Oh, So Cozy, No Solo Mio.

The realtor will be waltzing through our apartment on both Friday and Saturday to show it to the house's potential buyers.

Here is a snippet of our brief and awkward (at least on my end) phone conversation.

Realtor Man: So would it be feasible for us to stop by at those times?

Bellygal: Sure, no problem. The only thing is that I'm pregnant and was due last Saturday. Depending on when the baby decides to come out, the apartment may be completely empty or overflowing with people.

Realtor Man: You're pregnant?!? This is your third child, right? (At this point, he was furiously figuring how we could fit another child into our bedroom.)

Bellygal: Yes'ir.

Realtor Man: God bless you! (Stated in that peculiar way people have when they're not really referring to God or blessings...)

Bellygal: Um. He is. That's why we have three...

Fairly long, awkward silence ensues.

Bellygal, cheerily: Sure! Friday and Saturday would be great! Come on by!

The End.


A Few More Feathers Line the Nest

While I'm at it, I should stick a few more in my cap...

I am 2 days overdue, ho hum, ho hoo.
Ho Who, indeed. Boy or girl?

Living is pleasantly measured and slow, and, this time around, I'm not a bit edgy having a baby too curled and content, darkly inside, to want to come out into the hooplah and jazz. Last week, I did taxes, and, on Fluffy Pink Day, the girls and I made gingerbread heads (not men, just heads, because they have no legs on which to run away). On Friday, the dearest heart whisked the girls and I on an adventure abroad. A spur-of-the-moment stop at sale-deluged Jo-Ann Fabrics allowed me to stuff batting, flannel, ruffles, and ribbon (sounds girly, but it's not) into the trunk. Then we went to Puddle Duck Toys and Dolls, one of the coolest indoor-window-shopping stores ever (i.e. wooden and wonderful, wind-up and pop-up, colors a-splash, costumes and puppets, all towering high with prices to match). To top off our Belated Fluffy Pink Evening we relished chicken souvlaki and an ice cream shake at the Lake Effect Diner. I recommend their chicken souvlaki to the entire world. (I've had it twice, and I bet it's just as good every time. Same for the shake, though I've only had a single.)

John spoils me by making meals and doing dishes while I sit and stitch. The midwife said the baby could come any time, but I expected a late arrival, and Berry didn't want to disappoint. In the void of waiting, I turned the stuff from Jo-Ann's into other stuff, and now I've got to put my nose inside the baby names book.

I open the lines.
If you have a name suggestion or request, please enter it in the comments section. There's only an eensy chance that Berry becomes a name you give, but if we pick a name because you brought it to our attention, we'll reward you with...

One complimentary naming of our baby and the pride of knowing that you satisfied John's "Suitably Harsh on the Ears" Name Radar.

I told you I was nesting. Here's the quilt square I made for Rebecca's quilt. (Don't observe too closely.) It is what it is because I like birds and nests, and God has given us four wee ones, here and there.

Millie's new, top-requested style. (She likes to flail the braids about.)

Millie's been practicing for Berry by pretending that the Pixie's a newborn. The only problem, as one sees in this snapshot, is that the Pixie is overly adept at playing the part.

Cool (cozy) flannel.

When Millie was born, I was given this magical Moses basket, but it was bare as a bone. With the girls, I just stuffed a pillow from our bed into it, but I found fabric on sale at Jo-Ann's and I and my trusty, ten-ton sewing machine slapped this bedding set together over the weekend. Baby Berry will be cozier than Moses. And the bedding has special, flipping superpowers to transform into...

bedding for a Blueberry Boy.


This is not a shot of serenity. This is one bored girl. Today I scrubbed the bathroom. And the kitchen. And the windows. And the refrigerator. And Millie and Annika. After I vacuumed for the second time, John looked at me with wary eyes and told me we'd better not have the baby tonight.

Now it sparkles! And see how greatly the bored girl's expression has changed? One eyebrow is very excited.

A Vanity Belly picture taken 3 days before Berry is due. I swathed myself in black, jutted my chin, and cropped off my legs (To balance the scales, I should show the picture John took the other night of my belly poking out from potato-sack pajamas....ha! But I won't.) Visitors-in-the-flesh are the only people privy to unfiltered glories of my double chin and round form. So come visit!



a new recipe,
sure to delight the eye,
soothe the belly,
and clutter the heart,
can be found on buildabelly.


Of Mostly Baby (Just Like My Belly)

Bitter Business.
I had a revelation of the minor sort last week. Our computer has been in the repair shop until a bit ago, and I went to the library to write down the shipping addresses of some eBay auction winners. While there, I hopped to shotsnaps, and was met with enormous snapshots! By enormous, I mean "grossly large." They filled more than the entire screen, and I had to scroll a bit just to see the whole picture. This is the first time a computer has shown shotsnaps in such unappealing garb (the other four or so computers I've been on display pictures identically to our home computer). Anyway, John said it probably is tied to what resolution the computer's owners have set it to, but in case any of you have been experiencing this monstrosity since I enlarged the pictures, my apologies. I just downsized them a bit, so your eyes should be eased. If you would, please leave a comment letting me know if your view of shotsnaps has been like mine at the library. If no one's computer is set to a similar resolution, I will return the size of my pictures to that of the last several months (because on my computer and the others I've frequented, the size difference is minimal but nice).

Better Business.
Baby Berry could appear any minute now or could wait another three weeks, and I'm prepared for either scenario. I'm due in one week, which rings hollow considering the Nixie Pixie came 10 days late. This time around, though, I feel content about Baby Berry loitering close for a bit longer. Most of my looming tasks are complete, and only those of finishing taxes and picking out baby names are of some importance. The rest can wait until next week. (I think.) Today I read through the baby names book to the "I" names for boys, but I haven't even glanced at the girls' names. While I sighed and shuffled, I asked John what Biblical names he likes. After a brief pause, he said, "I can't think of any right now that are suitably harsh on the ears...."

Funny Business

Here's an interesting link, and here are some excerpts:
In the mid-1990s she was the first scientist to determine that fetal cells remain in the mother's body for many years, perhaps indefinitely, after a pregnancy, whether that pregnancy is carried to term or not. "A pregnancy lasts forever," she suggests, "because every woman who has been pregnant carries these little souvenirs of the pregnancy for the rest of her life."

Consider what's being said here, ever so quietly. Bianchi's findings stand the familiar one-way model of maternal nurturance on its head. Mom feeds and sustains her baby during pregnancy by means of nutrients that flow through the umbilical cord to the developing child - understood. But that's only half the story. It turns out that the umbilical cord is a two-way street, and the nurturing process goes both ways. Beginning early in the pregnancy, the baby is sending fetal cells back into mom, where her body stores them, like pin money saved for a rainy day.
One of my first thoughts after reading it, although completely unrelated to the article's points, was that this is a comfort for women who've been given heavenborn children. In some small way, our child leaves us with a gift. It also affirms once again that children and the way the Shaper forms them are wonderful beyond imagining.

Two months later, John and I still exult in his post-school status. He received a letter from the head of the department congratulating him on gaining his Master's with straight-arrow-only-A's, but he hasn't received his diploma yet. We use this time of waiting to play board games while watching my belly dance of Berry's accord.

Our college friend Heidi and her friend Phil stopped by on Sunday for a visit before they drove homeward. Our visits are rare enough to be savored for the goodness they are, and we enjoyed their company and conversation. (Plus, it gave me a sound excuse to make cookies.) Anytime again!

Oh! The coolest midwife has joined the practice that I visit. I've only met her once, but she's exactly the sort of person that I'd like to attend Baby Berry's birth (although the nurse who caught Speedy Annika before the midwife could arrive was neat, too). The New Midwife is kind and homey and comfortable. She seems more knowledgeable- or at least freely open about her knowledge- of natural aids, also, than the other two midwives. She'd make a great homebirth midwife, I think.

(I will, of course, let you all know when the Blueberry arrives, and may even post some more words and snapshots before that time.)

* And I owe you a recipe on buidabelly, Rebecca. I haven't forgotten, even though our computer has been on vacation.

We still

frequent the


Clowns revived. Last week, I made a 20-page photo scrapbook for my mother of John's and my wedding, per her request. I'd never made a photo scrapbook before, and it was more time-consuming than I expected. And let me tell you, there's nothing quite like sifting through pictures of one's wedding when one is nine months pregnant. Hip! Hip!

A happy early birthday to my brother Pete, who turns THIRTY the day after Valentine's Day. Golly. Thirty.

Here's a sneak peak at your letter, Rebecca. You can open and look at anything in the package except for the inner box that says, "DANGER! BABY SHOWER GIFT!" (Just in case my markered warning was too subtle...)

A few days ago, I made a quilt square for Rebecca, design seen below. I'll post a picture of the actual once she receives the actual in the mail. It was fun and good practice for the still-untouched summertime quilt. (The spades and hearts were inadvertent results of cutting out the other pieces.)

The girls made valentines this year, even though by joint consent John and I avoid most of the forced hooplah. (Making fun things like a giant cookie cowboy for a Cookie Cowboy is acceptable, though.)

The Nixie sans paper.

Even Bearded Ladies need chapstick.

Terror of the Wild West.

A bath followed suit.

Drying beauties.

Annika was fascinated by her post-bath prunes, so this one's for posterity.

Step one.

Step two.

Millie's peacockian digits.

We shuffled our bedroom around and can now boast of a five-person glamour suite.

We even fit in a discarded shelf, badly in need of stripping and painting. Instead of a folded Monkey, it now holds mostly gender-neutral gowns, sleepers, and onesies. (John's mom sent up some lovely, I'd-forgotten-just-how-tiny, coming home outfits for a boy and a girl, and they rest there, too.)

And, look! Dresser transformed to changing table!

The crowning addition to our bedroom will be a sleeping baby in the cradle.