Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Have I Lost It?

I think I have lost it.

Everyone does at some point or another, I think.

Maybe I can fake it.

Well....I do fake it sometimes.

I'm talking, of course, of creative-imaginative-kid-play.

My kids often ask me to tell them a story. I can easily tell them stories that I know. Stories like The Three Little Pigs, The Three Bears, or Little Red Riding Hood. And I'm actually pretty good at it.

But they want me to make up a story to tell them. I usually shutter a little (on the inside of course) when they ask me to do that. I'm just not very creative on-the-fly like that. I do ok, but usually it's a pretty predictable, short story that any adult would think is pretty pathetic.

Then there's the imaginative play.

You know. Like with cars or trucks or something. My son LOVES it when I play those with him.

Why couldn't my daughter ask me to play dolls with her? Or barbies? Or house? Those things I can do. Those are the things I played with.

But cars? trucks? I don't even know where to begin.

So, with a resigned smile and an internal pep-talk, I agree to play with him. I try to take his lead, but usually he's wanting me to take the lead.

I generally do the only thing I can think of. Suggest races between our respective cars/trucks/tractors/whatever, or turn the cars into humans that talk and interact.

Yesterday, my car invited all the other cars over for a karaoke party. Each of our vehicles sang a song, then my pet robot-dinosaurs showed up and scared all the guests. It was kinda awesome.

Our karaoke party with my pet robot-dinos

Then we had a contest to see which cars could get away from one of the robot-dinosaurs before getting bitten.

Just like the stories I tell, any adult would find it totally lame.

But I wasn't playing with other adults.

I was playing with my kids. And they thought my "lacking" creativity was pretty awesome, and right before we started playing, as I was texting my husband, my 6 year old said "no more screens, Mom. It's time to play"

So, have I lost it? I don't know....maybe. Do I fake it? Yep. But it doesn't matter. My kids think playing with their mama is pretty sweet, and that's all that really matters. As much as I dread it sometimes, I take the time to play when they ask me to - no matter what they want to play or want me to do. Hopefully they don't stop asking me anytime soon!

Now....I have to go. I promised them a super-awesome (i.e. totally lame) story this afternoon. I'll catch you on the flip side.


Friday, December 26, 2014

It Happens Every Christmas...

I get very reflective. Not just about Christmases past, but mostly of our sweet Porter-boy's birth. I just confirmed that it happens every Christmas...I even posted about it last year (I'll probably post about it next year too, so just get used to it - ha! ;) )

Anyway, in case you missed it then, here is my sweet boy's birth story from Christmas day five years ago:

I was due on December 14. I was convinced I would have the baby the week before that. I don’t know why, I just had prayed for it and wanted him to come then so his birthday wouldn't be so close to Christmas. Well, those days came and went, my estimated due date came and went. I felt great, the only reason I was upset that I hadn't had the baby was that the closer to Christmas it got, the less likely I was to see my family – we all were to be traveling “home” for Christmas. I had many bouts of prodromal labor. It was SO frustrating!

Well, as Christmas approached, so did a major weather system. Since my mom lives an hour away, we decided that she should probably come stay with us just to make sure she was here in case the weather and roads were too bad when I finally went into labor - after all, she needed to be here to catch the baby. She came on Monday. The weather raged on through the whole week. Thursday (Christmas Eve) was Randall's (my husband) birthday, so Vienna (our 23 month old daughter) and I made him a nice dinner, cake, a card, and we had a little “party”. Still no baby. I was getting very frustrated and sad that I hadn't had him yet. Mom was going to miss Christmas morning with my dad and youngest brother (high school age). That night before going to bed, we watched the Nativity Story. I remember thinking “ok, baby. I’m ready anytime! If Elizabeth and Mary can have safe and peaceful out of hospital births, I can too!”. I was a little jealous that they had already done it – silly but true J.

I woke at about 2:15 a.m. to go to the bathroom. I went back to bed and couldn't fall back asleep so justJ.
laid there for awhile resting. I realized that I was actually having some regular contractions – they were more regular and increasing in strength than my previous bouts of labor. Hooray! I got up to start timing them – they were about 2 minutes apart. I told Randall that we needed to clean the floor. I didn't know where I would end up having the baby, and I couldn't stand the thought of him being born to a dirty floor. Funny, the things that are important at that time in labor 

With the floors clean, I finally decided it was time to wake my mom. About that time, my contractions intensified – though they weren't painful, I could feel the strength of them. I was sitting on my birth ball, mom gave counter pressure on my back, I leaned into my hubby, and just relaxed and let the contractions do their job. In between contractions I was so relaxed that I honestly kind of forgot I was actually in labor. Randall would pull up funny YouTube videos, and we would joke and laugh. It was a wonderful and relaxing fun time. About 6:00 a.m. I decided to move to the bathtub. Ahhhh – bliss! They took turns dumping a pitcher of water over my belly, and it was SO wonderful!

About 10:00 a.m. or so I felt a little urge to push – it definitely wasn't the intense urge I had had with Vienna. In the next three contractions, my healthy baby boy oozed out with barely any pushing on my part. Of course I was overjoyed and excited. I just held him and looked at him in awe. As blood was still pulsing through the cord that connected us, he began nursing like a champ. When I finally let my hubby and mom hold him after we cut the cord so they could weigh him, I made them do it again. He seemed so small! There was no way he was 8 lbs 11 oz! Well, they weighed him again, and yep – it was right the first time and they showed me to prove it. I was shocked!

My entire labor, we had Christmas music playing softly in the background. Vienna slept through most of it and was enjoying her breakfast when he entered the world. Within minutes she joined us in the bathroom and met her baby brother. About an hour or so after having him, we were all in our living room and our little family that had just grown by one opened our Christmas presents. After eating, he and I snuggled into bed and took a long nap. This all happened while getting 16.2 inches of snow during the worst blizzard of the year! We felt so blessed to not have to go out into the elements to get to the sterility of the hospital. We were warm and cozy in the comfort of our own home!

And here he is today, our adorable and super-sweet five year old!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I love Christmas Movies!

I'm a sucker for Christmas movies this time of year.

Last night I actually told my kids that for the rest of the week I don't want anything other than Christmas movies watched on TV. Ha!

I adore the cheesy Hallmark movies, and of course have some favorites among the classics, too. You know, movies like Christmas Vacation (who doesn't love some awesome Griswold antics?!), Love Actually (oh, the scene in the Portuguese restaurant!), The Polar Express (so, so, beautiful), Rudolph (such great memories from my childhood watching it).

But my most favorite of ever?

Charlie Brown's Christmas

I just love how Charlie Brown is so fed up with the commercialism in Christmas and he's just looking for the real meaning. Clearly the commercialism has NOT improved since the classic was released back in 1965.

The best part of the movie? At the end where he's just fed up of being mocked by his peers (he'd just brought in his "Charlie Brown tree") and, throwing his hands into the air, cries out "Can't anyone tell me what Christmas is all about?!"

Linus steps up and tells what it's about, and they then decorate his tree, followed by singing a lovely Christmas hymn.

It is a classic and simple way to bring us to the true Christmas spirit. I know when I watch it, my stress level melts, the presents, food, and everything "commercial" that dominates this Holy Day just don't seem as important, and I'm brought to a simpler mindset of celebrating our Savior's birth and spending time with people I love.

I pray that you are able to enjoy this season for it's true meaning, and I'm wishing you all the Merriest of Days and Blessings to abound for you in this precious time.

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Becoming a Mother

Years ago
...long before my husband and I moved back to SD from Portland
...long before we had children
...long before I knew my life's calling to birth work
...my dear husband bought me a book. He just thought it looked like something I would enjoy.....

Fast forward to about 2 years ago.

I picked up that book that had been through three moves (one across the country) and was then sitting on a bookshelf gathering dust for so many years. The title caught my eye because of some birth'y events I'd been a part of with the same name.

I began reading it and absolutely couldn't put it down. It was the first book in a LONG time that I'd read that didn't relate to childbirth, breastfeeding, parenting, or devotional/inspirational type topics. I read it just.for.fun.

There is now a Lifetime movie about that book. When I saw the trailer for it I decided to read it again before I watch the movie (which I will definitely do at some point).

I enjoyed it just as much the 2nd time around, and I'm sure I would enjoy it a 3rd and 4th time too.

I don't know if it was because this time when I read it I was so recently postpartum, or if it just struck me for a different reason, but there is a part in the book where the main character gives birth and the way she describes it is absolute perfection. I couldn't have stated it better myself, and I'm guessing you all would agree with me.

Check it out...

"Just as there is no warning for childbirth, there is no preparation for the sight of a first child. I studied his face, fingers, the folds in his boneless little legs, the whorls of his ears, the tiny nipples on his chest. I held my breath as he sighed, laughed when he yawned, wondered at his grasp on my thumb. I could not get my fill of looking.

There should be a song for women to sing at this moment, or a prayer to recite. But perhaps there is none because there are no words strong enough to name that moment. Like every mother since the first mother, I was overcome and bereft, exalted and ravaged. I had crossed over from girlhood. I beheld myself as an infant in my mother's arms, and caught a glimpse of my own death. I wept without knowing whether I rejoiced or mourned. My mothers and their mothers were with me as I held my baby."*

I (of course) teared up when I read it this time (I probably did the first time too, just don't remember). "There should be a song....." Such truth in that. There are no songs, no prayers, or recitations for us, though. Just the amazement and wonder of meeting our perfect little beings that have been with us for the past 40-ish weeks. The author is so right "there are no words strong enough".

From one mommy to another, I pray today you can relish the amazement and wonder that being a mama truly is, and that you can remember with fondness the first time you saw your precious little one.


*Excerpt taken from The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What in the Heck Was I Thinking?!

I do this to myself every year.

It's Christmas time, our family gatherings are VERY quickly approaching and I'm scrambling.

Of Course.

I mean, why wouldn't I?

Every. Single. Year.

But this year? With a newborn? Homeschooling? Really?!?

I always make as many of the gifts we give as possible. I love creating things for the people I love - I always have. Long ago it was individualized mod podged cigar boxes. One year it was cinnamon rolls. A couple years ago it was wool dryer balls and hand soap. Last year it was Christmas tree skirts and an apron that my dear grandma had started many many years ago and I had the privilege to finish. I just think that homemade gifts are pretty sweet - especially if they have meaning and are good quality.

This year is no different. I have big plans for some awesome gifts for my parents and several others on my list.

Did you notice how I said "I have big plans"? Not "I had..."

Do you realize what that means?

I haven't actually gotten to them. My problem? Time.

Here is how my days typically go (Note: if hubby isn't working, he totally helps with all this):
~Get up, brush teeth.
~Baby has by this time noticed that I'm not laying right next to her, so wakes and wants to get up too.
~Change baby
~Feed Baby
~Get other kids up if they aren't already up
~Feed other kids
~Tell big kids to get dressed, brush teeth, etc
~Change Baby, likely feed baby again
~Remind big kids that they are supposed to get dressed, brush their teeth, comb their hair, etc
~Prepare myself for that day's homeschool lessons
~Feed baby
~Remind big kids to finish getting dressed
~Clean up from breakfast.....maybe
~Get started on school - hopefully finish before it's time to get lunch
~Feed & change baby
~Figure out something for lunch
~Eat lunch
~Start working (On days I don't work, insert "run errands or clean" here)
~Feed & change baby sometime in there
~Finish up things that need to get done at work
~Make supper
~Feed baby
~Evening stuff - baths, reading, playing, watching movies, etc depending on the day
~Get kids ready for bed
~Tuck kids into bed
~Try to get baby to sleep (i.e. marathon nurse for an hour or two)
~Lay baby down in swing and work on Christmas presents (if she's really actually sleeping)
~Decide I'm too friggin tired and just go to bed

Guess which one usually wins out?

Yep. That's my life these days. Not very often do I have time to do anything besides barely getting through my regular days. I'm running out of days and hours to get the things done that I need to. That's not even talking about shopping that needs to happen still.

Uff-da. (That's Norwegian speak for "holy crap, what am I doing?!?")

Usually this time of year is a joy to me. I adore preparing things, wrapping gifts, taking in a Christmas program or two, and enjoying all the season has to offer. This year I'm having to remind myself what the season really means and how no matter what happens we are celebrating the birth of our Savior. Whether or not I finish up the things I planned to do.

I need to remind myself to slow down and take it in. The kids' as they look at the twinkling lights and tinsel. Their excitement and anticipation of our celebration with family. Making goodies with friends. Reflecting on the year and just being grateful for all God has blessed me with.

I pray you are all staying sane and enjoying the season for all of it's joys and wonder! I'm doing my best, but if you see me in the next couple days, please be gentle. I promise I'll be gentle with you, dear mama who has too much going on just like me ;). Like my dear husband said yesterday "Being stressed this time of year kind of defeats the purpose, right?"

Much love and many blessings in this wonderful season of the year!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ahhhh.....Breastfeeding In Public and some Awesome Memes

So, on the heels of my rant about breastfeeding in public yesterday I had every intention of creating a bunch of memes and sharing them with you today. Then I did a google search for some and decided that there were SO many hilarious ones already out there that I would just compile some for you here and you could just enjoy their awesomeness with me.


These are fantastic! :)

So, without further ado, here we go:

Or, you know...a Sakura Bloom sling or Boba Wrap ;)

Which one is your favorite?


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nursing In Public...Is it THAT Big of a Deal?

Am I oblivious?

Am I really this naive?

Or am I just too engrossed in my "breastfeeding is natural, best, and normal" community?

The past week I've heard TWO things regarding nursing in public that kinda made my blood boil.

The first one came from a young mom of a newborn. She shared with me that she was in her baby's pediatrician's office and her baby was hungry. She is breastfeeding, so simply started nursing her sweet little one, not thinking much of it.

Then it happened. An older lady (I don't know how old - she just said "older") came up to her and said something to the effect of "You are way too young to be doing that [breastfeeding]. Actually, you are way to young to have a baby."

This poor young mom was devastated. Here she thought she was doing what was best for her sweet little one and some inconsiderate older (supposedly "wiser") woman (I'm sure I could come up with several less-nice ways to refer to her) comes and crushes her spirit and resolve to do what she knows is best for her baby. In the *pediatricians office*, nonetheless. Infuriating!!

Then, a few days later I was scrolling through my newsfeed and came across this written by one of my acquaintances: "Fair warning: if you show naked women, half naked women, women wearing revealing clothes or women breast feeding I am unfriending you. I will no longer tolerate men sharing women who or women who directly contribute to the rape, violation and degradation of women. I don't care if they are swimming, working out or feeding their kid. I don't want to see it."

Wait. What? *blink* *blink*

Since when does nourishing a baby contribute to violence against women? Since when is it degrading to *feed a baby*? Am I missing something? Is there actually a sect of men out there who see a breastfeeding mom and think "oh, I want her and will do anything to have her whether or not she consents"? Or maybe they think "Oh, seeing that mom breastfeeding her baby makes me want to beat up my own wife/girlfriend".

I don't know. Maybe there is a group of people out there that truly does think this way or some other way that contributes to violence or objectification. Maybe I actually am that oblivious.

But no matter what, I will continue to breastfeed in public. I will continue to encourage others to do the same. When my baby is hungry, I'm going to feed her. I'll do my best not to flash my nipple at old ladies and acquaintances who think it will contribute to violence against women, but if I inadvertently do, they will just need to look the other way or "unfriend" me, I guess. 

It is my baby's right to be fed whenever and wherever she gets hungry. And if I don't feed her when and where she needs or if I bow down to the whims of rude old ladies and delusional acquaintances, then I'm doing absolutely nothing to normalize nursing to other young moms or future moms. I want my daughters to SEE with their own eyes moms who feed - with their breasts - their babies wherever their babies are hungry.

Because if I don't normalize it for my daughters, who will? 

It's my responsibility, and one I take very seriously. I want them to be strong in their decisions to nourish their babies the way God intended. If anyone gives them pressure to do something else (or HIDE it), I want them to be confident enough to not give in to that pressure.

I'm making this pledge to you all now. I will support ALL moms to breastfeed wherever and whenever they need to. Now and always.


If you are a nursing mom and want to talk with other nursing moms, or moms who have "been there", make sure to come to our Evening Milk Monologues group tomorrow evening! It's at 6:30 pm at Educated Mommy on the 2nd Thursday of every month. We'll give you the SUPPORT YOU NEED for breastfeeding - in private and public!