Tag Archives: family

Birthday!

Two years ago, right this minute, I was in labor, starting to transition, sure that I couldn’t go through with it, being encouraged by John that I was strong enough to handle anything. By 3 pm, I was at the hospital, and fighting the urge to push. John didn’t get a chance to park the truck. Less than half an hour after arriving at the hospital, I had a VBA2C (vaginal birth after two cesareans).

River Darrell was born, 9 lbs 6 oz, 21.5″ long, at 41w1d, 8 days “past due date,” making our little family complete.

Happy 2nd Birthday, River! We love you, Peanut.

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Unexpected

Maybe it’s because I’ve been able to be more expressive in my art (written, fiber, visual).

Maybe it’s the increased laughter in our home.

Maybe it’s the cathartic crying after challenging parenting temper tantrums.

Maybe it’s hearing that I make my gorgeous, brilliant, witty husband excited to come home.

Maybe it’s seeing effects, in my body & wardrobe, of my healthier lifestyle choices.

Maybe it’s all the old-school grunge I’ve been listening to, aiding in bringing nostalgic smiles.

Maybe it’s the anticipation my children and I have for the long weekend we’ll have with John for this Christmas weekend.

Maybe it’s knowing we’ll be gaining daylight soon.

Maybe it’s a million little things all combined.

It’s all led to this moment when I declare that, unexpectedly, today I am unabashedly happy.

Happy Hanukkah.

Whoa.

Holy absentee blogger, Batman!

I’ve sort of been writing.  Elsewhere.  Stuff more for me and less for public consumption.  I just haven’t been writing enough, which is likely why I feel… congested? emotionally.  Time for a cathartic dump.

I’ve been exhausted, aching, and/or ill, for what seems like for.ev.er.  I have depression/anxiety/panic issues, and fibromyalgia, and chronic back pain from an ancient injury.  Those are all the basics that are with me on an almost daily basis.  I’ve had in increase in migraines (complete with aura, awesome), a resurgence of insomnia, an uptick in panic attack intensity and frequency, and some unexplained diffuse lymphadenopathy which hit me like a freight train.  And this has all just been my shit.  Each of the kids has had their own (typical, uneventful, unremarkable, viral) illness, and John has had his fair share of ickies.

So through all this shit, a lot of things have taken a back burner.  This blog was one.  My spinning.  My painting.  My knitting too, on occasion. Reading, some writing, most frivolous/fun things.

I’ve spent more time primping and preening.  I figure if I feel like absolute shit, I will at least look good.  Hot, even.

I listen to more music than before. [Side note: each of the kids has a distinct musical preference. JR = bluegrass/jam bands, classic rock. Mia = ’80s hair, metal, industrial.  River = r&b and hip hop.  These are usually incompatible genres, often leading to musical chaos and at least one disappointed child.  Thank goodness for Pandora.]

I text more, play Words with Friends, nurse an ever-teething baby.

River’s not really a baby anymore.  He’s 26+ lbs of adventure, charm, and mischief.  He turned ONE YEAR OLD on July 3.  My Itty Bitty Baby Boy is ONE.  It’s amazing, and kind of heartbreaking.  (He got cake.  He loved it.  He took his first steps just days before that.)

I’ve reconnected with some really great people.  My friends and my music have really gotten me through some crappy times these last few months.  Thank you.

My lymph nodes are all starting to calm down, finally.  My spleen still hurts, but it too is on the mend.  I have medication for the panic attacks and insomnia.  Now that I’m getting at least 4 hours of sleep a night and am in less pain, I’m starting to feel like things are looking up.

Maybe I’ll get over this mental block I have about sharing certain things and y’all might see some more posts.

Pictures soon, promise!

In summation…

Randomly, on another Tuesday:

  • I miss Melinda.  I’m talking to my little brother Michael again.  I’m talking to my sisters again.  I miss mama.  Loss is lonely, and each one exacerbates the others.
  • The flights down to Texas weren’t too bad.  Long, but not bad.
  • San Antonio was extremely warm the first several days, then cooled off to something tolerable for this Eskimo.
  • The kids had heaping tons of fun with Mimi, Popo, Aunt B, Uncle Schim, and cousins Matthew/Chewy, Nolan, and Colin.
  • They also had a great time with Uncle Lawrence, Aunt Susan, Brennan, and Uncle Ables.
  • Fun was also had at Chuck E Cheese’s with Uncle Alex, Aunt Kimberly, Adriana, Pops, Kyle, and Camden, Aunt Tasha, and cousins Morgan, Trent, and Natalie.
  • Miss Sally liked being chased by the kids, though she tried to pretend otherwise.  Lucky adored Milla.
  • Camilla is “kah-MEE-lah”.  We call her Milla (MEE-yah).  I’ve also written it as Mi’a.  She calls herself Illa/Iya/I’a (pronounced EE-yah).  Aunt B noted that it’s spelled/pronounced like tortilla.  I think this is going to stick with my poor girl forever now.
  • I got a tattoo by Jedidia Reid, owner of Element Tattoo Studio in San Antonio.  I LOVE it.
  • There will be a ton of photos uploaded in the coming weeks.
  • I hated the trip up to Chicago more than words can capture.
  • I loved being in Aurora/Chicago with Aunt Cara, Uncle Mike, and cousins Maddie, Ryan, and Tori.
  • The wind and humidity there make their winter just as cold and unforgiving as ours.
  • They have so much snow that I’m jealous.
  • I didn’t think I could be jealous of precipitation.  I am.
  • The trip back to Fairbanks was long, but nowhere near as bad as the one to O’Hare.
  • We picked up some kind of icky flu-ish/cold-ish bug that has us all feverish, with deep, racking coughs.
  • That hasn’t diminished the pleasure of being back home.
  • We all miss our friends, family, and travels.
  • We wish y’all were closer, and that we could see you more often.  Preferably through teleportation.
  • I’m trying to put the house back together, and will update with more details and pictures when I can.
  • And lastly:

  • Bubbles are awesome.  (recorded in summer 2010)

Random on a Tuesday

  • My youngest sister, Melinda, died at 25 on January 14, 2011.
  • We drove to Anchorage for a small memorial service for her, held on Friday, January 21, 2011.
  • It’s got me mourning my mother all over again.
  • The kids got to play with Grandpa, cousins Faith, Caleb, and Vicky, Aunts Jessie, Tasha, & Sandee, and Uncle Darrell.
  • We took family photos at my parents’ house, courtesy of Sandee Rice Photography.
  • Back at the hotel, we took the kids down to the swimming pool.  They had a blast.
  • The chlorine in the pool did crazy tightening things to the dreads forming at the back of my head.
  • Bouncing Bears is the coolest place to get kids worn out before a long road trip.
  • The living room floor is the greatest place to roll around after many long hours cooped up in car seats.
  • The wolf and the orca share the same animal spirit in Yup’ik lore.  These are the two animals I debated between in trying to identify the animal essence of my youngest child River.  JR is a polar bear.  Camilla is a lynx/mountain lion/fox.
  • I’ve spun 4 oz of a pinkish-purplish wool/alpaca batt by Bohoknitterchic Spins into 400+ yards of a fingering weight single.  Melinda loved pink.  I’m going to knit a shawl out of this yarn.
  • I’m knee-deep in laundry that needs to be done before we leave Thursday night on vacation.
  • I get a kitten after we get back.  It will go nicely with the litter box and cat food I got from John for Christmas.
  • I’m planning on getting tattooed in San Antonio and Chicago during the next couple of weeks.
  • I’ll be starting a Little Acorn Learning curriculum for JR and Camilla after our trip.  I’m excited.
  • I definitely need to get back to daily workouts.  They’ve fallen by the wayside with a marked increase in fibro pain.
  • I nearly forgot how comfortable Vans are until I bought a new pair the other day.
  • I am very clearly doing anything possible to avoid laundry and packing.
  • I have to start all that now, before Thursday gets here.

Sigh.

New.

(I’ll be back with 30 Days of Truth tomorrow-ish.  Just wanted to note this.  Workout: Complete, 20 minutes.  30 Day Shred 1, day 3 in.a.row!  Liking the burn I’m feeling.)

My guys (John and JR) got a much-needed haircut by me tonight, followed by showery freshness.  River practiced keeping his balance sitting up.  John went to bed in hopes of chasing away his chest cold.  Camilla fell asleep on the early side.  JR, River, and I hung out in the living room before they decided to go to sleep before midnight.

I thought about mama, and how we would call each other at midnight each new year, just to check in with each other.  I miss you, mama.  I thought about new year’s eves of past, shook my head, and said a prayer of thanks for my life today.  Sleep eluded me, so I came back out to the living room to do my workout as nearby fireworks rang in the new year.

New.  New goals.  New outlook.  New habits.  New hope.  This year, I’m going to reveal a new me.

Happy New Year.  May you find the newness you seek.

Awesome & Win

The nurse-in last Friday was made of awesome and win.  Thank you all.

I was so proud of the turnout — a photographer from the local newspaper pegged us at over 20+ mamas strong, not including daddies and babies and other supporters.  KUAC-FM mentioned us during the 12 pm newshour before the event.  CBS News 13 interviewed me before the nurse-in, and we were featured in the 6 pm and 11 pm news that night.  Two photos from the event were featured on the front page of the Fairbanks Newsminer the next day.

The energy from the participants was amazing, and the sentiments from passersby seemed largely positive despite a couple of unfortunate encounters.  The media was initially kicked out of the store, but were later invited back in.  John and I guessed that they didn’t want any more bad publicity.

We were there for about an hour inside the store, nursing, visiting with other parents, reveling in the positivity, enjoying the moment.  We had sort of descended on Starbucks en masse, and they were so patient even though I’m sure they were a bit overwhelmed.  The clerk nearest to us was very pleasant and polite.  Management stood by, looking rather nervous or insecure, possibly both.

I’m still so excited that it all went so well.  Overall it was such a wonderful experience.

Click images to enlarge


I’m so proud of the nurse-in, and of all of you out there who came out to support us, or sent your support from wherever you are.

I had mentioned to a few people how I’ve been wanting to expand my social circle, to meet like-minded people to hang out with and have playdates with, and one fabulous mama put it in an  awesome, empowering way:  I manifested a community around me, I manifested friends.  I guess I truly do have powerful magic.  I know I’m blessed to have had the support that I did, that I do.

What a great time it was.  I’m so hopeful that I’ve helped spread the message that there is nothing indecent about breastfeeding, and even more hopeful that at least one more mama will feel comfortable feeding her baby whenever and wherever he’s hungry.

At the nurse-in. Photo by Georganne Hampton, cropped by me.

Anticipating Baby

Hi, Baby McDonald #3.  This is your story.

I found out I was pregnant with you in a WalMart bathroom in San Antonio, TX, at the end of our coast trip with your daddy’s family.  I was shocked, to say the least.  I was finally able to tell your father about 45 minutes later.  I held up the test and asked him if he thought that looked like a plus sign.  He was shocked, too.

It’s not that we didn’t want you, and aren’t ecstatic to have you.  But, you see, your sister Camilla had just turned 7 months old.  I wasn’t expecting you, but am beyond thrilled to have you in our lives.  Clearly you were destined for our family.

You gave me a scare at 13 weeks (just like your brother and sister did).  Whereas I had a subchorionic hemorrhage with them, I actually had a tiny amniotic fluid leak with you.  That scared the crap out of me.  I was on edge for weeks, terrified of losing you.  I actually spent a great deal of the pregnancy worried that you were going to come early.  There’s no danger of that, as I started writing this the day I hit 41 weeks.  Clearly you are stubborn.

The pregnancy itself was pretty uneventful, for which I am grateful.  I’ve been in great health, and you have too.  JR is amazing, and you’re going to love having him as a big brother.  He’s so kind and sweet, smart and funny, and a million other fantastic things.  Camilla is pretty awesome too.  She’s a feisty, bright, willful, adventurous little girl who brings us all a smile.

I don’t know where to start to tell you how lucky you are to have the father that you do.  Maybe that will be a different story altogether.  I’ll leave it at this for now:  I’m lucky to have married my best friend and bore his children.  Really lucky.  Wait.  Not lucky — blessed.

Your due date was approaching, and I was starting to fret about my limited mobility.  We had just bought our first house, and your daddy had to pack the old house and move all by himself.  Then there was a fire on the road to the mine, and he had to take a week off which turned out to be okay because he was able to finish moving and cleaning.  We thought for sure that you’d make an entrance right after that, but no.  I’d had some Braxton Hicks contractions, but no signs of labor.  On your due date, June 25th, I had my OB’s nurse do a (very quick) membrane sweep.  I was barely 1.5 cm at that point.  With some help, I lost my mucus plug the next day, and started having bloody show the day after.

Then things stalled.

There was a lot of walking involved.  We all saw Toy Story 3 at some point.  There was a day we all walked up to Denny’s (with daddy pulling JR & Camilla in the wagon) for breakfast and back to the house.  There have been about a million trips to WalMart to walk around, probably resulting in the purchase of more crap than we ever thought we needed.  I figured out you were facing the wrong way — you were sunny-side-up, occiput posterior — and knew that you were going to have to turn around if I had a hope of ever getting you out.

I started doing all the things from Spinning Babies.  I have spent most of the last week on all fours, tushy up in the air, trying to encourage you to turn.  I felt drained, like I would be pregnant forever.  I was also starting to be in immense pain, so I scheduled a chiropractic appointment with Dr. Bill McAfee.  On July 1 (at 40w6d), he gave me an amazing sacral adjustment and did the Webster technique.  I had a contraction immediately upon standing up.  I felt you wiggling.  I had contractions all day and night, feeling you wiggle with them all.  The adjustment/technique opened up my pelvis and loosened up my uterine ligaments.  I felt fabulous and re-energized, and even got a good night’s sleep.

Today is July 2nd.  Today I am 41 weeks.  Today you turned around.  Today is also your (middle) namesake’s birthday.  Happy birthday, Uncle Darrell!  45 years ago, my mother gave birth to him.  Today I hope to give birth to you.  We’re all eager to meet you!

Summer Pictures

He loves his dump trucks and rocks

He loves his dump trucks and rocks

Exploring the backyard with Buffle

Exploring the backyard with Buffle

Tires are fun

Tires are fun

On the walkway built by Uncle Darrell

On the walkway built by Uncle Darrell

Exersaucer entertainment... love that smile.

Exersaucer entertainment... love that smile.

Second Trip to Anchorage

We headed down to Anchorage again over Memorial Day weekend to meet up with John’s parents. They came up to spend a few days in town before heading on to Whittier for their cruise to Vancouver. We had a great time, and the kids had a blast with MiMi and PoPo.

We took the kids into the pool one night at the hotel, and had absolutely fabulous fun. I didn’t bring my camera down there, but it was awesome. JR got to go go-kart riding and pony riding again. We also checked out the Saturday Market where I picked up some cool handmade birch trucks for JR and some pretty hippie duds for myself.

The Sunday before Memorial Day I went to mama’s grave site. It was heartbreaking and surreal but I’m glad I went.

Reading Sports Illustrated on the drive down

Reading Sports Illustrated on the drive down

MiMi and Camilla

MiMi and Camilla

Grandpa and JR

Grandpa and JR

John & JR riding go-karts

John & JR riding go-karts

PoPo, JR, and Grandpa at the pony rides

PoPo, JR, and Grandpa at the pony rides

Grandpa and Camilla

Grandpa and Camilla

My little cowboy!

My little cowboy!

I miss you, mama.

I miss you, mama.

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