Baby's First Horoscope

Upon Lucy's birth, I thought it would be good to check her horoscope, to get an idea of what is in store for her.  Here it is, with my comments:

Happy Birthday! (Thanks!) You might have a tendency to indulge in black-and-white thinking (This is true. For example, she's hungry, or she's not sleepy). You will need to see how both black and white might be true in order to resolve issues (She's hungry AND sleepy!). You will see a similarity in the base issue. Your popularity evolves to a new level this year (Definitely true. Besides all the interest from family, she inspired a lot of Facebook comments). Be ready to make decisions quickly; opportunities drop in out of the blue (Opportunities to eat and sleep. Or to soil a diaper). If you are single, take heed of the advice just given (It's a little early for her to be dating). Learn to not make more out of a bond than exists. If you are attached, the two of you will find that communication sizzles (Communication between mom and baby is indeed quite effective). Learn to work with new ideas (Like "daylight" and "clothing"). SAGITTARIUS can be challenging (I'd better watch out for any little boys born in late November or early December).


Lucy's Birth Story

Since I don't want to forget a thing, this is pretty long. And has lots of pictures. But nothing too gross. 

On a dark and stormy night...no seriously, it was stormy. We were supposed to go to Craig's softball game but it got canceled so instead I sat on the couch and had Craig rub my feet. I had a few mild contractions but didn't really think the pressure point induction thing was working so I went to sleep.

At 11:55, I woke up with a contraction. It was a bit stronger than my previous ones  but wasn't awful so, after a trip to the bathroom, I headed back to bed. A little after1 am, I woke up again with a contraction. It was as if Lucy has heard it was her due date and wasn't going to miss out on the party. I pretty much knew this was it. I was already overwhelmed and just wanted to escape my body. When Craig started timing the contractions they were already about 5-7 minutes apart so we only waited about 45 minutes before calling the midwife. After he called the midwife, we worked through a couple contractions together and I learned that I really could do this. I alternated between rocking while on my hands and knees and lying on my side, both on the floor.

During a contraction

Between contractions

For Bradley folks, I really enjoy the mental techniques (rainbow, 5 senses, waterfall) and needed Craig to be gently rubbing my back most of the time. Since I had skipped early first stage labor all together, Craig had to take over being "putsy-putsy" for me and worked to get the bed all set up, things layed out and snacks ready between contractions. I tried to eat but got sick (shocking, I know!). Soon the midwife arrived and after checking our vitals, she thought we would see if I made progress. It was just before 3:30 and I was at 7 centimeters (I had been ~4cm when she checked me two weeks before). I tried to eat more to keep up my energy but again, that didn't work out so well for me. After that, I stuck with Gatorade.

By 5am, I was definitely in transition. My contractions were on top of each other and I distinctly remember telling Craig "I can't do this." He being a good Bradley coach, knew this meant we were real close to the end and got excited. I did not really find the humor in it at the time although I do know he was right.
At 5am, my midwife came back in the room. She had been coming in occasionally to check on baby's heart rate and how I was doing but pretty much left us to concentrate unless we needed her, but now she wanted me to move to the birth stool. My water still hadn't broken and she thought that was the only thing stopping us know so maybe gravity would help. Once I moved there, the contractions slowed and I knew I was close to/in 2nd stage but I still didn't feel the urge to push. Finally she broke my water (it took a little while, she said it was quite a strong sack) to see if that would give me a more definite push feeling. It didn't. Most women say they like pushing but I didn't. I felt like I didn't know what I was doing and I wasn't sure I was making progress.

We tried moving back to the floor for 20 minutes then back to the stool then back to the floor. It felt like forever but really it was only about 5:40 by this point. My midwife seemed to have a lot of confidence in me but I just didn't feel like I was doing anything. The second time we got back on the floor, she said she thought we just needed to get baby under the pubic bone so even though it's not normally a recommended position, we should try flat on my back till we get past that point. I was worried about it but trusted her knowledge and she was right, that is when I finally felt the difference between an effective push and just energy wasting. I was still a bit tired at this point but right when I needed it she suddenly said "Remember, I can do all things through Christ" and I really felt a big boost at that point. I still didn't really feel the urge to push but with that energy boost and knowing that I was doing it because I could feel Lucy progressing, I had a lot more motivation.

And just as the midwife said, once she got past the pubic bone, it only took about 6 more pushes and then, not even 6 hours after we started, Lucy was out just before 7 am. Head, then fist, then shoulders and body. I had always felt her hand moving a lot by her head so this wasn't a huge surprise but it does explain the whole stuck at the pubic bone thing although, looking back, I didn't even push for two hours so it wasn't that long at all. It just felt like it.

And then, just like my midwife said, all the pain and weakness was gone!

She went right to my chest and after a bit of whining, just started looking around. Notice the hand by the face!

After the baby emerged, the midwife immediately wrapped her up and set her on my chest, so we didn't have a chance to see the gender right away. After a minute, Craig took a look, and just as he had said he would do, he waited a moment before telling me, enjoying the exclusive knowledge he possessed. He asked me to guess, and I correctly responded "girl."

We waited for while before cutting the cord and then passed her off to dad while I got cleaned up.

I did end up with a tear. It was a little long but shallow. I think that's good for healing but it wasn't good for the moment. Apparently, even though she gave me two shots, the surface skin there is just hard to get completely numb so I pretty much felt it all. Of the whole morning, I think the stitches were the most painful.

The midwife cleaned up while Craig made us breakfast and baby and I relaxed and tried nursing. She did pretty well but after a little while started getting sleepy. Then it was time for the exam and a little clean up for Lucy. She was a happy baby up until then but did not like getting cleaned up at all, It took a while since when we unwrapped the towel we discovered she had released a flood of meconium. I almost wish we had weighed her earlier since we might have reached 8lbs with all that still in there! Not that there is anything wrong with 7lbs, 14oz. That seems like a perfect size to me.

Soon enough we had her diapered,

dressed, and swaddled up. Of course, she is a little Houdini who had her hands up again in a matter of seconds. As long as she was happy, though, that was fine with me.

Then we both took a well deserved nap.

The End!


Hello Baby

If you look over there on the right side of the page, you will notice that MacKenzie’s birth countdown is at zero.  Well, our baby is a punctual one, because MacKenzie’s labor started soon after the calendar flipped over to her due date.  The result is Lucy Elinor, 7 lbs. 14 oz., 19.5 inches.  Mom and baby are doing well.  Details to follow.


Tonight Gonna Fight 'Til We See the Red Light

What would you do if you drove up to this intersection, wanting to turn right, and these lights were red?

When we first started encountering this intersection, we assumed that one could only proceed if these lights were green. While nobody ever honked at us when we stopped at a red arrow, we saw many other vehicles run through the light.  We weren't sure if they were being cavalier about the law, or if it was legal to turn right on red.  Apparently, we're not the only people to be confused at intersections like this one:
State Sen. John Griesheimer has asked the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) to remove the "Right Turn Signal" signs at Highway 100 and Route A/Jefferson Street [note: this is not the intersection pictured above]. He says the signs are confusing for motorists and are causing traffic backups at the intersection.

"People think they have to wait for the green light in order to make their turn," Griesheimer said. "I think it's causing an awful lot of confusion. It did for me. I was confused," he said.
Confusing, indeed, but this answers my question.  Now we proudly drive through red arrows at this intersection without hesitation (unless there's a car coming, of course).


Good News, Good News, Bad News

I feel like I should post something. Not because I have anything interesting to say, but I'm afraid y'all might think I've had a baby since I haven't posted in 6 days. So here's a little update.

Good news #1: We saw the midwife Friday and she checked my hematocrit (iron) levels. They are up from 9.5 to 11.9. Much better! I'm still going to be diligent about eating lots of meat and taking my Floradix but just knowing I'm out of the official anemic zone is a huge relief.

Good news #2: She didn't check me this week but she did last week and I'm 90% effaced and ~3.5-4 centimeters dilated. This is a good sign and points to my having a quick labor!

Bad news: I'm still pregnant and getting exponentially more uncomfortable by the day. And whatever the good news #2 says about my potential for a quick labor once it starts, it says pretty much nothing about when it will start. I've had periods of 1-2 hours with contractions coming regularly but just about when I think I should maybe start timing then, they go away. I told Craig that at this rate I will be having a 48 hr labor, just in 2 hr increments. Intellectually, I don't actually mind because I know my body is preparing and this way I at least get to rest in between and sleep at night but it is doing roller coasters with my emotions. It's tricky because I'm supposed to ignore them but not too much since my midwife doesn't want me to wait to call her as much as she would want most first time moms too. The easiest thing for me to do is just go try to take a nap. I figure if I can sleep through them, it's to early to call her. And so far, I've been right.


When Everyone is Special, Nobody's Special

In an era in which our schools are not know for high achievement, this story is unfortunate, but not surprising. It seems that a number of high schools in my area are doing away with class rankings. The schools say they are doing this to reduce stress and improve their students' college prospects, but I suspect the real reasons are a) to avoid difficulty, controversy and scrutiny over their rankings (i.e. laziness), and b) desire to reduce focus on the high achievers.

When compiling class rankings, there are legitimate questions to consider. How to factor AP and honors courses vs. regular courses is one such issue. Disagreements over these issues take effort to resolve and can draw complaints from parents. How much easier is it to just get rid of rankings altogether? I'm pretty sure that's why my high school stopped naming a valedictorian ten years ago

As for competition, we see throughout society that some people (the same types who become school administrators) think it is a negative. That's why kids' sports leagues stop keeping score and give everyone a trophy. This article makes it clear that schools think competition over grades leads only to stress and other bad things. According to one school counselor (generally a pretty contemptible occupation), "There can also be some pretty unhealthy levels of competition." Never mind that competition can, and usually does, lead to greater levels of achievement, both in sports and in the classroom. I suspect these people don't like capitalism, either.

Unsurprisingly, the only person in this article who makes sense is a student (Sarah Klarich) who, also unsurprisingly, is ranked first in her class:
"I know we all want to make people feel good about themselves, but we are not little kids anymore," Klarich said. "By the time we get to high school graduation, we should be comfortable with what we have learned and accomplished instead of feeling like we need to be treated equal and have administrators trying to make us all feel good about ourselves."
Glad to see she will graduate without the system having worn down her common sense.


Daddy Brain Dump

So I've been thinking a lot lately, not just about how excited I am to be a mom, but how I'm excited to see Craig be a dad and our parents be grandparents. Remembering my childhood experiences has me wondering: will Nigel like to run around in camo shooting imaginary bad guys like "the Beav" did, and will he/she enjoy exploring the farm and planting corn in the sandbox like Craig and his siblings? I hope so. Especially since Craig's job involves a lot of sitting at a computer. It's important, but not really a great base for imaginative play.

It's been interesting to think about what types of experiences I remember from my childhood. It's not just stories but whole memories, complete with scents and sounds and textures, sometimes the whole moment seems cemented in my mind. And it really isn't mostly the big stuff but the everyday things that stick with me.

Some of the things I've been remembering, I haven't thought about in years. They probably won't be interesting to you but I wanted to make sure I have them in writing somewhere. These few things are specifically about my dad.

Rocket Ship Sandwiches:

My dad used to cut our sandwiches into rocket ships. I'm not sure how he came up with it. I actually Googled it to see if it was common but couldn't find it. All I found was people using cookie cutters but that isn't the same at all.

Instead of cutting diagonally down the middle you cut the sandwiches into three pieces by slicing about half an inch from the diagonal center, once on each side. Then you turn those side triangles downward into the rocketship's fins. It doesn't waste any bread and really is only a few more seconds than leaving to whole or cutting it in half but it's so much fun. This isn't something I will forget because I always did it when I babysat and I still do it sometimes with my own sandwiches, because why not? Have you ever seen it before?

The "My Old Man" Song:

I don't know why I suddenly remember this song but my dad made it up a long time ago. It was a family favorite for years. I can't duplicate the tune for you since it's an original but it's catchy and considering he has no musical education at all, I think it's pretty good. Here are the original lyrics:

My old man's a sailor
He wears a sailor's hat
He wears a sailor's raincoat
Now what do you think about that?
He wears a sailor's smile
As deep and wide as the sea
My old man's a sailor
Now what do you think about me?

But of course, our "old man" wasn't a sailor but an army man. So my brother and I made up another version that was slightly more accurate. I say slightly more accurate because 1) it no longer really makes sense for our old man to be wearing a raincoat but we didn't ever change that part and 2) our dad wasn't really a soldier either, he was an officer. But still, here it is:

My old man's a sailor soldier
He wears a sailor's soldier's hat
He wears a sailor's soldier's raincoat
Now what do you think about that?
He wears a sailor's soldier's smile
As deep and wide as the sea a humvee
My old man's a sailor soldier
Now what do you think about me?

The Frog Story:

This is one that I'm not sure how much I've forgotten seeing as it has probably been 15-20 years since I've heard it. Mom and Dad, feel free to add additions or corrections. Again, my dad made it up and we used to ask him to tell it to us over and over.
Once upon a time there was a frog and a child. They might have had names but I don't remember for sure. The kid (a boy?) wanted a bicycle but couldn't afford one. One day he was looking in the store window at the bicycle he wished he could have when they put up a sign for a frog jumping contest. The prize - a brand new bicycle of course! But there was still a problem, he didn't have a frog.

So he walked away discouraged but decided to cheer himself up by going fishing or playing by a pond or something. And when he was there, he caught the frog! And this frog talked! And told him that if he entered him into the contest, he would win it for him. So the boy entered him into the jumping contest and indeed, he won! And the boy got a bicycle! The end.
Okay, so I'm really not sure if I'm missing part of the plot because well, there doesn't seem to be much of one. Maybe this is because my dad already knew that I only liked non-confrontational, non-stressful stories with happy endings. Or maybe it is because I forgot some of it. I don't know. I do know that we really liked it though.


A Comic Strip That's Not Too Funny

There's this comic in the local paper called "Mark Trail" that is pretty boring, but I look at it anyway because it only takes about three seconds and I'm already reading the strips on either side of it.  It's a serial comic, so each day's strip contributes to a story line.  But I find it funny to imagine someone seeing  this particular strip by itself and out of context.  I imagine that person would be horrified.

Comics Curmudgeon has more on the adventures of Mark Trail.


Not Me Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

This is my first stab at participating in MckMama's Not Me Monday but I'm pretty sure I will have ample opportunities for me as I delve into the world of mommy-hood.

But this weekend, I most certainly did NOT start nesting.

I did NOT suddenly feel the need to clean my kitchen so thoroughly I used up half a bottle of cleaner.

I did NOT spend 20 minutes cleaning around the sink with a toothpick and I did NOT then use that toothpick to clean the area between the stove and the counter either (but if I did that would be totally reasonable because a lot of food gets stuck there and a normal wipe-down with a rag doesn't reach it).

I did NOT feel the need then organize my make-up box despite the fact that I wear make-up once, maybe twice a month.

I did NOT then re-wash the co-sleeper sheet because it had a couple cat hairs on it.

When sorting and organizing the birth supplies, I most certainly did NOT stop and stare longingly at the blow-pops because I remembered that I promised myself I wouldn't even consider any natural induction methods until at least next weekend.*

And I most certainly did NOT furiously scrub the wall while getting all frustrated at my oh-so-patient husband for touching the same spot on the wall everytime he goes down the stairs until he forms a big black smudge there. Nor did I tell him he was in charge of making dinner but was forbidden from getting the kitchen dirty because I had just cleaned it! What kind of wife would do that? Definitely NOT me.

Be sure to check out what everyone else has NOT been doing over at MckMama's.

*There is supposedly an acupressure point on the roof of your mouth so sucking on your thumb or a round lollipop can help start/speed things up. Not that I would consider such a thing so I am a firm believer that babies come when they are ready.


Let's play a game!

Since I'm 38 weeks now, I figured it is about time to put up the inevitable baby poll where you guess what day Nigel will arrive and whether he will be a he or she will be a she.

I can't really help you with the gender but I will give you a "tip" on the date. My official due date is May 27th or 40 weeks but since my midwife doesn't induce, she says her average arrival is around the 41st week. Not that we want Nigel to be average but I thought I would pass along the information anyway. Also, as depressing as it is to announce, I'm pretty much showing none of the pre-labor signs, except crankiness. Does crankiness count?

The prize? The pride of knowing that your completely random guess was better than everyone else's completely random guess! With an offer like that, how can you not want to play?


Coupon Ethics

We've written on here several times about how we like to play the coupon game.  While we try to be frugal, we do not go to the extremes some people go to.  Some people take advantage of money-back guarantees, even if they like the product, just to get their money back.  Some people eat their entire meal at a restaurant, then complain that they didn't like it, just to get their money back.  Some people skimp on tips when out in public.  Some people keep a McDonald's cup in their car so they can get free refills whenever they want.  A perusal of money-saving websites will produce examples of people boasting about these very tactics.  We believe, as I'm sure you do, that these practices are unethical.  It is OK to walk out of Walgreens with a bunch of free products, for example, if you follow Walgreens' rules, but it's not nice to abuse the system to save money.

On a related note, we saw this coupon in the Sunday paper recently.  On its face, the coupon looks like a money-back guarantee offer; try the product, and if you don't like it, we'll give you your money back.  I would not send this in unless I tried, and hated, Red Baron Pizza by the Slice.

But if you look closer, the coupon describes it as a "rebate offer."  In a rebate situation, you buy the product, send in proof of purchase, and they mail you a check.  A rebate is open to everyone, and it is a lure to get you to buy the product.

So we're not sure what this is, and whether or not we should send it in.  Three factors, however, lead us to believe it is indeed ethical for us to send this in:
  1. The inclusion of  a rebate form.  I've never seen a money-back guarantee form in the Sunday paper.  Usually, refund information is provided in small print on the side of the package.  By putting this form in the paper, Red Baron is saying one of two things: "We're so sure you won't like this product that we're giving you an easy-to-use refund form" or "This is a rebate; go buy our product!"
  2. The inclusion of a $1 off coupon next to this form.  It is common to see combinations of coupons and rebates.  That's how extreme couponers like us make money.  I wouldn't expect Red Baron to distribute a coupon along with a money-back form.
  3. The inclusion of a deadline.  Rebates always have deadlines to purchase a product, and deadlines to mail in the rebate form.  Money-back guarantees are usually available at any time.
In conjunction with the ambiguous refund/rebate language on the form, these reasons suggest to us that this is, in fact, a rebate form, and we are going to send it in with clear consciences.  What do you think?



I finished reading the bible last Sunday night! I took me more than 90 days to finish but only a couple more so I still count it as a big success.

Here is where I would like to go on and on about what a great achievement it was and how much dedication it took - but I can't. I'm really glad I did it but it was almost embarrassingly easy. I had tried different plans for reading the bible in a year and never made it through but this 90 day program seemed so much more doable and I really never felt overwhelmed.

And I really did learn a lot. My second concern starting this program (the first being that I would drop out of yet another reading plan) was that I would be doing it only to check off the boxes and not really getting much out of it. That was not the case at all! I feel like I have a much better handle on the big picture plan God has (well, at least what He has told us about :-) And now I'm excited to go back and study certain books and passages that caught my attention.


Midwife News

As has been mentioned here before, we are fans of the midwife-home birth method of labor and delivery of babies. We think all prospective parents should know about this option, and be able to exercise it if they choose. However, some don't think women should have this option. Not only does the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) denigrate home births with snarky, insulting press releases and TV appearances, despite copious evidence throughout the world that shows it is a safe, effective option, they fight in state legislatures throughout the country to ban home births and midwives that are certified by the North American Registry of Midwives. Momentum does not seem to be on their side, though.  Here are some recent results:
  • In Wyoming, certified professional midwives just regained the right to practice, after it was taken away in 2003. It looks like they're setting up some sort of state licensing board in that state.  That will have to be watched, because such a board could easily be turned into a fox-guarding-henhouse situation where midwifery opponents get the ability to institute onerous regulations on midwives.
  • In Mississippi, a bill that would have criminalized professional midwives (as opposed to nurse midwives, who are nurses and practice in hospitals) was defeated
  • In Missouri, where midwives gained the right to practice in 2007, a certain holdout in the legislature keeps trying to take that right away (the link is from last year, but he's still at it). He's got one week left this session to get his amendment successfully attached to a bill, but so far, he's been thwarted.
As of now, there are 27 states when certified professional midwives can practice. Let's hope this number keeps rising.



Good News, Bad News

We saw the midwife today. The first news we got was good. My group B strep test was negative. Most first time moms are negative, but even so, I was really worried about it so that was a big relief.

The second news we got wasn't so good. I'm pretty anemic. Normal levels for a woman are 12-15 but pregnancy takes a bit of iron from you so a typical pregnant women runs between 11-12. I'm at 9.1 - not good. And we really want it up before the birth since even if I don't lose a lot of blood, I'll just feel really crappy with a level like that. The plan right now is for me to double how much floradix I'm taking, eat at least one serving of red meat every day (I normally only eat about one, maybe two, servings a week), and increase my other iron source intakes (spinach, walnuts, prune juice?). So now I'm off to the grocery store!

But, other than the iron thing, everything looks great. Baby is measure right on target size wise, I'm not having any other problems, it's just a waiting game. Right now I want baby to hang out until I've had at least a week or two of intense iron eating but there are worse things in the world than "forcing" yourself to have spinach steak salads for lunch every day right?

PS - On another semi-Nigel related note. Mothering Magazine is a awesome hippie-type parenting magazine (in other words - not just a booklet of ads) and right now you can get a free one-year digital subscription by going here and using the code CDIGM. I was actually at Barnes and Noble today and thought about buying it but I'm so glad I waited!


My Favorite Reason to Coupon

I used to agree with Money Saving Mom in that everyone should use coupons. I no longer completely agree. I do think that many of the reasons people don't coupon aren't really very valid but I also know that life has seasons.

Last fall was not a season for us to be couponing. I was struggling to get through my work days while Craig was having to work hard full time as a grad student, part time as a sub and handling everything I had been doing. So, couponing fell by the wayside. I have a feeling that the next few months won't be full of lots of couponing either. But that is okay.

But the thing about getting out of the habit is that it is easy to convince yourself it isn't worth it. It does take time and effort and you begin to think that $0.35 off that box of cereal is not a big deal. Yet these last few months I've been reforming the habit and I realize that it does make a difference. Plus I love getting good deals, there is a certain thrill to it. Some people get their kicks by bungee jumping or parachuting out of airplane. All I need is the chance to get a free gallon of milk and I'm set for the week!

Recently though I was reminded of one of my favorite reasons to coupon- generosity.

Two weeks ago a little neon green bag was stuck in our door by the Girl Scouts asking for grooming and hygiene items for a local shelter. So a few days later we sat and went through our linen closet where we keep all the extras we have. We normally have quite the stash of toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant that we have gotten for free or almost free (<$0.25), primarily at Walgreens. It didn't even take ten minutes to grab a few of each, put them in the bag and hang it outside for the girls to pick up the next day. And we just happened to be out that next morning when I looked around and noticed that we were the only home in the whole place that had a baggie on the doorknob. I was a little disappointed thinking of the girls that would be arriving soon but not having much to pick up. Now truthfully, if we didn't have the stuff on hand, we probably wouldn't have donated anything either. Even if I had remembered to pick something up at the store (and that is a big if), I probably would have just bought one or two cheap items. Instead we were able to donate at least $20 worth of items.

But generosity isn't limited to just charities. The last few years most of our friends were in school. The grad program Craig was in wasn't like a lot of them in that it didn't really offer much in the way of financial aid or grants nor did it leave a lot of time for part time work so many of his fellow students were living off student loans or the money they managed to make over the summer. Now, it would have been really awkward for us to offer to help them in most ways but it was easy to be able to offer the chance to raid our closet for items when they were over at our house, especially at the end of the semester when we knew they were surviving off ramen noodles. And since Craig was always bragging about the great deals he got, they knew we meant it when we begged them to take some shampoo because we couldn't open on the door without 5 bottles of Pert Plus falling on our head.

We've also been the recipient of generosity many times too. Just last weekend our Sunday School class had a ladies craft night were we taught each other sewing and knitting tips. One of the ladies in our group is known for her couponing and deal-finding and she did not disappoint. She managed to find these awesome knitting needle kits complete with a case and needles in multiple sizes for just $0.99 each. They were normally $19.99! So for just a few dollars, she was able to use her generosity and thoughtfulness and provide the group with over $100 worth of knitting supplies. So next time you see a coupon, don't think of it just as a way to save money. Think of it as a ticket to generosity.


Border Bits

I don't like to get too much into the hot issues of the day on here, because you can read about them in 4,346,768 other places. So I won't comment on the Arizona immigration bill directly, I'll just make a couple of tangential points.

First, Ross Douthat does a great job of summing up how people like myself think immigration should work in general:

In a better world, the United States would welcome hundreds of thousands more legal immigrants annually, from a much wider array of countries. A more diverse immigrant population would have fewer opportunities to self-segregate and stronger incentives to assimilate. Fears of a Spanish-speaking reconquista would diminish, and so would the likelihood of backlash. And instead of being heavily skewed toward low-skilled migrants, our system could tilt toward higher-skilled applicants, making America more competitive and less stratified.

Such a system would also be fairer to the would-be immigrants themselves. America has always prided itself on attracting people from every culture, continent and creed. In a globalized world, aspiring Americans in Zimbabwe or Burma should compete on a level playing field with Mexicans and Salvadorans. The American dream should seem no more unattainable in China than in Chihuahua.

Second, I get the impression that many sports columnists want to be the next Paul Krugman (i.e. get paid to write liberal editorial claptrap). This issue has a slim nexus with the sports world, but it's enough to give a number of sportswriters an excuse to introduce their politics into their regular columns. Here's one example, and here's another. I will note in both cases that the authors make incorrect statements about the content of the bill. They should stick to sports.


Tutes I’ve tried

Slowly and steadily, I’ve been working on my before baby comes craftiness to-do list but I’ve been pretty lazy about taking pictures until now. So here is a quick recap of what I’ve accomplished.

100417 Cape G 010

Lots of burp rags made from random scrap fabrics, some with ribbon trim, some without. My favorite is the top sushi one. I don’t know why but a sushi burp rag really makes me smile. I also like the second one because it matches my purse (which will become a diaper bag) and it’s new coordinating changing pad clutch:

100417 Cape G 003

I followed this tutorial and one of the commenter’s suggestions so it can fit anything from two pocket diapers down to just the wipes case. 100417 Cape G 005

Here it is opened. The purple is a little girly but I had leftover terry cloth from a Christmas project and didn’t want to waste it. I also used the same terry cloth and some leftover flannel to make some baby wipes. The ones on the left are double sided heavy duty type while the right side are just basic flannel, cut and zig-zag stitched to prevent unraveling. They are pretty ugly but functional.

100417 Cape G 006

I also made some mama cloth and nursing pads.

100417 Cape G 014

and this fun fabric box for Nigel’s toys that will go on

100417 Cape G 015

Nigel’s living room shelf with his/her books and blanket. 100417 Cape G 016

It’s a pretty small box but that was intentional. If I have a small toy box, we can only have a small number of toys, right? That box followed the tutorial’s dimensions but I used the same technique to make a bigger rectangular box to hold diapers and wipes.

100417 Cape G 007

It’s overflowing right now but after Nigel is born, they won’t ever be all clean at once so that won’t be a problem!

100417 Cape G 012

I also made a swaddle blanket from some soft thin cotton fabric my mom found in my old fabric stash from her basement. I have no idea why I had a baby alphabet fabric in there but I won’t complain. It is 42x42 since that is supposedly a better swaddling size that the smaller receiving blankets size although when I tried to swaddle a teddy bear it seemed like a lot of fabric. Now I need to make another one but am torn about what size to go with.


I think my favorite project though was this set of baby legs. The original tutorial I linked to was a bit confusing but this one describes it better and it really is a super easy project. It probably took my less than 10 minutes and the socks only cost me $3 at Wal-mart. The hardest part is finding non-girly socks but I recently noticed that Target had a new stand with really cute socks for $2, several of which would work for boys too if you're interested :-)


A Hoosier by Any Other Name

When you hear the term "Hoosier," you probably think of Indiana sports teams, or Indiana residents as a whole (it is the official demonym for Indianans (or Indianians)). Around here, however, "the word is used in a derogatory fashion in similar context to "hick" or "white trash"."

I first realized this during my first week in Missouri. I was talking to a woman at the repair shop, and she mentioned that there were a lot of hoosiers in the area. I asked her to clarify, and she responded, "you know, poor people." Other times I heard it, it was clear that the connotation was "redneck" or "trashy." I heard it last night at a gathering, and decided that it was common enough that these experiences were not outliers. I decided to research it.

It turns out that "hoosier" has had a negative connotation in the South for a long time: "The best evidence, however, suggests that "Hoosier" was a term of contempt and opprobrium common in the upland South and used to denote a rustic, a bumpkin, a countryman, a roughneck, a hick or an awkward, uncouth or unskilled fellow."

Only in St. Louis, however, has this word retained this meaning and usage to the present day (except maybe in cities that are home to other Big Ten universities). St. Louisians are not necessarily mocking Indianans, though. As Urban Dictionary makes clear, there are several types of hoosiers right close to home. For example:
South County Hoosier - These hoosiers aren't always poor rednecks. In fact, most of them own homes and have decent jobs. Look for fishing boats in the driveways, Christmas lights in May and stockpiles of Busch Light beer. Many of the men are hunters and/or fishermen and all have buddies that can fix your car. The women usually have part-time jobs, and slightly newer vans. Many south county hoosiers grew up as south city hoosiers.
Considering the negative meaning this word has taken on, one might wonder when and why Indianans adopted it. That is unclear, but it seems to have been around since at least the 1830's. Here are some theories:
Like barnacles, a thick crust of speculation has gathered over the word "Hoosier" to explain the origin of Indiana's nickname. Popular theories, diligently and often sincerely advanced, form a rich, often amusing body of folklore. Those theories include: "Who's here?" as a question to unknown visitors or to the inhabitants of a country cabin; Hussar, from the fiery European mounted troops; "Huzzah!" proclaimed after victory in a fight; Husher, a brawny man, capable of stilling opponents; Hoosa, an Indian word for corn; Hoose, an English term for a disease of cattle which gives the animals a wild sort of look; and the evergreen "Who's ear?" asked while toeing a torn-off ear lying on the bar room floor the morning after a brawl.
If you are interested in more, check out the links I have provided. It seems like the derogatory Southern version of the word evolved separately from the Indiana version, from what I can tell by skimming these sources.

People who move to new areas often pick up the local lingo. I started saying "y'all" while in Texas. I can't imagine I'll start calling people hoosiers, though. Redneck, hick, and country bumpkin work quite well for me. Plus, my boss' boss is from Indiana.