and a Happy New Year

I was hoping to send out Christmas cards this year.  It would have been our first time.  But after some procrastination and a disastrous home-photo shoot, it just didn't happen.

Looking over these, I'm having a hard time deciding which one is most representative of our family right now. They're all pretty good -- too good not to share, that is.  Merry Christmas, Internets!

Let's start with an action shot:
singing "Baa Baa Black Sheep" to get him to smile

and the "how can I get out of here?" shot:

Moving on to the "how do we take pictures with a two-week old?" shot:

"... especially when she wants to eat?" shot:

And ending with the "WE ARE DONE WITH THIS" shot:

I'm thinking the last one takes the cake.

(Next year maybe Kiana should use a tripod?)

(Also, don't you love the Arnold Palmer ornament prominently displayed on our tree?)


From our house to yours - may the next year be better than the last.  May you grow in wisdom and love.  May your days be merry and bright ... and filled with less crying than mine are.


Photoblogging: because I don't even have to leave the couch

I am really loving my Android phone now that I am up in the night (and down all day) needing things to entertain me  - that don't require the use of both hands.
See: Facebook, Great Expectations, Words With Friends, Tetris, Netflix

And, as most of you discovered years ago, it's nice to have a camera on my person at all times so I can record the little moments that make up my life.   Behold:

                           Cutco for Christmas!          

(the best thing is finding pictures that I didn't take)

We had a lovely December, not least because Slice had more than half of the month off work.  My bones stayed intact, my baby is beautiful, and I haven't gone into sugar shock yet. (No small miracle!)  In fact, I'm almost back in my pre-pregnancy pants.


Small-town living: healthcare edition

I was already thinking about how nice my hospital stay was when I heard the hullabaloo about the baby switching.

Now, it's a rare thing to live in a town as small (/insert-your-own-word-here) as Roosevelt is, and to have health care like Roosevelt does.  Our Medical Center is the pride and joy of this community - and for good reason. It's a nice combination of good quality and low pressure.

I was especially grateful for this during this labor/delivery/recovery.  As I've mentioned before, I know my Dr. on a personal level, and I've called him at his house with any questions I had.  When I arrived at the hospital at 4:00 a.m. in advanced labor, he got there pretty quick-style (although he wasn't on call).  He was very supportive of my birth decisions, as were the nurses, most of whom I also knew.  I was pretty much free to do whatever I wanted.

Switching babies? Hardly possible.  If there were any other babies born during my 48-hour stay there, I didn't know about it.

I don't know how other hospitals are, but I didn't have to change rooms or wear a gown or shower in nasty bathrooms or ask the nurses to let me keep my baby for the first hour(s) after birth.  I could have come home after 36 hours, but chose to stay an extra night.
We also came home with a pack of diapers, two pacifiers, two baby shirts, mittens, a crocheted baby hat, formula, pillows and egg-crate foam pads, among other things provided by the hospital.

BUT next time around I am definitely taking my own towels.


Emma Grace

It's been a week and the shock hasn't quite worn off.
The shock of being a mother to two, yes, but also the shock of having just gone through a birthing experience beyond my wildest, most optimistic dreams.
This birth story won't be as long as the last one - but no one's forcing you to read it anyway, right?

This time around my birth plan went something like this:

1. Spend as much time at home as possible

And ... that's about it.  Seriously.

Of course, I was hoping for as little intervention as possible.  (Who wants pitocin? An episiotomy?)
I've been there, done that and after last time, I just wanted something better.  The Hypnobabies preparation gave me confidence that I could handle anything.

So last Wednesday the real "pressure waves" (HB speak) began.  It was 3:00 a.m. and they were intense enough that I couldn't sleep through them.  (Unlike my faithful contraction-friends, that plague me from month five onward.)
I woke Slice.
They were coming 7-8 minutes apart; Slice decided to take the day off work.  He left for a quick meeting, I put on a hypnosis track and eventually fell asleep.  By the time he got back, they had slowed to 10-15 minutes apart.  I spent the rest of the day laboring that way.

Thursday morning just after midnight, the waves woke me again.  I got up and started timing, changing positions between each one, relaxing as well as I could.  (Also eating and drinking.  See, I learn!)
At 3:00 again, I woke Slice and told him we needed to go.  My mom came over, I packed and showered and dressed and labored, still feeling pleased with how well I was managing the pressure waves.

I didn't start to doubt myself until we were en route to the hospital.  What if it was too soon?  What if I was still in early labor, and didn't progress?  Could I do it without anesthesia?  If I was on pitocin?  WHAT IF SHE WAS POSTERIOR??

We checked in around 4:00 and the nurse checked me.  "Six or seven," she said.  I about died.
But she couldn't tell the baby's position, and neither could the Doctor when he came in shortly.  He broke my water, declared I was at an 8, and told me not to push until they were ready to catch her.  Ha!

A few more hard waves and I was clinging to my husband for support through them.  That blasted back labor.  The nurse came in to check me - but I was ready to push.  They scrambled, I lost any relaxation/concentration I was still employing, and two more birthing waves later, my baby girl was born.

She weighed a perfect 7 lb. 4 oz. with a head of thick, dark hair.  Born at 5:32 a.m. the day before her due date, she came earlier, quicker and easier than I even dared hope.  The little darling.



It's 10:00 on Sunday night and Slice has been in bed, asleep, for nearly two hours now.

Tell you what: our marriage would have been a completely different animal if Slice had been working this job (i.e. this schedule) from the start.  I used to be the one begging to go to bed every night, unbelieving when Slice insisted he wasn't tired, bitter about him leaving me to play XBox or repair pumps until the wee morning hours.  So what if I was already asleep?

Now I'm the other one.  This pregnant body doesn't sleep before midnight, and doesn't sleep well before about 4:00 a.m., so it's hard to put myself to bed at any hour, regardless of exhaustion level.
(Which is high.  Ever and always.)

But wait - there's something else I wanted to talk about here.  I've been thinking about it for a week now and tonight's Christmas Devotional reminded me.  Let's see if I can put it together coherently, shall we?

Last Friday Slice and I were in the Salt Lake Valley with hours of time to kill.
Black Friday! Unbelievable sales! Targets and Kohl's everywhere we looked!  Money in our bank accounts for the first time, like, ever!
And the strangest thing happened - neither of us wanted to buy anything.
I stopped in 6 or 7 stores just for fun, came away with a 3-piece outfit for Liam that included a winter coat and jeans, $20.  Done.

You guys.  It was so LIBERATING.

Because I spent months looking and wishing and planning and buying, for my house and my babies.  I spent months feeling the weight of (unemployed) poverty, envying people who could spend money on home decor, pampering, trendy clothes, expensive baby things, organizational supplies (!).  I got irritated by all the "I Want This"  Pinboards and "Amazing Deals!" websites that really just encourage more spending.  I bought a patio set for my backyard because I thought I needed one .... and then we never used it.  Simply put, consumerism was consuming me.

I'm better now.
I finally realized, last weekend, that the only difference in the whole business is my attitude.  I can spend my life coveting and wanting and shopping and spending, or I can let things be things and choose to be grateful for what I have.  It's much easier to see looking back, of course - but I can't believe I wasted all that time and energy making myself unhappy.
I do know, now, that I won't let that happen again.
I can't afford it.