We've had just a few gorgeous days recently (today was 39) and the girls could finally spend a lot of time outside.  I love our backyard so much!  When you are down there, off the deck, the grasses are so tall and wild feeling - hard to capture it in a picture.  It all makes me wish I was 6 and playing Little House on the Prairie.


I just love all the little faces babies make... and I try to capture every single nuance on camera :) Ruthie really is so cute and talkative. So happy especially when someone new wakes up or comes into the room. Her happy moments are longer and longer every day, but still fleeting. (10 weeks yesterday)


The pouty sad face is too much!!! The other day I was singing the Hallelujah song from the Messiah (kind of playing around, I am no singer) and she kept getting the sad face when I tried to hit a high note - Edie and I were laughing so hard.



Like I said earlier, since Vera lost her tooth she's had a burst of confidence with reading.  We haven't read too many chapter books with her lately, with the busyness of the new baby, etc. She mostly fulfills her 15 minutes a day requirement by reading books to Edie or with her Calvin and Hobbes obsession - when they haven't been taken away.  I'm glad the comic books have helped her become more fluent in reading, but instead of viewing them as a hilarious and thoughtful commentary on childhood, they have opened up her eyes to a new whole world of mischief and viewing parents, teachers and babysitters!  Seriously, we kind of regret that she stumbled on them :/

ANYway, so I've been trying to find some sweet, wholesome books for her to read. Last week a friend lent us the first in the Cobble Street Cousins series and we read it together - me a page, then her a page. On Thursday I borrowed the second in the series and that night Vera came downstairs pretty late saying she had read the whole thing in one sitting!! It was a school night but I wasn't upset at all. She was beaming and said, "I love reading!!"  Ahhh it made me so happy!  Can't even describe how happy that makes me.

Welcoming any suggestions on good, wholesome chapter books!



A combination of the paralyzing isolation a new baby can bring, cold weather, distance from all sides of family and feelings of being left out of the daily community we could have with them, hormones, lack of sleep, lack of money, bickering children, a public school experience that leaves me sad, distanced and worried about my little girl, a lingering sense of awkwardness around the friends we meet ... well all of this comes together and leaves me a little lost and teary sometimes.  I appreciate comments on instagram that I am a 'supermom'  because I managed to make muffins and play-doh with a newborn  around, but the truth is I often feel staggeringly inadequate.

I have loved this blog, Journey Mama, for many years. She is so beautifully honest about all these same feelings. Maybe everyone doesn't feel them, but she does and she shares them in just the right way. I loved this post of hers I read today about her own self-loathing and her reminder about how God sees us.

posting some unrelated pictures... 
reminders that God is good and things aren't as bad as I tell myself they are :)

a good daddy:

sisters having fun and encouraging each other:

 biggest sister adoring the baby:

Days warm enough to enjoy the outdoors. She went from fussing to cooing and smiling the second the breeze touched her face:

a sling that works like magic to get her to sleep:

an adorable 3 year old:

We are so behind all the Spring pictures I see from the West Coast! 
but still, Spring is coming here too...

more loving. Vera even whispered "I love you Edie" my heart was so happy!!! 
[I may have posted this?]



Ben's parents were here last week and we're all left feeling a little lonely again now that they're gone. It is always so wonderful to have family and friends visit, but it also makes us realize how nice it would be to just live close. To not have to pack all the quality time into a week, but to be able to meet up for weekly dinners or picnics in the park. There's my little whine about that :)

We were out quite a bit which was good for us!  It's nice to have extra hands to help with the tiny one [I did kind of overdo it the first day, after having been sick last week I had the beginnings of mastitis].  That day we took the train up to get Vera from her choir rehearsal and then on to Somerville which is just past Cambridge. I picked a random restaurant with good reviews from my phone map and ended up with a total winner!! Whew - I feel like my choices are often flops :)  It was an old-school bowling alley that had converted half into an amazing pizza restaurant - all local ingredients, beer, et cetera :)

walking through Boston Common:

I love this family photo - at the Flatbread Company:

Grandpop holding his little loaf of bread :)

Rosie brought things to make a piƱata with the girls - it turned out so cute:

Vera is really into science experiments lately and Mike surprised her with a special kit.  They also put some water from the pond under the microscope - so awesome!!

Other than that we hung out a lot at the house [it was rainy and pretty chilly still], went to the aquarium, to a fantastic meal at the Gourmet Dumpling House, sushi, seafood, Vera's performance with the annual choir Cantata at church, little projects at home, Ben went surfing... all around a good time :)

and here's our little chunk of love:



Ruthie is 6 weeks old! It's so fun to see her developing - growing, cooing, smiling, slowly learning to sleep in her bed :) She's a chubby little bunny and is already growing out of this little favorite onesie here (0-3 mos) that was Vera's. We're all doing well adjusting.. I mean there are certainly *moments*, but overall I'd say we are adjusting.  It seems like every other day or two day is off.. crying, fussy, not sleeping night or day, sisters bickering and throwing tantrums. On the good days, everything is lovely and harmonious and easy.  Today and yesterday are good days.  Catch me on Thursday afternoon and I'd have told you our lives were falling apart :)   Good to keep it in perspective: there will be hard days, but the good ones will start overtaking them!


*casi 3.5

Edie will be 3.5 in April. It's amazing how different she and Vera are at this age.  For example - Edie rarely gets into our dress up box whereas Vera was in a princess dress or ballerina/superstar getup every minute of the day.  When Edie does dress up, it's usually in her puppy Halloween costume or some very strange combination. Tonight she came into my room in her feetie pajamas with fairy wings, a grass skirt and holding a pom-pom.  She is very deliberate when she dresses herself in the morning - she likes to look pretty and fancy every day, wearing dresses, skirts, fancy "jewelry shoes", her "dotty" tights and putting her "lip bom" on. She avoids having her hair brushed and I often forget or don't have time to get around to it - anyway it adds to her character.

I've been noting down some of the funny things this little stinkah says over the last couple months to record here. Just lately I've noticed her Boston accent is disappearing.  She still has trouble with 'R's but now it's more like... the oo sound in 'should' - like when she says 'dirt' or 'skirt'.  Or words like hair are 'hey-air'. Just writing this down so I remember :)  It's so sad when they grow up and these things disappear!

Anyway here are some notable quotes from our little stinkah:

Me: Edie please get that noodle off the floor.
Edie: I'm afraid I don't want to.

[while driving] Oh no, mom!  Someone put a bag they're not losing [using] on a bush.  That's called glittering.

Edie to Ruth: You selfish little baby [said in a very sweet tone].
Me: Edie, she's not selfish.
E: Well Rapunzel's mom is selfish. That means she has black hay-er.

Me: Edie, you have such pretty eyes!
E: Well yours aren't very pretty.

I barely ate lots of sugar. [did I share this one before?]

[with a grin on her face - this was many months ago] Mom, sometimes when I'm in my bed I dream that Vera doesn't get anything.



Vera finally lost her first tooth two days ago!  She has been waiting for this day for years - poor thing was the last of her class to lose one and has been wiggling the tooth since last May at least.  She is a full believer in the tooth fairy of course and wrote her a note asking to keep the tooth.  Thankfully I remembered the tooth fairy at the 2am nursing! 

If you've read anything about Waldorf education [I have just the basics], you probably know that they don't push a child to read before they're ready and that readiness to read often comes when the child begins to lose their baby teeth. I mentioned this to Vera and it's funny the little nudge of confidence it gave her over the last two days!  She believes that she is ready to read now, even though she really has been improving in the last couple months in her reading.  It's amazing to see how it's all clicking!  She's been sounding out the words in my old Calvin and Hobbes books every night at bed, easily reading instructions in her science and craft books, yesterday she read a whole card that a friend sent and just now she started reading my first paragraph!  I'm going to have to hide the page if she comes back to read about the tooth fairy :)  It's really so exciting and I tell her often how proud I am - I hope she loves to read as much as I did!!


*un mesito

Ruth is a whole month old today!  That is so crazy.  I can't believe we've made it through four whole weeks.  I've had four weeks of nights up feeding this little one?? I guess I've made it through and that's encouraging.  She's grown and we've survived and ate meals and done laundry and gotten homework done and off to school - it's amazing.

She's a sweet little thing and we all love her so much.  I wouldn't say she's one of those mystical "she only cries when she's tired or hungry" kind of babies, but she hasn't been tooo difficult. Definitely prefers to be held most of the day and nurses pretty often.  At night she sleeps one incredible stretch of sleep in her own crib (from 8pm-1am!) and then won't go back down unless she is in bed with me in the crook of my arm. I wake at some point to slide her off onto the bed and she's up usually twice more [a couple days this week she fussed and fussed all night. So tired I wanted to die]. Ben slept with Edie for a couple weeks and is now in the guest room - sad, but better sleep for all. Nursing is going great and doesn't hurt at all!!! Thank you LORD.  She's even gained a little over a pound.

She's made cute little happy looks/expressions/near smiles since a little over a week old and they are becoming much more frequent which is so much fun.  I love how new babies look like they want to tell you something soo badly and have to work so hard to get a little sound out, so cute.

Poor sweetheart woke up with some horrible baby acne the other day - hoping it clears up as quickly as they say it does.



*Edie reads

I finally got a video of Edie 'reading' her favorite book - don't you love when kids do this?  It's amazing what they can memorize!! The messy hair and outfit are typical right now - she looves this pink dress and white sweater and will wear it every day that her "golden" Christmas dress is in the laundry.




Ben's dad was in Missoula this weekend and went by our old first house.  Kind of a strange sensation seeing the picture - it was like this house didn't exist anymore except for in my memory, but there it is! I imagine still the tiniest and most humble house on the block.  We only lived there one short year, but there are enough memories to fill many more years than that!  Bittersweet - wish sometimes we could go back to that time of riding our bikes everywhere, dinners and shifts at Scotty's Table, friends over for dinner and lots of wine, Boone a little pup, the river... Isn't it amazing to look back and think if only you knew -for instance- you'd be living outside of Boston, Massachusetts with three little daughters??


*new daily

Yesterday went really well. Maybe I was on an oxytocin high, but it was just a warm and fuzzy wonderful kind of day. We had a friend and her little guy over in the morning - the conversation, kids' play, mocha, bouquet of flowers and washing of my dishes was enough to make it a great day. Then Vera came home and the girls got along really well, playing and finishing homework and being so kind to each other. They even collaborated on a little thank you note project that I'd asked Edie to work on.  Ruth of course didn't sleep anywhere but in arms most of the day, but I am *almost* completely ok with it this time around. I know it won't last and I've resolved to keep my expectations for the day pretty low.  While the girls watched a much deserved show, I made a really delicious and easy pinterest inspired dinner [such a suburban housewife!] while Ruth fell asleep in the sling and then for a minute in her little chair.  Ben came home and we ate as a family and it was a good day.  I planned to write about it here.  

Of course, I do like to keep it real, so I will share that it took well over an hour of nursing and rocking and bouncing to get Ruth to sleep. I think *the colic* is making its approach. I recognized that same restlessness that both Vera and Edie showed at that hour.  It did end though and I got decent sleep [she woke at 2:00, 5:00 and 7:00!]  This morning, I thought we would take an easy trip to Kinkos to finish the thank you note project ... but Ruth is proving to be like Edie was and won't stay asleep in her carseat! Isn't it supposed to have the magic touch?? I never liked using it with baby Vera, but when it's 25 and windy out, you kinda just want to keep them bundled up in there.  Anyway I had to hold her while we made our copies and then for some reason Edie started getting all freaky wanting to be held and not wanting to walk to the car. She screamed the whole way home and went right into time out. THANKfully Ruth then did stay asleep in the carseat and I was able to go upstairs and hug Eden with tears in both our eyes telling her how much I love her and that I know it's hard having a new baby, but that I love her and she needs to be considerate and loving too.  We've had lots of these emotional moments - well us girls, poor Ben :)  I'm one of those new moms with raging and crashing hormones, so the tears are more often than not on my side.

So anyway, there's a picture of our new normal.  Some really good moments and some low ones. Thankfully God was gracious and answered my prayers for patience today - I definitely don't always handle it like today!!  

I love this one :)


*Ruth's birth story

[sorry to any brothers/uncles/etc. this is a birth story, it's very long and there is blood]

Everything about this pregnancy was so different. I knew I shouldn't expect to have the baby a week early like the other two, but well... it's hard to not have expectations!  I finally was resigned to wait until 42 weeks as it didn't seem anything was happening at all. In fact, I didn't even feel miserable - can you imagine?

On Thursday night though (41 weeks), after dinner at our favorite seafood place, I started to have really painful nerve/sciatica-like pain in my hips, which is exactly what happened the night before I had Edie.  Also before bed I noticed a tiny bit of blood. In an effort to not believe in jinxing myself I even commented to Ben that I thought maybe something was happening.  That night I woke up at 1:15am and felt a little gush. Ben happened to be awake and I told him what I thought was happening.  I moved and felt another, then another, then a LOT. I got up and it just kept going. I knew from my experience with Vera to just relax and try to get some rest [with her I went directly to hospital]. Obviously though I couldn't fall back asleep again because of the excitement and nerves. I continued to feel the water coming out every time I got up and I was also feeling a lot of contractions - the kind that hurt enough you know they are real and you kind of relish them, but not so painful you can't handle it.  At 7am I finally got up to help Vera get ready for school - and they pretty much stopped.  It was like that throughout the day - if I laid down, I would start feeling them, if I was up and moving they became elusive.

I called the OB office in the morning and went in to get checked, baby monitored etc.  Baby was doing great and my nurse practitioner [kind of my midwife during the pregnancy, I rarely saw the OB who left a week before anyway] said to go home and see what happened/call by noon. Ben and I went for a long walk and then I just tried to keep busy cleaning up.. nothing.  The NP recommended I just get up to the hospital around 3:00 since we were on that "24 hour clock" from when your water breaks.

I was really pleased with everyone at Brigham and Women's Hospital.  I just had the midwives who were on call and they were both very professional, experienced and accommodating.  I expressed that I wanted to avoid pitocin, and they were ok with seeing if labor would get going.  I really wanted to try using a breast pump as I'd heard that it can really work wonders. The midwife confessed that she had used one for the one of her labors and that it had totally worked. I started it and one nurse came in and suggested I go for a walk instead... which I didn't really want to do. I'd been up since 1am and sitting down was really nice.  I got back dressed and we went for a long tiring walk which did nothing - wish I'd just stuck with my instincts.

Back in the room, I hooked myself back up to the pump.  It was crazy - a contraction would start about a minute into it!  I did what the midwife said - pump one side and then when a contraction starts, stop the pumping until a minute after contraction, then switch sides. I kept up at this for a short time when the same nurse started talking about getting on the pitocin drip. I was getting a little annoyed with her as the pumping was working - at least the contractions were becoming more regular! The midwife sat down to talk with me about it - I think it was around 8:00 or 9:00pm and she said that often the contractions will stop when you stop pumping. But during the 15 or so minutes that I had stopped, the contractions continued. I thought this was a good sign..  and she said I could even go past that 24 hour mark if baby was doing ok and there was no sign of infection. At the same time, I realized that I wouldn't have much stamina to labor all night like that.  It was hard to know if active labor had really started and I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do.

Well as I talked with the midwife, I started to have to close my eyes during contractions and had a hard time staying in the conversation. I have no idea what the time table was here,  [remember I said this is a long story, I feel I have to apologize for rambling] but I continued to be annoyed that they -mostly that nurse- were talking about pitocin when I was obviously having regular and painful contractions!!   I laid on my side the whole time as I did with Edie - no desire whatsoever to be up and moving.  I needed Ben to lightly touch my lower back through a contraction - any pressure made it worse.  They were getting really close together and I had a hard time getting a great rhythm going.  I just tried to focus on breathing, sighing or voicing each exhale.  Finally she thought she'd check my progress as I hadn't been checked yet [bc of risk of introducing infection]. When she told me I was at FIVE centimeters, I felt so ... deflated and helpless. I was so incredibly tired, had started getting the shakes, was crying a little and it was really hurting badly.  I told them I wanted an epidural NOW PLEASE. I decided it wasn't worth it, I didn't need to make an "I did it drug free!" statement - I needed relief.  I could hear the midwife whispering to Ben whether I really wanted this and in a moment between contractions I hollered over YES I WANT IT, I can't do this another hour or two or who knows how long.  So the anaesthesiologist was summoned, and I could hear them talking to him in the hallway when I felt something move into the birth canal. It couldn't be the baby, I mean I was literally just at 5 cm??!  I felt an incredibly urge to push and yelled that the baby was there and everyone ran back into the room.  Wow is that part painful - I yelled for someone to take it out, Ben cheered me on that I could do it : )  She was born about 10 minutes after the midwife checked me at only halfway dilated. Isn't that crazy??  I couldn't believe it. They had her on my stomach cleaning her off and I was like what is it????!  Ben peered in and it was a girl!! Oh my goodness, I couldn't believe it :)  11:23 pm on February 7 - 8 lbs. 13 oz.  


I felt really good in the next ten minutes, alive and well, talking and laughing with everyone about how quickly it had all happened in the end.  This is one reason I like to do it without medication - you really feel so clear-headed and invigorated and able to move yourself around.  Well after 20 or 30 minutes it became clear that the placenta was not coming out on its own, just as it hadn't with Edie [or in retrospect, with Vera either, but that time the epidural had allowed them to quickly remove it].  They had to scramble around a bit to get me a pain med and then remove it manually. Ruth was on my chest skin to skin but wasn't able to really relax with all the commotion of needles and monitors, so Ben held her.  She was quiet for a bit but finally her cries were too much and they took her [poor babe :( ] The removal was excruciating, even with a narcotic!!  Ben passed out - or nearly did and had to remove himself for a few.

The OB wasn't able to remove everything, so I ended up having to go to the OR to have a D&C.  I was extremely foggy and sleepy from the fentanyl, from being up for 24 hours and from losing a couple liters of blood [I thought I heard someone say that #..] and kept falling asleep as they were talking to me. I took advantage of the OR to just close my eyes and go in and out of sleep, a weird experience with all the crazy bright lights and doctors and all.  I did end up getting a transfusion which helped me feel a little better, but I would say the first week of recovery was hard - I felt really weak, spacey and lightheaded in addition to all the other things you recover from.  I'd say now at almost 2 weeks I feel a whole lot better, but not quite normal.  Also, in case you're wondering - breastfeeding is going pretty well!! I got a lot of help from the two LCs at the hospital and really have tried to be vigilant in taking care of myself between feedings.  Not perfect yet...    

So that's how Ruth arrived!  Isn't it amazing how every story is different?  We are so thankful for our sweet baby - she is truly precious and it is so awesome to see Vera and Edie adore her.  and to see Ben the daddy of three little girls is pretty cute too :)  Long story, thanks to those who made it to the end ; )


*Ruth 'Alohilani Cater

Little Ruth was born last Friday night - just over a week old now!  What a surprise - we were all (especially me) convinced she was a little boy. But what a gift. Three Little Cater women :)

Ruth was a name we had considered when I was pregnant with Vera.  In high school I heard a life- forming sermon on the book of Ruth, and held it so dear I swore I'd name my daughter that some day [my college roommates probably remember my first-ever email password was Ruthie:)].  When the time came to name our first baby, I had over thought it and Ben wasn't really excited about it.  So this time in the delivery room when the names we'd considered just didn't fit right, I was surprised when he brought it up, saying he really did like the name Ruth.  His dad's mother was named Ruth (and my great-grandmother too), and we like that we can honor the family in that way.

'Alohilani means "brightness of heaven" or "bright sky" in Hawaiian.  It makes us think of God's goodness and beauty, of the Western skies we miss so much - and then it happened to be a bright blue-sky day on the 7th when she was born.

Here are some pictures from the first week.  Soon I'll write up just how Baby Ruth (yes, yes) came into the world.

first meeting, such an incredibly happy moment I really looked forward to :)