Tuesday, September 2, 2014

the Socialist Pancake Party

Breakfast for the win. Yep, labor day weekend started off with breakfast for dinner party. mmm. pancakes, and more importantly, bacon. Bacon. Bacon. Bacon. Bacon. When you're pregnant, everyone reminds you that you are eating for two. For some reason that logic stops after you have a baby and you literally are eating for two. But not when it comes to bacon. I most definitely ate enough bacon for both me and Zoe.

And this wasn't just any breakfast party. Zac and I joined the creators of the Socialist, a web series premiering NEXT month. And from the sneak previews I've seen so far, it's going to be as good as eating an entire plate of bacon. 

I love seeing people invest their time, talent and money into something they are passionate about. Olivia (the mind behind this project), her husband and the rest of her cast have really done that with this webs series. Next month they are hosting a red carpet, black tie event for the premiere of the first 6 episodes. And trust me, I've seen Olivia's wedding pictures and she knows how to host a black tie event. Why did I not know you before you were married? And WHY oh WHY am I moving RIGHT BEFORE this next gala takes place? 

Seriously though, if you are any where near Provo, spend the $30 and get your tickets now. Not only will it be a night of fun, but you can forever and always take credit for being one of the first to know and support this show. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Zoe Valentine: 2 months old!

Dear Zoe,

Time does fly when everyday is a little bit different. Full of new challenges and advedntures. This is the last month you will be a Provo girl. We are all moving out to Portland, OR. This month you seem so different than last month. You grew a full two inches and are now  24.25 inches long and 11.53 pounds. That puts you in the 98th percentile for height and the 56th percentile for weight. You are tall and skinny. But you do have just a bit of roll on your thighs. It's adorable. 

This month you are interacting so much more. You smile not just when you have gas bubbles, but when you are playing with us. One of the best games is when I stick my tongue out at you. You make a funny face and figure out how to copy me, or daddy. Then I giggle and you smile so big. 

You have stretched out. Last month you always tucked your legs up to your chest and now you like them to stretch out long. You often throw your arms above your head and reach your legs out as far as they will go as if to say I am super baby, here I come!

You  still like to be held most of the time. But you also like being in a wrap. We go for walks most mornings and you will fall asleep cuddled up against me. This is how you sleep best during the day.

You are finding your voice. When I sing or talk to you you look at me with your big eyes and make an adorable cooing sound. It sound just like some one going "ooooooo" and moving their voice up and down. Sometimes though, you scrunch up your face and all that comes out is a grunt. I can see the happiness in your face when you make the sound you are trying to make. I am so proud of you for how hard you practice and practice this skill. 

You also went on your first camping trip. It rained so we ended up not camping at all. But we did end up in the most beautiful of mountains.

I can't wait to see your personality come to the surface and grow.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An end and a beginning.


I'm sitting there looking across the room. Watching as my husband is preparing to walk across the stage to receive his diploma. His masters. A symbol of all the hard work and dedication he has put into his own development the past couple years.

I can’t help it, my eyes start to we'll up with  tears.  

Maybe it's that I only had 3 hours of sleep and am running on pure excitement.  But that feeling of graduation marking the end of an era is hanging heavy around me. How fitting that we are sitting here in the marriott center. After all, it is in this very building that I met Zac and this era of ‘us’ began.  

This is both and end  and a beginning.  

I ended up outside this building three years ago because I was doing a favor for a friend who happened to be crushing on one of my other friends. Get her to the basketball game he asked. That was the day I sat with Paige on one side of me and a cute unknown boy on the other.

That was the day I didn’t expect to meet anyone but my love story began.  

Now here we are again.  The last either of us will be on this campus in a long long time. No longer are we students, staying up too late talking, cuddling, dreaming.

We are making that future we dreamed about.  

It is beautiful.  

It is terrifying.  

I could not be more grateful to have this child in my arms, this man by my side.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wellness Wednesday: Learning About Oils

Can I tell you how much  I love being a mom.  I even like the late nights every now and then.  There's something really special about cuddling up and having some only Zoe and me time. Time that won't be interrupted by a phone call or a knock on the door.  Just the two of us.  Some quiet music and of course love.

That's how I feel the first time we get up  at least.  By the second time in ready to just sleeeeeep.  Why are we doing this again? Oh yeah so she doesn't starve.  

I talk a lot about how much I love being a mom. My life really has changed, no matter how cliche that sounds, it’s true. But it hasn't all been cuddles and giggles; there's been some challenges too. One of the biggest has been Zoe’s acid reflux.

When Zoe was just a couple weeks old, she had a hard time after she ate.  She was a good eater, but once she had the food down the problems would start.  She would start crying as if she was in pain and gag on her spit up trying hard to keep it down.  She would throw her head back and she seemed miserable.  I felt helpless.   

When everyone came to visit for her baby blessing, my step mom showed me how to use a blend of essential oils that supports digestion. We mixed it with some coconut oil to dilute it so it wouldn’t be s\to strong for her small body. Then I would put some on Zoe’s heels before she would eat. It was amazing the difference we saw right away. Sometimes she would still fuss after eating, but that ‘I’m in pain’ cry was gone.

Flash forward a couple weeks and now it’s my turn for my body to need some help. I kept getting a clogged milk duct. I asked my doctor about it and they gave me some suggestions on how to care for it and a warning that it could easily get infected. And sure enough, it got infected, badly. So much so that an abscess formed and the infection burst right through the skin. Luckily some antibiotics were prescribed and I’m healing. But so far I've had to spend about $70 on doctors visits and medicine. I can’t help but wonder if a little more support to my body in the first place could have helped myself heal without all the expenses. This little video about melaleuca and oregano oils by a doctor with a Harvard degree especially makes me wonder.if I could have stopped the infection before it became so damaging.

I've purchased the family physician kit from DoTerra and am learning everything I can about the oils. I really do believe in the power our bodies have to heal themselves. Not that this will replace all doctors visits. I’m never going to stop being grateful for the excellent doctors who were ready to pull Zoe out of me via c-section when her heart went crazy. But I would like to start with informed self care when there’s not an emergency.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Zoe Valentine: One Month

Dear Zoe,

You're officially a month old. This month sure has been a good one. Life will never be the same again. We brought you home from the hospital on a Friday evening; it was already bed time and you were already asleep. We put you down in your little baby hammock right by our bed and then put our tired selves to bed as well. With you on one side of me and dad on the other, I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and happiness that I just cried. I couldn't help it. It is probably the first time I've literally cried out of joy.

This month you have proven the doctors right about being a big baby. Tall is maybe the better word. At 22 and a quarter inches tall you are in the 99% for height for girls your age and  8lbs 14 ounces (76% for weight) as of your two week appointment.

You love to eat your hands - or at least try to.

When you are falling asleep you get a big grin on your face. You always know when we are trying to take a picture of it and stop right as we press the button. Oh those darling and elusive sleep smiles.

Sometimes when you are cuddling with me, I will kiss your forehead and that smile will spread across your face.

You've had a little bit of acid reflux, which seems painful. Mommy does not like seeing her little one in pain at all.

We took you swimming with your cousins and you looked darling in the yellow polka dot swimsuit they got you. You seemed to like the water enough. I hope that you look up to all your cousins because they are all smart and beautiful and they love you very very much.

Your blessing was beautiful. You had grandparents and great grandparents and all kinds of people who love you there to support you.

You sleep great at night but are pretty high maintenance during the day. I bet this has something to do with the reflux. Mimi got you some essential oils that we put on your feet now when you eat and it surprisingly helps a ton.

You like to be bounced, not rocked, not held still.

I don't know what it is about the carseat, but every time you get strapped in you poop.

The first time we tried to take you out of the house, you were ready to go back home in about 30 seconds.

Your bum is covered adorable cloth diapers..

You are the number one cuddler. You can tell the second we put you down, even if you are deep asleep you will wake up and want to be back in our arms.

After a month, we will definitely keep you for ever and ever. You are everything we imagined and more.

Love you,

Friday, July 11, 2014

Hi I'm Zoe and this is my birth story.

Hi my name is Zoe Valentine and this is my story of how I got here.

Let's start the story on my due date. 

Mom was getting anxious; she really wanted me here in her arms, right where I am now as I'm telling this story.  Her due date was on a Friday.  She went to work,  where they had a fun day volunteering for the afternoon at the boys and girls club.  Even though mommy thought that was a great way to spend her day,  she still couldn't think of anything but me. The day came and went, and I stayed comfortably in her tummy.

The weekend looked like it was going to come and go with no sign of me as well. Sunday night mom was sure she would be headed back to work in the morning.  She took a nice relaxing bath and finished reading her book,  the Good Luck of Today.  When mom got out she brushed her teeth and started flossing.  Then all of a sudden,  she felt this weird feeling and thought she might have peed herself.  How embarrassing! She ran to the toilet but the leak didn't stop.  It only took her a minute to realize her water just broke.

Mom knew I would be here soon.  She was so excited and yelled to daddy in the other room that I was on my way.  

Mom and dad wanted to have an intervention free birth  for me.  They wanted no pitocen, no epidural and daddy was super prepared to support mommy during my trip here.  

Mom called the doctors office to let them know what was happening and they said it was okay if they stayed at home until the morning as long as I kept moving and contractions weren't getting too strong. Mom preferred being at home, so they decided to stay there for the time.

But Mom couldn't sleep.  She was too excited.  It wasn't long before the contractions started. She stayed up until 5 in the morning just feeling them go through her body.  Somehow,  she was able to fall asleep for a couple hours at some point.  When she woke up mommy and daddy headed to the hospital.  Monday was going to be a great day,  

But once they got all checked into their room,  something strange happened.  The contractions that had been coming so regularly and getting  stronger and stronger just stopped.  Not kinda stopped,  but completely stopped.  Mom didn't like this.  She was worried about infection,  and knew that I only had so much time to get out safely.  

Her and daddy decided to wait a few hours.  After all,  mom's body was made to get me here.  Things would work out.  

But after a few hours,  nothing  happened.  And nothing happened.  And nothing  happened.  Mom and dad talked to the doctor and decided that some pitocen (the drug they use to induce labor) might be a good idea to get things moving.  The clock was ticking (without moms water to protect me, the risk of infection gets higher and higher as time goes by, it gets really high around 24 hours and they were already 12 hours in) and they didn't want to risk me getting sick.  So on came the drugs to speed things up  and with that an epidural because these contraction were different and painful.

But it wasn't long until they had more reason  to be concerned.  As mom's contractions got stronger,  my heart rate would fall.  So the pitocen had to be stopped.  But as soon as the pitocen stopped, so did the contractions.  What was going on? How was I going to get here if contractions were so hard on me?

For hours and hours they played this game.  Using pitocen to try to help me out and watching my heart rate very carefully.  You  would think mommy and daddy loved staring  at monitors because they couldn't take their eyes off the one measuring my heart rate. Only they weren't loving it, because my heart was taking longer and longer to bounce back after each contraction. They were getting scared - how much distress was I in? They really couldn't tell. But what they were seeing didn't seem good and the doctors didn't think so either.

This is when dad  gave mommy the sweetest blessing in the world.  They were both close to tears as they turned to the Lord to seek guidance for how to help me. While mom and dad were scared, they felt surrounded by love and peace that things would be okay.  

Time kept going by and things just kept looking worse and worse. The doctors wanted me out. Mom and dad wanted me out. There was just too much that could go wrong at this point. So the decision was made mom would have a c- section. Once Dad told the doctor they had the green light on the surgery, they moved fast. The anesthesiologist came right in and made it so mom couldn't feel anything at all. In fact, he gave her so much that her body just started shaking uncontrollably. 5 minutes later they were in the operating room. 15 minutes later the doctors started saying "that's a big baby" as they pulled me out of her.

Dad looked over the curtain and said I was purple, but that I was okay. I had the cord wrapped tightly around my neck. But it only took seconds for that to be removed and for me to be breathing the way a baby should. The nurses brought me over to see mom for a second. Then Dad and I went to go get cleaned up. I made it!

The amazing thing is that even though it was a really scary time for mom and dad, they felt God's love and peace the whole time and my journey here was an amazing and spiritual experience for everyone. Now we are all happy and healthy at home. A beautiful family of 3.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Awesome and Awkward: Pregnancy Edition

Baby is officially a weekend over due. I don't know if it's a real thing or not, but I swear time has almost come to a complete halt. But, part of me is glad that the little one hasn't made her appearance yet, because I have some memories that need to be captured before the new ones of her life take front and center stage and these ones begin to dissipate.

So here we go.

Pregnancy Awkward and Awesome. 

You know that this is going to be a gross combination of extra sappy and umm… pathetically embarrassing. Pregnancy is super glamorous guys (insert sarcasm and non sarcasm at the same time here).. I love it.

Lets start with the awesome.

1. Feeling my baby move. The first time I felt it, it was just like butterfly kisses, the were so soft and tiny. Now she makes giant waves across my belly and her feet and knees stick out in funny ways. It’s cute.

2. Maybe being pregnant for 9 months is a good thing because since becoming pregnant, my whole view of motherhood has become much more tender and precious. There is something unique about being a woman, about being able to grow a human body within your own that is incredibly empowering and beautiful. Not to mention the responsibility to teach this person how to love, how to learn, how to laugh and mostly how to be nothing more or less than the wonderfully and fearfully made daughter of God that she is.

3. Learning to love working out. I know that seems strange, but I’ve learned to let go of expectations, to listen to my body and work out to be healthy not only physically, but spiritually and mentally as well. It’s amazing how mind body and spirit are so connected. I hope I never go back to my love hate relationship with workouts again. I hope I stay in this zen zone of knowing that what is right for my body is right for the rest of me and vice versa.

4. Anyone and everyone who feels the need to tell a pregnant, sleep deprived woman that she looks great.

5. Women everywhere. I've felt so much love and support from the girls in my church, in my family and even friends that I haven't seen in eons. It's like I'm realizing that we are all connected, we have a miraculous way of lifting each other up, of honoring each other. I've been stunned by how much thoughtless service and love has been sent my way in supportive words, food, stuff for the baby and prayer. There is nothing more beautiful than women lifting the people around them. It is a miraculous feeling to be the one lifted.

6. My nieces. My niece who looks at my belly and asks sweetly "you have a baby there?" and my niece who has named our baby Rupunzel.This little one is going to have amazing role models and mentors in these girls.

And for the awkward.

1. I’m just going to say it. Hem orr hoid s. Already tmi. But maybe that is a little easier to hear about than uncontrolled peeing?

2. That time I dropped my straw on the ground while filling my water bottle up at work. Instead of picking it up, I just waited until someone else came to get water so they could be the one to lean over. That stuff is hard people. (I swear this only happened once....... no crossies allowed.)

3. That time that I started making dinner. Zac took over after about 5 minutes and I realized I can’t even remember the last time I cooked. I swear I do something around this house…. dishes? laundry? something. Maybe this belongs in the awesome, not awkward section.

4. Every time someone talks to my belly instead of me. Especially when they lean down and put their FACE right up to it. I don’t know what to to so I just stand there and pretend it’s normal. It’s especially awkward when this person is a stranger.

5. All the names we have been told to name our baby. Although, I am tempted to go with Rupunzel, I mean when a three year old says its supposed to be the name, maybe it is?

Soooo there you have it. What are some of your awesome or awesomely awkward pregnancy moments?