Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The NC "Home Birth Freedom Act" Supports Midwives at the Expense of Mothers and Babies

The North Carolina Senate is currently considering two bills that deal with non-nurse midwives and home birth. The first - Senate Bill 542 - decriminalizes direct entry midwifery in the state. The second - Senate Bill 543 - sets forth the regulations by which Certified Professional Midwives are to practice.

These bills are being applauded by midwife organizations. The problem? They support midwives, but not mothers and babies.

As Lana Muniz explains in her excellent piece, Maryland and North Carolina Consider Legalizing Dangerous Midwives,

"The bills require:
  • An active license to practice

"They do not require midwives to:
  • Carry malpractice insurance 
  • Report stats to the public
  • Have no VBAC, breech, or multiples at homebirths
  • Have written collaboration agreements" (with a hospital-based CNM or physician)

She points out: 

"If you think these midwifery licensing bills benefit women, you’re wrong. They benefit midwives by allowing them to charge money to attend homebirths without the regulations in place to protect women and babies. North Carolina is not considering any limitations on scope or oversight through collaboration agreements, which means that midwives there would be virtually unregulated."

The statistics on non-nurse midwifery in the United States are clear. This excellent study from 2014 found that home births in the US with non-nurse midwives have a newborn death rate 4 times higher than hospital birth. This meta-analysis from Arizona in 2013 found a newborn death rate 3 times higher at home birth. These 2008 statistics from the CDC Wonder Database found a death rate 3.5 times higher at home birth. This study from Oregon in 2012 found that newborns died 9 times more often at home births attended by non-nurse midwives than at hospital births. And this study, released last year by the Midwives Alliance of North America, found a death rate 5.5 times higher at home birth (for low-risk pregnancies; for breech babies the death rate was 28 times higher). 

And death, although the worst, is not the only negative outcome. This study found that babies born at home suffer 17 times as many brain injuries as those born in the hospital. This study found that 3 times as many babies born at home have seizures. And this study found that 10 times as many babies born at home have a five minute Apgar score of 0.

One of the big reasons why these statistics are so awful is because Certified Professional Midwives and other direct entry midwives - who attend the huge majority of home births - do not have the proper education, regulation, oversight, or accountability to safely care for mothers and babies.

Different Types of Midwives

There are several different types of midwives in the United States and if you're not familiar with all of them their titles can sound similar and confusing. CNM, CPM, CM, DEM, LM...what's the difference? As Danielle Repp explains in her series "American Midwives": 

"There are two midwifery certifying bodies in the USA: American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) and North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). The AMCB is considered the Gold Standard for midwifery certification and is the certifying body for Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) and Certified Midwives (CMs); NARM is the certifying body for Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs). Licensed Midwives (LMs) also fall under NARM as it is the NARM entrance exam they take. Specific requirements for LMs may vary by state in order to take the exam."

"So in short, midwives in the USA basically fall into one of these three categories:
1. AMCB certified
2. NARM certified
3. Uncertified"

She continues:
"1. Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)"

"Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) are some of the most highly skilled and educated midwives in the world. The Certified Nurse Midwife is one of the only types of midwives in the world that requires a nursing degree. The CNM also holds a master’s degree as the minimum level of educational requirement (some have doctoral degrees). CNMs must complete their education through an ACME-accredited midwifery program (ACME = Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education). Once completed, they can apply to take the AMCB certification exam."

"Certified Nurse Midwives are licensed and have prescriptive authority in all 50 states (and other territories of the USA). The educational and clinical skills training of the CNM not only includes pregnancy and birth care but also primary care for women throughout life, reproduction, infertility, newborn care, andent of sexually transmitted diseases."

"2. Certified Midwife (CM)"

"The Certified Midwife (CM) credential has existed since 1994. The CM is the direct-entry version of the CNM. While CMs do not need to have a nursing degree, they must take all of the nursing school pre-requisites (such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, etc) and must receive a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree. The CM’s educational and clinical skills training is similar to the CNMs, as it again not only includes pregnancy and birth care but also primary care for women throughout life, reproduction, infertility, newborn care, and management of sexually transmitted diseases."

"3. Certified Professional Midwife (CPM)" - {This is the kind the bill would legalize in North Carolina}

"The Certified Professional Midwife credential ... was developed as a direct-entry route to become an out-of-hospital midwife. CPMs are not authorized to work in a hospital setting."

"Certified Professional Midwives do not have any degree requirements. The only educational requirement is to have a high school diploma, which was not a requirement until September 1, 2012."

"The Portfolio Evaluation Process (PEP) is a popular route to become a CPM. It is an apprenticeship where the student midwife follows and learns from a preceptor midwife. After attending 40 births (and the prenatal exams leading up to it), the student midwife can qualify to take the NARM exam. Anyone with a desire to become a midwife can seek out a preceptor. Half of CPMs have earned their credential through the PEP route."

"Another route to become a CPM is to graduate from a Midwifery Education Accreditation Council (MEAC) school. There are nine MEAC schools in the USA, some of which award certifications, some diplomas and some degrees."

"CPMs not have prescriptive authority in any states (in certain states, CPMs are able to obtain certain medications, such as Pitocin, Cytotec, antibiotics, etc but CPMs cannot write prescriptions). CPMs also would not qualify to practice midwifery in other developed countries due to the lack of formal education requirements; the CPM requirements also do not meet the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) standards."

The above was all from Danielle Repp's series American Midwives, part 1, part 2, and part 3; emphasis mine.

I want to repeat - Certified Professional Midwives - the kind of midwives the senate bills are set to legalize in North Carolina - do not have any educational requirements other than a high school degree. And if they became a CPM before 2012, they don't even need that. They don't need to take basic college biology. They don't need to take anatomy, or physiology, or microbiology, or immunology. Heck, as a stinkin' zoologist I have more formal education on the human body than many CPMs.

So if the NC "Home Birth Freedom Act" passes, CPMs, who would not be qualified to practice in any other developed country in the world, will be able to legally practice midwifery in North Carolina. I can't call what they're doing practicing medicine, because they don't consider what they're doing practicing medicine. In Bill 543 they claim "Midwifery is a profession in its own right, and it is not the practice of medicine." That's right - determining the medical condition of a woman and child, ordering labs, giving medicine, and dispensing medical advice, is not, according to these bills, "practicing medicine."

How these two bills could be improved

They could scrap them. Seriously. Certified Professional Midwives do not have adequate education to safely care for women and babies, as has been shown in study after study after study after study.

But if the authors of these bills are determined to push them through despite the increased risk of newborn death, maternal death, brain damage, and seizures, there are several different ways they could improve them.

1. Require malpractice insurance

First of all, the authors should require midwives to have mandatory malpractice insurance. In a report comparing different state midwifery laws, "Do State Midwifery Laws Matter?", the data shows that requiring midwives to carry malpractice insurance cut the rate of newborn deaths in half. Additionally, it does not restrict access to CPM care.

This simple and effective way to protect women and children - requiring midwives to carry malpractice insurance - is not currently a requirement in Senate Bills 542 and 543, despite data showing that it halves newborn death rates without decreasing access to care.

The first section of Bill 543 claims "Access to prenatal care and delivery services is limited by the inadequate number of providers of midwifery services, and the practice of midwifery may help to reduce this shortage." It also claims "In the interest of public health, the State should promote the regulation of the practice of midwifery for the purpose of protecting the health and welfare of women and infants." If this is true - that the bills are being passed in the interest of women and infants - then they will require mandatory malpractice insurance. Women and children are the ones who benefit from the mandatory malpractice insurance requirement - and they benefit a lot. If the bills are truly being passed in their interest, that requirement will be included.

If, however, the bills are being passed in the interest of midwives, they will not - as they currently do not - require midwives to carry malpractice insurance.

If the authors of the bill continue to leave out this simple, effective protective measure, it will be clear that these bills are for the benefit of midwives, not for the benefit of women and children.

2. Require collection and publication of birth outcomes

As it currently stands, midwives do not have to report the outcomes of births under their care to any governing body. If the authors of bills 542 and 543 are determined to pass them despite studies showing increased risks to women and children, they should at least include a requirement that birth outcomes of CPMs must be collected and publicly reported. 

The state of Oregon has this requirement. "In 2011 the Oregon House Health Care Committee amended the direct-entry midwifery—'DEM'—law to require collection of information on planned place of birth and planned birth attendant on fetal-death and live-birth certificates starting in 2012."

"Oregon now has the most complete, accurate data of any US state on outcomes of births planned to occur in the mother’s home or an out-of-hospital birth center."

What did they find? That out-of-hospital birth with a non-nurse midwife had a death rate 9 times higher than hospital birth. (Report here.) This is the type of birth that North Carolina Senate bills 542 and 543 are promoting - out-of-hospital births with non-nurse midwives.

If the authors of these bills still want to pass them despite knowing of the greatly increased risks of non-nurse midwife care to mothers and children, they should at least require collection and publication of birth outcomes. This will help identify problems in the system and provide more information to mothers deciding on care providers.

3. Define "normal" pregnancy and care transfer guidelines

As the bills are currently written, CPMs are allowed to "provide care for the healthy woman who is expected to have a normal pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartal phase." The problem is that the bill provides no definition of "normal." So the decision of what constitutes a "normal" pregnancy is left up to the midwives themselves, and that is a loophole that will be taken advantage of.

Other countries that have well integrated home and hospital birth systems, like the UK and the Netherlands, have strict "risking out" criteria for who is a good candidate for home birth and is "expected to have a normal pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartal phase." These criteria are standardized and plainly written out, and if a woman develops any of the risk factors  listed she is transferred from a midwife to a higher level of care.

Common risking out criteria include breech births, multiples, previous cesarean sections, and much more. Consider the differences between the transfer care guidelines of the Netherlands vs. the state of Oregon: Dutch Homebirth Standards vs. Oregon Homebirth Standards. Now think about two things: the Netherlands standards for what constitutes a "normal" pregnancy are much, much higher. And even though they do have some pregnancies that direct-entry midwives are not allowed to care for, Oregon non-nurse midwives still have a newborn death rate 9 times higher than hospitals.

The North Carolina "Home Birth Freedom Act" defines no risking out criteria at all. How high will our death rates be? If the NC legislators want to protect women and babies, they will define what constitutes a "normal" pregnancy and what risk factors will necessitate a transfer of care.

4. Require written collaborative agreements with a hospital-based CNM or physician

As it is currently written, the NC "Home birth Freedom Act" grants direct-entry midwives the freedom to take on any clients whose pregnancy they themselves define as "normal," have multiple negative birth outcomes without reporting the results to anyone, and experience no financial or professional repercussions. The midwives are essentially free agents. They have no supervisors to ensure that they're working within their scope of practice and they report their results to no one.

In a word, there is no accountability.

If the authors of this bill want to protect women and children, they will make sure that the CPMs they legalize are working within their scope of practice. To do this, they need to require written collaborative agreements with hospital-based CNMs or physicians.

New Jersey's midwifery laws are a good example of this type of supervision. They read:

"a) Prior to beginning practice as a midwife, a licensee shall enter into an affiliation with a physician who is licensed in New Jersey
b) The licensee shall establish written clinical guidelines with the affiliated physician which outlines the licensee's scope of practice.
c) The clinical guidelines shall set forth:
  1. An outline of routine care;
  2. Procedures the licensee will perform or provide;
  3. Procedures to follow if one of the risk factors from N.J.A.C. 13:35-2A.9 and 2A.11 is encountered;
  4. The circumstances under which consultation, collaborative management, referral and transfer of care of women between the licensee and the affiliated physician are to take place, and the manner by which each is to occur
d) A licensee shall provide clinical guidelines and the identity of his or her affiliated physician(s) to the Board upon request.
e) The clinical guidelines shall include provisions for periodic conferences with the affiliated physician for review of patient records and for quality improvements.
f) A licensee who practices without establishing clinical guidelines with an affiliated physician commits professional misconduct as proscribed by N.J.S.A. 45:1-21(e)"

Such standards ensure that all mothers and babies under the care of CPMs are protected by ensuring that CPMs are working within their scope of practice, care is transferred if a pregnancy becomes high-risk, and outcomes are known and documented by a supervisor.

The NC "Homebirth Freedom Act" currently grants too much freedom to poorly-educated midwives, without putting into place safety barriers that will protect mothers and children.

Certified Professional Midwives do not have enough education or oversight to safely care for mothers and babies. As the Senate Bills are currently written, there are no limitations on their scope of practice as long as they claim they believed the mother's pregnancy was going to be "normal." There is no oversight of their practice to ensure they are taking on only low-risk clients, and there are no governing bodies that they have to report their outcomes to. Basic protective measures such as mandatory malpractice insurance and written collaborative agreements are missing.

If the senators in North Carolina still want to pass this bill despite knowing of the increased rates of neonatal death, maternal death, brain damage, and seizures that occur with non-nurse midwife care, if they want to show that they are truly thinking mothers and babies, and not just furthering midwives' interests, they will: 1. Require midwives to carry malpractice insurance 2. Require collection and publication of birth outcomes 3. Define "normal" pregnancy and care transfer guidelines 4. Require written collaborative agreements with hospital-based CNMs or physicians

If these provisions are included in the bills, it will show that they are being passed with mothers and babies in mind. If they are absent from the bills - as they currently are - it will show that the NC "Home Birth Freedom Act" is more concerned with benefiting midwives than providing safe care to mothers and babies.

If you are in North Carolina, please make your voice heard and speak out against Senate Bills 542 and 543! To find out who your senator is, go to this page and click on your county on the "North Carolina Senate" map: Who Represents Me? Your senator's page will have their office's phone and email information.

If you are in Harnett county, like I am, our senator is Ronald J Rabin. He is actually one of the two primary sponsors of the bills, so if you contact his office and make your voice heard through phone or email, we may really make a difference. If you aren't sure what to talk or write about, you can bring up the points that I talked about in this article.

Senator Rabin's contact information (found here) is:

Phone: (919) 733-5748

Please, if you are in North Carolina, tell your senator to vote no on bills 542 and 543!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring is here - Captain's Log, Week 257

What the girls said this week

I made puppy chow (a.k.a. muddy buddies, a peanut butter/chocolate/Chex treat) yesterday. Ellie, munching on some: "Mom, is puppy chow fruit?" Hahaha, I wish.

Ellie: "Mom, can you put my underwear on? Because I guess I'm going to pee on the chair."

Ellie: "Mom, do you love Jesus?"
Me: "Yes, I do. Do you love Jesus?"
Ellie: "No; I love Daddy."

So, if we have the TV on, it's usually to the girls' shows (Wild Kratts, Daniel Tiger, etc.). But once in a while if the girls are driving me crazy and I need a break, I'll turn on a Property Brothers or something. Ellie calls these "boring shows." I turned one of them on sometime this week. Ellie: "This is a boring show. This is a great boring show."

Ellie: "Mom, our house is amazing."

One thing Zelda's been doing this week is pointing out if people are sad. On one of the shows they were watching, an elephant got hurt and was crying. She pointed at him and said, "Sad. Crying. Crying." Then later this week, Ellie was having a tantrum and got a time out in her room. Zelda pointed at her door (we could hear Ellie having her tantrum on the other side), and said "Sad." Then this morning Zelda brought me and Jason her little dolly and pointed at it, saying, "Sad." "Oh, she's sad? She needs a bottle," we told her. So Zelda pretended to feed her the bottle. "Now she's happy!" We told her. And Zelda smiled and laughed and liked that. Then she went through the whole thing again.

Cat was inside one time this week, and Zelda kept saying "hug" and hugging him. She also said "Cat" very clearly.

This is from a little while ago, but I want to write it down so I remember. When Zelda plays with cars or airplanes, she makes a "bbbbbb" sound (like their engine) as she pushes them around.Well, we have this little playmobile snail that playmobile people can sit on and ride, and one day she was pushing that around too making the "bbbbbb" sound.

What we did this week

Mostly our week was spent playing. It was warm and wonderful and spring-y outside, so the girls and I spent a lot of time outside this week. We even walked down to the creek at the end of our street and played in the water a little bit. Jason didn't have a test on Wednesday like he usually does, so his week was a little bit more relaxed, too, which was nice.

My big thing I was able to get done this week was paint all the trim and the walls in the kitchen.

Ellie's been daydreaming a lot recently. She'll kind of be staring off into space, and we'll ask her what she's thinking about, and she'll tell us, "a dream." And then she'll tell us a long story (again, usually involving Chris and Martin from Wild Kratts) about what it's about.

The girls also washed dishes this week:

Zelda's face in this one cracks me up.

And played with the quiet book:

And read books:

Instead of naps, Ellie likes to "rest" on the couch. She usually requests chocolate milk to drink as she's "resting."

 Ellie took the next two pictures all by herself:

And here's some of our outside time:

Zelda and I went outside first. I told Ellie we were going out, and she could join us if she wanted (she was playing inside, wearing her swimsuit {because she wanted to}). I put her flipflops by the door for her. About ten minutes later she showed up at the door, wearing a shirt, underwear, and different shoes. She got the outfit all by herself and put it on all by herself.

Also, yesterday Ellie gave herself orange tiger stripes with marker, all over her arms and legs and face.

Right now our grass is kind of a meadow. It's not long enough to break out the lawn mower, so the little wildflowers are just blooming and being happy.

 We love our girls.

Friday, March 20, 2015

All about the girls - Captain's Log, Week 256

What the girls said this week

Ellie, pointing to her underwear - "These are for daytime." Pointing to her pullups - "And these are for night time." Picking up one of Zelda's diapers - "Are these for night time?"
Me: "Those are for all the time, because Zelda doesn't know how to use a toilet. She's never gone pee in the toilet. Should we teach her how to do that?"
Ellie, excited: "I'll teach her!" Runs in to me and Jason's bedroom, where Zelda is. "Zelda, you go pee and poo in the toilet right now." Comes back to me. "I teached her how to go pee and poo in the toilet."

One day when we were in the backyard after it rained, Ellie picked up her bucket and saw that there was water in it. Ellie: "I have water! Heavenly Father got water in here." 

Ellie: "Mom, I very like you." (Awwww. :))

Ellie: "Mom, I'm out of these stickers again. This is a disakter!"

The girls

There's so much about the girls I want to tell you right now, I don't know where to begin.

Ellie, wearing my clothes to go outside in the rain.

"Wild Kratts" is still Ellie's favorite show. She still calls it "Creature Powers" most of the time. Zelda loves it too, and calls it "Wai wai wai" (from the opening song, which says "Wild wild wild Kratts, Wild wild wild Kratts." Zelda will sometimes come up to me and point at the TV, and say "Show?" and then hand me the remote and start saying "Wai wai wai."

Ellie's been telling me stories lately. She'll stand next to me and just ramble on and on, telling me some make believe story involving her and either people she knows or her favorite characters from the shows she watches. A lot of Ellie's make believe involves playing with the characters Chris and Martin from Wild Kratts. She pretends that they're really tiny, and talks to them and they talk to her and then she'll run around the house having adventures with them and using "creature powers."

One day this week, right before bedtime, Ellie got a glue stick and glued the bottom of her feet, and then tried to climb up the wall because she had "gecko powers." The glue, according to her, was her "toe pads." About ten minutes later, we found her with the glue stick again. This time she had rubbed a ton of glue off on the wall in two spots, and was lying down and putting her feet up to those spots.

That reminds me of another little thing from a couple weeks ago. Ellie had a glue stick then, too, and she glued two "googly eyes" and some little poofballs on the hall wall to make a smiley face. Then she was saying that the house had a face.

This week Ellie also scratched her elbow on something, and for the last couple days she keeps showing me her elbow and telling me that "I broke my arm a little."

And speaking of her arms, she keeps getting toilet paper rolls, putting two on each arm, and then walks around calling herself Robot Ellie and those are her robot arms. (She also painted a picture of a "robot princess castle" this week.) And at bedtime, after she brushes her own teeth, she likes "Robot Mommy" to finish brushing them for her. I started that like a month ago when I was trying to get her to let me brush her teeth, and she liked it so much that she insists on doing it almost every night. I just have to talk in a robot voice while I brush - and she lets me get all her teeth. It's great!

Zelda - oh, Zelda. She is really entering into the "terrible twos" stage. (She's sixteen months old - this is when Ellie started it, too.) The words we seem to hear the most from her are "no," "my," and "mine." Last night she was reading a book at bedtime, and I told her, "It's time for prayer, Zelda." Usually, she immediately folds her arms. But last night, she told me, "No!" I looked at Jason. We were both kind of surprised, since she usually likes prayers so much. "It's prayertime, Zelda." I said again. "No!" she answered. "Zelda, it's time for prayer." This time she flopped herself sideways out of my lap and yelled "No! Donwanto!" Jason and I laughed and were again surprised - we didn't know she knew the phrase "don't want to." We said the prayer with Ellie and tried again a few minutes later with Zelda, and she was back to her usual prayer-loving self. She even made us say like three prayers. So that give you an example of how contrary she's being at times.

She's repeating and saying so many words that it's hard to keep track, but some of the longer phrases she's said this week are "get down," "don't want to," and "this daddy's shoe."

One time this week I put Zelda down for a nap in her room. When she woke up a few hours later and I went to go get her, I opened the door to find Cat sleeping on Ellie's bed. (Cat's our neighbor's cat that we have over all the time.) I didn't realize I'd shut him in there with her at naptime. Whoops! But he was content.

Later that same day I was putting clothes away in Ellie and Zelda's bedroom with Ellie. While I was putting clothes away, Zelda went somewhere else in the house. It was nice outside, and so I got some clothes to dress the girls in so we could play outside. At this point I noticed that I hadn't heard Zelda for like five minutes - she was being too quiet. I walked out to the family room - she wasn't there. I walked into the dining room, and saw that the laundry room door was open and Zelda was gone! We almost always have the chain locked at the top of the door, but it wasn't on that day and she'd gotten out. "Zelda!" I yelled, running outside. "Awdabada?" I heard her little voice from somewhere in the side yard. She was in grassy dirt and trees between our house and the neighbor's, barefoot, surrounded by those pokey balls that fall from trees. She put her arms up for me to pick her up, and I got her and brought her back inside. Aaaah! That's the first time she's ever escaped.

It's been really warm most of this week, and we've played outside almost every day. A few times Ellie and Zelda have gotten in the wagon and I've pulled them up the street to our stop sign and back. Both times that we've done this they've played this game with each other and me where Ellie will yell "Stop!" and I'll stop, and Zelda will say, "Go!" and I'll go, and they'll both giggle and do it over and over again.

Ellie swinging in the hammock.

Also, Zelda likes the number 9. When I'm counting with her, it's the only number she ever says. And one day this week she was on my lap and I was looking at a magazine, and she pointed to the number 9 on a page and said "9!" So somehow she knows what it looks like, too.

Whew! I know that was a lot but I want to remember all of it in the future.

What we did this week

Jason made a great potty chart for Ellie. Ellie already goes to the potty consistently, the problem lately has been that she expects a treat after every single time she goes. To remedy that, Jason made this cool chart that has stars every five spaces. Every time Ellie goes to the potty, she gets to put a sticker on the chart. And every time she lands on a star (so, every five potty trips), she gets a treat. Ellie loves it, and it's really cut down on the treats she's been getting.

We've also had a couple holidays this week! We had Pi Day last Saturday, which was fun. Jason and I ate some pie at night. On Sunday we had some friends from church over, and we had chicken pot pie (not planned for Pi Day, but it felt like we were continuing the celebration) and finished off the Pi Day desert pies.

Then Tuesday was St. Patrick's Day. Some time during the day Ellie asked for water, and I pulled out a glass and (without her seeing) put a drop of food coloring at the bottom. Then I poured water into the glass, and she was amazed that it was turning green as I poured. I told her it was because it was St. Patrick's day, and then for the rest of the day she kept expecting food to magically turn green when she touched it. Whoops, haha! I did do it again with their apple sauce; I put a drop of food coloring on their spoon without them looking and then stirred it in front of them, so to them it looked like it was magic.

Later for dinner we had green macaroni and cheese, a green salad, and then green cupcakes for desert.

This week Jason also got our garden started. We're mostly doing it in pots this year, up on our deck. He got three tomato plants, a strawberry plant, a parsley plant, a basil plant, and two lavender plants. Here are some pictures of the girls playing out in the rain yesterday, where you can see the plants (and the girls having fun):

And as for what I've been up to this week, I painted the trim in the bathroom, repainted the ceiling, and painted the walls. So our bathroom's all done! And I've been making (and am almost finished with) our "2013 part 2" photobook. 

Here's a video of two adorable girls to cap this whole thing off!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

House Projects - Captain's Log, Week 255

What the girls said this week

Ellie was playing with the ipad and opened a giraffe game. She asked me if I wanted (on the app) to take the giraffe to play dress up, or go to the boutique, or put on makeup. I said put on makeup.
Ellie: "And make her pretty? Make her pretty like you? Mom, you're so pretty." (then gives me a hug and a kiss)

Cleaning up the bandaids: "I'm making Jesus happy!"

Ellie lying on the couch, claiming she was sick: "Mom, can you get the thermodeler?" (thermometer)

What we did this week

This week was a really productive one. We've been continuing to do a bunch of house projects. For our date night last Friday we scraped the popcorn off our bathroom ceiling, and since then we've repainted it and Jason's installed crown molding. Now for the bathroom we just have to finish caulking the crown molding, then paint it and repaint the trim around the window, then paint the walls (we're painting them a different color). And it'll be awesome!

I've been repainting the trim in the rest of the house (whoever last painted this house got the wall color all over the trim, and it's been driving me crazy ever since we moved in), and this week I finished repainting the trim and the walls in the hall and entryway. I also repainted the front door, and all the trim and windowsills in the dining room. It all looks sooo much better. I'm not sure which room I'll paint next; I need to make a plan of action. We're not changing the colors in the house to anything crazy; we're actually painting most of the rooms the same color that they were. They all (and especially, especially the trim) just need a fresh coat of paint. I've had paint in my hair and on my hands all week.

A little side project I did yesterday and the day before was shorten all of the blinds in the house. They're those faux wood blinds that pull up and down, and they all had a bunch of extra slats at the bottom. I watched a youtube video to remember how to remove the extra slats, and then did it to all the blinds that needed it. And they all look sooo much better too.

I'm also spray painting some stuff that needs it; you know that aged yellow color that white plastic turns to after a couple years? Well, some random stuff in our house is that color. I took out and spray painted our doorbell cover thing from our hall, and the doorbells themselves, and also a bunch of the blind pulls (I don't know what they're actually called, but those little things you grab when you pull the blinds). And everything's looking so much better! Instead of looking fifteen years old, it all looks new. (Can you tell how much I love paint?)

Jason's spring break is over so he's been back in classes all week, and had a test on Wednesday. Today he's up in Raleigh doing a Habitat for Humanity service project. He also spread out this bug stuff all over our lawn this week that should keep the bugs away, which is important here. There are so many bugs in the lawn when summer comes.

Maybe because we've been so busy doing other things, but we took almost no pictures this week. I took a total of like ten pictures, which I think is a record low for me in the last year. Here are a couple we did take. We took them to send to Jason when he was at school one day:

Zelda's getting so good at communicating verbally. She answers both "Uhuh" and "No" now, and will say things that sound darn close like the phrases she means. For example, she'll reach for my food and say, "Iwasome" or "wansome." (I want some.) In addition to saying "My" to indicate she wants something, she's also been pointing and saying "I" this week, in the same context. She says "up" and "down" and "battime" (bathtime). 

For some reason, she's had a real hard time taking naps this week. I hope it's only because she's had a cold, and will soon be back to normal. Her no-nap grumpiness is something that hasn't been fun to deal with every day.

At the same time, Ellie's acting older and more mature. Both me and Jason have noticed it. She's just acting older. She's really mellowing out and becoming easier and happier all day long, which is a welcome change. She's been a high energy kid ever since she was a baby, and toddler years were insane, so it's great that she's just starting to be consistently calm and happy most of the time.

This has been a wordy Captain's Log, but I just want to add two other things before I sign off: last night for date night Jason and I had a cowboy date. We had steak and potatoes and corn and biscuits for dinner (with peach cobbler for dessert), and then watched "Support Your Local Gunfighter." It was really fun. (If you haven't, you should watch "Support Your Local Sheriff," which is the movie that comes before the one we watched, and is great.)

The other thing I want to say is that today is Pi Day!!! And a big Pi Day - 3/14/15, and at 9:26:53 it'll just be magical. Jason and I have some frozen pies in our freezer to celebrate with later.

So happy Pi Day!