Thursday, December 17, 2009

Four Really Is The New Three

Well.....dang. It has been a while. I've sat down so many times to write something here, but every time my mind goes blank and I don't know where to even start.

Little Miss Anika Jane has been with us for 4.5 months already and time is going faster than I ever dreamed possible. (Could it be true that time actually does go faster the longer you've been out of high school?? Man, those years were long.) So, we're big fans of her and while we can still imagine what life was like without her (a lot easier) we could not be more taken with her. She is PRECIOUS.

Let me tell you about it:

She has the biggest and best smile I've ever seen (with one adorable dimple to top it all off)...okay, tied with Soren on the "best" part.

She will scoul at you until she lights up and she makes you feel like your face was the best present she has ever received. If you see her in person - don't be offended by her expressions. It's not her fault, unintentional dirty looks are in the genes.

She is super chill. Really just does her own thing happily until she's tired or hungry. Doesn't complain about anything and handles pain like a champ. This comes in handy being the second born following a toddler who likes to experiment with cause and effect.

She has mastered the roll from stomach to back. She's currently (as in, right this moment) trying the back to stomach roll. Her hands seem to be more exciting right now.

She has THE cutest feet I've ever seen. Little and perfect with no crazy toes. I could eat them.

She looks terrible in light pink (thank you God!)

She is still bald and I am in heaven. I loves me a bald baby.

Karl finished up the last Fall quarter of his undergrad career last week. We are no longer answering the "How long do you have left?" question in terms of years. We're down to quarters now. 2 quarters left. I can handle that.

We're adjusting to sharing a home with my parents. We're in each other's business all the time, and it's got it's high points and low points. It sure is nice to have a couple extra pair of arms during this crazy time of life.

Soren continues to light up our lives with his brains, extensive vocab and musical interests. Oh, not to mention his adorable face. He's still long and lanky with killer style (if I do say so myself) and a sense of humor better than most adults'. He is currently learning the age-old trick of sliding down the stairs in a sleeping bag. (A favorite past-time of mine while growing up in this house.)

We had our second ER visit in the last month a few days ago. First one was for a
Corneal Ulcer that Karl contracted. The second for a "Foreign Body Swallowed." Translated: Soren ate a penny. Cool.

I will leave you with a heartwarming transaction that just took place in the living room. Ani was not wearing socks and her feet were quite cold. When Soren found out that I couldn't find her socks he immediately scrambled to take his own socks off and asked me to put them on her feet. Can it get any better than this??

Blogger and I are not getting along today, hence the crazy formatting. I guess I'll have to be ok with less than perfection....*sigh*...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Anika Turns 0

It's been over 3 weeks since Anika Jane entered this world via C-section and I'm just now getting back to blogging.

I want to get the story of Ani's arrival written out before I lose it in a fog of postpartum hormones and sleep deprivation. It's a special one, in a much different way than Soren's - but special nonetheless. Unfortunately, I don't have many pictures to show you, since most of the ones from the OR are trapped on a camera that has no cord to download them. The ones I do have will have to cut it for now.

So here is the story of Ani's Birthday...

4:30 am on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 and my alarm clock starts beeping, although I didn't need it to - I had been awake all night. After thinking Soren might have chickenpox and anticipating my first major surgery, I just couldn't seem to get myself into dreamland. I was exhausted, which in a weird way made the thought of having a baby a little less strange (I only know how to have babies when I'm exhausted.) At 5:15 Karl, Stancie (my big sister) and I got in the van and drove in the dark to French Hospital. We met my best friend Flo outside with all of the luggage we had packed for a week in the hospital and all entered the hospital together. They took me to a little "cubby" of a room to get my IV placed, vitals taken, papers signed, etc. I was curiously not nervous at all - just really tired.

After waiting a while, we got a call from my OB saying she was having car trouble and wanted to know if it was OK with me to postpone the surgery 3 hours. I thought it was weird that she was giving me that option, but I figured it was better to have her not stressed about her car while performing surgery on me - so I waited. My birth team all left (at my request) so they could get some breakfast and I could try to get some sleep. While they were gone I lied there on the hospital bed, listening to a terrible cry from a newborn baby in the nursery who they were attempting to place an IV in. The sound was way too sad to sleep through, so I just closed my eyes and prayed for that baby.

At around 10:15 am everything started moving pretty fast. Flo and Karl put on their scrubs and we waited in what would be my postpartum room for the OR manager to come and get me. Up until this point everyone who read my birth plan was amenable to everything on it, except having Karl with me the entire time I was in the OR.

After some persuading, they allowed Karl to come into the OR with me as they placed the spinal. They explained that they don't usually let the husbands in because they can't handle two people needing care at the same time. In other words, "we can't deal with your husband passing out from seeing you get injected with a big needle." I assured the staff that my husband had seen me through much worse (i.e. a 21-hour drug-free labor) and they agreed that Karl had been "road-tested" and would be allowed to come with me. He wasn't anywhere close to me when they gave me the spinal and I couldn't see him, but he told me he was there which calmed me down.

One important part of my birth plan, aside from having two of "my people" in the OR with me, was that my own music be played throughout the surgery. The surgery staff was more than accommodating with this request and made sure that there was a way to play my birth music. As soon as they started prepping me for surgery, the sound of one of my favorite Nanci Griffith songs started playing. I was immediately calmed and that feeling lasted the entire surgery. Each song had been hand-picked for it's ability to make me feel safe, relaxed, loved, etc. I honestly do not know what I would have done without this important element of the birth.

Everything started happening very fast at this point. I started to feel nervous because Flo was not in the room yet and I asked where she was as soon as she entered the room. Apparently, she and my nurse got locked out of the OR and it took several minutes to find someone to let them in. They almost missed the surgery! I felt very weird at this point, the numbness had taken over most of my body and bright lights shone in my face while the staff hurried around me. No, it did not feel like a birth.

I was warned a few minutes beforehand that Ani was almost here. I started to feel excitement, which was relieving for me. They lowered the curtain in front of my eyes so I could see Ani leave my body. She entered the world to the sound of soothing music and beeping and that was pretty much it. Very peaceful. Karl says it was even more peaceful than Soren's birth. She cried immediately which was very reassuring but I felt pangs of guilt as I thought about how her time in my womb had been cut short. I told her I was sorry through tears of joy/sadness.

They took her tiny little body over to the warmer where her papa met her with his own teary eyes. I watched as Karl studied Ani's face and held her body with the same love that he did with Soren when he first entered the world. While I will not use or condone the use of the phrases, "Daddy's little princess" or something about him being "wrapped around her little finger", I do think that these two will have a special kind of relationship for life. Karl has really had to play mama AND papa in these first weeks of Ani's life, since I have been out of commission in a lot of ways. He changed all of her diapers, gave her the first bath, went with her everywhere she had to go and walked her in circles around the hospital room at night when she thought it was time to be awake. These two were are quite the pair. I can already see how alike they are in personality and it makes me incredibly happy that this little lady will be able to judge real love someday with how her papa loves her.

It took me 39 weeks and 3 days, but I did eventually feel excited about my little girl when I saw her tiny little body. I didn't fall head-over-heels in love with her right away like I did with Soren, but it eventually came to me. I feel like the surgery (and subsequent recovery) set us back a little from initial bonding. It took us a couple weeks to get acquainted but I am amazed at how much I just want to be with her now. Just like everyone told me, my capacity to love somehow grew when she entered the world. I love that she is so little and so different from Soren. I love that she wears pink, but in a cool way. I love the "disgruntled employee" facial expressions she gives when she's unhappy about something. I love how she squeaks like a mouse and squeals like a piglet. I love her light hair and long fingers. I love her one dimple. I love everything about her. She is my little lady.

So there it is.

The birth story of Anika Jane.

We are so happy she's here.

My favorite lullaby for Ani - A cover of the Wilco song, My Darling

Saturday, July 25, 2009

It's Three A.M. I Must Be...Pregnant

This is me. About to go out to my last date while I still can. I lasted until 9 before my eyes just wanted to shut and my body said it was time for bed. Yeah, it was a rockin' night.

I'm up now, at 3am because this is what I do lately. Just wake up, for no apparent reason and stay that way for at least an hour. This is my baby body clock getting itself used to the middle-of-the-night, so-delirious-you-do-crazy-stuff wakings with a newborn. Tonight I got Karl to join the party, so we're both up now. Blogging, facebooking, eating cereal, watching Bottle Rocket. You know - normal things you do when you can't sleep and don't have a baby to feed.

My sister flies in tomorrow afternoon, on the heels of one very sweet shower that was thrown in honor of Anika and me yesterday. Life is getting really good! I cannot get over how special the whole thing was. Pictures are soon to follow (if I can track down people who thought to take pictures.) Every single thing about it was lovely thanks to my super sweet friend and equally sweet mama who know just how to make a girl feel really loved.

I'm yawning again, which means maybe my wakeful period is coming to an end. Only 3 more nights of being up in the middle of the night for no reason.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

5 Days

The past week has been especially hard for me, for so many reasons.

I wish I had more physical energy so my son would remember these last days with just me as fun. Instead, I think he may remember being locked inside all day watching Thomas The Tank Engine while I apologize for being too tired to chase him around outside. I'm trying to make up for it by lots of snuggle time and reading books about how special older brothers are.

There are a lot of things I wish were different about life right now. It's not a great feeling to welcome a child into the world under difficult circumstances, but I know it's all relative and things could be much worse. I have lots to be thankful for, including a really sweet little boy who makes it hard
impossible to stay in a funk all day.

Today I'm being treated to a pedicure by some really sweet friends while they watch Soren - something I've been looking forward to for weeks. On Friday I have a little shower to celebrate Anika Jane and then on Saturday my sister flies into town (!!!) and then it will only be 2 days until I can shed this belly and meet our girl. I'm going to try to keep my sanity for the next 5 days and hope that postpartum hormones are easier to deal with than pregnancy ones.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

15 Days

37 weeks

That's how long I have until this little girl makes her appearance (that is, if she doesn't decide to come sooner) and I don't even have a pack of newborn diapers yet! On the morn of July 28, 2009, Anika will finally be here and at which time all four of our lives will change pretty significantly.

So, how am I feeling about all of this?

Excited. Nervous. Sad. Rushed. Huge. Unsure. Tired. Frustrated. Full of love. Ready.

My body is starting to give me signs that it's preparing to give birth, which is a painful reminder that I will not actually be birthing. I know that C-sections are births, and that the most important thing is a healthy baby and mama but there is something very strange about not working to get a baby out. I am not one of those people who hates birth...I actually like it. I like having the "mountain" to climb and then feeling the sense of satisfaction after I've reached the "top." This just happens to fit very nicely with my convictions about birthing naturally too. Not being able to work with Anika to get her out makes me a bit sad when I think about it.

Don't get me wrong, I am not the hostess of a huge pity party here. I am at peace with the fact that this is how it's going to go down, and even if I wanted to change things, I know it would take nothing less than a time machine to make that happen. There are some bright sides here, so I am focusing on those. I just pre-registered at the hospital a few days ago and my birth plan is finally done - although I still have to get it approved by my OB and anesthesiologist. My mountain of laundry has been conquered and my hospital bag is halfway packed. I'm gettin' there.

Sorting hand-me-downs

The reasons I chose to schedule the surgery (instead of waiting to go into labor naturally) are many, but none of them had anything to do with convenience. In order to be sure that I was setting myself up for the best possible outcome I realized that I did not want to have an "emergency" surgery that no one was prepared for. In a less-than-ideal situation, I wanted to do what I could to ensure the best possible outcome. Having experienced (and flexible) nurses available, a well-rested doctor and anesthesiologist, and a chance for me to get to know everyone and explain my wishes beforehand were all things that were important to me. Unfortunately, those things just aren't as likely if I was to wait for labor to start on it's own. Of course, I changed my mind about this decision about 100 times (no exaggeration) but eventually had to stop vacillating and make up my mind. That's what I chose.

So, here I am, with decisions all made and I am waiting for the day to arrive. Soren and I are trying to find creative ways to spend our days together, which has usually been one outing a day because that's all this body can keep up with. Karl's work has slowed down again, which is a blessing and curse for us right now. It's allowed him to get home earlier in the afternoon so Soren can run around with someone to chase him and I can have a much needed break. (I seriously CANNOT wait for the day we have a backyard!)

The face of a child who has no idea how much his world is about to be rocked

I'm counting the days until my two best girls are in town, which will make the time go much faster for me as I lug this belly around. Have I mentioned how much I don't love pregnancy? I'm just reminding myself that it's easier right now to have her fed, held and not pooping all over the place with little work on my part (except the aches and pains.) 15 days has never seemed so close...or so far away.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


No, it's not ideal.

It's not what I would have planned.

There are much better ways to give birth.

It makes me sad.

It's one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make.


So, at this point you are probably asking, "Why?" Either with a judgy tone or just a curious one.

Well, the full answer to that question is one that I have only shared with a very, very small number of people (many of whom are/were my medical care providers.) Even though I'm all for honesty and information, the subject matter behind the "Whys" of us choosing a C-section instead of the completely drug-free, vaginal birth we had wanted are going to be very vague with those I have not already had lengthy conversations with.

To make a long, private and frustrating story less overwhelming - I'll just say that there were certain things that either just happened or were physically done to me after Soren's birth that have left me forever changed. In choosing a C-section, I am mitigating trauma to my birth canal so as to not make matters even worse. In choosing to tell many of my friends about this decision via my blog, I am mitigating awkward conversations, questions, etc.

As most of you know, I am a HUGE advocate of natural childbirthing. My mom and all of my aunts had their children without the use of any drugs and I was brought up with the same convictions that they had. I believe that mothers choosing to cope with temporary labor pain for the sake of their babies is the ideal way to birth. I think purely convenience-based inductions and C-sections are ridiculous and I think they are grossly over-performed in our country. I feel that if more people took the time to educate themselves, we would have much less interventions involved in our births today.

In spite of all of that, I can honestly say that natural childbirth isn't without it's share of costs. While we don't know for sure what the actual cause of my injury was, it is certain that I wouldn't be dealing with what I am dealing with now if I would have opted for the recommended C-section during Soren's birth. As we all know, hindsight is 20/20 and there is no way we could have known what would happen while we were in the middle of it. Soren and I were both fine, so we kept going - that's what we wanted.

I have never regretted giving birth to Soren without the use of drugs and I was hell-bent on bringing this little one into the world in the same gentle way. Knowing that I will not be able to provide my daughter with that same kind of birth makes me more sad than I can express here.

Still, I am making this decision because it is best for me and therefore, best for my entire family. I want to be able to enjoy my newborn and give necessary attention to my toddler instead of possibly having to undergo several surgeries to repair damage in those precious early weeks following the birth. I'm choosing the lesser of two evils here.

As always, I'm thankful for life experiences that help me see things from each side of the spectrum and give me a greater empathy for those I don't see eye-to-eye with. As I grieve the birth that I was wanting with this little one, I am learning to accept my circumstances and am going to try to be just as determined to make this birth a pleasant one for our family. It will do me no good to be depressed about it so I will resolve myself to making this surgical birth as gentle as it can possibly be. Needless to say, I've got my work cut out for me. Anyone want to see a "gentle" c-section birth plan?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Last Days

Today is a day of lasts in our family.

It's my last day working at the Sock Drawer, Karl's last day of classes (still has a project to finish though) and Soren's last day of "school" at ASI. If you've been keeping up with our lives via this blog since last September, you may remember how much I hated putting Soren in daycare program. It went against so much of what I believed in as a mother (for as young as he was) and I just looked at it as a necessary evil. I cried and cried that first day as I left my destraught child in a room of other scared and confused children. My heart literally ached.

Soren had a hard time adjusting to the new environment. He had never been a clingy child, so the hard good-byes only lasted a few weeks, but he refused to sleep there. So many people told us that he would adjust, but we knew our son better. The kid does not sleep with distractions around...and daycare is full of distractions. I even considered pulling him out, because I couldn't stand getting a majorly nap-deprived child back at the end of my work day. I don't know how many times I said the words, "It's just not worth it" during this school year. Still, we kept his tired little self there.

It also took him a long time to become part of the group. He was only there 2 days a week and he's a very independent child, so the adjustment wasn't easy. His teachers would just hope to see him throw a tantrum because that would mean he actually felt comfortable to show strong emotions in front of them. Never did happen - just saved it all up for Mama at the end of the day.

Well, here we are at his last day and I must admit - I fought back tears this morning as I dropped him off for his last day. I started explaining that it was his last day on the way to school and when we got there he yelled, "Goodbye friends!" His teacher said, "Good morning Soren!" and he happily turned away from his toy bugs and said with a smile, "Good morning Sarah!" We have sure come a long way from that dreaded first day.

He has definitely found his place at school and just when we were all getting used to it, we have to move on. His teacher told us that we can bring him by to visit if he is ever asking about school and we are still able to go on field trips with his class. Depending on how our lives go, he may even end up back with his class someday.

As much of a struggle this year has been in many ways, I cannot imagine what Soren would be like now if it wasn't for his year in this wonderful program. I'm convinced that his time there has helped him grow much more than I would have been able to. I still believe that nothing can compare to the love and care a parent can give to their own child, but I look at things much differently than I did 10 months ago. We are so grateful to have been given the opportunity to put Soren in such an outstanding program where each child is loved, respected, taught and studied. He has learned to share, speak his mind, resolve conflict, sing new songs and a million other things I'm sure. Who knows how much this experience has influenced his little mind, but there's no doubt that it has helped lay a solid foundation for everything else he will do from now on.

So yes, there is sadness in my heart today as I help him say goodbye to the people and place he has become so familiar with this year.

Now Karl's got some catching up to do now that Soren has already graduated from Cal Poly.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Soren Turns Two!

My Soren turned 2 years old this past Sunday, and it blew my mind a little bit. So much has happened over the course of his little life and in a way it seems like he's been with us forever. This year we decided not to have a huge party for everyone he knows, but just a family Santa Maria style BBQ at my parents' house. Soren got to play with his beloved cousins and I didn't have to make up goodie bags for other people's children. Perfect.

By the end of the day, he was stoned on sugar and so tired he had bloodshot eyes. It didn't seem to phase him a bit though. He actually became more and more outgoing as the night went on and everyone was getting a kick out of his loss of inhibition. It was a really nice way to celebrate two years with the sweetest little boy I know.

Here's some pictures for you all..

A Rite of Passage - Riding the tractor for the first time with Grandpa

Me and the guitar cake I made for Soren. A major labor of love, but well worth it.

Final product

My dad caught a gopher snake for Soren's party. Soren named it "Cupcake".

Soren and his famous cousin DJ
(DJ gives Soren tons of toys when we visit, so he's quite popular in Soren's book.)

Soren and cousin Liam - doing a great job sharing at the water table

My cousin Anna blowing bubbles for the kids. Soren and Liam delightfully trying to catch them.

We Cashdans like our snake captures

Present time!

I LOVED that Soren didn't get a ton of presents for his birthday.
He really got to be excited for everything he got.

I have no idea why I have this look on my face

Yes, another shot of the cake. It took me almost 5 hours, and then I had to cut it into pieces.
At least it's memory will live on in this blog.

Soren's BIG birthday present - a John Deere tractor given by several family members.
Grammy and Grandpa's house just got 100 times cooler.

This is what happens when Mama is busy hosting a party - Soren gets all the cake he wants.
Thanks Grammy!

"Two Years Old"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2,920 Days Ago...

Karl and I made promises to each other that we could never possibly keep, and we did so in front of all of our friends and family. Promises to love each other without condition; to be constantly selfless; to keep our hearts close despite our circumstances and to hold each other up above everyone else in the world. Crazy stuff like that.

Yesterday I had a whole 45 minutes to myself in the car. A thrill rushed over me as I backed out of the parking lot and started on my trip. I could pick whatever music I wanted to listen to and it wouldn't have to compete with conversation. I looked through our old CD case and found a CD that was not labeled and thought it was something else. I put it in the CD player and waited for the music to start, and as soon as I heard the first note I knew that it was not what I thought - it was our wedding music.

I suddenly felt jerked back through 8 years and remembered exactly how it felt to be anticipating marriage. Sweet hopes and dreams for our future without any sense of apprehension about our life-long choice. All we could think about was what it would be like to wake up next to the other person every morning for the rest of our lives. Nothing else mattered quite as much.

The music that we picked for our wedding was not typical, and I grew more and more proud of our music choices as the CD went on. Typical wedding songs like "Ode to Joy" and "The Wedding March" were bumped aside by songs by Ben Harper and "Pure Imagination" by The Smoking Popes. We weren't (and still aren't) fans of doing things out of obligation or because that's how they've always been done. Yes - I'm bragging - because I think we were two pretty cool kids. I still look at pictures of our wedding and can honestly say that I wouldn't change much about our choices. Of course, I would ditch the tuxes and hire a different photographer (remember this was before there were better photographers) but beyond that - I like what we picked.

For some reason, this year almost NO ONE got the number of years we have been married correctly. Everyone guessed that it had been less time that it was and inevitably the phrase, "You were just babies when you got married!" would follow. I have no problem at all with people saying this, because even we say it. I was barely 21 and Karl was 20. (I bought his beer for him for the first year of our marriage.) We were young, insecure, immature and wouldn't have listened to a soul if they told us to wait until we got older. We reasoned that it was pointless to wait around just for the sake of letting time go by when we knew we wanted to be together, so - we jumped in.

Karl and I have grown up together over the past 8 years and it's impossible to tell what kind of people we would have been without each other. We have had many discussions and lots of doubt about our decision to marry so young, and those close to us know that we have had some pretty nasty growing pains over the course of our marriage. Sure, we had our share of unnecessary struggles because we married so young but I believe that we would have just replaced those same struggles with other ones if we would have become more independent before joining our lives.

As I look back on all of the disadvantages we had going into our married life, I am honestly amazed that we have not only made it this far, but that we feel excited to take on another 8, 16, 32, 64+ years of this bound together life. We have shared disappointments, losses, accomplishments, births, apartments, pregnancies, pets, babies, car accidents, homework assignments, goodbyes, broken cars, inexplicable joys, laughter and a bazillion other things. There is no way I can even imagine a life without Karl in it...and I never want to.

"The closer I'm bound in love to you...the closer I am to free."
- from our 'first dance' song by The Indigo Girls

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ani Jane

I've been thinking that I would get a jump start on helping people with our little girl's name, since I'm sure it's bound to cause some confusion.

The name Anika (or Annika) means 'favor', 'grace' or 'sweet-faced'. Jane also means 'grace', which must be a sign that she truly is a undeserved gift to us (and that we'll need a lot of grace to welcome her into our family during this crazy season.)

Now for the most important part - the pronunciation: The most correct way to say it is AH-nee-kah but that's a little too awkward for most Americans to say, so we are going with the AH-ne-kah pronuciation (rhymes with 'Hanukkah'). Make sense? Cool.

Soren can pronounce both of her names perfectly already and whenever I hear him say it it makes my heart melt a little bit. He is very serious about her and makes sure to remind me that she's "still growin." I think they'll be a great pair.

Now here's some older brother preciousness for ya'll...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

As Promised

Delicious Mother's Day breakfast at Honeymoon Cafe

The kids taking a rest

Riding in the "new van for us"

Family time at Shell Beach (I had my pregnant bum firmly planted on a blanket)

Watching the "surfins"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We're Telling

Woah, where have I been??

Well, basically trying to hold on to my sanity while I finish up my last couple months of juggling work, toddler raising, and figuring out what we're going to drive and where we're going to live. It's been crazy - which I always say - but you can probably get used to it for the next 12 months. We're just holding on for the ride, but with the craziness has also come a few new and really sweet friends that I am so grateful for. It makes me actually feel like I can handle whatever life is going to be like, knowing that I will have an amazing support system of other mothers that I admire. So, even in the midst of what is becoming the most stressful season of my life, I am finding so many things to be blessed by.

Now, onto the news...

1.) We bought a new car (OK, OK, it's a minivan) and it has honestly changed our lives. We fit now and will have no problem adding another little car seat when the time comes. Hallelujah! My legs fit and Soren no longer gets minor brain damage every time he gets placed in/out of his car seat. Violet can go places with us along with a big basket of laundry without us looking like a gypsy family. And best of actually runs and I don't have to live in a constant state of worry that I'll be stranded along side the freeway with a child. It's amazing.

2.) We are moving to the country. Yep...gone are our city dwelling days. Hello rolling hills, dirt roads, quiet, cricket chirping and frog croaking nights and 15 minutes to anywhere. Out of urgent financial necessity, we are moving to my parent's property as we finish up Karl's last year in school. I'm excited to have the support of my parents as I juggle life with a newborn and a very independent toddler. Soren will have memories of catching Blue Belly lizards and hatching eggs of various birds and digging in the dirt for fun - just like his mama did.

Of course, this arrangement brings along with it it's own set of stresses, but we are planning lots of date nights and (hopefully) a housing situation that allows us alone time. Although it's not what we would have planned, we are going to make the best of it. This deal goes down the end of June, so this next month will be wild.

3.) We have a girl's name (which is old news) but due to some coaxing and thought on our part, we are now sharing the name. This little one shall be called Anika Jane Lundeen. We have loved this name since before we were married 8 years ago and have never heard another girl's name that has come close in our minds. Karl suggested the name Jane because it was sweet, timeless and simple and it just worked to put them both together. So now we'll have two appropriately named semi-Swedes in our household and it feels perfect. Now, go take a moment to be blown away by our child-naming skills.

*I must apologize for the lack of pictures, they will be coming shortly.*

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Criminal Birthing?

To all of my trusty Three Is The New Two readers (I know who you are, and even if I don't - I know what town you live in), I'm going to ask for opinions here. I asked Karl for his opinion during my amazing birthday dinner last night and now I want yours.

I read this article yesterday and I want to know what you think. I love things that make me re-evaluate my beliefs, even if I always come to the same conclusions in the end. I'm not going to say how I feel about it (yet), I just want to hear how other people read things like this and what they come away with. What do you think?

Questions? Comments? Rude remarks?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

22-Month-Old Gets His First Taste of Candy on Easter Sunday While Mother Nearly Passes Out From Anxiety

Tall Women Unite

Today I have already met 2 other women who are as tall as I am. I had a 15 minute conversation with one woman about what it is like to be tall. She was in her 40s and had two 10-year-old girls, who were obviously going to be pretty tall adults themselves. We talked about how she was nervous for her girls to grow up in a world that makes it very difficult to be tall and female. I told her I had the same fears for this little girl that I'm growing.

We talked about what it's like to fly coach with super-sized femurs. We talked about what it's like to never be able to find pants that fit in a normal store and how expensive it is to pay for being tall once you do find clothes that fit. We discussed the woes of finding tall maternity clothes. We talked about what it's like to have extremely low self-confidence as a result of having the fact that you are different being pointed out constantly. We both had the same idea to make shirts that say, "No, I Don't Play Basketball!" I felt completely understood. She told me it was like therapy to talk to me and kept apologizing for taking up my time, but I loved every second of it.

For obvious reasons, all but one of my girlfriends over the course of my life have all been way shorter than me. When I met my friend, Joanie (5' 11''), in Colorado it was like my life changed. Before that, I had never known what it was like to be friends with a girl who could look me straight in the eyes. I loved her, not only because she was an amazing friend, but because she understood. Unfortunately, she lives on the other side of the country from me. I miss her terribly sometimes.

Anyway, I feel refreshed today because I feel understood once again. Instead of being disregarded and told how I should be grateful for my height by someone who has no idea of what it's actually like to be tall, I have talked to an older woman who has walked in my shoes. She did nothing but relate with me. We are all born with different personalities, and for those of us who do not crave attention, it is extremely uncomfortable to live in a body that makes you different from most women and by it's nature makes it impossible to hide the fact that you are different.

Of course, I love the fact that I will probably never look stocky in anything I wear and I'm grateful that I can reach things on the highest shelf. I know that God put me in this body for some reason and I am learning to love it. I think tall women are beautiful and if this little bean inside of me is going to get more of the tall genes than the short ones (there aren't many) I really want to show her that being tall is something to be proud of. Still, I am more than aware of the obstacles she will eventually face and I am thankful that she will have a mama who understands what she's going through.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Working Mom Appreciates Time Away From Motherhood

I have a love/hate relationship with working outside the home. It is difficult to always be rushing out the door to go somewhere with a toddler. It's hard to juggle all of the household responsibilities that have to be taken care of when you just feel like crashing when you've been on your feet all day. It sucks that I can't go to a mom's group or even have coffee with a friend and their kids once in a while. It makes my life pretty lonely.

However, days like today make me grateful that I have a job outside the home. A place I can just be me and have conversations with adults about things other than the best way to get your child to eat veggies or how to handle tantrums. I can watch people outside and feel like I'm a part of the world. I can miss my child once in a while and feel proud when I get to take my little paycheck to the bank. I would never be able to mentally handle a 5-day-a-week job while having children at home. I would even go so far as to say that I don't think it's responsible parenting (cringe...yeah, I just said that.) I'm realizing that a little time away from the home, to earn a little money or just to pursue hobbies (if you don't need the money) is good for a mama's soul.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Selfish Mother Blow-Dries Her Hair While Son Impales Himself With Thermometer

OK, this didn't actually happen to me. But these are dead-seriously the headlines I come up with in my head when I have to take a shower or blow-dry my hair (things that make it impossible to keep tabs on my Curious George of a son.) Whenever I turn the water or blow-dryer off, I immediately expect to hear wailing in the background and find Soren on the ground with some serious injury I'll have to explain to CPS.

Right now Karl is out of town, so that makes getting ready for work in the morning even crazier than it usually is for us. I usually plan my showers for times when Soren is asleep or supervised by his Papa. I didn't have that option this morning, so I did the best I could. I put up safety gates and tried to put everything remotely dangerous out of reach - something that's getting increasingly harder to do these days (this kid is growing faster than I can keep up!) Still, he finds things that I would never see. Just the other day he saw and grabbed a pair of scissors before my mom could keep him from giving himself a little trim. Lovely.

Anyway, I guess the point of my post is to ask how you other moms do it. How do you get out of the house, or go to work looking somewhat classy without constantly running from your mirror when you hear silence (yes - that's when you know something's up)? For those of you who have sweet little girls who will obediently sit on the toilet watching you apply eyeliner with awe in their eyes - I don't want to hear from you. Haha (but seriously.) I'm talking a good 1.5 hours of taking a shower, doing your hair, getting dressed and applying make-up. What is your secret???

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Halfway There

I am 22 weeks pregnant, over half-way to my due date, and I realize that I haven't mentioned much about this baby. I'm ok with that (just so you know) but my friends are starting to forget that I'm pregnant, so I figured maybe it's high-time for an update.

Pregnancy is not my most favorite thing in the world. Some women just eat it up, but it's not like that for me. Sure, I think I will look back at this time in my life with fondness (couldn't think of a better word) and I will miss some aspects of it. There is something special about building a new little life inside of your body, and it's for such a small amount of time (unless you're the Duggars) during your life. Still, my body just wasn't made for this type of work. I know, that doesn't make any sense, but it's the only way I can reconcile the fact that some women feel great when they're pregnant, and I don't.

I am currently in the best stage of pregnancy - the 2nd trimester. Right now hormones are actually working in my favor, my belly is not so big that I can't hike up a leg on a counter top (yes, I do this sometimes when putting make-up on) and I can still sleep at night without recruiting the help of 4 pillows. Oh, but look out 3rd trimester - when grabbing something that fell on the car floor is just something I remember once being able to do and when my poor husband literally gets kicked out of the queen size bed. A time when my belly is taking up so much real estate that everyone feels some sense of ownership over it, therefore finding it perfectly acceptable to touch, rub or pat it whenever they get the urge. A time when the skin on my belly is screaming for relief (and ripping) from the tension. A time when creativity takes on a whole new meaning 'in the bedroom'. Not a time for the weak of spirit, that's for sure. Now I have little nightmares about getting through that "whale" of a trimester while chasing a very speedy little toddler as he endlessly runs in the opposite direction of me. Heaven help us!

My pregnancy has been pretty uneventful so far. I call the midwives so much less this time than I did when I was pregnant with Soren. I'm a lot less stressed about eating all the right things and staying away from soft cheeses and deli turkey. I don't freak out during my painful "round ligament pain" sessions - I just wait them out on the couch, for hours. Ok - I admit - my prenatals have gone a few days without being touched too. Priorities change a bit with the second, they do.

This little girl is moving...a night. Sometimes I think about how cute it is that I am her mama and she only knows about being inside of me. She is used to the rythm of my walk and my voice and my anything-but-bland food preferences. She gets kicked quite a bit by Soren as I'm trying to dress him - it's a good foretaste of what's to be the first several years of her life. Although I'm still coming to grips with the fact that she is coming at the worst possible time of our life (according to us), I'm feeling twinges of excitement at the thought of seeing her face in 4 months. It may not sound like much, but it is.