Monday, December 26, 2011


Being a parent is by far the hardest thing I've ever done. Today reminds me of the days I used to babysit as a teenager. The harder jobs, where 30 minutes into the parents being gone, I couldn't wait for them to come home. Parenting sometime can be like that, except there's no relief.

Parenting also makes you look like an emotional wreck. There's hard times (like stated above) and then there's times where you couldn't be prouder to say "She/He's Mine". There's the times where only you can comfort them, and your heart just melts. Other times they can't stand you. Hence, why the emotions I feel as a parent can not be the primary determining factor in setting my mood for the day. Because sometimes I feel frustrated, then elated, then proud, then defeated, and everything in between. If I let YumYum or Smiles' actions set the tone for my day, I would act like a two year old- constantly changing my mood, and then a 2-year old would be parenting an almost 2-year old. Disaster.

So that's why God made us the parents, and them the children. Our job is the hardest one in the world, but I truly believe God does not give us more than we can handle. Who the heck told God I could handle two kids. :) Today is one of those days that I have to trust God. I'm so grateful that he's given me resources to encourage, help, uplift.... I just need to remember to ask for help sometimes. And I need to stinking remember not to try to do everything! Scooby Doo and I have CONSTANTLY  been cleaning the house lately. Laundry, dishes, picking up toys, changing sheets, vacuum, *repeat*. I need to differentiate in my brain the difference between having an organized house, a clean house, a tidy house.... verses a PERFECT house. When I say the house is a wreck, what really needs to be done? A few loads of laundry and the dishes? Is that really a wreck? Perspective......

Perspective is something I could have used this last week as I remembered that Christmas was happening in less than 7 days. Scooby Doo and I had previously set a Christmas budget based off what we had saved every month as part of our Dave Ramsey budget, and then we said we would get both of the kids one gift each. We knew it would be hard, but ... well... it was hard. Counting everything- even the 50 cent bracelets I got YumYum, we bought YumYum 10 gifts, and Smiles 2. Today Scooby Doo and I both said we should have just gotten them one. It's hard because we justify, we got YumYum ABC wood blocks, play food to use in her kitchen... all these things help with her learning and development. But I so do not want to be a family who has a bunch of stuff! I want to go through and donate a bunch of stuff she is done using, but I know Smiles will use them soon. Perspective- she and he would have survived without the gifts. But what's done is done. I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I love my kids, and unfortunately my love language is gift giving. At least we stuck to our budget.

All for now,

One tired, amazing, learning,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Belly Blog

I remember when my Mom first told me about Scooby Doo. She raved about a "really cute" substitute teacher working at the same school she did, and all the teachers just loved him. She said he was tall, fit, handsome as can be- and a Christian. Coming from my Mom, I imagined a Christian geek. A man completely void of any physically attractive trait, with the exception of the “hotness” that comes from a man carrying a Bible. Never once did the insane thought that he would be my husband in three years cross my mind.

A single, straight, family-loving, God-praising, educated, practicing Christian, that was hot? Those don't exist.

After a few months had passed, and he was still coming up in conversation, I figured I wouldn't mind checking him out. I had gone to the school for almost a week straight to pick up my little sister from school, the same school that Scooby Doo and my mom worked at, and always looked good in hopes of running into him. Every day I wore a different friend's well-fitting shirt, bottom-hugging jeans, and perfectly hair-sprayed hair. Of course, I never saw him, even after talking to every person on campus I knew; holding on to the small hope I had of seeing this dream man.

A few weeks passed, and I had moved on past my boy-crazy attitude (temporarily).... when my Mom asked me to pick up Shiner because she had a meeting, and let me know that Scooby Doo would be teaching in the after school program a few doors down, my heart didn't skip a beat. I could be a bodacious babe in a bikini and I probably still would never meet this guy, or get his attnetion. I had to come straight from work, but I said that I could pick her up.

The first time I met Scooby Doo he didn't know who he was. My Mom introduced me as “007- version 2”-- he knew her daughter to be “007”. It was in passing, and I assume he figured my Mom was being her usual hospitable and kind self, introducing him to others, helping him become acquainted within the district and at that school. Coming straight from a shift at the local Italian restaurant, where I worked as a server, I reeked of spaghetti sauce and red wine, and a little bit of Windex. I pulled my hair tight back in a bun like a woman who never dreamed of getting laid, and had no problem wearing my stained, smelly, restaurant clothes to pick up my little sister from elementary school. If I remember correctly, I think at the time I was even using bobby bins and the little kid clips to keep my bangs out of my eyes. *hott*

Here's how it went down....

I walked up to my Mom's classroom, where I was picking up Shiner, and she said, “Oh! That's him!”. OH LORD.

Scooby Doo this is 007-version 2, she's a student at XYZ University, studying Bible there.”
Oh great- It's nice to meet you.” He turned his gorgeous perfect head towards me and I saw his beautiful eyes and mesmerizing smile- this man reeked of glorious perfection. There is NO WAY this could be the same guy my Mom and sister had been telling me about. He was way too good looking to have a half tolerable personality. And ... oh my GOD- what did I look like?!

Our exchange was brief, but he had caught my attention. A few days later when I was a bit more presentable and wearing yet again a friend's borrowed fitted knit top and some bottom-hugging jeans, I found myself picking up Shiner from school again in hopes of seeing him. I didn't hear his voice until I was leaving the school; walking on the blacktop looking back over my shoulder thinking to myself, “Oh my God, he is so HOT! His voice is HoT. And he is so nice... OH MY GOSHHHHHH”. I glanced over my shoulder to see if I could catch another glimpse at him and he was there with a line of kids behind him, following him as he walked in and out in an S-shape, just to keep the kids' attention. “Oh my God- and he's great with kids! You have
got to be kidding me?!”. He looked up just in time for me to make eye contact.
When we talk about when we first met, Scooby Doo said he thought I was cute, but had no clue who I was, so he didn't think twice. My Mom had talked about her eldest who was moving back in the area for school, … a single, 21 year old ….. (she still doesn't recall saying that her daughter was 21 instead of 19)...... going to Bible school..... a perfect match for a great, single, Christian guy.....

Almost five years later, I find myself thinking that my husband Scooby Doo has to be coloring the truth somehow. How could he find me attractive? How could he call me his “skinny mini” when I clearly wasn't skinny, or mini? Maybe it's because he sees my heart, the girl behind the clothes (get your mind out of the gutter).... he loves me, and my body. Why is the later part so hard for me to accept?

Through God's workmanship, this body has nourished, grown, and protected two precious babies for nine months. It has completed a mini-triathalon with virtually no training, earned a black belt, and done a few 5K's. I've had knee surgery, and spent the majority of my teenage years on crutches and in overalls. This body has accomplished the first nineteen months of parenting; slaving and sacrificing itself for the survival of two human beings. It has born sweat, cried tears, and rarely been thanked or complimented. This body brings comfort to my husband; my physical presence makes him comfortable. My physical touch calms my fussy babies. My hands have held the hands of friends struggiling as we prayed, and held the hands of children meeting the Lord for the first time. It has taken several hard hits as I trained, and earned, my Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. My brain has studied hard, and earned a Bachelor's degree in three and a half years, despite going and transferring, to three different colleges and universities. Through the power of God, doors were opened for this brain to lead a multi-million dollar marketing campaign with zero marketing experience, and be successful. What makes me be so critical of my body so much? It rocks!

Our bodies do amazing things. They have the capability of doing amazing things, and serving an amazing God. Where in the Bible does it say that Mary carried Jesus perfectly in her womb, and delivered Jesus leaving no trace of stretch marks or scaring. Where does it say that Ruth had long, perfectly curled hair, and flat abs with no stretch marks? 

This belly belongs to a beautiful woman. She gave birth to two beautiful children. She is a fearless prayer warrior, loyal companion, and faithful wife. She has my utmost respect, and is a brilliant woman.

Shooting stars, turned falling stars.

This belly belongs to a beautiful woman with two beautiful babies. She is faithful to her family, devout, fun and life loving, and true to herself. She says her once shooting stars are now falling, but I think they're shinning and glorious more than ever.

Christian Rock DJ

This belly belongs to a Christian rock DJ Mama. I've never met her, but my email request for photos was sent to her through a network of mom's who've had cesareans. This is what she said:

I love that my body was strong & able to bear 2 kids. Thank God for that! But this belly's been garnering me some unwelcome comments lately. :) The trainer at my Power Punch class told me to watch my heart rate & not overdo it, pointing at his belly. Was he trying to tell me something?! And 3, yes THREE ladies at Zumba, not kidding, asked me how far along I was or congratulated me for working out while pregnant. I told one of them no, I'm actually just fat. Lol She didn't think it was funny. ;) Needless to say, I've been feeling bad about my flabby tummy that makes me look pregnant when I'm not. Then yesterday I was invited to speak at a women's luncheon...on "Inner Beauty!" Ha! I had to look at what the Bible says about beauty. It says man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart, and he thinks the unfading beauty of a quiet & gentle spirit is of great worth. Thx for the reminder, Lord! :)".... To my Sister (in Christ), your heart, and your body, is beautiful.

This belly belongs to an absolutely beautiful friend of mine. She is one of the most compassionate, loving, moms, and friend, I've ever met. She has an enormous gift of creativity that she has used to bless others, and she continues to better herself every day for her husband, baby, and herself. She's amazing.

This belly belongs to a woman who has a beautiful baby boy. She works hard, balencing parenting, work, family, and marriage, and she does a great job. She doesn't put herself first, and doesn't get all the encouragement or praise she deserves, but man- she does a great job. She loves her family, loves the Lord, and is learning to love herself- just how she is- remarkably beautiful, created as a child of God.

20 weeks along.

This belly belongs to a woman whose husband serves our country. So in my mind, she serves our country too. She has spent most of their marriage running the home alone, and raising their two dogs. She is kind, giving, focused, and loyal. She's half way through her pregnancy now, and although I'm sure the road ahead isn't paved of diamonds and rubies, I know she leaves behind a glow and a sparkle wherever she goes.

A c-section, 4 vbacs, and four miscarriages later.

This belly has housed many precious blessings from the Lord. She has five children. Her youngest is 15 months old, and she has four other children. She has had one cesarean, four home vbacs (vaginal births after cesarean), and four miscarriages (all that home). She works out 5 days a week and hasn't lost a pound since May. She loved being pregnant despite them all being challenging, because for once in her life, she could relax, not suck in her belly, and enjoy her body. She is an incredibly bold, sacrificing, honest woman with so much heart, who is giving so much.

This belly gave birth to two babies, one via Cesarian and one via vbac. It has been the brunt of many criticisms' from its beholder. Several commented on her lack of weight gain with her pregnancies (10 pounds for each pregnancy); they didn't bother to ask her if it was because she threw up every meal that she looked at. They called her lucky because she didn't have to worry about losing the weight. All she wanted was to gain weight, make healthy babies, and have a cute big round baby belly. She wanted to look and feel pregnant. They made her feel that her lack of weight gain was a sign of selfishness; she was choosing to protect her physical appearance over her baby. It wasn't just the fat girl that was being pulled out of the crowd. It was me.

This belly accompanied me through the throws of postpartum depression with my first, and unexpectedly (to me and my husband at least), soon after was asked to house, nourish, and grow yet another baby- growing it as well, if not better, than the first. It helped give the strength to the muscles to deliver a baby at home, unassisted, without a midwife or doctor present. (Well- God did that; but He did it through my belly.) This belly has many flaws, but it has also been a part of many beautiful things. This belly above- is mine.

You see- we all have our issues and insecurities. But our bellies are beautiful, because they are ours.our bellies are truly BEAUTIFUL. What they've been through, what we've put them through, what they've accomplished, and how they comfort. They're physically beautiful, these women; OUTWARD, and inward just the same.

Psalm 139:13-14
13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.

****Check out this great website for more:

****Sincere thanks to the contributors of the emails and pictures!!!
If you'd like to add your belly and story to the "hall of fame", just email me and I'll add you!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

She held the breast pump up to her chest.

Our daughter continues to amaze us. She is growing and learning so fast, we can barley keep up! Hence, I write to preserve the memories that I know my sleep-deprived memory may subconsciously release.

Here are 10 Examples of how YumYum is keeping us amazed, laughing, and proud, on a daily basis.

Example #1)
For the past few days, YumYum has had a cold. Now, MacGyver, myself, and Smiles are showing signs of getting sick. We have sore throats, and sneezing, coughing, the true Winter Cold has hit the Miller household. As Scooby Doo was holding Smiles this morning, he commented on how warm he was. I agreed, saying I think he may have a low fever. Smiles started to fuss and squirm a bit. At this, YumYum disappeared into the back of the house. About two minutes later, she came back with a thermometer. Does she know something we don't? Wow... we never used the word "thermometer" or "temperature". The thermometer was put away in a drawer in her closet where we keep the kids' "sick" stuff, Vicks vapor rub, the thermometer, teething gel, etc. Our daughter is brilliant.

Example #2)
MacGyver has a magnetic baby gate on his door, which when he is in his room, he keeps unlocked to let YumYum come in and out. As I was walking past her in the hallway, YumYum was at MacGyver's door saying "beep, beep, beep, beep" and poking her finger at the lock, as if she was pushing numbers into a keypad. Then she she opened the gate and walked in. I asked MacGyver if he had taught her that. "Nope" he said. I hadn't either.

Example #3)
YumYum enters the living room with A&D and a diaper (granted, it was Smiles') in hand. She then proceeds to lie on her back in the kitchen. WHAT?!?!

Example #4)
YumYumrepeatedly tries to give Walter her pancakes this morning. I explain that Walter does not eat food off the floor and explain that he has his own food and water dish that is only his. About 15 minutes later, I see her taking a piece of pancake from her zip lock "snack" bag, walking over to Walter's empty food bowl, and placing it in it. She walks away, he eats it. She repeats the process. Seriously? Talk about cheating the system! :)

Example #5)
YumYum sits in her highchair, asking for water. We give her a kids' cup and she still says "water" and points to the counter, where there was another kids' cup with milk from earlier that morning. MacGyver says, "No YumYum. You have to drink the water you have because this is milk. It's yucky from this morning, okay?". She nods her head in agreement, and drinks the water that she has on her highchair already. What?!! No tantrum?

Example #6)
YumYum now gives her "dolly" a pacifier, and sweetly wipes her mouth with a burp cloth fairly often. She snuggles the dolly several times throughout the day, putting the dolly up to her shoulder and patting her back several times. And she never fails to cover the dolly with a blanket. If she finds a bottle, she will try and give the bottle to the baby.

Example #7)
YumYum was playing in MacGyver's room, when MacGyver says, "Ok YumYum. We have to leave my room now, I have to go poo-poo". (Disclaimer: I did check to see if it was okay that I wrote this with MacGyver... it was. :)) YumYum nods her head and proudly walks out of her room and into the bathroom across the hall and puts her hand on the toilet. SWEET! Does this mean you're ready to potty train soon?

Example #8)
She found an empty bottle. She unscrewed the cap, and stood underneath the left side of the refrigerator door, standing up on her tippie toes, and holding the bottle up as high as she could to the water dispenser in the door of the refrigerator. She still couldn't reach it, but apparently that was OK, because a few seconds later she put her heels back on the ground, and proceeded to drink the empty water bottle.

Example #9)
As I was in our bedroom pumping, YumYum took my single-manual breast pump, looked at me, pulled up her shirt, and put the suction cup to her chest. She then proceeded to make the sound "shsh shsh shsh", emulating the only sound...yep.... OH LORDIE.

Example #10)
I've never curled my hair in YumYum's lifetime. Yet yesterday, she took the curling iron out of my bathroom drawer, and put it to her head, holding it there perfectly. Then she put it down and looked up at me, smiling.

Two days before her 1 1/2 year birthday, our daughter continues to show us how smart she is, and how much she understands.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Right before our very eyes.....

"Do Everything" by Steven Curtis Chapman

"You're picking up toys on the living room floor
for the 15th time today
Matching up socks and sweeping up lost
Cheerios that got away
You put a baby on your hip and color on your lips
and head out the door
And while I may not know you I bet I know you
Wonder sometimes does it matter at all
Well let me remind you it all matters just as long as you

Do everything you do to the glory of the One who made you

Cause He made you to do
Every little thing that you do to bring a smile to His face
And tell the story of grace
With every move that you make
And every little thing you do" 

This morning for breakfast I had a few handfuls of M&Ms, a couple dessert mints, some week old cornbread, a cup of warmed up coffee with 2 tablespoons hot chocolate and a load of vanilla creamer, and I'm debating about having a slice of last nights homemade by the one and only Scooby Doo- garlic & pepporoni pizza. I am officially a Mom of two.

Smiles is a month and a half old, and YumYum turned seventeen months old day before yesterday. Time is flying by faster than I can blog, so here are some tid bitds so I never forget how great of a time this was....

- My bond with you is indescribable. You are such a gift. I love the talks that we share while we snuggle during the day since we were both up all night. You make me so proud.
- You are eating and growing like a champ. You've definitely put on weight, and have grown into your newborn clothes... we had to start with premie. *See below*

Your Birthday

This morning

- You definitely have two cheek dimples when you smile. They're not symmetrical, and they make me smile every time. Grandmie (Scooby Doo's mom) said she spotted a dimple on your chin this weekend. I don't doubt it!
- You only cry when you're not being held, or when you have a dirty diaper, have to burp- but when I hold you all day, you are definitely the world's "easiest baby".
- Your nights and days are still switched up. I return to work in two weeks, so hopefully that changes soon.
- You are very strong. The day you were born you could hold your neck up for up to probably 10 seconds. Now you just keep it up whenever we're lying down with you or holding you. You love to see what's going on. Everyone who holds you comments on how incredibly strong you are.
- Your hair is like mine was as a baby, brown. Friends say you look like me.
- You "toot" and burp like a grown man.
- We have been blessed with hand-me-downs!!!! Oh my word. We are so grateful!
- You love your sister.

- You can track us with your eyes now and sometimes even choose to do it. :) You follow us and I love that we can watch you as you develop.
- You make the cutest noise sometimes after you sneeze. It is by far my favorite gesture on your part, and sounds like a "Ooohhhh". It's soooooo cute.

- Since your arrival, I started drinking coffee for the first time in my life- every morning.


This is a conversation that happened about a week ago, that cracks me up. It sums up my experience with parenting a learning child so far....

Me: YumYum, you need to chew your food.

YumYum: "choo choo" (uses sign language for train)

Me: OK, slow down. You don't want to eat too much baby girl.

YumYum: TWO! (Holds up two fingers).

Awww I love my little girl!

-My love for you has grown so much as I daily watch you embracing your role as big sister. You have tried to feed Smiles your snack gummies, and you always try to give him your pacifier. When- he's crying you immediately say "uh-oh" countless times, and get as close to him as possible, giving him "kisses", which is when you lean as close as you can to him and put your cheek to his head or chest.

- You love to try and sing the "ABC"s, but you only really have the A and B down, but you're already starting to learn about the letter F in daycare this week!
- Your artwork is everywhere in our home, and I love it. You do lots and lots of projects at daycare, and you love explaining it when we get home. You just talk and talk and talk about it.... we're still trying to figure out what you're saying, but you're very proud.

- I wasn't a big fan of the artwork you drew on our bathroom door with a pen. But Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to the rescue!
- You still LOVE to dance, and even break out your moves when there is a jingle in a commercial. Dancing is one thing that ALWAYS puts you in a good mood. Your dancing normally involves turning yourself into countless circles until you fall down (*then repeat*), or your head bobbing back and forth.

- You're talking so much now. Please, thank you, up please, and no are a part of your regular vocabulary. This weekend, you debuted "mine". For the record- I am NOT a fan.

- You snuck candy for the first time this morning. You know that you weren't supposed to touch it, but while I was making coffee you climbed up on to the couch and reached over to the end table, and enjoyed several candy corn. You were guilty when your chewing took more than the normal ten minutes. :)

- MacGyver continues to be one of your favorite people to read books with. And you can clearly say "Shiner" now when Aunt Shiner visits for your Monday night dates together. :)

- You get the most joy from the simplest things. Like last night, you & I emptied out Poppee & Meemee's (my parents) large cooler that we had borrowed this weekend. It still had a lot of ice in it. We spent a solid fifteen or twenty minutes CRACKING UP as we dug our hands and our toes into the cold ice pile, well after you should have been in bed. You then tried to eat some of the smaller chunks, and I let you. You love getting dirty in your play, taking too big of bites, and testing the boundaries when someone says "no".

 -We have resurrected the saying "is that a wise decision" in order to stop sounding like a broken tape recorder. You still understand that it means "no", but you try it anyway.

- You grow more and more beautiful every day, inside and out.

I'm sure I'll add more later, but those are the things that come to mind. I love you dear ones....


Friday, September 16, 2011

Blanca Isabel Ramos Molina

July 21, 1988 - September 8, 2011

I met you when I was 16, and in my second year of high school. You didn't speak much English, and I didn't speak much Spanish, but both of us had taken French in school. So our conversations were a mix of three different languages. It was the perfect code so others couldn't listen in to all of our talk about boys, our dreams, life, and more. Over the next 4 years I went to Mexico, I was able to see you each time- even when I didn't go with my home church and I was in college. What a blessing. I loved laughing with you. Truthfully, you were the reason I went to Mexico. God started our friendship, and He did so much more. Lots has changed since then, but I will never ever forget you. When I think of Mexicali, I think of you and Jalapa, and I praise the Lord for kindling our friendship. I pray now for your baby girl and husband; I can't bear to know their grief. I rejoice that you are no longer in pain; rejoice that you fought till the end. I'm sorry the end came so soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Worn out today...

I'm worn out today. The most precious, beautiful, baby boy in the entire world wants to be held 24/7. Although most would be grateful, even rejoice, over this rare opportunity of holding a newborn all day long, I'm getting worn out. At 3:00 today, Smiles finally let me put him down. He stayed asleep while I took a quick shower and heated up some taquitos. I feel guilty that I don't want to hold my newborn 24/7. Even saying that feels terrible. But if I could be guaranteed potty breaks, food breaks (or at least time to throw something in the microwave), neck massages, and a shower- I'm sure I'd be OK with it.

Don't get me wrong- life with two is wonderful. Not rosy everything is perfect Happy Days wonderful, but blessed wonderful. His squirms and grunts, YumYum's sweet kisses and pats that she gives him, the way he calms down so quickly at the sight of a boob- :).... I wouldn't have it any other way. Tomorrow, Smiles will be two weeks old. I can't believe it's already been fourteen days. My mind is going a gazillion miles an hour- wanting to do the laundry, clean up the house, start thank you cards. My body, on the other hand, is telling me there's no way. I'll get spurts of energy here and there. Yesterday, we were at Kaiser. It was pretty painful standing up and waiting while the clerk registered him for his appointment. The pressure and the bleeding... I'm trying to drink lots and eat lots, and keep from getting dehydrated or anemic. Overall, I'm doing a really good job taking care of myself- all things considering. It's tough though. Making yourself a priority with an amazing one year old daughter who deserves my attnetion, a hard working and tired husband who deserves a break, and a newborn that just wants to snuggle and eat and have his diaper changed- "Me" isn't really an appropriate word to use in everyday vocabulary. But I know how important it is. Go ahead- start your hoots and hollers of how important it is to make yourself a priority. I know, I know. But reality is, making yourself a prioirty when you're a Mom comes with gulit (at least for me). I know, I know. Taking care of myself means I can be a BETTER mom and wife for them. But it's tough.


Well that's all for now. My two week update on parenting two. Amazing. Beautiful. Challenging.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Welcome to the world Smiles!

"I (We) can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." - Philippians 4:13

Even give birth, and deliver, a baby - unassisted.

Taken right after the paramedics arrived, less than 1/2 an hour after delivering.

Our first family photo; Taken right before we all fell asleep; 5AM
Fast Facts:
Due Date: September 14, 2011
Born: September 2, 2011 (38 wks 2 days) @ roughly 1:20AM
Delivered: At Home
Doctor/Midwife: Not present
Hero: Daddy Scooby Doo
Praising: God
Child: Smiles; 5lbs 14oz, 19" long

I woke up to contractions at 4:30AM on Thursday, September 1. They were joyfully painful (I was so ready to have this baby- even though I wasn't due for two more weeks...). I got into the shower about 5:00, realizing I couldn't go back to sleep. These felt very different from the braxton hicks contracts I had been having up till this point- and I was hoping this was going to be the real thing. I enjoyed the hot shower for a solid 40 minutes at least. I washed my hair and shaved my legs (remembering with YumYum how badly I wanted to have shaved legs, but how that meant 5 more minutes in the shower- that I knew she wouldn't allow). Contractions progressed, again, joyfully, lasting anywhere from 2-3 minutes, and from 3-5 minutes apart. The pain was there, but manageable, and I was praising God that most of the pain was on my front side. With YumYum, I had 100% back labor and never felt a single contraction in my stomach. We were already on the right track. I got out of the shower a little before 6AM and woke up Scooby Doo. He was going to have to go into work to do sub plans, and I prayed he would work quickly. In the meantime, YumYum woke up. While Scooby Doo was at the classroom, I was leaning over YumYum's crib (forward fold- not because I'm some yoga guru that though; it was the most comfortable position), and she was standing up in her crib. She was just talking to me, telling me all about her plans for the day ahead. At one point, she leaned forward, holding her sippie cup in one hand, and her teething ring in the other, and laid her head on my arms that were crossed over the side railing. Her little cheek so close to mind, almost like the knew I needed comforting. What a precious daughter we had been given from the Lord. Scooby Doo worked quickly, and about an hour later (7AM) he was back home and taking YumYum off to Daycare. It was hard to hide the pain from her now, and I really didn't want her to see me in pain. I was grateful that she had a great day ahead of her, full of arts and crafts, music time, story time, and outdoor time. She LOVES daycare.

I spent most of the morning in the shower leaning over on the side, letting the hot water pelt my lower back. Immediate heaven like comfort ensued. There was nothing that could have possibly felt more comforting than that hot water on my back. I was so grateful for our over-sized glass encased shower had a side lip. It was perfect for folding my elbows up on to and putting my head down, rocking my hips back and forth during contractions. Scooby Doo gave our midwife a a call around 8AM, letting her know I was having contractions. We didn't want her to make the one hour drive yet, but we wanted to keep her in the loop. She encouraged me to stay hydrated and asked us to keep her in the loop, saying she'd be in contact. A friend from work who had two previous home deliveries had recommended drinking liquid calcium magnesium for the pain. I had bought the strawberry flavor a few weeks earlier. I asked Scooby Doo to drink it first, after looking at it and seeing that it resembled the consistency and color of Elmer's Glue. Scooby Doo did, and said he doubted that I'd be able to stomach it (I was already nauseous). He mixed it up with some ice and made it a lot thinner, and I downed it. In order to keep things going, I laced up my tennis shoes and hoped on our treadmill. I walked one mile at an incline, hoping that would speed things up. Contractions were slowing down to one about every 6-8 minutes, and lasting only around 60 seconds. During this time Scooby Doo was setting up the birthing tub in our bedroom, and cleaned our toilets. Silly- I know, but because I felt nauseous, I really wanted to toilets to be clean. We never did fill up the tub with water... we wanted to wait until we knew I would want it.

Unfortunately, things started to calm down, and by 10AM, the contractions had all but stopped. I was having one contraction lasting a max of one minute, every 20-30 minutes. They were dull in pain, and not intensifying. I was becoming discouraged. Seriously, I thought, this isn't it? I tried so hard to keep from crying. The idea of going through these painful contractions only to have it be nothing- I couldn't swallow it. Scooby Doo remained a great encouragement and support, and together we took things hour by hour.

A little after lunch time, my sister Paula Deen came over. We opened up a new 2000 piece puzzle of hot air balloons. Anything to keep me from watching the clock, right? I baked spaghetti and burnt a batch of over sized chocolate chip cookies. The day continued on ... my parents picked up YumYum from daycare around 4:00. A call from our midwife around 5:00, checking up on us, sucked because I didn't want to admit labor had basically stopped. Contractions, even though they continued, were still only a minute long, and 20 or so minutes apart. I could breathe through them without trouble, and they were much less intense than the ones I had endured that morning. I decided to head over to Herself Moms for my normal yoga class. I normally just go on Tuesdays, but they offer the class Thursdays as well and was looking forward to going through some of the same movements with a group- that I had been doing by myself that day.Yoga had helped me throughout that morning cope with the contractions, and really helped me focus on my breathing. Paula Deen, now 21 weeks pregnant, said she would join me to yoga as I didn't want to drive myself.

Yoga was wonderful. My contractions increased in intensity and time, having one about every 8-12 minutes. It felt so good to move and stretch. Julie always does such a great job leading her prenatal yoga classes.

I came home and, gladly, followed the midwifes advice. She said to have a glass of wine. OKAY! I stuck to a Coors Light (my alcohol of choice) and turned on a hot bath. Our Midwife had said sometimes its hard to get your body into the normal labor routine.... she said the wine would either help my body relax enough to allow the contractions to really get going, or relax me enough to have them stop completely so I can at least get a good night's rest. As much as I wanted Smiles to arrive, I decided I wouldn't mind the sleep. I downed that beer quickly- and yes, it was delicious. (Chipped ice and Coors light were the only two things during my pregnancy I craved desperately during this 8 1/2 month pregnancy- and ice was the only one I had enjoyed.). With YumYum spending the night at my parent's house in case labor was going to pick back up again, I had the luxury of lying down without distraction.

I don't remember lying down, but boy do I remember waking up. 10PM and HELLLLOO, a colossal squeeze of pressure in my abdomen. I looked at the clock, and thought- well the beer worked. I had fallen asleep. Then I thought, well, it didn't work that well if I was still having contractions. When another one didn't happen for another 10 minutes, I thought, "great. here we go again with the freaking 10 minute apart contractions." They felt much more intense, but I still wondered if this was legitimate labor since they were so far apart. Visions of a 36 hour labor like some of my girlfriend's had experienced flashed before me... I got on the floor and did a lot of cat/cow and played solitaire on my phone to distract myself between contractions. I remember trying to play a game of solitaire on my phone, but the contractions were too tough to play through. It may be time to wake up Scooby Doo.

And now to hear from the hubby.... and the good part.

(Scooby Doo writing)

You woke me up saying your contractions were about 7 minutes apart, and it was after midnight. And you asked me to be awake with you while you were having the contractions. I rolled over on the bed and laid myself so you can put your head on my stomach, and I could rub your back, and shoulders, and stomach, and legs. I did that so I could keep my eyes closed. At about 12:30, you asked me to go get the birthing ball and then I sat on the birthing ball because you didn't want to. We kind of rolled and rocked back and forth so that I could hold your belly and rub your back while you would go through the contractions. At this point, we were keeping track of your contractions on your phone, and they lasted for about a minute and twenty seconds with four to five minutes between them. The last one lasted for a minute forty seconds, with about four minutes between that and the previous. You then asked me to then start the shower, and to call Our Midwife. I called Our Midwife and told her that she should come down now because the baby was going to be coming tonight. I hung up with Our Midwife at 12:50, which is when we got into the shower. We had a few contractions in the shower, and your legs were shaking quite a bit so you asked me to push down on your legs so that they'd stop shaking. We figure at about 1:00 your water broke. My initial reactions was what the heck was that?, but then I realized that it was your water breaking. A bunch of things went through my mind. I know that I checked to see the color of it and I smelled to see if there was any smell. I thought that this is the furthest that we've ever been because your water never broke with YumYum. I also thought that we had up to 24 hours at this point, because my friend's wife had a home birth, and when her water broke, she delivered 24 hours later. I asked how you were feeling and you said better; that the pressure was gone. I said, "we're for sure having the baby today," and that we're most likely within ten hours because one hour every centimeter puts us at ten hours from now. After going through a few more contractions, you had a contraction that you could barley stand through, which is when you said we need to get out of the shower. (007- I pushed through this contraction and the one right before it. Not pushing like I was trying to deliver, but pushing because that's the only thing that felt natural. It's what my body was telling me to do.) I turned off the shower and helped you out. I dried off real quick and put a towel on your back. We walked over to the bed and I sat on it and you leaned on my chest. The next contraction that you had, I noticed a little bit of blood dripping on the carpet, and thought, "we're a lot further along" than I realized. One more contraction- you could barley stand up- a little more blood- and you told me to call Our Midwife and tell her to get here NOW. (007- This was my first holy crap moment. Holy crap, holy crap, holy crap.) That last contraction was the first one you yelled/groaned through. I helped you up on the bed, and called Our Midwife and told her that she needs to get her immediately because we're having the baby. She told me that if you were going to push in the next 15 minutes, I needed to call 911. I hung up and asked you if you felt like you needed to push. You said yes, so I called 911. At first, I tried your phone and couldn't figure out how to call 911. I then grabbed my phone and had a hard time figuring out how to dial. When I did dial, they immediately picked up and asked what my emergency was. I told them my wife was in labor, and our address. (007- at this point I remember putting my hand down and feeling his head. I had no intention of doing this, but it was almost a shock factor for me. Yes 007- hes here. You're not imagining your desire to push. Everything was going so fast, but at the same time- we weren't scared. I don't think there was time to be. I just knew I had to push and this baby was coming. And for the record- Scooby Doo nor I had been through any kind of training with our midwife, or anyone else for that matter, in how to deliver a baby. We were as clueless as you or your spouse would be.) They said that they would transfer me to Rocklin Fire. Rocklin Fire asked what our address was, and I said our address, and then asked you if you needed to push. You said yes so I looked down and noticed that the beginning of Smiles' head was showing. I said push push push push push, and Smiles' head came right out. The umbilical cord was over his right shoulder, behind his head, and down over his left shoulder. I tried to put my finger underneath the umbilical cord to get it out from under around his head, and it was too tight. I couldn't fit my finger underneath. I asked you if you could push again, and you said no, and I said you had to - push. And the rest of him came out. I picked him up and moved the umbilical cord and he immediately took a breath but didn't make any sounds. I laid him on your chest/upper stomach. You kept saying that he's not breathing and that he's not crying, and I kept telling you that he was breathing. I couldn't hear him breathing, but I could see that he was breathing. He was a shade between red and purple, but slowly gaining a more pink coloring. I put him on your upper stomach/lower chest, and made sure the umbilical cord wasn't twisted or crimped. I put my finger in his mouth to try and clear it and there wasn't anything in there. The lady on the phone asked if I could hear her, repeatedly- and I said yes. She told me to try to clean off his face with a towel. He was completely covered in an extremely sticky white substance, so there was no chance I could clean his face off. So I started putting towels over him and over you, to keep both of you warm. The lady then said I needed to get a string to tie off the umbilical cord. I asked you if you were okay, and you said yes. So I ran to the bathroom to wash my hands because I wasn't able to open the door, but couldn't get the sticky white stuff off. I then ran to the garage but couldn't find the string anywhere. When I came inside, Aaron was standing at his doorway, and I told him that he needed to get a string for me to tie off the umbilical cord. I went back into the bedroom to check on you, and when I turned around and walked out again, Aaron had the string and a razor blade to cut it with. At some point, I had gone to the front door and opened it, so the paramedics could come in. After Aaron cut the string, I held it- and he cut it, I heard the fire truck park outside. I walked to the front of the house as they were opening the front gate, and asked them if they could tie off the umbilical cord for me. The first guy said that they could not cut the umbilical cord, that the paramedics would do that- and I told them, "you don't have to cut it- just tie it off". I gave the first guy the string and said you can do it. The lady on the phone said that she'll be letting me go since the fire engine had gotten there. She said congratulations and bye. I honestly don't know what else the 3 guys who came in the fire truck did other than tie off the umbilical cord. I think I was in and out of the room at this point. I know that they most likely checked 007's vitals and made sure Smiles was okay. I remember giving them more towels to lay on 007 to keep her warm and a few more for clean up. About 3 minutes after the fire truck got there, the paramedics showed up and they brought in their gurney and clearly the most knowledgeable guy with them. His name was Ed and later in the morning we found out it was his 110th birth that he had been called to. He took care of everything. He clamped the cord and cut it. He cleaned Smiles off and wrapped him up. He asked me to get a receiving blanket and a "hood" for him to wear. It was just amazing because he was walking the other 5 guys through everything that they need to do when they are called to a birth. As he was walking the others through everything, one of the paramedics asked me to sit down because I was "moving around too quickly and stressing him out." I gave him a bunch of information; time of birth, name, address, mom's name, my name, health issues of 007 and medications. I think it was just a keep dad busy type deal while we do the important stuff. At one point, one of the fireman- Joe, came over to me and said, "Did she just say that she wanted lemonade?". No, I said, "she was offering you some, letting you know there's some in the fridge." After I was done with the paramedics, I was able to take a couple pictures and eventually had Smiles handed to me. I think that I only had him for a few minutes before I handed him over to Uncle Aaron and he took him to the front room. ***At some point, 007's parents made their way over because I had called them to tell them that he was born. Also, I called our midwife to let her know that the baby was born.*** I remember a few more things about the paramedics but I have no idea of what order they happened in. The main paramedic, Ed, repeatedly was telling us how strong Smiles was and that he wanted to hug him and hold him again.

Ed holding Smiles... I know he was a short little Italian man, but part of me wonders if it was my high school youth pastor, who passed away from cancer a few years ago, looking after us too.

He also predicted that Smiles was seven pounds. At some point, while the vitals were being checked, one of the paramedics had said that 007's blood pressure was surprisingly low, in the perfectly normal range,  for just giving birth. I also remember one of the firemen not realizing that Aaron wasn't me. He thought the guy with his shirt off in the front yard when they arrived was me but I just put my shirt on without him noticing. I find that strange since when they arrived I was running around in my boxers.

*And now to 007*

The midwife arrived about 15-20 minutes after Smiles had, and hugged Scooby Doo & I. The paramedics had me sign the paperwork saying I didn't want to get transported, and told us congratulations. I stayed lying down on the bed and the midwife checked me out. We talked about the blessing of birth and how amazing God is, and how beautiful birth can be. She said I had a small tear, but I opted not to be stitched as she said she would have to use a shot- and yuck- I hate needles. Plus, she said, it was straight enough to heal on its own. About 90 minutes went by, and Scooby Doo, the midwife, and I continued to pray. I still hadn't delivered the placenta, and had read about home births where the baby was delivered and everyone was doing great, but Mom had to go in to deliver the placenta. Because I was a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), she didn't want to rush it. That's how moms can have too much bleeding and further complications. So we prayed. We prayed hard, and eventually, about an hour and half after Smiles delivered, I delivered the placenta.

I remember saying, it's over- it's over- and thank you Jesus" repeatedly. Everything had gone better than I could have ever imagined- except the whole midwife not being there thing- but this was better. I think. It was amazing. My husband and I had delivered a beautiful, healthy, baby boy. My husband- who still didn't cut the umbilical cord (and I don't blame him one bit), and who gets queezy at the sight of blood- DELIVERED OUR BABY. I could no longer poke ridicule at the people who deliver in taxi cabs on their way to the hospital. I always thought- they must be so prideful, waiting until the last possible minute to go to the hospital. How could you not know you were in labor, or that you were that close? Seriously? Mums the word, and I have had my piece of humble pie.

Our Midwife then spent some time with Smiles, measuring him and weighing him, double checking for 10 fingers, 10 toes. (Actually at that point, it was probably just checking!). It was one of the first chances Scooby Doo and I had to take it all in.... Smiles had arrived!

Daddy and Smiles

Taking it all in

Our Midwife and Daddy weighing Smiles. He was 5lbs. 14oz.

He measured 19 inches long.

It was so nice having everything in the comfort of our own home.
By 5AM the house was quiet and it was just Scooby Doo, Smiles, and me again. We laid in the bed, admired him. He nursed without hesitation, and I was amazed and how quick he was. It was like he didn't even have to learn. Instinctual. I felt so alert and awake. After all, I hadn't needed even an IV. It was night/day compared to how drugged I had felt after delivering YumYum. I looked at Smiles and smiled. My two boys had already fallen asleep, and I joined them shortly after.

Since Friday, it's been a wonderful three days. YumYum has had a bit of a time adjusting, but she loves her brother so much. Mostly, it's her sleep schedule that's been altered. With time, we will all adjust. For now, I praise God. The memory of delivering my son will continue to replay over and over in my head, and I continue to praise God for it.
Big Sister YumYum checking out little brother...

Welcome baby
Later Friday morning....

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Farewell pregnancy... hello new memories!

As I sludge through my last 23 days of pregnancy (expected), I grin and a little tear appears. This will most likely be our last time pregnant. I didn’t think I’d be done having kids at the age of 24. I also didn’t think we would have two kids at the age of 24. There are many things I won’t miss about being pregnant: the swollen ankles, the constant 24-hour heartburn, the back and neck aches … just to name a few. But there is a lot I will miss. That is what I’m dedicating this blog to.
My Mom holding me...

I will miss hugging my husband, and loving that our little family was completely holding each other tight- with one baby in the middle. I will miss being in the grocery store saying “excuse us”, when I’m shopping alone, but my ever-present awareness of the baby inside of me had me talking like I wasn’t. I have loved swaying him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth…. It relaxes both of us. I crack up thinking about how hard I’d have to push his boney little self back into my belly- and keep my hand there!- so he wouldn’t keep digging his heel into me. I’ll miss rocking YumYum to sleep and reading her a book, while trying to situate her so we are both comfortable. Normally, she ends up curled up like the moon, her body around my belly with her legs up and across mine, with her back leaning as much on my arm as possible and head snuggled to blend with my upper chest- all because baby Smiles was taking up quite a bit of room in the middle. Having my two babies at the same time, reading to them and rocking them to sleep; there’s nothing like it. There’s so much that’s absolutely incredible about having a little life growing inside of you. For YumYum, her personality in the womb was identically to how she was once she arrived. I’ll miss the kicking, stretching, rolling, turning, scooching, … I’ll miss the excitement of hearing their heartbeat when the doctor or midwife would share the stethoscopes.

The Lord has truly blessed Scooby Doo & I with two beautiful and wonderful children. YumYum continues to delight us with her stubborn independence, quirky sense of humor, and genuinely joy-filled heart. She will be such a great friend and sister to Smiles.
It feels like I was just pregnant with YumYum.... oh wait--- I was!  Born in May 2010, I feel like I have been constantly pregnant for the last two years. But it was fun.... here's us at 37 weeks with YumYum.

I CAN wait, but I look forward to the soccer games, school drawings, precious moments, sibling moments, the unforgettable moments, Christmas morning and Easter egg hunts, birthday parties and graduations, …

My Amazing Parents

My Awesome In-Laws
God blessed Scooby Doo & I with absolutely wonderful parents. I hope that we can raise our kids and show them how much we love and accept them. I pray God will give us the grace to be patient, the patience to persevere, and the perseverance to continue trying…. I pray that we pass along to them the truly important things in life- that what truly matters is your relationship with the Lord (first), and your relationships with people (second).

Our families:
Scooby Doo's:




2010- Mom had something in her teeth...

Paula Deen loves being a part of this family. :)

We all love being part of this family. It's in our blood. :) Well... kinda. :)

2010 - Me (007) (pregnant with YumYum), my Mom, my Dad, Shiner, Paula Deen
I love the man that Scooby Doo is, and I am confident he will continue to amaze me in his drive to be the best Dad he can be for his kids, and the best husband he can be to me. To me, he has exemplified financial maturity, wisdom, patience, and honesty. Our kids would be blessed to learn these qualities from him.

I can’t wait to meet our Smiles. I know he will be here before we can blink!