Friday, December 6, 2013

Seven Quick Takes: Throwbacks and More!

Joining the party at Jen's today!

I met my friend Krisann about 6 months ago in a "mommies group", and she suggested that since most of the women in the group didn't know each other when we were all pregnant, we share our pregnancy pictures on Facebook yesterday.  It was so cool to see all my new friends back before their babies arrived!

So I thought I would show you my pictures, since I started back at the ol' blog a few months past Mia's arrival.

The bottom 3 are obviously from my labor and post-delivery, 1 day shy of 38 weeks.

My friend Michelle commented that I must really like even numbers and I will say - I have a really weird thing against odd numbers, especially dates.  I just don't like the way they look. Weird, I know.

The chalk board frame is super easy peasy too - usually you just paint the chalkboard paint over the glass, and that's that.

Unfortunately when I took the glass out of the frame to paint it, it was so long and extra fragile in my inexperienced hands, I broke it. Super big bummer.  So I painted a long card-stock-ish type paper to go in the frame, and while it's not perfect, it works!

Speaking of the chalkboard frame, and throw-backs, I now use the frame for some of Mia's monthly milestone pictures like these back when she was a chunky monkey for about a day:

I am about to leave Mia for 36 hours at our awesome family friends' house while Joel and I road trip to San Diego for a day with a car load of friends.  It goes without saying that I am quite anxious about being so far away from her, but I know she is in good hands.

I'm also not excited about pumping every 4ish hours to keep up my milk supply.  You do what you gotta do I guess.

She'll also be bunking with this lovely lady.  Maybe she'll bake all weekend and come back with some sweet skills, no pun intended.

If you haven't seen it yet, here is a video of Mia laughing at the water hose.  I have watched this probably 20 times...I just can't get enough of her laugh!

Ever since Thanksgiving, I have been thinking about Christmas and visiting my family in South Dakota like it's my job.  I just can't wait!!  Since this is on my mind so much, I thought it deserved it's own take.  Moving on.

I have crocheted since I was in high school, and Etsy pattern shops and projects like this, this, and this make me want to get back at it. Maybe a "Christmas Vacation" project is in my future??

I Instagrammed a picture about this a few days ago, but I just really love my Naptime Diaries Advent Calendar!  It has super cool graphics and great, quick Bible verses and reflections to read each day that keep me centered on the Reason for the Season.  

It's only the 6th of December - if you haven't started following along with an Advent Calendar and you want to, it's not too late! 

I hope everyone has a great weekend!  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Guest Post, an Anniversary, and Bangs

I have two things to talk about today,

#1. Today Joel and I celebrate our 2nd Anniversary!


We plan on celebrating this weekend, when a) it's the weekend, and b) it feels a little more like our anniversary anyway, since we were married the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which feels more accurate and festive than a Tuesday.

I hope it includes a great cocktail, and a babysitter.

Here are two of my favorite photos from the day...

About 96% of this event was DIY.  Maybe a post in the future about the details?  Yes, I think so.

Well, I love my husband and I feel like we've been married forever (in a good way). 

This girl <<-- 
She's lucky.

Though, come to think of it, I just learned something new about Joel last night - he uses the small spoon for his soup instead of the big spoon.  But he uses a big fork instead of the small fork for regular meals.  He's just full of surprises, that guy.

Ok Ok on to #2) I wrote a "guest post" over at the Maggie's Place Blog - check it out if you're interested!  Here is a quote from the post, which is actually me quoting Elizabeth over at Lark & Bloom:

“We don’t love so that we have great stories of happy endings. We love people because God loves them, and that is reason enough.”

And here is another throw-back photo that went with the post.  For a tutorial on bangs, you'll have to ask the little one. I gave up soon after this photo.

circa 2008

I hope everyone has an awesome Thanksgiving!  We'll be celebrating the day here in Phoenix, and I don't know if it will ever get easier celebrating a holiday away from our immediate family, but at least the forecast is for 72 degrees every. single. day this weekend!  And of course we have our amazing adopted family here to spend the day with.

What a lot to be thankful for this year.  Have a great day!  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Salmon Burger Recipe

Oh, hello!

So a lot has happened around here lately (ok not really).  But one thing is for sure...I have a 6 month old!


I just think she's the cutest.  I could -literally- kiss her face off.

She sits up on her own (mainly), and is a little obsessed with food right now, especially when mama is eating it.  This is a great age ya'll.  Much better than the days when she didn't even laugh at my jokes.

Speaking of food, I'm sure you would all agree it's time for another great recipe, no?  (That was a joke. I've been a little recipe happy lately. This too shall pass).

Anyhoo, I thought I would share with you my Salmon Burger recipe.  Like a lotta great things, I got this from my mama.  I made it for Joel after we got married, my super clean eating husband, and he requests them Often, people.  They are awesome.   

Kath's Salmon Burgers
Serves 4 adults
Roughly 25 g of protein per burger

1 14.75oz can / pouch wild caught Salmon (some cans/pouches are slightly less, that is OK - just shoot for 14-15 oz.)
12 soda crackers, crushed
1 Tbsp. mayo
2 eggs
Salt and Pepper to taste

Some adaptations:  I've subbed out the crackers for old fashioned oats a few times- (about 1/2 cup) and it was awesome!  I do this when I'm eating a tiny bit extra "clean".  I usually pulse them in a food processor to grind them up a bit first, but you definitely don't have to...I've done it both ways. 

I have also added more spices to it before and liked it - a mix of cumin, cinnamon, and paprika.

Anyway - whatever you put in - mix and patty them up, and fry them on a pan with either a little bit of olive oil, or some Pam.  

A lot of people might wonder, what do you eat with Salmon Burgers?  Well here I am to tell of our favorite meals is in that above picture...a baked sweet potato, steamed veggies, and a Salmon Burger.

Now, don't judge me on this, but when I'm not really counting calories I dip my burger in a mixture of mayo and ketchup.  Been doing it since I was little with these babies.  

You can just call me Mrs. Gourmet with that pretty pink mixture on my plate.  I don't mind.

Get your omega 3's!

Friday, November 8, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Halloween re-cap, Apple Muffins and more

Hello Friends!  It's been a while, I know.

But here I am, with some Quick Takes!  (Don't forget to join the rest of the party over at Jen's!)

Halloween Re-Cap. I know I know, I am like a month and a half late, but I just had to share.  

Don't mind my dirty mirror.
I figured this was the one and only year we could do something funny for Halloween instead of the princess / pink attire.  How cute is she.

If you missed it on Instagram, I let everyone know that 60 seconds after this photo she spit up allllllll over me. Like, had to change my clothes, all over me. 

Like, had to wash my face, all over me.

On Wednesday Mia and I went over to our friends Sharon and Ava's house to celebrate Ava's first birthday!  It was a super cute party, themed "Oh the Places You Will Go!" We even had a little photo sesh (typical mommy group activity) that looked a little like this..

(Up up and away, get it?)
You can't really tell in this photo, but there were a few (unnamed) babies who were not so happy with their (unnamed) mothers.  

They'll love us later for it though. Or, (still) think we're crazy. Either one.  

I love baking in the fall and holiday season, and found a super easy Apple Muffin recipe from a cool blogger over at Wee Eats.  It even called for applesauce instead of all that slicing and dicing and peeling I was imagining.  I, for once in my life, had every single ingredient already in my pantry!  And I bet you will too.

I subbed out (because I am a subbing snob) about half the flour for oats and flax, and it still turned out awesome.  Now go check out Natalie's recipe!

Speaking of sweets, you ever have those friends that peer pressure you into stuff?  Well at Ava's birthday party I got roped into a "sugar detox" that I had no intention of joining.  5 days with no sugar.  Why? I don't know.  I'm a people pleaser.

Glad I made these muffins!! :)  "Detox" starts Monday, sharp.

My husband came home from work the other day with a present.  A random, awesome, present.
Check'em out:

L-O-V-E them.  And yes, I bust out in a rap when I put them on. You would too.

One more recipe link. I just can't get enough!

I made this recipe a few Sundays ago from and am still thinking about it.  SOO good.  Beef stew, made in my crock pot.

Beef Stew from
Image from

I have never made beef stew before, and I must admit...I nailed it. So easy, so good.  I subbed (see quick take #4)  sweet potatoes for the regular ones, and again - so good.

I heard a news story out of Phoenix yesterday that made me take more seriously my hair cutting skillz.

A quick background- when Joel and I got married almost two years ago, we decided I would learn how to cut his hair to save money.  I am now quite the profesh, if I do say so myself.

Fast forward to the news story - in summary, a guy put on craigslist that he wanted to hire somebody to kill his grandfather (I know, terrrible right?), and for payment he would give him an ipad, an ipod, and a year's worth of free hair cuts. (!!!!)

On a lighter note, I had no idea hair cuts were so valuable!  I am now trying to come up with the perfect house-cleaning-lady barter system.

As long as she has the exact same hair cut as my husband, anyway. 

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

5 Favorites Vol.3: Podcasts

If you are my husband, co-worker or friend in person, you have probably heard me utter the words,

"So I was listening to this podcast the other day.."
"Oh!  This reminds me of something I heard on a podcast once."
"I learned on a podcast that.."

I love me some podcasts.

I consider myself a constant learner.  An ADD constant learner.  I will be totally engrossed in a subject for an entire day or week, and then completely switch, usually half-way through a book / website / blog / podcast.  There is just so much to learn!!.. I tell my husband who I just "know" finds this part of me endearing.

Right honey?

Anyway, I thought I would share with you guys my favorite podcasts in case you haven't heard of them, and/or you are looking for a new way to be entertained / educated / feeling productive during down time.

(By the way, my favorite times to listen: in the car, out for walks with Mia, and doing chores around my house.  When a new podcast is aired for one of these I usually immediately pick up Mia and say "Do you want to go for a walk??" 

 She readily obliges  Listening and strolling the neighborhood with this kid is my current favorite activity.)

1.  The Simple Mom Podcast

This podcast is hosted by a blogger / writer named Tsh (not a typo, pronounced phonetically) who pretty much calls up a friend of hers (usually another blogger / writer), and they talk about absolutely anything - kids, family, traveling, favorite things, blogging and writing books, what they're reading, organization, marriage, etc.

She has 3 (I think?) kids and I consider her like a mom mentor who I can sit with and listen to her talk about life.  She is super wise and humble, and also founded the multi-writer blog, which covers all sorts of topics but has an undertone of keeping your life simple and the important things at the forefront.

2.  The EntreLeadership Podcast

This is one my fellow co-workers are probably annoyed about the most because it's usually where I get all of my work, managing people, and leadership inspiration and tips.  It is basically about Dave Ramsey's company and the culture, policies, norms, expectations etc. they have created to make work an awesome, successful place to be.  There are also guest interviewees on each podcast that also cover similar topics.

It is great for the entrepreneurs out there too..totally motivating to go start your own business, and be altogether awesome.

3. New Moms, New Babies & PregTASTIC Online Radio

These two podcasts are pretty much one in the same - they are a group of women, often the same ones in each podcast at a different stage in their motherhood, talking about what their podcast names would imply - PregTASTIC is all about pregnancy, and New Moms, New Babies is all about new motherhood, and everything having to do with babies during the first year.

Even though I am a card-carrying member of a mommy group, this is like being a part of another one that you can tune into anytime (until you have run out of episodes at least).  There are often guest experts on to answer questions, or birth story episodes...all of these were particularly great for me to listen to before I had the baby.  

4. Dollars and Roses Podcast

This one is a very new podcast, but I have really enjoyed it and learn a lot from it. It is a husband and wife blogging team who interview other bloggers about their success in blogging, and some episodes are just their own blogging tips.  They are super successful bloggers, and while I understand blogging (and the road to blogging success) to be much different for every type of blogger out there, I have really enjoyed their take on things.

5. Freakonomics Radio

This one is a must-listen for any podcast listeners out there.  If you don't know what the book "Freakonomics" is about, you also need to check that out too.  Whoa.  What an eye opener.

I really like this podcast because they are sometimes short and sweet, and sometimes a little longer, but I *always* walk away learning something so interesting I need to talk about it with the nearest human being.  They take things in life and have the resources and connections to get the back story, extra details, etc. that make you think about life and how the world works totally differently.  At the very least I would look them up and download one episode with a subject you find intriguing.

And there you have it - my five favorite podcasts.  Grab one of these, and as Tsh sometimes says at the beginning of Simple Mom...get your laundry basket and start folding.

Let me know if you have any podcast suggestions - I'd love to hear them!!

And of course, don't forget to go check out all the other Favorites over at Hallie's!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mia's Nursery

[This post is dedicated to the employee at Home Depot who, when I asked him where the wallpaper glue was he replied, "Oh, are you wallpapering your grandma's house?"  I told you - wallpaper is back!]

Alright.  As many of you probably know, we did not know the sex of our baby until she came out.  This of course poses all sorts of planning issues (which I think are totally worth the surprise!), one of which being the decorating of the nursery.

And since the room looked like THIS:

Do you notice the Baby Blue?
On the Ceiling?
On the baseboards?
In the closet?
On the doors?
On the Trim????

Dear baby Jesus.

I scoured Google images and Pinterest for the best gender neutral nursery ideas I could find, but ultimately only found the same ol' greens and yellows.

Since I was looking for something a little more "cool," I kept looking.  I ended up watching countless episodes of Ask Genevieve on HGTV on my laptop, and stumbled upon a playroom / guestroom combo episode that totally inspired me.  I remember her describing the room as "childlike, but not baby" and that hit the nail the head...the exact description I was intending for our nursery.

After all, the baby is only a "baby" for what..2 years?  I am not about to re-do this room so soon after all this work.

I also started thinking about the idea of a black-and-white theme and adding in pops of color, instead of choosing a color for the walls and having to live with it indefinitely.  With black and white, I could add in any colors I wanted.  

Lastly - because of that Ask Genevieve episode, I had my heart set on wallpaper with letters and numbers on it.  Which, was by far the most intense internet search I've done since buying wedding dresses over the internet days.

But I finally found the perfect wallpaper...from a company in the UK that cannot be found anywhere else. Paying for something over the internet in another currency- Check.

Next it was time to paint and wallpaper!  I was just papering one wall (thank goodness), but I have never wallpapered before and I knew nobody who had except my parents (way back from 1993 of course), but they live in South Dakota (of course).

So I rounded up my good friend Kim, a generous soul, and we learned how to wallpaper by watching this handy video 10 times, and then just doing it.  (Nike if you'd like to sponsor me, my contact info is here.)

Plus, I couldn't have covered up the rest of all that hideous food-splattered baby blue without my friends Ashley and Liz.  Thanks guys!

As far as furniture goes, I went with the mix-matched look because I like to mix-match, and I like to save some moolah.

[I apologize in advance for the quality of these photos!]

Crib: Baby Mod, Walmart
Drawers / changing table: Maggie's Thrift

Hanging wall shelf: IKEA
Bookshelf: IKEA, found at a yard sale
Baskets: IKEA
Metal Truck: Gift

Mounted hooks: IKEA
Picture Frames and frame shelf: IKEA
Fabric in the top frames: Etsy
(Immediate family from SD and GA in smaller frames)
Rocking Chair: Walmart
Lamp: Cost Plus World Market

And there you have it.  I have added in some pinks and other girly things little by little now that Mia is here, and am glad I have the flexibility to easily change the room colors to whatever and whenever I want. 

If you have any other creative gender neutral baby ideas I'd love to hear about them!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Healthy Granola Recipe

{Update: If you are here from the lovely Pinterest and happen to have the symbols "?m=1" at the end of this url, please delete them and press enter to reload the page, or click here for much more viewing pleasure!}

Happy Fall everyone, and especially those in the Southwest!

It is finally -finally- time to keep the windows open at night, go for walks *during the day!* and enjoy this beautiful weather.  You know what I'm talking about...doing all those things the rest of the world has been talking about and posting pictures of on Instagram for the past 4 months.

Apparently it was the hottest summer on record here in Phoenix.  Going from an average of about 110* to highs in the 70s is  a  w  e  s  o  m  e  !

Mia and I spent some time outside today..don't mind the long sleeves, these 75 degrees felt chilly I swear!

And now it is time to share one of my favorite, easy, pretty healthy go-to recipes.  

I love granola because:
--It is great mixed with yogurt which makes for an awesome snack or breakfast food
--Oats are believed to increase your milk supply if you are breastfeeding  and I will attest - I definitely notice a difference after I eat them.  For some awesome healthy oatmeal options, check out my five favorites here.

I also added a little "Fall Holiday Flavor" to my granola this time and added in some pumpkin pie spice instead of just regular cinnamon.  I'll admit that was a pretty great decision.

Here's the list:
:: 5 cups rolled oats
:: 1/3 cup coconut oil (I use the flavorful kind for this type of recipe - unrefined 
:: 1/3 cup honey (or I might use real maple syrup if I'm out of honey)
:: 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or just cinnamon works)
:: 1/2 tsp vanilla
:: your extra add-ins (I eyeball these measurements): 
---> 1/2 cup (or so) of pecans (or any nuts you like - I often add sliced almonds to my mix)
---> 1/3 cup (or so) sunflower seeds (I like the salted to add an extra saltiness to the mix)
---> 1/3 cup (or so) pepitas (pumpkin seeds - again I do the salted kind)
---> 1+ cups raisins, added after you bake

Of course you can add any amount of what I consider "add-ins", just remember if you add *a lot* more, you might want to up your oil/honey/spice amounts.

1. Pre-heat oven to 350*
2. Mix all ingredients together except any dried fruit you are using
3. Spray your biggest cookie sheet with Pam (or you can use some coconut oil)
4. Pour mixture on the pan and bake for 18 minutes (or until golden brown), taking the pan out to stir every 6 minutes.  Stir in your raisins / dried fruit and let cool.

Strange numbers maybe, but after many trials and errors this is the exact timing for my oven to give me this:

Healthy, Simple Granola Recipe

And now for some full disclosure: I started making granola from a recipe I got from my dear friend Coriena who I used to live with at Maggie's Place.  After many experiments, it has transformed into this version which I now pass to you.  Enjoy!

And Happy Fall Ya'll!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

7 Quick Takes

Linking up with Jen over at Conversion Diary for some awesome Quick Takes!

1. This is my first Quick Takes post.  After reading many Many of these from my blogger-friend types like Ana, Grace, and Lauren, I thought it was time to try it out.  And if you know anything about my vocab, you'd know that "quick" is used more than a million.

"First I need to quick call my dad."
"Okay you get on Netflix while I quick go to the bathroom."
"Can you quick hand me that pen?"

While my grammar needs some work, apparently I prefer things on the "quick" side.
The 7 Quick Takes are right up my alley.

2. I was sitting at my computer at our kitchen table the other day, and heard Mia start fussing in the background.  I left her on her back playing with those dangling toys of hers, and it is not uncommon for her to get bored at exactly the 15 minute mark and require my assistance entertainment.  I was in the middle of reading something so I thought, like any responsible parent, "oh she'll be fine for a minute, I'll be right there."

Four and a half minutes of (mild) fussiness later I stand up and look over at her, and she's like:

Whoops.  Poor little Mia..

3. Did you notice that Bumbo seat on the floor in that above pic?  I will use this quick take to pat myself on the back for that.  Everyone knows we all love to use them on tables and counter tops like we Aren't Supposed To.  So, I will give myself 1 pretty parenting point for following directions, warning materials, pamphlets, those red exclamation signs, etc. that comes with the packaging like a good parent.

Well with the previous minus point, I am at least even.

4. It is finally Friday!!!  This is a momentous occasion, people.  My loving husband has been away for the past 5 (full) days (and nights) on a work trip (I could've used "business trip," but it just sounded so...briefcasey).

Add in that I have come down with a crazy un-fun virus, and this pretty much sucks.

Not that I get the Mom of the Year award or anything..I know many, many single moms (or moms and dads with tough schedules) out there who do this without blinking.  I have stepped into their shoes for just an instant, and gained some deep respect for them.  And I only have 1 little babe to take care of! and not let her get folded up into toys and whatnot!

5. Did you know that you can make your own Someecards?  Like those super hil-ARious ones with the old fashiony photos and sarcastic lines?  

One little example (I did not create):

Go to, friends.
I am working on a "work" project with them (I swear!) and decided I would prefer to be paid full-time to create these.  It's super fun, you should try it.

6.  For those of you who are Catholic, it is possible you threw up a "hey" to my homegirl St. Therese in a novena like fashion.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, feel free to skip. :)

Anyway - my novena life has officially changed by a website called  After you sign up at their site for the most recent novena, (they stick with the official feast days of course) they email you every day not only to remind you to pray that day but it includes the novena prayer itself in the email! Genius.

Needless to say, this was the first time I've actually finished a novena in years.  Welcome to my super geeky Catholic side.

7.  Well friends, you wouldn't believe it, but Joel and I both decided, within a week of each other, and without telling each other till later, that we were joining the world of Twitter.

After zero previous conversations about Twitter, joining Twitter, tweets, anything starting with the letters tw, nothing.

And both of us using our middle names in our handles. Weird.

But what a strange and fun world it is!  I feel like such an oldie! I had to ask my friend how to use it today.  I am 28, people, not that old.

But it's fun, and funny!  I have really enjoyed it.  Ok now I am even sounding like an oldie.

So, follow me (and my husband if you want some fitness-related inspirashe)

Do the capital letters matter? I have no idea...If I have to ask Google one more thing about Twitter..uugh, I feel so old.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Joining Bloglovin!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Mia's Birth Story

Alright kids, get some popcorn and settle in.  31 hours post broken water, and almost zero sleep for 48, Mia finally came. Here's how it went down.

Wednesday, May 8th
Today my “bloody show” (if you will) started coming out ever so slowly.  

I didn’t tell Joel till the end of the day.  I knew it might not mean anything…I knew this could last days or weeks.  We were 17 days from my due date.   The majority of first time births come 8 days past the due date, my natural childbirth instructor taught us.  We were mentally prepared for, and expecting to go 26 more days.

Thursday, May 9th
I woke up feeling a little weird.  I took a shower, and in a split second I saw the entire rest of my “show” come out and go down the drain.  Later I sat at my breakfast bar stool watching Joel make his breakfast, told him what I just saw, and that I felt weird. 

I went to work like normal, but still feeling this weirdness (I really can’t think of another way to put it), I also felt a surge of focus and adrenaline.  I decided to knock off everything on my pre-baby to-do list today – something I planned on taking at least another week. I worked harder and more focused than I think I ever have ...“work nesting” we’ll call it.  As I finished up for the day, I even wiped down and dusted my desk area and completely de-cluttered – something I only do on non-busy Fridays or before a big vacation.

I came home and got about 50 more things done, including reading the entire car seat manual and installing it – for the first time.  I left it in the car, and Joel and I joked that driving around with an empty car seat would be “like practice.”

Joel got to bed at 10, and I stayed up trying to come off of my adrenaline rush.  I finally felt tired around 11:30 and got into bed.  While I’m trying to fall asleep I felt some light cramps.  All the sudden I feel a sharp pain at what feels like my cervix (I have no idea).  I winced out loud and Joel woke up and whispers, “what?”  I say “nothing.”  Twenty seconds later I feel a gush of fluid, that scene my birth instructor said “only happens in movies.”  I got up from bed and tried to walk the 8 steps to the bathroom with my knees together (as successfully as you can imagine) and started saying “shit” over and over.  By this time Joel has sat up and says impatiently “What!” 

“Well, my water broke.”

And all of the sudden, we have Zero idea what to do.  Our class’s “scenario generator” had little to say about the rare water-breaking-before-labor-beginning situation.  Again…only in movies does this happen, they say.

We couldn’t figure out- does this mean we go straight to the hospital?  Or do we wait it out here?  What the heck do we do?

Friday, May 10th
We called our Doula at midnight, who happened to be at another birth.  The Luck! She told us to stick around home and get some rest for as long as possible.  So that is what we did….not do.

I went to sit on a pile of towels on our recliner, to save our Westin Heavenly from any more fluids.  Which, by the way, kept coming out. And out. And out. This, I did not expect nor did I read ANYWhere, thankyouverymuch every “The Top 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Childbirth” blog posts / childbirth class / the internet.

I tried to fall asleep but of course couldn’t.  Contractions were coming every 7-25 minutes…very irregular, and what I know now by comparison to be “mildly” painful.  I urged Joel – who has, like, a black belt in falling asleep, to get as much sleep as he can (after a pre-emptive Gatorade run to the apparently  “sketchy-ass” 7-11). 

He went into the bedroom, and I emailed all my co-workers every tiny detail I could think of for all the things I had left hanging.   Twenty minutes later Joel came out with the baby name book.

“Should we pick out some middle names?” he asked.  “No sleep??” I asked.  Obviously not.

We did not know the baby’s sex, so we had 2 boy and 2 girl names picked out.  We had not, however, decided on any middle names just yet.  So, we went through the book and picked out a middle name for each of our 4 options while I ate ¾ box of dry Life Cereal from my chair.  At about this time I remember that the car seat is all ready to go and congratulate myself on some dang good timing.

Needless to say we got little sleep that night…Joel about 3 hours, myself about half that.

We called my OB at 6am.  He was not on call this weekend, but assured us that he’d be as present as possible.  He knows we want to go the natural route, and from what we could tell, he also knows that the OB on call would not be as “excited” about this birth plan.  Bless him.

He told us to come into the hospital at 10am.  We knew we wanted to wait as loooong as possible before going in, and after greeting neighbors on a walk around the hood, we went in around 11:30am. 

Our doula, after getting about 3 hours of sleep after attending a birth the night before, meets us in triage and we all “hang out” trying to get my labor to progress.  I make many lunging trips around triage, go up and down the stairs, and stop for breaks to watch the Mother’s Day edition of Ellen – how appropriate.  My contractions weren’t really doing anything different, which obviously nobody liked. 

 Here's us with our snacks in triage, and me not near real labor.

Four hours later a Labor and Delivery room finally opened up and we got to settle in.  We had a nurse there who was an angel from heaven – an L&D veteran who loved a good natural birth.  She encouraged everything to try to progress labor, and I mean “everything”, if you know what I mean.  “Surprisingly” I wasn’t in the mood, I told her. 

It was 6:30pm and my OB had been encouraging us to take some Pitocin to get labor to progress for the past 3 hours (progression at this point is imperative since my water broke and there was a risk for infection, which is dangerous for the baby).  We finally gave in after some delay tactics, (and after he came in to talk it through face-to-face to make sure we weren’t trying to be idiots by going “all natural” for the hell of it) and compromised on using less Pitocin, less often than standard procedure.

This is when labor really began.  We put Pandora on Ingrid Michaelson (after a failed Dave Matthews Band attempt) and got to work.  I do not remember one contraction where I didn’t have 4 hands touching my body…rubbing my back, arms, neck, hips, etc.  Joel and Laura – the doula- put in some work.  When they say natural childbirth is hard work, it is truly hard work for all involved.

I put some serious miles on that birth ball.

Saturday, May 11th
Around 2am things started heating up more and Laura set up the bath for me and Joel to get in and try some bath laboring.  She set up fake candles to create a peaceful space and we got in, and all I could think about was how much this sucked. I could feel Joel behind me and I could tell he was getting incredibly uncomfortable in this warm tub.  He got out, and I get into a position facing the side, and Laura came and sat outside the tub rubbing my back while I labored some more.

At this point Joel came back and asked if it would be OK if he called somebody to come help for a bit…I can tell he is getting weary.  Of course, I said, and we make a short list of the people he will call until someone answers. 

My good friend Chariti came. It was 3am.  Joel put on some headphones (with my blessing!) and closed his eyes on the padded bench in our room and got a 30 minute rest.  I knew that the more rested he could be the better help he would be to me.  And, I could tell he was about to break.  I would have too, if I had the choice.  There was just no getting out of this for me.  Later he tells me that right before this point he was reciting our wedding vows in his head…he said he could really feel the “for better or worse” part… the duty and love required in marriage.

Chariti stayed for about 2 hours I think.  I remember her coming while I was still in the bath, and she was outside the bathroom chatting with the nurse about her weekend.  I remember feeling that weird “child-birth-zilla” moment and almost – almost – told her to stop talking because it was distracting and annoying me.  I remember thinking – yep – this is mid-to-late labor, when you can’t stand to hear somebody just “chit chat” in the other room.  I almost laughed but of course, did not.

I instead looked up at Laura and asked her how much longer this would take.  She said maybe about 3 hours, maybe more, and I LOST it.  “I cannot do this for that long” I whined to her like a child.  I started talking about getting an epidural and she told me that I can get one if I want.  I knew this was up to me…Joel came in and I told him the same, and he tells me the same – whatever I want. 

What I really want is for somebody to come and give me a C-section and get this over with, I secretly thought.  I decided to just keep going.  I reminded myself of my reasons (better recovery, better start to breastfeeding, less chance of a c-section), which helped a little...but not much.

I moved to the bed and was there for about 2 hours in all positions…contractions on top of contractions, with no time to breathe and rest in between like I had been promised in all of my classes….thanks to the Pitocin, like I had been warned. 

During one particularly tough contraction I heard Joel’s phone ring.  He picked it up (while standing next to me holding a hand-held fan up to my face) and I could not believe my eyes.  I tell him with big wide “I mean it” eyes to “Get Off The Phone,” using the nicest “I’m in labor so do what I tell you” tone I could muster.  He told me later that day that it was my dad on the phone, and everyone was worried since things were “taking so long.”  

I’ll forgive him this once.

The sun finally came up, and I felt like I needed to push.  I get the go-ahead and I must tell you that even at this very moment, I did not think the baby would come out of my body.  I was so beat down, and so exhausted, with my legs shaking and my husband feeding me water and honey from those tiny straws on demand, and me begging that his small hand-held fan never leave my face, I really believed that this would go on forever…this horrible, horrible Pitocin induced labor. 

I finally feel hope when the nurses come in and prepare for a birth without the OB.  Maybe, just maybe, this would finally stop.

Then all of the sudden, my OB comes in – wearing a ball cap, running shoes and workout clothes.  He says that he can be here for the next 20 minutes, but then has to go meet his daughter for a 5K race they are doing together downtown.

He slipped on booties over his shoes, and sat down in front of me (I am on my back – the one position I swore I would not be in to give birth) and I immediately begged him to make sure I don’t tear (after all this, I still ask..I know).  His assistant starts dripping oil on me like she's sprinkling fairy dust, and my doctor impatiently takes the oil from her hand and dumps the entire contents on me.

I finally understand how women who have given birth lose all sense of shame.    

I push through 2 contractions, and the baby is finally here, placed on top of me immediately.  7:23am.  At this point I cannot believe my eyes, so relieved that this is finally over. 

After about 30 seconds of me repeating “oh my gosh” Joel finally interjects and asks – “so – what is it??”  All of the doctors and nurses erupt in a chorus of “I didn’t see it, did you?”  Dr. Chavira finally picks up the baby and announces – “It’s a girl!”

It’s a girl.  What I secretly wanted and will only admit this now to you, on the internet.

Yes that is a D.A.R.E.shirt on my husband. And no, we did not plan that to coincide with a "drug-free" birth.

Dr. Chavira tells me I didn’t need any stiches and I am relieved (and thank my 6lb baby girl).  He came over to me, we said a Hail Mary and our good byes, and he headed out the door to the 5K.  His ball cap was on his head the entire time.

For the next few minutes the baby and I worked on breastfeeding and staying warm, and Joel finally looked over at me and says-slash-asks “She looks like a Mia (?)” and I instantly concur.

One thing I was surprised about was that I didn’t cry when  I first saw her (I'm sort of a crier).  I think I was too “shell-shocked.”  Later that day Joel and I have a moment alone with our sleeping Mia, and I bury my head in his chest and say behind tears “That. Was so. Traumatic.”  I really, at this moment, thought it was the hardest, most traumatic experience of my life…something I couldn’t possibly do again.

Looking back on it now, and hearing many other birth stories since, I realize it was par for the course when it comes to natural births.  And after meeting with our class participants and all their new babies, I learned that we were only 2 out of 5 that actually went natural like planned.  Childbirth is crazy!

Since that day I have felt the “trauma” less and less.  And I will do it again.  Yes! Let’s do it again. Maybe… with an epidural next time :)

Mia -  1 day old, on Mother's Day

Friday, September 20, 2013

New Mom Gift Basket

{Update: If you are here from the lovely Pinterest and happen to have the symbols "?m=1" at the end of this url, please delete them and press enter, or click here for much more viewing pleasure!}


Last weekend we celebrated my very good friend and her soon-to-arrive baby. I couldn't help but be extra excited for this shower because a) It was for my very good friend, and b) I was on the other side of the shower / celebration / anticipation / absolute and complete unknown.  What a relief to just watch, encourage, and celebrate someone else!

Since she is a good friend, I decided to give myself permission to go rogue from her baby registry and get her the things I wish I had around my house when the baby came.  I thought of so many things, but narrowed it down to these (which I found all at Target, in one shopping trip..which made the narrowing down easy).

1. Eye Mask - for all those daytime naps to heed the ubiquitous advice to "sleep when the baby sleeps!"  It takes me generally 20+ minutes to fall asleep, and with the sun out even more.  These babies cut that down to about 60 seconds when you add in lack of sleep :)

2. Her favorite wine 

3. Dry Shampoo - yes I spoke of this here before, and still attest - it is a new mom's life saver

4. Mother's Milk herbal lactation tea - and if it doesn't work, at least it tastes good

5. Facial Cleansing Wipes - anything "quick" is a new mom's dream

6. A Cereal / easy healthy-ish snack she likes - I chose Fiber One because I know she likes it, and it has Fiber - much needed at this stage

7. Personal Cleansing Wipes - I don't need to go into detail on this, just trust me...they are handy for weeks

8. Lanolin nipple cream - used constantly for at least 3 weeks. oweeee!

9. A copy of Parents Magazine (or of course any magazine for those long feeding sessions is great)

10. Another snack - anything that can be easily grabbed and eaten with one hand; these are fruit chews with added Vitamin C

11. Tank tops - I prefer the "normal" tank tops for feeding- Old Navy has great ones, shelf bra tops are great, and Target has a bunch of different styles.  I have at least a dozen tank tops that I use constantly to feed Mia in (plus I live in AZ and wear tank tops 5+ months out of the year).  

The 2-tank top trick is my go-to for feedings with other people around (the tank underneath is pulled down, the top one is pulled up - that way your back and side are always covered, and your chest/cleavage is covered - both good whether or not you use those handy feeding covers).

Looking at this list I can see a few themes: the need for food, the lack of showering and sleep, and anything revolving around breastfeeding.  Yep that pretty much sums up a new mom's life.

If you are a mom, I'm sure you could think of many other items to add / exchange.  And of course, always use your best judgement for the particular new mom you are buying for.  And don't forget the gift receipt! :)

Best wishes to all those new and soon-to-be new mamas out there!