Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Me Me Me Meme

I saw this over at Smile, Play, Dream, and thought I would play along
  1. Five names you go by: Sierra, Mia, Mom, Seeester and Waaaaah!
  2. Three things you are wearing right now: Yoga pants, Tank Top and a smile
  3. Two things you want very badly at the moment: to be packed already, and the home remodel done when I get back.
  4. Three people who will probably fill this out or maybe will or maybe won’t: Tiffany, Shiloh, Tricia
  5. Two things you did last night: Dropped off Christmas gifts to neighbors and stayed up way too late.
  6. Two things you ate today: Rice Crispy Treats and Chicken Marinara Bake
  7. Two people you last talked to on the phone: Mom and Meadow
  8. Two things you are going to do tomorrow: Travel 3000 miles alone with 2 kids under 3yrs old, and sleep well when I get there.
  9. Two longest car rides: I drove 3705.54 miles from L.A. to Anchorage in 2005 when I was 5 months pregnant. Fun trip.
  10. Two of your favorite beverages: water with lemon and hazelnut latte.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas is Coming and Miracles Still Happen!

I am so excited about Christmas this year. I would tell you all about the fantastic Thanksgiving... but without photos per our camera mishap, it just isn't the same. Let's just say that we gobbled till we wobbled and we enjoyed great company and good eats till the wee hours of the morning.

It was great to be able to stay in town to cut down on travel time for my maiden voyage on Black Friday. Let me just preface by saying that I don't think that 4am should exist. Before kids, I knew it as curfew and it sucked then. After kids I know it as feeding time or messy sick kid time and that sucks even more. But today, I knew it as fight the crowds and get all the shopping done time. That sucked too, but I was able to get all my goodies and I even managed to do so with some holiday cheer.

My friend and I slipped into her little sedan and zipped off to Toys R Us in the wee hours of the morning. Of course at 4am, we were completely unaware of the obvious flaw in our plan. I was out to get all the really BIG presents grandma wanted to get the girls without having to pay shipping, and my friend was out with a HUGE list to shop for her 3 kids. We made it all the way back to the car with our carts overflowing with boxes before we realized the error of our ways.

But, never underestimate mommy power. We somehow managed to get 6 huge boxes of diapers, an exersaucer, a toy kitchen, 2 go-go baby sit-to-stand giraffes, 2 packs of bateries, 2 baby dolls, 3 canisters of various animals, a dress-up treasure chest, 4 activity and bedtime books, an art box set, a large bag of doggie toys, 2 gallons of milk and a bicycle into the vehicle. There may have been more, but that is all I can remember from the groggy hours and extensive shopping lists.

I'm sure that without an act of mercy, it wouldn't have happened. Sadly, many of the boxes did become casualties of the fight and I'm sure we weren't traveling legally as we couldn't see out of any back or side windows but the drivers and front windshield. But I believe it was a true miracle that we arrived home in safety.

Of course when we went to pull out a man in the giant ford truck parked next to us comes out with his little dvd and video game and just shakes his head at the two clown-like girls crammed into a Saturn with WAY TOO MUCH CHRISTMAS to be practical or frugal in any way. He just shook his head and laughed... a good merry laugh, and I'm sure he wasn't the only one. Though, I wasn't able to see too well to know for sure. :)

I do hope yall had a happy turkey day and that your thoughts are in the spirit of Christmas as you go through your planning and holiday preparations.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thought Provoking & Contravercial Part 1

I'm not too big on getting behind a cause because I'm not so sure my beliefs are right. What I am sure of, is that the freedom to decide what is right for one's self has been bought with a great price and makes America an amazing country with limitless opportunity. I appreciate the diversity in ideas and opinions, and have even grown to love good discussion with people of differing opinions... so long as we can all be respectful.

I do however understand that there are some things worth fighting for. And despite various extremes in the beliefs of what is "right" or "wrong," I have to stand on the basic rule of humanity: Treat others how you want to be treated. When any issue comes up, I ask myself one question, "would this position victimize anyone?"

Now I have to define victim here because I don't want there to be any confusion. A victim is someone who has been harmed by someone or something else through no choice or consequence of their own doing. For the sake of this post, I am focusing on victims of other people's action or inaction rather than victims of circumstance, accident, disease or natural disaster.

Some issues create no victims no matter which position you choose, like the issue of religion; no matter which one you have or whether you even have one really doesn't victimize anyone. Some issues, however, create many victims no matter which position you choose.

Take defining gay marriage for example. I can honestly see both sides of the argument, and have decided it is more about personal beliefs than civil rights and both positions create victims. It's a beast anyway you look at it and victimizes no matter how you define marriage. Both sides would impose one personal belief on everyone... and THAT, I am pretty confident, creates victims. For that reason, I am against both sides. My current position is that marriage should remain a religious institution and has no place in government, schools or the workplace. Neither does sexual orientation for that matter.

For the record I have NO problem with homosexuality or homosexual behavior so long as it is not victimizing anyone. I don't even have a problem with gay marriage. I just don't like haveing marriage defined in the constitution. I can't see how commitments or actions between two consenting adults is anyones business but their own or how it could be a threat to anyone outside that commitment. I make no apologies about my belief on this matter. However, if you do see a victim and disagree, I welcome your insight and perspective. But you gotta talk my language or I get confused. Please do so in relation to my one question. What I really wanna know is how does your position protect or prevent victims?

I have a feeling that we haven't seen the end to this debate.

Now, I'm not as much of an all or nothing kind of gal as I used to be and have discovered that some issues really do have varying degrees of possibilities when it comes to taking a stand. But once a position is proposed as an amendment or an act of congress, it is an all or nothing kind of thing. You either accept all laws that come with it or you reject them all. And that choice may create a clear victim or victims. But I'm tired now and must provide an example of this in part 2.

Edited for clarification:

To be continued...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thought Provoking & Contraversial Part 2

Please Read Part 1 before continuing on...

On the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), it is obviously more about civil rights than it is about personal beliefs, but this monster has a lot of heads too, and they bite everyone. I see abortion in general as a conflict between the rights of a mother and the rights of her child. The questions are: Who is the victim? when are they victimized? and What needs to be done to protect them? For the record, I believe that abortion is NOT a harmless form of birth control because no matter how it is done, it always produces a victim. But it's not about what I believe.

I do feel a great deal of compassion for women in the desperate circumstance of unwanted pregnancy, and think their rights should be protected. In fact, more should be done to educate all women on healthy options for birth control, to ensure that all pregnant women have access to medical care and nutrition for a healthy, full-term pregnancy, and to facilitate adoptions for those who so choose. But that is not what FOCA is about.

People make bad choices all the time and suffer the consequences, but they are not victims. In America, when someone’s bad choices harm someone else, there are legal consequences designed to restrict their rights enough to protect the innocent and discourage that kind of behavior in the future. I'm not saying that everyone who has had or performed an abortion should lose all their rights or go to jail, that would create more victims still. But I have every conviction that a fertile woman choosing to have sex chooses a potential pregnancy and is not a true victim simply for suffering the natural consequences of her decision.

With abortion, we have forever altered that natural consequence in favor of the stronger more able person (s), and victims are harmed every time. With FOCA, it would be easier than ever to look the other way as human suffering takes place and lives are smothered out or harmed forever. FOCA would erase laws that protect women against misinformation regarding the risks and gravity of the decision to abort. FOCA would erase laws that protect minors from manipulation or bullying by people who are not out for their best interest. FOCA would erase laws that protect parents of minors from not only being restricted from the decision-making process regarding a medical procedure, but also from having to pay for a procedure that may not be in the best interest of their daughter. FOCA would also erase laws that protect women from all the dangers and risks of receiving abortion procedures from unlicensed physicians.

Granted, even with laws as they stand, it is difficult to prove deception, manipulation, bullying or malpractice to identify the woman as the clear victim, but FOCA would erase any and all current laws in place to protect victims of these situations and even prevent states from enacting similar or better laws in the future.

As if that wasn't enough reason to oppose it, FOCA also compels taxpayer funding for abortions and forces faith-based hospitals and other private health care facilities to offer and perform abortions under the veil of a woman’s right to choose abortion. That opens up a whole different can of victims by imposing on religious beliefs and private enterprise. And I haven't even gotten to the most obvious victim of this act.

The obvious victim with abortion is always the baby, the only questions here are: When is a baby considered to be "someone?" and How much harm is done before the victim dies? FOCA would erase any and all laws protecting the baby from painful abortions at any stage of pregnancy, so long as a physician determines or ensures that the baby isn't viable, or that the mother's health is at risk in any way. This would include full-term babies, and even babies that survive horrific suffering for hours, days or even a lifetime after botched abortions. FOCA would inevitably erase any and all rights of any unwanted baby so long as its mother “chooses” to have a doctor terminate it before it is naturally delivered.

That's opens too many doors to victimize people in my book, and some legal regulations should be instituted to minimize suffering and protect the innocent. I am not sure which regulations need to be made, but I am convinced that removing ALL regulations on abortion would lead to immeasurable suffering, allow for pregnant minors, parents of pregnant minors, pregnant women and all unwanted babies to be more easily victimized by profiteers and bullies, and potentially lead to murder in cases where late term abortion attempts fail and a live "someone" is born and denied the necessary care to sustain life. I CANNOT support an act that would permit so much human suffering and death in the name of choice.

If this is a stand you feel you can make, please go to the Fight FOCA website and get involved. If you aren't sure where to stand on this issue, I encourage you to do the research and decide for yourself. If you stand on the side supporting this act, I welcome your insight and am open to new information that may help me further understand and clarify the point at which true victims are created and encourage discussion as to what could be done to protect them.

Some helpful sources:

Freedom of Choice Act: Entire Downloadable Document

NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Right to Life
Planned Parenthood
or just Google FOCA and get a virtual library of literature and opinions from everyone who has something to say about it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So It's Been a While

Heya friendly bloggers,

Sorry it has been so long since I've posted anything. We've had a death in the electronic family and I have been too bumbed to post the happenings without photos. Yeah, I know! The digital camera crapped out on us and right in the middle of our big family vacation down to see EVERYONE in the lower 48. I'm heartbroken to say the least, but Christmas will be long enough to mourn before we get a spankin new one with all the bells and whistles. :)

So the vacation was awesome. We had a great time and send many thanks to all the family and friends that made heroic efforts to accommodate us and our crazy crew. It looks like we may be headed back to Portland just before Christmas, but we gotta make sure Daddy Warbucks has enough airmiles to make it all happen. I'm not looking forward to traveling alone with the girls again, but sacrifices must be made so I can escape some of the hard winter... yeah, I know, Portland isn't quite the escape most people think of, but my mom doesn't live in Puerto Vaillarta. Dangit!

Anyway, the girls traveled really well and grams and gramps were really good to us. Kaia really enjoyed the Portland Zoo, Circus Circus Adventure Dome and playing with all her grandparents and cousins. Mekayla didn't care much and slept through most of it.

One fantastic thing that came from this trip is that we had plenty of hands to help with the transition from breast feeding to bottle feeding. Mekayla's poor little belly was just having a tough time with my milk, I cut everything out of my diet and still no help for the littles. So we are now on a soy-based formula with added rice and a shot of Mylacon and we have a whole new baby. She still spits, but not nearly as much as she used to and she seems a lot less anxious and rarely clenches her fists in pain anymore. It's amazing what diet can do for personality. :)

Halloween was so much fun, but again, no pictures. Which is really tragic because the whole family dressed up. Ben was Shrek, I was Fiona and the girls were little monsters. WAY CUTE. I'll see what I can get from our friends who took pix and post something for the record. That totally bums me out! I'm just glad the "treats" part of Halloween is finally over.

I have been tightening up on the "treats" I used to let slide and have officially signed up for the gym. I figured that when Ben is gone, I was dumping about $10 / visit on Carl's Jr. just so that I could get a break from Kaia and she could play with other kids. The Alaska club has a play center and it only costs $6 for both girls to be there for 2 whole hours to myself. You can't put a price on sanity! Plus, I'm getting my exercise and LOVING IT!!! Every last danged minute of it is FANTASTIC! and you can bet I wait till the very last minute to pick up the kids. Not because I don't love and miss them, but because I wanna make sure every penny counts.

Now, about counting, I've got a bone to pick about electoral votes. I really feel like my vote doesn't count. They called the presidential election hours before the polls even closed here. Heck, they didn't even make it to Colorado before McCain gave hes consession speech. Now I know that Obama won the popular vote too, but I wish they would have waited to declare it at least till I felt like my vote was in the mix. Anyway, congrats to all who are pleased with the outcome, my condolances to the rest of us. Now that it's over, we can unite in praying for our new president elect and that he will make decisions that will be good for our great nation. Here's hopin!

Well, since we've been back, I've started up the Mom's club book group and we had our first get together. It was nice, and I think that since more and more moms know who I am now and have been to my house, I will get more and more participation. That's right... dag-on-it, people like me.

This was especially good for my huge going out of business sale for Pure Romance. Can you believe I had nearly $5000 in bedroom accessories just sitting in my garage. Yeah, it would take a 100 lifetimes to take full advantage of that and we just don't keep that busy at our house. :) So, I had a little bash and unloaded at least 1/2 of it at screamin deals... like my cost or less. If anyone is interested, just shoot me an e-mail for a complete list of what is left and I will get it right to ya.

Well, Ben is headed back up to the slope and that sucks. It's always tough on the kids when he has to go. It's tough on me too, but I just slip into survival mode and keep my head down till he gets back. I'm hoping that between the gym and my mom's club, we will be mostly destracted and get through it without too much anxiety or drama.

Take care all and until next time... Ciao baby!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Hand Gesture

You Are an “A-OK”

Your life philosophy can be summed up as, “Whatever will be, will be.”

Your greatest wish is to live each day a little better than the last.

You are naturally calm and stable. Some people would call you a rock.

You feel one with the world. You are a spiritual person, though no one who knows you would guess it.

A Meme of 7's

I got tagged by Kendi so here goes:)

7 things I can do:
1. plan and pack for a 3-day weekend for 4 in less than an hour
2. eat a whole roll of oreos in one sitting
3. make cute babies, and keep em alive
4. manage a crisis
5. clean house all day and still have mess when the day is over
6. a kayak roll
7. eat with chopsticks

7 things I can't do
1. stay at home for more than 1 day at a time
2. eat slimy textures
3. keep my kids clean and dressed
4. manage a schedule
5. grow a successful garden... I planted 72 seeds in the spring and harvested only 1 pea... and the dog ate it. I've got plans for a new garden location and a better methods next year.
6. enjoy getting out of bed in the morning
7. color my own hair

7 things that attracted me to Ben
1. his silly giggle
2. his natural leadership
3. his integrity
4. his kisses
5. his wink and cheesy grin
6. his outdoor savvy
7. his groundedness and manliness

7 things I say most often
1. You're so silly!
2. Kaia, leave your sister ALONE!
3. One, Two...
4. Are you ok?
5. SHHHHH! Use your inside voice!
6. Good job!
7. Watcha doin?

7 Celebrity admirations
1. Oprah-- gives back and inspires others
2. Lance Armstrong-- overcome great odds
3. Susan G. Koman-- dedication for a cause that makes a difference
4. Dr. Oz- knowledge of health and fitness
5. Sponge Bob Square Pants-- sincere love and appreciation for the simple things
6. Alison Vincent-- the biggest loser lost 112 lbs mostly on her own.
7. Ekhart Tolle-- inspirational author with a positive message

7 favorite foods
1. chocolate
2. ice cream
3. grilled salmon
4. cheesecake
5. gourmet pizza
6. Tillamook caramel corn puffs
7. pit fruit (nectarines, plums, peaches, apricots, avocados, olives and all nuts)

7 people I tag
Well, if there are 7 people who read this blog that haven't been tagged... you're it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

We Won The Lottery!!!

Well, we technically didn't win, but our friends did and gave us all the gold! Each year Denali National Park only allows 400 personal vehicles to travel the entire 97 mile length of the Denali Park Road and they hold a road lottery to determine which 400 get to go. It's outrageous! It costs $10/ ticket and you aren't guaranteed the specific date you request as only 100 cars are allowed each day over a 4-day "weekend." Even if you win, you still have to pay the $45 for the day pass and redeem it by 12pm the day of your lottery winning. But it is WORTH IT!Ben's friends had somehow scored 12 tickets and won 2 passes and invited us to join them for a spectacular journey through one of the most amazing places on earth. I can't imagine enduring that trip the way everyone else has to... by 16-hr-super-expensive-and-crazy-bumpy bus ride. It was nice to have the privacy, comfort and pace of driving our own vehicle. I'm certain that we wouldn't have another chance like this and we took full advantage.
It was incredible, almost like something out of a Dr. Seuss illustration. The bushes were purple, the trees were the most amazing golds and fluorescent greens, and the contrast of the fresh snowfall over the turquoise glaciers and black craggy cliffs were out-of-this-world SPECTACULAR! Photographs never do it justice, and the grand scale of the place is just unbelievable.I love being in places where I feel so small and yet so much a part of everything. The beauty of the wilderness always gives me a sense of connectedness and gratitude for life and the creator of it all. What an amazing experience to share with the family! Well, Kaia may remember it for all the wildlife we saw. But, I am sure that Mekayla just hated being in the car that long. I just hope that I get to bring both my girls back here someday to enjoy it how I enjoyed it.
We started the trip with keeping a wildlife tally in our heads. It didn't take long to discover that paper would be a much better method. At the end of the trip we had the luck of seeing 1 Red Fox, 1 American Beaver, 1 North American Porcupine, 2 Collared Pika, 2.5 Snowshoe Hares (one road kill that was being eaten by ravens to account for the .5), 3 Bald Eagles, 5 Mountain Goats, 6.5 Arctic Ground Squirrels, 8 Moose, 9 Grizzly Bears, 13 Dall Sheep, 18 Caribou and countless unidentifiable birds of prey riding the thermals along the steep mountainsides.

I did get a few wildlife shots, but my zoom isn't powerful enough to tell what is what. For more info and photos of Denali National Park, click here

Saturday, September 6, 2008

More Kid Pix

So the fam has been buggin' me for Kid pix. Here are a few to hold yall over till we get to see ya. Here's Kaia, pb face and all.

More fun Kaia. What a sport.

Here's Mekayla's sort-of smile with her little dimple.

Here's a good one of her normal attentiveness and a bit of concern... She is such a serious baby. A big yawn.

Here's the tail end of a little giggle.

Another Owie and Another Sleepless Night

So we had another trip to the Urgent Care center at about 5 o'clock last night. Kaia and I were outside working in the yard and she took off her shoes... a major no-no in our yard... and stepped on a rusty, inch-long, trim staple sticking out of a rotting piece of wood. It's amazing what kind of stuff got stirred up in our landscaping efforts.

Anyway, Kaia is on anti-biotics and we are doing an epson salt soak every few hours to try and draw out the infection... which is impossible to avoid with puncture wounds like these. So far, she is being a trooper and toughing it out. But it is so pathetic to see her scoot or hop around the house trying to avoid putting any pressure on her owie. It looks like she is going to pull through yet another dangerous adventure on mommy's watch.

Onto other news, I can't sleep anymore. I think it started with the frustrations of bedrest and pregnancy, then the newborn demands, but now, I don't know what it is. I know I am tired. I know I am in desperate need of the rest. My body lays down, but my mind just keeps on spinning. Sometimes to a beat and sometimes so rapid-fire that I can't even catch up. I've tried meditation... that is only more and more frustrating as my meditation becomes the base line of my never-ending concert of thoughts. At about 4am I gave up and got some house work done. Of course, by the time I was ready to crash, Kaia was up and demanding immediate attention for her owie.

Poor kids... I'm gonnna try not to be worthless today, but my attempt may be futile.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Day of Doctors

Yesterday was largely spent running around town visiting doctors. First on the agenda was my 6-week check-up where, upon checking in, Kaia spewed chunks all over the lobby carpet. Now, most would see this as a sure sign of a new cold virus, of which I would have no business bringing her into an OB clinic with expecting and new mommies and infants. However, this is far more scary.

On Wednesday afternoon, Kaia climbed up onto the bathroom counter and tried swinging from the hand towel hardware. Of course it broke free from the wall tossing my little 2-year old onto her head... on a tile floor. The crash was sickening and I knew it was going to be serious. I did as every mother would do... examine for signs of trauma. No broken bones, no bleeding, no bruising and no bumps. But a LOT of tears, followed by a lot of whimpering and a very unusual nap, which is all really unlike Kaia.

So, I got scared and decided a more experienced exam should take place to rule out any serious injury. By the time we got to the urgent care center, Kaia seemed back to her normal self. I explained the situation and the doc sent us home with instructions to watch her behavior and bring her back on Thursday.

So with the new development of the vomiting at my doctors office, it was time to return to the urgent care doctor, who sent us to the radiologist, who sent us back to the urgent care doctor. Turns out the CT scan showed no bruising, swelling, tearing or bleeding on her brain... Whew! Such a relief.

Also, today her appetite has returned with a vengeance and no more vomiting... which is FABULOUS! Unfortunately, I think that my little Mekayla may have picked up a little bug at one of these many doctor's offices because she was up EVERY HOUR last night. I am exhausted, but at least everyone is ok.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tis the Political Season

I usually don't get too wrapped up in politics, mostly because nobody on any ticket ever really excited me. Never mind the fact that no matter who or what I vote for, I don't seem to get my way. However, I have been following the presidential candidates with mild interest and did get excited about McCain's surprise pick for running mate.
Sarah Palin is a home-town girl... not to mention a MY-TOWN girl... AND is a woman I can relate to. NOT your typical politician... and certainly not your typical Republican. She has done good things honestly in the state of Alaska and has even taken on some pretty big Republican dynasties of corruption in an "oil state" without batting an eye. I'm sure she isn't perfect, but damn if she isn't getting thrown under the bus!

Quite honestly, I am appalled by the total lack of respect and compassion the media has shown regarding her personal life, which so far, has NOTHING to do with her character or her ability to fulfill the Vice President responsibilities. But what really bothers me is the "shock and awe" attack she is getting from WOMEN on BOTH sides of the political ball field!

I know that not every woman will agree with all of her political choices... in fact, I'm one of them. And, I'm sure that she has made her share of mistakes. But it doesn't take a genius to see that the media is being really unfair to her and her family. I hate to pull out the "woman" card, but there is totally a double standard here that even women appear to be supporting.

Is it jealousy, or just plain self-righteous bitchiness that drives this kind of bitterness? I don't get it. Why can't everyone focus on what matters and stop picking her apart for her perceived "failures" as a mother? Why would anyone, especially women, doubt or even consider her ability to be a professional AND a mother when determining her ability to be Vice President? They didn't ask any other candidate in the history of the country if he could be a professional AND a father!

Don't they know that even full-time-stay-at-home mommies can't manage every decision their children make? Heck, I can't even get my toddler to follow my lead, and I'm still bigger and smarter than she is... well, at least bigger for sure. I just don't see the relevance here.

And, just for the record, that idiot who tried to draw the correlation by asking "Why would we trust her to manage the country when she can't even manage her own family?" obviously NEVER had kids. That guy's an ass!

For more Palin info go to her official Bio or this latest press release

Sunday, August 31, 2008

While The Cat's Away...

I think that Kaia has figured out that Mommy tolerates a LOT more than Daddy does when it comes to play time and messes. I don't like the messes, but some things are just messes and not worth getting all bent up about... THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM!

While posting the last blog, Kaia found her way here. Literally, only 10 feet away from me, but behind my back. I would have found her eventually... like when I turned around... but what gave her away was the smell of the Listerine she had sprayed from her lofty perch all over my entire kitchen! What's ironic is that it was placed there to be out of her reach.
Dang if that girl isn't sneaky! I figure if I can hear her, she's safe... well, not any more!

Just in case you are wondering, our building permit was approved and we will be starting the addition to remove those stairs before winter. Also, the Listerine was in the spray bottle because it is a good mosquito repellent. Mix it 1 part Listerine to about 10 parts water in a spray bottle and it works like a charm. Much better than OFF, but still not fun to have all over the kitchen.

Summer in a Blink

Wow! It seems like spring came in like a lion and went out with autumn on it's tail. It's already fall and I really don't think there was much summer to speak of. I don't think we saw temperatures over 70 but maybe once and now the leaves are changing colors and floating to the ground. It will be snowing again in no time and I'm not sure I'm ready for it.

I know I have been totally inconsistent with my blogging, but hey, things are a bit hectic on my own here and I do what I can. Here are a few of the adventures we have enjoyed this summer.

From a little before my last post to date, we have enjoyed the following:

A really big bug, that I still haven't had a chance to look up and identify. But was not willing to pick up bare handed for obvious reasons. This is a gloved hand and the bug is held by a "stinger" that is longer than my index finger... You can see it sticking out under my thumb in the bottom right corner.
A trip to the U-pick farm... which was well picked before we got there, but we did get some peas. This was a family event that Ben enjoyed with us before heading up to the slope and yes, we know, that is a really big wagon for just a couple of peas (we had bigger hopes of more veggies)

A trip to the Alaska State Fair... which I braved on my own... with both girls on a rainy day. :) Yup, I've had better ideas, but this worked out ok and Kaia had a blast. Here is a photo of a weird guy with a cabbage fetish. He is palming a normal cabbage, the cabbage next to him weighs over 100 lbs.
Kaia had a blast on the rides. It took everything I had to drag her away from them. Luckily she was barely tall enough to ride all the rides and most of them didn't require an adult.
And my new-found luxury just 5 miles down the road that will help us through the winter... BOUNCIN' BEARS! They should replace every Starbucks with one of these! It's a 2-12 year old air-gym paradise where they actually enforce rules for safety and sanitation... The place is litterally cleaned 3 times a day with a bleach solution. FAN-TAS-TIC!
A few other developments to attempt a new balance and sanity in the chaos that is a new-born in the fam:

I have become increasingly more active in my mom's club... I am now the new book club coordinator, which is kind of funny considering that I've never been much of a reader. But I find that it is a great way to get some adult time and get a little escape in my day that is just for me. I just read Eat, Love, Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert and am excited about launching my new dynasty as the coordinator with a party at my place on the 16th of this month. I've never even belonged to a book club, so we shall see how things go. It should be interesting, stay tuned for a report.

With the mom's club, I've also start up a monthly play date at my place to finish projects and visit with any mom's club members that want to show up. If there is anyone in the area that isn't with mom's club, you are still invited. It will be at my place on Friday the 17th.

I also decided to stop selling Pure Romance. It was fun while it lasted, but has turned into a money pit for me. Not to mention the fact that this market is SO OVERSATURATED with home party businesses... not necessarily the adult variety, but I haven't had much luck here and my activity status lapsed months ago. The funny thing is that now I have about $5000 in inventory of which I could NEVER take full advantage. SO, I am going to sell everything off at my cost... 40-60% off and hope that my going out of business sale goes well. If you are interested, send me an e-mail and I will get you a list of inventory and the prices. I'm willing to send stuff out with a $5 flat rate for shipping. Just let me know by Oct. 24th.

So that's my summer in a blink. Here and gone and already fall.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Holding Down the Fort

Ok. Since Ben has returned to work, the following has taken place in my home.

Kaia dumped an entire bottle of soap down the toilet, filling it to the rim with bubbles, used an entire bottle of shampoo on the dog and slicked the bathroom floor with about an inch of water, pooped in the toilet once, followed by another equally impressive poop in her pants which was later smeared all over the kitchen counter as she attempted to give herself a bath in the sink.

There was one vomiting episode by Kaia and several from Mekayla... Mekayla's are more spit-up in mass quantity than actual vomit, but Kaia's is a direct result from drinking the bath-water which, no doubt was also used to wash the dog and which she has been counseled NOT to upon threat of immediate end to bath time and the revoking of bath-toy privileges on more than one occasion.

The dog peed a marathon pee on the top stair and carpet... which leaked down every subsequent stair, down the bottom beam and onto the refrigerator, and floor beneath the stairs, tore up the insulation seal around the front door, 2 cardboard boxes left on the front porch and a pair of work gloves all of which I have not had the privilege of telling Ben about yet.

All of this on top of the regular messes and demands of caring for a toddler and newborn on a full-time basis. You would think that I was a negligent mom, but they are both fed, not clothed, but warm and protected from the elements, and they are for the most part very happy. I count this as a HUGE success and the fact that I can take time to write this now only means that I am hanging on to a bit more than a thread of sanity, Mekayla is asleep and Kaia is quietly up to something messy in the kitchen... ut oh, I better go see what she is up to.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Fitness Adventure: Another Chapter

So, this last pregnancy did not treat me nearly as well as the first and I gained a whopping 76.5 lbs. Yes, it is terribly sad, but terribly true as well. The only reason I admit this embarrassing fact is that I have begun a new chapter in my fitness adventure. After my smashing success of losing the 104 lbs in 2006, I gained all but 3 lbs of it back by mid 2008.

I attribute most of this to the fact that I lost that weight by drastically cutting calories and eating imbalanced meal plans that left me feeling deprived and hanging on to 1 and 2lb weight loss by my fingernails. The sad truth is that I never developed a really healthy lifestyle. Yes, I was more active in my youth, but I was never really healthy. Now that I've had a few kids and a few years on me, my metabolism just aint what it used to be.

SO, all that prefacing and now the point. I have joined myfooddiary.com and am trying to learn the healthy living habits that I have neglected for far too long. It is a great program that appeals to my obsessive side and requires that I enter all of my foods and exercise in an on-line system. It's been slow getting started because I am learning which foods are really nutrient-rich and the portions in which to keep my carbos, fats and proteins in balance.

Overall, I am pleased with it and am actually quite surprised at how easy it is to live a normal life and still lose weight in a healthy way. The thing is that I will keep losing weight until I reach my healthy equilibrium and it will be a life-long change... not to rebound in just 2 years.

I've had some great success so far and am ready to admit my past failures in the hopes that it will help someone else with the same battles to fight. I have officially lost 35.5 lbs since Mekayla's arrival, and I'm feeling optimistic that this trend will continue... I'm sure not as quickly due to the extreme water weight that just flushed itself out, but I like this direction and expect it to continue.

As far as the program goes, it is doable. I stayed under calories today BY ONE! How does that happen? What are the chances that I would consume exactly 1799 calories? I'm just glad I'm under, I will take that 1 calorie margin and be proud as hell about it.

I also got some smilies for eating my fiber, vitamins and minerals, but nowhere near the perfect 12 that my obsessive personality wants to see. The sad part is that I don't really care too much right now. In fact, I almost have a feeling of spite about not getting them all. Take that healthy eating plan! I'm going to be imperfect and enjoy it! I don't know what that is going to accomplish. But that is the way that I feel. A far cry from the guilt and self-loathing that came with botching the other diets I've been on.

I don't know if this crazy attitude is anxiety about hubby going back up to work, frustration that I'm restricted by my parental responsibilities, or just plain exhaustion. Maybe a little of each. Either way, it's something that has to be addressed in a different way or things are going to peter out here really quick... or head to utter chaos.

I got 20 minutes of chores in and said "Screw it! Let there be MESS!" I really don't give a crap today. My best mess solution is to just get out of the house. Luckily we blew a transformer in our kitchen light and decided to make a family day of shopping 3 different stores to buy a new fixture. All of this with 2 kids is a workout in and of itself, but not really anything I can count and be proud of. I find myself making the all-too-convenient excuses.

Having a kid stuck to my boobie, shouldn't excuse as much as I let it. I swear that kid is going to suck my will to live right out my left nipple. I seriously don't know how I did this for 7 months with Kaia. But it is still no excuse to let everything go as I have done. It is time to start instituting some structure in our daily existence. It's time I start being more intentional about what happens when, because I am not getting anything done and Ben is going to be gone for the next 2 weeks... this is going to be tough. If I survive, it will be by the skin of my teeth.

As challenging as it is to find the balance in my new parameters of motherhood, there have been some big successes. Mekayla did fall asleep for about 2 hours allowing us to stroll her down to the lake for a bit. She slept while the rest of us played some fetch with the dog... at least HE got a good workout in... and it was nice to do something other than diapers and feeding.

And, if nothing else, the lake trip was good for comic relief. After about 10 minutes of warning Kaia not to go too close to the edge of the dock, Ben miss-stepped and went in the drink. I wasn't quite sure if I should laugh, or offer to help in some way. The look on his face as he realized there was nothing he could do to stop it was classic. Then he disappeared in frantic splashing before popping back up on the dock in total confusion.

After witnessing the whole event, and finding him dripping into a pool of muddy water, Kaia just had to ask the obvious "Daddy go whimming?" I'm sure she was totally confused as to why he would take a swim after warning her relentlessly about how dangerous the water was. I'm still not sure how it happened, but he was a good sport about it, and thank heaven's too because I don't know if I could have held in the laughter that was just screaming to come out.

Overall, it wasn't a bad day, but I think I am due for a little ME time... thus the blogging. Although, had I been more motivated, this time would have been spent on the treadmill. Take that you wretched fitness machine!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Off-Road Fiasco

So I promised a post about the Off-Road Adventure that took Hubby and Kaia into the wee hours of the morning... 4am to be exact. Here are a few pix to help tell the story.

Wednesday night Ben got a call from his buddy to go help recover a Ranger from out at the glacier (20 mile off-road trip). Apparently, the guy tried crossing the river in a bad place and his rig floated downstream and flipped.
The guy offered $1600 to fetch it, so off they go into the night only to return at 4am with mud-covered rigs and NO Ranger. Not to mention the fact that my kid comes back wearing nothing but a diaper to her knees (clearly not changed all day), a peanut butter/sand concoction all over her face and a crazy hairdo like she's coming off a 2-day crack binge! And sure, that is the perfect example of a snuggle buddy honey, throw her right in between the sheets just like she is!

Well, we recovered from Wednesday and had planned to make a family camping trip out of it this weekend. Unfortunately, the kids got sick... throw-up sick... and I thought it irresponsible to take them out in the rain for hours on end while the boys try again to recover this rig. Though I was really looking for a way to feel okay about being irresponsible, I couldn't do it. So Ben went without us, and had a great time wheelin' around in the mud.
Anyway, long story getting longer, Ben went back out there and swamped our jeep... AGAIN! I have decided that it is a "Family Recreation" activity and I need to be there to keep Hubby from turning wheels-up in the river too. Here's the picture that had me questioning my hubby's judgment. What gets me is the expression on our dog's face with water only inches from the bottom of the window... in a lifted jeep on 35" tires! That water must have been a good 4 feet deep! UGH!
The good news is that they were able to recover the Ranger, the damage is minimal and Ben already has practice pulling out the upholstery in that rig as this is the second time he has swamped it. Even better news is that now we have some extra cash and all the parts to put a snorkel on the jeep so we don't have to run the risk of permanent engine damage. So far, we have been really lucky, but our luck will run out sometime and I just want to be prepared as possible.

All I gotta say is that I would have been furious if Ben had pulled that crap with me and my babies in the rig. I'm still a little ticked that he swamped it the first time with me and Kaia in the rig nearly 2 years ago... and I'm not even a grudge holder. I guess things could have been a lot worse and I should be grateful.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Really Tough Place

So here is a dilemma that has been on my mind for a few days and I thought I would put it out there in the blog sphere for some feedback. As many of you are like-minded mommies, this is a really tough spot to be in, and I would like your advice.

Since I was a little girl, I believed in the concept of "starting over." We moved around a lot and as part of my mom's attempt to help us cope, she taught me that it was an opportunity to learn from my mistakes and go to a new place where nobody would know about them. It was a beautiful concept in line with my Christian upbringing, and I really liked the idea of a "clean slate."

As I got older and made bigger and bigger mistakes, I learned that the "clean slate" concept is a really tough place to get to when everyone is throwing it back in your face. I guess that is part of the reason I get so excited about the big scary adventures like the one that brought me to the last frontier. In my experience, I learned to forgive and forget. Move on from the mistakes made and learned from and accept everyone despite their past.

For a long time, I didn't know or associate with anyone that challenged that way of being in the world. But that all ended recently when an ex-con requested membership in our off-road club. It was an issue brought up in a club meeting and was handled pretty delicately. This man made some really bad decisions for about 5 years and created a really big mess for himself. Fortunately, there is no criminal history past 1999, but his past is something that concerns me when deciding weather or not to accept him into our group.

I guess I don't have enough information and am in a tough place of knowing that it really isn't my business to know the details... I probably don't want to know the details anyway, but for the safety of my children, I need to know what this guy did to get a "sexual abuse of a minor second degree" felony under his belt. It sounds awful, but it could be that he was 18 with a 15 year old girlfriend. Unfortunately, I'm thinking he was in his 30's when he was charged and found guilty so that "best case scenario" is a bit far fetched.

With cases like this, I've heard that criminals of this nature cannot be rehabilitated. No amount of time in prison will "cure" them of their impulses, and despite how much he may want to, he can't learn from his mistake and never repeat it again.

If that is really the case I won't put my children at risk for that. What is worse is that despite how much I would want to forgive him and let him have his "clean slate" with me, a complete stranger to him, I don't want to be on guard every time he is around. I don't want to wonder what kind of horrible things he has done and completely forget about the fact that he has paid his debt to society and is trying to start over just as I have done many times.

Had it been anything else, Robbery, Grand Theft Auto, even Domestic Violence or a DUI resulting in a death would be something I could get over. But this is not something that has been proven to be a one-time gig with any offender, and I do perceive a real threat to the safety of my baby girls, even though I don't know the details.

There may come a time when the club will make a motion to vote this guy into our group, and I am at a loss as to how best to handle it. My comment to the club was that "so long as my children aren't at risk, I think we should give this guy a chance." The problem is that knowing now that my children may very well be at risk, I don't want to give this guy a chance to hurt them. That instinct is much stronger than my intention to give him a chance for a clean slate.

I guess the question is What would you do?

Landscaping: Alaska Style

They say everything is bigger and badder in AK, and I think that they might be right. At least I'm sure the mosquitoes are bigger and badder. For the first time in months, I have been feeling up to getting my hands dirty. I spent a good 4 hrs digging in the dirt, moving around rocks and stumps and salvaging the flowers in the plow zone.

Ben rented a dozer to level out our land for our addition and the landscaping plan for our new back yard... which is to be fenced for child and canine containment ASAP! Right now, the property is a giant gravel site. But at least it is flat and we have eliminated the low spots that proved to be mud bogs during this year's break up (Alaskan for spring). There are some things that just need to be done, and I consider this one of them. It did cost us a pretty penny to get everything rented, delivered and sorted out... and the gravel wasn't cheap either.

The concept is good, but the process is MESSY. I think it will be a better use of our acre and will allow us to increase the property value, or at least resale-ability to have it be more kid-friendly. Most of the materials are here already, and I think we can make it really nice for about $4000 including fencing, grass and this weeks extensive excavating. Although it has been a TON of work, I think it has been pretty fun for all of us. I really enjoyed getting outside even though I'm a little sore from attacking it a bit harder than I should have this close to the c-section.

Gotta love the home improvement projects. Especially the long-term continuous projects... much like the kitchen, which, buy the way, got the trim put on last weekend. YAY! Things are finally coming together... Now for the big addition!
(Ben and Kaia pushin' da Dirt)

(Kaia, takin' a break, and yes, those are real Carhart coveralls, work gloves and her favorite rain boots that she never takes off. It's also a real wheelbarrow and roll of TP... strange combo, I know, but they all serve very important roles in a project like this.)

(Kaia and Nui ready to go play hard after a hard day's work... don't worry yall, I stayed home with the baby, and good thing 'cause they didn't get back till 4am! But that is a story for another post because that saga will continue this weekend.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Can You Tell 'Em Apart?

At first I didn't believe it. I thought that Mekayla looked so much more like my side of the family than like Ben's. Kaia was unmistakably Ben's little girl, but Mekayla looked more olive toned and seemed to have more of the Nelson traits of high cheek bones, almond eyes and a fuller mouth. However, upon closer inspection, in photos, from the same age, they look VERY similar. So much so, that had I not known which pictures were taken when, I would have a tougher time telling them apart.

Maybe it is because most baby's look round and squishy, or maybe it is because Mekayla is still so new, but I think they look like they could be twins. They will both have the Hunsaker Blue eyes with the long eyelashes. They will both have the little round faces with almond-shaped eyes from my side of the fam. And they both have the pointy elf ears little round noses that swoop up from who knows where. I think I am going to have to pose Mekayla in the same clothes and positions and really compare, but I think they are more alike than not.

Can you tell them apart?

A: Kaia is shown in the first two photos and Mekayla is in the last two.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gratitude Sunday: The Little Things

It has been a while since I last posted a Gratitude Sunday. Not that I haven't had much to be grateful for, but because I have been really lazy. I have been thinking a lot this week about the things that I have gone without for so long and had taken for granted. Even when they were gone, I took them for granted until I go them back.

With pregnancy comes many discomforts and inconveniences and I would like to take a moment to list a few of the things that I have enjoyed so much about NOT being pregnant anymore. For a few of my readers, I apologize that for the insensitivity to your pregnancy status. If you are one of the lucky ones who can do pregnancy beautifully and don't have discomforts or inconveniences like these... You can be surrogate for my next kid, 'cause I ain't doin' this again!

1. I can fall asleep and wake up in the same position... EVERY TIME!!! I know this is partly because I only sleep in 2.5-3hr shifts, but it is nice to sleep straight through those hours and not be wakened by the numbness in my arms, legs or fingers or the incessant tossing and turning with a gigantic belly.

2. I can take my scalding-hot-turn-my-skin-pink showers that I love so much and actually stay on my feet without feeling faint or worrying about cooking my baby.

3. I can go up the stairs, do laundry, sweep the floor and put away dishes without getting winded.

4. Though I am still crazy tired, I have more energy and motivation than I have had in MONTHS!!!

5. I can easily put on socks, pants, underwear and even give myself a pedicure!

6. I no longer have the intense cravings for high-sugar / high-fat foods that helped me pack on the unsightly pounds I accrued with pregnancy.

7. I'm still pretty emotional, but not nearly as cranky. I attribute this to the leveling out of the hormones.

8. My boobs once again protrude further out than my bellybutton.

9. I can have a regular bowel movement... on a regular basis.

10. The really big number on the scale is finally decreasing at a steady and acceptable rate.

Monday, July 21, 2008

More Pretty Baby Pix

So, I am back to "the world is wonderful" feelings again. No, the family isn't in perfect health yet, but things are looking a lot better. The bilirubin count is way down to the safe range again and the chest colds are dissipating a bit. Here is my favorite pic of the girls so far. I am one lucky mommy. Kaia has adjusted really well to her new role as "BIG SEESER" and she is getting better at pronouncing "Mykaywa" I really think that Kaia has taken ownership and it is really sweet to watch them together.
Here is one of the better pictures from the hospital. I was surprised at how alert and happy Mekayla has been from the start. The jaundice got to her a bit and she slept a lot... one of those disguised blessings I guess, but for the most part, she has been an angel.
Kaia and Mekayla are going to be good buddies. I think that Kaia is happy to have another kid around. Even though Mekayla isn't so big on the interaction just yet, Kaia pretends that she tells funny stories and gets a kick out of when she "toots" the "toots" aren't Mommy and Daddy's favorite thing, usually because it is the 16th or 17th diaper of the day and it gets a little old. But at least we all know that the systems are functioning properly.
Here is Mekayla's first bath. After a day of countless diapers it was Daddy's turn. He isn't quite as efficient with the tiny diapers and I was relieved that he was taking over the poo duties for the moment. Then I hear "ugh oh, where'd THAT come from?" My curiosity got the better of me and I wasn't a bit surprised to find a squirt of poo trailing from the diaper to the bed. "I'll give you 3 guesses Honey." He didn't need all 3, but before he was done, we had gone through 2 bed sheets, 1 outfut, 3 diapers and a towel.

Bless his heart for trying, at this stage, it's projectile poo and poo handeling isn't one of his strong suits. I'm just grateful that he has been going the extra mile to make my life easier and really paying attention to the needs of the family. It is totally awesome to have him home for 6 weeks to help me out... cause I really, really have my hands full.

Oh, the joys of parenthood.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mekayla Breyane Is Finally Here!!!

We welcomed our Mekayla into the world at 9:49 am on Monday July 14th! She weighed 7 lbs. 12 oz and was 20 inches long. It was a planned c-section birth that went smoothly and without complication and everyone was happy and healthy for at least a day. It was a beautiful day and I can't remember feeling that happy and comfortable in a really long time... I know, I know, part of it had to do with the drugs, but really, it was more than that. A real sense that all was right as it should be and that everything that really mattered in my world was perfect! I LOVE THOSE KIND OF DAYS.

I wish I could report that the days following that one perfect day were just more of the same fantastic perfection, but I'm just grateful that things weren't a lot worse than they got. Things were going so well at first that we decided to head out for home a day early and the docs could see no reason for us not to begin the adjustment and recovery at home. So, off we went, and things just seemed to fall apart.
My recovery was going really well... it still is for the most part and Mekayla is still very strong and beautiful, however, a nasty chest cold has settled right down on our little family and made my body ache like nothing I have ever felt. I thought a few of my violent coughing fits would split me in two, but alas... I am still alive and in tact.

Then we discovered that the bilirubin levels that were "ok" the day before, somehow reached a "high risk" zone and there became a real threat that we might have to return to the hospital for treatment. I believed exactly what the doctors were telling me about jaundice being common and not being too much cause for alarm... then I started asking questions about what it really was and what caused it... what could happen if it goes untreated and what it would take to treat it if the levels were "high risk." That's when things got really scary. At her age, Mekayla's bili reading of 21 was just too high to ignore... not quite the risk of brain damage, but within 4 points of being a real threat.

I hate it when kids get sick and it is even worse when they seem so tiny and helpless. We have Mekayla on phototherapy and it seems to be doing the trick. So far, it is ok and the only side effect is a globug baby at the bedside and she is still crazy cute. I will keep yall posted on any updates, and we should know on Sunday if I really need to be freaking out... of course you know I already am... but I am trying to keep that under wraps for the sake of my poor hubby... I think my emotional roller coaster might just be freaking him out a bit.

Anyway, Kaia has been adjusting well to the new baby situation, but is having a tough time with sharing the attention. I am doing the best I can to give her the attention she is so desperate for and have found ways to overlook her erratic and near psychotic behavior in lieu of the stress it must be for her. For the most part, she has been a doll, but I caught her trying to reason with Mekayla that it was time for her to go home.

Poor Mekayla was just laying there... asleep, not even moving, not making a peep, not demanding any of my attention in any way, and I wasn't giving it to her... but Kaia knew that somehow that little baby was siphoning off some of the loves that used to be all hers and she thought that it was time to send the baby back to the hospital.

I am convinced that she still loves the baby and that she would be so sad if she never came to visit, but it is apparent that she is having a tough time of adjusting. Ben is doing really well. In fact, I am surprised at how well he is taking care of everything. I am sure that it is hard on him to have to share the attention and disperse it appropriately as well. Especially now that my mom is no longer managing the chores and distracting Kaia with oodles of attention and prizes and all the spoiling activities that grandma's like to do.

I must admit, it was really nice to have her around and I am sad to have her go. I just couldn't justify keeping her away from her home for more than a month because I need my mommy... but sometimes, I just do. I am so glad to have family that loves and supports no matter the cost or inconvenience. I am one lucky girl!

Anyway, sorry for the sporadic thought processes and the long delay in posting the news. I gotta get back upstairs and feed my little glowbug.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Meme for You

I've been tagged by Shiloh and have been in a bit of a blog funk, so here goes.

Five Things to do on my List today
1. Make a baby
2. Keep Kaia from picking up any more bees
3. Try to keep from having those yucky contractions (at least till Ben get's home)
4. Play fetch with Nui for a few minutes so he doesn't feel so neglected
5. Try my best to keep my sanity

Snacks I Enjoy
1. Anything Chocolate
2. Fresh fruit... especially nectarines and berries
3. Crunchy, salty things like popcorn, chips and pretzels

Things I would do if I were a Millionaire
1. Remodel and pay off the house
2. Contribute to non-profit organizations that help women and children
3. Invest in something solid (if anyone knows of anything in this economy, let me know)

Places I have lived
1. Provo, UT
2. At 10,000 ft elevation in Elk Meadows, CO
3. Montrose, CO
4. Midway, UT
5. Albuquerque, NM
6. Beaverton, Banks and Portland, OR
7. Seward, Anchorage, Barrow and Wasilla, AK
8. Vincennes, IL
9. Lisbon, Amora and Arrentella Portugal
10. Santiago, Cabo Verde

Bad habits I have
1. Eating too much
2. Not sticking to a schedule
3. Biting off more than I can chew

Jobs I have held
1. Retail Clerk
2. Tour Guide / Deck Hand
3. River Guide
4. Program Director for Outdoor Adventures
5. Missionary / Clergy
6. Public Relations Director
7. Mom

I now tag: Christina, Kim and Kendi

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Birth Order

I received this in an e-mail and thought it was fitting... although, I do find myself guilty of a few of the 3rd baby behaviors with baby #1. My second baby is doomed!

Maternity Clothing:

1st baby:
You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/ GYN confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby:
You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby:
Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.

Preparing for the Birth:

1st baby:
You practice your breathing religiously.
2nd baby:
You don't bother because you remember that last time breathing didn't do a thing.
3rd baby:
You ask for an epidural in your eighth month.

The Layette

1st baby:
You pre-wash newborn's clothes, color coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby's little bureau.
2nd baby:
You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby:
Boys can wear pink, can't they?


1st baby:
At the first sign of distress--a whimper, a frown--you pick up the baby.
2nd baby:
You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rd baby:
You teach your three-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.


1st baby:
If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby:
When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from th e baby's bottle.
3rd baby:
You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.


1st baby:
You change your baby's diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby:
You change their diaper every two to three hours, if needed.
3rd baby:
You try to change their diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.


1st baby:
You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby:
You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby:
You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaner.

Going Out:

1st baby:
The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home five times.
2nd baby :
Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby:
You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.

At Home:

1st baby
: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby:
You spend a bit of everyday watching to be sure your older child isn't squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby:
You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.

Swallowing Coins:

1st child:
When first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays.
2nd child:
When second child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for the coin to pass.
3rd child:
When third child swallows a coin, you deduct it from his allowance.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pregnancy Update

After my last visit to the doc, it turns out that my days of torment have been limited by about a week. The doctors feel that given the circumstances and misery of this pregnancy and the risk of going into labor early, coupled with the complications from my previous labor and delivery constitute a c-section on the 14th of JULY!!! Yippie! Not so excited about the c-section, but that there is a definite end in sight that is safest for both baby and me is really good news.

Ben did have to reschedule his annual training, as he wasn't going to be here on account of work. But they were good enough to reschedule that for September and he will now have a little over 6 weeks paid leave after the baby comes. The 2-week rotation is really tough, but I gotta say that 6 weeks is a good stretch of vacation time. I just wish that we could go do something amazing... maybe we'll spend some time on the Kenai at the end of that... we shall see.

As far as the gender of the baby goes, Ben and I are still not ready to concede our hopes that it is a boy. The ultrasound technician claims that there is a 90% chance that it is a girl... but we can't bring ourselves to call our little mystery baby a she just yet... not only that, but we still can't agree on a girl name and we are really clinging to that 10% chance till we can verify for ourselves in July.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Wheelin' Season Has Officially Ended!

I am more than disappointed that the first "real run" of the season has officially become my last. I did great out at Knik with the clean-up and had little to no discomfort while riding on the trail. However, this weekend was a MUCH DIFFERENT STORY. But before I get into all of that, here is a pic of all the rigs on this run. We are the first rig on the left.

The snow got a little deep at the top, so we turned things around a little earlier than planned... which by that point, was more than ok with me. Here is a picture of a few of the rigs that got into the deeper stuff. This is actually the best kind of wheelin' because it doesn't tear anything up that won't melt away and reveal the pristine environment that is my back yard... well, technically about an hour behind my back yard.

We ran into a few problems with our tire... the trail proved a little rockier and rougher in parts than our sidewall could handle and a bit of mud got into our bead. When we stopped for lunch, I heard this hissing sound coming from the fron't tire. This is the fix it process on the trail. Not sure how they did it, but we don't need to do any more fixing and it was all done with what we had between us on the trail... my guess is some form of lighter fluid and a match. BOOM! Anyway, it worked out and we all got home safely.
After all the muddin' and rockin' and rollin' we headed back to the creek for an Alaska Car Wash. This is one of the highly modified rigs... yes it is a wagon, but it's got some 40" boggers on it... and they are completely under water. FUN STUFF! After a few runs through the river, most of the undercarriage is cleaned and the mud is out of the axles and breaks... the rest of the car is better left dirty as the mud is a badge of honor that proves that our rigs don't just look good on the highway but actually get out and PLAY.

I knew that this kind of rough play was going to be a little risky before we even headed out because I had been having more of those Braxton Hicks Contractions than I should be at 32 weeks... mainly because I had been overdoing it with the yard-work and chasing down Kaia to prevent potential drownings, rescue searches and toddler/vehicle collisions. But I had pretty well recovered from those and thought it would be worth a shot to see if I could get out of the house and play... besides, how hard could it be to sit there and "supervise" the boys while they try stuff they shouldn't?

Well, it was a LOT tougher than I thought it would be. About 1/2 way through the first planned trail run, I was feeling achy and crampy, by the end of the day, I was getting out for any unnecessary roughness. Knowing that was a possibility before even going out, I planned ahead and convinced Ben to let me drive our other rig out to base-camp just in case I needed to come home early... and I did. What was supposed to be a 4-day weekend of playing in the hills/mud/rivers/snow turned out to be 24 hours of "THAT was a bad idea."

After 3 days of rest and a late-night visit to the Birthing Center, I am NOT in labor and have posed no real risk to baby or myself. However, I have been put on Modified Bed Rest which means no sex, no driving, no stairs, no picking up Kaia, no shopping, no yard work and no exercise. Basically, I can get up to pee, shower, eat and well, that is about it.

This is going to be really tough because my bedroom is upstairs... really steep stairs, and Ben just left for the slope. I guess that will make not having sex easier, but how do I avoid driving, picking up Kaia, shopping or having to chase after a runaway toddler? If I let Kaia out of the house, I will definitely have to do some chasing, and she is going to go nuts if I don't let her out. The good news is that Mom was super excited about hopping the first plane up here to help out so it won't suck as much as it could. Things will work out, but I gotta admit that I HATE that I really need the help.

If any of you have ever been on bed rest, or partial bed rest, I could sure use some pointers on how to keep my sanity. This is going to be a really tough 8 weeks.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Muddin' in Alaska

Last weekend we had a great time helping with the Knik clean up. Every year the off-road clubs from all over the state of AK get together to clean up one of the most frequently used wheelin' grounds in South Central AK. All sorts turn out for this big event, mostly 4-wheelers and dirt bikes, but a few creative and generous souls bring out their big guns to tow the heavy stuff... like burned out vehicles, refrigerators full of last year's catch and other crazy junk.
Here is one of my favorites. This VW van would be perfect with giant lime green flowers on the tires and psychedelic flames down each side.

Here is our not so flashy rig tearing through the mud and the muck that is Knick Glacier sand and silt. Kaia LOVES the bumpy rides but isn't quite such a fan of the articulation. When she is looking out her window at either the sky or the ground, she starts to hang on to the edges of her car seat and make nervous noises. I don't know how much longer I can handle the bumpies though. I was a little uncomfortable with all the weight I have sitting in my lap, but overall, it was a great trip. We will see how this weekend goes with 2 big bouncy trips planned for Saturday and Sunday. The good news is that there is enough stop-and-shoot-the-bull time to recover. Grandma thinks it is the fool-proof way to go into early labor... I guess I will just listen to my body and not be afraid to speak up or turn back if I need to.

I love this picture of the river and the glacier. This is God's country and I can't believe how generous he was to us last weekend. We had perfect weather and amazing scenery to contend with as we did what we love in the great outdoors. This view is only 30 minutes from our house and we have actually been all the way out to the face of the glacier several times. On a good day, you can drive right up on the ice... It's a good 3 hour drive from where this picture was taken to the glacier face through 3 river crossings, a pretty serious maze of beaver ponds and a whole lot of bumpy rock climbing over the terminal moraines. SO VERRY WORTH IT THOUGH... if you have the right rig. :)

Here is a classic example of what Alaska does to kids. This new shiny jeep showed up to help out with a vehicle drag out and Kaia climbed right underneath to check out the components. Most of these rigs are so highly modified they can't be driven on the road, but Kaia loves them all. I think it must be like a fantastic jungle gym for her to be around so many big toys... I know it is a wonderland for Daddy. The funny thing is that anyone new to AK off-roading will ask "Is that normal?" And to that, we respond "for her, YES!" What more can we say? She is her Daddy's little girl.