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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!

Homemade Spinach Dal

By popular demand, here’s my easy recipe for homemade spinach dal.  I know there are more complex, more authentic ways to make this, but I was going for quick, sufficiently tasty, and convenient using things I already had on hand.  Still came out yum! and the use of a rice cooker makes things infinitely easier (as well as gives me a timer of sorts).

  • (3) cups long grain white rice (or substitute your favorite type of grain)
  • (1) cup lentils
  • (1) 13.5 oz can of leaf spinach, drained
  • (1) 15 oz can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • (1) 10 oz can Rotel (diced tomatoes with diced green chilies), lightly drained
  • (1) clove garlic, minced
  • (1-1/2) tsp onion powder (or 1 medium onion, chopped, lightly sauteed)
  • (3/4) tsp sea salt
  • (3/4) tsp ground turmeric
  • (1) tsp ground cumin
  • (1/4) tsp ground ginger
  • (1/8) tsp ground cardamom

In rice cooker, combine 3 cups long grain white rice with appropriate amount of water for your rice cooker.  Or just cook on the stove top.

In small saucepan, combine 2 cups of water and 1 cup of lentils.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

While lentils are cooking, combine the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan.  Mix well, bring to a near-boil, then lower heat and let simmer.

When lentils are done, add to the spinach mixture, combining thoroughly.  Continue simmering until chickpeas are soft, or until the rice is done, whichever comes first.

Serve while hot over a plate of fluffed rice, preferably with fresh naan.  Revel in knowing that you just made a super healthy, super low-fat, nutrient-packed meal!

Enter the cat

I haven’t blogged in a while, so I have tons to catch up on.  New posts will trickle in.  First, enter the cat.

Now presenting… Femmer, the Incredible Purr-Monster!

We adopted a one-year-old cat from the animal shelter on Wednesday.  I met him Tuesday evening, but “visiting” hours were over so I could not adopt him until Wednesday.  It was fun, having the whole family meet him before taking him home, because they all fell for him like I did.  And he doesn’t set off my allergies!  At least, not so far as I’ve noticed yet, and I should have noticed something by now if it was going to happen, I think.

He’s social, talkative, a CONSTANT purr-er, playful, not aggressive, and loves to get cracked out on catnip.  He’s my first kitty since I was like 4 or 5, so he’s kind of like my first kitty since I wasn’t primary caregiver of the one I had back then, and we didn’t have that one for long anyway.  Femmer seems SO grateful to be here, adores the kids, tolerates the dog, and loves to purr.  Now that he’s here, it just seems right to have him, like he fits in to our house and our family.

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.

Moon!

Here are a few shots of the lunar eclipse as seen from my front porch.  I wish these had turned out better, but I fear that it’s time to upgrade the camera.  I’d take more, but cloud cover, cold temperatures, and trees seem to be impeding the rest of the eclipse for me.  Nonetheless, it’s soooooo pretty.

Holiday Spirit

Camilla’s got the holiday spirit! Here she is behind our Christmas tree, which is largely bare of ornamentation because she and JR can’t keep their hands off of it. So we’re leaving the pre-lit tree pretty much as it is. We’re good with that. Some things you just have to accept when you have small children. Happy holidays!

Camilla behind our Christmas tree. (Photo by John McDonald, Nov. 30, 2010.)

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