7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 132)

July 1, 2011 | 91 comments

— 1 —

For the longest time I thought we all agreed that having newborns is just kind of miserable. I mean, we love them to pieces, of course, but I thought it was a universal experience that women wished they could hit fast forward and get to month 10. Then, during this pregnancy, some friends mentioned that they actually like and — get this — look forward to having an infant around. Perplexed by this crazy talk, I sought more details.

Long story short, hearing about other women’s experiences made me realize just how much the crazy-horrible pain I experience with breastfeeding* and extreme lack of sleep negatively impact me. I’ve gotten really proactive about minimizing the pain (mainly thanks to Medela shields and doctor-approved pain meds)Β and getting as much sleep as possible, and it’s made a tremendous difference! I used to be perplexed by the term “babymoon” as it implied that there was something enjoyable about the first few weeks postpartum, but I think I finally get it now. When you’re somewhat rested and only in bad pain (as opposed to AAAAHHH!!! KILL ME NOW!!!! pain), this whole newborn this is actually enjoyable.

* You’re welcome to offer breastfeeding advice, but I have worked with five lactation consultants, including multi-day in-home visits, as well as getting input from experienced midwives. The pain seems to stem from something unrelated to breastfeeding technique, perhaps systemic inflammation or something like that.

— 2 —

Certain family members of mine are still laughing about the fact that I sent out this story a while back, thinking it was true. Okay. So upon closer inspection, it is not the best Photoshop job I’ve ever seen. So the guy has an entirely different level of brightness and saturation than the rest of the picture…and is that a drop shadow behind the scorpion? But in my defense, every new fact I learn about scorpions is worst than the last. They’re almost impossible to kill. They gravitate towards beds and couches. They’re nocturnal. Their venom is specifically formulated to be painful. They fluoresce under black light, just to be extra creepy. So when I came across an article that claimed that they can reach up to 60 lbs., this made perfect sense to me. It seemed to follow the fact pattern of increasing levels of suck with every new bit of information.

— 3 —

On a related note, a guy got 4, 000 frequent flier miles and two free tickets because he was stung by a scorpion on an Alaska Airlines flight. (Portland news crews came to the airport to cover the story!) Any guesses where the plane picked up the menacing arachnid? Austin, OF COURSE. An exterminator quoted in that post says that this summer is going to be particularly bad for scorpion infestations because of the weather, which is kind of like living in the middle of Death Valley, but not as cool at night.

So…the punishing heat and endless drought are making the scorpions invade buildings in droves. Wow. The Austin Board of Tourism must be having a tough time right now. How do you spin that? Maybe:

Come to Austin, where you probably won’t die of heat stroke! (As long as you don’t go outdoors between 10 AM and 6 PM.) You probably will get stung by a scorpion — at night, while you’re sleeping — but won’t that story make a colorful addition to your travel journal? While you’re here, you can experience frying an egg on the sidewalk, tour our myriad air conditioned establishments, and visit The World’s Largest Mud Puddle (formerly known as Lake Travis).

Best of luck, guys.

— 4 —

I am eating sushi like a madwoman, salmon in particular. Since I avoided raw fish during pregnancy, I’m making up for lost time now. I wish there were some kind of sushi eating contest around here with large cash prizes. Anyway, I mention this on the chance that there is someone out there who has never tried salmon sushi. If this is you, go try some! You don’t know what you’re missing! It’s soooooo good! I know, I know. Raw fish doesn’t sound particularly appetizing, but it is seriously some of the best food in the world.

— 5 —

Has anyone ever tried a food dehydrator? I found this one on sale at Amazon, and since it was such a reasonable price I was wondering if it would make a good investment. As soon as I saw it I had this vision of myself whipping up healthy on-the-go snacks like homemade beef jerky and fruit roll-ups…but then my “looks like a good idea but you’ll never actually use it” detector went off. Anyone have any thoughts?

— 6 —

I wasn’t up to making it to Mass last weekend since the baby was only three days old, and I rediscovered the wonderful Litany of Holy Communion. I like reciting it on the occasions that I can’t make it to church, since it’s fairly long (thus giving me time to clear my head and really focus) and because it’s centered around the Eucharist.

— 7 —

I just called over to my mom’s house, where the big kids are spending the afternoon. I heard all this commotion in the background, and she said that Yaya just stopped by with a present for the kids. I eagerly waited for what was coming next, since with Yaya there was a 0% chance that it was something like coloring books or Play-Doh. What could it be? A scorpion? A possum? A four-foot-tall rabbit that the kids aren’t allowed to touch? (All of which have been suggested as children’s entertainment items in the past.) It was, in fact, a puppy. I think my children are officially done with spending any time at all here at the Boring House O’ No-Fun and are ready to take up permanent residence with Yaya and the new puppy.


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  1. Leah @ Unequally Yoked

    Good luck with scorpion season. I’ve just moved to DC, and I made sure to get a tall bed so the giant crickets can’t jump on me in my sleep. If I were living where you are, I’d probably suspend my bed from the ceiling in terror.

    • Kara

      They can come through the vents and drop down on beds. It happened to a friend of mine’s daughter (she was stung in her sleep). We live in AZ and I’ve only seen one once, though. They’re horrible, horrible creatures.

  2. Kara

    Welcome back πŸ™‚ I truly love having a newborn, but this one of mine has been a new experience, for sure. She’s wayyy fussier than my other girls were. That said, I still love having a squishy baby around. I’m sorry you have so much trouble breastfeeding! It’s so hard sometimes!

    Yuck on the scorpions. I’m probably jynxing myself, but I’ve lived in AZ my whole life and only ever seen 1. I’d like to keep it that way. πŸ™‚

  3. Kimberly

    I also dealt with terrible pain when breastfeeding both of my now-toddlers. And like you, I consulted tons of people, did lots of reading, and tried all kinds of things to get it under control. With my second, I can vividly remember sitting in bed at night sobbing in pain as I nursed him. I totally get you saying, “When you’re somewhat rested and only in bad pain (as opposed to AAAAHHH!!! KILL ME NOW!!!! pain), this whole newborn this is actually enjoyable.” So glad it’s getting better for you! And I’m glad to see you’re finding ways to enjoy yourself!

    A puppy?! If that’s not the best thing ever, I don’t know what is. πŸ˜‰

  4. Tracy

    I had to read this right before crawling in to bed….

    We have a dehydrator similar to that one ~ by the time our goodies are actually dry – we’ve ‘tested’ so much, there’s not much left.

  5. Ruth

    I’ve never heard of the litany of Holy Communion. I’m glad to learn more about it!

  6. Kimberly

    I have heard of a food dehydrator, but never tried one. However, I read it for the first three times as a foot dehydrator. Not sure what a FOOT dehydrator is. I ought to go to sleep!!! Congrats on your new baby girl. πŸ™‚

    • Pat J

      Foot dehydrator??!!! Now that not only earned a “lol” but a full blown nose snort.

  7. Sue

    I am so with you on the breastfeeding. I have had the exact same experience. I know the experts always say that fair skinned women having more problems is a myth, but I wonder… I am a strawberry blonde, and from your picture it looks like we have very similar skin. Just sayin’.

    My 13-year-old daughter was reading over my shoulder, and said that you made her feel very patriotic (since she’s half Japanese). :o) There are lots of other great sushi. If you like salmon, go for others that are oily, like yellow tail, and high quality tuna (maguro), which is more pink than red in color. I always ate sushi right through my pregnancies. Than again, I live in Japan. Unfortunately, we are eating precious little these days because of the radiation. :o(

    Saying a prayer that these next weeks will truly feel like a “babymoon” for you! You’re sweet girl is so very precious!!!

  8. Elisa | blissfulE

    If you had that dehydrator a couple weeks ago, you could have used it in the process of encapsulating your placenta. We just use our oven on the lowest setting, but a dehydrator would be a little nicer. πŸ™‚

    • Michelle

      BWAAA, HAAAAA, HAAAAA. I am crying, I am laughing so hard at this entire post and comments. Jennifer, you make me laugh my butt off. I am CRYING at the mental picture of the life-sized Easter bunny story. I SO get the breastfeeding pain thing. I am an OB nurse who has helped so many women breastfeed, but even with many, MANY lactation consultants endured the gut-wrenching, crying-at-the-thought-of-it pain. I am so sorry to hear about your struggles. I hope SO HARD that I get to meet you someday. And Yaya, too!!!! Enjoy that baby!

      • Michelle

        Sorry–I thought the placenta thing was a joke. This is REALLY disturbing.

        • Elisa | blissfulE

          I know it’s unusual, but many women benefit from ingesting the placenta, including me!

  9. Ruth

    I had the same breastfeeding pain with my first boy, and stuck it out for 5 months because I was convinced it was good for him. It felt like shards of glass were coming out with the milk every time he fed, it was excruciating, and all the breastfeeding consultants would say was “it’s not supposed to hurt!”. I remember nothing of his first 5 months, except pain. When my second baby was born, he refused to breastfeed – he simply turned his head away and wouldn’t do it. I literally lifted up my arms and yelled Thank You Lord! Bring out the bottles! Never felt such relief in all my life as that day. And instead of 5 months of pain, it was about 5 days. Sometimes breastfeeding just doesn’t work. No harm in it.

    • Kathi

      If you have similar pain to this gal’s, this is yeast overgrowth. Not quite thrush. I took a homeopathic remedy from a MD/Homeopathic physician (hard to find this type of certification) anyway, it’s borax,NOT the laundry detergent. It’s little pellets you place under your tongue.3-4 pellets 3 times daily until symptoms are gone. Relief around the bend, watch your carbs intake and dairy. You may be feeding the yeast inadvertently in your system. Do you have food allergies or sensitivities? I take a good quality probiotic, refrigeration required, to keep the gut in balance. Keeps the yeast under control too.
      I hope this helps you both.

      • Jessica

        That is exactly what I was coming to post – that it could be yeast overgrowth. Has anyone suggested that to you? Our baby’s pediatrician called it, when I was in her office sobbing over the severe pain that no one seemed to be able to explain.

        The tablets were not suggested as an option (although the pediatrician did prescribe a specially compounded cream for use after each nursing session.) She instructed me to immediately lay off all dairy (which was rough, because I love yogurt, cheese and skim milk) white bread (no problem) and pasta (very difficult, as I’m married to a Calabrese Italian.) πŸ˜‰ Incidentally, cutting dairy also helped the baby with the slight acid reflux that so many newborns have.

        I’m still nursing at eight months plus, and I’m so grateful to his doctor for figuring this out. I pray that it gets better for you, Jen!

        • Jessica

          Oh, and I also had to drastically reduce my fruit intake – the natural sugar was contributing to the yeast overgrowth as well.

  10. Amy F

    A friend of mine just moved from Minneapolis to Austin — shows you what an awful, long winter we had. To her credit, she’s a native Texan, but Austin’s a new city and they didn’t move for work or anything–they really, really wanted to leave MN and go there.

    I had horrible recoveries with my 1st two kids. When I barely tore with #3, it made those first couple months SO MUCH BETTER. #3 also liked to cuddle and took his time moving. Lovely!

  11. Maya

    I sympathise about the scorpions, I really do. I’ve never seen one in my life and I don’t really want to.

    I don’t suppose it makes you feel any better that for every scorpion-related incident you have, you increase my deep and abiding gratitude that God made the UK a scorpion-free zone…?

    • Missus Wookie

      Had to reply to this – scorpions have arrived in the UK – they live wild having escaped the docks. They are lime green glow in the dark scorpions which I find amazingly weird but almost cute… as long as I don’t find any in my part of the UK…

      I have friends who have a deyhydrator, one use it constantly – buy old/just past it’s sell buy food and dry it saving lots of money. Another – in summer only to dry fruit. Both can/bake/freeze. I don’t have room and suspect I’d never get around to it. Oh and both have handed on it’s operation to a kid so they must be easy to use.

      Congratulations on the new baby – love that baby smell πŸ™‚

      • Maya

        Hmm….that is not good…. now I will be forever wondering if I have to add scorpions to spiders on the list of ‘things I really am quite afraid of finding in my house’.

  12. George @ Convert Journal

    Years ago we had a food dehydrator. As best I can remember, it took a long time to do its thing, had a lot of parts and took a lot of space.

    My entry this week… Pentecostal Alex Jones and the early Church Fathers. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his actions. A new Dominican vocation video. A touching piece on the sudden death of a faithful Catholic. Christian militants, not Islamic radicals, are the focus of one Congress woman. Public sector unions declare Gov. Chris Christie the Hitler of our times. Baby and dog.

  13. Sarah Reinhard

    Jen, I am SO with you on the “hating your newborn” thing. Oh, wait, you didn’t say you HATE them. Hmm. Because I distinctly remember texting a dear friend when my current one was a month old or so and saying something like, “I HATE HIM! MAKE HIM GO AWAY!” And I don’t even have the extreme pain thing you do! At least they grow and it gets better…will keep you in my prayers!

    As for the new puppy…wow. It’s a good thing you have BOTH grandmas there! (I hope the puppy wasn’t completely unexpected…?) On the other hand, I’ll admit I’m rubbing my hands together just a bit in anticipation of great stories…which isn’t nice of me at all! πŸ™‚

    Congratulations again, and many prayers and hugs!

  14. Erin @ A Full Heart

    I keep thinking I’d like to visit Texas because it sounds like such an interesting place, but you’re doing a very good job and making me rethink that desire!

    Praying that breastfeeding gets easier (less painful!) for you, and that you keep getting rest! I’m never a fan of the newborn stage, either. Thankfully, it all becomes a bit of a blur in hindsight!

  15. Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith

    Personally, I would listen to your detector in our head about the food de-hydrator. The idea sounds great, but do you have the time and energy really to use it? I got rid of a bunch of stuff we did not use this week, and it made me feel GREAT.

  16. Sarah

    I just wanted to weigh in on the food dehydrator to say that I think making dehydrated food is actually a little bit time consuming so I wouldn’t suggest it for a while. It will probably just take up cupboard space until your little ones are older. At which point you will probably want a nap. I would. And for the trouble, you might feel like something like, Stretch Island Original Fruit Leather, are worth the price.

  17. suburbancorrespondent

    Food dehydrator? A little time-consuming (we borrowed one once); think how long it takes to slice apples thin enough to dry them efficiently and you’ll be heading over to Trader Joe’s to pick them up pre-sliced and dried also, I believe…

    Although, now that I no longer have babies, the idea is once again tempting. Maybe I’ll try it again.

  18. That Married Couple

    How are you already able to put together such entertaining blog posts when you just had a baby? You’re amazing! So glad to hear that breastfeeding and early postpartum is a little better this go round!

  19. Ashley Siferd

    Hahaha, “increasing levels of suck.” That really made me chuckle! I feel that your level of disdain and revulsion for scorpions rivals, if not totally beats, my abhorrence for all things spider.

    Thanks for helping me start my day off right πŸ™‚

  20. Christine

    Love sushi, hated breast feeding. Had so many lumps & pain in one breast, I finally just stopped using it. Sure, the other one became massively bigger than the other. I called them Big Mama & Mini Me. This actually worked and I was able to breast feed for 7 months. Still makes me laugh. It took a bit of time, but the ladies did even out after I stopped. Both look quite the same today. I’m sure this sounds like a tall tale, but you do what you gotta do. It removed the stress I was going through. Every time I watched the baby nurse, the sight of my big boob would just make me smile. BTW, yes, it was noticeable, but I didn’t care. Yes, my husband and friends thought I was insane. πŸ™‚

  21. Becky


    You have me officially terrified of ever visiting TX. Austin, in particular.

    On a brighter note, have you ever heard of the Blessed Sacrament chaplet? This is a easy chaplet to say for those who can’t make it to Holy Communion. (I make them on my Etsy shop.) I have my 7 year old say it at Mass since he is not yet ready to make his First Holy Communion.

    Check out the link:

  22. Emily

    Scorpions just look.. scary. This may be one of the few times I am happy that I am in Ohio. Congrats on your baby and I hope your first few weeks are wonderful!!

  23. Rosary

    Having a newborn is tough! But even though it has its ups and downs, I wouldn’t exchange the experience. I’m sure it will get better for you, just have faith. πŸ™‚

  24. Wendy from Zoom

    Just a thought on the breast feeding pain: have you checked that the baby isn’t tongue tied? This runs in families, so all your babies could have mild tongue ties. Two of mine have been and the pain when they tried to nurse was excruciating because they couldn’t properly move their tongues and they ended up just sucking (which is unbelievably painful for you).

    I mention it because 5 pediatricians and 3 lactation consultants did not pick it up on my baby whose tongue tie was so severe she couldn’t get her tongue past her teeth. At least with the second baby I knew what was going on and what to do about it (oral surgeon clipped the frenulum – took 2 seconds and she cried once and never had trouble again).

  25. Maureen

    I had Raynaud’s phenomena of the nipple. Unusual and painful! The shards of glass thing brought back painful memories. It was complicated by and an indication of postpartum thyroiditis and resultant hypothyroidism. Got treated, felt wonderful and have nursed three since.

    • Elizaebeth@GoodnessAdded

      I too had trouble with Raynauds. Initially got some bad advice on how to deal with it. Eventually, I just pumped exclusively to manage the pain. Pumped milk is still nutritious! Fortunately, for my third little boy born a month ago I haven’t had any problems. (fingers crossed). Good luck to you!

    • Amanda

      I had a bit of Raynaud’s too! It was horrible, took me forever to realize it’s not normal to have severe pain when taking off your bra and to just dread pumping. I also had postpartum thyroiditis first go around and possible postpartum thyroiditis with severe PPD the second time. Fun times! Anyway, I started taking progesterone cream for the PPD and it fixed my NFP charts and made almost all of my postpartum thyroid symptoms (including Raynaud’s) go away too! Gotta love that NaPro, I never would have thought to take progesterone for any of it.

      But overall I still love the newborn phase, kinda boring, but they’re so darn cute and I loved nursing my firstborn. My secondborn was/is like nursing a wild tiger. He also screamed with colic/reflux for like 2 months so I’m starting to understand the people who hate the newborn phase, lol!

  26. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    Good to see you’re blogging! I am so sorry about the whole breastfeeding thing. I wouldn’t dream of offering any advice (very diplomatic pre-emptive warning you have there!)

    Raw salmon sushi…..mmmmmmmm good! I actually just made my own recently for the first time with top-notch salmon. I don’t have to tell YOU how good it was! Sounds like you already know.

  27. Rosita

    When I saw the story mentioned in 3 I immediately thought of you. I was going to forward it to you, but I figured you would see it.

    As for the breastfeeding, it took me until my fourth to somewhat enjoy the early stages (pain meds and alternating a vinigar wash and lanolin after feedings), so I am glad to hear things are better for you.

  28. Young Mom

    Your ad for Austin made me laugh. I don’t think I could even stand to visit, I am already so scared of bugs, a scorpian would seriously scar me for life. I love living in the Canadian cold, because all the bugs are stunted, so even the dreaded spiders are small. πŸ™‚ I LOVE the newborn stage, but I am usually fighting off Post Partum Depression, so that makes me want to stay in my room with the baby and cry, and ignore the house and the rest of the kids. This was my best birth so far though, and I’m doing better this time around. But it’s kind of nice when I start to feel like myself again, whenever that happens.

  29. Aubrey

    Yeah, a puppy would have to NOT come to my house, so if my children were given a puppy, the children would have to STAY with the puppy, which would have to STAY at Grandma’s house. FOR.EV.ER. (and ever)

    So Austin has scorpions? We have friends in Austin, and I’ll have them thank you for giving me a reason to never, ever, ever, ever visit. (ha!)

    I get what you’re saying about babymoon. I’ve got five kids and each babymoon has been tricky. Between recovering from cesareans and dealing with PPD, the babymoon is not as fun as I wish it was. So I resort to cuddling the newborns of my girlfriends and call it good. πŸ˜‰ Good luck!!

  30. Katie

    I love newborns! They can be tough, but they’re so sweet and I love the little noises they make. I also love how they sleep 20+hours a day and will zonk out wherever, whenever.

  31. Erin

    I’m a little to close for comfort to Austin if they’ve got a scorpion problem that bad! I am not ok with those creatures.
    I think I missed out completely on the newborn phase. I basically gave birth to a 2 month old he was so big and strong, and never acted quite like I think a newborn should. I’m so glad you’re enjoying yours!

  32. Allie

    I used a friend’s dehydrator sometimes during college, but I don’t think I would have the motivation to pull one out for me all the time. It is a good idea though.

  33. Jenna

    My husband is working from home today and I LOLed so loud when I read your scorpion post that I think I disturbed his phone meeting!

    Also, our first anniversary is the week after our first baby is due. We plan on eating way too much sushi and drinking champagne to make up for lost time!


  34. Peg

    LOL at Yaya, she has totally mastered this grandma thing! I assumed by your cheerful demeanor and comment that the puppy was for Yaya and not your house!

  35. JoAnna

    My husband found a scorpion last week ON HIS FOOT. (I wrote about it in my quick takes.) UGH! Thankfully, it didn’t sting him. This is only the second we’ve found in our house in a year and a half of living here, so that’s a pretty decent track record, but still. I hate those things.

    My babymoon with my last baby was the most enjoyable because she was an excellent sleeper and I actually felt rested. I agree that being able to get decent sleep makes a HUGE difference in the immediate postpartum period!

  36. Anne

    RE: the dehydrator, we really like ours for making yogurt and crispy nuts especially. But I concur that now is not the best time to try it… Not sure how that one works but we have an Excalibur so we can remove all the trays and do the yogurt in there.

    Thanks for the litany! And continued prayers for your “babymoon” πŸ™‚

  37. Linda

    I live in Austin and I remember it taking me a good 5 minutes of staring before my shoe finally came down on a scorpion in my apt. Yuck yuck yuck.

  38. Baron Korf

    Scorpions? Really? I spent 5 years at UT, never saw one.

  39. Christy from fountains of home

    Good luck with the puppy business Jen! At least it’ll provide hours of entertainment. Keep resting!

    And I’ve linked up!

  40. paige

    Jennifer – i know you must be sick to death of breastfeeding advice, but after having *exquisite* pain breastfeeding my children, (but perservering!!) when i was pregnant with my 6th, i found what i think was a big part of *my* issue.
    my midwives & i are fairly certain that it’s reynauds of the nipple. A kind of ‘tear your own head off with your bare hands’ pain…
    Regardless – whatever your pain is – i empathise. People always say if you’re doing it right, it shouldn’t hurt, but for me – those first 2 mos are *killer*. (every. single. time – & i have 7 children who i went on to nurse into their toddlerhoods πŸ™‚
    Happy babymoon!!

  41. Bonnie

    We had a food dehydrator when I was growing up that we used mostly to prepare food for backpacking trips. It takes a bit of trial and error, as some things dry better than others, and we never got our homemade dried bananas to look (or taste) like store-bought. If you have some patience and are willing to experiment, go for it.

    Glad to hear that this “babymoon” period is better for you. I find the first six weeks are the hardest… the first six months are hard… and then after month 6, it starts getting better, and I seriously love one-year-olds (that’s when I start thinking about the next baby). πŸ™‚ Sleep definately affects this.

  42. paige

    o wow! i just read through your comments & can’t believe that 2 other ladies mentioned this! i had never heard of it until my cousin had it in her fingers & i started to research it & it sounded so familiar.

  43. dweej @ HouseUnseen

    I am amount to link up, but wanted to leave my comment first so I don’t forget: get the food dehydrator! Not because I have one but because my friend keeps telling me she uses hers all the time. Now if YOU get one and ALSO use it all the time, then I’ll know it might be worth it.

    Be my second guinea pig, Jen!!!!

  44. Ashley


    I just want you to know how stupid I feel after reading your quick takes. I laugh that hard. Seriously. The legend of the scorpion scares is too much for me.

    Happy babymooning!

  45. Elizabeth @ Coppertop Kitchen

    They fluoresce under a black light?! Uggghhhhhh that gives me the major shivers. We are creeped out plenty by our standard-issue Midwestern pests; millipedes, mosquitoes, and the occasional raccoon. Can’t imagine 60-pound glow-in-the-dark scorpions!

    Never used a food dehydrator before, but it seems like an unnecessary thing to me… I mean, how often do you want beef jerky or fruit roll-ups anyway? And couldn’t that be done in an oven if you really wanted to make it? Have a great weekend! And congratulations on the new baby!!

  46. Sue

    There is a reason that dehydrator is on sale – Amazon can’t get rid of the damn things! We have a really nice big one and NEVER use it. It just occupies prime real estate in my pantry. You can have mine if you’ll come and get it!

    What a precious baby! I’m a little sad – those sweet years are behind me. I had 5, so I’m hoping and praying for a lot of grandchildren.

  47. Jen

    newborns are great!

    and, yes, the dehydrator is worth it. You will definitely want the fruit roll up sheets so you can puree fruit in a blender and then pour on the sheets to dehydrate into healthy fruit rollups. they are also great for drying apple rings, banana chips, jerky, and other great kid treats. also, if you get really crazy. . . you can use the dehydrator as a place to incubate homemade yogurt and cheeses or to dry herbs you grow in a small garden!

  48. deanna

    Now I am hungry for sushi!
    My grandmother had a dehydrator, she used it all the time for fruits and vegetables.

  49. Juliana B

    I hear ya with the extreme bfing pain and sleep deprivation–I’m the same way. I was totally miserable for months with my older son, but not as bad with my younger one. Curious to see how this next one (due September 7) goes.
    Won’t offer any advice as it sounds like you’ve tried it all and got the t-shirt. Kudos to you for keeping it up. It never stops hurting for me, and my husband basically won’t let me wean before a year if I can help it (I got pregnant when my younger son was 8 months this time and he weaned instantly, so I was FREE early!), so it is grit and bear it for a whole.stinking.year usually.

    As for church after childbirth, I am an Orthodox Christian and we have a lovely tradition of the 40 days. After a baby is born, you stay home from church (and as much else as possible) for 40 days and just heal and be with your baby. I personally think it is a great thing, as then dad can take the older children to church on Saturday night/Sunday morning, and I can stay home and have peace and quiet (relatively speaking) with the new baby. Then there is the churching/baptism around 40 days, which is great. Just a thought!

    We had a dehydrator and I would say not worth the investment. They are hard to get right and use correctly–either our food came out like jerky or it came out with a little too much moisture left and rotted too quickly for handy use. It also requires quite a bit of vigilance on your part to keep rotating the trays, keeping track of how long they’ve been going, etc. We used it for two seasons and then it languished in the basement for several years until I found a friend who was desperate to try one and gave it to her.

    Congrats on the birth of your baby!

  50. Marian

    I totally appreciate your disclaimer about breastfeeding advice! My first, in particular, had huge issues (didn’t know he was autistic, etc at the time), and we literally spent 18 hours a day on the project of feeding him for his first 6 weeks of life. Went through the same sets of advice with everyone, until one lactation consultant actually saw us and started with, “Well, you’re doing everything right…”I rarely slept, and, oh yes, with every newborn I had at least one (if not three) horrible case of mastitis (i.e. body-wracking chills, alternated with very high fevers, horrible breast inflammation and general run-over-by-a-truck-ness).

    BUT! Those newborn days are still so precious. With every phase of a baby’s life, there are things that are that never will be again, though hard to remember or even grasp at the time. Take the enjoyable of those fleeting little things and treasure them, soak them up, take snapshots in your heart. (For me, one was the way they fit like a little bump, rump in the air, entirely fitting on your chest. Try as I might, I just cannot ever recreate this precious state with my 14 year-old ever again! : )

    Happy less-painful babymoon!

  51. Jeanne G.

    I have been thinking about a dehydrator lately, too. They seem to be all the rage among the “Traditional Foods” folks. Unfortunately, I am still a junk food junkie, so the dehydrator would probably stay on the shelf most of the time.

  52. Liesl

    Congrats on the baby! Can’t wait to hear more about her!

    And I love hearing about Yaya… I feel like she and I would get along really well πŸ™‚

  53. Ann-Marie

    I am so sorry about the breastfeeding pain. We had the same thing for two months. It is just wrong that it can hurt as much as labor! Best of luck and prayers for patience for you and the nursing sessions.

  54. Trisha Niermeyer Potter

    I don’t know how you could possibly call your house boring even if your idea of entertaining the children doesn’t necessarily involve scorpions or new puppies.

    I genuinely hope and pray that you are able to enjoy some of the blessings of having a newborn rather than dread the next 10 months or so.

  55. monica

    Well, my months of having newborns are a blur…but every time I see one, I yearn for the good ole days!

    And I accidentally linked an OLD quick takes to the list, #63. so i linked again, with the current one, at link #68. Sorry about that!

  56. Karen

    Our scorpion count for 2011 stands at 4 which is double last year. It’s the drought. The worst one was not the GINORMOUS one on my fireplace in May but the itty-bitty baby one crawling across my end table one evening. One baby seen means a whole lot more babies unseen. I’m trying convince myself he came in the back door which is right next to the end table. I’m sure he did, right? Right?

    No one has been scorpion stung…yet. My 12 yo still closes the vent above her vent every night. She is determined not to be the victim of one falling on her while she sleeps. Did you know a scorpion falling out of a vaulted ceiling vent, 20 ft to the floor makes an audible sound when it hits a laundry pi?. Ask me how I know.

    We’ve had a good number of nasty wasp stings. Mahogany wasps are of the devil.

    My unsolicited 2 cents on the breastfeeding agony. Raynaud’s or yeast. Both of which I’m sure you already ruled out.

  57. Karen

    Our scorpion count for 2011 stands at 4 which is double last year. It’s the drought. The worst one was not the GINORMOUS one on my fireplace in May but the itty-bitty baby one crawling across my end table one evening. One baby seen means a whole lot more babies unseen. I’m trying convince myself he came in the back door which is right next to the end table. I’m sure he did, right? Right?

    No one has been scorpion stung…yet. My 12 yo still closes the vent above her loft bed every night. She is determined not to be the victim of one falling on her while she sleeps. Did you know a scorpion falling out of a vaulted ceiling vent, 20 ft to the floor makes an audible sound when it hits a laundry pi?. Ask me how I know.

    We’ve had a good number of nasty wasp stings. Mahogany wasps are of the devil.

    My unsolicited 2 cents on the breastfeeding agony. Raynaud’s or yeast. Both of which I’m sure you already ruled out.

  58. Kathleen

    Congratulations on your new baby!! I will say some prayers for you about the nursing…hopefully it will continue to be better with the meds.

  59. Karen

    This was sent to me not long after I moved to South Texas.


    The devil, we’re told, in hell was chained,
    And a thousand years he there remained,
    And he never complained, nor did he groan,
    But determined to start a hell of his own
    Where he could torment the souls of men
    Without being chained to a prison pen.

    So he asked the Lord if He had on hand
    Anything left when He made the land.
    The Lord said, “Yes, I had plenty on hand,
    But I left it down on the Rio Grande.
    The fact is old boy, the stuff is so poor,
    I don’t think you could use it in hell any more.”

    But the devil went down to look at the truck,
    And said if it came as a gift, he was stuck;
    For after examining it careful and well
    He concluded the place was too dry for hell.
    So in order to get it off His hands
    God promised the devil to water the lands.

    For he had some water, or rather some dregs,
    A regular cathartic that smelt like bad eggs.
    Hence the deal was closed and the deed was given,
    And the Lord went back to His place in Heaven.
    and the devil said, “I have all that is needed
    To make a good hell,” and thus he succeeded.

    He began to put thorns on all the trees,
    And he mixed the sand with millions of fleas,
    He scattered tarantulas along all the roads,
    Put thorns on the cacti and horns on the toads;
    He lengthened the horns of the Texas steers
    And put an addition on jack rabbits’ ears.

    He put little devils in the broncho steed
    And poisoned the feet of the centipede.
    The rattlesnake bites you, the scorpion stings,
    The mosquito delights you by buzzing his wings.
    The sand burrs prevail, so do the ants,
    And those that sit down need half soles on their pants.

    The devil then said that throughout the land
    He’d manage to keep up the devil’s own brand,
    And all would be mavericks unless they bore
    The marks of scratches and bites by the score.
    The heat in the summer is a hundred and ten,
    Too hot for the devil and too hot for men.

    The wild boar roams through the black chaparral,
    It’s a hell of a place he has for a hell;
    The red pepper grows by the bank of the brook,
    The Mexicans use it in all that they cook.
    Just dine with a Mexican and then you will shout,
    “I’ve a hell on the inside as well as without.”


    SOURCE: The Best Loved Poems of the American People. Selected by Hazel Felleman. Garden City Publishing Co., Garden City, New York.1936. pp. 473-474

    Despite everything that bites, stings and poisons and the heat and the drought, we still love Texas and are very happy living here it just takes some serious getting used to.

    • Valerie

      Too many posts for me to read but I’ll reiterate the ones I’ve seen about mastalgia caused by yeast overgrowth. Miserable beyond description. Fixed in a few days by homeopathic Borax tablets and also I used, on a naturopath’s recommendation, a solution of half a teaspoon of borax granules dissolved in a cup of boiling water & cooled, then dabbed on nipples after feeding. The relief was wonderful and the trouble went away for the rest of lactation. Best wishes.

  60. Maria

    food dehydrator went into storage … just like our ice cream maker. both are cumbersome and more trouble than they are worth.

    my husband had high hopes to make beef jerkey with the dehydrator … well, two words: shoe leather.

    happy lactating (and i do understand, it can be very painful).


  61. Laura

    Hooray for Jen! I’m new to your blog and 7 Quick Takes, and have only been impressed so far. Thanks for being incredible. God bless you and the little one.

  62. Kayla

    Just started reading through your blog, and your daughter is so precious! Congratulations!

  63. Christine

    You will just have to move to MN! Nice and cold…but no big bad bugs.

    I lay low for 3 mos….sleeping and nursing. Having a newborn is a big blur. I cannot remember anything.

    Enjoy that little baby girl.

  64. Maggie

    Glad you’re doing well after the arrival of little Pamela! Congratulations πŸ™‚

  65. Michelle

    I am so happy you have found a way to enjoy early weeks of baby. I am far from what I would call a “newborn” person, but discovered that adequate rest was key to enjoying my new bundle of joy. After 27 hours ofblabor our fifth blessing joined us late last night and I am catching up with you via my iPad. ;). I would say Scorpions will kill any drive I might ever have to live in Texas. I have hard enough time with regular ol’ Arachnida like spiders.

  66. Heather

    First time commentor, long time fan . . . I feel like one of those people who call into sports talk radio πŸ™‚ Anyway, I have that dehydrator which is running right now making some fruit leather using strawberries we picked as a family last weekend. I love my it! I am 5 months postpartum with baby #5 (my girls are 8, 7, almost 5, and almost 3. I thank God daily for the laid back 5 month old boy!) Wait a few months and you can tackle dehydation. Enjoy the babymoon!

  67. Rebecc

    I have a theory that our experience with newborns is largely determined by our personal relationship with sleep. I, for example, am a lifelong insomniac so I love those days of actually having a *reason* to be awake in the middle of the night at random times, and something to be *doing* rather than tossing and turning and being annoyed at not being asleep. Plus the mommy hormones actually make the sleep I *do* get better, somehow. However, most women I know who are blessed enough to be normal sleepers during normal times seem to really suffer during the newborn days. The downside of course is once the baby starts sleeping through the night, I remain my usual insomniac grouchy self, whereas my good-sleep sisters are like new women and amazing, energetic mommies. Ah well.

    Also: you don’t need a food dehydrator. We live in Texas — just put your food that you want dried out on your front porch for a few hours midday. The other day my boys threw some apple slices on the grass, and instead of picking them up immediately I (cough cough) decided to “conduct an experiment” by leaving them there. The next morning, the result could have been sold in the bulk foods aisle (although I doubt it would have passed the health inspection).

  68. Martha

    Just thought I’d let you know in case you missed it in this crazy, crazy, perplexing religion, that you are not required to attend mass for 6 weeks after baby, and possibly even longer. Seriously, take it easy on yourself. I have a 3 month old (my seventh), and this is the FIRST time I’ve gotten breastfeeding to work, thanks, yes indeed, to the medela shield. Oh mercy. The pain is torturous, is it not? Please, the bamboo shoots up my fingernails instead, please. Soooooo… YES to the meds, YES to beer and aspirin, YES to taking good ol’ Mother Church up on her very motherly offer to stay home for a while until you feel up to nursing during Mass!!!

  69. Martina

    -1- YES! Totally agree! It’s got to be that magic #5. I thought people were nuts who loved those first months. Josie has been half and half, but the pain post birth and the sleepless nights were nothing compared to my other kiddos. It’s amazing what proper pillow placement, some vigilant pain killers taken ON TIME every time, and gobs of Lansinoh can do for the mind and body!

    And, fwiw, I would totally disregard the advice about suspending your bed from the ceiling! I grew up in bubbaland out in Oak Hill and I used to have nightmares about the scorpions we found crawling on the ceiling. For the longest time, I *HATED* looking at the top of the broom handle b/c it had squashed more scorpion guts than I cared to remember. ::double shudder::

  70. Anne McD

    Hi Jen– congratulations on your sweet little girl!!! I’ve got five and I’ve nursed them all, and I’m sure there’s great merit to what all have said above, but I honestly feel that whenever you have a little someone sucking on a sensitive body part like a machine in order to live…. well, its gonna hurt. After a couple of weeks, its business as usual, but the ramp up is never fun! God bless as you start the adventure all over again! (I’ll be there in October!!)

  71. Stephanie

    Can you believe that scorpion-on-the-plane story?! I saw it on the news last night! And then I thanked the Lord that there aren’t any scorpions in Portland. : shudder :

    I finally discovered (after Baby #3) that the way I enjoy the newborn baby stage is to take meds (not pain meds; the keep-me-from-sobbing-into-my-pillow meds), and the difference was amazing. Good for you to get some rest and medicate the pain. I hope it continues to help!

  72. Claire

    I had a lot of nursing pain as well – not due to a bad latch either. It was just something I had to get through. I hope the discomfort is short lived and I’m glad to hear you’ve found some ways to cope!

    And I’m not a huge fan of the newborn phase either. It isn’t so much that I wanted to skip it completely, but it wasn’t my favorite time.

  73. Lindy

    Congrats on the new baby. Love her name. Just survive the first 2 or 3 weeks. (Like you haven’t already figured that one out.)

    I have that same dehydrator. I love it. LOVE it. Sure, it only gets used for about 2 months in August and September, but it’s worth it. I use it to dry out apples and pear slices, and also to make fruit leather. (homemade fruit rollups, to the kids.) The dried apples and pears and leather are like candy. This particular dehydrator isn’t too loud, either, so that’s a plus. And it makes the house smell heavenly.

    I would suggest buying “The Ball Blue Book of canning.” Available at Walmart, but also probably on Amazon. It’s like “Preserving food for dummies.” It’s got several good recipes, and tells you all the basics.

  74. Trista

    Congrats on the new baby! Yaya sounds like so much fun πŸ™‚

  75. Josephene Kealey

    Oh, lady, I hear you. When I don’t get enough sleep, I’m a bat out of maternal hell and I just can’t get myself out of the grumps. I become SUPERBAD MOM. I pray and pray and try and try — and now I’ve just accepted that’s how my head works. I need sleep to be good. πŸ˜€

    Seeing people helps though, I’ve also discovered.

    May you “rest” in God’s care.

  76. Milehimama

    So glad you are taking care of yourself!

    I’ve worked with a ton of professionals (nurses, lactation consultants, la leche league) and Bfing is always horribly painful for me too. I *know* by now that if I can just push through for two weeks it gets better- but those first couple of weeks really, really suck. Some women are just like that, I think. It happens.

  77. Sheryl

    As soon as I read it, I thought ” Thrush” as candida. You can’t see it, as in a thick coating, but it is inside your breast. When asked how bad it was I said well I think I could remove my breast with a nail scissors and no anaesthetic rather than do another feed. It is thrush, if you feel that way and meds are what you need! My midwife approached my GP(I live in the UK) with research and he prescribed a drug for me. If you want to know what it is I can find out. I had a tablet and a sort of cream that can be given to babies who get oral thrush to put on my n*pple area. Oh and your baby doesn’t need to have signs of it in their mouth for you to have it in your breast. In fact after baby number three my docs prescribed it before I had the baby so that I could start it straight away. This is a good thing to remember if you are blessed with more babies. All my children have been born by c-section and I am sure that having huge doses of IV antibiotics contrbutes to the candida.

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