Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Heaven Help Me

I got four hours of sleep between the hours of 10:00 p.m. last night and 10:00 a.m. this morning.


Heather sleeps great during the day, but I've never been one to be able to take naps so much.


I've done better on that over the past two weeks, but I haven't been able to manage one today yet.


Good times.
It's a good thing she's a cutie.
(I'm nearly tempted to try a bit of caffeine again)

UPDATE: 6:02 p.m. I was just able to get a nap for nearly 90 minutes, and I'm feeling much much better now. Whew!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

a smidgen of this and that

Two years ago yesterday, I went to San Diego on a little vacation with Camilla and Ilsa. While the three of us were on the bus to Sea World, my then-newish-boyfriend Eric called me, and we chatted for a while. As we pulled into the parking lot, and Eric and I wound up our conversation, Eric said to me:



"Well . . . I love you."


This is one of the first times Eric had said that to me, and it was definitely the first time he had said it to me while I was around other people. Being mindful of the fact that I had two friends within earshot, and being somewhat hesitant to declare anything right then, my inner cowardly lion came out and I answered:


"Me too."


Of course, Ilsa and Camilla (who had been pretending to be in conversation with each other, but had really just been ardently listening to my side of the conversation), were not at all fooled by this, and they razzed me about my cowardice as soon as I hung up. That was the last time I ever let Eric tell me he loved me without making it absolutely clear to him that I loved him right back.


A lot can change in two years, huh? Now I'm married to Eric, and even as I type this, our little baby is sleeping upstairs. Wow.


* * *


Friday night Eric and I rented a few videos, ordered take-out, and settled in for what will probably be the first of many in-home date nights. We rented the movie "Be Kind, Rewind", and we both thought it was just hilarious. (Jacob, you and Melissa will probably not enjoy it, as its humor is of the quirky-Napoleon-Dynamite variety.) I'm becoming more and more of a Jack Black fan all the time (although I still haven't seen Nacho Libre).



* * *

I'll end this post with my favorite picture (so far) of Heather, and a few things that I've learned postpartum:



  • In the absence of a Kleenex, a burp cloth works well in the handling of unexpected "baby blues" tears.*

  • When changing a diaper, it is best to have the clean diaper prepped and ready to go before you remove the wet or soiled diaper from the baby.

  • If you want to avoid leaks and blowouts (and who doesn't?), it's helpful to place the diaper on the baby quite snugly, just tight enough that it doesn't cause her pain, in fact.

  • Even at 4:00 a.m., when I'm exhausted and a bit sore, and trying to deal with a whole bunch of changes within a very short time, one quick smile from my Heather can turn everything around for me.



*If you're worried, don't be. I'm fine. I cry a bit more than I used to just now, but the crying spells pass quickly, and generally for no apparent reason. That makes me inclined to think that it's just hormones, combined with sudden lack of sleep, and that things should settle down as I get more experience with this whole motherhood thing. As you might imagine, Eric is (as always) being a real gem about it all, and taking it in stride. What a lucky girl I am.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

forever

This post started out to NOT be about our Heather (but then, it veered right back to Heather. What can I say? Surely soon I'll be able to blog about something else, right? In the meantime, if you get tired of Heather stories, you can take a break from reading here for a couple of weeks and I won't blame you). The fact is, I just can't get enough of her. I'm more and more amazed (and a little frightened) every day that Eric and I have been entrusted with her care and upbringing. I wake up every morning just thrilled (although a little tired) to discover that she is still living here, that she's actually ours and doesn't belong to anyone else.

Last night, I was thinking about the fact that my mom is leaving tomorrow, and Eric and I will be much more on our own than we are now. I got thinking about the many many times that I have driven out of Cedar City with tears in my eyes and a sob in my throat as I left my dearest siblings, parents, and nieces and nephews. I'm a sentimental person anyway, and leaving those dear ones to travel back to my home here was at times was nearly more than I could bear.

Since Eric and I married, parting with my family has been much easier. Oh, I still miss them, and I still get terribly excited at the prospect of being with them, but now that my Eric either 1)comes and leaves with me or 2)is waiting at our home for me to return; leaving the family isn't as difficult. And why should it be? Eric is my best friend. He's my favorite, and I'm his favorite. Silly as that may seem, it's immensely comforting to me.

So anyway, last night I got thinking about all of that, and I realized that Heather isn't an adorable little niece of mine, or a cute neighbor girl, or the darling little Sunbeam that waves to me every week in Primary. Heather is my daughter.

She is mine.

She is mine, and when my mom goes home tomorrow, Heather will stay here with me. I don't have to leave her when Christmas or Thanksgiving or a family reunion or whatever-other-special-occasion-that-might-occur is over. She will live with Eric and I for years and years to come, and I will be able to see her pretty much every day for the next I-don't-know-how-many-years. What's more, by virtue of the temple sealing in which Eric and I participated when we got married, Heather is mine forever.

It seems pretty basic, doesn't it? I mean, duh! But, realizing that last night just swelled my heart with joy.

So, I can say goodbye to my mother for now. I'm sure I'll miss her-I'll miss having her here so I can ask her all my nervous new-mother questions, but that's what a telephone is for, right? I'll miss our laundry and dishes magically washing themselves as they have for the past week, and the housecleaning elves that have been in residence here (even to the point of cleaning our nasty nasty oven), but it will be good for me to get back into the swing of all that, and to start gaining the practice of balancing and priority-setting, right? Mostly I'll miss laughing with her and swapping stories with her and running errands with her. She's one of my best friends, and I love the time I spend with her.

And why shouldn't I? I'm her daughter.

I am hers.

What's more, by virtue of the temple sealing in which she and my father participated when they got married, I'm hers forever.


Yup, Forever.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Heather's first bath


Before


After

We don't have any "during" shots, because she hated the whole experience. So, we had our hands full.

As far as an update, my mom is here helping out, which is making the middle-of-the-night adventures so much more endurable than they otherwise might be. I'm recovering pretty well, and Eric and I are loving the opportunity to get to know our little Heather.

While I was pregnant, I spoke with lots of mothers, seeking their counsel, and (more importantly) their comfort. They all said basically the same thing (in various words). They said that being a mom was hard work, but that having a baby would change my life forever, and give me a whole new definition of joy, one that really can't be explained or defined. I believed them of course, but it was hard to grasp what they were really saying.

I think I have a pretty good idea now.

I never knew it would be this good.



Friday, September 19, 2008

We decided to name her Heather

She's here!
Born earlier this week, weighing in at 7 pounds 10 ounces, and 19 1/2 inches long.





I trust that you will forgive me, and recognize that I'm just a helplessly devoted new mother when I say that she is unequivocally the most beautiful baby that I have ever seen.


Everything went quite well, and we just recently returned from the hospital. There is so much I could write about how great, humbling, and indescribably beautiful the last few days have been, but I'm a little on the exhausted side, and I want to wait until the feelings settle down a bit so that I have a more clear feeling of what is and is not appropriate to share with the world. So, for now, I'll just post a few pictures of our little angel.



Thanks to all of you who were praying for us and thinking of us. I am positive that those prayers made a difference for all three of us.






She has the dearest smile. I wish you could all see it in person.


Soon after she was born, (while I was still recovering and hadn't seen her for more than 30 seconds), Eric told me that they had given her the award for "Cutest Baby in the Nursery". We were both feeling quite proud of ourselves until we noticed that every other baby had received the same award. That's as it should be though, right? I mean, what kind of hospital would have a beauty pageant in the nursery? I don't know if I can think of a worse idea.










The new and (vastly) improved Eric & Charlotte Cantwell Family
And this last one is just for fun. I like to think that she's preparing for a life of singing here.

And that's the big news from these parts. I'll post again at some point, probably when I've caught up on my sleep.

(so it might be a year or two)

(just kidding)

(kidding about the not posting for a year or two, not about the getting caught up on sleep anytime soon)

(okay-really, this is the end of this post.)

-cc

Monday, September 15, 2008

I hope I remember this feeling forever

Last night Eric and I took a very short walk around our neighborhood. I was on the tail end of an unexpected and unwelcome bout of food poisoning (don't even ask) , and that combined with the events planned for this week was (were?) making me pretty anxious and high-strung. Eric suggested (rightly) that a little time out of the house might be good for both of us.


As we walked, we stopped by a little park. I should mention that when I (happily) moved into the townhome where we now live, I was thirty-four, single, childless, and had no real marriage prospects on the horizon. Shortly after I moved in, work started on this particular playground. I remember watching the work, being very interested in the progress, while simultaneously feeling some sorrow that I wouldn't be bringing any children of my own there to play.


Anyway, as Eric and I sat in the swings and chatted last night, I realized that in all likelihood, we'll be bringing our little girl to this very same park this spring. It was a great feeling and a great night. There was a full moon and a cloudless sky. The temperature was just perfect for swinging, and Eric pushed me (gently) on the swing for a bit, while we talked about our past, our future, our present, and the different kinds of dog breeds that we'd seen recently (yeah, we're random like that). Considering that I'm 29 pounds heavier than I was in January, have ankles that look like they belong to an elephant instead of to me, and had spent the previous evening and night alternating between lying on our bed and kneeling in our bathroom, I'd have to say that it was about as romantic of an evening as I've ever experienced.


Not a bad way to end one stage of life and start another, if you ask me.



* * *


So, tomorrow is the big day. I don't know when I'll next have computer access, and to be honest, starting tomorrow, I kind of doubt that blogging will be quite as high of a priority for me for a while. What I'm saying is, with the exception of a quick "Everything turned out great, here's a picture of the little princess, and thanks for your prayers" post when I'm home from the hospital and back on-line, you may not see much posted here for a bit.

Or maybe you will. Maybe I'll be so enamored with our little girl that I'll drive you all crazy with daily details about how she sleeps, how she drools, and how many turns Eric is taking with the whole diaper duty detail.


I guess we'll just have to see, huh?


Friday, September 12, 2008

Peace

Last night I had my first baby dream that was unequivocally happy. As you may have noticed from reading other baby posts here, at times I've been a little intimidated and nervous about this whole pending parenthood thing. Occasionally that nervousness has spilled over into my dreams and they've been a little (but not a lot) unsettling. This time was different.



Eric and I were in the hospital, and I'd delivered the baby. I wasn't in pain at all. I remember thinking that that part was kind of weird, but I sure was grateful.



We didn't have the baby with us though. I knew that I'd given birth earlier that morning, but for some reason they hadn't brought us the baby yet, even though it was nearly 6:00 p.m.



All of a sudden, I realized that I had forgotten to call one of my friends, a friend that I had promised that I would call as soon as our baby was born. That was the scariest part of the dream. I made the call, and everything was okay again.



I asked the nurse to bring us the baby, and she did. There was a whole room full of people there--my mom and Eric and me and a random aunt and uncle (??? I have no idea why they were there), as well as two neighborhood kids (again-I have no idea why they were there). We were all sitting on this really long couch and they brought our baby in.



She was beautiful. She was also huge. She looked like she was maybe two months old, even though I knew she was only a day old. She had dark brown hair, and we were all so happy to see her. She smiled at us all. I got to hold her before anyone else, and it was so very precious. Waaaaaaay more precious than any baby-holding I'd ever done at any other point in my life.



Then I woke up.



Nice.



(After I went back to sleep I dreamed that I was following Jason Bourne around. We encountered numerous scary and life-threatening situations as he tried to piece together the missing aspects of his life. It was significantly more stressful than the baby dream. )(I've spent the last week watching The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum on DVD-just in case you are wondering.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

and you thought I was done with birthday poetry

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Kami, Happy Birthday to you.



(This does not count as a birthday poem.)


I met Kami several years ago, when she was assigned to be my visiting teacher. She and another girl would come to my house every month and we would have a nice little chat. Usually along with the chat, one of the two of them would share with me some kind of spiritual or inspirational message, and that was great. What I appreciated most though was the genuine friendship that we developed.

I've heard some critical remarks from time to time about the visiting teaching program in the church. Generally the remarks center around the idea that visiting teaching is in effect taking people and "assigning" them to be friends with each other, and how that is presumptuous and never really works anyway.


I won't go into all the reasons why I disagree with this statement, but I will say this: I have many dear dear friends in my circle now that I met and became close to during the times that we spent in each others homes visiting teaching each other. Kami is one of the best examples of this that I have.

I think she's the greatest.

So, with that, here is Kami's birthday poem.

(I know I said I wasn't going to do any more birthday poetry. What can I say? I changed my mind. That happens sometimes.)

Ode to Kami

-by Charlotte C. Cantwell

She has brown hair and sparkly eyes,


And a smile that can light up the skies.

Fiercely loyal to family and friend,

She's one you'd want with you to the end.

She rarely complains, but often smiles,

Although she's certainly had her share of trials (especially in the past 1-2 years)

She knows how to have a good time,

And I'm grateful to count her as a friend of mine.

So Kami, though you deserve much more,

I send you wishes for birthday presents galore!

And my hopli-est hope just for you,

is that this year all your fondest dreams might come true.






(The formatting is a little funky on this post. Sorry about that. I don't know why it's happening, and I don't know html well enough to fix it.)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Staying out of the Borrow Pit

"Do you realize that you are driving in the 'borrow pit'*?"

"That left turn was a little sharp, don't you think?"

"Now, ease, no, eeeeeaaaaazzzz off of the clutch."


All these statements were said (with a rueful smile so I would know that he wasn't really mad at me), by my father nearly twenty-two years ago. He was sitting rigidly in the passenger seat of our faithful Dodge Colt, while the nearly-sixteen-year-old-version-of-me tried (usually in vain) to work the controls in the driver's seat.

The Colt had a standard transmission, and back in those early learning days, I honestly didn't think I would ever get the hang of working the clutch and gas together in harmony. I would look at my parents, older cousins, and other relatives in awe as they would drive these cars, manage to shift gears, all while seamlessly maintaining a conversation with me or whoever happened to be in the front seat with them. They didn't stall the engine, they didn't miss a stoplight, they didn't even cause the car to shake or jolt the tiny-est bit. It absolutely amazed me. I couldn't imagine how they could have the coordination to do it all at the same time, and I was positive that I would never ever be able to it.

I remember my mother telling me once that eventually it would become second nature to me, and I'd be able to shift and accelerate and brake and do all those wonderful driving things without even having to think about them. I wanted to believe her, but I honestly couldn't fathom how she could possibly be right.

As it turned out, she was. I'm proud to say that I am now able to drive a car with a standard transmission without getting a tension headache. In fact, I can take a sip of water, or talk to someone in the seat next to me, or chew gum, or sing along to the radio at the same time as I am driving the car, and it all works out just fine. (Note: I can't do all those things together at the same time as I am driving. That would definitely push me over the edge.) I can drive a stick shift, and I almost never end up in the 'borrow pit' anymore.

I think about that sometimes. I especially think about it when I'm starting something new and/or difficult, something that is waaaay outside my comfort zone, something that I'm afraid I'll never learn to do adequately, let alone well. I've thought about it as I've accepted new church callings, started new jobs, taken on new responsibilities, and entered into new stages of life.

Silly as it might seem, reflecting on the fact that I am able to drive a car with a standard transmission often gives me courage to try things that I otherwise might not have the guts to attempt.


And what's not to like about that?

Happy Tuesday,


char





*I used to think he was saying "barrel pit", and I never understood why he called it that. It's not like there were ever any barrels there.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A virtual tour of our nusery

Well, I think our nursery is just about as ready as it's going to be, and so just for fun, here are some pictures. Since I'm basically incapable of posting anything without a few (sometimes rather long) explanations, you're going to be in for a few of those as well. So, if you choose to read on, now you've been forewarned.
* * *

This is the view as you enter the door to the nursery. It's yellow. There are two reasons for this. First, yellow is my favorite color. Second, the room was already yellow, and Eric and I are very lazy when it comes to things like painting. So, we left it. I think it works, don't you? Note the giant alligator who is currently in residence in the crib. His days there are numbered.


This print below is the first thing you see as you enter the nursery. It was painted by a man named Del Parson, and it's one of my favorites. I received it for Christmas a few years ago from one of my brothers and his wife. I love the little girl, because (although I was not that pretty when I was that age), her long brown hair and serious looking eyes reminds me of the little girl that grew up to be me. Anyway, it matches our room, and considering the genes that Eric and I are likely to have, I think we have a better-than-average chance of having a little girl with brown hair. I like to think that maybe the picture will be meaningful to her as well. I guess we'll see about that.
This below is my attempt at what Amanda calls "mad skillz". There's a story behind this one (hey-I warned you that some of the explanations may be long), and here it is:

The fact is, I'm a bit nervous about how I'm going to deal with the reality of having less time/energy/ability to keep our house up to some level of cleanliness in a few weeks than I do now. I still remember (more vividly than I'd like to admit) how everything kind of piled up and got filthy (well, maybe not filthy, but definitely not clean) when I was in that first trimester of exhaustion and nausea. I'm a bit concerned that this will happen again, that it will drive me crazy, and that I will allow it to destroy what otherwise could be a very happy time for Eric and me and the little princess.

I love to be in an organized house, and I feel better when I am. At the same time though, there are many many more important things in the world than having a pristine house. Not that I've ever had a pristine house, mind you. So, I suppose I should say that there are many many more important things in the world than having a tidy, uncluttered house with no dishes in the sink, no dust on the piano, and freshly vacuumed floors.

As I pondered this a couple of weeks ago, I thought back to a verse that I think my mother had hanging up somewhere, and I decided I might do well to have a visual reminder for myself as these changes come on. I looked on the web for the parts that I couldn't pull out of my memory, and found this:

I hope that my child, looking back on this day,
will remember a mother who had time to play;
For children grow up when you're not looking,
there are years ahead for cleaning and cooking.
So quiet now cobwebs, dust go to sleep,
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.


I didn't have a pattern for this wall hanging, so for the first time in my life, I made my own. Then I stitched it up, found a frame at the craft store, painted it, and voila! Here it is--my own personalized bit of stitchery. I actually ended up going through the whole process twice, because the first time I didn't get the lines straight at all, and the letters were all different kinds of sizes, and it just looked much too rustic. Actually, let's be honest. It looked like a five-year-old was trying to practice his letters by writing out this poem. It hung on the wall for exactly one day before I couldn't take it any more and I had to do it again. It's all good though. It was my first time, after all.




This is (quite obviously) the closet. Note the beautiful dresser that Mr. Cantwell assembled a few weeks ago. As to the clothes, all I can say is that thanks to many of our generous friends and family, our daughter is going to be more fashionably dressed in her first year of life than I ever have been or ever will be. Who knew that clothes could be so fun?




This is the other side of the room. The baby swing (in the left bottom corner) will not be there after we have our baby. I keep it there now because it feels weird to have a baby swing in the main living are of our house, when we don't yet have a baby. Another thing, you'll notice the daybed. This room used to be our spare room, and we decided to keep the bed there, in case we have a special kind of visitor. What would qualify one as a "special kind of visitor" you ask? Well, this visitor would be more comfortable sharing a room with a (possibly crying) baby while sleeping in a real bed, than he/she/they would be sleeping on an air mattress in the living room downstairs. I'm actually quite curious to see which kind of visitor we end up seeing/hosting more.



The framed stitchery in this photo was given to me by my friend Katrina. The relief of the two girls was given to me by my friend Heidi. The two babies in the gold frame are Eric and me. The gold frame is quite old--my maternal grandmother had it on a table in what passed for her office the entire time I knew her. Inside the frame were baby/toddler pictures of me and my oldest cousin. When I was young (and even when I was older), I felt really happy inside about that.

And finally, we have the gloworm (temporarily hanging out in the baby swing). When I was little, I adored these little guys, although I never owned one of my own. So, you can imagine the thrill I had when we received one at the baby shower that the Opera Folk threw for us a few days ago.

(As you might imagine, Eric was pretty jazzed about it as well.)


And there you have it-a long rambling tour of what is currently the most beloved room in our home.
* * *
As for news, we've added a new name to our top five, and the possibilities now are Amanda, Aubrey, Samantha, Sarah, and (here's the new one) Heather. I have to admit, I'm leaning further towards Heather than I have for any other name so far. So far Eric's pretty keen on it as well, which is a good sign.

Also, my doctor moved the date for the C-Section back a few days, so we're no longer planning on September 12. Although I'm not enjoying this last bit of pregnancy all that much, I'm thrilled to be able to continue on with it for a while if it will help our little girl to be more equipped for life on the outside.

And that's the news from these parts at the moment.

-cc

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Yeah, perhaps I should have asked about this nine months ago.

LAST NIGHT

Scene: The bedroom. Charlotte and Eric are kneeling by the bed, getting ready to say their evening prayers. As is often the case, they get started on a conversation before they get around to praying. (Please don't ask me why we do this. It invariably leads to me having sore knees and completely numb legs. Yet, we continue on, starting conversations while kneeling by the bed. I wish I could say that it is all Eric's doing, but alas, I start them at least as often as he does)

Eric: So, when we get this baby, how are we going to work the whole diaper change thing? Are we going to take turns?

Charlotte (with a teasing gleam in her eye): Actually, I was thinking that you would be changing them all.

Eric: Oh, right, of course!

Charlotte: Seriously though, yeah, I guess we'll take turns. I haven't given it much thought, honestly. Why? What do you think?

Eric: Oh nothing, that will be fine. It's just that . . .

Pause. Charlotte patiently waits for Eric to finish his statement in spite of the fact that she's being eaten up with curiosity.

Eric: Well, I've only changed one diaper in my whole life.

Charlotte (incredulously): WHAT?? Are you KIDDING ME?? One diaper?

Eric (somewhat proudly): Yup.

Charlotte: When?

Eric: When I was babysitting. I was fourteen.

Charlotte (doing the math in her head): So, you haven't changed a diaper in nearly twenty-two years?

Eric: I guess not.

Charlotte (chuckling softly): Oh my friend, things are a changin' for you!

The conversation drifts on to other things including the fact that while Charlotte doesn't mind changing diapers so much, she's dreading the day that they have a toddler who gets the stomach flu and vomits all over the bed or something like that. This then results in a very long conversation about many of the different experiences that either Charlotte or Eric have had or heard about involving children and upset stomachs and the inevitable results therefrom. We will spare our kind readers from the gruesome details, and end the scene at this point.

(In case you are wondering, we did end up saying our family prayer eventually.)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

And the winner is . . .


-amanda of "No Shopping for 30 Days!" and "amanda's favs"!


Amanda, send me an e-mail at charlottelaughs at gmail dot com and tell me which sweater you like and where to send it.


Thanks to all of you who participated.


As for the rest of you faithful readers, I'm afraid this is all I have time for just now. It's been a long day, and I've still got all kinds of loose ends to tie up before I have this baby in less than 10 days.


Aack!


Yippee!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Food Storage-Charlotte Style

The Public Affairs division of my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has asked Church members to share their experiences with maintaining and utilizing food storage via blogs, and other Internet sites. You an see the official request here. Our Prophets through the years have recommended, suggested, urged, and implored us to obtain and maintain an extra store of food, and I've tried to be obedient, with varying degrees of success.

So, that's what this post is all about. I warn you in advance, I don't have any dramatic, miraculous, or unbelievable experiences to share. However, that might be all for the best. Sometimes I get overwhelmed or intimidated reading about the miraculous and unbelievable experiences of others. If you are the same way, then this post will probably spare you those feelings.

When I was a college student, my efforts at food storage were meager, to say the least. Between tuition and rent and having very cramped quarters, food storage ended up being something that often fell towards the bottom of my priority list. However, it was still on the priority list, and so I did make some sporadic efforts to store what food I could. I did this by creating little pockets of canned goods or powdered milk under my bed, on the floor of my closet, or in the bottom drawer of my dresser. I figured (hoped) that if I did the best that I could with my limited space and limited funds, that the Lord would take my "mustard seed" of an effort, and provide for my needs, should I find myself in a position where I needed that food storage. As it turned out, He blessed me even more than that, and although some weeks were pretty tight, I never found myself in a position of being without food or without money to purchase food while I was in college.

When I got out of school, I moved to a place with more room, and I was able to get a job that paid for all my needs and some of my wants as well. At that point, I knew that I was capable of doing more in the food storage area, and that if I was going to be worthy of the blessings I'd received in the past, I needed to up my efforts a bit.

I started out small, purchasing 1-2 (or 3-5 if I was feeling flush) extra cans of soup or tomato sauce or vegetables whenever I happened to be buying those items for my own cooking and consumption. Eventually I progressed to shopping the case lot sales that my community grocery stores had once or twice per year. I didn't go crazy, and I refused to use credit cards or other debt to fund my food storage, but little by little, my pantry got more full. I tried to organize the food by types, which made it easier for me to see when I was getting low on an item before I was completely out. After a year or two of this, I felt like I had a pretty good supply, and now it's just a matter of keeping up with our consumption.

About three or so years ago, I decided to add another aspect to my food storage plan. I went to this site and used the calculator to determine how many pounds of grains, dried beans, and other items I would need for a year (at the time I started this, I wasn't married yet. Once Eric and I got married, I went back and ran it for the two of us. I suppose in a year or two, I'll have to go back and run it for the three of us). Then, every month or two, I would go to my local Home Storage Center (but I could have gone to a grocery store if I didn't have a Home Storage Center nearby), and I would spend between $30-$50 to get some of the more long-term storage items. Since I ended up buying quite a bit of wheat, one month I purchased a hand wheat grinder instead of more food.

I'd say that it took me about 2 years at this pace to get a full years' supply for Eric and I. I call it our Emergency Food Storage, and as I obtained it, I stored it all (along with the wheat grinder) in our crawl space (of which you can see a picture here), which has lots and lots of room, but is not nearly as accessible as our pantry.

I love how economical my emergency food storage was to obtain, and how little it needs to be rotated (most of these items store for 30 years or more). However, there is one big drawback. The fact is, Eric and I are not in the habit of eating whole wheat and legumes every day. Since our digestive systems are not used to these foods, if we should find ourselves in need of eating it to survive, it could be rather uncomfortable for our bodies to make that necessary shift. I mitigate this possibility by continuing to keep our pantry stocked with canned goods and the other foods that we eat on a regular basis. I hope to be able to supplement one type of storage with another, should the need present itself.

And there you have it, the E&C Cantwell Storage Experience (so far). As I mentioned, I've not had any dramatic miraculous experiences as a result of keeping a food storage supply (yet).* I'm okay with that. The little conveniences that I experience are definitely enough for me. See, I save time and money by not having to run to the grocery store as often as I used to in my pre-storage days, and I almost never have the frustrating experience of being in the middle of a recipe and finding that I don't have all the ingredients to complete it.

But most importantly (for a worrier like me), I sleep better every night, knowing that we have a little extra stored away in case of something unexpected. Now that's what I call a miracle.







*I do consider the fact that I was able to put myself through school, going full-time and working minimum wage jobs for 10-15 hours per week, all without incurring any student loans or ever going hungry to be a miracle, but it was a daily miracle, and an easy one to overlook at the time.
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