My new blog

I realized I switched my blog over without ever putting a post up here, so if you follow this blog via Reader or are a follower, you may have thought I just disappeared.  My new blog address is mydotcalm.blogspot.com.  Eventually, if you type this address in it will redirect you to my new blog, but for your rss feed, you'll need to update the url.

So if you follow this blog, come over My Dot Calm and follow me there!

Thank you!!


Is Flag Day a forgotten holiday?

Certainly not in these parts! My Poppy loved this country - and always proudly flew a flag in front of his house (until Obama took office anyway..). A flagpole was a requirement in home ownership for him. I have memories of staring at the spotlight that shown on the flag at night - and completely blinding myself for minutes at a time. I also know that I thought it was "Poppy's flag" well into Elementary school. I learned to salute, and honor the flag from a young age.

So I'm trying to use Flag Day to educate my children on these principles that I hold so dear.

This morning Olivia and I made our own recreation of the American Flag. We talked about Betsy Ross, and colonies, and England. It was a lot of fun. But Olivia really wanted to make her own flag, her own way. So I had the idea of letting her design her own flag for "Olivialand". Which she decided to name, "Texas".

In "Texas" there are no rules. You can do anything you want. And if you want money you just say, "Money please" and money falls from the sky. If you want hot dogs, you just say "Hot dogs please" and hot dogs fall from the sky. She went on and on with every thing you could think of, and that it would fall from the sky. If you want it to be sunny, then it will be sunny. If you want it to rain (so you can go to Chuck-E-Cheese) then it will rain. If you want a rainbow, that you can touch and hug and take to bed with you - then you can have a rainbow. I thought it was hilarious and so innocent. I tried to make her see the challenges that could come up in this type of scenario - like what if I wanted a piano and said "Piano please"... and she said, "Oh! When that happens the fire-fighters come, and they will catch it for you and put it down carefully, so no one gets hurt, and the piano doesn't break" I then addressed the weather. "What if someone wanted rain and someone else wanted sun." And she explained it's only the weather around you. If Abigail wanted rain, then it would rain on her. And be sunny on Mommy. Also if you want to be president, then you can be. Anyone can be, who wants to.

I just wanted to write about this little moment because I remember thinking like this as a kid. Just so innocent.

I think I want to move to "Texas".


Remember that one time when...

Abigail took off her unders in the bathroom before church and no one knew until she announced in sacrament meeting that she was bottom-less...

Nathan didn't poop for like 11 days.

Nathan shrugged his shoulders and just kept them up there all close to his ears with the funniest expression on his face ever.

Olivia ate a pound of cherries in one sitting.

I filled a squirt bottle with water and sprayed my kids every time they used a whiney voice? Similar to cat training... It started as a game...but is evolving into my main method of discipline.

We finally made the decision about how we'll get to Phoenix.

I hid in the bathroom to write a blogpost on my phone...


Nathan -and the rest of us - at a glance

Olivia took the above video with my cell phone. The beginning is cute sounds Nathan makes. The end is Abigail singing. The middle is a jumble of getting inside the house. I just wanted to include for the freeze frame at the beginning. Every once in a while Nathan makes this face and it just cracks me up.

Other quirky things Nate does right now - is suck on his bottom lip almost constantly. He also goes out of his way to pull hair. My girls would pull your hair if you were holding them and they happened to get a hand full or something. Nathan would move heaven and earth to get to some hair to pull. His sisters are never safe from his grasp. On Sunday at church, Aaron had to pass him to me, because the lady sitting in front of him had long, thick, wavy hair and Nathan was going crazy trying to get his hands on it. He will be 6 months old on Sunday. I can hardly believe that. He is starting to get somewhat mobile - but not quite by crawling. He rolls, and maneuvers himself in every kind of crazy way to get to what he wants. He can sit up for a little while by himself, but usually plops over to get something after a few seconds.

I have been blogging about him kind of a lot lately - hmm. I think it's because I really don't remember Abigail's first year of life.  I keep going back to my blog trying to remember when she did certain things and I didn't write it down! So this time I'm writing it down. Sorry, Abigail!

Maybe I should take a minute to write about what Abigail is up to right now. Aaron and I hear about 50 times, "Can I pway a game on yo phone?" She is obsessed with preschool apps on our phones. I went into Nursery to get crayons for Sunbeams, when I found her playing a game on her teacher's phone. She has been a stubborn little thing the past couple of days. She's always so easy going that I am surprised when she acts like this. Yesterday she didn't want to leave the pool, and so she stubbornly stood there not moving an inch. I did the whole, "Okay well then I guess I'll see ya later." And walked away. I hid behind a tree and watched her. She still did not move. I waited, and waited. Then she finally started to walk towards me, but then she saw me. And as soon as she saw me she ran back to her spot and stood. I had to pick her up and drag her away kicking and screaming. I ended up throwing her on my shoulders so I could push the stroller. Thank goodness Olivia was in a good mood and was walking happily ahead of me. I must have looked like an insane person with a screaming toddler on my head, pushing a stroller loaded down with all the pool necessities and a sleeping baby.

What else can I say? She is mostly the sweetest girl on earth. She sings a lot. Oh! She learned to "monkey walk" around the pool this week. And she is a monkey walking machine. She can go all around the pool and she loves it.

And the pool is where I plan on spending many-a-morning from now until we leave in August. We love it.


My Ode To Erie, PA

The plumbing of this old apartment
 is one thing I will not miss
But there are lots of things that I will
And they go a little something like this.

Cute, furry woodland creatures,
The Erie Zoo and all its features,
Living so close to my parents' door
And of course Wegman's my favorite store.

Swimming at Presque Isle
And my neighbor Rusty, who always has a smile.
Spending time at the YMCA
Port Farms, where we could stay all day

I'm going to miss the small town feel,
Our tiny kitchen where I prepared each meal.
Our apartment complex's frigid pool,
and our neighbor Troy, who thinks he's so cool.

Story time at our local Chick-Fil-A,
And how the weather can change in a day.
Playing at the awesome Children's Museum
and catching games at SeaWolves' Stadium.

All the dear friends we have made
And all the times we played.
Girls nights and many-a-play-date,
These are what we'll miss the most -- no debate.

Being part of the greatest ward,
living so close to where the Gospel was restored,
Visiting church history sites,
having to leave really bites.

The room where I birthed our son
All the pretty places to run
Being where everything is so green
Each picture looks like a post card scene.

The desert has its beauty too
And friends there are not a few
But still - leaving this home will be hard.
Although I won't miss a certain prison guard.

I've grown to love this town called Erie,
Even though the weather can be dreary,
It really has a beauty all its own
I'm grateful for a short time I could call it home.


The stars have aligned...

All three of my kids are asleep. At the same time. In the middle of the day. This is a rare moment to be savored. Or used to do something that really needs to get done ie, dishes, laundry, packing, or most importantly blogging.

I have written approximately 20,000 blog entries about my home birth. All of them are sitting as drafts in my little blogger account. I get interrupted, or don't know how to finish my thoughts, so it never gets published. Today, right now I am determined to tell my story!

Every time I take a shower in the downstairs bathroom I think about being in labor with Nathan. I relive each moment, without the pain. Just the excitement. I can literally feel the excitement all over again. I love the fact that I had him at home. There, I'm owning it. At first I really didn't want to seem like I was in some super mom competition, and thinking I was better than everyone who has babies in hospitals. I absolutely don't feel that way. I also didn't want people to think I was a complete idiot for choosing to have my baby at home. Some people do. They think I just decided on a whim, hey let's forget about medicine and carelessly have a baby in my playroom. My decision to give birth at home was thought out, planned, and researched more than you could believe. I think I could have earned a PhD in google research, seriously. And I know I made the right choice for the right baby, at the right time. I may not have my next baby at home, if it doesn't feel right. I honestly do believe, if we listen we will be guided in these decisions.

I had my first baby with an epidural. I had my second naturally in the hospital. And I had my third in a kiddie-pool in my playroom. Have I told you before that it's a kiddie-pool? Covered in colorful sea creatures, and drowning warnings in several languages?  Yeah it was. And it was like heaven. It was inflated on the bottom, and the sides, and it was full of hot water. It was seriously perfect. And then Nathan was all like, "Yeah I'm not coming down this way." And I was all... "I'm going to be in labor forever, I know it." And then my midwife helped me find the courage to roll over onto my knees, and with the next two contractions my body literally pushed my baby out. It was the craziest feeling in the world. With Abigail I was too panicked to think about feeling anything. I remember literally thinking, "Just focus on screaming. Don't think about anything else." And that's what I did. I screamed my lungs out. With Nathan, I was loud. And I may have sworn. But I don't remember screaming. It was all really peaceful. Oh, until we took Nathan out of the water. Then he screamed. For like an hour. I thought I was going to have this calm, peaceful baby since I chose to birth him in such an environment, but no -- I think he cried more than my girls did. He did not want to be out of there! Or maybe I was too out of it with my girls to remember them crying. Or I was expecting it so it wasn't such a surprise. I really remember feeling like "What the heck! You aren't supposed to cry! All those babies on youtube born in the water didn't cry!" I also remember thinking, "Holy crap - I have three kids!" And immediately feeling overwhelmed.

Now here are a few thoughts of things I learned from my home birth experience.

Almost every woman who has given birth naturally reaches the point where they feel like they can't do it. They can't go on. This always happens at the very end. Right before the greatest moment - it is complete despair. Some women report feeling like they are going to die. I absolutely experienced that. And I pushed through it. I was afraid and wanted to give up - but I couldn't. There is literally no way to give up at that point. So you dig within yourself for strength you are sure you don't have. And somewhere you find it. And you make it through that despair, into utter ecstasy. You hold that newborn baby against your chest, and instantly the thoughts of death are gone and you are filled with life. Heaven feels close, but in a different way now. Just writing about this moment, fills me with such emotion.

With Olivia this moment was different. I really just remember thinking I had to nurse her right away. It was awkward and uncomfortable and I don't know. I was so tired. And drugged.

With Abigail I was in complete shock. I couldn't believe I had gone through my whole labor without ever thinking I was really in pain. I was in shock that I just pushed out an almost 10lb baby. In like a single push. I held her, under bright hospital lights, and she didn't cry. And she was blue-ish. I was pretty sure she was not alive, and these nurses were just letting me hold my dead baby while the doctor stitched me up so I wouldn't freak out. With Olivia they took her and cleaned her and wrapped her up and all that so fast. They just let me hold Abigail as long as I wanted. I thought that meant she was dead. I was not completely with it. Once the nurses checked her and told me she was perfect, then I was just filled with emotion.

With Nathan - I lifted him from the water myself. Oh that screaming little boy. Who was certainly still a boy. And it was just glorious. My midwife helped me onto the futon we had set up in the playroom. I laid there and held my baby. No one was in a hurry to do anything. She gave me a couple of stitches. Right there in the playroom.

My biggest regret about the home birth -- and all my births really - is that we didn't take enough pictures. Next time I will be sure to arm Aaron with a camera. 

Oh and some random concerns I had -- what about the mess? What about the placenta? What about those awesome giant diaper like pads they give you in the hospital? What about having a nurse take care of you for 2 days?

It really wasn't that messy. Since I had him the pool, all the mess was contained to there. And my midwife took care of all the clean up involved with that.

We threw it away. Unceremoniously wrapped in newspaper and a plastic bag - straight into the dumpster.

One word - Depends.

As for being taken care of - I told my husband the pay for him for being able to sleep in his own bed after having the baby, and not some couch/bed thing in the hospital is that he had to cater to my every need. Plus I have an amazing mother who took my other children for me. So I had 3 days of my own house - all alone with my husband and baby. No one coming to check my blood pressure as soon as I fell asleep. Or whatever else they check as soon as you fall asleep.

Anyway - so would I have a home birth again? Absolutely. Do I think everyone who chooses to have their baby in the hospital with an epidural is a wimp? Absolutely not. Do I think they are uneducated? Nope. I like to assume we are all doing our personal best. I do hope that people question what doctors tell them. Do their own research. It feels good. And some doctors don't tell you everything. I would recommend anyone who's not at high risk to consider a midwife. I absolutely loved my midwife experience, and don't think I will use an OB again. But that's just me. ... and here I am again not sure how to finish my thoughts.

So yeah... that's my story. No I'm not better than you, or dumber than you, I just did what I thought was best for my baby.