Thursday, September 30, 2010

One Week Later (Birth Story #4!)

(Picture taken last Sunday)

This Thursday is slightly different from last week, although there are similarities (lack of sleep being one).

Last Wednesday morning I woke up about 5 AM and timed contractions. They were about 8 minutes apart. "Baby is coming today!" I thought. Such naivete, such optimism! I even woke Prince Charming up a bit later. As the day went on we thought the contractions would get closed together or stronger (side note: the ones I was having were already what I would call strong) or something to indicate that it was time to call in the grandparents and head to the hospital.

No such thing happened - instead they tapered off to once every so often, annoying enough to interfere with my day but not enough to cause a call to the doctor. We went on a family walk in the afternoon, trying to spur on some action. I still ended up going with the family to church that evening. Granted, I was really uncomfortable and sat in one of the nursery rocking chairs the entire time, but the contractions were still not close enough together to worry about.

Flash forward to 2 AM that night (the next day? Whatever.) I'd had about 2 hours of restless sleep. But that was all I was going to get, apparently. Now these strong contractions were coming every 10 minutes or less, rather erratically but still, consistently. I woke Prince Charming up about an hour and a half later when they were so strong I couldn't even time them myself (kept forgetting to fool with the stop watch). I couldn't distract myself from them, the rice sock wasn't cutting it any more. I pretty much laid on the bed until one hit and then I would stand up, lean my head against the wall and sort of, I don't know, rock through it. It's hard to explain. One thing was for sure: this was the real deal.

We called the doctor around 4 (I think it was around 4, I wasn't exactly watching the clock) and then we called my mom, and then we took off for the hospital (once Gram was safely installed with the girls).

Here's part of the story I don't think I've mentioned to anyone so far: I had eaten some jello around 2:30 but other than that the only thing I'd had was a huge bottle of Gatorade. On the drive to the hospital it occurred to me that I wouldn't be allowed to have anything other than ice chips, Popsicles, or hard candy at the hospital. And I didn't have any hard candy with me. The thought of going through hours of labor with that Gatorade taste in my mouth was intolerable so I instructed Prince Charming to stop at a convenience store. (A specific chain well known around here, primarily for their ice cream). Well, very few places are open at O'dark-thirty in the morning.

So we stopped at three different stores before we found an open one. Prince Charming ran in to buy me some mints and I sat in the car suffering through a contraction. (I seriously thought about opening the door and leaning against the car, but um, the neighborhood we were in was not, shall we say, the best so I stayed put in the car) Mints procured, we proceeded to the hospital.

It was just after 5 AM when we got there. As I started the triage procedures Prince Charming had to go move the car because the valet parking hadn't been open (5 AM, remember) but the nurses were afraid we might be towed once it opened. Whatever. The only part of this that is relevant is that Prince Charming had to wait in the waiting room while they got me settled in a triage room. He had just joined me when the doctor came to check me and - are you ready for this? - I was declared 9 cm dilated.

Nine?! As in, almost done nine? Yep.

I have never seen those nurses move so quickly. They rushed to get me iv'd up and into a regular L&D room. (As Pastor Dad says, "The paper work must be a nightmare if someone has the baby in triage")

At this point it was looking like Baby Girl #4 would be here any minute. But alas, it was not to be. First of all, she was still "high". And second, she was "Sunny Side Up" (O.P. position. And for those of you wondering, I did NOT have back labor with her, which people often blame on this type position)

She finally came at 10:31 AM. She never did turn around, but it didn't take much pushing once the time came. The nurse said that if Baby had been in the right position labor would have been much shorter (and it would have only taken "half a push").

Anyway, that's the short version. I think I'm still processing most of that morning since everything seemed to happen so quickly.

And today we took Miss Lili to her doctor and she's already surpassed her birth weight - yes, the child likes her food - and everything else looks great. She's a dream baby, really. All except for that little mix up last night. (Awake for nearly 3 hours in the middle of the night and pretty sure she ought to be nursing that entire time.)

So, Happy One Week Birthday to my Little One. You're every bit as perfect as I knew you would be.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Tigger!

Tigger turns six today! We had a small party Sunday afternoon and this was one of her favorite gifts. She could read her own birthday cards, she can tell time (sort of) and she's a super big help with the baby.

And yes, before you ask, it does seem like yesterday that Tigger was my baby. Tigger's watch just reminds me that time well, it really does fly.

Happy 6th Birthday, Tigger!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

She's Here!

 Baby Girl #4 - I'm thinking about calling her Lili on the blog - came right on her due date: Thursday, September 23 at 10:31 in the morning. She was 8 lbs. 1 oz. 20 inches long, and completely perfect in every way.
So, from our family of 6 (!), thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. More pictures and the dramatic tale to follow later. Like after sleeping, feeding, changing, and all that good stuff.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Yes, I'm Still Here

Sunday when I walked into church I felt unwelcome. Nearly anyone who caught a glimpse of me, as the Bible says, "Their countenance fell" and then they would say, "Oh, are you still here?"

I wanted to assure these people that no one, but no one, wants this baby to come more than I do, but yes, I am still here.

Still preparing - the car seat situation is now all sorted out. The pack n play (our bed of choice for our babies) is set up in our room. Her clothes are washed - a few are even packed in a bag for her trip home from the hospital.

It seems like the girls are getting ready - and getting older - too. Sweet Pea has been endeavoring to "be big". Which for her means a lot of little things but, most significantly to Prince Charming and me, she's been trying to stay dry at night. She isn't always successful but at least she actually cares about it again.

Tigger seems so much more grown up, seemingly overnight. She even got her library card the other day. And if I had the energy to find the camera, take the picture, upload the picture and fool around on Blogger with the picture, I'd show you photographic evidence. I suppose what I'm saying is, our tradition of taking a picture of the girls with their first library card is going to have to wait in Tigger's case. Nothing my currently middle child (or "Second Oldest", as she has pointed out) isn't already used to.

We've continued on with our regular school routine, although Polly has had to wake me up from a quick nap to do Grammar on more than one occasion.

So, we'll keep you posted. Believe it or not, we'd actually prefer that Baby wait until next week - preferably Thursday or later - because we have a lot going on this weekend. Which, depending on her level of contrariness, may mean she'll come this weekend. Or she might be punctual like Sweet Pea. My next doctor's appointment is on the due date. That's when they start scheduling non-stress tests and (ominous music) induction. Maybe the threat of induction will inspire her to come on her own (hey, it worked with Sweet Pea).

Meanwhile, I probably ought to pack my suitcase. Denial is over: Baby Girl #4 will be here soon.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Something That Never Happens

The laundry is all caught up. (Well, as caught up as it will ever be...)

And put away.

Even the girls' things.

Just thought I'd post about it, since it will most likely never happen again, at least in the foreseeable future.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Finer Things Friday

Thanks to Gram & Granddad, the girls were able to mark one thing off their "Bucket Lists" this week:
(Because, as they all told me at some point during our outing, "I've always wanted to ride a camel!")

This post is linked to Finer Things Friday. What Finer Things have you experienced this week?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day Birth Stories: Baby Girl #3

Warning for my male readership: another birth story follows. Go away and read something else. Don't say I didn't warn you.)

I may be a slow learner (Baby #1 story here, Baby #2 story here), but by my third baby I had come to realize that giving birth is very seldom "by the book" or predictable. Babies have minds of their own. Hospitals have guidelines and regulations. Doctors have their own preferences. Nurses might be super supportive or horribly cranky. There are a lot of variables, is what I'm saying.

With Baby #3 I had another uneventful pregnancy. The doctors at my clinic love me because I rarely have anything for them to worry about. Baby was due February 23, 2007.

Now it just so happened that our area that particular February was very snowy and icy (which isn't always true for us). For instance, our church had to reschedule our annual Valentine Banquet because of snow. We held it the week after Valentine's Day. And once I went to a scheduled Dr appointment only to find that the office was closed "Because of snow", which annoyed me to no end because if I could get there, surely some of the doctors and nurses could, but I digress.

While at the aforementioned belated V-Day banquet, I had some scattered contractions. But that was nothing new because I had been having them for a few weeks. Nothing "solid", nothing that lasted. Just enough to make me occasionally uncomfortable.

The morning after the banquet (much snow still on the ground, remember), I had a Dr. appointment. Now, it hadn't actually occurred to me that I could refuse to be checked. So I was, accordingly, checked by the Dr. who declared me to be already almost 3 cm dilated, "soft" and, basically, ready. She decided that the best thing would be to induce on Friday morning (my actual due date) of that week.

I think she had good intentions for this: I was tired of being pregnant (duh), we had to make arrangements for our two older girls, there was always the danger of a massive snowstorm, etc. (I sometimes get the impression that doctors think subsequent babies just drop out of their mothers, though I have no idea where they get that idea. Mine don't!) But I should have said no.

Note I "should" have said no. Because I didn't. I agreed to it.

I spent the next couple of days regretting that choice and earnestly praying that I would go into labor naturally. (Prince Charming would probably call that a "hot pepper" prayer. Ask him about them sometime.) "Please, let the baby be ready, let everything happen the right way. Let labor start on its own..."

It didn't seem likely. I went to bed Thursday night, fully expecting to get up in the morning, take the girls to Gram and Granddad's house, and submit to Pitocin and whatever else the hospital staff might use to get labor going.

But God hears even seemingly silly prayers. I woke up Friday morning about 3, having regular contractions. I got up without disturbing Prince Charming (I figured he needed his rest), heated up my rice sock, and made myself comfy in the living room. I watched late night television, the early morning news shows and timed contractions. They were consistent and strong but nothing my rice sock and I couldn't handle. I ate a bowl of cereal (because I was hungry!) and drank some juice. I sat on the floor, laid on the couch, moved around the house quietly, and didn't bother to wake Prince Charming or call the hospital until about 7 A.M.

By the time we got the older two dropped off and got ourselves to the hospital (side note: no icy roads and very little traffic - another blessing since we live at least 30 minutes from the hospital. Just another one of God's provisions for us that day!) I was having very frequent contractions. There was some confusion at the triage desk because my file was in the "induction" category and I was clearly already in labor. Then two different triage nurses checked me but they disagreed on how dilated I was. That was discouraging, to say the least.

Once I was settled into a regular room (labor / delivery rooms, which are quite nice at our hospital) a doctor (not my usual one) checked me and declared me well on my way. (I can't remember the exact number)

A little while later the doctor came in again and asked if I wanted an epidural. Actually, I was handling the labor fairly well, though I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. I told her I was afraid I wouldn't be able to push when the time came. She assured me that I was dilated enough at this point that it probably wouldn't be a problem so (please don't judge!) I agreed to the epidural.

Now all you natural childbirth advocates are going to howl about this, but let me tell you my experience: this was the PERFECT epidural. I could still move my legs and feel what was going on. The only thing I couldn't feel was my contracting belly. I still praise that anesthesiologist (and God, again!) whenever I think about it.

My water broke around 11 A.M. (which I could also feel) and then, sometime around noon, my nurse announced she was going to take her lunch. (Let me just say that this nurse, while nice enough, was not going to win any "go getter" awards) That seemed fine to me at the time. Prince Charming was all the support I needed.

That lasted about 20 or 30 minutes (query: just how long a lunch does a L/D nurse get?!) when I started feeling a massive amount of pressure.

"I need a doctor," I told my skeptical husband. He tried to tell me that the nurse would be back soon but I insisted he get someone, NOW. He couldn't find my nurse (big surprise there) but he brought in another one. She went to check me and I expected to hear that I was 9 centimeters or something like that. Instead everything became a flurry of motion and I distinctly remember her going out into the hall, telling someone else to call a doctor because she could see a head.

They managed to get the room ready in record time. I was gripping Prince Charming's arm, thinking that if they didn't hurry up he would end up catching this baby his own self because I was ready to push and if I didn't push I would die. (OK, I probably wouldn't die, exactly, but it felt like the most urgent thing I have ever felt)

Two pushes later, at 1:31 p.m., Sweet Pea made her grand entrance. (Yes, if you're wondering, my wayward nurse made it just in time). The doctor later apologized for the confusion and told me my nurse should have checked me before going on lunch but I was already nursing Sweet Pea at that point and didn't really care any more.

Sweet Pea weighed in at 8 lbs. 3 ozs. (a full pound larger than Tigger had been!). She acted like she was starved and she nursed pretty much as soon as the nurses handed her to me, and every two hours after that for the next weeks (despite being "tongue tied", just like Polly. And yes, we refused to have her "clipped", and yes, that decision worked out just fine). She was alert for a few hours before finally taking a well-deserved nap.

And, not to brag or anything, but she was basically the perfect baby. With such a punctual arrival, how could she be anything but perfect? She was born exactly 31 minutes after the time the doctor had set for induction (1 p.m.)

This post is linked to the Labor Day Link Up over at Amy's Finer things.

Labor Day Birth Stories: Baby Girl #2

Note to my male readers (assuming I have any): this might be a good time to go read a blog about sports or politics or something. All you need to know is that we were expecting Baby #2, she came, she was healthy, and we lived happily every after.

Well, if you read my first story, you know that things didn't exactly go as planned during our first baby's birth. I ended up with just about every intervention you can imagine, short of a c-section. And we were thisclose to that.

Two and a half years later, it was time for Round 2. I felt more confident this time. I mean, I'd already given birth once, right? I knew how our hospital worked, I liked (and trusted) my doctor - this time I'd been able to see the same doctor almost every visit.

The baby was due October 2nd.I really liked this due date because both of my grandmas and my mom have birthdays in October. I thought the baby might even come on one grandma's birthday (October 3). Wouldn't that be neat?

However, Baby had her own ideas about when she would like her birthday. The night / morning of September 28 I woke up about 4 A.M and sat straight up in bed. Had I just heard a "pop"? And what was that wet sensation? Um, yeah, that would be amniotic fluid. Leaking. Just like all those dumb t.v. shows and movies where the woman's water breaks or she leans over and shakes her husband, "Honey, it's time."

Real labor isn't like that, of course. Except when it is.

I woke up Prince Charming and asked him what I should do. He suggested (logically) that I should call the hospital and ask them. But I didn't want to. They would just tell me to come in and I knew - from my experience with Polly - that the hospital wasn't where I wanted to be just yet. So I waited at home for a little while. The other consideration was that Little Polly was going to be staying with her Gram and Granddad while we went to the hospital for Baby Sister. And since they were already expecting her that morning, since I had a non-stress test and ultrasound scheduled for that day, maybe we could just wait and not call them in the wee sma's.

Between the irregular contractions and leaking fluid, I decided to call the hospital around 6:30 that morning. And, as predicted, they told me to come in. I think we ended up dropping Polly off at her grandparents' somewhere after 7.

We went straight to maternity triage where they gave me an ultrasound to be sure my water had actually broken. Which, um, yes it had. (Duh) Then they moved me to a labor / delivery room and hooked me up to the fetal monitor and all the other stuff (i.v., blood pressure cuff, etc.) My contractions weren't too bad but the baby didn't seem to tolerate them very well. Any time I moved her heart rate would go down and, as you know, that's not good. In order to keep her stable, I could only lay on my left side. Not the most comfortable way to labor, to say the least. Hence, the anesthesiologist was called and yes, I had an epidural. Again. And, once Baby seemed "happy", Pitocin. Again.

So I was more comfortable, the baby was more stable and things seemed to be moving along (no stalled labor this time). I rested, Prince Charming and I talked and I think I remember playing cards at one point but since I was still on my left side it was hard to hold the cards and I suspect he was cheating anyway (not really, but it makes a better story), that didn't last long.

Labor was progressing well but soon enough, Baby's numbers were dropping again. They turned me on my right side - small improvement. They started running water up toward the baby, which was new to me. That seemed to help Baby along, too, though I didn't think much of it at the time.

The afternoon passed quickly and soon, it was time to push. This part terrified me because I remembered how awful it had been with Polly. I hadn't been able to feel anything and it had lasted forever. Not so this time, the doctor and the nurse got everything ready, the doctor told Prince Charming to be ready (to cut the cord) and, despite my apprehension, I was able to feel the need to push and still experience some relief from the pain. Less than an hour later, at 6:39 p.m, Baby Tigger was born.

The doctor ended up cutting the cord as soon as Tigger's head emerged because it was wrapped around her little neck. Prince Charming was invited to do a ceremonial cut a few seconds later. We were both just so relieved to see her - they tossed her up on me (what is with the doctors and that "toss the baby" thing they do?) and I spoke to her and kissed her.

The doctor said I wouldn't have needed any stitches except for the fact that I tore where I had been stitched before (thanks to that traumatic labor with Polly). For whatever reason, they had me fixed up and ready before the nurses had even finished weighing Tigger.

"I need my baby," I told them. So Prince Charming brought her over to me. She nursed - almost immediately - like a champ and she didn't show any ill effects from her ordeal with the cord. That was the moment I decided that (controversial statement ahead!) I'll  most likely always choose to give birth in a hospital. Maybe some of the interventions are unnecessary, but I believe God had us in the right place with the right doctor in order to keep Tigger safe.

Also different from my first birth, I felt like a million bucks. I could walk almost immediately after the labor, I was starving and ate a huge meal, and I felt just generally terrific. A very nice way to end a very strange birth experience!

Lessons learned: 1.) Babies have their own ideas of when they should come and sharing a birth stone with their grandmas and great-grandmas might not figure into their calculations. 2.) Even a low-stress, no-complication, "easy" pregnancy might not translate into an easy or completely non-scary labor.

This post is linked to the Labor Day Link Up over at Amy's Finer Things.

Labor Day Birth Stories: Baby Girl #1

Our first baby was due at the end of December. Prince Charming and I had prepared a room for the baby and taken the labor classes offered at our hospital (mostly notable for completely grossing out Prince Charming. "It's going to be like that?"). In short, we (thought) were ready.

Not so much, as it turned out. One Wednesday night, two days before my due date, I sat in our church's children's program and counted contractions. At least, I thought they were contractions. I was uncomfortable. And nervous. One way or another I knew our baby was coming soon.

For those of you who are men reading this, you may wish to stop now. All you need to know: the baby came, perfectly healthy and beautiful, one day before her due date. The end. Come back and read my blog another time.

For the rest of you brave souls: Neither of us got much sleep that night and Thursday morning I called our hospital and was told to come on in. This, as it turns out, was probably a mistake. I was in labor, yes, but not very far along and it would have been better to struggle a bit longer at home. My mom walked with me a little bit while my dad took Prince Charming to get him some food.

At some point not long after this, the hospital staff (can't remember whether it was a nurse or doctor) checked me. Labor had stalled. Just then I was already very tired (hadn't slept the night before) and I let them talk me into starting Pitocin.

Does that make mistake #2 or 3? I can't remember at this point. The thing about "Pit" is, you're confined to your bed at that point (or at least I was). And everything hurts so much worse. Now, looking back, I'm pretty sure the hospital should have sent me home when I first came in. It was December 20 and maybe that influenced their decision to keep me.

Despite best intentions, the Pitocin sold me on the idea of an epidural. One of the nurses warned me that an epidural would probably slow down my labor but at that point I didn't care. They got the anesthesiologist and - blessed relief - the epidural kicked in immediately.

Prince Charming and I took a nap. Seriously. That is what we did. The monitoring didn't bother me. The automatic blood pressure checks didn't bother me. Nothing bothered me at that point!

Eventually we both woke up, nicely rested. Then we worked a crossword puzzle. True story.

The worst thing to me at this point was the fact that I couldn't have anything to eat. Prince Charming brought me ice chips and popsicles and he didn't eat in front of me but I was getting hungry.

As it was getting later in the afternoon, the doctor came in and suggested "we" break my water. I agreed. (I suppose once you've agreed to one intervention, you figure a few more won't hurt) At some point my nurse (a Christian whom I liked very much) had to transfer to another laboring woman who was closer to delivering than I. And I didn't like her replacement, which didn't help anything that happened later.

Breaking my water seemed to work because labor progressed very quickly after that. The only problem with that? My epidural had worn off. So I went from feeling Nothing to feeling The Worst Pain I've ever felt in my life. Not a pretty situation. Prince Charming insisted they get me more medicine. They warned us it would be harder to push. Seriously, this part is a haze in my mind but whatever happened, they gave me more drugs.

And then it was time to push. Which, as they had predicted, was rather difficult. Two and half hours worth of difficult. After that long they started consulting each other on what do next. I was exhausted and increasingly panicked that this was all going to end in a C-section.

"What do you think about trying the vacuum extractor?" My doctor finally suggested to me. (Have I mentioned that I give birth in a teaching hospital and the room was full of my doctor, her attending O.B, several med students and about four nurses?)

"Yes!" I'm pretty sure I nearly shouted. Round about this time, the nurses got Prince Charming a chair because he was looking rather faint. (He's not proud of it, of course, but that's what happened).

Lest you be confused, a vacuum extraction doesn't actually mean they suck the baby out of you. You still have to push, it just helps guide the head out.

And it worked quite well. Our Polly was born at 8:21 p.m. That's over 24 hours since my contractions had started (thought not all in active labor) and three hours of pushing.

And she was so worth it.

I will never forget how they threw that slippery little bundle (all 7 lbs. 11 ozs. of her) on my chest as soon as she was born. She was gunky and crying indignantly and absolutely perfect in my eyes. Then they took her and started doing some of the stuff they do to newborns (within my sight) while the doctors finished up with me. Yeah, I'm not really going to go into that part. I watched them, courtesy of the mirror on the ceiling and it's not really for the faint of heart.

But that didn't matter either because soon enough Prince Charming was carrying our bundle of baby back over to me. (Side note: for someone who had never held a newborn, he sure was possessive and confident with ours). Our hospital's policy is non-separation for mother and baby so were able to attempt nursing right away. (Polly wasn't much interested, probably because of the drugs that she got from labor, but it could also be because Polly is just not much interested in food in general.)

After a quiet hour of recovery, they moved us to our room. We went past all our waiting family (of which I mostly remember my baby brother - then 6 - calling my name and asking for me). Then, even though it was after visiting hours, everyone came in our room and met the baby, even my little brother. We had thought we might have to be sneaky about the Bear's presence because the hospital policy only allows children under age 14 if they are siblings of the baby, but no one ever asked us about the little blond boy sitting in my hospital bed with me, even though they knew Polly was my first baby. And no one has ever asked since, either, although my older girls had to get flu shots in order to see Baby Sweet Pea, but that's another birth story.

So that's pretty much it. It didn't happen at all the way I wanted it to. Recovery was hard (I couldn't even walk until the next day) and we all (Prince Charming, Polly & of course, yours truly) looked like we had been in a prize fight.

Still, there were things that went right too. Things like: having Polly with me at all times. Our hospital provides lactation consultants too, but I have to say I didn't find mine very helpful at all. Fortunately, other than her excessive sleepiness in her first few days, it wasn't all that hard to establish nursing with Polly. (Another side note: her pediatrician and the lactation consultant both thought Polly was "tongue tied" but we refused any intervention on that with no ill effects to nursing or her future speech habits. Actually, it's kind of funny to think of Polly being in ANY way "tongue tied" considering she can out talk just about anyone I know)

Lessons learned: 1. ) Stay home during labor as long as possible. 2.) Understand that interventions tend to have a cascading effect. 3. ) Ultimately, what's important is the beautiful baby in your arms, however she happened to get there.

This post is linked to The Labor Day Link Up over at Amy's Finer Things.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Books of 2010 - August

1. Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men. Non-fiction by Michael Kimmel. This author is not a Conservative but his intellectual honesty was refreshing. Very sobering read. (And it kind of made me glad I'm raising girls instead of sons, until I realized those girls are going to be looking for men to marry one day. Yikes!)

2.Taking Care of the Me in Mommy: Becoming a Better Mom: Spirit, Body & Soul Non-fiction by Lisa Whelchel. Very encouraging and lots of great ideas here. Lisa (can I call her that?) seems like the kind of person I'd like to sit down and just chat with.

3.Love That Lasts: When Marriage Meets Grace. Non-fiction by Gary & Betsy Ricucci. I highly recommend this one. Highly. I think Emerson Eggerichs' book Love and Respect is my favorite book about marriage (after the Bible, of course) but this book runs a close second. This book emphasizes the importance of the local church in Christian marriages, which is an often over-looked aspect of marriage. I made Prince Charming move this to the top of his reading stack as soon as I finished it. I'd love for some couples in our church to do this as a small group study. Maybe next year...

4. A Tale of Two Cities. Fiction by Charles Dickens. It took me awhile to get into this one but once I did I found it very engrossing. Not as fun as The Scarlet Pimpernel but very moving.

5. Teaching Your Children Values. Non-fiction by Linda & Richard Eyre. I picked this up at the library sale this year. Nothing ground breaking here, and it's a bit dated at this point. (The book, not actually teaching our children values.)

6. The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict. Non-fiction by Ken Sande. You must read this book. Our small group will be doing the Ladies' Bible Study version starting in October because I was so impressed with the material. Very challenging stuff here.

7. For Queen and Country: Britain in the Victorian Age. Non-fiction by Margaret Drabble. I ordered this to read because Polly was studying Queen Victoria and I wanted to brush up. Some interesting things here but also a touch of condescension that I found off-putting. Written in 1978 so somewhat dated now. (Although you'd think a book about history would age a bit better)

8. The Contemplative Mom: Restoring Rich Relationship with God in the Midst of Motherhood. Non-fiction by Ann Kroeker. Yes, I read two books of this type in August (see #2 above). Between school starting back, the last trimester of pregnancy and life in general, I needed the reminders and encouragement. Of the two I probably preferred Whelchel's book but they are not at all the same and God used both of them to encourage me.

9. 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior. Non-fiction by Lilienfeld, Lynn, Ruscio & Beyerstein. I picked this up on a whim at the library but it was a terrific read. Well foot-noted but not overly technical. Lots of food for thought here.

10. Corduroy Mansions. Fiction by Alexander McCall Smith. A new series, very similar to the 44 Scotland Street series only set in London instead of Edinburgh. Kind of fun but not anything to write home about.

11. George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I. Non-fiction by Miranda Carter. Fascinating stuff for history buffs. (I suppose I consider myself one of that group) Well written and engaging, thorough but not exhaustive (considering how much source material must be waded through to write about even one of these men).

12. Bellfield Hall: Or, The Observations of Miss Dido Kent (Dido Kent Mysteries). Fiction by Anna Dean. A new mystery series. Miss Marple meets Jane Austen. Suited me quite well on a lazy afternoon.

Totals for August:
Fiction: 3, including 1 Dickens novel completed
Non-fiction: 9

(P.S. I'm trying some new Amazon links so please bear with me. Your mileage may vary with each of these books - YMMV, as they say.)