Monday, February 6, 2012

I started this post a week ago...

It's quiet right now.

Munch is asleep in her swing and there is Banana Bread is baking.

Banana Bread, incidentally, is not a pet name for my cat or anything. It's actual banana bread. I felt that I should clarify, since I make a habit of calling my daughter various food items. I'm pretty sure she things her name is Sweet Potato Pie. Poor thing will get quite a shock next Thanksgiving.

I love my life. I really do. But occasionally I look at my life and the quiet domesticity of it all, and can't help but compare it to that of my peers.

When most of my fellow '05 grads were graduating with their BA's, I was walking down the aisle.

When they began starting careers, I started trying to conceive and became a mother.

I never had the experience of going away to college. I never had that in between stage somewhere between teenager and full-blown adulthood.

That was initially a complete disappointment, by the way. In the fall before college, I was geared up to apply to Liberty University in Virginia. I had plans of scarves and hot coffee and football games in the fall, living in a dorm, being on my own, albeit slightly hidden in the safety of being at school. Not quite the same as the real world, I hear.


I was all set to go, right up until my mother broke the news that it simply wasn't affordable. I didn't qualify for Bright Futures, and while I had a few scholarships, they weren't going to cover four years at a private university. That might have been surmountable, but then my father was deployed, leaving my mother, sister and I behind, and leaving me with a great sense of responsibility to them. Moving to Virginia just wasn't in the cards.

So I went to the local community college, got a job and started life. Met my husband. Nagged him into marrying me. Finally go my AA. Had a baby. Not the way I expected it to go. Not the way the lives of so many friends went.

I sometimes

You don't get to know what I sometimes, because at this point, Munch woke up and nursed, then proceeded to giggle and play and be all-around charming until I snapped out of wishing for anything but the life I've been given. Because really, how could you not love this:

Saturday, December 31, 2011


I always get all tingly at the start of a new year. It's so fresh and clean, no mistakes in it, no ANYTHING in it, just blank newness waiting to be mucked about it.

I know that's rubbish.

And also I've been watching a lot of Doctor Who, which explains the British phraseology. Seriously, if I had a British accent, I'd shut up even less than I already do.

Anyway, like I said, I know the whole idea of the new year being fresh and shiny and new is utter rubbish, because really, there's nothing special about tomorrow. It's just another day. But somehow it's so full of opportunities and choices to be made or not made or unmade or remade. It's just so darn EXCITING.

I am a resolution maker, and this year I have three four resolutions for my brand new, shiny year:

1. Organize. This sounds dumb, but we live in 1200 sq feet, and until the economy turns around, we're going nowhere fast. It's time to take this hodge podge of a house and turn it into a well-mannered, organized home.

2. Get Healthy - I'm little, but I am nowhere near as healthy as I wish I was. Starting tomorrow, I'm exercising, feeding my family more whole foods and no more eating cereal that changes the color of my milk. I may even start to buy *gasp* 2% instead of whole. The end goal here is to run a 5K next December.

3. Read. In 2010, I read 100 books. 100. I didn't set myself a reading goal last year and I read precisely five books. Or so. So this year, I'm cutting the goal in quarters, because I have doula training and work and a BABY. So, in 2012, I'm reading 25 books. At least. And only seven of them can be Harry Potter.

It's funny because there are seven Harry Potter books.

4. Word. As in "The Word". My relationship with God fell to the wayside when I became a mother, but if I want to raise up this little girl in the way that she should go, I need to make sure I am on the way that I should go. I miss reading the Bible every night. I miss the closeness I had with God.

So there it is. Organze. Fit. Read. Word.


Or WORF, if you prefer.

Actually, I do.

WORF: New Years 2012

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bird Sillouette Wall Art *DIY*

When Paul and I looked into decorating Munch's room, I made a discovery.

Baby stuff is effing expensive.

It really is. Early on, I fell in love with the Bananafish Love Birds set. I love the birds and the leaves and the OMGITSSOCUTE of it all. Unfortunately, $179 on a fitted sheet, a dust ruffle, a bumper and a quilt makes my heart want to explode out of my chest. So, instead of biting the bullet, realizing that EVERYONE spends ridiculous amounts on baby bedding and purchasing the set, I settled on a pink, green and brown color scheme and that was that. We were even gifted a very cute bedding set from one of my class parents that matches the scheme perfectly:
I sort of detest this picture. It's way cuter in person. Still, as cute as the bedding is, I kept going back to that darn Bananafish. Something about the little birds and leaves and muted colors just speaks to my heart. So, instead of breaking the bank, I said "Well, maybe just the wall art. That's compromising, right?" Plus, look how cute it is:And then. Oh, and then. Did I mention that this piece retails on Amazon for $64?! Just let that sink in. I'll wait.

Once I recovered from my sticker shock induced coma, I grabbed Paul and the two of us marches ourselves down to Hobby Lobby. I love Hobby Lobby. My entire wedding was from their shelves.

Now, my version is a great deal simpler, but you could easily add whatever flowers/leaves/vining/color you wanted. You could even make the pieces fabric covered with a little bit of fabric and a stapler. It's really not tough stuff.

Here's what you'll need:
- Two 8x10 Canvases (I found a 2-pack at HL for $3.50)
- Two sheets of 8.5x11 Scrapbooking paper (I got four in case I messed up, but they only run about $.44 apeice)
- Ribbon (This is optional, depending on how you want to mount your art
- Mod Podge ( I used the matte finish, and it turned out well)
- Spongy craft brush
- Bird Template (I used this one from Under the Table and Dreaming)

This is seriously the easiest project I've ever done. You don't even have to print out the bird template. Just bring the picture up on your computer screen, zoom to the size you want it, and trace it onto printer paper. Cut that out and VOILA! insta-stencil.

Obviously, the first thing you're going to do is trace your birdie stencil onto the back, and I repeat, the BACK of your pieces of scrapbook paper. Don't do it on the front. The Back. Otherwise, you end up with pencil marks on your cute new bird.

Cut those out. I assume you know how to use scissors. Just be careful going around the rounded edges. It's easy to not round enough and end up with jaggedy edges. Not cute.

Note: Remember to trace your birdies so they are facing opposite directions. I almost made that exact mistake before I stopped and said "Wait...what?"

Now for the fun part. Using your spongy brush (I used the little one), apply Mod Podge to both the canvas and the back of your bird. I found that just a single layer on one or the other just doesn't cut it. Carefully position your bird and smooth out the air bubbles. I found that no matter what I did, I had a few air bubbles. I'm only fake crafty, so I'm not really sure how to remedy the situation, but they seemed to calm down a lot after I put on the sealing coat of Mod Podge and let them dry.

Let the Mod Podge dry for about 15 minutes, then put on a thin layer over the entire canvas, including the birdie. This will (Apparently) help seal the piece so you don't end up with a little birdie peeling off in a few months.

So, after all that, you should end up with something resembling....THISMy little birds aren't perfectly even, and I opted to go a LOT simpler than the original wall art, but I'm pleased with how they turned out. I don't even think I'll hang them with the ribbon. I like the simplicity of just mounting them on the walls.

If you wanted to do extra pieces, it would be super easy to just add them into the above instructions. If you wanted a fabric background, I would suggest using cotton and applique-ing, rather than Mod Podge, although I hear they make a type that works well for cloth, so have at it.

When we get her dresser/changing table in, these little cuties will hang above it. Soon and very soon.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cosleeping, the story of how we became "those" people

We cosleep. Munch sleeps next to our bed in a bassinet, and, in a month or so when she is too big, we will be taking the side off her crib and moving it into our room as a cosleeper bed.

I was always the first person to say that my child would be in her own bed just as soon as possible. I really was super judgey about parents who kept their children with them in bed past the six week mark, and I swore up and down that it would never happen in my family.

And then.

Munch came along and my boobs became the proverbial milkshake parlor. In the beginning, she slept next to our bed in a swing. At three weeks, like any good American, Kids-need-to-learn-to-be-independent parent, I moved her into her own bed in her room. She slept fine, but now I was getting up in the middle of the night, every two hours, walking into her room to nurse her, then rocking her back to sleep, a process that sometimes took the better part of an hour and left me in frustrated tears.

Finally, after a night of fruitless attempts at putting her back to sleep, I simply brought her back to bed with us. I nursed her on my side for a bit, then both of us snuggled into each other and fell asleep. I was astonished at how easy it became to keep homegirl asleep when she was with me. The arrangement worked so well that she stayed. BAM, we were suddenly not just a cosleeping family but a GASP, bed-sharing family. And when we were given a bassinet so that her sweaty little self didn't have to plastered against me all night (seriously. Munch is the sweatiest kid on the planet.), she stayed longer. It's just so darn easy to pull her into bed with me, nurse her and put her back (or not). I get way more sleep, and she sleeps great. Its also such a comfort for me when the Hubs is working late to just pull Munch into bed with me and go to sleep together.

She's four months old now, and there's not really an end in sight for our cosleeping adventures. When she's night-weaned, perhaps. Or maybe not.

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's a Problem

It's Friday.

My girl is asleep upstairs and, because she has recently started sleeping through the night (knock on wood and thank the Lord), I have until 5:30 tomorrow morning to work on my novel, get laundry done, catch up on some rest.

But no.

It's Friday.

Which means I am busy with three things. One thing, really.


We cloth diaper Miss Alice's sweet little bum, and I love it, I truly do. The one problem is that Cloth Diapering can quickly become an obsession. I spend countless hours on cloth diapering websites and online stores, drooling over new prints and products that I want.

Our stash is pretty economical. We have Alice covered until she's 18 pounds or so, a
ll for under $300. We'll probably spend a little under $100 more, and she'll be set for the rest of her diapering years. We don't NEED more diapers.

But look at those things. How could you not want more? And they're so cute that I want one to match every outfit she owns, and that can get a bit expensive.

So here I am, on Friday, entering contests.

You'd be amazed the things people give away on the Internet. To me, Friday means three things.

Fluff Friday
(this week is two itti bitti tutto's, normally over $20 apiece)

Thirsty Thursday
(Two Duo Diaper in Snaps. WANT WANT WANT)

Feed Your Stash Friday
(two Happy Heiney's. I don't even know if I like that brand, but hey, free is free.)

When I'm feeling super ambitious, I'll visit the cloth diaper round-up and just go nuts entering giveaways. I keep a Twitter account solely for the ability to earn extra entries by tweeting. I blow up people's newsfeeds on Friday, liking this post and that, posting status updates about various giveaways.

I've never actually won a giveaway. But it's happening. One of these days, it'll happen. The statistics say so.

Besides, how cute is this:

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I said in my last post that I still have a lot of anger and grief about my sweet girl being born via C-section.

I still do.

I'm not obsessing over it the way I was, having trouble even picking up my girl because I couldn't stop hurting and crying over her method of birth. No, I'm not there anymore. I'm enjoying being a mommy, enjoying my life. But every once in awhile, I still look at the way she was born and just want to cry over it.

Sometimes I do. But not always.

Even though I don't cry every time, I do tell myself, every time,

"Never Again."

Our next birth will be a home birth, barring an absolute emergency. I will not willingly put myself back in the hands of an OB who refuses to even consider a vaginal breech delivery. I will certainly not put myself back with a group that checked the position of my child FIVE TIMES by five different doctors and still missed that my child was breech. The thing I have come to realize is that obstetrics is moving away from vaginal delivery. And I don't think that's a bad thing. I'm getting to the point where I believe that every OB should have a 100% cesarean rate and that vaginal birth is no place for a doctor, especially not doctors that are so afraid of litigation that they cut for something as simple as a frank breech baby.

On a side note, the reactions I got to the word "breech" were incredibly varied. Anyone who gave birth within the last ten years looked at me with horror and said "Oh no! That's so scary!" Anyone who had given birth before that time said "Oh, my daughter/niece/son/nephew was breech and they had no problem delivering him/her. I wonder why they wouldn't let you try it normally."

But I digress.

Our cesarean went "well", meaning my baby was healthy, I was healthy, and my recovery, physically, was easy. Everyone tells me that I should be grateful, because all that matters is that I have a healthy baby.

But no one will listen to the fact that, emotionally, it was horrendous.

I feel like I was given no options, simply told that, because I hadn't given birth before, I couldn't deliver her vaginally. That my body, designed by an Almighty Creator, could not fulfill one of its basic purposes and give birth.

I feel like I was robbed of a normal birth because the doctor was unwilling or unable or to scared to help me, and because a cesarean is, for the doctor, so much easier. I feel like my doctor took the cowards way out.

I lost control of my contractions toward the end, because I saw no point in working with them and working through them anymore, if they were just going to cut her out of me. Where I had been calm, if in pain, but focused and in control, I was now terrified and in pain, unfocused and out of control.

I felt like a complete failure because I had worked so hard to prepare for her birth, only to have it ripped away from me by a doctor who would not do their job.

I felt completely out of control of the actual delivery. I didn't actively push my child into the world, she was removed from me, like something unwanted.

I didn't get the first precious minutes of her life. Instead, I spent those being sewn up, while she was taken from her mother and into a room to be examined.

My feelings were discounted by every single person I spoke to after the surgery, including my doctor. Each person made me feel that I was weak, failing in my emotional response the way I had during my delivery. That I was ungrateful for my healthy baby girl.

Like I said, Never Again.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

30 BEFORE 30 - Have a Baby

Done and done!

I didn't update at all during my pregnancy, mostly because life got hectic. I lost a job, found a job, started my novel in earnest, interviewed pediatricians, bought cloth diapers. It's been an exciting few months. But I'd say its been worth it.She's about a week old here, still in possesion of her gray eyes and newborn hair. The hair has since fallen out, to be replaced with hair that is her daddy's dark color though not, at this point, quite the same texture or amount. I'm sure that will come, to the bane of my future attempts at taming it. Her eyes have gone from gray to a very determined blue, again, just like her daddy, much to his dismay. He was hoping for brown, like mommy :)

My girl was born the day before her due date, via c-section. I still feel a jolt of anger and grief when I write that. She wasn't supposed to be born via C-section. I labored without drugs for nine hours before my delivery OB announced that, while I was dilating beautifully and my girl had dropped, she was breech, and breech delivery is something my OB does not "allow". I could have disputed it, and perhaps should have, but a woman in labor does not make good split-second decisions, and I let them cut me. I have a lot of regrets about that, which I may go over in another post. This post isn't about my regrets. It's about my perfect little success.

C-sections are odd things. I couldn't feel any pain, just tugging, which I found out later was **GROSS WARNING** the doctors removing my "guts" as my brother in law put it and placing them on my chest. Sick in the extreme. I had morphine in my spinal, which made me a little woozy, but I distinctly remember the moment she was "born". The doctor asked me if I was ready, and upon my emphatic "YES", I heard my little girl cry. I wish I'd been able to have a "right to the chest" moment, but when your arms are stretched out to your sides and the lower half of your body is numb and cut open, they don't exactly want to hand you your baby. They cleaned her up, and I did get to meet her before they took her off to the nursery for vitals.
They brought her to me within 15 minutes of my being post-op, and she was nursing within ten minutes of being with me. I will say that, other than the fact that I ended up with an "unnecesaerean", the hospital was very good about respecting my wishes. This picture is from the second day, probably less than 18 hours post op. Notice the lack of anything connected to me. I did everything I could to get off IV fluids and then GO HOME as soon as possible. We ended up going home 38 hours post-op. Less than two days. That's less than most vaginal deliveries. Take that, medical system
Our first family picture:
My girl is a month old now, becoming more and more alert, trying to hold her head up, still nursing like a champ. We are cloth diapering, something I'll cover in another post, but its going so well. I love being a mommy, but more importantly, I love being her mommy.