn't have to cook
-Eating that dinner (THANK YOU JACKY!)
I wonder what it will be today, dirty laundry? Clean laundry?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More Blog, More Blog!

Well, believe it or not, it's more challenging to get to the computer after the baby is born than it is during labor! But I cannot let my public down :):)
We are home at last and loving it. I was planning on coming home Tuesday morning, but laying down in my hospital bed on Sunday night I got really lonesome for my sweetie and my big girls, so Mark came and scooped me up Monday afternoon. I realized last minute that I had sent home my going home outfit to be washed and it hadn't come back yet, so poor Mark had to do some impromptu clothes shopping for me. But, as always, he came through and I felt beautiful in my coming home dress with my gorgeous baby girl in tow. More blog later. Baby crying!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I Know All You Want Is Pictures...

..But you get to hear from me anyway. :)
How fun it is to hear how much people are checking the blog! I'm glad that I can keep all of the people I care about up to date. Thank you all for your loving, funny and encouraging comments. I read them all!
One limitation with the blog site is I can't post pictures very big. One thing I can do is crop pics so you can see more detail, but it's a little time consuming, and as you might expect, I'm a little busier than I was a week ago. I'll try to get more cropped photos like the one of Ellen fresh out of the oven, but in the meantime I will try to post photos in quantity (to the best of my ability).
Before that, though, here's an update: We are doing pretty darn well (FYI as I type she is stirring, might have to cut this short.). Ellen is having a little tummy trouble, typical of belly-birthed babies who didn't get squeezed hard enough on the way out, so that has made her a little uncomfortable today. We're also working on nursing better. Turns out it doesn't have to hurt--who knew?? I thought that there was a compulsory 'breaking in' time for nursing, where the early latch-ons involved the mother biting a leather strap. Not so, says another one of my new BFFs, Heather, a lactation consultant here at the hospital. So I'm kind of starting over in that department.
Okay, off to post some pics!

Friday, July 13, 2007

First Night

Wish us luck!

I Can't Believe She's Finally Here!

Ellen Viola Clancy

Born July 13, 2007, 8:06 a.m.

8 lbs., 5 oz.

21.5 in. long


they're prepping me now and i can't wait. i honestly am completely fine with it. she's almost here!!

baby or mule?

went in the tub for a good long time and got myself to 8 cm. yaay! that was about 9 pm. at 1 am, still I was at 8, after going through a gritty transition (used my hypno tape--thank you melody!)and trying for 4 hours to turn Ellen from sunnyside up. babies travel much better face down. sunnyside up=back labor=stuck=ouch. at 130 or so doc says it's not so great to have a stuck baby, and if we couldn't get her turned in 2 more hrs, we should talk c section. emotionally and physically exhausted, i made the decision at that point to request an epidural. i now have my wits about me and have been able to rest. this also has bought us a little more time. i love you all and am so grateful for your good wishes. just a couple of hours now!
this is me saying goodbye to my second nurse, Bern (not to be confused with Bernie), whose shift I also outlasted...

Thursday, July 12, 2007


still at 4 cm/80% 1/2 hr ago so now I get a little help from pitocin. Oh well. Also, since i've been ruptured for so long I get antibiotics.


having babies can hurt. I was only at 4 cm as of about 40 min ago. Wished it was more.

How Cool Is This??

I am posting from my hospital room! I have to go quick between contractions, but I wanted to tell everyone that we're (Mark and I, and soon, Ellen) doing great! This morning I was dilated to 3 cm and at 0 station. I don't know what I am now. Since my water is broken they don't want to check me too often, to reduce infection risk. That's just fine with me. Ellen's heart rate is doing everything it's supposed to and apparently so is mine.
Our nurse, Bernie, is awesome. Last time she monitored she said I was doing great for what looked like pretty intense contractions, so that was encouraging.

AZ Clancys: I'm trying like heck to have this baby before you guys have to leave town. :)
Mum, if you're reading this, tell the girls we LOVE them and will see them soon! xoxoxoxoxoxo
Thank you everyone for all your good vibes--they're working!

It's On

Water broke at 2:30, been contracting for 3 hours. Still could peter out, but since water broke, the rule is deliver w/in 24 hours. So still could have a Friday the 13th baby, but she's coming on her own. Good girl.
Just thought of something...if there's no wireless at the hospital I can't post. Rats! I'll look for a USB cable between ctx. If I don't find one, be assured I will post IMMEDIATELY when I am able, or maybe instruct someone to to post on my behalf. . Think happy thoughts!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Just Don't Tie Me to a Pole

I think I've just about exhausted all of the natural labor induction methods out there. Today after my final acupuncture session, my practitioner tried one more thing on me: gua sha . The theory is that there could be a blockage of chi somewhere in my baby-making section and gua sha might get me unblocked. Can't hurt. Well, actually it did hurt a little.
There are a few I never intended to try, though. Castor oil, for one. Castor oil (or mineral oil, vegetable oil) is a powerful laxative. The spasm of the colon can sometimes trigger sympathetic contractions in the uterus. Can you picture the scene in the delivery room?? Not worth it to me. And these, from www.medicinenet.com:
When a pregnant Plains Indian woman was near term and showed no sign of going into labor, tribe members would tie her to a rock in an open field and stage a mock "attack," pulling up their horses only at the very last minute, in hopes of inducing labor. The Pilgrims, for their part, would stand women whose babies were late against a pole, strap them to it, and pound the pole up and down against the ground -- apparently hoping to shake the baby loose.

In 48 Hours

I'll be 2 hours away from getting this party started. It still seems surreal. I will say that my body is feeling more and more ready to do this. Not just impatient ready, but getting-down-to-business ready. I'll spare the casual reader the evidence I have for this, but for the morbidly curious or soon-to-be-pregnant themselves, follow this link.
It is my sincerest wish for my labor to start on its own. It might seem silly, but I want to say to my husband, 'Hey, I think it's time!' and jump in the car together. I want to be amazed at the primal intelligence of the human body and be humble enough to go along for the ride. Some people think I'm nuts for planning an unmedicated birth, but I am looking forward to it. Modern American life is lovely and comfortable and I am grateful for it! But sometimes I feel a little spoiled. It's easy to take my comfort for granted and get complacent (who here doesn't have at least 5 pounds of flab they 'just can't lose'?). There is something about survival that makes living that much richer. Ask anyone who's lived through a cancer diagnosis.
Giving birth can make you believe you truly might die. What a great way to be reminded that you are ALIVE! Not to mention the absolutely earth-shattering miracle of new life that is the product of such suffering. God-willing, I will not have to face fatal disease in order to be reminded how to live, so I am going to take this opportunity to see what I'm made of.
Snicker if you will, and be smug if you hear I do use medication, but first look at yourself and consider the last time you ventured close to your own limits.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hey, the Blog's Been Kinda Quiet...I Wonder If She's

You wish.
I am not giving birth today.
Wait--let me be more positive: I have not yet given birth today.
I have, however, been poked again, and I was much more sensitive at today's acupuncture session. It felt like electricity zapped out from each needle as it went in, and some of them actually hurt a bit. Maybe that means something... We'll see.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Pop Me

So today I tried acupuncture. I didn't pop.

Eviction Date Set

I went to this morning's NST (my third now) hoping that maybe they would let me stay and just have this baby. Nope. In spite of a robust patch of contractions last night, the baby seems not to be interested in a Monday birthday. I could have pressed for an induction, but I know it isn't the best thing for me or the baby today, and it would be purely for my own convenience, so I let it go. Dr. T was able to strip my membranes with a little more intensity this time, though, as the baby's head has come down further. This alone could put me in labor today, but my experience tells me otherwise. We did agree that if she doesn't appear before Friday at 8:00 a.m. we will pursue an induction. Not my first choice, but whaddya gonna do?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

If You're Squeamish...

...don't look at the new pic. But if you have a morbid curiosity about the many ways pregnancy can disfigure your body, go ahead and look (ya sicko).
I post this picture of my turgid feet in an effort to communicate to the world what my entire (and I do mean entire) body feels like right now. I believe that if I were to be wrung out I could bring a small village back from the brink of famine.

If You're Keeping Track

Then today is one week.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Karmic Torture?

I'm starting to take this delay personally. Could it be some kind of freaky payback for all the times that I have been late in my life? Am I now giving back all of the time I took from other people when I made them wait for me? Well, I have to say, I think I understand your pain now, and I am truly, deeply remorseful.
However, I have to be getting close to square with you all at this point. Adding up all of the days late my births have been, we are over 500 hours. I think I might even have a credit by now!

P.S. I told you not to call. I won't answer my phone. I love you all, and I know you mean well, but believe me, you don't want to talk to me right now. I'm not nice (Just ask my poor mother. In fact, call her up if you want an update.).

Friday, July 6, 2007

If We Name Her Will She Come?

God knows we've tried everything else! So this morning we finally decided to name this baby girl.....

Ellen Viola Clancy

Okay, you can come out now!

Same Test, Different Day

Slept like a rock last night, which means that any contractions I may have had during the night were of little consequence. This morning I had my 2nd visit to the hospital for another NST. Everyone is of course perfectly fine and healthy. Had kind of hoped to have to stay, but when we got there, every bed in the joint was full, they had brought in extra staff and it was just generally crazy. So, I'm glad I'm not sitting around in all of that chaos.
If I don't go in over the weekend on my own I'll go back on Monday morning for another NST. While nobody knows for sure when this baby will come, Mark and I and the doctor all agree that one way or another it won't be later than this time next week (god help me). It would be kind of cool to have her tomorrow 7-7-7...
So that's all from here right now. Sorry if I'm not answering the phone much lately--I'm not that fun to talk to quite honestly, so you're not missing anything. I'll keep the blog updated, even in the hospital, so if there's something to know you'll find it here. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Something, maybe?

Since last night I have been having very irregular, not-too-painful contractions. Every once in a while it seems like they have a pattern but then they kind of fall apart. I had really hoped for an unambiguous, floor-mopping start to this birth, but it seems that is not to be.
In the meantime I am spending some nice time with my family, walking, resting, etc. I have an appt tomorrow morning at the hospital for another NST. Hoping it will turn into something by then.

More Fun than Giving Birth

After much reminiscing over summer days spent out on Follins Pond, this week our family 'took the plunge,' so to speak, and got ourselves a little motor boat. We spent the 4th of July out on Follins Pond tubing with the girls--so much fun! I can't remember the last time I was out there, but it felt like yesterday.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Stress-Free Stripping

Well, the good news is that I made it into the maternity ward today! The bad news is I left, full-bellied and empty-handed.
When a pregnancy goes beyond its expected due date, like mine, the woman gets to have some special appointments with her doctor. One of those is for a Non Stress Test (NST), which is what I had today. For about 20 minutes I lay quietly (thus the Non Stress part) while monitors picked up the baby's heart rate, movements and any contractions I might be having. Then the doctor did a quick ultrasound to check the amniotic fluid levels and health of the placenta. Sometimes these tests can reveal signs of distress in an over-cooked baby, which can be cause for an induction (eviction).
No distress with this baby. She's got plenty of fluid for floating, her heart is healthy and strong and everything in general looks just fine. I suspected as much. I'll confess to hoping for a little distress, just enough for them to say, 'Why don't you just stay and we'll have a baby today?' But truthfully, I'd prefer a healthy, if somewhat late, baby and delivery.
The encouraging news is that my body is showing some signs of progress. Since last week the baby's head is further down, and my cervix is 50% effaced and 1 cm dilated. This made it possible for the doctor to strip my membranes. If all else is favorable, this minor intervention could kick-start labor and we might just end up with a little firecracker baby!
In the more likely scenario that it actually has no impact at all, I will be back at Falmouth Hospital on Friday morning for another round of Stress-Free Stripping.
Here's wishing everyone a happy 4th. I hope my next post has more reason for celebration!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Eviction Notice

Baby Girl, Tenant, has 10 days within which she can gather her belongings and vacate the premises. If, after those 10 days, she continues to occupy said premises, she will be physically removed from the property.
She is being evicted due to a breech of contract and destruction of property. Expansions only to the front of the property, within reasonable limits, were discussed. Not only have these limits been exceeded, but additions to the back of the property were also made. Remodeling and gutting the property was never approved, nor was changing the initial layout and base structure. And due to property damage, there are now leaks in both upper and lower levels of the property.
Also, late night parties have been discovered on the property and are not greatly appreciated! Any further problems will result in immediate removal!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Nada, Zero, Zip

Nothing. No baby today. No so far, anyway. Even went for a boat ride and rode in the bow, and had spicy Mexican food last night.
With only 8 hours left, I don't think we'll be making the due date. I'm starting to feel like a fraud. With big fat feet.
I think I will go for a walk.

Friday, June 29, 2007

One Happy Kid

Since the site is called 'Clancy Family News' it's only fair that the actual family gets a little exposure. Here is Linny on her first day of Homework Adventure Camp with Ms Margie. After working hard on her reading and math she got to feed the fish (they ate right from her hand!) and hold Ms Margie's bird. Have you ever seen anyone so happy??

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

From Caroline

Hiya! This is Katie's second oldest daughter, Caroline. I am getting EXTREMELY impatient about this baby coming. At this stage of the game, she can hear me through my mama's big belly and I have asked her politely many, many times to please come out soon but she always ignores me. It is very frustrating to be ignored and impatient. Grrr.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

False Alarm

I'm sorry to get everyone all excited but I saw my doctor today and it turns out I'm actually never going to give birth. I'm just going to be pregnant forever. So I'm looking into some new career options: maternity model, pregnant movie extra, mooring...

Monday, June 25, 2007


That was the one-word text message I got from my good friend Chrissy today. Chrissy and I have due dates just days apart. When I got the note last week that she had delivered her beautiful baby girl a week early, I must confess to a little childbirth envy.
However, today when I got her text I had actually just stirred from a lovely afternoon nap; feet up, pleasant music on the radio, a gentle summer wind in through the window and a book on my lap. Up until then I had been feeling pretty sorry for myself, all pregnant and impatient. Not so much now. Not so much.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Manual Labor

If nesting is a sign of impending labor, I ought to drop this puppy in the next half hour or so. This morning for kicks I organized the tupperware. Yesterday I tore up our home office area and put it back together. Linny and I also collected every dirty sock and pair of underwear in the house and washed, dried, folded and put them away. I have made dinners for the freezer, packed the kids' camp bags, serviced the car, paid the bills, taken the dog to the vet and gotten a pedicure and bikini wax. What's left?? Well, this afternoon I moved my efforts to the great outdoors. Trimmed up the gardens and attacked our temporary jungle of a backyard with a weedwhacker. But nary a twinge of a contraction.
My last two pregnancies went 10 and 15 days overdue, so I don't know why I would imagine this one would be any different, but I do. Actually, the way I figure it, I'm owed 25 days, but I'll take 7!

In the meantime, if anyone is in need of some obsessive reorganizing, I'm your girl.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Hi everyone-
Here is where we will be putting up all of the news of the family, especially the breaking news (any day now!) of Baby Clancy #4's birth. This is my first blog endeavor, so bear with me if it's a little primitive to start!

First Bath

First Bath

Big Girl!

Big Girl!

Naptime with Caroline

Naptime with Caroline

I'm a Big Sister!

I'm a Big Sister!