4th trimester-10 months and holding

A friend knitted this adorable little set for Mini Me. I hope he still fits in whever he decides to join this craziness we call life. Whoa! Did you spot all those typos? I’m going to leave them to prove how dog gone overdone I am. 🙂



Filed under Random, Reality, Ruse

Baby necessities. Really?

Please join me at my new web home JessieGunderson.com and don’t forget to like the Blog Schmog Facebook community HERE.

It’s  amazing to me how many things we consider “necessity”. I wrote a post previously about surviving on one income and today, as the date for my son’s arrival approaches, I found myself thinking about baby necessities and what is truly helpful and what is just plain extra. I must be nesting! Can you tell from the baby car seat torn apart for deep cleaning? 🙂

When you are on a tight budget it is helpful to identify the extras and not get caught with stars in your eyes. I’ve sure had my eye on a few unnecessary and expensive accessories. But even the inexpensive things add up. So… what are you baby “necessities” and the things you know you can live without?

Baby necessities I DON’T use:

  • diaper bag (in the traditional sense) – I have a cute, larger than normal purse and I put my wallet in that and a couple diapers. Sometimes wipes. Yep, that’s all folks, for real! Mind you, my normal purse fits only a checkbook and some bills, maybe a couple of tubes of lip gloss.
  • backpack or front carrier – I put my mind to learning how to use the Moby wrap (which amounts to a long piece of fabric, you can purchase enough at Joanne’s to make your own for under $15). Once you actually learn how to do it, the Moby is the easiest, most adjustable and most comfortable carrier on the market. But don’t neglect the practice or it will just frustrate you.
  • changing pad or table – That’s what blankets and couches or beds are for. 🙂
  • baby toys and/or items of furniture – Why bother when they grow out of these things so fast? I’ve had one child that loved a swing and so I reluctantly kept that around. No exersaucer, no bouncy thing, no floor gym (that’s how babies get sat on by siblings ;)). A car seat or small lightweight age appropriate seat is helpful but not all those hurky (Did I made up that word) furniture pieces that mean you have to put your couch in storage!
  • I’ve never had a car seat condom. Oops, I’m so sorry I meant winter car seat cover!

Oh I could think of a ton more but I’ll stop. There are some thing that do make mothering so much easier but I’m so grumpy as I write this I can’t think of many. That’s what happens when you are days from your due date and snowed in and hopefully by the time you read this he will be here. Maybe you will remember something I’ve forgotten below and help me out of my funk! Somehow I think this funk might be here to stay until the baby arrives. Ack!

Baby items I do use:

  • disposable wipes and disposable diapers especially when you are away from home.
  • Moby wrap – or homemade version
  • bebePod seat or other safe place to sit a curious baby- lots of different brands available
  • siblings – these are a must for entertainment and help!

Since everyone is different you may totally disagree so…. Now its your turn.


Filed under Motherhood Uncensored

Muslim for a day

Please join me at my new web home JessieGunderson.com and don’t forget to like the Blog Schmog Facebook community HERE.

Dressed as a Muslim, I was invisible. There were only two people during my day out on the town that regarded me as equal. Read about them below.

I finally got up the nerve to conduct an experiment in which I wore a veil around town and reflected on people’s reactions. I did not intend it to offend anyone but to gain more sympathy and understanding for those practicing religions that include wearing one, especially in my relatively homogenous monoculture.

The pictures in this post are me as Fadia, the heroine in my current work in progress, a christian suspense, where the clash between Muslim culture and American ideals is a large part of the plot. In her culture this is called hijab.

Here is what I learned.

I prayed, before embarking on my adventure, that God would give me insight and deeper compassion in understanding His heart for all people. Then Matt and I headed out to Wal Mart. He dressed simply in his usual–jeans and long sleeved t-shirt. He was nervous because people around here tend to be a little bit prejudice or at least ignorant. Not because they intend to be but there isn’t a lot of diversity up here in North Idaho so it is not something people experience. Matt grew up in California where the opposite is true. And he misses that melting pot lifestyle.

We spent almost two hours at Wal Mart where, except for the veil, I acted my friendly, casual self. In all that time only three people smiled at me (not counting the checker). One was a man who gave me a cursory glance and a meek smile. Another was an elderly woman in the bathroom. The third is the only person the entire time whom I felt looked at me like another human being. While the other two smiles were appreciated, this woman was different. She was also, the first person who didn’t steer across the aisle or look me up and down after I’d passed.

Matt noted that when people avoided looking directly at me, they would turn and gawk after passing. He said it wasn’t a disdainful look but more naivety or curiosity.

The woman in the blue sweater spotted me at the end of an isle. Her eyes sparkled with interest and she blinked only a brief second before looking me full in the face, radiating peace and confidence. I could tell that at first glance, I caught her off guard but she must have had a conversation with herself in that split second and made a decision to choose grace. Her smile is something I can hardly describe because I’ve rarely felt the “outsider” with an opportunity to evaluate what someone must “think” of me. We saw each other offten throughout the shopping excursion and her reaction never changed. I guess it was a smile that extended an offering of friendship despite differences, acceptance regardless of my circumstance, stage in life, religious preference…. It was so fresh and vibrant to be regarded as such after a long shopping experience where I was virtually invisible to most humans.

I hope she knows how appreciated her love was. Her grace must have come from a heart forgiven, unconditional love accepted and a life surrendered to Christ.

We made a quick stop at the mall where I was a little bit less of an anomaly. The young people milling about didn’t take much notice. But an elderly couple passed us in the hall when we left a store where I’d bought a new pair of sweats for after the baby comes. The husband gripped his wife’s arm possessively and looked us both up and down with fire in his eyes. That was the first time anyone took notice of Matt.

I realized that the man thought if I was a Muslim woman then Matt must be a terrorist. How sad that this was his only conclusion. Matt and I talked about all the other possibilities. I could be Jewish, or a cancer patient or simply cold…. And yet he gave us a look like we intended to blow up the mall.

We decided it was time for dinner and so Matt went for the car. I chose a chair in the food court near the door to wait and the most ironic thing happened. A Muslim family came in. Okay, now I’m stereotyping but they sounded like they were speaking another language and the woman wore a beautiful pale blue veil and modest clothing. Funny enough, beneath the veil, she, her husband and her two children more western than I me. She had trendy jeans, and a hooded sweater.

She was the second person to whom I was not invisible. After they had ordered some food she went out of her way to steer the baby stroller next to my table. Her face beamed with recognition and almost relief. I waved at the little guy and her daughter, about 6, played and smiled at me too. We didn’t speak any words but we both knew the other understood. We were two islands in a sea of unfamiliar, lonely and wanting, compelled to smile at each other. We had to band our hearts together in the brief time we had before it was gone again. I realized through that encounter how desperate and empty it is to live in a foreign place and be looked at as the “untouchable”.



Filed under My WIP, Random, Reality, Ruse, True Tales

Falls Park

We love our local parks. And with winter mud and hail, we had the place to ourselves! This is the dam at Post Falls on the Spokane River across the water from Q’emelin Park

So what about you? Are you a fair weather park goer? Or do you venture out into the elements? I met one of my dearest friends out at the park on a chilly, late fall day. I’m glad I didn’t stay home.


Filed under Local Digs, Thru the Lens

Posterior Presentation and Chiropractic

Would you like to possibly reduce the length of your labor? How about turn a baby that is breech or posterior? Try a chiropractor with specialized training.

This is the 3rd (and last) in a series of posts I’ve written with ramblings on pregnancy, birthing, chiropractic that works for turning babies in utero and more.

It started here…I feel like I’m on the big upward climb of a daunting rollercoaster. Click, click, click…. When will I reach the top? I’m afraid but elated. How long will it last? My heart beats a crazy rhythm. Oooo boy, here we goooooooooo!

Posterior Presentation and Chiropractic

Baby has been riding posterior consistently since he settled head down. That fact makes it feel like there are two babies jostling in there but the ultrasound confirmed he is solo. I googled ways to encourage baby to turn and tried all manner of exercises but he remained stubborn and my body continued to complain. It is hard on the lower back and pelvic region to carry a baby posterior. Ouch! I finally got time to make a chiropractic appointment and after two visits my muscles and joints are feeling much, much better. I’ve even slept through the night the last several days.

I found this cute picture and an article on other methods of turning baby around at Fruitful Vines and Olive Shoots.

After my 3rd appointment the baby turned and has stayed in the anterior (correct) position since. Chiropractic for babies in less than ideal positions really works! My provider practices Webster Technique and specializes in Pregnancy. He can encourage baby back out of the birth canal if necessary to turn him and can also work wonders with breech babies. I wouldn’t presume to say that all chiropractic providers are prepared for the extra demands and skills required for women with basketball bellies but I know I have received many benefits from chiropractic during pregnancy. It is even said to significantly reduce laboring time because the pelvis is balanced and relaxed.

This fifth pregnancy has been admittedly harder in many ways than the others but now that I’m close I realize what the work has been for. I can’t wait to hold my tiny little boy and finally know what his face looks like, if he has hair or not. He could even be the first redhead in the family.

It brings a smile to my face to wonder at how the other kids will welcome him or not. Tee hee!

I’m ready, bring it on! I’m going to start walking, hiking, climbing stairs, whatever it takes. I can’t wait to bring my little guy into the world and once again experience the miracle of birth!

Thank you Captain Obvious for taking my picture!


Filed under Motherhood Uncensored

Hiking and hoping for baby to come.



Filed under Just Me, Random, Reality, Ruse, Thru the Lens

Choices in Fertility

This is the 2nd in a series of posts I’ve written with ramblings on pregnancy, birthing, chiropractic that works for turning babies in utero and more.

It started here…I feel like I’m on the big upward climb of a daunting rollercoaster. Click, click, click…. When will I reach the top? I’m afraid but elated. How long will it last? My heart beats a crazy rhythm. Oooo boy, here we goooooooooo!

How funny that this post is going up right after Valentine’s Day.

Choices in Fertility

I never thought of myself as the mothering type and yet I’m on baby five! We’ve had choices along this way and I wouldn’t do a thing different. All except the timing of my first child (I think that one tends to surprise a lot of people but I’m NOT complaining), my kids have been planned. One option I’ve used: birth control pills (various different low hormone types) made me sick in more than one way. The “permanent” options out there are not fool proof, not to mention expensive as well as risky. So after going the mainstream route for years, dissatisfied and misrable, I now choose to know about my body. I love to know!

When I first read Taking Charge of Your Own Fertility I was angry that no one had told me the simple facts one can learn just by paying attention. I quit wallowing and decided to be a good student of my body from then on.

When to do something permanent:

I asked my midwife after delivering my 3rd, “When do you know it is time to do something permanent. When it is time to be done?”

She said, “You’ll feel like your family is complete. You will know that you are whole.”

There is always a chance that this is the last pregnancy but I still can’t shake the feeling that we are missing someone. I won’t be surprised if God blesses us once again. And no, that doesn’t mean I don’t know how it happens! 🙂 In fact, I’ve been so consistant and successful charting that with three out of four of my children I went into labor on my due date. The last, my drama queen wanted to make a grand entrance, she was late.

When you aren’t ready for the “snip” but want a workable, inexpensive option in birth planning:

Want tips on knowing your body and successful birth/cycle planning, simply by applying knowledge your body already supplies you? I’d be happy to answer question OR pick up Taking Charge of Your Fertility at the local library. If you agree with the method, you might need to buy it to refer to. If you don’t, it costs less than a doctors appointment. 🙂

What I understand about how the Fertility Awareness Method differs from other methods is that it is NOT the rhythm method. It used scientific truths to help you learn how to chart what YOUR body does (not the average woman) because we all know, none of us is “average” right? 🙂 Where several other methods use only two ways of tracking your changes, F.A.M. uses three and I will tell you that I was a slacker and ignored the 3rd with this last baby, which caused me to be convinced he was a girl based on timing but I was neglecting a necessary part of my chart.

I started this method with paper charts and the mystery of trying to understand my own charts but now I use their handy computer program which interprets your chart for you. Not to mention there have a great online forum.

Infertility So, here I am, in the last few weeks of pregnancy and I count it such a blessing. My heart bleeds for my dear friends who have not been able to conceive or who find themselves without ever considering the question “how many kids will we have” because even having one has been difficult a journey. I love you all. I constantly remind myself that each discomfort, challenge and even pain is a miracle that I am priveledged to have. Some long and crave to experience it just once.

If you are still trying and frustrated by the lack of answers you receive, Taking Charge of Your Fertility might be a great resource for you too. I’ve been a part of the joy when someone who had previously lost her babies, finally delivered without the use of infertility drugs. Again, it’s cheaper than a doctor appointment and doesn’t hurt to try. Knowledge can be power.


Filed under Motherhood Uncensored