Thursday, November 8, 2012

Is This The Little Boy At Play?

Most of the moms I know who have a blog do pretty regular posts about their kids.
It makes me feel a little behind the game, because I have not done a single post dedicated just to Arthur. And really, that's a crying shame, because Arthur? He's awesome. And growing and changing FAST.
So today, for no better reason than I am procrastinating cleaning my craft/guest room/dumping ground, here's a little something for my bouncing baby boy.

Arthur, 16 months (and three weeks!)

Arthur, Arthur, Arthur. Where do I begin? You are so, one hundred percent YOU. I thought I knew a lot, was ready to be a Mama, had tons of experience with lots of different kinds of kids. You seem to want to prove me wrong at every turn.

You are strong-willed.
You do not like wearing shoes or socks. You love to climb, and frequently get stuck. You like to do things on your own, but when you want my help you know that there is no substitute (especially when it involves going down the stairs).

You are well behaved.
You spent the entire week leading up to the election at Daddy's office or in the car and you hardly complained. Daddy's co-worker kept saying sarcastically "You guys seriously need to have a happier kid." At church you are friendly to everyone and so happy to be around the big kids and even the little babies. All that being sad, you are capable of throwing one heck of a temper tantrum.

You take after your parents - you like to sleep.
You don't like getting into your crib and often fight and cry when we put you in it, but almost immediately you remember what you get to do there and settle down. And then you sleep. And sleep. And sleep some more. You sleep about 10 hours every night and 2 hours during your afternoon nap. It's one of the reasons your Mama loves you so much.

You talk.
You say: Ball, Hi, Mama, Daddy, Doggy (sort of), "Whadis?,  Night Night, Banana, Light, More, No, Yeah and Uh Oh! I'm sure I've forgetting some. You call books, balls. We're working on that.

You are adorable.

I mean, really, really cute. You have suddenly discovered that you like to read and will bring me book after book to read to you. You like to dance. You love to spin. You like to run and run and run. You love to be outside and you hate that it's too cold for you to play in the yard all the time. You occasionally give us hugs and kisses but you are very careful about when you hand out affection. You have 8 teeth and a big mop of curly hair that gets lots of comments from old ladies at the grocery store. You like to stack things, roll things, throw things and (unfortunately) hit things.

You are wonderful and frustrating and perfect and nothing like we expected and everything we hoped for.


Monday, October 29, 2012

A Book Report On...

One of the items on my 30 before 30 list is proving more difficult than I thought it would be when I set it. 

1. Read all 87 Pulitzer Prize winning novels (7/87)

When I made the list over 2 years ago, I thought this would be one of the easiest to fulfill. I'm a fast reader. Like, lightning fast. Reading a new Harry Potter book in less than half a day fast. 87 books? Pssshh, no problem. What I should have known, is that I really, really should have finished them before Arthur was born. Definitely before he started crawling. And ABSOLUTELY before he began walking. Was I smart and plan ahead for that? Nope, I sure didn't.
Anywho, I have been making some progress. And so I present to you, a book report. Or, rather, reports. I intended to wait until I had all of the winners from the 2000s done before writing this post, but I'm starting to forget my thoughts on the early reads, so I'm just going to get it all down now and then I'm going to try to write a post for each book from now on.

#1 Visits from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan, 2011 Winner
Lordy, I hated this book. It made me so nervous for the rest of the list because I hated it so much. 
The story is a fragmented look at a group of interconnected people. Most of them work in the music industry and much of the novel focuses on the death of music. The rest of the book focuses on how everyone dies, gets old and ends up alone. I think Egan's theory was that everything in life sucks. 
I'm not going to say that I don't appreciate a little artsy-fartsiness every once in awhile, but this was over the top. I felt like she was trying to be deep for deepness' sake and that has always rubbed me the wrong way. 

#2 Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides, 2003 Winner

Thank goodness this was so much better! It restored my faith in the Pulitzer Prize committee. 
The story is that of Cal, an intersex man raised as a girl by his Greek family in Detroit. There are also insights into his family's history, including the relationships that led to Cal's recessive condition. 
The plot was fascinating, the language was beautiful (without trying too hard) and the story was sad and hopeful and heartbreaking all at the same time. If you only read one of the 7 books reviewed here, choose this one. 

#3 Tinkers, Paul Harding, 2010 Winner
After reading this, I decided I was destined to like every other book I read for this project. While I did like slightly more than "Goon Squad", I still was not a huge fan. 
A man on his deathbed narrates his life story, focusing on his relationship with his father. The language is pretty and evocative of senses. While I can appreciate that objectively, I put this book in the "not for me" category. Falling in love with a character, being drawn into an interesting plot, feeling an emotional tie to the story...those things are all more important to me than language. And I know that's a personal preference, but this is a personal blog! Deal with it :)

#4 March, Geraldine Brooks, 2006 Winner

I love companion books more than most things. That is, if they're done well. "March" is the story that was missing from "Little Women", that of the father of our beloved sisters. It was such a lovely read. It felt true to the original characters, without keeping us from finding out new things about them. Seeing Marmee as a fiery young woman was especially intriguing for me. Brooks based much of Mr. March's characterization on the research she did on Louisa May Alcott's father. It is widely known that Alcott based her characters on her own family. 
By the way if you like companion novels, I recommend this one, based on Jane Eyre and this one, based on Beowulf. 

#5 Gilead, Marilynne Robinson, 2005 Winner
Yet another novel written from the perspective of a dying man, but this one slightly more tolerable. This is the story of John Ames, the son and grandson of congregationalist pastors in the Midwest. Since I am the daughter and granddaughter of congregationalist pastors in the Midwest, I felt I should have appreciated this much more. So much of this could have been a family history for me. It's not that I didn't like it. I just wasn't drawn in by it. It took me FOREVER to get through it, despite the fact that it's one of the shortest on the list. 
By the time I finished I didn't even remember to take an instagram picture. Oops. 

#6 The Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz, 2008 Winner

This is the story of a poor nerdy little Dominican boy growing up in New York, his mother, and his sister. This was one of those books that took a long time to get me interested/invested but then I couldn't put it down. I think it took me two weeks to get through the first quarter, and then only a couple days to finish it. I finished this only days before my baby sister left to go to the DR for a year long appointment with the UCC Global Ministries. It was a nice little insight into the world she would be stepping into. 

#7 The Magnificent Ambersons, Booth Tarkington, 1919 Winner
Obviously this was a little departure from the 2000s. I discovered it as a free download on my Nook and started it before I could get to the library for the book I had waiting for me. 
It's been a long time since I've cared about a story where I hate the main character. I hesitate to call him the protagonist, as I believe Tarkington intended for you to hate young George Amberson. By the end of the tale of the rise and fall of this great family at the turn of the century, although I still didn't like him, I cared about him in an odd way. And that was a great feat. 
Loved, loved, loved it. 
Incidentally, there is apparently a very famous movie version directed by Orson Wells. I think I'll check it out soon. 

#8 The Road, Cormac McCarthy, 2007 Winner

Gosh darn, this book was depressing. A post-apocolyptic story of a man and his young son trying their hardest to survive despite starvation, brigands and the elements. Even though I just finished this yesterday, I'm finding it hard to come up with things to say. It was not my favorite but it was very well done. Do you know the difference between "well done" and "good"? I don't know how to describe it, but I feel it covers quite a few of the books on this list.

So that's it! Whew! On to #9. I just began "Olive Kitteridge", which is constantly reminding me of a certain American Girl doll.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

If We Share This Walk Together

Most people can't name the day, the moment, when they grew up. It happens so gradually over time that one day you realize you've done it, but you don't know when.

In some ways, that's the case for me too. But not completely.

October 9th, 2002. That's the day I grew up.

It feels odd to me that it was ten years ago.
Ten years ago, a new freshman far away from home and eager to make friends, I lent my car to a group of girls I was just beginning to know. I was supposed to drive them to a dance club in the town across the state border, but auditions for the fall play were running late and I wanted to stay.

"Here, you can borrow my car."

I handed the keys to a new friend. Funny, full of energy, music loving Christie.
Just a little bit later she was dead. The lives of the rest of the girls in that car would never be the same, some of them suffering life changing injuries.

In many ways, I was on the periphery of that experience. I wasn't there. I don't know how it felt, how scary it was, how overwhelming.

I do know what it was like to be woken up by the Residence Hall Director in the middle of the night. I do know what it was like to go clean out my car and see the aftermath of the accident in broad daylight. I do know what it was like to mourn the loss of one of our own with the rest of my Cottey family.

And I know what it's like to grow up in one day.

Today, as I do many days, I am remembering Christie. The girl I knew so briefly who changed my life so permanently. I am remembering her family and her friends who feel her loss so much more profoundly than I do. And I am remembering the love of a community that I am so grateful for.

"If we share this walk together, nothing can stand in our way. If we share this walk together, we can share the love and the pain. Life can be a challenge, but in our hearts you'll find, a helping hand, someone to understand, a voice that's always kind. If we share this walk together, nothing can stand in our way, if we share this walk together, we can share the love and the pain."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I Have Confidence In Me

Our front door has had the same little spring flower bough on it since March. Around the time I thought I could make spring come by decorating for it. Now, we're well into fall and that spring decoration finally came down today!
The best part? I made the replacement! All by myself! During only one nap time and using only a few store bought items! Go Me!
So. Gasp. This (you have been warned) is a craft post.

The cast of characters
Please Excuse the awful lighting and the obvious mess. I have to spend nap times in the basement playroom or I wake up the lightest sleeper in the world.

I started by wrapping the foam ring with strips of a fall-looking fabric I picked up at a garage sale eons ago. I think it used to be a pillowcase. 

Unfortunately, at some point when I was cutting the strips I had a little accident and didn't notice until I was done wrapping. Random stick-thingy to the rescue! I just attached it with floral wire. 

So you wanna see the final product? Do ya?

Ta Da!

Not perfect, but I'm darn happy with it. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Well, it's my favorite! Far off places...

We watch quite a bit of television at our house. To be honest, I’m perfectly okay with this. We watch less now that Baby A is around, but still quite a bit. 
The other thing you need to know about us is that we are complete and total nerds. Well...I’m a nerd. And I’ve let my nerdiness spread to Skyler. Like a disease. It’s how I made sure to ruin him for other women. I used to be embarrassed by my nerdiness, but I realize now that it is part of what makes me awesome. 
So why am I telling you all of this anyway? Well, because the Boy and I are going on a little journey, and we would like to take you along. This journey is called: The Final Frontier. That’s right...we’re watching our way through Star Trek. All of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t start writing this blog until after we had started, but don’t worry...we still have 400+ hours to go. 
Buy This Amazing Print Here

The question you may be asking yourself is; why would we do this to ourselves? A little background for you. 
When I was little, I was a Trekkie. Not a Trekker, that term hadn’t been invented yet. At least I don’t think it had been. I watched Star Trek: Next Generation like it was my job. I dressed up to go to see Star Trek: Nemesis at the Mall of America with my friends. Followed up by laser tag. I got really into Deep Space 9 and Voyageur for awhile too. One year, I got a Spock ornament for Christmas. Then, well, I’m not sure what happened. I lost interest. My friend who was into Star Trek with me moved to Colorado. I became aware of the immense social ostracism caused by my obsession with a television show about a star ship captained by an English dude with a thing for tea and piloted by an eleven year old. In any case, besides a few episodes caught on SciFi from time to time, I hadn’t watched anything Star Trek related in almost a decade. 

Me, circa 1993. Sigh. 

Enter the Boy. From quite literally the beginning of our relationship, I have been introducing him to all things nerdy. He was one of those cool kids in school. He had been into...well I’ll be honest I don’t know what the cool things were back then. If I had known, I would have been cool. Eminem and sports maybe? Or Tupac and big parties? I don’t know. In any case, when he met me, let’s just say his mind was opened to new things. Things like Buffy and musicals and Slings and Arrows. He is still not into all of it. He insists he “puts up” with musicals just for me. As if I haven’t heard him humming some Loerner and Lowe under his breath from time to time. I digress. The point is that I had been the initiator of all things nerdy in our lives. 
Little did I know, I had unleashed a monster. 
Or, since this post is about nerds...a dragon. I unleashed a dragon. 
Imagine my surprise when I walked into our room at the HouseofBoys (another story for another day) and found him watching an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. 

Me: “What are you doing?”
He: “I watch this sometimes.”
Me: “It’s Star Trek.”
He: “You’ve ruined me for other women.”

I sat down and watched the episode with him and was reminded of why I loved Star Trek in the first place. So then, I watched it sometimes. Unfortunately, this meant on the rare instances we would try to watch the show together, one of us had invariably seen the episode already, but the other one hadn’t. It also meant I knew exactly what was going to happen at the beginning of the final season but had no idea what was going on in Season 2. We got frustrated and stopped watching. 
Finally, about a year later, JJ Abrams introduced his beautiful masterpiece that is the new and improved I’ve-never-found-Vulcans-so-sexy Star Trek. We went to see it and then we went to see it again. And AGAIN. We’re poor. We don’t see movies in the theatre twice. We certainly don’t see them three times. But we couldn’t help it. We were in love (with the movie, and with each other, although in this instance, the movie is what I was talking about).
At that moment we decided we needed to really experience Star Trek. We decided we wanted to be able to go to a convention someday and actually know what people were talking about. We wanted to not feel like posers if we ever decide to visit Riverside, Iowa, which after all is on our way to visit our a round about sort of way. 
Netflix to the rescue!!!
As of right now, we have finished Enterprise, The Original Series, and all the movies that go with TOS. We also watched the animated series, although that was in a distracted "we'd rather be doing something else" sort of way. The animated series was awful, but blessedly short. We took a break from Star Trek to discover Doctor Who (holy crap, where has THAT been all my life?) and Sherlock. We are now about half way through the first season of Next Generation. My memory of this show is patchy so far. I either remember every.detail.ever of an episode or I feel like I've never seen an episode. Not a lot of in between.  
The next Star Trek post will tell you a little about what we’ve thought so far and what’s next in our voyage with our favorite ship. Well... our second favorite ship. Because obviously, there's another, shiny shiny ship out there in the 'verse that we love just a little bit more. And then there's that darn policebox...Okay, we have a lot of favorite ships. 

We're nerds alright. 
Live long and prosper kids. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

If you doubt it, take a bite

I decided recently to take on freezer cooking for the first time since my pregnancy. Strangely enough, August is not that busy of a month for us. I guess is why I felt I could tackle this, but it's a little counter intuitive. You'd think I would do it for the months where I am busiest! I had a plan for 15 meals, enough to get us through the month once I added in leftover nights, nights out of town and spaghetti nights (a staple around these parts). Then some unexpected expenses hit us and I decided to squeeze that month long menu down to just two weeks. I'll do the second two weeks of the plan later in the month. I made last night's dinner, tonight's dinner to put in the fridge and 5 meals for the freezer. We are also having spaghetti one night which comes together quickly, as does the salmon for Tuesday. 
I've included the links to the recipes I borrowed. 

Thursday – Le Tien
Saturday – Grill – Cilantro Thai Grilled Chicken, Zucchini, Naan
Sunday -- Church Potluck (Salad)
Monday – Salsa Chicken
Tuesday – Leftovers
Wednesday – Beef and Broccoli, TJ's Potstickers, Rice 
Thursday - Thom Kha
F/S/S – Out of Town
Monday  - BBQ Chicken (crockpot) 
Tuesday – Salmon, Potatoes, Brussel Sprouts
Wednesday – Spaghetti

Here's what my counter looked like when I started out:

That's a lot of food! I spent 20 bucks at our farmer's market, $150 at Aldi and $50 at our regular grocery store. That also included quite a bit of shopping for staples and paper products that we were low on, dog food, and some frozen treats. It's hot here! That's a little over budget, but we were low on a lot of staples and I won't have to go grocery shopping for at least two weeks. There were also some things I already had in my pantry, including the things I always stock up on at Trader Joe's when I'm in the Twin Cities. That includes the frozen brown rice I get because I always mess up rice if I make it myself and the lowfat coconut milk for the Thom Kha. 

Weirdest Carrot Ever!

My method was simple. I prepped all the veggies, then the meat, then I assembled. The exception to that was the lasagna and the Thom Kha. They required the elements to be cooked, so I multitasked and did that in between chopping and peeling. In the future I won't include the lasagna recipe on a big cooking day. It was complicated and might be better to do all on it's own. 

All the veggies for the lasagna. The recipe requires the squash to be roasted, the onions to be caramelized and the spinach to be wilted all in different steps. 

I made Le Tien for last night's dinner so I chopped the veggies for that first and then let it cook while I did the rest of the prep for the other meals.

Here's the recipes for Le Tien, Thom Kha and the Salsa Chicken. These are recipes that I make often enough and have changed over the years enough that I consider them "mine."

Le Tien - One of my favorite things from my childhood
One Eggplant
Several Medium Sized Tomatoes
Several Medium Sized Onions
6 oz. Mushrooms
3 cloves Garlic
Herbes de Provence (or Italian seasoning)
Olive Oil
Mozzarella Cheese (I used about a cup, shredded)

Pre-heat your oven to 375. Chop all the veggies into slices. If your eggplant is fat, you might need to cut the slices in half. You want your rounds to be close to uniform. Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of an oval baking dish. Place the garlic in the bottom of the dish along with about a tablespoon of Herbes de Provence. Now stack your veggies in, standing up, alternating between the eggplant, tomato and onion. Wedge the mushrooms in where they fit. Drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper and more herbes de provence. Here's a really crappy picture of what it will look like:

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour until eggplant is translucent and onion is tender. Cover with mozzarella and bake until golden and bubbly and looks sorta like this:

You can also freeze this recipe, just wrap the casserole dish tightly in saran wrap and leave off the mozzarella. I've done it before and it freezes well. 

Salsa Chicken
2-3 Chicken Breasts, cut into chunks
1 Jar of Salsa (I used some stuff from our farmer's market)
Veggies of choice, cut into chunks - I put in an extra tomato, a zucchini and some beautiful purple peppers, all from the farmer's market
1 Tablespoon Chipotle Powder (optional, I use Penzey's)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Throw it all in a freezer bag. When ready to cook put in a crock pot with a tub of plain greek yogurt for 6-7 hours. Serve with rice or tortillas. 

Thom Kha - 
Two Tupperwares of Chicken Stock (No, that's really how I measure my stock. I'm guessing this ends up as around 3 cups)
One can coconut milk. I use the lowfat stuff from Trader Joe's
Lee's Thom Kha paste - I get this at our asian market. I've made it without this and it's fine but not quite the same. 
Fresh ginger root, julienned
2-3 garlic cloves

Combine all the items above and let them simmer for at least 20 minutes. Then add
1 cup chicken, cut into thin strips
Juice of 1 lime and the rest of the lime
1 cup chopped cilantro

Simmer until chicken is cooked through. Remove lemongrass and lime. Let cool before freezing. Serve with rice, more cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime. 

So that's it! Certainly not a profesional effort at freezer cooking, but I'm proud of myself and it's going to feel really nice that I don't have to do much in the kitchen over these next few very hot weeks. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Food Glorious Food!

My Pinterest habit is getting out of control. I just love it so much. I love that I can find all sorts of things for Arthur and I can look at pretty things and get ideas for the house and my closet and travel and oh my.

I ESPECIALLY love the recipes.  It's super going to help do #27 on my 30 before 30 list.

Try a new recipe at least twice a month (0/72)

A total of 72 recipes seems like a whole lot, especially because up until the last few weeks I haven't been keeping track of any new recipes I've tried.
That's another thing that Pinterest is helping me out with...remembering things. I created a board to put the things that I've actually DONE. I'm calling it "Tried It, Made It, Ate It, Did It".

I wanted to share with you the best recipes I've posted to that board so far and also write down the tweaks that I did so I'll remember them in the future.

First Up:

The Pioneer Woman's Spicy Whiskey BBQ Sliders
These were to die for. 
I made them for Super Bowl Sunday. Skyler and I have a tradition where we make absolutely no plans for the Super Bowl and then decide last minute that we really want to watch the game (and the commercials) and what's our DVR for if not to record Downton Abbey so we can watch the Super Bowl but what's a Super Bowl with snack food and will you please go to the store and pick some stuff up? This year we did our tradition around 3 pm. Kickoff was at 5. I had food on the table by halftime! 
We don't eat a lot of beef in our house...steaks and burgers in the summer, chili, stew and roast in the winter and the occasional goulash. Football without a hamburger though? Sacrilege! This recipe I could happily make again and again. I scaled it down for us, using a little less than a pound of ground beef. I also substituted canned jalepenos for the jarred she used because I live in Wisconsin and while there are shelves and shelves and shelves of pickled herring and sauerkraut there's not so much a selection of peppers. 
The other big reason I love this recipe is that I can have two hamburgers and not feel bad, because they're sliders and they're little :)
Try it. Tonight. 

Our other favorite recipe I've tried is My Recipes Fish Tacos
Fish Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Crema Recipe

Yum Yum Yum
I don't even like fish tacos. At all. I usually scrunch my nose up at Skyler when he orders them.
When I saw this recipe I knew it would make him happy. Who knew it was going to make me happy too? I didn't use red snapper, I used tilapia, because honestly I was at the store and forgot what kind of fish I was supposed to buy.
Incidentally I misspelled tilapia just now and the suggestion on spellcheck was "tipple". What's a tipple?
I also used plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream...I don't really ever use sour cream anymore. Greek yogurt works the same way and it adds extra protein!

So there we are! I'm cooking! And not the same 25 recipes I always ALWAYS cook.
Awesome sauce.

***Try a new recipe at least twice a month (8/72)***

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I Was There To Hear Your Borning Cry

We baptized Arthur on New Years Day.

Baptism is one of the two sacraments we practice in my denomination (the other being Communion). It was important to me that we did the baptism in our new church community but it was ALSO important that my mother perform the baptism and Arthur's godparents be there. This presented some problems. Both my mom and A's Godfather are ministers themselves which makes it hard for them to be away on a Sunday. However, since our families normally spend the time following Christmas together, it was decided that this year WE would host the two families and we could do the baptism then. So our (pretty small) rental house in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin had 11 people in it for a week. 13 on the days my sister and her boyfriend came over from the Cities. We had a VERY VERY full house. It was wonderful.
We made a traditional Christmas dinner one night. On another night Skyler and I went into St. Paul to meet up with two of my best friends from high school with a team of babysitters back at the house with Arthur. The kids played a lot of Wii and Rock Band in the basement. We consumed We went to the Leine Lounge and did a brewery tour. The Holsts were able to head into Minneapolis and see friends that they don't often see since they now live in Illinois. It was busy, and crowded and oh-so-wonderful. I feel very lucky to have such a great extended family and I know Arthur will grow up with a whole lot of love surrounding him.

Damon and Arthur are going to be great buddies. 

In His Traditional Gown

Those Cheeks!

Micki, Adam and Arthur before the service. 

Nana, What are you doing with me?

Even though this is blurry, it might be my favorite of the day

Ashley and Baby

That's a lot of God Parents!

Damon and his girlfriend Brooke. We were so happy she came too!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

This Is A Story All About How

I know, I haven't posted in awhile. And there are so many subjects I could post about. How cute my baby is. All the amazing things he's been doing lately. How we FINALLY finished Star Trek: The Original Series. How amazing our holidays were.
Instead, I'm going to post about something that's been on my mind for a long time. A little over seven months, actually. I just haven't wanted to write about it before.
However, inspired by my friend's post HERE, I think it's about time I set down in writing our birth experience.
So here goes.

Leading up to Arthur's birth was a crazy time in the life of our family. Skyler was sent to Wisconsin in February for work and despite visits (me to there, him to home, us to Missouri) I was feeling pretty sad about not having my husband there for the vast majority of my pregnancy. I also had gallstones, an incredibly inflamed gallbladder and a baby growing right in front of that organ (thus, inhibiting my doctor's ability to operate). Then, I got laid off in April. Suddenly, our plans for the future were completely up in the air. Luckily, he got an offer for a permanent position in Wisconsin. They wanted him to start July 1st. My due date was June 6th. So now we needed to sub-lease our house, find a place in Wisconsin, move across country and oh, yeah, have a baby sometime in the middle of all that.
I felt so prepared for birth. I was scared and nervous, because you'd have to be sort of crazy not to be, but I was prepared. I was educated. We had made very informed birth decisions. After a lot of research, discussion and planning we were prepared for a home birth. We had found a midwife and created an outstanding relationship with her. In fact I think she was one of two reasons I stayed sane in the time Skyler was away (the other being my co-workers...well, former co-workers). I had confidence in my bodys ability to birth. I was having a normal, healthy, pregnancy (aside from the gallbladder issues). I was motivated to have a successful, natural, love-filled, at-home birth.

Our Home Birth Set Up. I was feeling pretty organized!

Getting in and out of bed was getting pretty difficult. 

When Skyler came home he took a lot of pictures. This is what I thought of that. 


3 days before my due date, Skyler came home. My due date came, and no baby. My mom and sister had come to Colorado, but after many days my big sister had to leave. The next day, my little sister (who's not actually related to me...long story) came out to replace her.

Finally, on June 14th (remember when I said my due date was on the 6th?) I began to go into early labor.  It was like nothing like what I expected. It was so uneventful. Painful, yes. But more exhausting than anything else. I was in just enough pain so that I wasn't able to sleep. But not enough pain to actually make any progress. I was feeling nauseous too. Eating was the furthest thing from my mind. My midwife came and went. It wasn't time yet. Get some sleep. Rest. Let your body do the work. Let go.
None of those things are things I'm good at, it turns out. In any case, I finally hit "active labor" although, to me, it didn't FEEL much different. I was told it was different. That I was making progress. I was spent a lot of time in the shower. A lot of time on my birth ball. A lot of time in the birth tub. And on the birth stool. I sweated. I whined. I groaned. I rocked. I whined some more.

Notice all the boxes behind me. 

Finally, sometime in the afternoon (Skyler could tell you when, but I sure can't) my midwife asked me if she could break my water. I said yes and she and the assistant midwife got to work. It seemed easy and quick and wasn't painful at all. Unfortunately it gave us bad news. There was meconium in the fluid and that meant a transfer to the hospital. I was crushed. To me, this was a failure. I think this was the point where I gave up the idea of my body being able to this great, powerful thing called Birth.

Things went quickly. I gathered up some clothes and things, because of course I hadn't packed a hospital bag. I was so sure I wouldn't need it. My mom and Peyton drove separately and my midwife, Skyler and I piled into our car to head to the hospital. The assistant midwife stayed behind to clean up. (She did a phenomenal job at it too, according to Skyler...which is amazing because she had come to our house after an overnight labor and delivery).

We got to the hospital and they were surprisingly nice and accommodating (with the exception of one nurse). They let me continue laboring naturally. Which I did. For hours. Still no progress. After I time, I was told that my best chance of having a vaginal birth was to be given Pitocin. I was not happy about this idea. Not at all. At this point, though, I really didn't feel like I had a choice. I had literally exhausted every other option. And myself. I was so so so tired. Since Pit creates unnaturally strong contractions, I insisted on getting an epidural before they administered the Pitocin. I figured, at this point I knew I wasn't going to have a natural birth so why not be comfortable? I refused to go through Pit contractions without help.

After an hour on the Pit I had progressed to 10 centimeters. It was time to push. So I pushed. Or, I thought I did. I couldn't feel a thing I was doing. I couldn't feel much pain, true. I also couldn't feel my body. I pushed for an hour. The doctor said I could go for another hour and then we would have to talk about surgery. I pushed for what felt like 3 minutes and 3 days at the same time, he came back and said it was time to perform a C-Section. He insisted it wasn't for his convenience. He told me he would do everything he could to make sure I could have a vaginal birth next time. I asked for a few minutes to decide and I asked Skyler and our midwife what they thought. They both said it was time.

The next thing I really remember is being strapped down on the surgery table, both arms spread out to my side, telling the anesthesiologist that  I was going to be sick. That is the only feeling or emotion I can remember about the birth of my son. Naseau. It's all that comes to me. Skyler came in and talked to me but I can't remember what he said.
They told him he could stand to see the baby being born. He says by the time he stood up he was almost completely out. They took him over to clean him up and continue working on me. They were worried about bleeding. The nurses call Skyler over to be with the baby. I think they showed him to me, but I'm not sure. Then the two of them were gone and I was wheeled out to do preliminary recovery stuff. After about half an hour, Skyler came with Arthur and I finally got to hold my baby and try to nurse him.

I look how I felt.

He's awfully beautiful. 

We stayed in the hospital for four days and then we went home.

And now, seven and a half months later, I'm putting it all down in writing. I'm still so sad and disappointed. I know that I did everything I could to avoid the outcome we ended up having. However, I don't really know how to not be disappointed, mostly in myself.
I'm healed. My baby is happy, healthy, and developing way ahead of normal. I'm still nursing him, if not exclusively.
I catch myself thinking about next time. Hoping that it will go differently, thinking that it probably won't.