I have this baby.

And she is ALWAYS happy… so long as you’re holding her.
Before the word “spoiled” rolls from your lips, let me just say: she’s been this way since she “popped out.” (My kids are convinced that she simply “popped out” and I haven’t argued with them.)
She just really hates being left alone. And she really hates wet or dirty diapers and she really hates being left alone.
The second you pick her up, she stops crying and she focuses her pretty little eyes on you and you. just. melt.

And then nothing else in the world gets done. With my husband’s powers and mine combined, our house is still dirty.
We’re trying to slowly get her used to spending some time on her own. We’re hoping it works.
Because as much fun as it would be to spend our days just snuggled up tight with our little one, we actually have to do other basic things like cook, eat, shower, and so on.
Anyway, it’s made blogging a luxurious luxury. Even as I type, my lonesome baby is squalling for some love and food. But before she gets it, here’s a little bit of what’s been going on.

We left Alice home in the care of Grandma and we went to the girl’s first Christmas program. It was all she could talk about, and I knew I couldn’t miss it. She’d been singing the songs for weeks.
Her program was on a Thursday and the word “Thursday” was completely discarded and replaced with “Program.”
“Tomorrow is Wednesday and then it’s PROGRAM and then Friday!”

She did a great job, and it was so fun watching her up there sing “Up on the Housetop.” She’s such a fun girl.
The latest bit of excitement in her world is pretty much monumental:

She hoped her tooth would fall out on Christmas Eve so the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause would run into each other at our house. But… no cigar. The wiggly tooth is still intact!
Alice met her uncle Steve for the first time.

Don’t let the pictures fool you: she actually DOES like him.
Alice has been able to meet so many people for the first time! Our visitors have been scarce, for which we are eternally grateful! I think everyone is sick right now, and the last thing we want at our house is more sickness… we’ve been through colds and stomach bugs, and we don’t want anymore for awhile!
Here’s a picture I SNUCK in of Alice meeting her great-grandma:

I wrapped Alice up in a blanket my great-grandmother Alice had crocheted on:

It’s the same blanket I’ve blessed my other two kids in, and Alice will be blessed in it as well -I just love it!
We spent one evening all curled up on the couch together, and I just love how our entire family still fits on one couch:

I’ve been dying to sit down and look at some baby pictures of Alice and Lacy side by side. Today I finally DID it.
I’ve never been good at the whole figuring out who the baby looks like game… but I gotta say: my baby girls look like twins. Right?

I can see a difference in them -Alice has her own look and personality, but gosh… these pictures are pretty hard to argue with:

Danny is absolutely smitten with this one (he’s been smitten with them all):

Our Christmas was wonderful -despite the stomach bug we fought off -more on that later.
I’m not showering much.
I’m not wearing much make-up.
I’m hungry all the time and Alice has let me know that when I eat chocolate, her stomach hurts.
I have a stocking full of the BEST kinds of chocolate bars.
They freeze, right? I also have a cupboard full of chocolate treat, chocolate milk mix… it’s all taunting me. But I’m being a pessimist. What I ought to be saying is this:
My darling new one has given me the gift of weight loss for the New Year! Yahoo!
Oh gag. Sorry. I can’t be optimistic about No Chocolate.

But it’s hard to be too pessimistic these days… in addition to OUR new one, we have two new little Christmas Critters on our porch (and in our driveway and in our flowerbed and under our snow boots):

We’re finally at the close of the choppy, choppy post. It’s been choppy for a reason. It’s taken me about 4 hours to write it… in the meantime I’ve fed the baby twice, changed the baby thrice, made a trip to the Post Office, cleaned a baby swing, and gone and opened the fridge about 5 times (hoping an elf would come and put something onion-less and chocolate-less in there for me to eat).
And this is generally what I’ve been up to and what I’m about to be up to in about five minutes:


A Day in the City

We trekked out of our house for the first time since Alice was born to take her to her first Doctor visit. Instead of taking her to a two-day appointment, our Pediatrician told us to wait it out and bring her in five days later.
She is SUCH a healthy baby… they didn’t have any concerns, and I was more than happy to keep my stitched-up body home for a few days before venturing out.
Her appointment went awesome -she only lost 1.5 ounces, and she’s plump and pink and just healthy, healthy, healthy! She’s the healthiest baby I’ve ever had, and I’m loving it!
We left the girl here with her best friend so she wouldn’t miss school, and we enjoyed our trip with just two of our three kids. Our little man has been needing some extra attention.
Flagstaff is COVERED in snow, and it was such a beautiful winter day… the skies were overcast and everything was white.

We ate our lunch at Sam’s Club… I’ve been STARVING -I’m making so much milk. I come from a hearty line of dairy farmers, so it’s only natural.
They’d be so proud of their little Holstein and her calf-ling.

While we were eating (okay, INHALING) our food in the Sam’s Club Food Court, a bearded gentlemen walked over to Trenton, handed him a $1 and said, “Merry Christmas.”
He walked away so fast, we barely had time to thank him… I don’t think he was waiting for thanks. I think he just wanted to give.
It made my son’s day. He decided now that he had money, he was going to buy himself a new car seat.
“They cost more than you have,” we tried to explain to him.
“But I have MONEY,” he tried to explain to us.

When someone offers a gift like that, it makes you want to go out and give yourself.
I do love the Christmas season with all it’s bustle and hustle and love and kindness and jolliness and singing and goody eating and love, love, love.
I’m in love this Christmas season.

And to celebrate, I hugged my husband. I didn’t have to half-hug him or side-hug him or bend my body in half and hug only his stomach while letting mine droop down…
I full on HUGGED that man! It’s the little things you miss when you’re pregnant…

And it’s our Little Thing we’re enjoying now that we’re DONE being pregnant!

Fit For a Queen

A few days ago, my son was sitting at the table with a toilet paper roll (empty) and his pencil box. He had no idea I was paying attention to him.
“Decorating,” he was sing-songing, “Decorating for the Queen. Alice is! the QUEEN of our house!”
His sister was sitting next to me on the couch, holding said Queen.
The boy came over and crowned her.

Lacy told him it didn’t fit. I quickly righted her -it fit PERFECTLY. Don’t you think?
Later on that day, the boy went searching for the crown again. He couldn’t find it anywhere.
“I threw it away, Trent,” his older sister said, matter-of-factly.
His expression was one of pure HORROR.
“You’re kidding wiff me?” He said, his voice so full of hope you could practically reach out and grab it.
“No,” she shook her head, “Trent. It didn’t FIT.”
He burst into tears. She was confused. I did my best to explain to her exactly how Trent felt -how she’d taken something that wasn’t hers. Once she understood the gravity of it, she rushed to the trash.
“I didn’t put it in the trash,” she said, “I put it BY the trash in a box…” Her voice trailed off as she realized that her Dad had taken all of the trash -and the boxes by the trash -to the dump.
“Oh, no!” She cried out, bursting into tears herself, “IT IS AT THE DUMP AND ALL SMASHED NOW!”
I had two wailing kids and one calm infant who couldn’t care less whether she was sporting a toilet paper roll or not.
“What should you do to make it better?” I asked my daughter.
“I CAN’T! I can’t make it better!” Oh the theatrics!
“Yes, you can… think.”
“I could make a new one, I guess… I could help make a new one but I don’t have anything like HE did to make one just LIKE it!”
It took some convincing, but I finally had them kids satisfied with a stack of construction paper and a roll of scotch tape.
The results?
Lacy came up with three crowns, fit for The Queen.

In the time that Lacy made three crowns, Trenton was able to come up with one. It’s pretty adorable:

Alice definitely is lucky to be living with her siblings. Despite their constant fighting (as of late), they’re pretty awesome.

And readers, please, think TWICE before throwing out your crowns… you never know what kind of drama you might be causing.
They SMASH things at the dump, you know…

Alice Michelle Deets -Birth Story

WARNING: This post is really long and it goes into great detail -many of you might feel like I go into TOO MUCH detail, but I need to. This labor and delivery was hard and awful for me… it might sound silly to say that it was traumatic, but it was. Never before has a birth sent me through so many negative emotions. I’ve been needing to work through them for days, and today I finally sat down to do it. This is my healing space. It’s also a pretty great story with a wonderful ending. Read on if you’d like. Or skip to the pictures if you’d like.

The story of how my darling daughter came into the world isn’t all beautiful. It IS beautiful because all stories are beautiful in their own way, but it isn’t ALL beautiful, and I can’t pretend like it is.
I want to write everything down before I forget it.
I’ve also been putting off writing everything down because every time I start to think about the labor, I cry… and not in a good way.
Bear with me as I sift through emotions today. It must be done.

I almost went to the hospital on the 11th. I had spent the day helping my sister-in-law clean my house, and I was so grateful she’d come over. It had gotten my mind off of the fact that I was hours away from a life-changing event. That night with my husband and kids by my side, I stretched out on the couch and could. not. move. I was in pain everywhere. There was contractions, pressure… I couldn’t move my legs.
The contractions weren’t consistent enough for me to drive to the hospital, but I was tempted to anyway.
“Hello, I’m due to be induced tomorrow, but you’ve got to admit me NOW. Never mind if I’m contracting or not. I’m miserable. Admit me.”
I realize that misery alone is no reason to gain an all-access pass to labor and delivery, so I went to bed. ish.
I slept for three hours, I curled my hair, I drank some hot chocolate, I ate a bowl of granola. I took a picture.

My cousin came over just before 6 am to take care of babysitting, and a few minutes later, we were off. My husband and I were in our car, my mother was behind us in hers.
My mother-in-law had driven to Flagstaff the night before and was waiting for us to get there.
We arrived, we checked in.
I put on my gown and my husband snapped a picture even though I told him -not very nicely -not to.

“Look at me, hon,” he said, “Just look, come on… show me how you feel. Let’s see a smile.”

(for those of you who aren’t familiar with my facial expressions, that’s my “get outta my face” face)
I didn’t want pictures of me. I wanted pictures of things like the prepared table, waiting to house and love my baby:

I kept picking up those little diapers and thinking, ‘No way. No WAY is this happening! But it is. My own little BABY is going to be wearing THOSE.’
A few minutes after I was dressed, my doctor came in to check me.
I was dilated to a SIX. A SIX! No wonder I had been so miserable the night before!
“Let’s not bother with anything to get labor started,” she said, “Let’s just break your water.” I was so happy! It felt so good to know that I wasn’t totally forcing my baby out of my own accord, she was already on her way!
But then. Something happened that had never before happened in the history of my doctor’s doctoring. She lost my cervix. Throughout my pregnancy, it had never been easy to find. Even when she had JUST checked me, it had been a bit of struggle.
But she HAD found it. I mean, I was DILATED to a SIX.
SECONDS LATER, my cervix was gone. If she couldn’t fine my cervix, she couldn’t break my water. She was frustrated. She couldn’t do something she’d done so many times before.
She looked for my cervix once. She let me rest. She looked for my cervix twice. She REALLY looked for my cervix.
It REALLY hurt. I started inching up on my bed, trying to breath, trying to fight the natural urge to KICK the person causing me so much pain.
I cried.
Finally, she gave up. She apologized. She was baffled. I just cried.
The nurse was left with instructions to “gel” me, and the nurse was kind enough to just leave me the heck alone for awhile. I was glad. I went to the bathroom where my husband and I could be alone. I held onto him and cried and cried and cried. The baby was hardly moving -she’d slept through it all.
After a few hours when I’d perked up a little (enough to laugh at the pregnant woman on my hospital bed)

The nurse gelled me. She couldn’t find my cervix either, but she made a good guess -it ended up bring RIGHT on -and left me to let the gel set it.
My nurse was so good -she listened to me, REALLY listened to me. When I said, “my body is hyper-sensitive to any medication” she listened to me.
When I said, “I don’t want the jets in my jacuzzi tub,” she listened to me (even though she gently tried to reason me outta that one).
An hour after the gel sat, I walked around. I walked and walked and walked. My mother-in-law hit the stairs with me. Once there, I got three HARD and good contractions.
We made our way back to my bed. Per my request, my husband had put on one of my comfort movies. When I’m uncomfortable in any way, I know that movies will soothe me. I don’t want silence or sleep or music.
I want a movie. I want a movie I know well, one that has great acting, great characters, great writing… one I’ve seen so many times I know what’s coming, I’ve memorized the lines.
When I’m in pain, I NEED noise. Silence makes me tense. And so my sainted support team put up with “Christmas in Connecticut” (The old Black and White one) on repeat for HOURS.
And they put up with me contracting, moaning, breathing hard, and then laughing… because the movie is just FUNNY.
My contractions came every two minutes.
They were intense, but they were -in their own weird way -wonderful. As I let go of my body -as I let my body DO what it wanted to do, I could feel my body pushing my baby down. The pressure was intense, but with each contraction came a euphoric -yes, euphoric -sense of progress and release.
It made me smile… my eyes were clenched up, my body was working incredible hard, and it felt surprisingly amazing.
My husband poked fun at me for smiling, but I couldn’t help it. It wasn’t something I forced… believe me, it was embarrassing.
As I lay contracting, my husband looked at me and said, “Alice. I think her name is Alice.”
“Alice?” I said, “Okay, that sounds good. Whatever you think is best.”
He never settles for less-than-perfection, so I trusted him whole-heartedly with the baby naming business.
My contractions kept steady, but they started coming ever four minutes instead of every two. My nurse popped in the room and asked if I’d like more gel.
I didn’t.
Because more gel meant more looking for my all-elusive cervix. My nurse told me the problem with my cervix was that it was cah-put. It was mush.
Basically, it’s done it’s time. It’s tired.
“It feels like Sharpay,” she said, and we all joked about naming the baby Sharpay… you know, after her mother’s cervix.
I’m glad to know my cervix is shot. I’m glad. It explains so much. It explains why my body coughed out one IUD and managed to let me get pregnant with another, and it explains why my latest birthing experience was in it’s own way… traumatic.
Reluctantly, I asked for a VERY VERY low dose of Pitocin. My nurse was glad. She didn’t want to go looking for my cervix again. She doesn’t like making her patients cry.
Earlier as I had sat laboring in the jet-less jacuzzi tub, she had inserted my IV. She got it right in, but it wouldn’t give her any blood. She had to dig this way and that way and try this and that…
“Do you want me to stop while you contract?” She asked.
“No,” I shook my head, “Let’s just DO this. I can multi-task.”
“What a mother!” She said.
It was a great bonding moment for us… despite my absolute stark nakedness and her large pointy needle.
Thank goodness she was able to get the IV to work because that was where I got my VERY low dose of Pitocin. And then something irregular happened.
My nurse disappeared. It was probably her lunch break, or something. But I was sad when I rang for her and got someone else instead.
I was ACCOSTED by this. this.
She adjusted the IV machine. She glanced at my low dose of Pit. She raised her eyebrows, “Want me to up this?” She jerked her head toward the machine.
“No,” I said.
“One is a super low dose,” she said, talking to me as if I was about 10.
“I know, that’s what I asked for… I’m really sensitive to medications (I hate rehearsing this story. It makes me sound to fragile). If I go any higher it will send me into hard and fast contractions.”
“Isn’t that the point?” She asked.
I. wanted. to. slug. her.
But I didn’t. I just said, “It’s fine the way it is.”
She shook her head in disbelief and she walked out.
And thank goodness.
My nurse reappeared.
And thank goodness.
She took me OFF my low dose of Pit because she saw what it was doing to me. I was in full on labor. I had been in full-on labor since 10:30 in the morning. The Pit sent my body over the edge.
I was writhing in pain.
Months into my pregnancy, I had a gut-feeling that I should NOT, by any means, get an epidural. I don’t know why I felt that way, but if I’ve learned anything about my gut it’s to LISTEN to it and NEVER NEVER ignore it.
I told my doctor I didn’t even want to be offered an epidural.
I told my nurse the same thing. She listened. Because she is something of a Saint.
As she waited to “gel” me earlier that morning, she asked, “How long was your last labor?”
“Two and a half hours,” I said. The excitement in her face was evident. I tried to reassure her that this pregnancy was NOT to be predicted -there could be NO expectations! This baby had been fooling me right and left, and I was more that prepared at that point to labor for 30 days and 30 nights before ever seeing face or bum of my daughter.
“Well, you’re dilated to a six. You’ve been contracting this morning already. I imagine it won’t take long.”
“Don’t say that,” I shook my head, “Don’t SAY that!”
In this case, she turned out to be right. It was -once again -a fast labor.

There must have been a miscommunication on the pain meds… I said “no epidural” and I think they all heard, “ALL NATURAL, BABY!”
Just before the pit was taken off, my contractions came hard and fast and harder and faster. They wouldn’t go away completely before they came back.
I was given no mental break to regroup and focus. The pain was outrageous. It took over, and I started yelling and screaming things like, “I’m going to DIE!” and “MY BODY IS GOING TO BREAK!” and -of course -“I CAN’T DO THIS!”
This labor was NOTHING like my son’s. His hurt, yes. But THIS. Something was much much MUCH different.
SHE was face up. I was taking insane amounts of pressure in my bottom. I was sure at any given moment, my entire body was going to crack in half and kill me.
When I could finally take something of a breath I asked my nurse if there was ANYTHING she could give me that wasn’t an epidural. She look surprised.
“Yes, would you like something?”
“YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!” I yelled out just as another contraction hit me and escalated. She dropped the birthing ball she’d been holding and gently insisting I try to see if it would help ease the pain.
Silly nurse. I couldn’t even MOVE let alone get up off my bed and bounce on a ball.
The nurse raced out of the room, my water broke (first time it’s ever done that on it’s own!) and I made sure everyone on the labor and delivery floor knew that my baby was on her way out.
I can’t tell you how many pushes it took. I can’t. Everything was a mess of pain in all the wrong places and mushy cervix and me lying on my left side, gripping the hospital bed with one hand and my husband with the other… bearing down knowing that my life was seriously about to be over (seriously) and then.
Suddenly the room was filled with people. What people? I don’t know. I’d never seen them before. But they were all saying something about her head and something about how I could do it.
And before I even knew what was happening, I DID do it. My poor nurse came running back into the room, bewildered.
“What happened?” She asked my husband.
A strange doctor just happened to be nearby and caught my baby for me. Minutes later, the on-call doctor from my OB office was there.
“It only took me six minutes to get here!” he tapped his pager, “SIX. What happened?”
He was mad at himself for missing “the party” as he called it.
I was still writhing in pain… when I had given birth all-natural to my son, the pain had gone away when he was born. This time? Pain was radiating throughout. I was gripping my tiny daughter, brand new, pure, perfect… but I couldn’t really “see” her through the pain.
All I could say to her was, “Did you know you tried to kill me?… But I love you.”
“Can I have something for the pain right now?” I asked.
The doctor assured me I could, but it would make me tired -it would interfere with baby-bonding.
“I can’t bond with her through this pain,” I said, crying. This picture captures it pretty well… I felt like such a child -I just kept my eyes locked on my husband because in that moment, he was all I knew.
Every time I look at this picture -see my eyes -I’m taken right back to that moment… the “what just HAPPENED to me?!” moment.

Remarkably, my tearing was minor -first degree.
I’ve given birth to a “sunny-side-up” baby before. But that time, my cervix was intact, I had an epidural, and I’d been laboring for 18 hours.
I also wound up with third degree tears.
This time? My cervix was Sharpay, I had no drugs, and I labored from 10:30 am to 1:39 pm.
Alice Michelle came into the world without so much as a squeal. Though my world was spinning out of control, her’s was completely calm, content and everything was as it should be.

The nurse offered to take my baby to let me rest, but I couldn’t let go of her. I wasn’t exactly bonding or feeling WASHED OVER with love, but I was feeling exactly like a helpless child.
who just went through hell to get what was rightfully mine. No takesies.
I finally had to give her up because no matter now much I love her, we are here to learn how to SHARE. And Alice had two grandmothers and a Daddy who were itching to love on her.

We did get one picture with the Sainted Nurse who I will go to my grave loving.

After I’d had something to eat, we were moved from our labor and delivery room to our recovery room. Once situated, my husband and his mother stepped out. My husband’s birthday was this weekend, and his mom wanted to take him out. After they left, it was just my mother, me, Alice and the after-effects of the drugs I’d been given. For the first time, I was able to really look at my daughter -really SEE her.

And that’s when it hit me. Even the pain meds I’d been given after she was born couldn’t stop the emotions from rolling through.
I was in absolute awe -deep in unconditional love.
And for the first time since I’ve met my husband, my soul reconnected with someone… someone I’ve known before, someone I didn’t know I waiting for.
A part of me jumped for joy as I looked at my daughter. Part of me was celebrating a reunion.
I don’t understand it -I didn’t understand it when I felt the the first time as I sat next to her father on an old, dirty couch in college… but there it was.
I KNOW her. I don’t know how I know her, but I do.

We were overjoyed to learn that the hospital had lifted RSV restrictions a few years ago, and my sister-in-law made a long trek (with four little kids!) to the hospital to meet the baby (who at the time still had no name):

The kids were instantly in love -and SO excited to meet her:

Our new little family unit:

The next morning, my husband disappeared to “get some breakfast.” He came back with flowers:

And a bag of “It’s a Girl” chocolate kisses (please take note of the granola in the background. That granola was a life saver while I was in the hospital. I love it so much. It’s my mom’s recipe and can be found on my cooking blog) (my husband gave me a bag of kisses the day I moved away from him in college when we were dating):

A Baby’s First Christmas ornament:

A Christmas ornament for me that sent me into tears:

I was named after my great-grandmother Alice. As a little girl, I used to sit in her parlor and just LOVE her small ceramic shoe collection. I wanted one so badly. I used to pick them up, smell them, touch them, wonder what it would be like to WEAR them… I told myself that when I was big and had my own money, I would buy my own little shoes.
When my great-grandmother passed away, I was given one of her little shoes. For my 20th birthday, my husband bought me another shoe. As the years have gone on, I’ve collected one or two more. It’s a meager collection, but it’s mine. I made the promise to buy myself little frivolous shoes, and I HAVE.
My husband knows me so well, and every time I see evidence of it… it touches my heart. It means so much to me.
He didn’t even take time to get himself breakfast… and the minute he got back, he picked up our daughter and said, “It is TIME to get this baby named.” He stared at her for a minute and then went to work:

The nurses came in and offered their opinions:

My husband loved the name Annalise, but I just didn’t FEEL it.
“If we could call her Anny,” I said, “But Annalise is just too much. I’m fine if we use it, but I’m going to call her Anny.”
“She’s not an Anny,” my husband said, his eyebrows furrowed.
He studied her:

While my husband was gone “getting breakfast” something came to me.
My daughter was born on 12/12. My brother, Michael, was born on 12/13. Mike was the third born in our family, this baby is OUR third born.
And so I texted my husband, “Alice Michelle Deets?”
And so the middle name was chosen. It just FELT right. My husband had second thoughts about Alice clear up until we got home on the evening of the 13th, but in the end, he decided it was her name.
And he will call her Alli. And I will call her Alice.

When the nursing staff learned her name, they sent up a small cheer -they’d been rooting for Alice all along. She just… IS an Alice.

It made the little shoe ornament all the more meaningful.
Here’s our little Alice Michelle all packed up and ready to go home for the first time:

She was born at 1:39 pm on 12/12/12… she was 19.5 inches long… and she weighed 6 pounds and 15 ounces (despite the mistake I made on the chalkboard).

And last night, she kept Daddy and I on our toes. But we didn’t mind. How could you mind when the one keeping you on your toes looks like this:

Alice is -without a doubt -the healthiest baby I’ve ever had! She eats well, sleep relatively well, and boy can this girl fill her pants! We love her to pieces, and you know you have it really good when you and your husband passive-aggressively argue about who gets to stay up with the baby.

A Few of My Favorite

Just You an’ Me

Something I’ve loved most about the past few months is the time I’ve had with just my boy. When my daughter goes to school, I have a few hours each day alone with my little man.
I love it so much.
I could have sent him to preschool, but I didn’t. I wanted to keep him close. He’s mine.
My precious.
I decided when my daughter started school that I would take FULL advantage of the one-on-one time with my son. Mid-morning yesterday, I realized that it would be my LAST day with just… you an’ me, Mom.
Everyday after my daughter got on the bus, my son would turn to me with his BIG eyes and excitedly say, “It’s just you an’ me, Mom!” He would grab my hand, and we’d go back inside.
Usually I’d put on a movie for him while I took a bath or got a few things done… one day I actually managed to take a bath before the kids got up, so I didn’t need one later on. It upset my son.
“You’re supposed to take a bath, Mom,” he said, “And I’m supposed to watch Netflix.”
I felt really bad when he said that -I should have been spending more time outside with him. I should have been letting his toes squish in mud and we should have been catching spiders.
But pregnancy kind of REALLY throws a wrench in my adventuring spirit.
Yesterday, when I realized I’d squandered my Just You an’ Me time… I was filled with regret. Tears started forming in my eyes, and I told the kids I needed a bath.
I made it to the bathroom just in time -I cried. I cried HARD. The running water was loud enough to mask my sobs, and I let it run run run.
My time! My precious time alone with JUST my son -my son that I have such a special connection with! -it was just… GONE! What had I done?
I was heartsick.

I pulled myself together as best I could, fully realizing that the amount of tears I was crying was beyond irrational. I got my daughter on the bus and like clockwork heard the words “Just you an’ me, huh Mom?”
“Yeah, what should we do? We can do anything you want to!”
“Get a TREAT!” He said.
So I drove him to the hottest (and only) treat spot in town. I let him pick out whatever the heck he wanted.

Every night at dinnertime, I go around the table and ask, “What was your favorite part of today?”
Along the way, my daughter has tacked a few questions onto the list… namely: What was your yuckiest part of today? and What was your funniest part of today?
My son’s answer to the first (What was your favorite part of today?) was always the same -every night.
“Spending time wiff you, Mom.”

As I walked my son through the busy truck stop yesterday, I felt so guilty. Had he REALLY spent time with me? I mean, REALLY?
We paid for our treats and took them to the car.
“Where should we go now?” I asked.
“Home,” he said in a tone that made me feel like I’d been born yesterday.
“Home?” I asked, surprised.
“Yeah! I always want to go home and finish watching my movie!”

It turns out I have spent the past few months with my son doing EXACTLY what he’s wanted to do. Stay home with Mom. Watch some movies.
It turns out my son doesn’t care WHAT we do together, so long as we just ARE together. He was my main errand-runner, my mail-getter, my back scratcher, my nap buddy!
And yesterday he was my junk food buddy.

We sat next to each other and downed our chocolate milk.
Question: can you sip your chocolate milk? I can’t. I try but I always end up throwing it back… I LOVE chocolate milk. Sipping is impossible.
My homemade hot chocolate is about the only thing that can get me to sleep at night these days. Last night (or should I say TO-night?) I got three full hours on one pint of hot cocoa. That’s not bad. For me. Lately.

Didn’t I tell you we had a special bond?

See the oreos in his teeth? Priceless.
They’ll soon turn to cavities. Pricey.
My son fell asleep early tonight which left me some alone time with my girl. Earlier that day, my sister in law had come over and helped me clean my house! I’m so happy!
By the time night rolled around, however, all the cleaning started to take it’s toll. It was one contraction right after the other. My stomach was tight, there were pinched nerves in my legs… I couldn’t walk.
My daughter curled up next to me on the couch. She’s such a sensitive little thing and she was near tears for most of our time together, though she was trying not to be. She wants to go to the hospital SO badly and I wish she could, but RSV season is in full swing. Our county is in second place right now for Most Cases of RSV in the Great State of Arizona.
I’m stoked (*sarcasm sign*).
I tried joking with my daughter about baby sister coming out… I did anything just to make her laugh.
It sort of worked… I wish I knew how to embed audio into my blog because I used my cell phone to voice record her prayer last night. It was the SWEETEST prayer I’ve ever heard.
“We pray that our Mom will do well and good. We love her so much…”

And that, sirs, is the last picture we’ll ever get of my little Lacy hugging on her unborn sister.
Because Mom’s about to be on her way to get that little sister born.

And then it’s Little Sister’s turn to get some Just You an’ Me time.

Baby Bumpin’

I let my vanity get in the way of my son’s pregnancy. I didn’t take ANY pictures because I thought I looked fat and yucky and bleck. Wait. I took ONE. Here it is. Prepare to be unimpressed. Here’s me at 34 weeks with my boy inside:

After my son was born and I landed in the hospital with that awful infection (endometritis), I was told that the infection might have ruined my chances for every having children again.
I immediately thought of my lack of pictures. I had let my stupid vanity get in the way of something much more precious: memories. What if I never had the chance to be fat and tucky and bleck again? What if I never brought another screaming little miracle into the earth again? What if my stomach never bounced with alien hiccups? What if my ribs never got kicked from the inside?
What if morning sickness was a thing of the past -along with ultrasounds and diapers and baby’s first… everything?

It wasn’t fun news for me. Of course it wasn’t a sure thing. The Dr. didn’t look in my eyes and say, “Never, EVER!” He only looked in my eyes and said, “Possibly never ever” which felt a little better. ish.

When I got my positive pregnancy test(s), I decided that this pregnancy would be one for the picture books. I snapped pregnancy pictuers like nobody’s business. I took a video of my belly moving in unnatural ways. I hired someone to take pictures of my family around my belly.
I did my best to take weekly belly shots to track my progress! I even took pictures to announce our pregnancy.

And here’s a collage of some of my pictures. They aren’t all picture perfect. Most of them are taken in front of my dirty bathroom mirror.

The baby still has no name. I feel for her, I really do. We had our other kids named before they were born, but with this one… nothing FEELS right. We’re going to have to look into her eyes before we know. Unless she’s a boy. If she’s a boy, we have a name all picked out and ready to go.
I went to the Dr. today and was given some good news: I’m nearly dilated to a 4.
Things are progressing which feels like a small miracle (okay a BIG miracle) because I was beginning to feel like THIS IS MY LIFE NOW. All of the baby gear I had prepped and ready to go at any given moment is seriously covered in dust.
No cob webs yet, so that’s something…
I took the picture on the left on Friday night and the picture on the right Saturday afternoon. Is it just me, or does the black and grey striped shirt magically make me look smaller? I’m hanging onto it. Magic shirts should NEVER be put into storage.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m a mess of heart burn and morning sickness and fully-grown human sitting on my saddle.
No name or not, this girl’s about to get served with an eviction notice. I have a feeling we’re going to get along MUCH better when only share the same HOUSE and not the same BODY.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for blessing me with pregnancy again. It isn’t my favorite, but I DO love what comes of it… my kids are my greatest treasures, and I’m not just saying that because that’s what Moms are supposed to say.
I’m saying that because it’s true.
I don’t want for anything -I have what I’ve always dreamed of. And in a few days, I’ll have a little more.
Hey! It turns out housewives DO get raises! I can’t wait to cash in on mine… come on, Baby No Name!


I’m fairly certain that our entire little town has come down with some kind of awful plague.

My children and I have been inside all day, snuggled up in blankets and watching Disney movies on Netflix. Did you see the new movies added to the streaming plan? Pocahontas! Aristocats! Rescuers Down Under! The list goes on…
Two nights ago, my son woke up coughing. I immediately proceeded to flush his system with water and not let him do anything but lie down. Last night, my daughter’s voice turned croaky. She joined her brother on a water flush and lie-in.
Today we didn’t take any chances by leaving the house.
I might have left had I not been contracting all the live long day.

The contractions have stopped, by the way. The baby thinks she’s SO funny.

Yesterday we ventured out exactly twice: once for a baptism (love my primary kiddos!) and once to pay Santa a visit.
As we pulled up to the fire station (where Santa comes once a year), my daughter was in awe, “I wonder where he parked his sleigh!” she gushed.
“This is my most favorite time of da YEAR!” My son said, wriggling in my arms.

The girl asked Santa to please bring her a blue dress.
“He said he thinks he can find one for me!” She said when we got home.
The boy asked Santa for “Avengers Stuff” and Santa replied, “Ooo… kay!”
(which is Santa code for “I have no idea what you just said, kid, but you’re really cute and I’m pretty sure your parents have it covered”.)
Speaking of Santa, my husband took my daughter on a date last week (? the week before? Time is all blurred together these days). She had earned a personal pan pizza from school through her reading, and her Dad took her to go get it. She was VERY particular about her appearance. She dressed up as FANCY as she possibly could. She even put on sticky earrings, folks -that’s a five year old’s way of pulling out the big guns.
She wore a thick strand of pearls I keep on hand (for her, but don’t let on… the minute she know they’re “hers” they won’t be fun anymore. It’s so much more fun to steal Mom’s fancy jewelry), and a few minutes later I caught her standing on her bathroom sink, smiling at herself in the mirror. I snuck a picture and her expression is priceless. After taking it, I said, “Lace go stand by Dad so I can take a picture of both of you.”
“Wait!” She called out, dashing down the hall, “I haven’t got any lipstick on!”
Ah, my GIRL.

Her Daddy is so handsome.

As their date came to a close, Daddy took her to a Redbox and they came home with “Arthur Christmas.” We ended up keeping it for 7 days, and we should have just BOUGHT it from them because it watched it so many times and plan on buying at anyway.

image via imdb.com

Have you seen it? If you haven’t, you should. You REALLY should.

We would have watched it again today if we still had it. We settled for Netflix, like I said. My husband has been taking care of so many things around the house. Today he made Sunday dinner: baked chicken, green beans, and corn. He took a well-deserved nap and I cleaned the meal up.
As Dad fell asleep, so did my son.
Take away the male presence and what do you get?

I left her alone while the brownies were cooling and I came back to find:

I’m pretty sure my daughter is one of the most adorable creations on earth.
This afternoon, she asked me “What does it feel like to have a baby?”
“It hurts,” I said, “It hurts REALLY bad -it hurts worse than anything I’ve ever felt before. But when it’s all over, it’s all worth it because the first time I did it I got YOU and the second time I did it, I got BROTHER…”
“And the last time you do it, you’ll get sister!” She finished for me.
“The last time?” I asked, “But don’t you want another little brother?”
**We interrupt this short story to bring you an quick explanation: I strongly feel like there’s another boy waiting for our family. And you have NO idea how much it hurts to know that and feel the truth of it at 39 weeks pregnant. But I digress…**
“No,” she shook her head.
“No? Why not?”
“Welllll, he can just stay up there,” she pointed toward Heaven (I’m hoping, since the roof would be a scary place to leave an unborn child), “Because that’s where he could just be.”
“You don’t want him here with us?” I asked.
“Wellllll, we could send a rocket…”
Suddenly it all made sense.
“You want to send a rocket to get him instead of having me grow him in my belly?”
“Yeah,” she smiled.
“You don’t want me to have a baby in my belly again?”
“Why not?”
“Because you’re always so MAD… Mom! Your belly jiggles when you laugh like that!”
Which only made me laugh harder.

My son is still going with his Big Fat Mama jokes… only he’s completely ignorant of the fact that he’s making jokes at all. I snuggled up with him this afternoon, and as I tried to get up to get a few things out of the kitchen he watched in wonder.
“That is one Big Fat Mama,” he chimed in.
My belly jiggled again.

If we do get the little boy I strongly feel like wants to come to our home (he must be nuts, NUTS! He’ll fit right in), I surely hope he’s a lot like Trenton.
Trenton is awesome.
Lacy is awesome.
Baby No-Name has awesomeness potential, I’m sure… but she sure is stifling right now.
Mama’s body is nearly 100% comatose at this point. If you wait any longer, I swear I’ll die.

Nothing Scheduled

***This post will be frequented with pictures my children posed for that have nothing to do with anything. Thank you.***
Do you know how nice it is to have absolutely nothing on your schedule? Okay, I do have a FEW things -but nothing pressing… no to-do lists, nothing that absolutely HAS to be done. It’s a blessed time, and I’m soaking it up. The past two days I have felt great. My energy level is non-existent, but I’ve felt all right. Today?
Not so much.
I’m supposed to be grocery shopping right now, but leaving the house seems like a fate worse than death.

We don’t NEED to eat, right?

My kids are my greatest source of stress and joy right now -they can make me so cranky one second and make me laugh until I cry the next. Right now, they’re bursting with honesty.

Sunday night, I got TWO whole hours of sleep (not consecutively, but that doesn’t really matter). I was up all night with contractions. From 2-4 am they were consistent… every four minutes when I was resting and every two when I was up walking around. I started throwing last-minute items in my hospital bag and getting ready to go and the contractions just…
I had my weekly Dr. appointment early the next morning, and I was sick sick sick. With this pregnancy, if I don’t get enough sleep, I get really nauseated. My husband and I usually take the kids with us to my appointment, but I just couldn’t do it on Monday. I couldn’t.
I called my parents early that morning and asked them if they could take them for a few hours.
They could and did -thank goodness!

I took a bath and sort of got dressed. I put on sweats. I blow dried my hair. I put on sunglasses. I slipped on my dirty tennis shoes, and then I hunkered down in the passenger’s seat of our car.
I sort of wanted to die.

“Mom?” My daughter spoke from that back seat.
“Did you forget to curl your hair?”
“Why? Does it look terrible?”
“Yeah, it does.”

And through the all the tiredness and the tummy aches and the yuckies, I laughed.
The next day, I felt better. I sat at my computer for four hours and hammered out Primary stuff that had been needing to get done. My son was bored. He wanted to watch TV, but he had watched too much the day before (on account of how bad I felt). He hung on me, looked over my shoulder, played with my hair…
“Mom?” He asked.
“Do all moms have all of dat hair on their nibbles like dat?”
I looked down.
I’m growing out of all of my clothes, the shirt I had on was revealing some of my, ahem, chest. Not all of it, not even CLOSE to all of it, but enough that he could see hair!
“No,” I laughed, “No most moms don’t have hair.”
It’s just that I’m a beast, darling. Haven’t you seen my beard when I’ve let it go a few days without plucking?

Also: I didn’t think my chest hair was all THAT noticeable -apparently it is. All growing up, my Dad had a saying about chest hair. It went something like, “Eat it. It’ll make hair grow on your chest.”
He applied it most everything: bacon, grits, lunch…

I always giggled thinking how silly my Dad was.
I should have never touched those grits.

My Dad is really great. He’s really, really great. My mom is too. I’m such a lucky kid to have two parents that are together, that love each other, and that are SUCH GOOD PEOPLE.
My sister is in the Philippines right now -serving a mission. A huge, deadly storm just ripped through the islands and her mission president’s wife called my mom, just to let her know that my sister is safe and sound. She then went on to thank my mom for turning out the kind of girl she did -my sister is amazing. My mom refused to take credit, saying simply “She came to us that way.”
To which I call: ballderdash.
I mean, my sister is MOSTLY good, but my parents are ALL good at being parents.
My mom has always been there for us -not in the sense that she’s been ever-present at every event, or ever-ready to catch our every tear, or ever-standing over a hot stove… but she’s been HOME. Mom was always at home. We left her in the morning, came back to her in the afternoon. She was there! If she wasn’t, she always let us know where she was. She always made sure we had the things we needed, even if we didn’t want them (a bra) to save us from embarrassing ourselves. She let us know when -without realizing it -we were being rude. She bought us new pants when we grew out of the ones we had. She could always be found on her knees at the end of the night, and she never shrugged away from gathering us around her bed at nighttime to READ to us.
She’s a GREAT mom. She’s GREAT at her job. We learned consistency from her -the value of being there for others -the value of security and motherhood and home. Oh, HOME. What a home she made for us! I find every possible way to bring her home into mine: through making my own gingerbread house simply so I can stand next to it and INHALE it because the second I do, I’m HOME with Mom (and I’m also 6 years old which is kind of fun).
Mothers like that turn out wonderful red-headed daughters.

My Dad is also amazing in so SO many ways.
He’s always been THERE for us -much in the same way Mom is. It’s very safe to say that when I was growing up, My Dad wasn’t my friend in the sense that I didn’t run to him wondering what shirt I should wear or tell him what boys I thought were cute. My Dad was a DAD, and he was the best at it. If I needed him, I could find him. He’s been his own boss the entire time I’ve known him, and I can get a hold of him any time (day or night) (and I do, sorry, Dad) (and Mom). When I was little, I was always at his side. He was like a human playground. I could comb his hair, draw on his arms, ride on his ankles, sit on his lap and travel to every land Dr. Seuss ever dreamed up… if my Dad ever believed in anything, it was childhood. Our Christmases were always magic -just ask anyone. Dad has a way of conjuring up Christmas miracles. When Christmas comes, my Dad is 10 again.

The older we got, the less we read Dr. Seuss and the more we learned about life: work, integrity, satisfaction in a job well done, following through, consistency… we had all of these things in my Dad. Once you’ve lived with them, living without them just isn’t really an option. You might say that Dad spoiled us. I would.
And Dads like that raise amazing red-headed daughters that can travel halfway around the world and endear a small nation to her -much like she’s endeared herself to everyone’s lives she’s ever touched here at home.

And yesterday, that great Dad sent me a piano tuner. I’ve never had one before. I’m DREAMED of them, but I’ve never actually sent for one.
They cost money, or something.
Yesterday, one showed up on my doorstep -on errand from my Dad (who, incidentally, is the one who provided me with my piano in the first place).
What a great dad. I just love him so much!
While the tuner was a-tuning, my daughter came home from school. She needed someone to play soccer with her.
“I can’t,” I said. “I’m just too fat…”
“Okay,” she looked down.
“Will you be excited when I’m back to being regular mom and can do all my regular stuff again?”
“Yeah,” she said, brightening up a little, “You can spin us around and run and jump… and…” she suddenly burst into tears.
“What’s wrong?” I took her in my arms, “Why are you crying?”

I must really be bad, folks.
I assured her that soon enough I’d be able to chase her around, swing her around, and jump and play again. I told her the first snow we got, I would make snow angels with her and snow balls and snow men… at which point she burst into tears again because.
Are OUT.
Of Carrots.

(A boney-o is a not-so-insulting insult my son made up. We can’t seem to drop it from our vocabulary. It’s catching.)

Last night, as the family was each finding their ways to dreamland, my daughter climbed up next to me on the couch. She lightly touched my face, her fingers tickling the side of my nose.
“What are all these big holes on your nose?”
Giant, gaping PORES, dearest. Jealous?

Oh my honest kids. Oh my HONEST kids.

It’s a wonder I have any self-esteem left at all.
But I do.
And why is that?
I have wonderful parents.

Nearing the End

I’m in the “any day now” end of pregnancy phase.

It’s kicking my butt.

I’ve heard from several people over the course of the child-growing-inside-of-me years that before you go into labor, you’ll get a burst of energy.
By that logic, I don’t think I’m ever having a baby. ever. I’m going to be pregnant forever.

It really does feel that way.

I’ve done so well preparing for this kid -better than I’ve ever done. But everything is coming UN-done and I wonder why in the world I bothered. It started with the fridge. I cleaned it. I was so proud of myself. It wasn’t exactly easy or pleasant (hello, heightened sense of smell). But I DID it. I closed the fridge door, brushed my hands off on my pants and proclaimed, “Okay, Baby. NOW you can come.”
Weeks later, my fridge is a mess again and there’s no way I’m going to clean it. I can hardly move here, people.

I also got rid of my facial hair. This might seem really stupid to you, but you haven’t seen my facial hair (or maybe you have and you totally understand why getting rid of it before I meet someone as important as my own CHILD would be a big deal). Pregnancy has made it grow faster. longer. thicker. It’s really cute.
I made sure it was GONE a few weeks ago. Yesterday I made sure it was gone again. And this morning, I plucked no less than 7 thick, long black hairs that have already started growing back on my chinny-chin-chin.
And also a little amazing that I can grow hair so fast.

But my hospital bag. BEATS. ALL.
I actually packed one which is more than I did for my 36 week-er son. I’ve been lovingly putting articles in it for the past month: a soft pink crocheted Santa hat for the Baby, my favorite old Christmas movies, a robe, an extra outfit…
And I don’t know why, but I got it into my head that I had to have some of Mom’s granola or I’d die, or something. I finally bought all the stuff and made a double batch. I pulled about 3 cups of granola out, put it in a ziploc bag and put it in my hospital bag.
Yesterday, I noticed that a MOUSE had gotten in my sweet full-of-stuff-for-my-pure-baby bag! It ate through the plastic and ATE MY GRANOLA!
I threw the entire bag away and washed everything inside of it… and then I went and started the process of picking out two brand new kittens.
Santa’s bringing them to me. I’m going to name one Mouser and the other Killer.
I’m sure my kids will talk me out of those names by December 25th, but UNTIL THEN.

I’ve been a sort of sobby Nazi about my house for the past month… I want the floors cleaned, the dishes done. In short, it would be really sweet of my family to just stop actually living IN the house. I realize it’s ridiculous to want this. I realize it. But if they just knew how hard it is to keep up with them… and how un-awesome it feels when everything I do gets un-done in less than half the time it takes to get it done… *sigh*

Especially today.

I’m surrounded by the dirtiest house, the dirtiest fridge, the most hairy chin, the most empty hospital bag (everything is in the dryer)… and I’m just waiting for the polish my husband so patiently put on my toes (because I beggggggggggged) to chip off.

At this point, the physical pains are mounting… building off of each other like a well-honed NBA team.
Do you have any idea how much it hurts to roll over in my bed?
And do you have any idea how much of a whiner you feel like when you look up at your husband lying next to you in bed and say through tears, “It hurts to roll over”?
I mean, women through the ages have given birth in covered wagons! fields! prisons! and here I am in my plush king-sized beg, bawling about how much it hurts me to *hand placed lightly to breast* move.

I don’t want to complain.
I want to only be grateful and glowing and receptive to the growing life within me.

I need live-in help of the female variety who understands things like the importance of polished toes and clean floors. It isn’t that my husband isn’t great.
He is.
He’s just… a HE.

And thank goodness for him… because if I didn’t live with him, I wouldn’t have any clothes to wear. I’m growing out of my maternity clothes. What should I wear to church tomorrow?
I have a tarp outside…

38 weeks and 3 days today, impatiently waiting for that promised burst of energy with which I will kill all the mice in all the world and then make more granola.