Monday, December 27, 2010


I love nursing my babies! After working in daycare for years before having my own kids, I couldn't wait to breastfeed my own babies. Because I had strong bonds with the children I cared for, I wondered if I would feel like I was just babysitting when I had my own kids. I thought breastfeeding would make me feel more like the mom and less like the babysitter. As it turns out, breastfeeding is not what makes me feel like the mom. The fact that my babies never LEAVE at the end of the day. That makes me feel like the mom. But I still think breastfeeding is awesome, and I'll tell you why.

Convenience. I have nothing to mix in, shake up, or warm up in the middle of the night. When we travel, we don't have to take a million bottles, nipples, and cans of formula. My milk is always ready, always the perfect temperature, and I don't have to try and fit it in my bag.

Cheap. Buying formula makes a big difference in your monthly budget. Breast milk is free. (As long as it's your own. Evidently, breast milk from a donor bank is expensive. Just ask Neil Patrick Harris.) Thanks to nursing and cloth diapers, Violet hasn't really impacted our monthly budget yet at all. So as long as we buy groceries to feed me, we're good.

Bonding. There are so many little things that make up the bond you have with your baby. Nursing can be a big part of that. When you nurse, you are forced to spend feeding time together. Yes, I often surf the internet and watch tv while I nurse. But I can't prop the bottle up for the baby and walk away, or hand Ryan my equipment and have him do it. (Although there are times I wish I could. But never fear, I have some milk in the freezer if I need a break.) And nothing beats the look on your baby's face when they first latch on. This is the best. thing. ever. To top it all off, your body actually releases a happy hormone while you're nursing that makes you feel closer to your baby.

Rest. What?! Yes, nursing can help you rest. Especially in the early weeks, it is so nice to be forced to sit down for about twenty or thirty minutes every two to three hours. I'm not even an over achiever, and I appreciate the forced time-out. And that same happy hormone that helps you bond also relaxes you.

Magic Milk. Did you know breast milk is magic? When I went to my family Christmas this year, I hugged and kissed all my snot nosed, carrier monkey nieces and nephews. My body then fought those nasties off for me, AND somehow knows how to tell my mammary glands what kind of milk to make to fight those specific nasties off for Violet. Seriously. I know it's true because I read it in a book. It's called So That's What They're For! by Janet Tamaro. Great book.

Just like any other parenting decision, you gotta do what works for you and your family. This is something that works for me, and I love every minute of it! So does Ryan, it means he never has to get up in the middle of the night with the baby. Lucky duck.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I'm Back

It's been about six weeks since beautiful baby Violet was born. Pretty standard "maternity leave" time. As a stay at home mom I don't get your typical maternity leave. My life really won't change much looking in from the outside. It doesn't look the same as going back to an office, but it feels that way to me. I guess it's probably not acceptable for me to ask Ryan to stay home from work and help me now that I'm the magical "six weeks out". Dinner is again my job, and laundry, and cleaning. Exercise should most definitely become a priority now. Nola should probably not be watching tv all morning long. And (this I'm thankful for) if I take a nap during the day I have a hard time falling asleep at night.

It feels great to be back in the good ol' "office".

Monday, November 22, 2010

Check it Out!

I wrote a guest blog for Top To Bottom Baby Boutique. They are a cloth diaper retailer based here in Omaha. You can find my blog post here.

Leave a comment if you like it!

Monday, November 15, 2010

13 Days Left

If this baby comes on it's due date, I only have 13 days left of pregnancy. Ahhhhhh. That sounds doable.

I have to admit, I'm not the best pregnant lady on the planet. I do love feeling the baby move inside me. I enjoy, maybe, the two months right in the middle. But I am most DEFINITELY not the type who just loves every second of pregnancy. Is it an urban myth that there are those who do? But, at the same time, I hate it when I hear women complain and whine the whole time they're pregnant. Before I was ever ready for children, but wanted them so badly, I didn't like to hear a pregnant lady complain. realize you're going to get a KID out of this right? As in, a little person who will love you more than anyone else on earth?

So I try to hold my tongue. And anytime I feel like whining, I think of Nolie. And how I barely remember being pregnant with her. And how it would be worth more than nine months of pregnancy to get the precious two years I've had with her. And I dream of how much fun it's going to be to meet this new baby. And figure out their personality. And learn their little quirks. And hold them in my arms...instead of in my STOMACH!

*Big Sigh* 13 days is nothing, right? Baby, please come by your due date. I promise it's awesome out here!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Nesting in Action!

I have been so inspired lately by my frequent trips to design blogs. I finally put my dreaming into action!

Ryan's parents are buying us a new crib for this baby. Yippee! Nola's crib was a much appreciated hand me down. But it had seen better days and had a failing drop side on it. The new crib is the Baby Mod Olivia from Wal-Mart. It's very modern looking and I love it. Our changing table is kind of old school and doesn't really match the new crib's style. But we did use it all the time with Nola, so I knew we wanted to keep it. I found this tid bit of advice on one of my favorite design blogs (I think it was Ohdeedoh). If you have a piece of furniture that doesn't "match" all the others, painting it a different color than the other furniture makes it a nice pop of color as if it were a piece of art. I happened to have a can of blue spray paint in the garage so out it came!

And, yes, I wore a mask.

I hesitated to paint it blue because that's so traditionally "boy", and we don't know weather I'm going to pop out a boy or a girl. (And the leaning from the technician was girl.) But I finally decided that blue is pretty, and boy's can't have it all to themselves.

Here's the before and after of the changing table. I am hoping to have the nursery all done before the baby comes, and I will post pictures of it all done up and complete.

What do you think? Blue can be for girls, too, right?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First & Then

Let me clarify a little. I do not believe in negotiating with two year olds. More often than not, all this activity will do is teach your child to manipulate you and other people. Not a fabulous skill. It's important for children to learn that they can't always get what they want. The earlier, the better. I sound so strict and dull, don't I?

BUT Ryan and I have discovered a great way to walk Nola through her emotions when she has to do something she doesn't want to do. I don't know who started it, but it was BRILLIANT. Ok, ok, it was probably me. :) This tactic is most often used when it's time to go potty, and she doesn't want to. It goes a little like this...

"Nola, let's go potty."
"Noooooo!" followed by worked up tears and, "Puppy!" while running away from the bathroom and towards her puppy.
"Nola, listen to mommy." I hold up my index finger. "First, potty. Then, puppy."
Nola sniffles, sucks it up, and says, "Ok."

Seriously, it works pretty much every time. It's like magic. And here's why I think it has worked out for us.

We always stick to just two activities. First and Then. Adding a third is too much for her little genius mind to take in. When she's crying for a cookie we don't want her to have before dinner we wouldn't say, "First we'll wash our hands, then we'll eat dinner, and THEN you can have a cookie." This will come when she's older. For now, we're sticking to what her almost-two-year-old mind will be successful with. We would just say, "First, dinner. Then, a cookie."

We always do the "Then" activity immediately after the "First" activity. Say she wants to go outside, but we need her to put her shoes on. We say, "First, put your shoes on. Then, we'll go outside." After her shoes are on, we go straight outside. We don't make her wait while we finish up ten more things. And we don't make her do anything besides the shoes. There has to be immediate follow through. If we have ten things we need to do before taking her outside, we don't use First & Then. She needs to know that we will do what we say we will do. And at her age, that requires fairly quick follow through.

Lastly, we don't use First & Then as a reward incentive program. Or bribery. This seems like a fine line. But it's important to me. Let's take one scenario of going to the park. Let's say I am pretty sure she's not going to want to ride in her stroller. If while I'm popping out the stroller I say, "Hey, Nola! First, sit in your stroller. Then, we'll go to the park." To me, that's reward incentive programming. It might not be as blatant as, "I'll give you a cookie if you get in the stroller" but to me it still has the essence of a bribe.

With First & Then it would go like this: I'm pretty sure Nola's not going to want to ride in the stroller. But while I'm popping out the stroller I simply say, "Ok, get in the stroller." If she starts fussing about it, and possibly running down the driveway ahead of me, screaming "Paaaaaark!" Then I will stop her. I will make sure she is looking in my eyes and say, "First, get in the stroller. Then, we'll go to the park." And she usually will.

What's the difference again? It's just my opinion and my parenting style, but I think it's important that Nola get the chance to obey without the promise of a cookie. In life, she's going to have to do stuff that she doesn't want to do. And there won't always be someone there to say, "I'll give you a cookie if you pay that electric bill." Yes, it is good to do things that prevent tantrums. But not if the tantrum prevention means your child is not ever really obeying you. They're just waiting around for cookies.

Do you think this would work with your toddler? Every child is so different. But maybe there is a similar tactic you could use to coach your child through the emotion of a tantrum. It would be nice to skip the tantrums all together, but I just don't bake enough cookies for that. ;)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sort of Mommyish & not really sappy....

Does this post belong on this blog? Hmmmm. It fits this blog about as much as that picture fits this post. Which is...not really related at all. (That's Nola and her cousin Ada.) But it is my blog and as my lovely husband often says to me when I am protesting his inconsequential life decisions... "I do what I want."

So this pregnancy has me obsessed with interior design. I want to redo my whole house! And make it beautiful, and organized, and functional, and interesting, and creative. My obsession is not always followed by action. Usually it manifests itself in time spent looking at other people's designs. At almost 33 weeks pregnant, I rarely have energy for follow through. I try to not let it depress me.

So here are the three websites I check EVERY SINGLE DAY. In order from most favorite to least favorite. Mostly, I just love looking at the pictures and thinking about what I could do someday.

A married couple blogs about designing their first home with lots of do-it-yourself project ideas, and things to do on a tight budget. (Oh! And they cloth diaper their baby girl.)

A mother load of real people's nurseries and kid's rooms. As well as real kid's parties, and other cool, design related kid stuff.

A designing mother of six. Sometimes her design ideas and cool, mom finds can be a bit pricier, but are fun to look at.

So, there you go. Happy surfing!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bittersweet Doesn't Say It

Parenting is so wonderfully...sucky.

Ryan and I just came home from a long weekend in Chicago at Story Conference 2010. (My sister has a great post about it here.) We came home to find our beautiful baby girl had grown five inches and successfully mastered the English language while we were gone! I have never found anything in life to have such a crazy mixture of emotions as I've found in being a mom. It is so exciting to see her learn new things and master big girl skills. I am ready to explode with happy pride, while at the same time I am ready to break down in sad tears to see the old days disappearing.

Sometimes I browse through my old pictures on Facebook. (Yes, I realize that may be the epitome of wasting time on a social networking site. Looking at your own stuff?) I see old pictures of Nola and can't believe how she's changed. It's such a weird emotion.

I am sad to see that old Nolie go...enjoying every minute of the Nolie that I have...and anticipating all the moments I will have with the Nolie that's coming. All at the same time.

It's just so...wonderfully sucky. Do you feel me?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Few Things I'm Thinking About...

Baby number two is ten weeks away from arriving! Hopefully. I was five days early with Nola, but I hate to bank on that again. If I'm early with this baby, then maybe I'll bank on it with baby number three. Yes, Ryan, there will be a baby number three. Lord willing.

Here's a few things I'm thinking about as the time is drawing near...

Holy Lord, I need to clean out the baby's room! How did this happen again? As soon as we moved Nola out of that room, we immediately made it the dumping grounds. I am DETERMINED to go to the hospital with the baby's room done this time.

Proffessional house cleaning while I'm in the hospital. How awesome would it be to come home from the hospital to a professionally deep cleaned house? I left the house a wreck during Nola's delivery. My mom did an amazing job making it beautiful for me when we came home. If it's not crazy expensive, I just might do it.

Newborn elimination communication.
I'm going to buy this little potty for baby number two. Yes, I know you all thought I was crazy when I said I was going to start taking Nola potty at seven months old. Now you can just check me in to the crazy house, I guess. Don't worry, I do not expect to throw out the beautiful new cloth diapers I bought. But I've heard that earlier is better when it comes to infant pottying. Since Nola is potty trained, I don't think it will be too stressful. And my approach will be much more relaxed this time around. I said I was relaxed last time, but that really wasn't true.

A baby sling. My cousin Jennie recommended the Maya Wrap ring sling. She loved it with her second baby and I really think it will be perfect for me. I had a sized sling with Nola, and it was just a hair to big and never quite comfortable. I didn't use it much. Ring Slings adjust perfectly to your size, and therefore to however bulky or not bulky clothes you're wearing. I think it will be so handy for outings with a toddler and a newborn in tow. And I think it looks like you're wearing a fashionable scarf. It would be really easy to sew, which I might tackle after the baby. But I think it would be nice to have a good quality one first.

Was there anything you knew you HAD to have with your second baby? Share the wealth.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You Are A Beautiful Mother

Why does no one ever post pictures on Facebook of their kids lying around in their unmatched pajamas, watching an episode of Dora for the umpteenth time, with a crumby pop tart in their hands, and snot dripping out their nose? And why have I never written a blog post about the time Nola peed her pants THREE TIMES during church, and I had no clothes left for her, and I had to steal a diaper from April (did I ever tell you that, April?) and my image as the all powerful elimination communication mom was totally busted?

Well...because...who wants to share that part of themselves, really? Some people do it well with humor. But then, it's funny, so you at least get cool points for that.

I thought to myself today, "I should write a post about failing as a mom." I was inspired to do this because I didn't get much accomplished today. As in, so far I haven't showered, Nola went down for her afternoon nap still in her pjs. There is a pile of crap on my couch that has been sitting there for over a week. And the worst part is...I HAD to make a grocery run. So I did. I was that mom. In the store, with nasty hair, flip flops, an ugly, ginormous maternity shirt, and a child whose hair had not even been brushed, obviously still wearing her pajama shirt.

After deciding to write a FAIL post. I thought to myself, "Wait a minute. I am not a failure as a mom. That's ridiculous." Honestly, it's not even really funny to say that. Ok, sometimes it's funny. But deep down, we should never say such negative things about ourselves. I am not a failure as a mom, and neither are you. (Well...wait...Are you beating your children? I'm pretty sure that puts you in the failure category. But, otherwise, I'm pretty sure you're good.)

Think of the little things you do as a mom that make you feel like a failure. Now try to remember your mother doing any of those things. Having a hard time? So did I! The truth is, you probably remember the time your mom took you for a special trip to McDonalds where you got that super cool mermaid barbie in your Happy Meal. While your mom remembers that day she had no groceries in the house simply because she didn't want to go grocery shopping, and she ended up taking you to McDonalds. Where she proceeded to feed you trans fat, and you ended up getting that blasted Barbie doll that would give you the wrong definition of beauty.

I know my mom had her days. Actually, no I don't. I'm guessing my mom had her days. But the overall picture over rides the imperfections. The fact that we love our children, and are doing our best... that makes us beautiful mothers. And successful mothers.

Looking like a celebrity mom wherever you go? Not important.

Your house looking like a magazine cover? Your kid could care less.

That snuggle time that you took instead of loading the dishwasher? Your kid will remember forever.

So let go of your facebook image. Quit comparing yourself to your working mom friend, or your stay at home mom friend. Or even Angelina Jolie, heaven forbid.

Love your children. You are a beautiful mother.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


You should hear Nola say "Lessons!" out loud. So cute! She puts a little more thhhh than ssss in her s sounds.

We started our lessons this morning. We had a Spanish lesson and a math lesson. (Dear Lord, please let her get something out of the math lessons I give her! When I was little, I got a stomach ache every day in kindergarten right around math time.)

For Spanish time, I made a cube with red and blue sides to it. We took turns throwing it into the air. When it landed, we would say what color was on top...Rojo or Azul. I had high hopes that she would love this game. She did say the colors many times in both languages, which is great. She even tries her best to roll her r's.

For math time, I drew a chart with zero, one, and two at the top. We said the numbers as I pointed to them. Then we put the right amount of quarters under each number. Zero gets, "Nothin'!" She had fun saying that word. One got...well, one quarter. And Two got..two. This is a shortened version of a Montessori lesson. Montessori teachers would faint dead away if they saw I was trying this with my not-yet two year old. (That is why I will not be tagging "montessori" in this post.) But since we're not trying to be true Montessorians, I think borrowing some of the ideas is safe for now.

Overall, lessons went well. They went much quicker than I would have imagined. If I really want to capture her attention, I'll need to add some Dora stuff...she'd be in heaven.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Night time diaper solution

When Nola got potty trained enough to only need a diaper for nap and night time I realized we needed a solution for cloth diaper STINK. Waiting for there to be a full load of cloth diapers to wash took a whole week. Once she conquered nap time, waiting for a full load took two weeks! I don't know if you've ever had the pleasure of opening the bathroom cabinet doors to be greeted with two week old, pee-filled cloth diapers. If you have, I'm sure you don't remember the next few moments after, because the smell comes flailing out of it's prison doors and knocks you out. It's gross. And it was in our hallway bathroom that we share with friends when they visit. Hi, welcome to our lovely home! Just don't breathe in while you're using the bathroom. Nice.

I wanted a night time diapering solution that was still "green". I don't hug the WHOLE tree, but I hug certain parts of it. I'd been nice to the earth so long in this department, why quit now? So I turned to gDiapers.

The disposable inserts that gDiapers make for their diapers are FLUSHABLE! They are earth friendly even if you throw them in the trash because there is no plastic in them. You can also compost them if you're into that sort of thing. You know, if you're hugging the whole tree. But thanks to living in a younger neighborhood and newer house, our sewer system handles the flushing just fine. I had shied away from using the disposable inserts because of price. (I had already used gdiapers with cloth inserts off and on for Nola.) The cost of a regular pack of gdiapers disposable inserts is almost twice that of a pack of regular disposables. But since we are only using one a day, it doesn't bust our budget. ('s a link to lady who seriously did her math homework comparing the price of regular disposables, Flip disposables, and gDiaper disposables. She says it's not that different price wise...I never was very good at math.)

After a few nights of sleeping in her gdiapers, I was LOVING the fresh smell of the bathroom! But the gDiaper shells left little red marks on her legs, and little red indentations from the snaps that hold the liner in the shell. So I turned to BumGenius once again.

BumGenius makes a diaper cover called the Flip. I guess there's lots of diaper covers I could've chosen, but this one is pretty cheap, has multiple snap settings for different sizes, and gets great reviews. The elastic is encased and doesn't leave any marks on Nolie's precious little legs. I only bought one, and it's all I need. There are disposable inserts made for the Flip, but they are not flushable. The medium/large gdiaper flushable insert fits nicely in a Flip when it is at it's largest setting. It's a wipe clean cover. All I do in the morning is take the the diaper off Nola, flush the insert, and put the Flip back in the cabinet. I wash the cover about once a week with her regular laundry and it has not lost it's waterproofing yet.

I'm not sure when Nola will conquer night time. It could still be a while. But when she does, the Flip cover will not be out of commission! Thanks to it's multiple sizing, Nola can pass the wealth to Baby Number Two no matter their age! Of course, it is powder pink...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Red Rug Time

I love reading other mom's ideas for activities and little goals they have for their kids. So here's my new one that I will share with you. It's very simple.

Every day we are going to have Red Rug Time. Yesterday, we went in her room. I had her sit on her red rug, and I sat in front of her in a little rocking chair. I told her, "It's rug time, Nola! We're going to sit on the rug while mommy reads a book." Then I read her a book. She had to sit for the entire book. Nicely. Not laying down. Not getting up to sit with me. Kind of like how it would be if she were in preschool and it was story time. It was a very quick read. But it was challenging for her. She had to be reminded several times what we were doing, of course. But as long as she responded nicely to my reminders, she never "got in trouble". As she gets better at it, and I know her abilities for the situation...that may change. :)

After I read her a story, I gave her a book. I told her to read the book by herself, staying on the red rug because it's "rug time". This was very short, too. As SOON as she "got to the end" I said, "Good job, Nola! You stayed on the rug while you read your book. Ok, rug time is over! Go play."

My goal for this time is two-fold 1) that she learns to discipline herself to sit still and do something that was possibly not her idea, and 2) that she learns to entertain herself and complete a task without constant prodding or interference from me. We won't always read. Maybe I will give her a puzzle on the rug. Or let her choose between two toys or activities. The rug gives her a visual boundary that is smaller than, say, her room. The hope is that the skills she learns with the rug will translate to other situations such as "stay on this chair and play with your doll while mommy and daddy practice for worship team."

This idea is inspired by the Montessori Method of learning, and by Michelle Duggar. Montessori is a major proponent of children being independent and Michelle Duggar is a major proponent of children having self-control! (She writes in her book about her "portable playpen" that is just a blanket she keeps in her diaper bag that her children are trained to stay on and play nicely with just a single toy.)
I'll keep you updated on our progress!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Mother Load!

I did it. I bought the newborn cloth diapers. Rumparooz Lil' Joeys. I ordered one pack directly from Rumparooz, and then I stocked up on the rest at Mom's Milk Boutique. The ladies at Mom's Milk Boutique were wonderful. They accidentally sent me an extra pack! I let them know of the mistake, and they still let me keep them. Lovely. So now I have 14 total, which is more than enough. It's the mother load, honestly.

They are the teeniest, tiniest most adorable little things I have ever seen. They made me so excited about this baby, and that made me happy. I just love knowing that I will have cloth diapers that are easy to use, and will fit, right from the get-go with this baby. I almost feel like I'm rewarding myself for actually following through and using cloth with Nola.

I also bought some newborn sized prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers, along with two wipe-clean covers to have for laundry day. I got a Bummis Super Brite in newborn size, and a Thirsties Duo Wrap in size one. Green Mountain Diapers has a very cool feature on their site. On every product they have a "see this on a baby" link, that takes you to a bunch of pictures of that product on different sized babies. They also have lots of (as in, almost overwhelming) information on cloth, if you are just getting started.
I can't wait to use these on my new little lovey!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nola's Birth

I am just 18 weeks away (give or take a few) from meeting our new baby. I have never written down the story of Nola's birth, and want to get it out now before another labor experience mushes my memories up!

I woke up on a Sunday morning feeling especially tired. And huge. Ryan left early for church to help on the worship team. I was so tired I was an hour late for church that day. I sent Ryan a text when church was starting to let him know I'd just woken up.

The whole day I felt so sluggish. I didn't feel well, and kind of thought I was constipated. All I ate was Grape Nuts to try and fix that. I spent a lot of time in the bathroom thinking I needed to go.

David Gray called early in the evening to check up on us and see if anything was going on with the baby. "Nope." We said. "Nothing going on."

Only a few hours later, around 6 p.m., I went to try and use the bathroom again. This time, something gushed out. I thought it was my water breaking, but when I peeked down I saw that it was blood. This was a little scary for me. I was pretty sure you weren't supposed to BLEED as an initial sign of labor. We called the midwife and she sent us to the hospital immediately. I called my mom, who was at Sunday night church five hours away in Missouri. I am pretty sure I cried when talking to her because I was so scared.

We threw a few extra things into my half-packed hospital bag and jumped in the car. We left the house a huge mess. Friday had been my last day at work. Since I wasn't due until the following Friday, I had been counting on that week to get everything in order before the baby came.

I was shaking the whole way to the hospital. We listened to a great, soothing song off of the cd 24/7 by the band RoJo. But I had a hard time calming down.

Checking in at the hospital was relatively quick and easy. Our nurse, Jessica, was awesome. She put me right at ease. As soon as I got settled in, and they were monitoring the baby, I settled right down. Just knowing that now someone would at least know what was going on made me feel better.

As it turned out, our midwife, Marilyn, had misunderstood us on the phone. She thought I had said I was 29 weeks, rather than 39 weeks. So she had sent us to the high risk side of the maternity ward. Jessica told us that when she saw the blood, she was very scared for us. But when she saw the size of my belly, she knew there had been a misunderstanding! After we got that cleared up, we moved to a different room for my labor. Luckily, Jessica came with us.

I think my contractions started around 9 p.m. They were noticeable, but extremely manageable with long breaks in between. Jessica sent us walking around the hospital hallways to keep my labor going strong. If I remember correctly, I was four centimeters dilated at this time, but the contractions were still not a problem. We walked a loop around the Hospital floor, passing Ryan's parents, sister, and our friends Liz and Andrew every few minutes. We were laughing and joking with them. I never got to see him, but I know at one point in the evening Ryan's good friend Paul had brought us a few more things from our house. When he and Revonna heard we were in labor, and had had to leave in such a hurry, they went to our house and packed up more of the things we would need. Like our camera!

Around 9:30, Jessica came and got us. My midwife, Marilyn, wasn't at the hospital yet, but there was a doctor there who could break my water for me if I wanted. I was doing so well with my labor, that I wasn't sure. I called my mom to see how close she was. She was only about halfway to Omaha, but she said I should do whatever I needed and not try and wait for her. So the doctor broke my water. She said, "Your contractions should get a little harder and more painful now that the watery cushion is gone." She was very right. The first contraction after my water broke was extremely painful. Ten times worse than they had been. But I still had very long breaks in between contractions, with no pain whatsoever.

Jessica sent us walking again. This time around, I didn't want to walk past anyone I knew. Joke and laugh time was coming to an end for me. The contractions became stronger and stronger. Eventually, I couldn't stand during them. When I felt it coming on, I would grab Ryan and he would help me slowly fall to my knees. My only strategy during contractions was to completely relax every muscle in my body. I would close my eyes, and let everything loosen up. This is another reason I didn't want to stand during them. Ryan thought it was weird that during contractions, I would actually let go of his hand rather than squeeze the life out of it like everyone told him would happen. Squeezing just really didn't help. Relaxing did.

I don't know how long we walked, but we returned to the room so I could sit down. Jessica really wanted me to keep walking. I smiled at her and in my head thought, "Is she crazy?!!!" At this point I was also feeling quite sick to my stomach. She offered me something for that, but I didn't really think it was that bad. I think Jessica must have read me like a book during this time, because she decided to call my midwife to come up to the hospital.

When my midwife showed up, I think she checked me. I think. And I'm pretty sure I was at a seven. Things are a little hazy in my memory at that point. I think I was in transition and didn't quite realize it. They got the jacuzzi ready for me.

Ahhhhhhh. That was perfect. The water was so helpful and calming. The only thing I didn't like was the jets of water during a contraction. I liked them in between, but during my contractions I wanted to tear their jetting heads off. The lights were turned down low, and everyone kept their voices low for me. Looking back, this is the most awkward part of my labor. There I was, in all my glory, (next time I'm bringing a swim top) while the nurse, my midwife, Ryan, and eventually my mom, all stared at me. Ryan says it wasn't that weird at the time, which is probably true.

In the water, my contractions were extremely painful. I could feel myself wanting to fight them and get flustered. But my midwife told me to breathe them out, so I did. Strangely, breathing out helped a lot. But the breath in was the worst! Such pain when I took a breath in, but when I breathed out it really felt like I was blowing the pain away. I was in a little bit of a trance during this phase, as well. Jessica caught a moment in between my contractions to make sure I had seen my mom had showed up. I just barely opened my eyes to say hello. Then it was back to business.

After a while, I don't know how long, I felt the urge to push. My midwife saw me curl up in a ball. She had been calmly sitting in a chair in front of the jacuzzi monitoring me. She may have been timing my contractions, as well. I'm not sure. But when she saw me curl up, she sat right up and asked if I felt I needed to push. I told her it sure felt that way. She said we should try for a couple more contractions, and if I felt like pushing again I would need to get out. I didn't want to get out of the water, but with the next contraction I felt like pushing, so I had to get out. (Next time I'm lying. The water is too wonderful.)

Jessica and Marilyn (or was it my mom?) wrapped warm towels around me as I got out, and helped me slip into a gown. I got back in bed and Marilyn checked me. It must have been around 12:30 in the morning. She said I was still just a nine, but she thought she could just push my cervix out of the way for me, and I could go ahead and push with each contraction.

The contractions seemed to really slow down after I got out the water. It was kind of nice because I got such long breaks between. And, oddly enough, when I pushed I didn't feel the pain of them. The second I felt a contraction coming, I would feel that anxiety and the fear of severe pain coming on, but then I would start pushing and it would disappear.

During one push, I sprayed the whole room with some sort of baby fluid. Yes, it happened. Ryan's jeans were splattered with something. I think Marilyn got a little in the face. Everyone laughed. At one point in between contractions, I remember looking up at my mom and saying, "This is a lot easier than I thought it was going to be." Everyone laughed then, too. But I really meant it. I pushed for forty five minutes. I broke every blood vessel in my face. They kept telling me to take breaths during pushing, but I just wanted to get the baby out so I wouldn't stop. In retrospect, that was probably a mistake. A little mini breath probably would've made for more effective pushing. I must have lost my cool a little at one point because I remember mom looking at me sternly and saying,"Don't lose control now, Charity. Get a hold of yourself." I remember thinking, "What is she talking about? I'm doing fine!" After a while, Marilyn told me to reach down and feel the baby's head. I did. And it was gross. Then, suddenly, everyone got bossy. I could feel tension in the air between Marilyn and Jessica. They were communicating with their eyes. And they started yelling at me to push. Quite sternly. And then Jessica was on top of me, using her body weight to push down on my stomach.

And then Nola was here. They put her on my chest. I remember stroking her slimy little back so I would look like a good, loving mom. On the inside, though, I was grossed out and really wanted them to take her away and clean her up before I snuggled her. Ryan cut the umbilical cord. The first thing I said about her was, "She looks like a little Mexican baby!" She had so much dark, black hair. I watched as the baby nurse came in and gave her a nice bath and washed her hair.

Marilyn helped me deliver the placenta. Yes, that's an odd part of labor, but you barely remember it. I did not have an episiotomy, but I did naturally tear in a couple of places. Marilyn said they were "good" places to tear. I don't think any place down there is a good place to tear. She stitched me up and it hurt like the dickens! This is the downside of not getting an epidural. You feel every little thing after the baby is born. You feel every little thing during the labor, but you're focused on getting the baby out so it's different. Once the baby is out, you want it to all be over, and then they start stitching you! Evidently, she did numb the area, but it's a very difficult area of the body to numb.

Now everything is hazy after this. It was 1:20 a.m. when Nola was born. I know that everyone came in to see her. My mom and dad, Ryan's mom and dad, Erica, Liz and Andrew. My sisters, Felicity and Serenity came in at the last minute as a surprise! I didn't know they were coming. I cried. It was perfect, too. The fist person we handed the baby to was Serenity, and I told the whole room, "This is Nola Serenity Long." Serenity survived a rare form of cancer called Synovial Cell Sarcoma. Ryan and I were married right around the time of her diagnosis. We didn't always think she would survive, and I often thought one of my children would be named after her because of her death. But, then, she lived! Thank you, Serenity. While I was pregnant with Nola, I thought how unfair to only get someone named after you if you die. You should have someone named after you because you lived! There are a few other details to her naming and you might like to read Serenity's side of the story here.

Looking back, Nola's delivery was better than I would have hoped. God gave me everything I asked for in her labor and delivery. Literally, we prayed every night for the baby and the delivery and God said Yes to all of it! That's why this time around I'm praying for a daytime delivery!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nola's New Room

My sister, Serenity, told me once that she sometimes worries if her boys are happy. And if they like their life. Do they like our house? Do they wish we had nicer things? Do they like sharing a room? I must not have had Nola at the time she told me this. I had no idea where she was coming from and thought she was crazy. Of course her kids are crazy happy!

But now it's hit me.

I'm putting Nola's new room together. And I'm, kind of, nervous. I hope she likes it. She's not even two. Really, the only thing I KNOW she likes is puppies. On top of that, now we have a new kid coming. How will I know the baby's preference in room decor?! And what if the new baby likes Nola's room better?

Now I understand a little bit more why some moms make the mistake of trying to be their kid's best friend instead of their parent. Because, ultimately, our kids are people. Little, tiny people. People we have gotten to know slowly, without much conversational feedback in the early stages of the relationship, but people all the same. And we care what people think of us. Especially the people we love the most.

The picture up top is a little preview of Nola's room. Hopefully my little person likes it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I want to buy some cloth diapers for my newborn this time around. Pictured here are the Rumparooz Lil' Joeys. Crazy? I did some math. The first two months of diapering in disposables will cost 180 dollars. For this same amount I can get just enough newborn diapers to do laundry everyday. I would throw them in the washer at supper time, in the dryer at bedtime, and have clean diapers in the morning.

The only gamble is...what if this baby is ginormous? What if I buy teeny diapers, and the baby already fits the BumGenius One Size I have at two weeks old? Also, what if I'm underestimating being a mom of two? What if I'm exhausted at suppertime and the idea of one more chore makes me bawl my eyes out?

Decisions, decisions...


Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I am expecting our next baby! I'm pretty sure all three of you who read this have already heard this news on Facebook or something. But just in case, just in case I have some followers I don't know about it, I thought it only fair to share the news here.

Check out the video my husband and I made to announce our happy news.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Potty Routine

*I wrote this post in February. Not sure why I never posted it...*

We are almost eight months into this elimination communication experience. Nola is fifteen months old and we are oh-so-close to declaring her traditionally potty trained. I thought some might be curious to know what it's like to have a tiny toddler who uses the potty. And I thought some might like some inspiration to start taking your tiny toddler potty.

On a good day, Nola's trips to the bathroom are almost like clockwork. She's become very routine, which works nicely for us since she is still learning how to tell us when she needs to go. Here's a little breakdown of our potty routine.

8:00ish...Sometimes we get her first pee upon waking in the morning. (She has been dry all night long only once. It was after an evening of peeing her pants every twenty minutes. Literally.)

9:00ish...If we didn't get her first pee, she will usually go right after breakfast. Either way, we then have a nice long break from the bathroom. She often goes two hours or more without using the potty in the mornings.

11:00 ish...She will need to go sometime around eleven.

12:30ish...She pees before we sit down for lunch, and then pees and poos right after.

1:00ish...She will pee at least once, maybe twice, again before her nap.

1:30ish...One more pee right before nap.

3:00ish...If I get Nola right away when she wakes up from nap, she will be dry and ready to pee. If I haven't heard her and she's been awake a bit, she has usually wet her pants. We're still doing underwear at nap, unless we're at someone else's house.

4:00ish...She often pees right after eating her snack. Which is sometimes only a half hour or so after her post-nap pee.

5:00ish...In the evenings, we shoot for taking her to the potty about every hour.

6:00ish...We take her before and after eating, as well. She most often poos after a big meal.

7:00ish...potty again.

7:45ish...last potty before bed.

So that's a pretty normal day for us. When you write it down is seems like so much, but it doesn't feel that way during the day. A trip to the potty only takes about two minutes now that she wears underwear. And we don't sit around waiting on her. She goes right away. There are a few times that I KNOW she needs to go, and it will take her a second to calm down and get the job done.

A good suggestion I have followed, and has worked well, is to take her potty at transition times. Before an activity, and then after an activity. Before we leave for Target, right before we start shopping at Target. Again before we leave Target. You get the idea. Even if she doesn't go all those times, somehow I think she knows, "Mommy will take me potty soon. I don't have to pee here in the cart."

So give it a whirl! You may be surprised how receptive your toddler is to giving it a go outside their diaper.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I'm 27. Shouldn't I be the best version of myself by now?

When I was a teenager, I always thought I would have myself figured out by thirty, for sure! I would have the perfect haircut that really worked for me and an incredibly self distinctive wardrobe. I would have three beautiful children who obeyed my every word and spoke two languages fluently. I would spend my afternoons writing the next great worship song while my babies took long naps. I would have three recordings under my belt, and be working on the next one. My house would always be impeccably clean. And my husband, he would...well...actually, my real husband is about a million times better than the teenage Charity would have ever come up with.

And yet I find myself still flipping through hairstyle magazines looking for that perfect cut. Watching movies and admiring the Heroine's put together clothes and thinking, "THAT'S how I should be dressing!" Wondering why perfect little Nola giggles at me when I tell her no. Wishing I was speaking in Spanish with her more. I haven't written a new song in a VERY long time. (It's so much more work than teenage Charity imagined!) I have not been approached by any recording companies to be the next Crystal Lewis. And my house is messy more often than it is clean. It makes me feel incomplete.

My mom lives five hours from me. I wish everyday that I could see her beautiful face and tell her all my problems. My friend Leslie lives in Chicago, and is one of the dearest friends I have ever had. We do our best through emails, but there's nothing like being face to face. Poo on you, Time-Space Continuum! Not only do we all have pieces of our hearts spread through out the globe geographically, we all have loved ones we've lost, as well. When we lose them, something inside feels unfinished. We have grandfathers who lived long, full self-less lives before we said goodbye... cousins who were taken too early... nieces who lived for nine hours... babies we never got to hold...and even dads who all too soon beat us to the other side. And we will never quite feel the same without them. And we aren't supposed to.

Because there is really only one thing that is going to finish us...and that is the Face of God. This life is like one big, long tease of all the Beauty we will get to behold on the other side. Without inhibitions. Without baggage. Without wishing we were better. Without this haze that bogs us down. This glass we are looking through dimly will finally shatter. And we will see Him. And then...we will be complete.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

14 Month Update

It's way past time for an update, people! I tend to only want to update when I'm on the heels of a new great achievement on Nola's part. Hence, I did NOT want to write an update a couple weekends ago when Nola spent two whole days peeing her pants. I should've updated the weekend before Christmas. We went to Missouri to visit my family and she had her first dry day! She has had some ups and downs since then. Some really good days, and some really bad days.

Nola is now 14 months old. She has been wearing underwear since the middle of December. She has had a lot of "accidents". (We like to call them "misses".) But I just felt we should keep going forward. I think it's paying off. She has spent the last two days with only one miss. It was a poopy one, and she actually finished it up on the potty.

The greatest excitement has been that she now says the word, "potty". She says it very pronounced "Paaaaaaw-TEE!" The first day she said it, we had five successful pees completely initiated and followed through by her. Naturally, it felt like a fluke because she hasn't said it much since then. But every once in a while she will. At this stage we take her every time she says the word. That won't last forever. So far, she hasn't figured out how to abuse this power to get out of things. :)

So there it is! My big girl is doing so well. And I still think I will do this again with the next baby...