Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Friday, December 28, 2007

What I've forgotten in three years

1. How soft they are--their skin, their hair, everything

2. The funny noises they make when they a) fill their diaper, b) hiccup (like a squeak toy!) c) burp like a fraternity boy

3. How sometimes nothing irritates a baby's colon quite like a clean diaper

4. How very little they are--and it all works! Those tiny fingernails are actually growing

5. How many funny expressions they make. "I love you. You're the only competent one around here." Or "Who are you and why are you in my personal space?"

6. How tranquilizing it is to hold them. The narcolepsy sets in right after the epidural wears off.

7. That new-baby smell. Milk and warmth and newness.

8. Latching on isn't all oxytocin and fuzziness; sometimes it borders on pain even if only for a moment

9. As sleepy as they are, it doesn't last for more than four hours

10. It doesn't last forever. The good or the bad--none of it stays.


Questions from a six-year-old

Can I hold Louie?

Do Dora's parents know she goes on adventures? And why does she only have animal friends when she's a person?

Can I hold Louie?

How does he get milk from you? Does it hurt?

Can I hold him?

Is he getting a bath? Will he hate it?

Can I hold the baby?

What was that sound? Oh, I think he needs a diaper change...

Can I hold Louie?

Can I put one of my dolls in the swing?

Can I hold Louie?

I think we have a trend here.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Whew! It's over now.

Louis George Price, seven pounds, three ounces, twenty inches. These kids keep getting smaller on us! Contractions got quite painful despite the epidural. My nurse, Ann, suggested it was because I was sitting up so the medication went down to my legs instead of up. This seemed borne out later when it took my legs so long to get feeling back.
Once I was complete, though, the pushes really helped to distract from the contractions. Both of them.

Anyway, we're home now. Dinners are being supplied by friends from our homeschool group for two more nights... theoretically. The ample amounts being brought mean more than that in leftovers. (I thought I had it good last year.) I got a little overwhelmed at dinner tonight, just with the emotion of it all. Let's not attribute the good feelings to hormones, okay?
There we were, all six of us. I'm home a day earlier than originally expected, sitting around a table with the five other people who mean the world to me. We were eating a dinner I didn't have to cook (or really clean up after--thank you!), all healthy and happy and in a warm house with more to eat in the fridge and preparation for Christmas well on its way. The other three kids could barely stay at the table their fascination with their little brother was so strong.

I've told the kids there's too much love in our house for monsters to reassure them. How could I have known that when I don't even believe in monsters?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The son'll come out, tomorrow...

Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, he'll be born.
Just thinking 'bout tomorrow
clears the way for epidurals and the nurses
'til he comes...

Tomorrow, it's only a day away....
Hey, it's better than Hard Knock Life, right?

I know this feeling.

Not the thirteen part, we're only on eight, but pretty much.


Just think how much...

they could do if they got Everyday Math!

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"Two days." *click*

Who remembers those Highland appliance commercials?

That's where we are. I am so relieved I don't quite know where to begin.

The relief stems from two things: the obvious one, where I know it won't be any longer than tomorrow, and secondly, I can spend today exerting all the energy I need to in order to get ready.
You see, I was informed by my beloved husband on Saturday morning that he needed to be out of town this week. Overnight. Before Louis' arrival. Yes, I realize it's easier to care for a baby in utero than in arm, but to use a football analogy, we're in the "red zone." I was a little tense that Louis would choose the day Daddy is two or three hours away to be born.
I managed to come down from the clock tower by Sunday evening, but for about 30 hours I was wound a little tight. (When the purchase of the "wrong" corn bread mix sends you into tears, you're wound a little tight. And as most women can attest, knowing why you're crying and being able to stop are two completely different things.)
True relief came yesterday at dinner when Daddy told me that his appointment for today got moved to next week. I had been preparing myself for two days of lying on my left side and making sure the kids didn't harm each other. Now, with Daddy his usual distance, I can complete the laundry, floor sweeping and vacuuming, and emergency tidying up. If I go into labor, whee! And if I don't, I have only one day to wait. Hooray!

God bless and light posting until the birth. I've got chores to do!


Monday, December 17, 2007

Mom, what's "twitterpated?"

I laughed out loud at that one. Who among my readers can tell me?


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Here's an easy scheduling question.

Short version: can a child/infant be baptized, non-emergency, on Christmas?

Here's the explanation. We know Louis will be born before Christmas. He'll even be home by then. My in-laws, God bless 'em, will be with us on Christmas Day. They will then proceed to warmer climes until after tax season.
Louis' godparents have a very young one of their own and they "hibernate" as much as possible during RSV season. They really like to avoid crowded Masses. I know from experience that our home parish is sparsely populated on Christmas Day. Everyone hits the Vigil Masses for convenience's sake, and Midnight Mass is more of a social gathering for the congregation than a Mass.
Anyway, I know the ones I'd really like to be there--my mom, my in-laws, and Louis' godparents--will be able to make it on Christmas Day if they're given enough notice. I just want to know if it's... licit? Valid? Possible?
This is a question because I know you can't get married in the Catholic Church on Good Friday or Holy Saturday. Maybe it's just that you can't have a Mass; I'm not a canon lawyer. I'm thinking baptism is different.

And yes, we could wait until later in the spring when the in-laws are back and hibernation is over, but frankly, I'd just rather not. Any help would be great.

UPDATE 12/17/07: We have an answer for the licitness of a baptism; and now we have it scheduled for after 10AM Mass on Christmas Day! Thanks to all for your help. And the calls begin...


Winter storm warning! or Where are their boots?

The first real snowfall is approaching. I know the kids have winter coats, hats, and gloves or mittens. I'm not too worried about snow pants but I had a concern about boots.
Where are they? What size are they? I pondered this. I reasoned we probably needed a new pair for Madeleine, probably not for Rachel given hand-me-downs. The Boy was the wild card; did we have some from a cousin? If we needed to buy a pair or two, when and where would we find the time before the snow hit? It's the middle of December, after all. I'm sure some stores already have out bathing suits.
With the knowledge of the weather careening toward us, Boot Quest 2007 became a priority. This morning I woke up to Daddy preparing breakfast and telling them about playing in the coming snow.
I went to the front closet and just started pulling out boots. Pink Dora, pink without Dora, black and red, blue, fire truck...
"Daddy, when you get a minute away from breakfast, could you pair those up?" The kids came over to see what Mama and Daddy were doing.

Then a miracle occurred. All three of them found an appropriate pair that fit.

First was Dale. "These fit really comfy, Mom." He proceeded to stomp around in the black and red ones.
"Look, Mama!" Rachel cried, lurching around in the largest Doras.
"Rach, those might fit Madeleine. Why don't you try those plain dark pink ones?" Maddie gently took the too-large ones and slipped them on.
"Mama, I need help with this one." That was Rachel. But it fit. They all, with my encouragement, went stomping through the hallway to tell Daddy they all had boots.

I think our front closet is magic.


Friday, December 14, 2007

From the Chevy No-va files...

Dior has a perfume called "j'adore." I found myself laughing at their new commercial for it, where it sounds more like "je dors." Why is that funny, you ask?
J'adore means "I love, I adore."
Je dors means "I'm sleeping." Generally, a less romantic sentiment, n'est-ce pas?

Yep. And Coca-cola brings your ancestors back from the dead. Oops, I mean Coke adds life.


Why did I major in this again?

New embarrassment for Francophiles. My dad thought unions had outlived their usefulness, and he's been gone for almost 15 years.
I'll admit, though, that one of the reasons I don't like to shop at Wal-Mart is their predatory prices, but you know, sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Still, it reminds me of the classified ad: "French rifle for sale. Never fired, dropped once." Maybe they're really just jealous of American ingenuity.

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It's early and it feels like a long day.

No, it's not the kids. They are contentedly playing on the floor with Hot Wheels cars, an empty tangerine crate, and a cardboard box. All three of them.
I have three loads of laundry to put away, dishes to put away and wash, a floor to sweep, a bedroom to tidy so we have room for the sidecar--strange, I have books there--along with lunch and dinner to tend to and clean up after, school to do or at least try.
We want to do the same thing as last year and not have to grocery shop the weekend right before Christmas, so I have a two-week menu to plan. And tomorrow is Lunch with Santa.

Of course, he had to go to work today. I've had one contraction in the past two hours, so he'd really better go. While it was disappointing to come out of the hospital still pregnant yesterday, I did get to spend a number of hours with my best friend discussing the book he's reading and my feelings and fears about this birth. Those times are hard to come by.

I'm trying to find some deeper meaning to this dirge, but all I can come up with is it's a lesson in gratitude. Days like this make me grateful for Wednesday when the sun was shining and we got out for a walk. Or Tuesday when we actually got some school done.
Or even yesterday, when I got to spend some time with my beloved. Even though everything didn't happen that I wanted, let's see the cup as half full.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oh, and it seems we have a potential celebrity around here.

Hey, our neighbor got spotted on Youtube and is now in the Top 10 Finalists for a spot in a commercial and a family trip to the Magic Kingdom.

Like they used to say, "Vote early, vote often!"

Here's the whole story.


Now I'm REALLY tired of false alarms.

One would think by the third non-induced delivery I'd know what was going on, right? But no. No dilation, Louie's still way up there, all the rest of the lines. Sigh. Almost an hour of continuous walking laps around the maternity floor didn't do much. I question my instincts on this and am tempted to hold off saying anything again until my water breaks. That's a strong statement considering they've had to do it in the hospital every time before.

The good points: I AM having contractions. They aren't Braxton-Hicks, so it's not my imagination. They just aren't doing much yet. And my beloved's utter complete interminable patience with the runs to the hospital is gratifying. He hasn't said it, but he will when he reads this: he'd rather make a dozen false-alarm runs to have the thirteenth be real than have no false alarms and an emergency home birth.
The friend who watched the kids this time said too that, barring something she absolutely had to do, they could come back when it was real. I take that to mean they behaved themselves, which is nice.

That's where we stand now, back to "normal" life waiting for something to happen. And I still have about 35 pounds tied to my abdomen.
Six more days, six days. I can make it. I think.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Discussions at dance class

This topic is proving so popular (and edifying!) that I'm moving it up to the top. God bless all involved!

I was talking about kids (what else?) with another mother at dance class last night. (Coincidentally, they homeschool too and her daughter is in Madeleine's ballet class.) I showed her the picture of Louis. "It's a baby," she said, impressed. "And it has been."
"Yep," I agreed. "His heart was beating before I knew he was coming." Sarcasm turned on and she would know that. "But remember, at that point it's just a clump of cells."
"A very expensive 'clump of cells' that some people go to great anguish and effort to get," she grinned. "What's ironic"--she sniffed and blinked quickly, as she was starting to choke up--"is there are over four thousand kids right here in Michigan who won't be with their permanent family this Christmas."
I told her I know, to varying degrees, three different families who adopted or are in the process through the foster care system.
"Four thousand. But so many of them have problems." I was trying to be realistic, not discouraging. I could have bitten off my tongue for what she said next.
"But God adopted me when I had problems."

It reminded me of that nugget of wisdom from my sister: "You don't get to choose what your kid needs therapy for." We have one with asthma and another who needed speech therapy. And that's it. Cue the crickets.
I think of the other families I know. One from my subbing days had two sons, both with muscular dystrophy. Another had two sons with cystic fibrosis. Yeah, one of mine needs a nebulizer at regular intervals when the weather is weird. It sure beats the heck out of treatment for CF or MD.

You don't get to choose what your kid needs therapy for. God adopted all of us when we have problems.
Words to live by.

UPDATE: If this hits home, here are a couple links:
Shelly's wisdom (saved from the comments)

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This is scary.

Back when Phil Hartman was on Saturday Night Live doing his Obsessive Compulsive Whatever (cook, carpenter, etc.) I didn't think those routines were funny. I knew and lived with someone like that. I didn't get it.
And when I was over in France, some French friends went to see Wayne's World--maybe the second one, but it doesn't matter. One of the girls thought it was a delightfully surreal commentary, too exaggerated to be based in reality.
"But I know people like that!" I insisted. "Really! Who live in their parents' basements and work at fast food jobs! Who play hockey in the street!"

Same applies here. Eek. Mark Shea calls it "huh-larious," but he doesn't have to live with it.
I love you, my husband.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On another note...

Since Rachel is being... vague about what Santa should bring her, we're floating all kinds of ideas past her. Big Sister Madeleine has the Holly Hobbies; Dale has... well... everything boy (bugs, rocks, trucks, space, Hot Wheels, race cars)... Rachel has zilch, really, that's her own interest.

She likes pink. I've noticed a preponderance of pink in the My Little Pony stuff, so I started browsing online.

I think I might need something for the sugar shock. I'm feeling queasy.

We're back from the doc's.

Medical intervention isn't happening before the 19th. Despite him being seven pounds, according to last week's ultrasound. Nuts.

If my blood pressure were through the roof, or I were out-of-control diabetic, then they could induce before 38 weeks. Seems this whole "wonderful, uneventful, healthy pregnancy" bit has a downside.

If I go on my own before then, though, they won't stop it. I know a couple of home remedies that are supposed to help move things along, bumpy roads having been discredited by a sister-in-law. Two were recommended by my OB today. What were they? Use your imagination--I try most of the time to keep this blog PG. Is that enough of a hint?

Just to keep all of you up to date, nope, I'm not in labor. Yet.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

'Scuse me, while I kiss this guy....

Since Madeleine is in the children's choir this year, we have been practicing the carols she's supposed to sing. Today while Daddy filled the gas tank, we sang Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and then went to Angels We Have Heard on High as he rejoined us.
"This one is my favorite," Dale said.
"Why?" I asked.
"It has my name in it."
"What?" We parents were both confused.
"Glo-o-o-o-o-ria, in excelsis Dale..." he sang.

Um... not exactly, son.

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Now this baby has my permission to be born.

We saw Enchanted today. It's a send-up, but an affectionate one. That's what I'd guessed from the reviews. Besides, Disney isn't going to be too malicious in mocking itself. The giant musical number in Central Park was probably my favorite part. If you have little girls, enjoy yourselves. Madeleine said the dragon wasn't even as scary as the one in Sleeping Beauty, but I was glad to have Rachel in my lap for it anyway.
The one bad point wasn't really the movie but came later. Rachel was too busy singing A Happy Working Song to actually do much work (putting her laundry away). We managed, I pretty much kept my temper by ceasing to ask her for preferences. When I'm saying with a straight face, "Do you want to walk to the bath, or should Mama drag you?" you're pretty much done really caring. And the child is pretty much just plain done.

On the way home, we stopped at Baby Megalopolis and purchased the new car seat. We got the bonus size one that holds up to 30 pounds since we know we have a boy coming. Why is the boy factor relevant? Because every boy in my side of the family has, for roughly the first two years of life, been absolutely off the growth charts. The Boy 1.0 was twenty-six pounds at six months. Honest. No exaggeration. He was in 18M clothes at six months just so we could get them around him. We did get our money's worth out of those clothes since he didn't gain any weight for two years after that, but yeah. He was "a hoss." And no, I didn't supplement at all. I lost my baby weight and he found it.
Those cute bassinets and changing tables that are good for up to 15 pounds? Ha! He was too big for those things before his cord fell off. Okay, that's a bit of a joke, but certainly before he was three months old. Don't say it's because he started at eight pounds eleven either; his big sister was eight twelve and I remember not being sure either of the girls would weigh twenty pounds by their first birthday so we could turn them.

Louie's clothes are clean and in the dresser. His car seat is in the minivan. Still in the box, but it's there. We even have diapers and wipes in the bedroom with the changing table, though not in the cabinet or wipes warmer. We've seen the movie I wanted for the kids.

Now you watch. He'll wait until the 19, just for spite, and prove himself his mother's son.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

What we're interested in this weekend

We have an interesting (and timely!) article over at Catholic Exchange.

Of interest to The Boy 1.0, and I'll admit I'm not feeling too bad for NASA right now. It means I caught it instead of hearing about it later!

Madeleine is showing a budding interest in Our Lady of Guadalupe. I read from Amy Welborn's book on the saints about Blessed Juan Diego this afternoon. There I learned his day is tomorrow. Coincidence? Hmm....

All I can pry out of Rachel for Santa to bring her is a pink cake. I told her I could make it for her and have now shown her the components. At least she's not greedy.

Last bit of trivia: my kids are more familiar with The Muppet Show and its cast than Sesame Street. They know Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie, and Swedish Chef better than Elmo, Grover, Big Bird, and Zoe.

Heh. Aren't you glad I'm just warping my own children anymore?

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Winter growth

I'm tired of being pregnant. I'm tired of keeping my shoes on all day for fear of not getting them on when I need to because my feet are swelled. I miss being able to sleep on my back. I miss my regular clothes. I miss my husband. I miss being able to walk at my usual pace without my back hurting. I miss washing the dishes without bumping my belly against the counter. I'm tired of deliberating about picking something I drop off the floor. I'm ready to be done carrying Louie around everywhere and always.

I'm tired too of my kids being sick. Madeleine and Dale have had this wet-but-unproductive cough for some time; his was bad enough to be croup and she needed amoxycillin for strep as well. Now, finally, Rachel is starting up with it. So we can't go visit friends or to activities for fear of cross contamination. It's tricky for me to get them out for a walk around the block when we get a quarter of the way around and it sounds like a day trip for a tuberculosis ward, but I've done it for my own sanity's sake.

But that's how He does things, isn't it? Learning and growth take place at the edge of frustration. Just when we think we have reached our very limit, when we crumple to our knees with the cry of "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabbacthani?" we hear His voice. When we have seen the absolute darkness around us, He comes with a light to guide us through. We don't notice His light in the day, but only when our night comes.

So be it. God, grant me strength to joyfully, patiently, and prayerfully finish out this winter. To welcome the little boy in my womb to my arms. To appreciate the stark beauty of the snow, the sparkle of the icicles, the gratitude of a warm house.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Oy vey...

The chutzpah!

It's so nice to see a nonChristian with a sense of humor!


On Louis' first portrait

I've been mulling it as I study the image. His face. Why is it so fascinating? Why isn't the previous image of his feet, or the details of his boy parts, or his profile? They don't even compare.

Because it's his face. Baby feet are all cute and I recognize they're all unique, but honestly I probably couldn't tell them apart. Baby hands, the same way. Ears, clean baby bottoms, too. If I were to see pictures of each of these from my kids at the same age, I doubt I could tell whose fingers or toes were whose.

But their faces? Another matter entirely. While an argument could be made that all newborns resemble Winston Churchill, it doesn't take long for them to distinguish themselves. Their faces are each unique.

It's his face I'll study as he nurses, that I'll touch while he sleeps, that I'll desperately try to memorize during those early hazy days. It's his face I'll smile at when I read his expression, that I'll see across the table, that I'll photograph more than any other part of him.

So we have it. I could see his face.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

It IS a wonderful life.

A wonderful analogy of a great movie and motherhood. Dale and I like to watch this one on Christmas Eve after the kids are down while we finish wrapping.

If you haven't seen it, you should.


Here's something for you.

The left side is his heart, but the right has the remarkable image. Can you see it?

That's his face. His right eye is closed, his nose is that bright spot, his widdle cheek is rounded out... And while the tech didn't give any specifics, I think (if we make it to next Tuesday) my doc is going to change our date from the 19 to the 12. I'm having trouble buttoning my coat around this boy.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A problem... and a solution

On the menu for this evening is tamale pie (from Campbell's Simply Delicious). And I promised the kids we'd make brownies, since with illness, cold, and contractions, we've been pretty much housebound. It would brighten their day and mine.
The problem is, both brownies and tamale pie use the same pan--my 11x8 baking dish. How can I do both of these and have dinner on the table at a decent hour?

Why, make a double batch of brownies in the 13x9 pan, of course!

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For those who need this information

It's the annual NORAD Santa Tracker.

Ho ho ho!!

American Girl and abortion

A friend has asked about American Girl's support of abortion. I looked it up and the articles are from 2005. Are they still supporting it and how do you know?

Via beloved husband: This has changed.
Thank you, sweetheart.

Monday, December 03, 2007

On Islam and teddy bears...

I just have one thing. I think this makes my point.

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On gratitude

The other day I was putting away laundry for the kids. It's a chore I can usually do sitting down, which is almost required at this point. As I stuffed four more pairs of underpants into the drawer for Madeleine, I shook my head. Why does this child need this much underwear? I thought.

Then the little voice whispered, Who got it for her? She didn't purchase them, you know.
True, I admitted.
And while we're on the subject, continued that voice, you're right--she has more than she needs. But only in this place do we complain about abundance. There are places, children, some not so far away, where they don't have enough of what they need. That is a true problem, not 'my daughter has too much underwear to fit in her drawer.'

I thought of the bit I saw a few weeks back on The View (it was on at my OB's office). D. L. Hughley (sp?) was talking with Joy Behar about lactose intolerance. Paraphrase: "They don't have that problem in Africa. 'Does milk hurt your stomach?' 'Yes, but not as much as hunger. Hunger is much worse.'"

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We got it all done except...

...going to see Enchanted. Given our modern take on videos, too, knowing it will come out on DVD by next Christmas with appropriate Disney (read: even Osama bin Laden will know, whether dead or alive) publicity, I'm okay with that. Maybe we'll find time this week, besides.

We even had time to make a midnight run to labor and delivery after an hour of contractions every eight minutes, despite big drinks of water and lying on my left side for said hour. God bless Shelly and Kazz for coming over! They sent us home when, after an hour, I hadn't progressed beyond 1. I'm to the point where if I'm in labor, they won't stop it, but they won't give me anything to move it along. They did say we did the right thing, which was reassuring.
Note: We had to go in to the hospital through emergency because of the lateness of the hour. Daddy was in the lead, obviously. The security guard saw him and opened his mouth to ask something and then saw me. Immediately the light clicked on and he asked, "Would you like a wheelchair?" Then he radioed up to labor and delivery to tell them he was on his way with us.
I've said it before, and I'm saying it here again: I don't think we're going to make it to the 19th. My mom said yesterday at Mass she doesn't think we'll make it through the week. I think she's right.

And how was YOUR weekend?


Saturday, December 01, 2007

What's been done so far?

Christmas decoration, both inside and out.
We--wait, let's use the right wording--Dale, Madeleine, and Daddy put up some lights outside this morning. A winter storm was supposed to hit today and, as of now, it seems that it has. There's some snow and it sounds like sleet outside. Our lights are on, though.
The inside decoration is on for tomorrow.

Purchasing a dresser for Rachel's stuff so Louie's can go into the dresser before he's born and the following transfer of clothing.
This changed slightly in that we got a dresser for Dale instead of Rachel. His clothes got moved but Louie's are still waiting. He doesn't need them quite yet.

Attending a Partylite party for some "time off."
This did get done. I only bought candles, no accessories. I'm actually quite proud of myself in that respect.

Rearranging the kids' room to allow for the crib and the to-be-reassembled toddler bed.
This got done, too. Meaning we reassembled the toddler bed as well. We even did it before we got the dresser so we knew what kind of space we were left with (my idea).

What's left? Mass in the morning, choir rehearsal, schoolhouse open house, decorating inside (tree and nativity), Enchanted. I think the movie might have to wait; and if Dale has the same cough as he was starting tonight (which Madeleine hasn't quite shaken), some others might have to go by the boards, too.

I did get diapers Friday, which means Murphy's Law is NOT in effect. I won't go into labor yet. Except now I've put it in print...