Wednesday, September 1, 2010


While eating strawberries..."Mom, I just adore strawberries. Do you adore strawberries, too?"

EM heard the ice cream truck, and not knowing where the sound was coming from, or probably even what an ice cream truck is, she said, "Dad, did you hear that music? Isn't it beautiful? It was so beautiful I had to close my eyes." Apparently we need to expose her to better music.

After her first day of Kindergareten: "Mom, you should really go to school. It's so fun." When I asked if any of the other moms were at school, and wouldn't that be weird if I were the only mom at school she said, "Well, maybe you should have just stayed 5 then."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fall Fetish

Something about this time of year brings about some serious introspection for me. The harvest, the abundance of fruit right in my own backyard, the going back to school, the colors, the change of season....I don't know what it is, but I like it. Fall is the season I'd pick if I had to pick a season. So here are a couple lessons I learned today from picking blackberries:
  • Enjoy the right here and right now.

I find myself telling the girls to not eat anymore berries, because then we won't have enough for the cobbler I want to make. Am I for real? A blackberry is at its best when it's fresh-picked, ripe, and warm off the vine. So juicy and delicious, no cobbler can compete. Once I forget about the cobbler and allow myself to enjoy the berries as we pick, I have no more self control than my girls. When we're through my hands and mouth are just as covered in remnants of purple delight as my 2-year-old's. I have my girls to thank for teaching me to stop and enjoy the moment, instead of planning to enjoy it later.

  • Sometimes you have to deal with thorns to get to the GOOD stuff.

Blackberries have a pretty good defense mechanism set up to, you know, protect them from bears and little girls. The best, biggest, ripest berries are always hidden in the thorns. You better have a few scrapes after you're done picking, or you can be sure you missed out on the really GOOD stuff.

  • Taking a break to pick blackberries when my house is a disaster and my baby is crying is GOOD for me, maybe even necessary.

This really requires no explanation other than by the time I was finished, the baby had cried herself to sleep, thereby saving my sanity for maybe 1/2 hour.

  • Life is GOOD, and I am blessed, maybe even spoiled.

Those berries grow with absolutely no work on my part. I get to enjoy their GOODness without having to do anything but walk a few yards and pick away. I have lots of things in my life that I probably don't deserve, definitely haven't "earned," and probably don't appreciate as much as I should.

  • Hard work deserves a reward.

I told the girls they couldn't eat any berries until my bowl was filled. Well, they didn't exactly keep their side of that bargain 100%, but they did help me fill my bowl up as best as little girls can, two or three berries at a time. So they definitely deserved some reward of their own for all their "hard" work. And since blackberries are dangerous creatures they needed some help from someone with longer arms. I can be a nice mom. Sometimes. When I stop and actually allow myself to be nice in the moment instead of planning to be nice later.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Really Real 1st Day

Today was EM's true first day of Kindergarten. The older grades started last Monday, and the Kindergartners go that first day, only to have to wait an entire week until they can go back. The rest of the week is spent assessing each, individual kindergartner's intelligence. So today was it, the big day, her first footsteps down the path of public education. I had planned to walk her up to school, but Mother Nature put a damper on that idea. So rather than fight the masses to find a parking spot, lug three children through the downpour to get EM in the building and in the right classroom, I let my friend take her instead. Tell me I'm not a bad mom. Tell me I won't regret missing that opportunity for the rest of my life. I went with her last Monday to her "pseudo" first day - tell me that was GOOD enough. Instead of seeing her tackle this new challenge with my own eyes (which may or may not have been filled with tears had I been there), I had to receive a second-hand account of how she put on her determined face and walked confidently into her classroom. She hung up her raincoat, and looked around, unsure what to do next. She watched the other kids, looking for some inspiration. She took her things out of her backpack, and then wondered what to do with it now. She figured it out, and hung it up with her jacket. She marched her skinny little self in her skinny little jeans (is it wrong that I covet my 5-year-old's body? Seriously, if I looked as good as she does in skinny jeans I'd be wearing them daily...I digress) into that Kindergarten class. She owned her first day. I'm as proud as any mommy could be. I actually think it was for the best that I wasn't there. I don't think her first-day-of-Kindergarten story would be the same if she'd had her smother-mother making sure every little thing she did was exactly what she was supposed to do.
At EM's assessment the parents were asked to fill out a questionnaire. The last question asked something along the lines of "What do you expect out of your child's Kindergarten experience?" The answer I wrote was something like, "I hope she has a positive and fun experience. I want her to make new friends. I hope her love for learning continues to grow. I hope she develops confidence in herself." After today, I think we're on the right track. What I didn't write, but want her to remember is this: "I hope that even though there will be more influences in your life now that you have entered this big, new world, that your father's and my influence will still have an impact. I hope that within your circle of friends your sisters are always included. I hope that you remember to be nice, to remember how our words make other people feel, to listen, to tell the truth, to obey, to not be a tattle-tell. I hope you don't change too much, because I love your silly faces and voices and made-up words, I love your laugh, I love your desire for perfection, I love YOU. I hope you recognize how smart you are and that you can do anything - just don't give up when you think it's too hard. Most importantly, I hope that you don't let others determine how you feel about yourself. Know that you are a beautiful, talented, and amazing daughter of God. Knowing that will make all the difference in your life. Please, please, please don't lose that confidence you had today as you faced your first day of school. Don't let some 4'10" 80-pound girl make you think there's something wrong with you because you don't look like she does (okay, maybe this discussion can wait for junior high or high school - or hopefully this will never be YOUR issue). I hope you have the best year of Kindergarten ever!"

Sunday, April 4, 2010


So, it's been two weeks since I wrote my previous post. I don't know why I haven't posted it until now...Because I needed to make sure it was perfect, I'm sure. And I finally just have to let it go, because I don't have time to obsess over it. We are now at 5 weeks - still alive. Still nursing...sort of...barely. She's growing, growing, growing. Who knew a little 6 lb. 6 oz. runt could be so big at 5 weeks? I still have 20 lbs. to lose (at least I'm not growing, right?) We're still loving her. And we're getting more sleep...sort of...barely. The three times a night has decreased to two. Now if she'd only sleep during the day! The girl is restless and uncomfortable. Is it gas? Is it constipation? Is it reflux? I don't know. She sleeps fabulously in my arms, but lay her down anywhere - her crib, her swing, the car seat - and within 15 minutes she's screaming. That is why my house looks the way it does. That is why my older girls look like orphans.

This picture was taken on Sunday, March 14, 2010. Daylight Savings time started that day...We forgot. CW and the girls showed up for the last 15 minutes of Sacrament Meeting. They looked slightly better than this when they left for church. We're all going a little crazy around here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


The newest member of our family. She's been here 3 weeks, and you'd think I'd have gotten around to showing her off by now. My excuse(s): lack of sleep, post-partum hormones which turn me into a blubbering mess when I even think about writing about the new little miracle that has joined our family, two other children who have made it very clear they do not like their mother right now, nursing and pumping and nursing and eating more than enough so I have an endless milk supply and nursing and nursing and nursing and fretting over whether my child is growing and/or getting enough to eat and also nursing, sleeping, trying to enjoy these first weeks because we are definitely not doing this again!

She's beautiful, and I love her.


1st: day she was born - March 1st, 2010...I find it very fitting that my first child was born on the last day of March and my last child was born on the first day of March. "The first shall be last, and the last shall be first." Yes, I am 100% sure that this is it. I am too old to do this again.

6: time of birth - 6:00 p.m. exactly.

6 6: weight - 6 lbs 6 oz.

20: inches long.

3: number of times the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck.

4: days in the hospital...long enough to wear out your welcome.

3: children...all girls!

3: weeks I've survived.

20: pounds I need to lose.

3: average number of times I'm up at night feeding this child, whom I love dearly, but would love even more if I were sleeping more.

Cannot be quantified: changed diapers, kisses, friends and neighbors and family bringing gifts and meals and taking care of children, feedings, gratitude that she is here and healthy, the medical bills from our emergency C-section (just kidding - sort of).

Her arrival (you have my permission to stop reading may be long, and most likely boring to anyone other than myself):

Remember how I was panicking over having to make a silly decision whether to be induced or not? Well, that should have been the least of my worries. Monday, shortly after I posted my last post three weeks ago I started having contractions....on my own, Pitocin-free, lucky me! Shortly after 3:00 p.m. the girls were with a friend, and CW and I were on our way to the hospital. Everything was fine and normal...I was dilated to a 5 or 6 when I got to the hospital, and we were going to have a baby!

Then I met the nurse anesthetist. This is where things started going badly. The dude inspired no confidence whatsoever. As he searched my back for an endless amount of time, looking for who knows what, I was on the verge of telling him to forget the epidural, I would rather go natural. That's saying a lot. He acted like this was his first experience sticking a needle in someone's spine, and I was not about to let some amateur paralyze me for life. I was not impressed, and it must have showed, because at one point CW said, "SaM, he's doing a GOOD job...he knows what he's doing." My nerves were on edge, and it didn't get any better.

Shortly after my epidural, a random doctor from the hospital came to check on things with a concerned look, which led to more freaking out on my part. Of course no one bothered explaining to me what was going on, and I'm going over every possible horror-story scenario, wondering if this would still be happening had I taken my pre-natal vitamins more faithfully. Yes, I really am as pathetic as I sound, and by now the tears were flowing freely. Finally some comfort came by way of my OB/GYN, along with some much-needed explanations. Apparently every time I had a contraction baby's heart rate dropped. At first her heart rate would return to normal after the contraction was over, but after several episodes her heart rate wasn't returning to normal before I would have another contraction. Seeing as I was still only dilated to a 6, and could be in labor for hours to come, my doctor decided a C-section was necessary. More panicking...something about being cut open is much more terrifying to me than pushing out a baby. Lots of morphine and 15 minutes later I'd given birth. Interesting fact about myself, morphine makes me forget to breathe. Who knew? Hopefully that piece of information won't be needed again and can be stored away, a useless trivia fact that maybe I'll mention when conversation is dull at our next social gathering.

The umbilical cord had been wrapped three times around her neck. There was no way she could have made it down the birth canal on her own. I was told the cord was very thin - should I worry about this, too. Why not? Once again, maybe it can be attributed to my irregular consumption of vitamins. She was so small and seemed even more traumatized than I was. I was in a morphine daze, and remember very little of the moments following her delivery. They let me hold her (was that really wise, considering how incoherent I was?) before taking her away to do whatever it is they do. Then the stitching up began, which seemed to take forever compared to the quick procedure of cutting me open and taking my insides out. It was a very unpleasant sensation to feel the tugging and pulling of being put back together. Finally, it was over....I could go see my baby.

Or not. I would not see my baby for the next 12 hours. And I only saw her because I painfully wheeled myself down to see her (okay, I think a nurse actually wheeled me down while my husband, who remained much more calm throughout all of this, slept peacefully). What I hadn't been told, or at least not to my recollection, was that my baby had TTN, or rapid breathing, most likely because of excess fluid in her lungs. They would need to monitor her until her breathing slowed down. She was on an IV, and I was not allowed to feed her for fear that she might aspirate. More waiting. Finally at 6:00 p.m. the next day, 24 hours after her birth (it felt much longer), I was able to hold and feed my baby. Well, the feeding would take some work, but at least she was free of the machines!

And then we hung out for 3 more days, monitoring and checking and trying to get the girl to eat. I cried and panicked some more, because clearly if I couldn't even feed my own child I wasn't fit to be a mother. And then she'd make some progress, gradual, but at least in the right direction. And I got some sleep and cried a little less. Finally by Friday, I didn't even care if I wasn't able to feed my child, I just wanted out of that stupid hospital full of people who clearly couldn't get a job at a decent medical institution. Yes, in my old age I have become extremely impatient and intolerant of others. Really, there were some great people who took care of me and my baby, but there were also more than a few "interesting" characters. At times it really did feel like this place took in the most socially awkward doctors, nurses, nurse anesthetists, etc. they could find.

Week one over, and we were home at last. EM and LuV were at Grandma and Grandpa's in Idaho, CW back at work, and I am a mother of one. Only one. Just me and my baby girl. All day long. It was so quiet and peaceful. There were days the silence was maddening, and I just wanted to go get my girls. Fortunately I resisted. Week two was a blissful time of sleeping and reading and relaxing and healing and holding my baby whenever I wanted, as long as I wanted. She got better at eating. We bonded. Week three and I was back to being a mother of three. We had one GOOD day - Wednesday. Baby slept in her crib. LuV took a nap, which meant she wasn't crying for her dad all afternoon. There was slightly less whining. I finally swept and mopped the hardwood floors - it had been nearly a month. The rest of the week was less successful.

Baby still isn't a great eater or night sleeper. I'm ready to give up on nursing, and if it weren't for RSV season I probably would. I'm trying to hold out until the end of April. Wish me luck. EM and LuV have their moments. It's hard for them, I know. I am trying to be sensitive. I am trying to be patient. I am trying to balance the needs of three little girls. I am trying to be a mother of three. I am trying. Some day we'll get there. I am surviving, and that is all that can be expected after three weeks. We'll take the GOOD days when they come, and the other days we hold on until 5:30 p.m. brings relief.

One thing is certain - she is loved. EM and LuV love their sister. I love my baby girl. I am grateful she is here, even if she causes me grief with her eating and sleeping. I am thankful she is healthy even if it costs us thousands in medical expenses. I am amazed at the miracle of life - that she is so perfect and beautiful and whole. I still can't believe how blessed we spite of pre-natal vitamins and everything else. And I still couldn't write this without crying, but at least it didn't end in violent sobbing like some of the other posts I started....

Monday, March 1, 2010


Near 60-degree weather. Being outside. An end in sight. Thinking about a new beginning. A soon-to-be special delivery, just for us, coming from a heavenly home. Nesting. Recognizing a need to improve. Loving my children. Determining that I will be better because they deserve better. Homemade curry...enjoyed by all. 9:00 a.m. church. A two-year-old making it to the potty in time. Kids' bedtime. Remembering what I looked like with ankles. Crying during the movie Bedtime Stories and still being able to blame it on pregnancy hormones. Tiny baby clothes. Wondering, waiting, wishing.

photo courtesy of EM

Just some things I've enjoyed the past couple days.

Friday, February 26, 2010

What Could Possibly Have Induced Me???

I scheduled a date to be induced. Six days from today. Thursday. My other two girls were born on Thursdays. That's not why I chose Thursday. It was the last day I could "schedule" this baby before my doctor leaves for who knows where. Apparently she doesn't feel the need to stay in town the weekend my baby is due to make her grand entrance into this world. How dare she? I, on the other hand, will have to miss being with my brother while he goes through the temple for the first time. I hate being the only one in my family to miss out on things. Because my OB/GYN has the nerve to come and go when and where she pleases, a luxury those of us who are 39 weeks pregnant do not get to enjoy, I have now been placed in the uncomfortable position of having to make a decision. I hate having to make decisions. Do I get induced Thursday before my doctor abandons me, not to return until Monday evening? Or do I let things take their natural course, even if that means a stranger coaches me through the final pushes? Really, the doctor does so very little in the delivery process it shouldn't matter. And yet there is something reassuring about having MY doctor be the one to present me with baby girl #3. So I chose a date. It feels so unnatural and wrong. I feel like I am being pushy - demanding that my daughter's birthday WILL be March 4, 2010. I hate knowing when it will happen. There is still a chance that she will surprise me. She has six days. But my womb does not tend to release its prey early. There have been no indications that my womb will act any differently this time. So...Thursday it is.

The real reason I chose Thursday: I want my baby to share a birthday with Jim and Pam's baby. How awesome is that?

Have I mentioned how much I hate all of this?

One thing I will not hate...being pregnant one more day.
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