Monday, September 22, 2008


i've decided to privatize this blog a bit, which means folks can only view it by invitation. fancy, i know. i've been thinking about this for a while, and feel like it'll make my family a little safer on the world-wide-web, and it will also give me a bit more freedom to present myself and my family to you, our chosen audience. hopefully it won't be too annoying for readers to sign up on blogger in order to read us here. i appreciate everyone's flexibility! and i hope to continue blogging about my little family's simple yet crazy life on a regular basis.

isla says hello to you all!

p.s. apologies for all the random emails from blogger! i had a bit of trouble figuring out how to make this change...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

settling in

the past few weeks have gone by in a fog--of bliss, of discomfort, of relaxation and frustration. so many feelings in one little house! mostly we are all doing quite well, except for the brief interlude of colds we've had this week. isla is easy and relaxed so far, a champion nurser and pretty understanding of her brother's enthusiastic hugs. noah is getting more accustomed to his sister, and to sharing his parents' attention. we've had fewer deliberate bonks for isla and a bit less naughtyness in general. but he is, after all, a two-year-old, so some bonking is to be expected. generally i would say he is adjusting well and is still his sweet self. i think it is his mother who is changed a bit, with less patience and taking things more personally. but we're figuring it out. we even went to the co-op today for a big shop, and everyone did great. it was my first time there in maybe a month!

isla weighed almost 11 pounds at her two-week check, and got high marks for being a very strong and healthy little girl. she is already out of her newborn size diapers and clothes. she has long quietly alert times, where she looks around, sucks her hands, etc. she loves going for walks and so far likes the car, which is pretty convenient. she has been sleeping well and letting us sleep mostly too. her hair is staying red so far and her eyes are turning blue. she smells wonderful.

i'm healing slowly and still haven't been up for big walks or outings. my biggest complaint is my sore tailbone! has anyone else ever heard of this as a pregnancy/birth side effect? a friend today recommended a chiropractor, which sounds like a good idea. tomorrow i have my postpartum check with the midwives, so i'll see what they say. i'd love to be able to sit on my bum again!

not much else to report from iron street. summer is definitely gone and we are thinking about autumn-related things like canning applesauce and making pies. tonight i made a potato-leek soup from the cookbook sarah and christina have been raving about. it was great!

here's a brief photo documentary of our little family settling in.

reading time (though i don't think isla's that interested)

snuggling on the bed

noah the climber at the park


aaron and the kids at a local apple orchard for a friend's birthday

me and grandpa on aaron's boat (we had a lovely sail last saturday)

isla all wrapped up in the amby bed

sick day! noah conked out in the big chair all morning, nursing a fever.

hanging out with uncle colin and tricky nicky

practicing the art of thumb sucking

isla's first night out on the town (with my mojito in the foreground!)

cozy with aunt irene

noah is no longer averse to sliding!

Monday, September 08, 2008


a few nights ago, my friend andrea came over to bless us. she's a priest, so she can do this in a pretty official capacity. i'd had it in my mind that she was coming over to bless little isla, and to sacramentally mark her entry into the world by anointing her with holy oil. which andrea did, and which was lovely. but only when andrea began to pray for and anoint the rest of us did i realize that probably we are the ones who needed that sacrament even more than isla.

we've had a week of ups and downs, of the deepest felt love and the strangest sadness. noah is confused and seems angry with me, and sometimes rough with isla. i am post-partum, hormones racing through my body making me think i can't adequately mother these two little ones. and physically i am sore and tired, with even sitting still requiring effort. aaron is his usual strong and supportive self, but he can only do so much. and he is on his own search for fullness, in his work and his creative life. isla is calm and lovely, but she too is figuring out how to be a person in the world. we are all in a strange new place.

which made andrea's prayers--for strength, for peace, for patience and healing--all the more apt, for all of us. and i felt the touch of her fingers on my forehead, tracing the sign of the cross in holy oil, as a powerful seal--sealing me to these other fragile members of my family, sealing my bursting heart, sealing my bleeding wounds, sealing us all to christ.

and we all fell asleep smelling sweet and strong.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

hello, isla louise

isla louise bandstra was born at 3:07am on sunday, august 31. she weighed ten pounds and was 22 1/2 inches long. her birth was a successful VBAC at skagit valley hospital in mount vernon, washington. we had a fantastic nurse midwife and a wonderful doula, and we couldn't have done it without them. we are all nesting in our cozy new home and getting to know this lovely little girl. hooray!