Halloween recap 2012

Halloween with a two-and-a-half year old and a ten month old is more trick than treat.

First of all, the costumes. I really enjoy making the kids' Halloween costumes. I spent some time coming up with what I thought was a cute idea. Then, I went to a few stores and my Grandpa's workshop to gather up supplies. Then I spent a couple of nights assembling -- sewing, hot-gluing, swearing when I burnt my fingertips for the 42nd time. There was some time and effort that went into these things.

The kids wore them for about thirty seconds.

Okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but still. Jack would only wear his because I built his mimi (pacifier) into it as part of the costume. That was my bit of Mommy Genius. Ruby didn't want anything to do with her costume because it had a hood and just the day before, she decided that she no longer wished to have any sort of clothing item anywhere near her head (just in time for freezing cold northern Minnesota winter weather, I might add). *sigh*

I did get a few okay-ish photos at our Halloween party, and then at Trunk-or-Treat, and then on Halloween proper. But I may have to dress them both up again this weekend because I didn't get any photos of them together, or any photos of them not trying to rip their costumes off. *double sigh*

Secondly, the candy. Oh, the candy. Luckily, Jack doesn't really get it, yet. He only asked for it last night when we were looking at the little bags that G&G and Margo and Katie&Derek put together for the kiddos. He had five M&Ms. Unfortunately, the candy is all I can think about all day long. I may have to toss the candy. Or flush the candy? How exactly does one get rid of candy without eating it? Can it even be done?

And on that note, here are a few photos of Scuba Steve and the ultra-rare pink and orange Kermit-fish. Hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween!


mother's day 2012

Yeah. This post is a few weeks late. That's how I roll. I'm just happy it's getting posted at all.

I gotta be honest. I'm not a huge fan of Mother's Day. It was kind of a tough "holiday" as a child, and I'm sure I still have hard feelings about it. For some reason, the Mother's Days of my youth always seemed to end up with feelings hurt, crying, yelling. Not really good times.

Now that I'm a Mom, I don't really look forward to Mother's Day. I try not to have expectations around it -- partly because I don't really like the "holiday," and partly because I know that my husband isn't into it either, so there's really no chance of something "special" happening. If I expect it to be just like any other day, then I won't be disappointed.

Maybe when the kiddos are older, they'll have fun celebrating Mother's Day, and that might help me enjoy it more. And, it's not that I dread it, or hate it, it's just that I don't particularly love it. It's just another day in my book.

That said, I had a lovely Mother's Day this year. The day was spent with family. The sun was shining. The kiddos were happy. It was a nice little Sunday that happened to be Mother's Day.

My Auntie Margo made a delicious brunch -- a yummy Dutch pancake, fresh berries, bacon, yogurt, granola... I can't even tell you how good it was. My Mom was there, and so were my Grandma and Grandpa. I brought Jack and Ruby. My Cousin Molly and her son Caden came a bit later. It was so lovely!

After brunch, we headed out to my parents' house to soak up some sunshine. John met us out there. We had a delicious dinner. It was nice.

The only thing I really wanted for Mother's Day was to get a nice family photo of the four of us. We gave it a whirl, but it was getting late in the day, and both of the boys were being goofy. It was a huge fail. Like, not even blog-worthy they were so bad. Ugh. Maybe next year. Or maybe not. No expectations = no disappointments.

Even though I didn't get my family photo, I did manage to get a few nice photos from brunch. I love the photo of me and my Mom and Grandma and Ruby. So much love in that photo.

All in all, it was a fine Mother's Day. But really, it was just another Sunday. And that's okay with me. Really.


bloggers for birth kits

According to the World Health Organization, approximately one thousand women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Almost all of these deaths occur in developing countries, and can be prevented.

That's like two Boeing 747s crashing every day, with no survivors.

If two commercial planes crashed in the same day, let alone every day, governments would be scrambling for answers. Consumer protection groups would be up in arms. People would demand changes in rules and regulations to ensure that this kind of tragedy would be avoided in the future.

So why aren't we hearing anything about these mothers? It's time to give them a voice. It's time to change the statistics. It's time to make a difference.

Adriel at the Mommyhood Memos founded Bloggers for Birth Kits to do just that -- she's making a change, and you can help.

Did you know that a simple clean birth kit can help save a mom’s life? Did you know that for around $2-3 you can assemble one? Did you know that everything you need to make one can be found easily and quickly at your local hardware store and pharmacy?
So, how can you help reduce maternal mortality? It's so easy. You can make some birth kits and mail them to Adriel. You can make a donation online (be sure to write “Bloggers for Birth Kits” in the box that says “additional comments” so the funds will be allocated properly). And you can help spread the word. Please visit Adriel's blog for more details.

My husband and I have been blessed with two happy, healthy babies in the last two years. The birth of our first child was long and hard, but we had a great support team and excellent medical care. We all came through it together, and it was an amazing experience.

The birth of our second child in December of last year was incredibly powerful. Again, I had an amazing support team -- my incredible husband, the same doula that attended Jacks' birth, a wonderful resident who placed a high value on natural birth, amazingly supportive OB docs, a group of rockstar nurses. We could not have asked for a better team. Ruby's birth was beautiful. I got the natural birth I had planned and hoped for. And the hours after her birth were spent in a haze of awesome postpartum hormones and baby kisses.

And then, I hemorrhaged.

Five hours after Ruby's birth, I had to be rushed to surgery to have an emergency D&C. I was given several units of blood. Had I not been in the hospital with immediate medical attention, the outcome would very likely have been different. It's tough for me to even think about...

I was very lucky that day.

Every Mama deserves the chance to say the same.



Our two babies.

Tiny centers of our Universe. Little people, created from parts of me and parts of him. So much love pouring into them every day. So much love radiating out of them.

Nothing can prepare you for the kind of love one feels as a parent. People will tell you about it, and try to explain it. They'll say it's intense and immediate and overwhelming. They'll tell you there's nothing like it.

And they're right.

Except, until you're a parent, you won't be able to understand what they're saying. Not truly. Not fully.

It's been more than two years since I became a parent, and I am still amazed at the power of the love I feel for our two kiddos. I look at those two and I feel my heart do cartwheels. I know that every parent thinks their kids are the cutest, the smartest, the "fill-in-the-blank"-est; but our kids really are so cute and so smart. They're at least ninety-eighth percentile, I'm sure. And even if they weren't, my heart would still burst with love for them. So much love.

If you're a parent, you understand this, right? There is just so much love.

And here's why it's important that we love our kiddos so much... They will drive us crazy. Nutty. Cuckoo's Nest. The people who tell you about parental love don't talk so much about this part of it. The tantrums, the meltdowns, the whining, the hitting, the defiance. This gig ain't easy, y'all.

Which brings me to this truth: While I always love my kids, I've also discovered that there are times when I don't like them.

Before you freak out and call me a terrible mom, let me explain. The dictionary defines the verb "like" as to take pleasure in; to find agreeable or congenial. Can't we all agree that there are times when we don't find our kids agreeable or congenial? Personally, I take zero pleasure in the Boy when he is screaming his head off after being told he can't have fruit snacks and Cheetos for dinner. And while Ruby is still totally in adorable baby mode, it's tough to find it agreeable to wake up hourly every night for the past month -- even with a congenial baby.

So, yeah. I'm not always "in like" with the kiddos. And I'm totally not afraid to admit it.

But the thing is, even in the moments when I struggle to retain the last shred of my sanity, when I take the time to step back for a moment, the love comes pouring in. And pretty soon, the tears dry up, hugs are doled out, and the like sneaks back in as well.