Tuesday, February 7, 2017

ISO Ariel Sock - Pls Contact Dish Nazi

I haven't posted a simplifying update, because things are not simple right now. Sometimes it's just that way!

We are semi-camping in our house right now. A plumbing issue has left us without use of our washing machine, kitchen sink and guest bathroom for about a week and a half thus far. It's likely that this is going to be a costly fix. Like really costly. Bill Gates would probably close off that wing of his house to save on that kind of cash. Ok, so it's not tragic and we can swing it, but we are not happy about it. 

Although the thought of having to spend that kind of money was staggering to me, what scared me more was going through an inestimable amount of time without a kitchen sink and washing machine with two littles. You can tell that I have both a love for adventure and that my priorities are in line.

We've had different plumbing companies in and out of the house for the past week making bids and killing naps. One to three PM seems like the best time to bang on pipes in the echoing hallway between two sleeping toddlers. Sigh. Anyway, we've been doing ok with it all. I'm now personally acquainted with several of my friends' washing machines and I plan to meet a few more over the course of the week. Talk about airing your dirty laundry. I'm trying to spread out our laundry needs so as not to over burden one person (cough, Phylis). Also, if anyone finds a pink Ariel sock in Katy, Texas - it's ours.

Speaking of Ariel socks, my daughter has had to confront personal challenges of her own this week due to a slower laundry pace. Her almost daily pink polk-a-dot dress is not always clean and mom is not making a trek to someone's house just to wash said dress. The struggle is real, folks. Is it ok to use the phrase '#firstworldproblems' with your three year old? Numerous teachable moments. Ahem.

I have also become a Dish Nazi. The children are limited to a daily sippy cup and if I so much as hear the utensil drawer opening, I immediately break into a high-pitched yell. Think battle cry. There is a dish ban in effect, folks. The Dish Nazi is watching. Currently, we're washing dishes in a little tub in our bathroom and rinsing in the bathroom sink. (The toilet is in another room, people, so we're staying sanitary here. I know what you're thinking. I'm a germaphobe so believe me, I'm on the lookout. Joey thinks I should be committed for my fear of raw chicken [this is a healthy fear, fear the chicken]). 

Our friends and church family are awesome. They've invited us over for dinner, made no clean up meals for us, offered their laundry rooms and homes and are constantly praying for this issue with us. Such a blessing.

We've really been doing ok with everything, but today I reached my limit. It's the tiniest of things that can throw me sometimes. I was driving home from Bible study...this is so weird y'all...and my one year old started screaming in the back seat. Fortunately at a red light, I was able to look back. He had several giant ants crawling on his body. Claire had them on her too. I immediately pulled into a parking lot and got both kids out of the car, getting ants all over me as well. Keaton had them on his face! When I got us all dusted off I looked into both car seats and saw several of these large ants. They were fast and looked like large fire ants (They were the size of tree ants, but looked different. Any ants on my babies are treated as venomous). I have no idea how these ants got in my car. I'm wondering if one of the kids brought a stick or branch into the car with ants/eggs. This is also how we had an asp in our car not long ago too.  I am now instituting a mandatory pat down before entering to make sure wildlife is not included.

No one was bitten thankfully. I couldn't clean out the car seats without putting my one year old down and we were in a busy parking lot. Thankfully, I wasn't too far from the church and my friend came to our rescue by watching the kids while I searched for and killed the ants. Poor Keats was traumatized and refused to get back in his car seat without a serious wailing fight (I don't blame him) so we ended up eating lunch at Target until the fear passed away and I could get him back in a car seat. Poor little guy is still suffering a little Ant PTSD on our second outing today. 

Getting into my car I stepped on a blob of sticky red gum and smeared it everywhere. The gum did it. I didn't lose it with tears, but I was mentally done. I put my head on the steering wheel and said God, I just need something to be easy!

Thankfully, his grace is always sufficient and perfect in my weakness. God reminded me of what I had just witnessed that morning. How quickly I forgot. A woman who is a refugee from a Middle Eastern country joined our Bible study today. She shared with us how she fled from her country because of intense religious persecution. Thinking about this reminded me of another woman of faith in our group who escaped becoming a child bride in her home country by the grace of God. And here I am, wallowing in my tiny issues of comfort. All because of gum on my shoe.

Laura Story's Blessings came on the radio:

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity

We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless night
Are what it takes to know You're near?

What if trials of this life
Are your mercies in disguise?
We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear

We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love

As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while You hear each desperate plea
And long that we have faith to believe

Thankfully, God's response to my cries - even those that are so small- isn't "#firstworldproblems, deal with it". Sometimes I'm not too far off from a little girl who stomps her foot because she can't wear her favorite dress each day. He gently reminds me of those who are going through so much for his name and yet, he doesn't dismiss my somewhat trivial concerns. In fact, he welcomes them and invites me to lay them at his feet. He is sweet to give perspective when we can't seem to see past our own self.

I wish I could say the day was all roses after I snapped to, but I have had to purposefully fight for perspective all day. Come what may - from gum on both shoes to Godzilla Ants in hair, my prayer is that my perspective becomes His. Come what may. And long that we have faith to believe.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

How We Started Minimizing in a Nutshell

Yup, those are all empty hangers. I couldn't even get them all in the frame. I'm a closet clothes hanger hoarder. Say that five times fast. Makes our moleskine addiction seem tame.

Alright, so the latest update regarding our minimalism experiment. Today I'm taking another five garbage bags and two boxes to our local charity. These are items we cleared this week and my husband tackled his closet. I've sold a handful of items as well. I shared this post on Facebook last week and received several text messages as well as had many conversations on the topic because of it. Apparently, I'm not the only one who feels overwhelmed by stuff and craves simplicity.

A couple of people asked for tips and let me be the first to say, I'm new at this! I can only tell you our experience thus far. Also, I think this process will look different for everyone as well as their reason for why they are pursuing less.

Here's what I'm hoping to get out of it:

  • Less time tending to our stuff. Such as cleaning, repairing, picking up stuff, researching, cleaning, organizing and oh yeah, picking up stuff. Can I get an amen?
  • Space. Breathing room. On the walls, in the cabinets, in the closets. Most importantly, in my head. Cluttered life, cluttered mind. Or at least that's how it is with me.
  • Time to focus on the things we really want to: time with family, experiences with kids, reading, Bible study, writing, our marriage, our friends. A big one is being freed up to be available to others as well.
  • Focus on eliminating debt. Now, we are not in major debt. We have what's called "good debt" - i.e. car, mortgage. Here's the thing though, it's not true that you will always have a car note or a mortgage payment. At least it doesn't have to be, so this is both short-term and long-term financial goals. We want to be freed up to be open to opportunities for which God wants us to be financially available.
  • Change my mindset. This may be the toughest of all. I want to be more conscious of what I'm pursuing and why. For me, this is pursuing what Jesus wants for our life. Thankfully, I just need to be open and he will do the heavy lifting.

Regarding those tips...

I'll start with the first question of where to begin. That's the reason I just shared the list above. Start with your 'Why'. Think about it a while. Come up with a list of why's and share them with someone.

Read a few minimalist blogs. I like Nourishing Minimalism, Becoming Minimalist and Simplify and Pursue. There are many more that I have been reading, but these are just some of the ones with which I can relate.

[Actually, you may want to reverse the order of these first two steps simply because you might find benefits listed in minimalism posts that weren't on your radar.]

I started with one area: my closet. It was a big, yet easy one to tackle. Big as in big return. Easy, because in the past three years I have gone between four clothing sizes (had two babies during this period) and I have quit a professional job. Also, I'm now a stay-at-home mom and what I much of what I wear is on repeat. There were clothes that hadn't seen the light of day in three years. It took me several sweeps to truly clear it out. I think I am probably at 80% of my original wardrobe.

From there I was hooked and on a mission because I saw so much space and it felt so good! I gradually moved all over the house. The sentimental stuff was by far the hardest and going to have to revisit those. (more on that later) There are a few small spaces that I still haven't touched, a bin here or there. I would also come back to areas I had previously gone through to weed out even more. And then there's the garage. Whoa. It's been my holding area and it was bad before I started this process. It will be the last frontier.

Also, know that this process will most likely occur in waves. It has for me. Since this process began in October, there have been few days that have gone by that I didn't get rid of something, but I would say I've gone through my house once and now I'm on my second run through. I've become better at this, but I've finished with the low hanging fruit and moved on to "the hard stuff".

Those are my nutshell starter tips.

Remember the 'why' list I made above? So far, positives all around.

One last note. Something that I have discovered in browsing minimalist blogs and considering my own nature. Yes, we can make gods out of our things. But, I also have to be very careful not to make minimalism a god as well. I could become addicted to editing my life because I feel like something isn't right, when truly, it's that I need more. More Jesus. I could use it as a way to control my life instead of allowing God to bring me peace in the midst of chaos. I just wanted to make sure you know that - if you want to pursue peace, there's only one place you can really find it. We will never find true peace outside of Jesus Christ.

"I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." - John 10:10

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Our Life Edited

Hello, faithful readers! Oh wait, you need to be consistent in your writing to instill faithfulness? Writing two or three posts a year doesn't count? Oh well. I really want to get back to consistent writing again. We'll see how it goes. I'm not committing to it yet because...kids, but I am so excited about what we're doing as a family and I want to document it. Warning, I may be going crazy - but I think it might be a good crazy. Only time and the ability to persist will tell.

We are simplifying our life. Minimizing. Editing. Getting to the good stuff.

I started this process about three months ago when our life was in full chaotic swing. Good, but frenzied. A blogger who writes on preschool education and whom I follow regularly, took a break from her traditional topic of learning to share her journey of having enough. Enough of stuff, chaos and distraction. She began minimizing their life in every area. Pulling decorations off walls, giving away toys, clothes - all of it to get down to what their family really needed and loved. I was intrigued and felt the exact same way. My toddlers' toys were taking over the house, our closets were bursting, counters constantly cluttered. My mind was consistently distracted with the mess. Much of the day was spent just moving stuff. I have been craving simplicity.

Her post led me down a rabbit trail of minimalist lifestyle blogs. It is fascinating to see how some of these people live. Among the completely counter cultural lifestyle blogs, I came across several that were more in line with doable for our family and goals. There were a few posts that really made me think. One writer said something along the lines of "Instead of getting a bigger house, why don't you just get rid of your stuff?" Wait, what? Why hadn't I thought of this? I just re-organize and re-organize. I look for better storage systems. You do this or go bigger, right?

Let me go back.

When we found out we were expecting our second child two and a half years ago, we decided to sell our house. We needed more space as we were outgrowing our home. Or this is what we thought.

So, we sold our 1690 square foot "starter home". What I mean by sold is that we signed on the dotted line and the verified buyer signed as well, only to find out hours later that the loan didn't fund. (If God doesn't want you to move, you're not going to move.) By this time, I was seven months pregnant and we weren't willing to go further through the process. We were not feeling very Joseph and Mary, so homeless and giving birth was not an option, deciding to stay for at least a year and revisit selling later. We are so thankful God put us in this position. He knew just what we needed and it turns out that it wasn't a bigger home.

Maybe we didn't need more storage space. Maybe we needed less stuff. Could we live with less? Could we stay in our home and completely pay off our mortgage? Could we eliminate the distraction in our lives and focus on what is the most important to us - our relationship with Christ and our family? So began our experiment.

I've been working at editing our life for three months now. I'll fill you in on what that looks like hopefully in another post. So far, I have gotten rid of probably near 1000 items, this includes 80% of my wardrobe and 70%ish ('ish' is so helpful isn't it?) of our toys. I've taken things off the counters, walls, floors. I've sold lots of stuff and given away even more. More on that later. I've only just dipped my toe into this, but I am really liking the result. Haven't missed one thing.

The process has revealed a lot of yucky stuff about my relationship to possessions. I've discovered emotional attachments to things that don't make sense. It has forced me to deal with my "internal stuff" during the process. Like the Rich Young Ruler, I have slowly become attached to my possessions without realizing it. I've put a lot of stock in things that "thieves can break in and steal and moth and rust can destroy". This process has revealed a lot of things about my heart that need adjusting.

The first couple of edits of our home have had many other benefits as well. Things are easier to clean
The kids are playing more with their toys, yet toys aren't everywhere. I know where most things are so I'm not wasting time looking for things. I'm saving money because again, I know what we have and don't end up buying extra things by mistake. We're also being more intentional with our money and resources because we're conscious of what we're letting into our house. Our house now feels spacious for our family. After the initial big purge,  I've had more time to spend on the things that are important. That's the best one of all.

We're taking one day at a time in this experiment and not planning on becoming Tiny House people who live in a 186 square foot home without an inside toilet (what?!) or all sleep in bunk beds across from each other...yet. Just kidding. We're looking at experiences and time that we can give our kids instead of stuff. I just want to cut the distraction and focus on what's important.

Am I crazy? Maybe. I could rebound to start hoarding in few months, who knows (oh, please no!). At the very least, I've uncovered a terrible Moleskin collecting habit that definitely needed to be addressed. In seriousness, contentment is a beautiful thing and the best fruit yet is thankfulness. So far, less is more.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Confessions of a Libibliophobe

Have you ever done something for which you are completely and utterly ashamed? Every time you are reminded of the offense you get sick to your stomach? I am about to confess to you something along these lines.

I am really a book thief. I've been masquerading as a suburban wife and mother for the past several years to keep my library crimes hidden. I turned in a library book late. Before you say 'No big deal.'... like six years late. Worse? It was Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place. In large print.

When my husband and I first married and moved into our new home and city, we both got library cards. I was so excited! (yes, I get excited about such things) If I remember correctly, I went back that same week and checked out a book, The Hiding Place, which in fact became the book. I never returned to the library again. (oh the shame!) I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but The Hiding Place became, well, hidden. For several years.

I wish I could say that I just uncovered it this past week, but no. (my cheeks are burning just typing this) I think I came across it during my pregnancy with Claire who is now almost two. Ouch. It was in a drawer. The guilt immediately descended on my body when I saw it. My inner dialogue went something like this: "I've got to return this book. But it's going to be a terrible ordeal and I am pregnant. But it's a library book! It's too far and I'm pregnant. But it's a library book that I stole borrowed! Remember, I'm pregnant? It's a library book...for the visually impaired. Then there is the whole public shaming in the library thing, the stocks, who knows! Pregnant people probably shouldn't return library books. I'll return it after I have the baby when things settle down (hahahahahaha! So naive.)." And no, to my knowledge I am not schizophrenic.

And I closed the drawer. Shameful.

I forgot about the book for a while until it made a brief appearance when we were getting ready to put our house on the market and baby number two was on his way. I added 'return long over due library book, save up for $5000 fine and remove speck giant log from my eye' to my long to do list. It didn't get checked off. The book went back in the drawer while we were showing the house, but I would think about it every now and then and yet it always seemed to be when the library was closed.

This was also about the time that I was uber pregnant, having a hard time getting around, chasing a one year old and preparing to move. There were no free moments, everything had a cost. Yet the book began to plague me. All I could think about was someone with very thick glasses running their finger across the books only to find it missing. For the last six years. Just call me Lady Macbeth.

I had Keaton and we decided to stay put in our house. I came across the book again. (insert shame here.) This is ridiculous. I obviously have a fear of returning an overdue book to the library. What is that even called? Libibliophobia? Worse, my neighbor across the street is a librarian and I was beginning to avoid making eye contact with her. Sin, even "little" sins weigh on you. I decided I would return the book that week.

After the kids went to bed, I headed to the library to turn myself in. No need for children to witness their mother's public shaming. I was a ball of nerves.

I half expected the Library's Most Wanted List with my mug on it to be on the bulletin board or for an alarm to sound the moment I walked through the doors.

Nothing happened. Maybe the library's bouncer was on break. Then I started getting paranoid.

Was that librarian staring at me? She's looking at the book. Does she have an ear piece? I swear she's talking into an ear piece, probably alerting the library crime squad of my presence. It's all over. Joey's going to have to bail me out of Library Jail.

Rather than have the library crime squad tackle me, I decided to go straight to the front desk. I got in line behind an elderly Indian gentleman who eased my stress considerably by surprising all of us with his inquiry as to when a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey would be available. And I thought I was going to surprise them - thank goodness for this guy!

It was my turn.

I was going to be really mature and classy about the whole thing and just tell them the truth. Before I even got to the desk, I started spilling my guts and groveling. Really, really I love books! I am a friend of the library, champion of literacy!

The guy behind the counter took the book and said "2009, huh?", turned to the seasoned librarian next to him and asked if she had received a returned book older than this one. Thankfully, she had - 1999. I asked him about the fine, prepared to write a big one. Ten dollars. Then he asked me if I wanted to renew my library card. What? You still trust me? I was expecting to have my license revoked and was mentally preparing to explain to my children why mommy couldn't take them to library story time until the year 2030.

Grace is a beautiful thing. The worse of it all was when the librarian said it was a shame that I hadn't been to the library to check out a book that whole time. Now, that was a burn. I felt like I just missed out on the last Book It sticker to earn a free personal pan pizza.

Why am I telling you all this? We all have our stuff that we hold onto because of fear. Sometimes it's silly like a library book and sometimes it's serious weighty stuff. But it's all extra weight. I just wanted to encourage you to just turn in the book. You'll feel so much better.

I'm sorry to Ms. Ten Boom, to have done such a disservice to her book and especially to those who needed the large print edition. You can add 'crimes to the visually impaired' to my list of offenses. I must also apologize to my Dad, who has visited the library weekly ever since I can remember and who has also probably never turned in a book late barring an Act of God or because he picked it up for me. And then yes, there is God, we've talked numerous times on this one.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Canadian Voodoo

About two months ago I opened our front door to find several gently used children's books on our porch. At first I was puzzled as to who would drop off books, but then I opened them.

I don't know what gave it away first - husky dogs, hockey, Inuit children or Parliament Hill. And then there was the maple leaf on the cover of one. It had to be our thoughtful Canadian neighbors. Don't you love people who love your children? It was so sweet of them to think of Claire.

Claire immediately wanted to read her new books. Two of the books are counting based, one with a map of Canada and one is a book about a Canadian goose. Most of the content is along the line of "There are six hockey pucks." She thought the hockey pucks were poop. It's an easy mistake.

She loved the books. We read them several times throughout the day. I added them to the bookshelf and called it a day. Like most of her books, I figured she would cycle through these over the next few days since they were new and then they would most likely fall in with the rest of the books on our reading rotation. Not so.

These books have some crazy Canadian powers. One in particular, "the red one", we read at least once daily. She's started "reading" in her crib before she falls asleep and asks that "the red one" is in the bed with her during naps and at bedtime. Or "Goose", the one about the Canadian goose (not to be confused with "Duck and Goose", a delightful tale about a duck and goose who team up to find a pumpkin.)

Claire has been calling black birds "loons" and there's a good chance that she thinks football players play "hockey". She loves me to tell her the name of each Canadian province on the map. She's Canadian obsessed.

This may be why she also loves a book entitled 'Snow'. We like to read practical literature around our house - content that can be put into every day use around the streets and suburbs of Houston, Texas.

I feel the need to get her a few books with American symbols and maps just so she doesn't become disappointed when she finds out that she is not Canadian. And I better not tell her about their bacon. The girl loves bacon and she doesn't need to know that they have a variety all of their own.

In the meantime, I'm brushing up on my knowledge of Canadian provinces - every day - several times a day. Eh?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

We Welcome You To Munchkin Land

At about 3 months after having Keats I felt like we were finally out of the Infant/Going From One Baby to Two Babies Coma. A few reasons for this:

For starters, we started getting sleep. We got a whole lot more sleep with Keaton during the first month than we did with Claire and overall we shouldn't even complain as both kids slept through the night fairy early. Shh...please don't tell anyone this. I know, there are some 12 year olds who still aren't sleeping through the night and there are so many parents who aren't getting ANY sleep. I am so sorry to bring up the 'S' word. I know it's a painful topic for many. Plus, I don't want any of these folks to kill me in my...not even going to say it. Seriously, I think water boarding may be a lesser form of torture than no sleep.

Talk about a game changer. One does crazy things without sleep. You may almost take a swig from your child's bottle out of delirium...and not know the difference. You may fight about ridiculous things with your spouse like what's the best way to stir a bottle - clockwise or counter clockwise. You may find non-perishables in the refrigerator...like toothpaste. Like I said, things get crazy. Coffee can only do so much.

You know that scene in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy opens the door to Munchkin Land and everything turns from black and white to technicolor? That's how it feels the first time your baby sleeps through the night. 'Whoa! The world is beautiful! Has that water always been blue? Those are some ruby red slippers! Wait, that flower is really a munchkin's hat? What?!' I've watched the Wizard of Oz one too many times. I hope you have too because if not, that munchkin line may be a little strange for you. I can't help it, I never miss a good munchkin reference.

Keaton has been in his own room for close to two months now. We moved Claire into her room and crib a little after her one month milestone. We took longer with Keaton simply because we didn't want him to wake his sister in the next room if he woke up 3:00AM.

Do I love looking over at my sleeping baby next to me in his sleeper in the middle of the night? Yes, of course! Do I also like being able to sleep soundly through the night and if I happen to wake, look at my sweet sleeping babies in the monitor? Why yes, yes I do! Either way, I still get to look at my sleeping baby, but the second option gets us all better sleep and the odds of the toothpaste being in the fridge are a little lower.

There are a few other side benefits of moving Keats into his own room. Joey and I literally could not hear each other talk over the multiple sound machines located at each "sleep station" around the house. And at night we had one sound machine in our room for Keaton and Claire's sound machine blared over the monitor which we cranked up to hear over the in-room machine. Confused yet? We needed walkie talkies just to speak to each from one side of the bed to the other. 'What?! You want to go to the zoo? It's 11:00 at night! Oh...I love you too.' And heaven forbid the electricity blink out, startling us all awake with the default heartbeat setting. (Who uses that one anyway? It makes me feel like I'm in a horror film and brings my stress level up 500 notches.)

Another awesome thing is that I am no longer a hobo when it comes to getting ready. Prior to Keaton sleeping in his own room, one child was always sleeping near the place where you needed to shower or dry your hair. There was no safe zone. It was chaos getting ready. I couldn't remember where I left anything because I may have showered in the guest bathroom, dried my hair in the hallway, put on makeup in my bathroom and brushed teeth in the kitchen. It was the progressive dinners of getting ready. This may not bother some people, but I felt like I was losing my mind and all too often, my hairbrush.

We're also starting to settle into a semi-routine. I am learning how to juggle the schedules of a four month old and an almost two year old. Our house is beginning to look less like a bunch of babies had an all night frat party. For someone who craves order, this really helps my every day sanity. There are things that are still a whip, like getting out of the house and the bath/bed routine, but I feel like we have our head above water most of the time now. From what I can tell, there will always be tough stuff in each stage. We just started Keaton on solids and potty training for another someone is just around the corner (maybe, I'm still building up my own courage).

I have loved the last four months (Who am I kidding? I've been in a coma for the past year! Pregnancy does that to you.), but I am super excited about everything on the horizon. It's so much fun to have two kids in different stages because it doubles the excitment. One of them is always doing something fun. I wouldn't trade one sleepless night or coffee induced wake time for this. They make everything full of life and color and really, sometimes it's practical and doubly refreshing to keep your toothpaste in the fridge.

Friday, June 26, 2015

I Don't Know My Social and My Name is Epidural {Keaton's Delivery}

It's funny, despite delivering a baby roughly 18 months prior to having Keaton, I still forgot what to expect. Ok, I knew a lot more going into this delivery, but couldn't for the life of me remember what the days were like last time leading up to labor.

'Braxton Hicks versus real contractions'...I can't tell you the number of times I Googled this for BOTH pregnancies. 'Signs that you're in labor' - that was another one of my Google favorites. I really had few signs last time until my water broke. I didn't have to go through the wondering whether or not I was in labor and last time I assumed I would be right at my due date or after with a first baby. Instead, I was ten days early. This time I was afraid I was going to miss the cues. In my opinion (at least having had two kids), labor is not like remembering how to ride a bike. It's more like you know you're going get on something that will take you to the end point, you just don't know what kind of transportation you'll be using. Sure, it could be a bike like last time, but it could easily be a jet...or roller skates. You could have to hitchhike. I'm super analytical. Can you tell?

We were supposed to induce that Monday, a week before my due date, because of his size. He measured three weeks ahead for much of my pregnancy and with my history of previous gestational diabetes and Claire having been 8.6 pounds at ten days early, the doctor was thinking he would be at least a ten pounder if we waited until my due date. Turns out she was right.

My water broke again this time and a week early on Sunday. However, instead of a 6AM wake up call it was a 12:30AM alarm. What a difference this made! Instead of having a full night's sleep, we began labor on sleep fumes. Thankfully, my parents were already staying at our house that weekend and my mother-in-law came in a few days prior as well. Claire was well taken care of and we didn't have to worry about last minute preparations for her. This had been a big concern of mine. We made it to the hospital thirty minutes after my water broke, also completely different. Last time I got up and showered, shaved my legs, fixed my hair, put make up on, did a little online shopping...you get the picture. During my last several appointments my doctor stressed that we needed to get to the hospital immediately because of how progressed we were. I took this very seriously for a few different reasons.

First off, I wanted the epidural. This was a driving force for me. My pain tolerance isn't the best. I admire all you ladies who can labor for two days naturally, but I had to call uncle. Last pregnancy I got the epidural around a 7 and thank heavens because I didn't have the baby for seven more hours. It allowed me to rest and prepare for delivery instead of run into a wall to knock myself out. Mascara, clean hair, brushed teeth...these were all secondary concerns. I went into Operation Get Epidural mode. (P.S. I did brush my teeth)

And then there is the whole I-Don't-Want-My-Husband-to-Deliver-My-Baby-in-the-Car thing. Or at home. Again, kudos to those who have had home births. I second the words of Prissy from Gone With the Wind. "Miss Scarlett, I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' no babies!". Beyond putting a kettle of hot water on to boil, getting clean towels and some twine, I really wouldn't have a clue. (I may have watched too much Little House on the Prairie growing up and I don't think my husband has ever watched any so we would have really been in a bind. What if we couldn't find the twine?)

We peeled into the hospital parking lot. Parked and ran (ok, waddled) to the door. It was locked. A gracious person walking by told us we had to go around to the back. Last time we just walked in through the front door. We made it to the ER entrance to check in. I think I made everyone in the waiting room uncomfortable. By this time the contractions were getting pretty serious. They were coming very close together and strong so I was breathing like Darth Vadar on steroids. Every question they asked me I wanted to say 'Epidural, yes'.

After what felt like an eternity, they brought me a wheel chair and took me to the delivery room. Apparently, that night they had several women show up in labor. A lower pressure front moved in and everyone's water broke. The nurses seemed surprised that I was at a 7. Yeah, no kidding. Our main nurse also said that this was the lowest carrying of a baby at this point - whatever that means. Again, wasn't news to me. I was ready to have this baby and had been for a while.

Things were a whirl in the room and a nurse was asking me for things like my social security number and date of birth - over and over as it was mistakenly deleted after she typed it in - over and over. Were they going to ask me to walk a straight line next? I wanted to yell "Can't you see I'm having a baby here? I don't know my social and my name is Epidural!". Instead, I answered each question obediently through gritted teeth and Darth Vadar breaths. After all, these were the people with the meds.

That's when I heard it. My ears must have been tuned into the word. The nurses were off to the side in discussion and I overheard them say "I don't think she's going to be able to get the epidural in time." Joey told me later that he heard them say it too and he didn't have the heart to tell me. Wise man. I was in full on denial, kept asking for it and they said they were waiting on my labs to come back. I was trying to stay calm in between tracker jacker contractions, but all I could think was that it's going to get worse and wondering if anyone has passed out from pain during labor. Like I said, I was trying to stay calm and focused.

Maybe it was because I looked completely desperate or maybe they didn't think I was going to make it, but the the guy with the meds made a Superman appearance even though my lab results never did. I would imagine many a woman in labor would kiss that guy if she didn't have to remain stone still while the epidural was being injected. (It's amazing how you can make yourself sit still through a contraction when you know you are getting an epidural) And this time the epidural worked on both sides immediately. Sweet relief.

It was all gravy after that. Ok, maybe that's a stretch, but at least I had time to catch my breath for an hour or so before pushing. I also was able to calm down and think about what we were there for - meeting our sweet boy. We had Keaton within around three hours of arriving at the hospital. The nurses were all surprised at how big he was.

I remember hearing his robust cries and felt so relieved and happy. He's here and he's ok. They gave him to me and I was completely smitten. I got more skin-to-skin time with him than I did Claire. I think they took her away to get cleaned up pretty quickly. They let him stay with me as long as I wanted. It was a sweet time.

I just remember thinking about it in that moment and taking it all in - at least as much as I could grasp. This little person - has been inside me for the past nine months. This person didn't exist nine months ago. And then they just did and feel like they always have existed. It's crazy. It's overwhelming. It's all worth it. So worth it.