Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm All Alone...

You have to imagine that heading sung with a Donkey singing voice (a.k.a. Eddie Murphy). You know, the donkey from Shrek. You don't know? Never mind.

Anyway, here I sit all alone. Prince Charming is off teaching other people how to talk. Or something like that. He's using the textbook I recommended so I did contribute, in my own little way. But it's mostly all him and will be mostly all him for the next couple months. I've already taken speech class, thank you very much. Got the A+, listened to the stumbling fumbling speech attempts of people who should never have been allowed to graduate high school much less attend college, spent hours in the library because everyone but me had to do extra credit work just to pass... But I digress.

Tuesday nights are now mine. To do with as I wish. Once I get those little goobers sweet innocent girls in bed. Tonight they went down without much of a fight. One story, one drink of water. One warning that "Yes, you will get your jammies on right now." Lullaby c.d. playing softly. Forcible removal of a toothbrush from Sweet Pea's sticky fist. You know, the usual.

But what to do with the hours stretching before me? Work on my novel? Too much work. Scrapbook some more pages? I'd have to pull out all my stuff. Go through the 75 magazines my mother-in-law brought me? Maybe. And yes, there are seventy-five. I counted. It's like I've died and gone to magazine heaven.

Prince Charming suggested I watch a movie. That's what he'd be doing if I were gone but I'm not in a movie watching mood. (Read: I'm not feeling like singin' / dancin' -Musical or sappily sighing - Romance) I ought to finish up some pesky chores. I could pull out the girls' fall clothes and get them in the wash, just in case it turns cold this week.

Or I could fool around on the computer, catching up on blogs, more political news, and some plain old silliness.

Yeah, I'm thinking that seems most likely to happen, too.

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Bouncing...Big Girl

Yesterday, September 28th, was my Tigger's Fourth Birthday. How did that happen? All I know is we went from this: to this:
to this:
in the blink of an eye.

Tigger is a handful, no doubt about it. Sometimes it seems like her mission on this planet is to teach Prince Charming and me patience, long suffering, and how to laugh at absurdity (that is: ourselves).

Most people think Tigger is quiet - they're oh-so-very wrong.
Some people think that Tigger is helpful - they're occasionally right.
Many people think that Tigger is loveable - they're 100% spot on.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Real Life

Birthday party plans are continuing at a fevered pace. Come tomorrow evening our kitchen will be streamer bedecked, balloon stuffed, and princess pretty. There are princess plates and napkins. The punch bowl will be full of pink tinged punch.

One big sister will be eating favoring one side of her mouth - she has her first loose tooth. (Side note: how is my baby old enough to be losing her teeth?) She will offer advice to her sister on the best way to blow out birthday candles. She will help open the presents. If Tigger consents.

One baby sister will be gleefully eating cake - getting it in her hair and possibly her eyes and ears. Every grandma (there will be four) at the party will cringe and reach for a washcloth. She will be scrubbed within an inch of her life. But it will have been worth it. You'll know by the grin on her face.

Some people will be traveling from far away to celebrate four years of Tigger. Some people will travel across town. Some loved ones live too far away and wish they could come. After all, it isn't every day you can eat princess cake on a princess plate and watch a not-quite-four-year-old tear into a dozen beautifully wrapped presents.

And right now I am hoping with all my heart that one of our loved ones will be able to come. He told me yesterday, "We wouldn't miss that." He fussed (just a bit) at my dad for offering to drive him to the party. I know he would prefer not to be out at night. He still promised to be there.

But that was yesterday and today he is in the hospital. I don't know any more than that at the moment. Yesterday he seemed fine and today he is not fine.

I'm hoping he'll be out soon, ready to fuss at his doctors. Ready to scold everyone for over-reacting. Ready to tease everyone. Ready to eat birthday cake at his great-granddaughter's fourth birthday party. It won't be the same if he's not here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Prince Charming Saves...Something

Remember when I was grouching yesterday? Well, one of the irritants was a situation with a store. I e-mailed their customer service the very day what I'm now calling "the incident" occurred. Customer Service is really not what they ought to call that function of their website. They still haven't gotten back to me.

Today Prince Charming rode in on a white charger...okay, no. No horses were involved. My beloved can't stand horses. But he did spend twenty minutes on the phone with customer service. And then he took the offending items back to the store in an effort to get things fixed.

And fixed they are.

After much wrangling (I can only assume here, based on a two minute conversation we had on the phone) the store manager finally agreed to give us what was due. I had been ready to toss all items involved and wipe the store dust from my feet, vowing never to shop there again. (I can be dramatic when I wish)

Now all that has been averted. Just another reason why I call him Prince Charming. Slaying the dragons - or drugstores - when the need arises.

Prospects: looking up. Except for that store. I'll be watching them very closely in the future.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In Which I Grouch

Today is a beautiful day. I am nonetheless feeling a bit tetchy. Here, in no particular order, are some general complaints:

- when people say they will do something and then do not do it

- when people say they will not do something and then they do it

- when I get in our mini van to run an errand and the gas is on empty

- when I buy gas at our grocery store, go in to buy groceries, and gas is $0.10 cheaper than half an hour ago

- when a product is advertised but the store doesn't have the item

- when a drugstore chain (starts with "W", ends with "algreens") cheats me out of a $10.00 rebate

- when people take it upon themselves to "fix" things that they have no business "fixing", thereby creating more work for me (or Prince Charming)

- when the only mail we get is junk

- getting mail for people who haven't lived in this house for a decade

- when people make excuses that insult my intelligence

- when I stay up too late reading a book and have no one to blame but myself for my fatigue the next day, except maybe the author of aforementioned book

- when I expect something will happen one way and then it doesn't

Le sigh. Now I must put on my happy face and be about Tigger's birthday business. The countdown has begun. My middle child has already informed me that, "Next year I'll be five!" Yes, but first we have to survive turning four.

Le sigh again.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

In Which I Confess a Binge

A scrapbooking binge, that is. Yes, Friday and Saturday, when not fulfilling other obligations (like, you know, homeschooling, motherhood, etc.), I spent every free second scrapbooking.

Things to note about this excess of creativity:

- 25 completed pages (12 one day, 13 the next)

- Some pages were of Polly's baby days. Yeah, those days were six years ago. But who's counting?

- Most pages were for Sweet Pea's baby album. Again, yes, those pictures documented her birth and early days which were, sad to say, eighteen months ago. Again, who's counting?

- A few pages were pictures as recent as this summer. That's pretty amazing, for me.

- No, I don't work in chronological order, topic order, or any other kind of order. I know, I know. It's completely unlike me. But, believe it or not, I like to just flip through my pictures (which are in chronological order of course) and see what inspiration strikes. This is no excuses time. I'm a recovering perfectionist. (HA!) Sure, I'd love to have magazine quality pages. What I'd love even more than that: finished pages my girls can actually look at.

- I've used up every.single.adhesive. in my supply. Seriously. I have like one tiny sheet of gold picture corners and one little bag of black ones. I don't use these very often (they're actually left over from an album I made my grandparents). Photo splits: gone. Acid free glue stick: gone. Clear photo corners: gone. Adhesive runner that is supposedly re-fillable but never actually refilled properly: also gone.

I think it's time to hit Hobby Lobby or the big M. If I can just get out without buying a bunch of paper. I'm a paper junkie. I love to buy the stuff. Whether I'll use it or not is another question. And I think albums are half off this week. And maybe some cute embellishments...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Upon Getting Ready for a Meeting

Tigger: Mommy, what is this thing that makes your legs so soft?

Answer: stockings. Yes, for most of the summer I have avoided getting properly dressed to go out. It's been so long that my child doesn't even remember seeing her mother in stockings and heels.

Polly: Wow, Mom! You look like a grown-up.

Ah, children. Here I am fast approaching thirty and my oldest child (who is fast approaching seven) thinks that I do not usually look like a grown up. I'm not sure what lesson I'm supposed to learn from this.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Good and Bad

Good thing about having no electricity: my house was cleaner than usual. Apparently boredom leads to cleaning.

Bad thing about having no electricity: we got very tired of eating plain peanut butter and bread. Let's just say that our culinary options were few.

Good thing: we got more sleep than usual.

Bad thing: we had to go to bed much earlier than we like.

Good thing: candle light is pretty.

Bad thing: candle light is insufficient for reading.

Good thing: it was peaceful.

Bad thing: no music except the few times I played the piano.

Good thing: the girls played outside more than usual.

Bad thing: the girls stank smelled "outdoorsy" more than usual.

Good thing: I didn't have to do laundry.

Bad thing: I couldn't do laundry.

Good thing: fewer obligations.

Bad thing: church was cancelled Sunday night.

Good thing: family togetherness.

Bad thing: family togetherness.

Good thing: not so much time wasted playing around with various computer things (email, blogging, etc.)

Bad thing: too much time to fill. No blog. No news. Very few connections to the outside world.

Yes, it was an interesting experience and no, I don't want to do it again. Any time soon. Or, you know, ever.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'm Back...

Okay, I know what y'all are thinking. "She gets a new look for her blog and then she doesn't post?!"

But this time I can honestly say, "It's not my fault."

Our power came back on, roughly twelve minutes ago, after 54 hours with nothing, zero, zilch, nada. Yes, that's 54 HOURS. As in more than two days. As in two full nights with nothin' but candlelight.

The next person that exhorts me that we Christians ought to be living "off the grid" is going to get a good solid smack in the mouth.

Ahem. I guess this whole thing has left me a little touchy. First a seemingly beautiful Sunday is betrayed by hurricane force winds, and, just to clarify, we don't live anywhere near where hurricanes hit.

Then, bright and early Monday morning, we see a representative of our power company. Out assessing damage? Checking on customers? Fixing the lines? Nope, nope, and nope again. (Throw in a little evil maniacal laughter for good measure.)

He was meter reading. That's right. Their slogan might as well be, "We can't guarantee power but we can get that bill to you on time."

So in sum: no power for about 48 hours too long. An entire fridge and freezer of spoiled food. Stir crazy children. A funeral in a semi-dark church. Gas lines. Food lines. I could go on.

It's good to be back.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Confidential...

to Polly, Tigger, and Sweet Pea's "Pop":

Happy Birthday! We hope your day is a great one.

And now Tigger is counting down the days until her own.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A New Blog in 10 Easy Steps

Step one: begin coveting longing for a three-column blog.

Step two: find several free three-column templates.

Step three: pester sweetly ask your husband for his help.

Step four: wait.

Step five: finally get around to importing new template.

Step six: dislike some element. Break for lunch.

Step seven: stare in bewilderment as everything related to your blog falls apart.

Step eight: spend hours trying, coaxing, searching, re-writing code.

Step nine: give up and call brother-in-law with magical computer related skills.

Step ten: thank your brother-in-law for his magical computer skills. Promise yourself you'll be more patient with him on blogging issues in the future.

Enjoy!

Stand By...

Foolish finagling of template going on...

Who knows how it'll look by tonight?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years Ago

Seven years ago I turned on my computer so I could send ultrasound pictures to friends and family.

Seven years ago I thought a headline was a story about a new computer game.

Seven years ago I told my husband to turn on the TV, which we rarely used.

Seven years ago I spent an entire day alternating between our television and our computer, always with my hand resting on my stomach sheltering my growing baby inside, always with either a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes or raw anger in my voice.

Seven years ago I realized that we were bringing a precious baby into an uncertain, dangerous world.

Now, seven years later, we are raising three precious babies. And they are the reason why we can't forget what happened seven years ago. Some people have forgotten. Many people around the world aren't sure who is to blame and 15% think the U.S. government is to blame.

That's the world we live in. That's why we can't forget.

Don't get me wrong: I don't think our lives should come to a standstill every September 11. I think the best way to honor the past is to work hard, celebrate each moment, and thank God for what we have. I don't want this day to become another meaningless "holiday". I don't think we should sit around crying, moaning, or complaining about our country, our leaders, or the world we live in. Life's too short for that. But we can't afford to forget altogether.

I haven't forgotten.

(Picture h/t: Kim at Graceful Girlhood)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Good to Know

Tigger, from the other room: MOM! Sweet Pea needs a change, again. With wipes!

How helpful.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

End of Summer Swim

Belated photos of our annual End-of-Summer-Help-Close-Grandpa's-Pool-Swim (Also known as Labor Day): Despite not being overly fond of the slip 'n' slide, Sweet Pea loves swimming. She moseys around in her oh so stylin' float until someone gets her out. Then she tries to swim out of our arms. Unlike our oldest two she is not one smidge afraid of the water. Which means we have to really watch her.
Tigger strikes a sweet pose. (Don't be fooled!) Notice the Kool-Aid-ish mustache? Grandma had flavored water and it was quite the hit for the young crowd.
Polly in her preferred float. At one point both Polly and her best friend M were on this float. Unfortunately no one got a picture of that.
And, I regret to say that no one took any pictures of Prince Charming in the pool. It happens about once every three years and this was the year. However, since there's no photographic evidence, maybe I can con him into getting again next year. But I won't hold my breath.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover?

I realize that this week has been a bit "book" heavy as far as my posting habits. Bear with me for one more. I've read two books in a series by new author Deanna Raybourn (side note: she has a fabulous blog, too). These are mysteries with a bit of romance thrown in.

These books are not going to be to everyone's taste and there are things that I don't like in them either, but overall they are fun and good reads. I'm looking forward to the third one coming out next year.

But, and here's the rub, when I first found these books at my library here's what the covers looked like (sorry for the small shot): Intriguing, mysterious, atmospheric... A decent cover in other words.

Now, for reasons known only to Ms. Raybourn's publishers the covers are going to look like your run-of-the-mill Harlequin romance paperbacks, to wit:

This one is actually kind of pretty, although I doubt I would pick this book up at my library. My librarians know me, people. I can't pick up just anything.

The new book cover (Silent on the Moor) is...much worse. Now, this is not the author's fault. Authors have very little say in what their finished product looks like, more's the pity. And these publishers have decided to go, shall we say, downmarket, in an attempt to increase readership.

This may show my ignorance but I can't see the run of the mill romance reader picking up this book and enjoying it. "Where's all the bodice ripping?"

And I can't see the mystery follower (ahem, me) picking up a book that looks like it is a bodice ripper. Which I don't read. And don't pick up. And studiously avoid in bookstores like the plague. (Another side note: that's one of my problems with some Christian fiction. There oughtn't to be a "Christian" bodice ripper and what on earth are those people thinking?!)

Sorry, got a bit carried away there. I guess this shouldn't bother me. After all, that's what Amazon is for: you can order stuff from the UK that looks entirely different (dare I say: better). I could order these from some Australian book store, I suppose. They have cute, vintage looking covers.

Why, oh why, is the American market the "lowest common denominator market"? And what will I do if I'm ever an actual published author as well? I can't imagine pouring so much of my heart and mind into a product and then having no say over what first introduces people to my story.

But that's a long way down the road, so never mind. The only thing I've written lately is some old fan fiction I polished up. My story is languishing. It seems like writing is either feast or famine for me: my story/plot/characters consume my brain or they get nothing. It's no way to finish a book.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A Week's Worth of History

These are the books Polly and I read this week to supplement our history studies:
This one I read to all the girls. Tigger really liked the kites. An interesting introduction to the concept of monks and monasteries.



This one Polly and I read together. Some words were a bit above her level but she did very well. We didn't like this story very much. I admit that I'm a little rusty on my Arthurian legends. I doubt I would have chosen this book had it not been recommended in the Story of the World 2 activity guide.


Polly and I read this one together. She enjoyed the story. It is actually the same story as the next book, although this older book has more detail.


This is about the same man as the previous book. The illustrations are just gorgeous. I read this aloud to Polly and Tigger. Polly really enjoyed it since she already knew a bit about the story. She could have read more of this one herself, but I read it to her while she was working on other things.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Family Traditions

In my books of 2008 - August edition - I mentioned, rather briefly, a book by Jennifer Trainer Thompson. I said that I was disappointed in the book and preferred Mrs. Sharp's Traditions.

Well, Ms. Trainer Thompson was kind enough to respond in the comments and now I feel a little sheepish. (Me: "Baaa") An actual-real-life-published author read my blog! Little ol' me? Now I wish I'd have said more.

I think the book was just not what I expected and my expectations were, as ever, probably far too high. The author and I seem to be living very different lives and are therefore seeking somewhat different traditions and ceremonies for our families.

My family tends to be rather old fashioned in focus, which is why I tend to prefer older ideas. I can promise you that we will not be celebrating any "solstice". And, much as I understand the fact that not everyone celebrates the way I do, no other winter "holiday" is going to compare to Christmas in our home. While we merely tend to be old-fashioned we completely dedicated to living, as we understand it, biblically. It isn't something we do, it's something we are.

This book is worth reading, even if you read it to say, "We already do that." Ultimately this shows that many mothers are seeking through reading books, blogs, and what have you to make life meaningful for our children, spouses, and selves, even though that's going to look different for each of us. And that's an idea worth celebrating.

And to Ms. Thompson, if you're reading this: no hard feelings, right? I'm friends with another author on Facebook, even though we completely disagree on politics, religion, and just about everything else. It can happen!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Pleasure of a Good Novel

5 Minutes for Books is hosting a discussion about Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice this week. I deliberated about whether or not to make a post about this or not, but in the end, I just couldn't not do it. (Or something like that. Those double negatives'll get you every time.) It's Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy. Happily ever after. Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Mr. Darcy. Ahem.

I do not remember how old I was when I first read this book. Given my track record, I suspect I was probably 12 or 13. I struggled a bit with it. In another year or two I read it again. And then again. And again. And again. And so on every year until this one. I read it at least once straight through and often pick it up to quickly read my favorite parts.

This book has it all: wit, drama, romance, comedy, morals, every day life, and extraordinary events. The characters are as real to me as if I knew them. As it happens I'm personally aware of at least one "real-life" Jane Bennet. And at least one Lady Catherine. A real life Elizabeth and Darcy I've yet to meet, and I do not expect to. They are too real within Jane's pages to ever walk by me at the local grocery store.

If you're going to read a classic novel, let it be this one. Oh, it isn't my favorite Austen (that honor most likely would go to Persuasion, though it's rather like choosing which chocolate I like best), but it will draw you into a world that you will not want to leave. You'll be hungry for more. So you'll read Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. You'll try on Sense and Sensibility. If you are very intrepid you'll tackle Mansfield Park and decide whether Fanny Price is truly good or merely insipid. Then you'll read them again and wish that there were more. You'll try out Jane Austen spin-offs: continuations, parallel books, and "inspired by's".

And when you're too tired to read you can pop this in your DVD player:

When the movie is over you'll open your own copy of the story again. And so it will go for the rest of your life. At least, that's how it works in mine.

Books of 2008 - August

1. The Winter of Her Discontent. Fiction by Kathryn Miller Haines. Series mystery. I read the first of this series back in May. I think this one may have been stronger than the first but the dependence on period slang is still annoying and the plots are growing more and more far fetched.

2. Happiness is a Choice (For Teens). Non-fiction by Paul Meier. I was reading this to see if I would recommend it to my teenage friends. Short answer: yes, I would.

3. The Joy of Family Traditions. Non-fiction by Jennifer Trainer Thompson. Disappointing. I prefer Sarah Ban Breathnach's Mrs. Sharp's traditions to this book. Update: thanks to the author for responding. This may not have been my favorite book but others may enjoy the fact that it is explaining the history of some traditions more than suggesting ways to observe holidays.

4. Why the Allies Won. Non-fiction by Richard Overy. Mr. Overy is always a good, enlightening read and this book is no exception.

5. Remember Me? Fiction by Sophie Kinsella. Frothy but not as frothy as her shopaholic series. Flighty heroine but not as flighty as Becky Bloomwood. Interesting premise. Predictable dialog and plot points. A fun, quick read and a welcome departure from the shopaholic series. (Please, spare us any more of Becky Bloomwood's "adventures"!)

6. Looking for Anne of Green Gables. Non-fiction by Irene Gammel. Interesting look at L.M. Montgomery and Anne. The author belabors the Evelyn Nesbit connection and seems most interested in any Sapphic overtones (undertones?). My reading and albeit limited research suggests to me that Montgomery's genius is under-rated and yet, I would not have liked to have known her. She doesn't strike me as a good friend or acquaintance, which is a shame, considering the sweet friendships she wrote about.

7. Mary Barton. Fiction by Elizabeth Gaskell. Gaskell's first success, predating my beloved North and South. Mrs. Gaskell's books are wordy and moralistic compared to Jane Austen. They seem "heavier" somehow. And yet, they are good reads. As ever, when reading Gaskell, don't get attached. That character you love is probably a goner.

8. The Body in the Gallery. Fiction by Katherine Hall Page. Series mystery. I've read nearly all - if not all - the books in this series. I'm not sure why. Habit? Faith Fairchild is one of the most unlikeable main characters / sleuths in mystery-dom. She is always right. She is smug beyond belief. She snaps at her husband, her children, her annoying Yankee neighbors, and nearly anyone else populating her book. This book is filled with the author's thinly veiled liberal politics. The mystery is not compelling and is closed up unsatisfyingly quickly. I'm not even sure I could tell you the conclusion.

9. The Moon in the Mango Tree. Fiction by Pamela Binnings Ewen. I wanted to like this book. It's historical fiction, one of my favorite genres. It has interesting locations (Siam and 1920's Europe). The heroine's difficult choices would have been more compelling if the hero's character had been at all developed. Barbara remains self-centered and whiny. Harvey is never "fleshed out". I never saw why Barbara loved him, why she was conflicted about whether or not to leave him, why he cared about her. Although marketed as Christian fiction, I could not understand such a designation for this book. The heroine is entranced first by Buddhist ideas and then by modern relativism and hedonism. And, as far as I could see, she never practices a life of faith. Overall: disappointing and not recommended.

10. Ham Biscuits, Hostess Gowns, & Other Southern Specialties. Non-fiction by Julia Reed. A collection of essays and recipes. I didn't copy down any of the recipes so I judge this book a failure by that standard.

11. Twilight. Fiction by Stephenie Meyer. Also:

12. New Moon. Fiction by Stephenie Meyer. Okay, these two books were loaned to me by my sister, who thinks they are "so romantic". Maybe I was just in a grouchy mood but I didn't see any evidence of romance in these two books. I saw a selfish, self-serving connection (called love). These books are very popular with teens right now. My advice to you, if you have teenagers, is to read them so you can see what's going on. I will not be reading the last two (although I admit I read about them online, just to see where the author went. I was not pleased.)

13. Sacred Marriage. Non-fiction by Gary Thomas. This could have something to do with my reaction to the 2 above books. This book is very helpful for re-aligning selfish ideas of marriage with the godly and biblical design. In my opinion, this book is not as good as Emerson Eggerich's book, Love and Respect but it is still worth reading and challenging.

14. Watching the English. Non-fiction by Kate Fox. An anthropologist's look at her own country. Sometimes sad, sometimes hysterically funny ("What do we want? Gradual change! When do we want it? In due course!"). This is not a vacation guide or a quick and easy read. But it is engaging and packed with topics of interest.

15. I Never Metaphor I Didn't Like. Non-fiction by Mardy Grothe. Amusing and occasionally thought provoking collection of quotes.

16. By His Own Might: The Battles of Beowulf. Fiction adapted by Dorothy Hosford. Polly and I read this to each other last week as part of our history studies. Not difficult to read, once you determine how to pronounce all those names, but it is written in King James English style. As someone who managed to avoid Beowulf 'til now, I really enjoyed this. Polly also read a picture book version of Beowulf. And, may I just say, even the picture book was far superior to the recent movie. Prince Charming and I watched the movie a few months ago and I'm still trying to purge it from my memory. Beowulf is a hero! Not whatever it was that movie turned him into. Just example #5,731 of "Read the book. Skip the movie."

Monday, September 1, 2008

In Honor of Labor Day

Advanced warning: my men readers (all 3 of you) may want to forgo this post. Shannon, of Rocks in My Dryer fame, is hosting a "Labor" meme. So, you've been duly warned!, here are responses (I've kept them brief - I could talk about this all day despite being a normally somewhat private person. I can't explain the conundrum!):

How long were your labors?
Polly - 23 hours labor, 3 hours pushing (labor stalled). Just about the hardest thing about parenting this child, so far, was actually bringing her into the world.
Tigger - 13 hours labor, 20 minutes pushing
Sweet Pea - 8 hours labor, 5 minutes pushing

How did you know you were in labor?
Polly - contractions that tapered off - then pitocin (induced)
Tigger - water broke at o'dark-thirty in the morning, waking me up. I could almost promise you that I heard a popping sound. But maybe that was in a dream I was having.
Sweet Pea - regular contractions on the morning of her due date, before we were supposed to go in for induction. She's a punctual girl.

Where did you deliver?
The same hospital for all three. I highly recommend it.

Drugs?
Yes, again, highly recommended. Although I didn't need much with Sweet Pea. Just a bit to take the edge off. If I could have a guaranteed labor like that one, I'd have a dozen kids. (If Prince Charming would let me!)

C-section?
Nope, but came very near it with the first. After a stalled labor, more drugs, and many other interventions, the doctor tried a vacuum extraction as the last thing before surgery. It worked, thankfully.

Who delivered?
We use a teaching hospital so I've had a different doctor each time. They've all been good but my last was the best. Unfortunately she didn't make it for Sweet Pea's birth but her colleague was equally good. As far as I could tell. She barely had time to catch the baby, much less introduce herself. Sweet Pea was not waiting for anyone.

With Polly, and all the complications, we ended up with about 10 doctors and nurses standing around. I thought I was going to die, so I didn't care. With Tigger there were maybe 4-5. With Sweet Pea there was hardly time for the doctor to make it, so there was a doctor and 2 nurses assisting.

Here's the photographic proof. And, side note, don't you just love hospital gowns? I mean, don't they just make you feel like a true princess? (Removing tongue from cheek now!)