Thursday, December 31, 2009

An Ode to my Bed

Christmas was delightful. We started on Christmas Eve, after breakfast and showers and such. We dug the pile of presents out from behind the Christmas Rocking Chair and took turns giving each other presents. Cara loved the paper... and occasionally looked at her presents, too. She got tired and had to go down for a nap halfway through, but that gave Ryan and I a chance to play with our new toys. Between the two of us, we got books, and crafty things, and access to a gym, and a new keyboard with a wireless mouse, and a glorious food dehydrator. Yay!

After lunch, we drove to Idaho Falls. We got there just in time for dinner and chimes and kisses for Cara. It was a delightful evening. That night was wonderful, too. I slept deeply, in spite of Cara fussing two feet away from me. Apparently I slept better than half the other people in the house. Fortunately, they were under strict orders that Cara was to be allowed to sleep until at least 7. Otherwise we'd have all been up at 3 am. Blech!

Cara ruined it, though. She started crying at 6:45, loud enough that she woke me up. At that point there was no use in trying to get back to sleep, so I very graciously conceded the point and we all went out to open presents in our pajamas by the light of the Christmas tree. Cara was thoroughly spoiled, of course. She got so many fun toys... including a bookshelf complete with many books. The rest of us learned a lot about each other. Our gifts were homemade this year: Meghan and Merrill are proud of their initials and make some dang good cookies. Becky wants to keep everybody warm in the most beautiful way possible, and Susan decided that Christmas morning was the best time to tell everybody she had an affair with nature. (Sorry Rod... at least you still have Jill!) :) Actually, it was a beautiful wall hanging made of leather and sticks and feathers. I love it!

The rest of the day was spent killing bunnies, eating Santa's face, and going to see a movie in the theater for the first time in 6 months. (In case you haven't seen it, Blindside is amazing.)

All in all, it was a delightful holiday, punctuated by Cara's smiles, laughs, ability to sit up on her own, and her first tooth finally poking through on Sunday, as well as 6 dogs going crazy in the back yard, Grammy Cracker being beyond thrilled to have all her kids there, and a fun episode with knives and acid in which the girls totally put every boy in the house to shame.

Returning home was laced with feelings of satisfaction and anticipation for what the future might hold. Christmas is still exploded all over my living room, but I am slowly getting our lives put back together. Two days ago I washed our brand new flannel sheets and put them on our bed. They're big, and blue, and don't match, but somehow our relatively simple bed suddenly feels luxurious, and even though our apartment is a hole in a very nice wall, when I climb into bed I feel, a little bit more, like I am coming home.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Powerful Women

Before I got married, my friends were, in general, powerful women. We all wanted to get married. I was one of a few who did. And I'm so happy.

I'm happy when my husband comes home.

I'm happy when my daughter smiles at me.

I'm happy that I can make my family laugh.

I'm happy when I don't have to fill out job applications.

I'm happy when I know- as I do every day- that I am loved and cherished.

At the same time, my job description, at the moment, is as follows: Feed the baby. Change her diaper. Get her dressed. Put her down for a nap. Eat breakfast. Do dishes- Don't wake the baby! Take a shower. Feed the baby. Change the baby. Do laundry. Put the baby down for a nap. Check my email/facebook/blog. Cook dinner. Don't wake the baby! Feed the baby. Change the baby. Play with the baby. Put the baby down for a nap. Kiss my husband. Serve dinner. Read a book. Go to bed.

The chores that sustain life have become my life. I suppose that's what it means to be Mom.

I have the joy of keeping in touch with several of my Kindred Spirit Powerful Woman friends. I watch them as they move forward in their lives... they hold down Jobs, buy things like pianos, and horses, and cars, and lasik surgery. They run marathons, or half marathons, and take vacations to exotic places like Australia and Texas. They start gardens and learn how to dance. They leap and bound toward their better selves.

My mouth waters with the thought of these experiences. Envy is probably my chosen sin. And gluttony. I admit, I want to soak in every experience these Powerful Women are having and roll in them until I am sick.

But no, I don't. I wouldn't trade my husband or my daughter for all the jobs, cars and pianos life has to offer.

It seemed to me, last night as I struggled to fall asleep, that at one point I was on the cusp of being a Powerful Woman. I had a job. I bought a car. School held me back, but I was going to do Great Things, too. I was going to jump over the cliff and skydive my way into life's experiences. Instead, I chose another way. I found a gentler path that led down into the green valley below and began my slow descent into happiness. I miss so many of the dangers.

But then, I realized: I can still be a Powerful Woman! Anchored at home as I am, I still have a love and talent for writing that is difficult to fulfill elsewhere. I have a world of information at my fingertips and I still have hopes and dreams. I can learn what I do not know; I can still do Great Things.

Maybe, just maybe, my time is now. I will leap over that edge and fly toward my Powerful Self, knowing that I am tethered to the people who love me most. Maybe...


Wow. Reading Terresa's blog has definitely influenced my writing style. At least, it has for today. What do you think?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Santa Baby

Also on my birthday, we had a breakfast with Santa. We put Cara in her cute little Santa dress, and she was the Belle of the Ball, so to speak. There was another little girl there who was entranced. "Look," I heard her say to her Mom, "A Santa baby!" Later, she told her family that she didn't want a picture with Santa. She wanted a picture of Santa with the Santa baby. Of course we were happy to do that... and this was the result.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Housework

You know that kid at school... the one who gets bad grades, and then aces the STAR tests? The one who screws off, doesn't do his homework, and everyone thinks he's stupid until that score comes out? As soon as it does, all sorts of interest gets piqued, and the kid starts getting asked questions like, "Are you bored at school?"

Of course I'm bored at school. I'm a genius, and you want me to regurgitate the fact that 2+2=4 a million times a week. B-O-R-I-N-G!!! Can I read more of my book that's 15 grade levels ahead of me? Please leave me alone!

That's totally me. My house isn't messy because I'm lazy. My house is messy because I'm a genius.

Really.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday to me!
Happy Birthday to me!
Happy Birthday dear Chelsea!
Happy Birthday to me!

It was yesterday. I'm officially 27. And as I say that I take a deep breath of new air, as though the world has been renewed with the blowing out of candles. It's beautiful.

On Thursday I was treated to a lovely carriage ride at Thanksgiving Point by my wonderful in-laws. We rode around for 20 minutes in the bitter cold air, pulled by a Percheron named Jody, enjoying the Christmas lights and Christmas songs and Christmas feel. My favorite set of lights featured a reindeer that ran up a ramp and jumped off as if to fly, but that promptly fell back to the ground, parachute opening to break his fall. That was closely followed by the deer set up in the middle of a field with very Christmassy soldiers on the outskirts shooting at them. Of course there were the more traditional depictions as well: Santa, and a gingerbread house, and polar bears. At the end were set up pictures with a poem depicting the nativity. It was really neat.

We went to dinner that night, too, at the Harvest restaurant. The food was so yummy! And when we told them we had been on the carriage ride, they offered us hot chocolate to warm up. One of the best parts about the restaurant, actually, was the friendliness of the staff. Funny how much of a difference that makes to an evening.

Presents! Ryan got me a wrap in hopes that I would wear something to keep me warm during the winter. I have a tendency to leave my jackets behind. Very silly, I know, but maybe the wrap will help. It's beautiful! He also got me an itunes gift card. I have a few ideas of songs I want, but I need more ideas. Any suggestions?

Saturday was my actual birthday, and we got to go have breakfast with Santa at church. Cara was dressed up in an adorable red dress with white trim, and we got some fun pictures of her with Santa. The day was relatively uneventful, but that evening we went country dancing. Loved it! Oh! That morning, Ryan woke me up for the breakfast and brought me my last present- a cutco knife from my mom. Love those things!

Anyway, all in all it was a delightful birthday. I love my birthday!

Friday, November 27, 2009

More Pictures of Cara




I'm not terribly skilled with the camera... or with picture altering programs. But at least you can get some idea of what she's doing these days. She's rolling over, smiling, laughing occasionally, playing with toys, and getting ready to crawl and to sit up on her own. Yesterday was her first experience of solid food out of a spoon. So fun!



Friday, November 13, 2009

California

Last weekend, we went to California to celebrate an early Thanksgiving. Why early? Well, both my brothers are in the Navy. Trevor now lives 45 minutes away from home and returns almost every weekend. Cameron, however, lives in South Carolina and his break came at the beginning of November rather than the end. It may be another year before we get to see him again... and neither of them had met Cara yet. This was our year to spend Thanksgiving with my family, and so we all got together a little earlier than normal.

The trip was rushed. We left at 6:30 Wednesday night, drove through the night and reached Hollister at around 9 Thursday morning. We were exhausted, but got to visit with family and friends. I took a nap and a shower and then went to a baby shower that was hosted and planned by members of the ward and my aunts.

The baby shower was wonderful! So many people showed up, and others brought gifts, even if they weren't at the party. It always amazes me to see such outpourings of love. I am awed, humbled, excited... Plus it was so fun to see everyone! Cara had a hard time with it, unfortunately. It had been a long night, and a busy day, and even though she'd taken a couple of naps she still hadn't quite recovered from a night of sleeping in the carseat. She wasn't her normal happy smiley self until after everyone left. I hope they get to see her sometime when she is happier!

Friday was relatively relaxed. We puttered around, got ready for Thanksgiving, and that night watched V from my Uncle's computer which he set up on a projector screen. What a treat!

Saturday was Thanksgiving! Woohoo! Gotta love home-cookin' that you don't have to cook yourself... Thanks Mom!!! It was amazing, delicious, and totally killed my diet but I loved every bite.

Sunday we went to Church, then dealt with some cows that had pink-eye. That sounds strange, I know, but I enjoyed it. I so miss being out with the animals. Of course I prefer horses to cows, but it was fun to climb fences and such.

We headed out early Monday morning and reached our apartment around 11 pm. Crazy busy, but all sorts of fun.

Of course Cara stole the show. My Mom was a little reluctant about being "Grandma", but she has taken up the position quite nicely. She and Cara laughed and played, and I think my Mom fed her more than I did on this trip. Dad was enchanted, of course. I haven't seen him smile that big in a while. (Not that he doesn't smile, it's just that his smiles for Cara were extra big!) Cameron was afraid of her, but the two would stare at each other, seemingly fascinated. He also poked her a few times. That was very affectionate, for Cameron. Trevor talked to her, played with her, and even held her once. Uncle Dan didn't know we were coming, and so was slightly wierded out to walk in the house and see a baby on the floor, but he enjoyed us all as well.

Oh! She also started to figure out toys while we were there. She would grab at rattles, and hold them, and shake them. The mylar balloons we got at the party were great fun. She would grab at the strings, pull them, and watch as they bounced around above her. We tried to bring those with us, but they lost pressure on the trip over here and we had to put them down. Poor balloons. We kept the little plastic weights, though, and those make great toys as well.

Anyway, I know I'm terrible at taking pictures... right now they're all pretty much of Cara laying down or being held... other than showing off all her new fun outfits, I don't see a whole lot of point to it. Plus, I'm just bad at getting the camera out. I'll post more soon, I swear!

In the meantime, California was wonderful. Thanks to all who participated in the baby shower! And a great big thanks to my family for letting us come and for being who they are. I love you guys!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Not a Mom

"Boys are not worth the effort it takes to train them." This was the mantra I told myself back when I was bitter about the fact that I had never had a boyfriend and had wanted nothing else for years.

Somehow, through more years of lonely experience, I came to the conclusion that that particular attitude was not going to get me what I actually wanted- a man. And so, I changed my mantra.

"I want a man who is good enough that I don't have to train him." And I wouldn't settle on anything less. This of course meant that I had to be in the habit of not telling others what to do and thinking that my way of doing things was the right way of doing things. After all, if I didn't want to have to train him, I didn't want him to be thinking I would be willing to perform such a service!

And I won. Through the grace of God, I married the most wonderful man I have ever known, bar none. And he needs no training. He watches less tv than I do, doesn't like sweets very much, always wants to help out with whatever needs doing, and takes out the trash- sometimes without being asked! (Of course that's just a miniscule list of his virtues, but I believe that covers many of the "training" issues.)

The funny thing is, he still looks to me for advice on little things. "Where does this go?" "What needs to be done today?" "What do I wear to this event?"

Tonight was such a night. We were packing to go to California, where we will be getting family pictures taken. My Ryan asked me what he should pack... the suit? the khaki pants? the blue shirt? the navy tie?

Well, my friend, I'm sorry to say that I don't know. I wasn't trained in the art of dressing men. Half the time I can barely dress myself. I don't have to know those kinds of things. Those are Mom things to know. "I'm not a Mom!" I finally called out in frivolous desperation.

Ryan smiled.

Cara looked at me, happily smacking on her thumb.

And I turned and left the room to gather up more laundry.

Monday, November 2, 2009

That Could Be Me

Do you do this? Every time I see something I think is cool, I think, "I could do that." And there is so much I want to do.

I want to start a business.

I want to train horses.

I want to ride those horses up into the mountains where I would go hunting with a camera.

I want to build fences.

I want to write books.

I want to ride my bicycle for miles and miles in well-fitted exercise clothes while the miles get counted and each one means money donated to a cause by the people who pledged for me.

I want to be part of a rec therapy program that helps teenagers discover who they are and what life is about.

I want to run a ranch that donates two months of every year to battered women and children.

I want to be the kind of person from whom creativity naturally flows, unhampered by societal fears.

I want to create a manual for new adults just beginning to figure out what life is about.

I want to travel through my own country, and have stories to tell about my life's adventures.

I want to be the kind of person who recognizes when such stories are in the making and enjoys the unfolding of them.

I want to go to third-world countries and distribute micro-loans.

I want to be a grandmotherly sort of person who always has a plate of cookies and a smile for anyone who needs a friendly ear.

I want to give, and do, and be... and my biggest question is how? quickly followed by when? and really?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Welcome, Terresa!

This morning I find myself both overjoyed and a little wierded out. You see, I found a comment (always welcome) from a friend I have never met. Her name is Terresa, and I found her blog through my Aunt Lynn. It's called The Chocolate Chip Waffle and is completely wonderful. I checked it out one day and found a love of writing and of words that closely mirrors what is in my own heart. I added a link to her blog on the sidebar of my blog, but never announced my presence to her. No comments, nothing. Apparently I'm not as anonymous as I thought....

At any rate, Welcome Terresa, and any others who may be watching from afar!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Grammy on the Block

This past weekend was the last reception for Megan and Merrill (Ryan's brother). It was in Idaho, for the Roberts' benefit. Of course, we were invited... and commissioned to decorate the cultural hall for the reception. It was much fun. We drove up Friday night, didn't get enough sleep, and woke up early. We took advantage of our babysitters and went to the Temple for a couple of hours. That was wonderful... I haven't been through a session since before Cara was born. It was neat to go together.

We took Ryan's car to Big-O to get his winter tires put on, and ended up spending more money than we were expecting because one of them was broken and had to be replaced. Ah, life.

We went to the church and ate lunch. We also saw a fantastic rendition of Merrill and Megan's courtship, as written, directed and performed by the Famous and Slightly Irreverent Aunt Chari and accompanied by various other members of the family. Critics gave it two thumbs up and said, "The songs were wonderfully adapted, beautifully performed, and amusingly put together. It was an emotionally charged piece of art that is rarely seen in this generation."

The afternoon was spent setting up tables, trees, crumpled newspaper, and blue fabric. I was accused of having too much fun, which I'm fully okay with. I must admit, it looked good. Way to go Becky!

Unfortunately, before this trip began, I had been fighting with a sore throat for several days. It wasn't a big deal, but because I hadn't gotten enough sleep, I lost that battle for a couple of days. By the time the reception came around, I was exhausted, sniffling, coughing, and sneezing. Cara, however, was the belle of the ball... next to the bride, of course.

"Grammy Cracker" Roberts has been wanting grandchildren since before Ryan and I were married. According to her, providing grandchildren is really my main purpose in the family. :) Well, that's not true, but does show just how much she wanted grandchildren. "All my friends are grandmas," she would say. "I want to be one too!" Well, three months ago she got her wish, and at this reception, she got to see all her friends and show off her new grandbaby. It was the perfect occasion! So she stood at the beginning of the line and (I'm sure, though I didn't actually hear any of this) told everyone to look for her granddaughter at the end of the line.

And so I sat, trying not to cough on the nice people who came through the line, or on Cara herself, as she was admired by young and old alike. She handled it beautifully, greeting everyone with wide, curious eyes and big smiles. She was gorgeous in her dark blue gown, and was the perfect accessory to my blue and white skirt and sweater. ;)

It was a very nice event. My favorite part was dancing with Ryan while Becky held a sleeping Cara.

The next day, Cara and I got to sleep while everyone else went to Church, thanks to my cold. Apparently I missed an adorable primary program, but was too grateful for the sleep to have minded much.

But after everyone came home, lunch was eaten, and extended family had departed, we were left alone with Ryan's parents. We started to pack up our things and then came out to the family room to find Cara, sitting contentedly in Grammy's lap, listening to and completely enraptured by a Dr. Seuss book. Grandpa O sat in another chair, watching the scene. Ryan and I settled in on the couch to rest before our drive back to Utah. Cara greeted us with one of her huge grins, and then turned her attention back to the book. Right there, in that quiet room, with the late afternoon sun streaming through the window and surrounded by family, I knew a moment of happiness that I long to replicate every day. Thank you for the good weekend, Grammy Cracker and Grandpa O!

Friday, October 23, 2009

No Boys Allowed

Because this post is about nursing.

A few weeks ago, my mom asked me if I was enjoying nursing. She asked me in the warm tone of voice that said plainly that she had enjoyed it and fully expected me to enjoy it as well. To tell the truth, until she asked me that, it hadn't even occurred to me that I could enjoy it, much less that it was natural to. Of course, since that time, I've been analyzing it, feeling guilty, etc.

I knew that it would probably hurt for the first little while. It did, more than I had anticipated. I also knew that the pain would pass. It did, and now it generally doesn't hurt anymore.

But I still don't like it. I don't hate it per se, except when we're caught away from home. I suppose that it doesn't help that, ever since puberty hit, I've disliked that part of my anatomy. Combine that with an active sense of modesty, and when feeding time hits I feel anxious, exposed, and stuck. It also doesn't help that I am big enough that I can't hold my baby in the traditional manner without suffocating her. I have to lay her on a pillow and hold my skin away from her nose.

Plus, I am working on losing weight. I didn't lose any baby weight after Cara was born. I have lost a few pounds in the last month, but it was by changing my diet. I have had to work to lose it. I don't mind doing this, but I need to in order to fit into my clothes again. Seriously, it's either that or buy a new wardrobe. Hence, I'm not producing enough milk for her and she gets so fussy- understandably, poor thing! Her tummy hurts!

So, the last couple of days I have been supplementing her meals with formula. There are too many health benefits to nursing for me to give it up altogether, but I like this supplementing thing. She has started taking naps again! She smiles and talks during the day! Plus, it opens up possibilities for leaving her with other people so we can go on dates and such.

Maybe it's wierd for me to genuinely not like nursing, but that's me, and I'm okay with that.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This is Really Cool

Click Here

Especially for a Recreational Therapist who believes that RT has become too much about paperwork and too little about fun. There are 3 videos that can also be seen on YouTube, and it's just a fantastic idea!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's Just Not Fair...

...and some of you might hate me for this. In the kindest and most loving way possible, I'm sure. :)

I am pleased to announce that, as of a week and a half ago, Cara sleeps through the night! Woohoo! It's nice to sleep for a solid chunk of time again.

But here's a cute picture to soften the blow, curtesy of Living Love Photography:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Playing with Ponies

So there's a family in my ward that has 4 horses. These horses haven't really been ridden in about 3 years, and when Cathy found out that I love to work with horses, she invited me to come over and play while she babysits. How do you pass that up? Well, you don't. :)

Today was my first time to really get a chance to go and play with them. So, for two hours, I chased them around a big field. After an hour or so Cathy came out and asked if I was trying to tire them out. It surely looked that way. But no, I explained to her that because the horse I was trying to work with was jittery about being caught, I was teaching her to catch me. I did this by reacting to everything she did. At first, she just ran all over the field. I kept my attention on her- and her alone- and stopped walking after her whenever she would look at me, even if she was just turning around. After awhile she got tired and turned to face me a little more often. Each time she did, I just stopped. Then, after a few seconds, I would try to approach her hindquarters. Of course, each time she ran off again. Eventually, though, her friends got tired of running and realized that I wasn't after them. They stayed in the corners and ate while Little Lady and I kept at it. Because she had slowed, I had to change my tactics a little bit. I would swing my rope all the way around if she went faster than a walk. When she was just walking, I kept the rope swinging below my waist. Again, I would stop everything whenever she would stop and give me two eyes- which she started to do more frequently. Yay!

After awhile of doing all this, she figured out that she didn't need to move all of her feet when I went to her hindquarters. She just needed to move her hind feet and face me and I would leave her alone. Eventually, she let me come up and touch her. Woohoo! I rubbed her all over with my hands and the rope and found her itchy spot... it was awesome. Then I let her go. I caught her 3 more times after that just to cement the lesson for today. And in the meantime, I played with Sacari.

Sacari is a mustang, complete with tattoo. She's big, though. The owners think she has some draft blood in her, and she sure looks like it! She's a sweetheart, too. The first time I met her, she showed her left-brained extrovert nature, and I thought she would be a handful. But no, she's just really curious. Granted, she's very confident and in charge, but she's such a sweet girl! I played the first 3 Parelli games, and she did great with them all. I tried to Yo-yo her, but she wasn't nearly as confident with that.

But I got outside! I played with horses for 2 hours this morning in the glorious fall weather! I had so much fun. I can't wait to go back!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Post of No Import

How did the Binky become the Binky? It is not a brand name, like Kleenex. You don't hear the word "binky" anywhere in the word "pacifier". In fact, the two words don't even share any of the same sounds! And yet, universally, it is understood that a binky is a pacifier. How is that?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Taking Turns

Dating with a baby is hard. We knew this would be the case when we decided to have one. It hasn't been a huge problem because, quite frankly, we both feel like we're on a date just by being together. However, we've decided to try to be better about doing official dates. With Cara's eating and sleeping schedule, and the fact that we don't have money to hire a babysitter, we're starting small. On Friday night, we decided to make a homemade pizza and watch a movie. It was good plan- allowing us to stay home and keep an eye on Cara and also to have our official date. If luck was with us, Cara would be quiet and content or even sleep through it all.

Luck wasn't with us so much that night. Cara decided that it was a great time to be all sorts of fussy. And so we took turns... one of us would hold her and entertain her while the other would be in the kitchen working on the pizza. We joked that whoever was in the kitchen was on the date, while the other was babysitting. Technically we were together. Technically, we both went on a date. The fact that we were on the date at different times... well, we're still working out the kinks. Fortunately, I fed Cara and we put her to bed in our room and were able to watch the movie mostly uninterrupted. Gotta love life.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Lost My Baby in Arizona

Baby Cara is completely amazing. She charms everyone. And no, this is not just Mommy prejudice speaking. This weekend we went to Arizona for Ryan's brother's wedding. Congratulations Merrill and Meghan! It was a tough weekend for a little girl not quite 3 months old, but she was charming nonetheless.

Example One: We flew into Arizona with Becky (Ryan's sister) and Blake (her husband), and Chari (Ryan's aunt), whom we had met in the airport. This is probably quite natural, but as soon as they saw us, their eyes went down to the carrier in Ryan's hands and they got huge grins as they got so excited to see "BABY!!!" Auntie Becky immediately produced an adorable little teddy bear that Cara decided she liked.

Example Two: After arriving in Arizona, we were picked up by Ryan's parents. Susan, bless her heart, had the same reaction as her daughter and sister. "BABY!!!" (Imagine that being said in a high, squeaky, drawn-out tone- quite hilarious in the middle of an airport, really.) The best part, though, was after we had all piled into the car. Ryan, Cara and I were in the middle seat. Susan, Chari, and Becky all sat in the back behind us. We were serenaded by the croons of happy relatives wanting nothing more than to play with newly christened Caraboo. (Isn't that adorable? I love it.) High-pitched laughs and baby talk frequently gave way to, "Stop talking to her. She wants to look at me now!" delivered in good-natured and semi-serious tones. I occasionally glanced back over my seat and was met with the sight of three grown women craning their necks, all but pushing each other over, with huge smiles on their faces, trying to attract Cara's attention. It was awesome.

Example Three: The next morning was the wedding. We showed up right on time, and were there to catch the tail end of another wedding party that was finishing up pictures. I sat outside to stay with my little girl and catch up on my reading while everyone else went in to watch the ceremony. Eventually, one of the grandpas of this wedding party I was in no way affiliated with came over and started cooing over Cara. He asked me all the pertinent questions, and eventually asked if he could hold her. I was a little nervous, but allowed him. He took her over to the rest of his family, and they made much over her as well. His wife scolded him for walking around taking other people's babies. It was funny- especially because he returned her safe and sound.

Example Four: Even Grandpa O (Ryan's Dad) and Blake, whom I expected to be much more stand-offish, wanted to hold her and seemed thoroughly entranced while doing so. I was amazed!

All in all, it was a good weekend. After the wedding, Ryan and I decided to go swimming. We left Cara in the hotel room with Grammy and Auntie Becky and got to be alone together for the first time since Cara was born. It was wonderful.

Oh!!! And she rolled over for the first time yesterday morning, from her tummy to her back. She hasn't done it again since, but she's learning and growing! Yay!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Settling In

Heber is wonderful. Our apartment is a little small, but it's a small price to pay for what we have here. The small town feel is perfect for us. Ryan's drive every day is absolutely beautiful, and he enjoys watching the seasons change in the canyon. We get glorious storms up here. The lightning flashes and thunder booms, clouds rage across the sky and rain pours down on us from the heavens. I love it. I don't know if Provo is getting these same storms, but it seems to me like we get more of them here on the other side of the mountains.

The people up here are our type of people, too. I went for a bike ride a few days ago and saw almost as many pastures with horses as there were houses. A grandpa was driving down the street in a shiny black horseless carriage (really, the car was that old. It was awesome!). Hitched to the back of it was an actual carriage bearing two little boys. I passed them, and the man honked at me. So fun! And yesterday, on our way out of town, we passed a gas station with one of those electronic signs. It of course flashed the time, and an advertisement for the gas station, and, intermittently, the words, "Yes! Dawn will go to Homecoming with Brian Hall!" We totally love small towns.

The ward is really nice, too. It's a more normal family ward than either of us have been to in several years. Half the people are grandparents, and a quarter of them are children of varying ages. I've already had offers from two grandmas to babysit when I need it, and one of them offered to watch Cara while I play with her horses! What an awesome deal! It's interesting, being the only one in Relief Society with a new baby. She gets many comments.

I'm also settling into Mommyhood. I may have said that before, but I believe it's going to be a long process of getting used to things and figuring things out and... and... and... :)

My hip is finally getting better. For a long time, even a few months before she was born, my hip would hurt to the point where I couldn't get up if I sat on it too long, or the wrong way, or lay on my back. It was miserable. But, like I said, that's finally getting better. Nursing is not quite as painful, either, anymore. I did end up getting a cramp or something under my shoulder blade (I'm not sure what from) and couldn't turn my head for several days. That's almost better, too.

Meanwhile, Cara is holding up her head, and smiling, and starting to figure out how to roll over. She has given us 8 hour stretches of sleep 3 times now (not consecutively... it'll be nice when it happens on a regular basis!) and she definitely knows who Mommy is. She follows me with her eyes, and cuddles into me when she's tired. She gives Ryan almost as many smiles as she gives me, and is overall a joy.

And I am figuring out how to live my life! I've started work on my class again and hope to have it finished in a couple of weeks. I've pulled out my sewing machine again. Ryan and I go on walks near the river and are working on writing a book. Right now I have zuccini bread in the oven, a sleeping baby on the couch, and a happy husband who just woke up from his own nap. Life is good, and we are happy.

Eddie Bauer

This post is probably going to get buried a little bit, because I have two posts to write today, but it's so fun and novel for me that I want to put it up anyway.

Last month, Ryan graduated from BYU. Yay!!! His parents came down from Idaho, and, regardless of the fact that we moved that same weekend, it was still kindof a big deal. Hello, he graduated from BYU! Congratulations, Ryan!

I wanted to get him something a little bit special and nice. But, at the same time, we are relatively poor and can't really afford extravagances. Both of his belts were shot. They were braided leather, and pieces of the braid were breaking and coming off. Since the plan now is for him to get a career, I figured that a nice belt wouldn't go amiss... especially if it were reversible.

I looked in several different stores, and didn't find anything that was quite what I wanted. I wandered past Eddie Bauer, and their clothes looked nice, so I went in. Lo and behold! The store was amazing! I had always glanced over it before; I'm a WalMart girl. I could never afford clothes from any type of brand-name store and, besides, any time I had gone into schmancy stores like that, I found I never really liked the clothes anyway. But Eddie Bauer was different. You see, they sell nice clothes... for the outdoors! They're stylish, but meant to be worn while doing outdoor activities. They have cool pockets, and zippers, and fabrics. Their accessories are often compasses and hiking packs. And- I found Ryan's belt there. It was a little pricey, but so stinking cool! It's black on one side and brown on the other, and the buckle swivels! I've never seen a belt quite like it. I've seen them where the buckle flips, but honestly, this is cooler. Anyway, I bought it, and they gave me a copy of their fall catalogue.

Again, normally I don't look in catalogues. I don't order clothes if I don't have to. I'm a very picky shopper (which is one reason why I actually don't have many "stylish" clothing items) and if I can't try it on, there's no point in buying it. But, I was intrigued enough to flip through the pages. I loved what I saw. Models in jeans, t-shirts, jackets and boots- leading horses. Pictures of people hiking through the mountains sporting cargo pants. A girl leaning against a wooden fence in a sweater, corduroy skirt, and mucking boots! It was fantastic! And all throughout were statements about the founders of the company, how they loved the outdoors and wanted to create clothes that were going to be durable enough to last through all sorts of activities. I was hooked. I kept the magazine around and ended up looking at it way too much.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and it turns out that my brother-in-law is getting married. His fiance has chosen the colors navy blue and royal blue for their receptions. I am supposed to be part of the wedding party (which was nice of her) and I needed to buy a dress. I don't know if anyone has gone shopping in the last few weeks, but blue is not this season's color! Store after store after store had absolutely nothing. It was ridiculous. I finally, once again, wandered into Eddie Bauer to see if they happened to have anything. Silly as I am, after looking at these clothes in the catalogue for so long, when I finally saw them for real I felt as though I was looking at celebrities. There was the green sweater! And the cute button-down-the-front crinkled blouse! I knew these clothes! Of course, I couldn't actually afford any of them. But then, there in the back, was the clearance rack. Again, lo and behold, Eddie Bauer has come to my rescue! I found a skirt that is white and... get ready for it... dark blue!!! I even found a white shirt to go with it, and a dark blue sweater. (The sweater was not on the clearance rack, but it was too cute to pass up.)

The moral of the story? I don't know. Perhaps there isn't one. But I did discover that even I can like brand-name clothing. And now I have a cute outfit from a store I really like. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Adjustments

Well, here we are in Heber. Sorry I've been gone... we're still trying to get the internet in our apartment. Apparently the connection is not as free as we might have thought. Ah, well. It's gonna be okay. At the moment, I'm at the Wasatch County Library, and it's a lovely little facility. Cara is calmly sleeping in her carrier at my side, and I am enjoying being connected to people again, even if it is only for a couple of hours and via the internet. We like the city (town?), though. We've decided that we fully love small town life. In a way, it's kindof too bad that Ryan's jobs will almost require him to work in big cities. He doesn't mind the commute, but I'm the sort that wants to capitalize on as much family time as possible. Because my Dad owned his own businesses for most of my life and thus was able to set his own hours, I'm more used to seeing the man of the house around more. The 8-5 thing is wierd to me. At the same time, when Ryan does get home, he loves being there and is totally focused on me and Cara. He's wonderful in so many ways, and we'll make the whole thing work somehow.

In other news, I wonder about the whole motherhood thing. Just as a small preface- I have a tendency to believe that I'm completely worthless and can't do anything right. This is always augmented by a life change, such as when I came to college, got married, had a baby... Yesterday was a really bad day for this. Poor Cara- She was crying on the couch yesterday and I sat down next to her to pat her tummy, give her her binky, and generally help her feel better, and for no reason whatsoever, I burst into tears. I think it scared her. I do think, actually, that she realized that I was crying and upset and it was a new thought for her. She just sat there and watched me and watched me and watched me. It was actually kindof sweet and funny. The thing is, Cara is a fantastic baby. She often gives us 5 hour stretches of sleep. She's hardly ever fussy. She likes baths and usually gives us a huge grin at least once a day. She holds her head up, too, and it's just the cutest thing you've ever seen! But I still feel as though I can't do anything right. Is that normal? Or is it just normal for me because that's the way I feel about myself anyway?

Shortly after we got married, I remember worrying about being a good wife. I came home and asked Ryan what were the three worst things I could possibly do as a wife. He told me what they would be, and it helped calm me because a) they were things that I couldn't imagine doing to anyone, let alone to someone I love so much! and b) they were specific things I could avoid doing. In a way, knowing how I could fail gave me the room I needed to experiment with how to succeed. I'm still working on that, but I have more confidence now. So let me ask you- what are the three worst things I could do as a mother? I'm sure my confidence will grow in time, but for right now, I need to think things out and "self-therapize," because that's how I deal with any emotional problem I have! ;)

Anyway... now that I've talked that out a little bit- let me just say, I've enjoyed reading everyone's blogs! It's so fun to keep up with people and learn how you're all doing. I'm sorry I haven't made personal comments, but I'm running out of time on this computer! Also, I don't know if anybody actually reads the info on the sides of blogs, but if you will look to the left, I have decided to make a response section. It always bothers me that when people comment, I don't know where to respond to their comments! Hence, please check the response section- you may find yourself featured there!

So... yeah. Really running out of time. I also have another errand to run, and Cara needs to eat in about 7 minutes. Yay! Life is fun, isn't it? Stay happy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Falling into Place

So... we're moving out this week. Sunday was, sadly, our last in this ward. We're signing the contract on our new place and moving our first couple of boxes in today. Our plan is to keep packing up throughout this week. At some point, Ryan's Mom is going to come and help us pack up, and his Dad and brother are coming later on... just in time to help Ryan celebrate graduating from BYU (which happens Thursday and Friday). Saturday we will move all our stuff into the new apartment and a storage unit and then head up to Idaho for the weekend so Ryan can go to his interview on Monday. Craziness.

Our new apartment
Cons:
-It only has one bedroom- and it has kindof a funky shape
-It's in Heber, where we don't know anyone
-It's up a fairly long flight of stairs
-It's the only apartment in the middle of a business park with no yard
-Ryan has to commute to work and won't be able to come home for lunch anymore

Pros:
-It has tons of storage, including a large pantry, linen closet, and walk-in bedroom closet
-The kitchen is beautiful! Small, but beautiful!
-It's a month-to-month contract
-It's in Heber, which is a small town and a new adventure
-It has a real honest-to-goodness mailbox! (I've missed having one of those...)
-It may have free internet access...
-Because it's in a business park, it has tons of parking
-Ryan will have a beautiful commute to work

At any rate, we're hoping we're only going to be there for a couple months, and our next move will take us to our very own house. Wish us luck!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Blog Modifications

Woohoo! I finally figured out after many tries and many months how to get a cute background, and then the three-column blog, and then a picture for my banner... all sorts of fun! Now I just need to figure out what it is that I want to display on the sides, and whether or not I actually like that huge picture of me as the banner. I like the picture, I'm just not sure if this is the place for it. Oh- and in case you were wondering, that was taken last Summer when Ronnie, Ryan and I hiked Timp. It was a fun trip.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thanks, Mom!


Before Cara was born (so this post is way overdue!) my Mom came. She brought with her a bassinet that has been in the family for many years. As such, it was in desperate need of a new cover- which she made! It's so cute- I love it! She asked me to post pictures of it to show off- so here they finally are! Thanks, Mom!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sadly legitimate

Just to clarify and ease some concerns... We had a contract through April, but after that we went on a month-to-month contract, in which it stipulates that either we or the landlord could give 30 days' notice to terminate.

Also- Ryan put some new caulking on the bathtub, and it seems to have fixed the problem. They'll still want to go in and redo everything, because the wall and the floor have gotten quite rotten, but it's fun to say that Ryan was right and the owners were wrong. :) Is that bad? Probably.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Calling All Cardboard Boxes!!!

Our apartment rains. It doesn't affect us, but every time we take a shower our downstairs neighbors get a little more flooded. The owners have come by several times in the past week and tried to fix it. Each time they have left with the assurance that they've finally remedied the situation, only to show up again the next day when the problem has persisted. Finally the guy who was working on it decided that we were the problem- that we were splashing water out (unintentionally) when we shower. Ryan tried to tell him that, no, we were not the problem. It was more likely that the ancient grout around the shower was no longer intact and was in effect funneling water into the wall and down through the floor. The guy didn't listen. He told us to put a towel on the floor when we showered to catch any water that spilled. We did. It came out dry, when the wall just above it was soaked.

The situation came to a head this afternoon when the apartment manager came by to tell us that they had decided to vacate the apartment in order to do some maintenance work on it. We have until the 31st of this month to leave.

And so, we need boxes- maybe a couple from large appliances such as a refrigerator or washing machine. After all, we need somewhere to live while we figure out where we're going.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tathea

I have a love/hate relationship with books. I absolutely love good fantasy, and generally devour it in a matter of days, if not hours. Off the top of my head, I can't think of another genre that captures my interest nearly as completely.

Sadly, good fantasy is supremely difficult to find. I have a few series that I would recommend: The Wheel of Time, the Chronicles of Narnia, the Deathgate Cycle, Dealing with Dragons, the Mistborn Trilogy, and the Kingkiller Chronicles, to name- well, most* of them, really. Quite sadly, much of fantasy is gore or sex, in varying degrees. I don't mind reading some violence, as long as the whole of the book is not geared toward the next battle. I don't like -at all!- reading about sex. But there is so much more that could be had in these books! I want good characters, characters who grow and develop and deal with battles that are as much internal as they are external. So much of the time, I go to the bookstore or the library and struggle for an hour or more to try to find one good book. It has gotten so that I don't go to the bookstore if I can help it, simply because there is so much to choose from, so little to recommend itself, and everything is so expensive!

However, as I said before, I devour books. When I find a good one, putting it down becomes the most difficult thing in the world to me. So, the other day, we went to the library in search of something for me to read while feeding Cara. (Nursing gives one a lot of down time...)

I searched the aisles for several minutes before finding a book called Tathea written by Anne Perry. Right next to it (delightfully) was the sequel, called Come Armageddon. I picked up the first one and read the inside cover. The writing was interesting, and the concept fresh and new. A tiny thrill went down my spine as I realized that maybe, just maybe, this book was something I was looking for! I pulled the sequel off the shelf without reading the cover and brought them both home.

As I delved into its pages, I realized that Tathea was the fantastical story of the Gospel. Essentially, it seeks to discover how the Gospel might be presented on another world, one in which the Atonement had not taken place, but was still in effect (as the nature of it is eternal). How might the teachings of the Lord come forth in a world where the Savior would never walk as mortal man? What methods would be used? What organization would be formed? Who would be the messenger?

The only information given about the author is that she generally writes Victorian novels, and that this book is, in her estimation, her most important work so far. As a member of the LDS faith and an aspiring author, I can understand why. I am certain she is also a member. There are, essentially, verses straight out of Nephi. So many philosophies presented are the teachings we receive every week in Church. She even paints a picture of what the council in heaven may have been like, with the two plans presented and the Savior's chosen.

It is interesting seeing the various representations of good and evil, and the relative innocence with which the characters are portrayed. It is not as though their struggles are small- in many ways they are much bigger than anything I have ever faced. Yet, their struggle with evil, because it is so new to them, seems so unsophisticated compared to the things we see today. It is also interesting, given the way the book is written, to see the gospel in a different light. It is almost as if, in reading through this book, I could better understand what it would be like to hear the gospel for the first time. I wouldn't say it was my favorite book of all time, but it is a good read- not only because it sparks new ideas but also because the writing and the characters are genuinely interesting. I would recommend it, although I don't know to whom.

Is that weird?

Anyway, so read it... or don't. If you do, I'd be curious to know your thoughts. Email me at missjedi@gmail.com when you're done. :)

P.S. I am really long-winded. Sorry about that.

*There are also a couple of scifi series that I would recommend, but in my opinion scifi and fantasy are blurred together way too often. Also- in case you were wondering, I did not forget either Harry Potter or Twilight. I love Twilight, but with reservations. I don't like Harry Potter at all.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Mommy Phenomenon

It's the craziest thing. I'm a scant week and a half into Mommyhood, and already I've discovered new abilities. I can survive on less sleep, use one hand to complete work that should require five, and have developed an uncanny ability to find anything. I can handle bank statements, cleaning the kitchen, and laundry all at once. I keep a catalog in my head of the things that need to be done and when they need to be done by. I can run my own life, my daughter's life, and keep track of my husband's life. I go grocery shopping, clothes shopping, birthday shopping, and always answer the telephone in a pleasant voice. I even noticed, the other day, two little bumps forming on the back of my head. I'll have to figure out how other moms keep them hidden while still managing to see everything...

Heehee. Not. Truthfully, I'm still tired and sore, and completely sick of it. I haven't cooked in at least two weeks. I try to keep up with it, but my house is definitely more messy than I would prefer. Half the time I sleep through Cara's crying at night, and only rouse when Ryan wakes me with a gentle touch, having already changed her diaper and stayed up for half an hour trying to soothe her. I am so grateful for all the help we have received from family and friends, for without it I would truly be a wreck.

There is one superpower, though, that is worth mentioning. Through the nine months of carrying her, somehow Cara came to know me and to recognize me. She is so cared for and loved- especially by Ryan. He holds her, and talks to her, and plays with her, and is amazing to her in every way. In all reality, I'm probably not quite as kind with her. I love her with all my heart, but I don't go to her side at every whimper. I often let her get up to a lusty cry before I try to help her. But somehow, even when I don't do anything but hold her, she usually quiets when she's in my arms. Others will bend over backwards to make her happy, and she usually is happy, but even though I do nothing but hold her, she will get quiet and know that everything is going to be okay. It's a really neat feeling.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Progress Notes

Just a quick little post to let everyone know... we got Cara tested again yesterday, and her numbers had dropped so low that they ran the test again, just to make sure it was correct. The jaundice is gone! They're coming to pick up the lights probably tomorrow, and in the meantime she's getting used to sleeping in her own bed. Alleluia!

Also, my Mom has been here for two weeks already to help me with everything. She's been completely wonderful! My Dad flew in on Friday, but has to get back to California to run his business. Hence, even though she's less than a week old, she was blessed today (I guess technically it's yesterday, now) in Church. It was beautiful.

Beyond that, she's eating well (though every feeding takes at least an hour!) and as long as she gets a good meal, she sleeps well during the night. She'll give us at least 4 hours between feedings, which is completely awesome. Ryan is amazing... he usually wakes up to her fussing long before I do. He takes care of her until she starts full-on crying, at which point I stay up with her. I'm not getting quite as much sleep as I would like, but I'm not complaining in the slightest! She's such a good, pleasant, happy baby!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cara Libby Roberts

Most important things first: Welcome to the world, little Cara!

Fun Facts:
She was born on Monday, July 6, 2009 at 2:09 p.m.
She weighed 7 lbs, 6 oz. at birth.
She was 19 inches long.
She has blue eyes.
She has some brown hair which may end up being curly.
She has 10 of the cutest little fingers and toes you've ever seen.
She squeaks!

Pictures:




























The experience:
Wow. I like the way one of my nurses said it: "It's kindof a primal experience."

We woke up early on Monday morning, and while I was showering Ryan went and bought two boxes of doughnuts- one for my Mom and sister and one for the nurses. We had decided to do that for them the night before, mostly because I was actually quite angry that the medical professionals decided I needed to be induced, and I figured it would be better to go into the hospital with an expression of goodwill and an open mind rather than actually getting angry at the poor nurses who were trying to help us.

We arrived at the Orem Community hospital at 6:3o a.m. They checked us into the nicest room there. It was huge! It had the basic hospital bed, plus a few chairs and a couch that folded out into a bed. There was a bathroom with a jetted tub, a tv with a vcr and dvd player, the monitors and other birthing equipment... it was cool. We were very impressed.

My nurses' names were Cherie and Denise. Cherie was a NICU nurse who was orienting to be a Labor and Delivery nurse. Mine was to be the first natural birth she would see. She was very curious about the Hypnobabies course I had studied and asked me a bunch of questions about it. Denise was very knowledgeable about it and taught her nurse etiquette with a hypnobabies birth (like not talking about "pain levels" and such). It was neat having them both there.

They tried to start me on Pitocin, but Cherie had a hard time getting the IV in my hand. She tried first with my left hand, bruised me, and then moved onto my right hand. That one worked. I got all trussed up with the tube taped to my hand and the IV dripping into me. A little while later, my midwife came in and started talking about breaking my water. I told her I didn't want her to break my water. She told me it was part of being induced, but said she would give me a couple hours to see if the Pitocin alone would start labor. Then she left.

Ryan and I sat and waited. Contractions began. They felt the same as the practice labor I'd been having for two weeks. I was thoroughly unimpressed. Ryan was slightly bored. We played cards. We watched most of You've Got Mail. Occasionally, Cherie or Denise would come in to check on me. Periodically they would raise the level of Pitocin until, eventually, I was receiving the maximum dosage. The contractions were still unimpressive.

Finally, near the end of our movie, Jennifer (the midwife) returned. She told me she would have to break my water. I consented. I'll admit, I wonder at the wisdom of that decision, now. It is nice to not be pregnant, now, but I was cheated out of the experience of a truly natural childbirth. I have no idea what it is like to have an uninduced birthing experience. I may refuse induction for my next one.

Anyway, she broke my water, and then left. When the next contraction hit, all thought left me. It was like having the most severe menstrual cramp I've ever had- and I've had some intense ones. I had no idea what to do with that pain. I grabbed Ryan's hand and squeezed- with the tips of my fingers. Poor guy. I bruised him and almost cut his skin with my nails before he was able to get a cloth around his hand to protect himself. He was worried. He'd definitely never seen me in pain like that. I tend to get very calm when I'm truly distressed. I retreat inside myself and don't come out until I'm ready. He was expecting something more like that, I think. This was on the other side of that, like I'd gone through that calm space and found no refuge, and so I did things with my body, like clenching my hands, to try to relieve the pain.

That first contraction subsided, and I asked Ryan to turn off the lights. There was still some pain, there, but it wasn't like the contraction. I tried, at that point, to listen to the hypnobabies scripts on my ipod. They helped, to some degree, simply because the lady's voice was familiar and soothing. However, it very quickly got to the point that I wasn't hearing or understanding what she said, and I couldn't hear or respond to the nurses or midwives around me, either. I hadn't practiced nearly enough with the hypnobabies scripts for them to be as useful as they should have been, and I know enough about how I deal with pain that I wasn't really sure I'd be using them anyway. I was nice to have the resources, but when all is said and done, I really just used what my body naturally does.

A quick note: I wanted to go natural, but I'd heard that that was more difficult with an induced labor. The Pitocin slams you into contractions (in my opinion it's the water breaking that slams you into the contractions!) and doesn't give your body the time it wants to ease into the process. The contractions begin immediately trying to do more work than your body is ready for, which makes the whole process more jarring than it needs to be. This, of course, means that it is easier to ask for pain medication even when you had not planned on using it.

There were a few times, during those first few contractions, when I considered asking for meds. I didn't want an epidural, but it would have been nice to have had something to take the edge off the pain a little bit. At one point I asked Denise if the contractions would get more painful. She said they would not, but that the experience itself would get more intense. She said it was hard to explain. I don't think I would do any better- I wasn't coherent enough to analyze what was actually going on. But her words gave me courage. I believed I might be able to handle everything if the contractions didn't get any worse.

At one point, Cara's heart rate dropped. The midwife decided to take me off the telemetry monitor and instead use an internal monitor. For this, I needed to turn on my side. I stayed there for a few contractions before they had me turn back over. Surprisingly, I actually liked the internal monitor better than the telemetry monitor. It was a cord that I was mostly unaware of, whereas the telemetry monitors were big, bulky things strapped around my belly. However, being on my side hurt. The contractions were more intense there. I want to say I didn't like it, but the truth is that I could feel my body making the changes it needed to make to bring her down the birth canal. A little while after they had me turn onto my back, I actually elected to turn back onto my side, just to feel the differences that were happening in my body.

By that time, I had lost all but the last semblance of control. There was no pretense of breathing through contractions, or staying calm, or "creating a beautiful birthing experience." I couldn't speak much, and only understood about half of what was said to me. I did go to my "calm place" in between contractions (which they don't tell you is also painful), but during contractions I grunted, groaned, panted, moaned, and was generally incoherent. According to Ryan, at times I would say, "Come out, little one," or "Ow," or "Push on my knees" which the midwife would do and would help a lot. They don't tell you that your legs shake when you're contracting. It's a strange sensation.

I also remember one other phrase that I said... I had been having those very difficult contractions for awhile. I knew I wasn't going to be able to control myself, really, through them. But I knew what they were. I knew I had been through several of them. I was fairly certain that they weren't going to get any worse. It was with a sort of grim satisfaction that I said, "I can do this." Immediately I heard a chorus of "You can do this" from those around me. I don't know if they had heard me right or not; Ryan thinks some of them may have thought I said "I can't do this" and were trying to encourage me otherwise. Regardless, their words reinforced what I said and helped me to feel that, yes, I could do this.

They finally asked me to turn back onto my back. I do remember somebody saying that I moved better than girls who had had an epidural. That made me feel better about myself.

Then the contractions changed. They moved lower into my abdomen and back, didn't hurt quite as much, but became more intense. That lasted for about half an hour, with each contraction doing a little bit more. She came out at 2:09 and was placed on my belly, and was the most beautiful and amazing and awe-inspiring thing I'd ever seen.

I will say now that I didn't sugar-coat or soften the telling of this experience. Nor did I try to embellish or make it sound worse than it was. I tried to tell it as I felt it and saw it and understood it. I did this knowing that there are people who read my blog who have had babies, some that have never had babies, and some that are in the process of having babies. I also did this knowing what it is like to have never had a baby, and what it is like to be expecting, but to not know what exactly to expect. I did it for this purpose: I want to say that yes, it was hard. Being pregnant was hard. Giving birth was hard. It hurt a lot. Being a new Mommy is hard. However, with all of that, Ryan asked me yesterday whether or not it was worth it. Without hesitation and without blinking an eye, my answer was an unequivocal, immediate yes, spoken with a huge smile. I don't understand it all myself, but the love I have for my daughter truly is all-encompassing and worth every minute of every hardship I have been through and will go through for her.

That would be a good place to stop, but apparently I have a lot to say. :) First, I would like to give Ryan the credit he so richly deserves. He held my hand, he spoke to me, he was there for me through every moment of the delivery. Beyond that, I thank him for knowing me so well. When I was unaware of the world around me, when I could not speak, he was my voice. The machines that were supposed to be monitoring my contractions weren't working, and he was the one who knew when I was having contractions, when I needed a minute to recoup, and how much pain I was actually feeling. He supported me, and spoke to me of happy things, and smiled at me. He is also such a wonderful Daddy. He loves our little girl so much, and he takes such good care of the both of us. I am so grateful he is my husband.

And on a humorous note, I have noticed some interesting similarities between being a newborn baby and being a brand new Mommy. First, never before have you felt so poked and prodded. Second, (not to be crude) we both work very very hard pushing things out of our bodies. Third, (again, not to be crude...) we both expose our heinies to the air in rather embarassing ways. (Just at the hospital. Don't worry; I haven't become an exhibitionist!) Fourth, let's face it. We both have to wear diapers. :)

Things they don't tell you about giving birth/recovering: 1. Really, it's not just the contractions that are painful. Once the pain begins, it's continuous until... well, I'll let you know. :) 2. Those first few seconds after the baby comes out are amazing. You aren't pregnant anymore! And you get to hold this amazing miracle! 3. The first time you stand up after giving birth is wierd. Bizarre. You've had nine months of carrying this huge weight in front of you, and all of a sudden it's gone, and your stomach feels like it's going to flop onto the floor. 4. Holy cow there's a lot of blood! Ryan compared it to the amount of blood you would see if you were to slaughter a small pig. 5. The difficulty of breastfeeding does distract you from the pain of your own body for a time. 6. Bring big clothes to the hospital. You won't fit back into your regular clothes until... well, I'll let you know. 6. Don't plan on sitting normally for awhile. Or standing normally, either. Not only are you sore, but your posture has gotten totally screwed up in the last nine months! 7. Really, you use your entire body to push out Baby. It's amazing how sore my upper body is!!! 8. You think about the recovery from giving birth, and you think about the long nights spent up with baby, but you rarely think about the two of them going on at once. It's interesting trying to get up in the middle of the night to feed your baby when you can't climb into and out of bed with any amount of ease...

Truthfully, I'm doing quite well. I did tear in 3 places, but I would have rather had that than an episiotomy. I don't know how many stitches I had, but, like I said, I'm doing quite well. Ryan and I took Cara for a walk to the park tonight. It was delightful. Tiring, but delightful. A few more days, and I should be feeling well enough to resume some of my more normal activities. Oh! And, even though I've had times in my life that I've been skinnier, it's entirely possible that I have never enjoyed it this much!


Blue Light Special:


Just a quick update- after being poked and prodded and tested and examined, it was discovered that Cara has a slight case of jaundice. While this is normal for most babies, she's in a danger zone- especially for her age. We currently have her sleeping on a light box with another little light pad on her tummy. It's quite sad- especially because we took her to the doctor today and he didn't think she had any problem until we had the test done. Chances are it'll go away in a couple of days, but in the meantime we supplement her meals with formula to help fill her with calories and flush things through her liver. The trouble is, she's a lazy eater. They told us we're supposed to feed her every 3-4 hours, but she often won't eat until it's been longer. We're a little worried about our little girl. I'm sure in a few weeks we'll look back and be grateful it's over and that everything is fine, but for right now it's hard to go through the worrying about her.

She is pretty cute in that box, though. We joke that she looks like a little alien baby.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

45 Hours and Counting

First off, Happy Fourth of July! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

Has baby come yet? No, not yet. Sorry to disappoint... I know how you feel! :)

We passed the non-stress test with flying colors on Thursday. Also, as of Wednesday, I was dilated to a 5 and 90% effaced. Why am I still pregnant? I have no idea... although we have started to assign little Cara some probably unfair personality traits, such as stubbornness and a slightly perverse sense of humor. Really, we've given her every opportunity to come. I've tried walking for hours, resting for days, drinking rasberry iced tea, and a couple of other recommended natural inducement techniques. We've gotten her birthday presents. That didn't work. We've tried withholding presents. That didn't work either. We even went to a BBQ last night, and at one point we got ourselves locked out of our apartment, both of which would have been ideal opportunities for her to decide to come. No go. I've resorted to poking the top of my stomach with the hope that if it gets uncomfortable enough in there she'll decide it's worth the trip to come out. I'll let you know the results of that.

At any rate, if she doesn't come this weekend, I'm scheduled to be induced at the delightful time of 6:30 on Monday morning. Welcome to the week, right? Wish us luck!

And really, Happy Fourth!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Life in Limbo or: Waiting for Baby

Yesterday I had continuous contractions for over 4 hours. They were irregular; none were farther apart than 13 minutes, none less than 3 minutes apart. I also went in to the hospital for a non-stress test. Apparently things can go horribly horribly wrong within 2 days after the estimated due date. We averted that crisis; she told us everything was perfect and I'm okay to stay pregnant. Yay? :) I also told her that on Thursday, when I went in for my regular appointment with the midwives, I was dilated to 4 centimeters. (I'm also 80% effaced, apparently.) She was amazed that I'm still pregnant. She measured the amniotic fluid and told me that all her numbers had to add up to at least a 5. Mine added up to 15. I think we're good, and baby's content to roll around in my belly for a while longer. *sigh*

Meanwhile, my Mom and sister have arrived in town. Hayley is enjoying her first EFY experience, and Mom is here frantically sewing bedding for the bassinet that she brought. Yay! Cara will have a bed when she comes!

Incidentally, when my Mom was pregnant with me, her contractions didn't start until a few minutes after she had finished putting the bumper pads on my crib. I was a week late. We joke that Cara won't come until after her bed is finished, either. We keep telling her it's okay to come a little sooner- the bed will be ready for her when she comes home. She's not listening so far.

Otherwise... everyone's sitting on pins and needles. "Do you have a baby yet?" and "No, not yet," are the most common phrases in our lives right now. Everything feels like it's on hold. My back is sore. I can't eat much- I'm still not feeling great from Sunday, but I have started drinking juice and eating crackers, so at least both of us are getting some nutrition. She's still moving quite well. I'm sleeping well at night (all things considered) and, though my movement is restricted, I'm generally feeling pretty well during the day still.

Predictions? Well, I thought she'd be here last Thursday. Ryan thought she'd be here on Saturday. My Mom thinks she'll come on July 2nd. I'm figuring out that the baby waiting game is... full of excitement, trepidation, anxiety, and difficulty breathing. :) At this point, I'm excited to be able to hand her to Ryan and let him hold her for half an hour. I can't wait to lay on my belly, eat sushi, and walk in a straight line without swaying from side to side. Ah, the good times ahead!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

No Baby Yet

Just in case any of you were wondering... Yesterday was the due date, and while I had contractions for over an hour, they weren't real labor and she didn't make an appearance. Last night my stomach hurt and I slept poorly, which meant that I woke up exhausted and still with a stomachache, which is why I stayed at home all day just resting. Hope everyone has a great Sunday! And rest assured... I will definitely post a blog with pictures when I get home from the hospital with our brand new daughter! Keep checking back!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Twiddling My Thumbs

Seriously, what are you supposed to do with yourself when you're waiting for a baby to come?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Never Fear- the World is Safe Again!

I've had some interesting dreams since getting pregnant, but last night's was probably the coolest:

After years of taking over star systems and blowing up planets, Darth Vader had finally decided to run a Residential Treatment Center. His intentions may have started out good, but his methods left a lot to be desired, and by the time I came on the scene, everybody was, understandably, quite afraid of him. I'm not sure if I was there as a counselor or a client, but I do remember sitting on the ground with the clients, listening to him speak. One of the girls (whom I've never met but who I saw quite clearly and whose name was Michelle) made the mistake of mouthing off. A bunch of boys laughed at what she had said. Vader nonchalantly raised his arm, which, of course, lifted the obnoxious teens off the floor completely. He let them hang for a moment, then dropped the boys to the floor. Michelle, however, he threw across the room, intending to smash her into the wall.

However, in her flight path she came very close to me. I grabbed her hand and stopped her movement. She didn't come down, and Darth Vader, furious, tried to lift me up as well and slam us both into the wall. It didn't work. It almost did. I felt myself begin to rise, but I stayed down by sheer force of will, all the while hanging on to Michelle's hand and yelling at her to "Think, Michelle! Think! If you think hard enough, you'll come down!"

I'm not entirely sure how that escapade ended. I would imagine that, having been thwarted, Darth Vader left the room and I enjoyed a grim victory.

Flash forward to a few weeks later, when we are all at a theme park. I've never been to this place in real life, but I visit it relatively frequently in my dreams. All I really remember about it now is that, near the entrance, it has a water ride with a big loop, so you go upside down in a boat. I have no idea how that works. At any rate, we were giving the clients the chance to be at an amusement park.

Enter: Darth Vader! Again, doing something that was unacceptable. By this time, I had gained respect among the clients and staff as the only one who could stand up to Mr. Evildoer. He had gotten fed up with me, and somehow we ended up in a full-on Force fight right there on the loop of the water ride. It lasted several seconds, each of us staring at the other until, finally, Darth Vader couldn't take the force of my will and exploded!

That's right, my friends. I exploded Darth Vader with the power of my mind, and all is well with the world.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Tablets are Done!!!


















































Okay, so I'm fully aware that these are awful pictures, but I'm so excited that they're finally done I just don't really care. :)

Here's the story: I made up a language. Mostly it was for fun, but it also happened to work for a school project, which gave me a helpful deadline. For the project, I was unable to complete the language as I would have liked. It was just way too time consuming. Instead, I created the basics of the language, along with many pages of words. I then wrote the beginning of a story, created these tablets, translated the beginning of that story into my language, and then etched the seven verses into these tablets. They were still drying when it came time to turn in the project, so I had to settle for doing rubbings of them and pictures and placing them into a binder to show the work I had done. The semester ended, I inexplicably lost 15 points (out of 200) off of the project (which I'm still bitter about and don't completely understand) and my tablets finished drying. Question: What do you do with 7 random tablets that you worked very hard on but that really have no purpose? You call your Mom and she gives you the brilliant idea to finish them and, when you have a yard, to display them outside. Wonderful! And so, I laboriously cleaned each of them, took them to be fired, gave them 3 coats of glaze, took them to be fired again, and ended up with cool yard decorations!

Interestingly, I calculated it out today, and, including the paint, tools, both firings, and initial clay, I spent just over $30 on this project. Not bad, really.

Anyway, the translation for these tablets is below:

In the beginning, so named because it was the beginning as we understood it, there were five peoples. We lived separately. Each people enjoyed their responsibilities and the talents that came with those responsibilities.

We, of course, were the Earth People, charged with the gathering and keeping of knowledge and talented in working Earth.

Our closest neighbors, across the Great River to the East, were the Water People. They were charged with growth, the growth of people, of plants and animals, and of all of life. To this end, they were talented in working and manipulating water.

Beyond them, and to the North, lived the Spirit People, to whom were given the talent and charge of healing in all its forms.

To our South dwelt the Air People, whom were loved by all. Theirs was the task of friendship, of love, and of communication. Thus did they work Air.

Toward the setting sun in the West, as though they were drawn toward the color of their own element, lived the Fire People, charged with justice, but feared, for they were the bringers and manipulators of fire, and often of death.

Despite our differences and the space between us, we lived in peace and discovery and understanding of each other, in the beginning.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Project #2










































So, forever ago (and by forever I mean just a few weeks) I finished painting the dresser. We have since put baby's clothes and toys into it, and it's just the cutest thing ever! Today I finished painting the little bedside stand that I wanted to go with it. Admittedly, I'm not quite as happy with how it turned out compared to the dresser, but it is fun that they look like they match and they're all sorts of girly and cute. Here's hopin' baby Cara likes them... and that they don't get completely beaten up before she can appreciate them!