Multitasking Has Its Limits


I was going to the bathroom, holding a fussy baby (you know you’ve been there), when my five year old barged in.

“Your arms aren’t busy now. Now can you fix my Darth Vader?”

Sometimes all you can do is stare. And then laugh.

But I refuse to hot glue toys from the toilet.



Check-out Lane Trivia Game


To keep the kids busy in the Walmart checkout lane tonight, I began asking them trivia questions. (And rewarding them with Tic Tacs.)

I tried to make the questions age appropriate and engaging. Educational and interesting.

To Olivia, I asked mostly geography questions.

To Benjamin, mostly math.

And to Levi, “Why don’t we eat things off the Walmart floor?”


On a related note: This was our first shopping trip with our Family Christmas Present, Mr. Kindle Fire. And for the first time since I talked him into it, Josh actually looked convinced that this little splurge was worth it.

His actual word was “investment”.


So this is what it looks like for our family of six to grocery shop in 16* weather:

One cart with an infant carrier, five coats, two blankets, four hats, and two pairs of gloves.

One cart with three children watching Ice Age.

Baby in the Ergo.

Good thing we were just getting milk and fruit or Olivia would have needed to push a third cart.


And now for some recent Instagram pictures. Because that’s all I have here on my phone.

Benjamin was teaching Evelyn how to shoot a pretend potato out of his mouth. Evelyn was enthralled.

This was two hours into a full day’s travel. Evelyn was not enthralled.

This was me, packed into the very back of the van on the above-mentioned full-day’s-travel. I was trying to be enthralled.

We were all enthralled with this. Sweeping Ev-uh-wyn.

The I Love Sweeping Ev-uh-wyn Fan Club.

This was the tear in our tire that we didn’t even know existed until we stopped for lunch on the above-mentioned full-day’s-travel. And we wouldn’t have even looked at it if a man hadn’t brought our attention to it at a stoplight.

And right around the corner from that stoplight was a Walmart with an auto center that was open on New Year’s Day.

We saw several blessings and answers to prayer during our Christmas break, that was just one of them.

We serve an awesome God!


What was your Christmas break like?

What do your shopping trips look like?

What prayers have been answered recently?

How much do you love my random, pointless posts?


Twenty-Four Pictures of my Adorable Children.


I took four kids on an all-day field trip to a historical prairie themed park! Whee!


Boy, meet Goat.


Boy, be ecstatic about said Goat.


Boy, Goat; commence frolicking.


We learned about hot air balloons. (Boy on left: mine. Boy on right: not mine. But we still like him.)


“Sooo…. if I remove it from the supply of hot air… we all die?”


Then we rode the real one!


“Those cars look like toys!” – Benjamin.


“I see a animal!” – Levi
(Olivia opted to stay on the ground.)


Evelyn was the youngest passenger. By a lot.


Then we visited the Indian village to try out their favored method of transportation. Canoeing on dry land!


Evelyn and I watched from the sidelines.


Benjamin called this the Indian Slide. We found out later it was used for skinning animals. Fun times!


Incredibly, I think this was their favorite part. More so than the balloon even.


We went to the “Store” where the “shopkeeper’s wife” tried to “sell” us some slate and soapstone. Olivia was upset when I explained it really wasn’t for sale. So now I’m off to see if Amazon can compete with the 12 cent price tag we were “offered” here.


Then we rolled down a hill.




Evelyn did *not* roll down the hill.
I repeat.
Evelyn did *not* roll down the hill.


This old house.
Is behind Olivia.




Got some sibling love going on in the background. And some sibling sword fighting in the foreground.


So. Much. Love.


I took a lot of these. Be glad you’re only getting two. And not two hundred.


Evelyn – Almost 5 months
Benjamin – 5 years
Olivia – 7 years
Levi – 3 years



Copy-Cat Pamela’s Gluten Free Flour Mix


Honestly, I haven’t done the math to see how much cheaper this is than Pamela’s.  I buy my flours in bulk on using Subscribe & Save to get even better deals.  Surely it has to be cheaper.

Better yet, it doesn’t have any baking soda/powder, dry buttermilk powder, salt, or anything else that an all-purpose flour blend wouldn’t have.

And the best of all: It tastes amazing.  I’m not a fan of Bob’s Red Mill’s use of garbanzo bean flour, as healthy as I’m sure it is compared to all the starches in Pamela’s.  But Pamela’s just tastes better.  And I don’t use this flour much.  So when I do, I want it to taste better. :)

This mix makes 12 cups.  I whisk it all together in a huge bowl and store it in a big plasic (yes, I know purists only use glass) air tight container.

Fake Pamela’s Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour Mix

  • 2 1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 3 1/2 cups white rice flour
  • 2 cups almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 cups sweet rice flour
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 2 TBS Xanthum or guar gum
To make into a baking mix, add:
  • 1 1/3 cup cultured buttermilk (or dry/powdered milk)
  • 1/3 cup baking powder
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
Whisk together and store in an airtight container.  Use cup for cup in place of all-purpose flour.
This probably won’t work for bread recipes, as I’ve been told regular GF all-purpose flours usually don’t.  But if you’re brave enough to try, let me know how it goes!

My Children Can’t Hear Me


It’s been a day.  A full day of expressing frustration to my children over the fact that they Do.Not.Hear.My.Voice anymore.

Your children do that, too, right?!

So it had been a day like that.  Full of repeating myself a minimum of three times, and usually resorting to The Yell.  Or better yet, The Bellow (when The Yell goes down an octave.)

Benjamin got down from the supper table. He took his plate to the counter and left to wash his hands. And while he was doing all this, I asked him three time whether or not he wanted dessert.

He didn’t even look in my direction.

90% of me wanted to just go Ha! That’s what you get!

But instead I called out his name. Three more times.

He finally came back.

And the smile I got when he FINALLY heard me ask if he wanted cake? Was worth it.

Should have taken a picture. And tattooed it on the back of my hand.

Because I’m agonna need that memory, and I’m agonna need it hard.


Evelyn’s Birth Story. Or: How I Lost My Skirt in the ER Entryway


(This triple layer banana cake with cream cheese frosting was completely gone by the time labor started.)

Contractions started at 4am on Sunday, May 13th. They caught me off guard, even though I was five days late at that point. I’d been waiting for other signs that had preceded contractions with my last labor, but go figure, every birth is different.

Ha. Ahaha. Yeah. Especially this one.

So I started timing contractions (instead of sleeping, on account of I’m smart with my decisions that way) on my handy iPhone app. They were averaging about 8-10 minutes apart and were very mild.

Two hours later, Levi came in and threw up on my pillow.

An hour after that, Benjamin came in and thew up on my feet. And then turned around and threw up on the dog.

Did I mention it was Mother’s Day?

So by 7am, we were up. And we were not going to church. I hadn’t told Josh about the contractions yet. What… It hadn’t come up… {Shifty face}.

He bathed the kids and the dog, and then made pancakes, insisting I do nothing, like a good husband. Which made me not want to tell him all the more. I didn’t want to sit around and do nothing. But it was Mother’s Day, and therefore illegal for me to lift a finger. I eventually decided maybe if I told him I was in labor, I’d be more likely to get my way. Maybe he’d let me load the dishwasher.

And he did. I also washed sheets.

I then continued to putter around the house. When I was sitting, the contractions would be 10 or more minutes apart; when I was up, for instance, making these awesome energy balls, they would be 3-5 minutes apart. But when they were closer together, they were much milder, so I wasn’t concerned.

The kids went down for Quiet Times at around 1:30 p.m. and Josh and I watched I Love Lucy. Partly because of tradition. We watch old shows while I’m in labor. It was M*A*S*H with Benjamin.

While watching Lucy, Josh started helping me through the contractions. Evelyn hadn’t turned yet, so my lower back was really aching with each contraction. He applied great counter-pressure while I leaned on my yoga ball and everything was completely manageable. I was still timing them and they were still 10 or more minutes apart.

We had had sitters lined up to take care of the kids when I went into labor, but the whole early-morning-vomit thing kinda messed with those plans. Our sitters were mostly mothers of young children, so taking our children into their homes wasn’t really a desirable option anymore. We had also let Josh’s mom know things had started, and she had left for the 7 hour trip at about 9:30 that morning. So we were expecting her at about 4:30. I thought I could definitely hold out until then.

The kids woke up and they were playing Trios with Josh in the living room. I was leaning over my ball, timing my lazy, but intensifying 10 minute-apart contractions. Josh could tell when one would start, just from my breathing, and would come over to push on my back. Pretty sure I was bruised the next day from all the counter-pressure, but I wasn’t complaining at the time!!

I had two 8 minute-apart contractions and Gammy showed up. I had two intense 6 minute-apart contractions and told Josh it was time to go. Which is very unusual. He’s always been the one who has to drag my laboring bottom out of the house.

We walked 20 feet to the car and the contractions started coming one on top of another. The pressure in my pelvis was increasing at an alarming rate.

The last contraction I timed had been at 4:39pm, before telling Josh it was time to go. It was probably 4:45 by the time car was in drive. We drove the 10 minutes to the hospital. Hit every red light. Josh went to the wrong entrance and had to try again. And the whole time, I was recognizing the feeling inside me. She. Was. Coming.

Low, guttural moaning and prayer. That’s all that kept her in. Side note: I don’t recommend experiencing transition in a moving vehicle.

He found the ER entrance and hopped out, keys in the car, car still running. I was already on my way through the first set of doors. I took maybe five steps and stumbled to my knees. Four feet shy of the second set of doors. They hadn’t even opened yet. I remember seeing the man behind the desk. He was on the phone. I remember wondering if he could see me. And then I went down on all fours.

My body refused to listen to me anymore.

It pushed. My water broke. It pushed again. And her head was out.

Someone tried to get me in a wheelchair. I flat refused. (In their defense, I was wearing a skirt, so no one but me knew that her head was out already.) But then Josh realized what had happened and suddenly there were a lot of people around me.

My body pushed again and Evelyn was born. She slid briefly into my hand before she was whisked away behind me. Being still connected to each other, there was a careful dance that followed where I stood, my skirt was taken, and I was finally able to hold my baby girl.

Then I saw the sheets being held up at either end of the entry way. And I realized, for the first time, that I’d just birthed my child in a very public place. I was led to a gurney and wheeled away, past some amazed faces, to labor and delivery.

In L&D, I asked what the official time of birth was. They pondered a bit and decided it would be when ER called up to say there was a lady delivering in the breezeway. 4:58pm.

19 minutes after my last timed contraction.

They never found my skirt.



Evelyn Ruth. 7lbs, 7oz, 19.25″ long, born 5/13/12 at 4:58pm – 5 days “late”.

The ER entry way – her place of birth. Also, notice how hilariously appropriate her initials are.

Loving the car ride home (Group B Strep was NEGATIVE!) in a car seat deceptively sold with a weight range starting at 5lbs. We have since borrowed an infant carrier.

We did not expect our dog to love the baby quite this much.

However, we did expect this.

And this.

And this. (There’s the dog again!)

While Levi does love his Babyevawin, he is mostly excited that the Daddy will be spending a WHOLE WEEK at home with us.


Group B Strep. This Is A First.


I was told today that my group B strep culture came back positive.  And here’s what I learned about that:

  • Group B strep is considered normal flora.
  • Group B strep is not a concern to anyone but pregnant women, or rather, their babies.
  • Group B strep comes and goes, which is why they don’t test until 36 weeks.
  • There are no side effects to me, I’m not sick.
  • 30% of women test positive for group B strep.
  • 5% of the babies born from those 30% will be born with it.
  • It can make the newborn sick.  If that happens, it can happen very quickly and be dangerous for the baby.
  • To prevent this, women who test positive are given IV antibiotics 4 hours before birth.
  • If they do not receive the antibiotics, or receive them too late (they give birth less than 4 hours later), then the newborn’s blood will be tested.  And it won’t be a heel prick.  It’ll be a blood draw.
  • The culture takes 48 hours to come back, but the white blood cell count comes back quickly.  If it is elevated, it is indicative of group B strep and they treat the baby with antibiotics immediately.  If the white blood cell count is not elevated, they do nothing.  The baby probably doesn’t have it.  In 48 hours, the culture will determine whether to quit, continue, or begin antibiotics.
  • Prolonged labor increases the chance that the baby will get group B strep.
  • If a pregnant woman’s water breaks and she does not deliver within several hours (six was the estimate I was given), the baby will be more likely to get group B strep.
  • Babies born to mothers who test positive for group B strep are strongly encouraged to stay the full 48 hours.  And highly discouraged from leaving after only 24 hours.
And here’s what I know about my own medical history:
  • I have quick labors.
  • My water breaks during the pushing stage.  Minutes before the baby is born.
  • I’ve had C. Diff.  Any antibiotic I take is likely to cause a recurrence.
  • I do not want to have C. Diff with a newborn.
So here is what my midwife and I decided:
  • Barring any circumstance that would increase my risk of passing group B strep to the baby, I will not be taking antibiotics during labor.
This increases the chance that the baby will have to be on antibiotics hours after birth.  Which makes me sad.  But it doesn’t sound like there is any great chance that the baby will get sick, given all the precautions.  Whereas me getting an antibiotic will likely make me very sick.
Here are some things I still want to look up (If you know anything, could you please let me know?):
  • How can I give a newborn probiotics to counteract the harmful effects of antibiotics?
  • Does breast milk contain probiotics?
  • If I were to take probiotics while nursing, would it transfer to the baby through my milk?
And here are some things I’d like to give to God, would you please join me?
  • That the labor would be quick.
  • That the water wouldn’t break until the end.
  • That the white blood cell count is normal.
  • That the culture comes back negative.
  • That we can find childcare for our other three during the hospital stay that will now be twice as long as originally planned.
I know that was an awfully dry post.  I just wanted to get it out there.  I promise I’m still spunky when not discussing group B strep. :-)

I put this on Facebook and then realized I could also put it here…


I want to blog. Yet also sleep. And sleep-blogging would not fare well, for drool would inevitably blow up my laptop, I’m pretty sure. Alas, the hard choices of my life. Maybe in four and half weeks, when we’re done with school, I’ll have time to blog more. But I have a feeling something else will be happening around that time, too… what was it? Gosh, my brain these days…

(Ahem. I know I’m horrible at updating, so in case you’ve forgotten, or never knew, or lost track, I’m 35 weeks along now.  Girl. Evelyn.  May 8ish.  Caught up? Awesome.  Times for bed.)


The Plans


So a lot of people are confused about us and the San Diego.

We went out there last summer for an internship and I was amazed at the amount of people who were surprised when we came back.

Apparently I’m a horrible communicator.

(Says the person who hasn’t blogged in months.)

So here’s what I know:

Josh has not graduated yet. He was shooting for May 2012, but now is thinking August or December. We thought a December graduation date would mean another summer internship, but he just found out today that they won’t require one.

He also found out today that he has been approved to extend his research here until at December.

So we don’t really know much. Here’s a summary:

  • We won’t be going to San Diego this summer.
  • He won’t be graduating in May.
  • Graduation will either be in August or in December.
  • Moving to San Diego permanently will follow graduation.
Am I doing alright with the communicating? It’s almost midnight. I can’t be sure.
Oh, and if you think I’m dismayed at all with the delay, you’re so wrong.
Did I mention our fourth baby is due in May? I’m quite happy to stay where I am a wee bit longer. No packing, no moving, no driving cross country. I’m one happy momma.
Also, the baby is a girl.
Also, we have a name.
Unless she comes out looking nothing like the name we’ve picked, she will be our little Evelyn Ruth.
Ruth, after my mother.
And those are our plans.
You got any plans? Do tell.

C Diff Free (Except that it really can be an expensive disease to cure…)


Well hello there!

My name is Beth and I’ve been c diff free for… Weeks now.  (I’m bad with remembering details, such as the passage of time.)

I faithfully took my $133 (after insurance) liquid antibiotic that was supposed to taste like cherries. (Ha!).  I could have gotten the pill form but that would have been $1,000.  ($4,000 before insurance.)  So I now have a new appreciation for the nasty stuff children have to swallow.

I also got a probiotic from the local grocery store with a billion live cultures per serving and took it three times a day.  With store bought kefir.  But I was still getting sick.

So, I took more drastic measure and bought myself some heavy duty probiotics from the local natural foods store.  87 billion live cultures per dose.  Once a day.  And around this time I was home again and able to make my own raw milk kefir.  Bonus probiotics.  Been healthy has a horse every since.

I’ve been declared “cured” of the c diff by medical professionals.  But from what I’ve read and been told, that just means the live and active c diff bacteria has been eradicated.  The hardier, impossible-to-kill spores that it hid all over my digestive tract are still there.  But they’ll just stay dormant as long as they aren’t threatened.  And the only thing that will really awaken them is antibiotics.  So as much as I questioned the purpose of antibiotics before, you can bet I’ll be even harder on the poor doctors now.

Really.  I’m not an easy patient.

And that’s the end (Please, God) of my story on c diff.

It really would be too corny to say “C ya, c diff” at this point.  So I won’t.  But know that I’m thinking it.

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