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Friday, April 30, 2010

brothers

Liam woke up this morning asking Where's River?

He is loving his role as the big brother, which he continues to remind us is his new title.

He especially likes to hold River, asking if he can have him now.

Liam has never been especially aggressive, but neither is he known for gentleness. His enthusiasm around the baby makes me a little nervous, but also very, very happy.
It's still strange to think that I am the mother of two boys... Gabriel is, of course, thrilled and quite proud. I keep reminding him that it will still be a little while before he can take them off on canoeing expeditions and backpacking trips.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Birth Story

The Birth Story:
or, how we got from
here
to here
in 12 hours.

Warning: This is the post where I talk about such things as ruptured membranes, cervical dilation, and all those fluids.

Tuesday morning, Gabriel and I went to my 40 weeks doctors appointment with 6 days of labor already behind us and still only 1 cm of dilation to show for it.
Dr. Crownover, my OB, assured us that from the baby's standpoint whether we decided to help my labor progress more quickly through medical intervention (i.e.-pitocin) or if we just stuck it out and let nature take its meandering course, either option appeared safe.
Having been down this long road before with Liam, my greatest concern wasn't the pitocin-hard labor-epidural path, it was the increased risk for caeserean. He assured me that, assuming my health and the baby's continued to remain steady, he would not make a decision for a caeserean unless I opted for it. In other words, he wasn't going to put an allowable time frame on my labor process.
As soon as he said that, I asked how soon we could get things going at the hospital.
We got home from the appointment at 11:00 am and checked into the hospital by noon.
I was anxious for it all to be over with.
After filling out paper work, changing into a much-too-large gown, and enduring two attempts at my IV line, they had me going on the pitocin by 1:30 pm.
The first couple of hours, the pain of my contractions slowly increased. I shifted onto the birthing ball and it wasn't long until I felt a peculiar popping sensation, some dampness, and then I stood up and the gushing began. This was unbelievably exciting, not just because things were finally starting to happen, but because my body handled this part all on its own.
From that point on, things became increasingly painful quicker and quicker.
By 7 pm, the contractions were becoming excruciating.
The nurse checked me: 5 cm. This was a lot of progress in under 6 hours, and I was hurting bad. And have I mentioned before that I was tired?
One epidural, please.
Make that two.
The anesthesiologist hit my vertebrae on the first try. Yes, ouch. Ouch again, and again, while he tried to maneuver his way in. Then he just started over and it slid in without me even noticing it.
Within 10 minutes I felt so much better. So good, in fact, that I promptly fell asleep.
Over the next few hours, while my body labored away and I dozed off and on, I became
increasingly aware of the sensation of pressure during my contractions.
Even though my lower half was so numb I couldn't move my legs if my life depended on it, I could still feel the overwhelming urge to push when I reached 10 cm.
I pushed River out over the course of just a few contractions, and once he finally crowned, he came out all in one push. I didn't have a single rip.
He came out crying, covered in that white waxy vernix (Liam didn't have any of that on him), and a bit of meconium, too.
They placed him immediately on my belly, and it wasn't long until we fumbled our way through the first attempt at nursing. He is still figuring out the whole latching-on concept, but he is getting it.
They declared him healthy.
I declared it all a big relief.
And now we are home, I am no longer in endless labor, and I feel better than when we got to the hospital.
I know the next few weeks will be tough. The adjusting to life with a newborn and a toddler. But at least we are there. That's all I really wanted.

the picture post


River James Hall

April 28, 2010
1:30 am
8 pounds, 5 ounces
21.5 inches
More details and photos soon.
He needs to eat...

Monday, April 26, 2010

laboring through

So, Day #5 of the endless labor is drawing to a close.

Here's where things stand:

Since early yesterday evening, my contractions have progressed to every 3-4 minutes, and they are a bit more intense.

interpretation: 24 hours + moderate pain every 3-4 minutes = nearing exhaustion

This morning we went to the doctor's office. I was hooked up to a monitor to check both the baby's heart rate and the frequency of my contractions.

interpretation: River's heart beat is strong. So are my contractions.

My doctor was out of the office for the morning, but the nurse went ahead and checked me. I am only dilated 1 centimeter, and was effaced a small enough amount that she didn't even give me a number.

interpretation: fighting tears and depression at this point...

I have my 40 weeks appointment tomorrow morning (my due date). Assuming I will still be pregnant and laboring away, we are prepared to talk over some options with the doctor.

It has been hard for me to come to terms with the fact that my body is not good at this whole progressing-through-labor-thing. I am so used to feeling competent and sure of myself, and I always imagined that I would be the earthy kind of mama who pops out a 9 pound baby in an afternoon. Obviously, this is one fantasy I really can't control.

As much as I believe that labor is a natural progression, mine is progressing so slowly. And I am tired. Very tired. And birthing a baby is a lot of work.

I know my doctor won't pressure me one way or the other, so I am looking forward to hearing his opinion tomorrow.

But even more, I am looking forward to sleepless nights with the baby on the outside of my body...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

and then there were more contractions...

River is already trying to be just like his big brother Liam.

I have still been having contractions every 5-6 minutes. Some of them are really painful, but others are still just uncomfortable.

The spicy Thai food last night didn't seem to make much of a difference.

I've been spending a lot of time sitting on a birthing ball, which encourages the baby's head in the right direction.

We spent the morning at Target, TJ Maxx, and Oops, just so to have somewhere to walk around since it's been raining outside.

I really want to avoid any medical interventions, so I am not ready to give my doctor the go-ahead to break my water. With Liam, this led to way too much pitocin and an epidural.

I know that he will come out when he is ready, but the waiting while endlessly contracting is not so fun.

Friday, April 23, 2010

apparently, he didn't get the letter

Well, the 22nd came and went.

I did have regular contractions starting in the morning, every 6 minutes or so, and that pattern lasted throughout the day.

My mom came out to Siloam in the evening, I called Trish and told her we may be calling her for Liam-duty in the middle of the night, and the contractions intensified and came closer together.

I was able to fall asleep, waking up every now and then with the stronger contractions, but then I woke up and it was morning.

We're back to mild-ish contractions every 6 minutes or so.

Gabe went to work, and my mom decided to spend the day with me and Liam. Maybe things will intensify. Maybe they won't.

With Liam, it went on like this for a week.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

a letter to the one in utero

Dear Baby River,


We, your family, friends, and loved ones, have decided that today is the best day for you to decide to join us in the outside world.


Daddy says the 22nd of April is perfect because Liam's birthday is March 22nd, so he would be much less likely to forget your birthday.


Grammie won't have to work at Kirkland's, which means she won't have to call in to work.


Liam has been practicing diaper changes with Elmo and is especially anxious to see you ride in your carseat. And to hear you cry. These really are the two things he talks about most.


And our doctor thinks you already weigh about 9 pounds, which is why I would like you to come out very, very soon.


Besides all of that, today is Earth Day, which just seems fitting for a little River James.


Coming five days before your due date is respectable timing: not too early, not too late.


Have I mentioned that I am ready for you to come out?


With much love,

Mama

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

baby preparations: stuff for toting

Over the past few months I have been spending most of Liam's afternoon naps at my sewing machine. Between Makenna's Quilt, stacks and stacks of bibs I make for The Baby Habit to embroider, and all of the baby crafting, I have had a hard time keeping enough thread on hand.

We are still using the sturdy Kavu messenger bag we bought as a diaper bag for Liam, and I plan to use it for River as well; but even with the best of my intentions towards minimizing the baby stuff I tote around, I know there will be times when I need a bigger bag to get us through the day.

Enter Amy Butler's "Modern Diaper Bag" from Little Stitches for Little Ones.
or
what Gabriel not-so-affectionately calls The Ark
This bag is a real monster, but still oh-so-stylish. It features plenty of generous-sized pockets along the interior, along with a cell-phone pocket on the side. I already have it packed for the hospital, and it handles the load quite nicely.
The pattern was fairly simple to follow. There were a lot of pieces and a lot of steps to follow, but the only part that gave me any trouble was figuring out how to do the pleats for the interior pockets. I think I ripped them out and redid them a total of four times before I finally got it right.
I used some green upholstery-weight fabric I had on hand and lined it with this fabulous organic green and white printed cotton fabric Ben and Carolyn gifted me with (their Christmas gift for me was a basket full of various fabrics...such a treat).
The pockets are made from green flannel that was also part of the Christmas bundle. The whole thing is stabilized with a layer of cotton quilting cotton adhered to the exterior fabric with Ultra Bond. Finishing it off is the snap-button closure.
I also made a nursing cover from the green and white organic fabric, following the tutorial found on Made by the Mama Monster. I didn't have one of these with Liam, but there were definitely times I wish I had. I haven't taken a picture of it yet. Maybe some other time.
Yesterday I made this simple little pouch to stash a pacifier in the diaper bag without worrying about it floating around in the depths of the bag and picking up who-knows-what-kinds-of-crumbles.
I used the fabric Bay Greenhill brought to my Blessingway along with hemp terrycloth for the lining. I didn't have a pattern, instead just making it up as I went along. It is just the right size for our favorite natural rubber pacifiers.
In case it isn't apparent, I've really been enjoying all this baby-related crafting.

chicken with creamy marsala sauce

Last night I made chicken with creamy marsala sauce for the first time. It was surprisingly easy, amazingly good, and most definitely Gabriel-approved.

I searched through various marsala chicken recipes online, but none of them seemed to be just what I was going for, so I improvised my own recipe based on what seemed to be the closest match, found on Greedy Gourmet.

Chicken with Creamy Marsala Sauce
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Marsala
  • juice from one lemon
  • 3/4 cup whole milk plain yogurt
  • chopped parsley for garnish
  1. Slice chicken into 3/4 inch strips. Toss in a bowl along with flour and generous amount of salt and pepper. Stir to coat.
  2. Heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through and nicely browned and crispy (about 8-10 minutes).
  3. Transfer to a serving dish and keep warm. I put mine in the toaster oven on the lowest "warm" setting.
  4. Add the Marsala and lemon juice to the pan along with all of the juices and any browned bits clinging to the pan. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Stir in the yogurt.
  5. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced, thickened, and glossy.
  6. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

I served this dish along with polenta and pan-seared asparagus drizzled with lemon and garlic. Gabriel has always turned up his nose at polenta, but this time he was miffed that I didn't make enough of it for a hearty second serving.

Of course, like all incredibly good meals, we gobbled this one up before I thought to take any pictures. You'll have to use your imagination, or even better, try the recipe yourself.

baby preparations: and something for me

When Liam was born, my focus was entirely on him. Everything was a new experience. Even the difficult early days at home, the adjusting to life with a new little person, was exhiliratingly time-consuming.

Looking back now, I realize that I should have made a little more time, and taken more care, to acknowledge my own body's needs. It took me quite some time to recover physically from the birth, weeks before I wasn't constantly aware of pain and discomfort.

I remember suddenly realizing how weak my shocked immune system actually was when I noticed a simple paper cut on my hand was taking far too long to heal and becoming mildly infected. Even then, I didn't do much besides smear some neosporin on it and call it good.

This time around, I want to be more aware of the way that my body reacts to the birth and do everything I can to help it recover quickly.

I mixed up some herbal bath blends designed to speed the healing process, both of which can be added to a peri-rinse bottle.

The recipes are from Natural Health After Birth by Aviva Jill Romm.

Herbal Bath I
postpartum delight
  • 2 oz comfrey leaves
  • 1 oz calendula flowers
  • 1 oz lavender flowers
  • 1 oz sage
  • 1/2 oz myrrh powder

Mix herbs together and store in a jar until ready for use. Bring 4 qts water to a boil. Turn off heat and add 1 oz (a large handful) of herb blend and steep, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain.

Add 2 qts liquid to the bath along with 3/4 cup sea salt. Refrigerate remaining liquid or add to a peri-rinse bottle.

Herbal Bath II

Deep Healing

  • 1 oz dried comfrey
  • 1 oz yarrow
  • 1 oz sage
  • 1 oz rosemary

Mix herbs together and store in a jar until ready for use. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil, then turn off heat. Add 1 oz (a large handful) of herb blend and steep, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain.

Add 4 cups of tea to bath along with 1/2 cup sea salt and 1 cup garlic "milk". Remaining tea can be used in a peri-rinse bottle, but do not include the garlic "milk."

garlic "milk": Peel the cloves from one bulb of garlic. Blend them with 2 cups of warm water until pulverized. Strain.

I steeped a batch of the first Herbal Bath this morning so it will be ready and waiting in the refrigerator when we get home from the hospital. I also picked up a bottle warmer from the Salvation Army to keep the peri-rinse bottle nicely warmed in the bathroom once I'm home and ready for it.

Another mama-care option I have been considering trying for awhile is switching over to cloth menstrual pads. Obviously, it's not something I've had to worry about for the past 9 months, but an article all about the practicalities of cloth in the March/April 2010 issue of Mothering magazine finally convinced me to give it a try.

I used the pattern for "Women's Cloth" in Amanda Blake Soule's Handmade Home, a Christmas gift from Ben and Carolyn. The cloths are made from 5 layers of cotton flannel, a layer of bird's eye cotton, and backed with a layer of PUL (polyurethane laminate...what cloth diapers are made from). I added a snap on the wings to help keep them in place, which also helps keep them in a tidy little package for in a purse.

I am planning to use these as postpartum pads, and later for regular menstrual use. Since we already do cloth diapers, it makes sense to give the cloth pads a try. The care for them is the same, as are the environmental concerns with the disposable options.

The article in Mothering also included a recipe for making cool packs with the cloths for those first days home from the hospital. Of course, the same solution could be used on disposable pads.

Magical Postpartum Pads

On each pad, pour 1 tablespoon witch hazel, 1 teaspoon aloe vera juice, and 3-4 drops lavender essential oil. Put them in a plastic baggie and store in the freezer until ready for use.

I made a batch of these today as well. They'll be ready in the freezer when I need them.I'm hoping these little efforts will go a long way in helping me to get to that new sense of "normal" that having two boys will surely be. At the very least, it should help me be better prepared for the challenge.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Blessingway

Saturday afternoon, Crystal led a Blessingway at my house with a group of my favorite ladies.

To have them all gather together in support of me and the impending birth was more than special. It made me realize just how connected I am with such a thoughtful and caring group of women.

They each brought pieces of fabric that reminded them of me, something for me to remember this special time. I love how even though they chose the fabrics for me, each individual pattern speaks volumes about the woman who brought it. I can hardly wait to turn these fabric selections into projects (alright, one of them is already done...).

We also each received ribbons to wear around our wrists until River is born and candles to light when I go into labor. To know I am not alone in the ordeal is the greatest gift they could have give me.

That and the way they jumped on the chance to provide care for Liam so my mom can join Gabriel and I at the hospital.

Thank you, friends, for such a meaningful afternoon.

to market to market

Saturday morning, the Francos joined us for my favorite kind of day:

Breakfast at the Little Bread Co, shopping at the Fayetteville Farmer's Market, and Owner's Appreciation weekend at Ozark Natural Foods.

There was plenty of good food, lots of live music and puppy dogs, and to Liam and Sage's delight, balloons.
Sunday afternoon, we headed to Rogers to pick up some free compost advertised on Craigslist. The mound was impressive, and Liam had to give it a climb.
We spent the rest of the afternoon preparing yet another new gardening bed and spreading compost in the beds we haven't planted yet. I squatted down and helped with the troweling, but apparently that wasn't enough to persuade this baby that it's time to come out.

Any day now would be great, River.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

some changing table changes

When Liam was born, we had the changing table set up downstairs in his room. This worked great except for the fact that he slept upstairs in our room for the first 6 months of his life, making nightime diaper changes a real pain: either we'd stumble our way downstairs or make do on the floor of our bedroom.

This time around, I knew I definitely wanted two changing stations: one upstairs and one downstairs.

We moved our old changing table (actually more of a potting bench that Gabriel made as an entertainment center for our first apartment) up into our bedroom, along with a small diaper pail, a shelf for diapering essentials, and a lamp.

Gabriel came up with plans to build a new changing station/storage unit for the boy's room downstairs, and we purchased the accompanying storage bins on our Ikea Trip.

But then I found this great old buffet on Craigslist for FREE!!!

It needed a bit of work, but was a solid piece with a lot of potential. As we drove away after picking it up, Gabriel kept saying I can't believe they just gave this away...

Some sanding, several coats of paint, new glide tracks for the bins, and two new drawer pulls later, we have this:
It goes perfectly in their room, with plenty of space for all of the diapering essentials, some toy storage, and a place to put the fish tank.
I made a new diaper changing pad from some soy-based foam, wool batting, and leftovers from the Ikea fabric I used to cover the new rocking chair cushions.
I have a few more finishing touches before their room is done. When it is, I'll post some pictures.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

at the creek

Spending time down at the creek was, by far, Liam's favorite part of our camping trip this past weekend.

The water was cold, but in the afternoon sun, it felt wonderful.
The boys spent the afternoon throwing rocks into the creek.
Lots and lots of rocks.
Even the big boys got in on the action.
They had a rock skipping contest, won by Mr. Tony.
We preferred to watch all the action from the comfort of our camping chairs.
And the cool water helped ease my swollen feet...
Sage got pretty brave. Rochelle got pretty nervous.
Liam was good out in the water as long as he had Daddy's hand.
This was his kind of day.
And now for a peek at all of that rock-throwing action:
video

camping trip

We spent this past weekend camping at Devil's Den. I asked my doctor about it beforehand, and since I was only dilated 1/2 cm, he gave me the go-ahead and even said it was a great idea!!! I really like my doctor...

We joined the Franco family and the Colliers, friends of Tony's through work and now friends of ours. As soon as we discovered our common interest in self-sufficient farming and simple living, the conversation came easy.

The weather was perfect, which meant the camp sites were all booked. We ended up at one of the walk-in sites for the first time, and it was like seeing the light for the first time. The hike from the cars to campsite was a little under a half of a mile, and once we got across the cold creek, and lugged all of our gear, along with my 38-week pregnant belly, up to our site, the comparative solitude and peaceful setting more than made up for the amount of work it took to get there.

This was just a small portion of the necessary stuff for the weekend.

The guys made a number of trips.

Back and forth.

But eventually we got it all there, got the fire going, and settled in.

After breakfast Saturday morning, everyone headed off to hike the Yellow Rock Trail and admire the view from the bluffs while Rochelle and Sage played at the creek and explored other parts of the campground.

Liam was super excited about riding in Daddy's backpack.

When I say everyone went hiking, I really mean everyone but me. I plunked myself down in the chair and didn't go far. I had my knitting, a water bottle, and plenty of snacks, which meant I was more than happy to stay put.
Later in the afternoon, we all went down to the creek for some rock-throwing fun.
Liam and Sage shared a wagon ride.
These two had a great time getting into trouble together. Here, they are exploring the outhouse. Nice.

There was plenty of sunshine. Plenty of room to run around. And plenty of time just to sit and enjoy the campfire.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

ricotta loaf and creamy spinach dip

For nearly the past year, we have been getting all of our milk fresh from a local farm just across the state line in Oklahoma.

I could go on and on about how much we have been loving the raw, creamy goodness those jerseys produce, but instead let's talk about what has been just as wonderful:

Milk delivery night.

We get our milk through Tony and his Dayspring connection (yes, it's about knowing the right people when it comes to sourcing raw milk...), so every other Wednesday he brings us our milk order and our families share dinner.

It has been a great excuse to get together with some of our best of friends on a regular basis. We share good food, good conversation, and Liam gets a chance to burn off some of his energy running circles around Sage.

Last night I made spaghetti, a side salad, and a loaf of ricotta bread. A friend from church, Ben Hill surprised me that same afternoon with a bag of spinach straight from his garden. It screamed creamed spinach at me, so I obliged.

Rochelle requested the recipes, and I thought I'd go ahead and post them here for anyone else who is interested.

Ricotta Loaf
This recipe is from Rose Levy Berenbaum's The Bread Bible, which has been my go-to cookbook for most of our bread recipes lately. I substituted in a portion of whole wheat flour, which increased the rising time a smidge, but as far as yeasted bread recipes go, this one is still fairly quick. It produces a soft, light loaf, perfect alongside a plate of pasta and a scoop of creamed spinach.
ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk ricotta
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  1. Mix the dough. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine both flours, sugar, and yeast. Add the ricotta, butter, egg, and salt. Mix on low speed just until a loose dough comes together, about 1 minute. Cover bowl with a towel and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Mix with the dough hook on medium-low speed for 10 minutes.
  2. Let the dough rise. Place the dough in a large bowl lightly-coated with oil. Cover the bowl and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I've learnede to just keep an eye on the dough instead of the clock. If it takes less than the allotted time, or takes much longer, what is most important is adequately risen dough.
  3. Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees a full hour before baking. If you have a pizza stone, preheat it along with the oven, along with the bottom half of a broiler pan placed on the rack beneath the stone.
  4. Shape the dough and let it rise. Divide the dough in half and shape each portion into a round loaf. Place on separate squares of parchment paper. Alternatively, you can make a sandwich loaf by shaping the entire thing into a log and fitting it into a parchment-lined (or well-greased) bread pan. Either method, cover lossley with a kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled or 1-inch above the rim of the bread pan, approximately 45 minutes.
  5. Slash and bake the bread. With a sharp knife (I use my serrated tomato knife), make a 1/2 inch-deep slice down the center of each loaf. Transfer the loaves still on the parchment paper onto the hot pizza stone (or place on a baking sheet if you don't have a stone). Toss a 1/2 cup of ice cubes onto the broiler pan and quickly shut the door (the steam helps the bread with its initial oven-spring and produces rounder loaves...). Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the bread is golden and an instant-read thermometer reads about 200 degrees.
  6. Cool the bread. Set the bread on a wire rack and cool until barely warm.

Creamed Spinach

I slightly modifed Amanda Hesser's creamed spinach recipe found in The Cook and the Gardener: A Year of Recipes and Writings from the French Countryside, and came up with this creamy spinach dip.

ingredients:

  • 3 pounds washed spinach, stems removed
  • salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 ounces soft goat cheese
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • a generous handful of shredded asiago cheese (parmesan would work, too)
  1. In a large saute pan, heat 1/2 cup of water over medium heat. Add the spinach and wilt, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain the excess moisture, chop roughly, and season lightly with salt.
  2. Wipe out the saute pan and melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the chopped spinach, stirring lightly to coat. Pour on the whipping cream, bring it to a boil to thicken slightly, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat, stir in the goat cheese and a sprinkle of nutmeg.
  4. Transfer mixture to an oven-safe dish, sprinkle the top with the grated asiago cheese, and broil until cheese is lightly browned.
  5. Allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter fun

Bubbles from his Easter basket
Candy necklaces and camping chair from Grammie
And the quintessential Easter outfit from Tia Molly
Good Day

Sunday, April 4, 2010

the hunt

Liam LOVED hunting for Easter eggs this morning. In fact, he loved it so much that we did it another 5 times...

Here's a clip of round 1:

video

Saturday, April 3, 2010

easter eggs

Today has been a great Saturday.

We went to the opening day of the farmer's market at the Fayetteville Square. Liam was wide-eyed the entire time: so many dogs, so many musicians, so many people.

We bumped into some friends, too.

And we came home with mesclun salad, bacon, and spring onions. Not bad for the first market of the season.

After grocery shopping at Ozark Natural Foods, we also stopped at Target for some before-baby-comes-necessities, and then for treats at Starbucks (thank you kindly, Jared and Allison...).

In the afternoon, we dyed easter eggs together. Liam made a huge mess, which means he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

This is his new camera-smile.
He managed to dye more than the eggs...
Two dozen eggs later, we called it good.
The eggs on the left are store-bought white eggs. The ones on the right are from our own backyard hens. It was fun to see the different shades the two kinds of eggs created.
Now we are headed off to church for the Great Easter Vigil.