I can't believe we have a 3 year old!



Ben and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary this weekend.  We had a nice dinner at Edgewood where we got married - we both love the nostalgia of being in that same spot and remembering what a wonderful day that was.  Six years!!  We've learned so much from those first years of really getting to know each other better, to figuring out what it really means to "die to yourself" - not an easy task!  I look forward to the next 6, next 12, 24 years sweet husband of mine!

There's where our beautiful table settings and gorgeous cake were!  We talked about how absolutely perfect it all was with Tamara's bouquets and daisy/baby's breath arch and Rosie and Jessie's sweet mini daisy centerpieces.  It really was the prettiest wedding ever in my opinion ;)

...the sunset was amaaaaazing...

Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus. 
Romans 15:5


*las vacaciones

Having a good time!!



Vera spends a great deal of her day putting babies and animals to bed. I love finding them all over the place.  My favorite is baby hello kitty's itty bitty beds :)

Ben and I took a nice rest today too while she "put us to bed", basically replaying our nightly routine over and over for about 30 minutes. It was a good chance to go over some things, as I'd say "mom I can't sleep! will you stay with me?" and she'd reply "ok, I will stay one minute and then you have to promise to not cry or yell for me, ok?" or "mom I can't sleep what should I do?" - "just lay down and hug bunny and dream about your day, dear."



Vera loves to go to my appointments with me and behaves so well.  My midwife let her help hold the doppler and she was so pleased - and so professional, telling me to lay down and straighten my legs and such.  She is sooo excited about her baby sister and loves to talk about her and talk about when when she comes in the Fall and how it's hard to wait but you have to be patient.  She did tell me though the other day that maybe an angel is going to come down from the sky and tell me I'm going to have a baby - next week.  

Anyway, things are going well, except for the fact that I gained TEN lbs. in the last four weeks.  Geez I cannot avoid it.  Or maybe I can and just need to cut down on my portions....  anyway, it really bothers me and I crave the day I can go for a run and start to see the pounds shed away.  Sorry for the complaining, just talking about what's on my mind :)  I'm also getting tired and winded real easy.  My mom always asks if I am on a walk - nope, just got up to get the phone.  It's a little embarrassing.  On the whole I'd say I still feel pretty good and ride my bike as much as I can since it's too hot to walk anywhere in the middle of the day now.   Ok that's all from pregnant lady.



Our peas are finally ready to harvest and they are so delicious, sweet and cute! I'd never had fresh-shelled peas before and they are as good as I'd heard. I will definitely be planting these every year from now on - and way more than one short row.


I honestly can't wait 'till she can really do the dishes.
A chore chart on the fridge, I can see it now...



I have been using epicurious a lot lately. I have an ingredient I want to use, I enter it in the site and then sort the recipes by rating. One that I've made 3x in the last month are these Spiced Lentil Tacos. The first time I told Ben what we were having he made a comment about including hemp and sprouts, but then proceeded to eat five and declare them amazing and delicious.

I always read the reviews and make little alterations according to their advice. Like in this recipe, use less salt and not a whole packet of taco seasoning [simply organic has a good one].

Crispy taco shells make it real yummy, but last night I made whole wheat tortillas with coconut oil and they were good. I also used baby onions from our garden! and some fresh and crispy cabbage, yummm. The best part though is the chipotle sour cream, using these:

Unfortunately I tried to sneak in too many of the lentils and cabbage in Vera's "quesadilla" and I think it was a little too spicy for her. At one point she said she couldn't eat it because her "teeth were too white." Dinner was not a pleasant experience, hence no photos of the finished product.


*el cuento de Vera

I've been meaning to write down Vera's "birth story." I don't know about the rest of you, but my mom doesn't remember anything: well I think I got induced once ... and I think maybe my water broke first? You were real easy, no maybe Liz was ... etc. So I want to write it all down to remember. Also, don't hesitate to ever tell me your story or mention it in the comments, I love to hear birth stories.

This is going to be long and detailed by the way. I won't be offended if you don't read it :)

One week before my due date, a Saturday about 3 o'clock. Ben had just gone to work at Lowe's and I was lying on the bed watching TV. I had just been at Whole Foods and thank goodness I was home now, because all of a sudden I felt an unmistakable gushing and I knew right away my water had broke. Like there was no mistake - it just kept coming and so I stuffed a bath towel between my legs and called Ben. I had always thought it would be fun to finally have that moment of "Honey, my water broke! It's time!" Later I would realize that's not how I should have wished it [I didn't know water breaking does not mean labor is starting]. I called the hospital and they said I should try to get there within an hour or so. Ben got home and I took a shower and got some things together - what a weird feeling it was!! I wasn't feeling any contractions at all and it was just so strange to be like okay I'm going to have a baby today [or 24 hours later]. On the way to St. Marks we called our parents, casually mentioning mid-conversation that we were on our way :) My mom got in her car and started her own drive from Nevada. I had half a coconut popsicle - couldn't finish it as I was so anxious and excited. I would wish later on I would have eaten the rest and another besides!

After they checked my progress [none whatsoever] at the hospital, they let us walk around for about an hour to see if anything started happening [nothing still]. I got back to the room and the nurse got on the phone with the midwife [mine was out of town, this was a fill-in]. Over the phone she told them to start me on pitocin! I couldn't believe it, she wasn't even going to talk to me or check me or give me some options? So they hooked me up to an IV and a monitor. I also had to have antibiotics flowing in because someone at the office hadn't sent my strep-B results in. So there I was with wires and tubes all over the place, unable to move 2 feet from the bed. The overwhelming thought I had at this point was defeat. I felt defeated and like all the reading and mental preparation about natural birth and midwives was out the door and the "evils" of a medicalized hospital birth were being realized. I wasn't going to argue with the medical staff though, because of course I really just wanted to make sure I had a healthy baby and not just the "experience" that I wanted.

Once the contractions really started going with the pitocin I had a hard time. I wanted to find something comfortable, but didn't like sitting on the bed and couldn't walk more than a step away. The pain was pretty intense and I felt out of control and like I didn't know what to do. After about 3-4 hours of it [I think?], they checked me and I think I had only progressed to one centimeter. It was midnight and I was hungry and tired and a little scared of the pain and my inability to deal with it. Faced with the prospect of the whole night ahead of me, I decided I'd get an epidural. Afterwards, Ben and I watched Les Miserables and then he slept while I tried to without success. I remember talking to Ben's sister at some point in the pre-dawn hours, that was a nice diversion :) Another highlight of the night was when I asked Ben if he would go get me some more ice chips and he mumbled from his cot, can't you just call the nurse? I love to tease him about that one. Anyway, morning arrived and I still hadn't progressed hardly at all. The epidural wasn't working super well and my hip hurt really really badly. I hated the helpless dead feeling of half my body totally numb - Ben can you move my leg please? Can you roll my enormous body to the other side?

Finally around lunch time they said I was almost there and the room got a little busy. I wish I would have had that feeling of needing to push, but I just went by what the monitor said my contractions were doing. I pushed for about an hour and a half and was so exhausted that I started falling asleep and even dreaming in the minutes between contractions! The midwife finally had me stop pushing and they phoned the on-call OB. He got there, calmly washed his hands and slowly explained to me [all the while with an enormous baby stuck in my pelvis] that he was going to try to turn her head slightly with the forceps as it's angle was keeping her from moving down further. If that didn't work, we'd do a C-section. Thankfully it did work and I think I pushed her out within 1/2 hour after that - 2:55 pm, Sunday July 29. 9 lbs. 5 oz. The first thing the nurses said was "your momma fed you well!" and "look at those toes!" - the first thing I said to Ben [between tears] was that was so hard. She had had a bowel movement in the womb, so a team of nurses had to whisk her away to make sure everything was ok. I had 4th degree tears and was losing a lot of blood; I remember the doctor yelling at someone to get something into my IV. While he stitched me up [I did hear later that if you need to get stitched up, this doctor is the best in the whole valley] I tried to strain my neck and catch a glimpse of the sweet baby who I'd wanted so much to meet. I can't quite remember when they first handed her to me, I think I was still quite light-headed and a little delirious. I do remember Ben and I looking at each other: this is her, this is Vera!

Once in the recovery room, I tried to breastfeed, but it wasn't going well. She seemed about to get it, but I started throwing up [can't remember why - pain meds?] and the nurse took her away. At some point they told me her blood sugar was low and could they give her formula. I was so miserable and in so much pain and so out of it, I just said fine. I even had them keep her in the nursery all night, bringing her in so I could hold her and feed her the bottle a few times - adding drops of colostrum I was able to pump. I knew that was so not the "natural mama" I wanted to be, but I felt really awful and needed to sleep. She did finally learn to breastfeed exclusively in the next week, but giving her the bottle right away made things VERY difficult as she got used to that full tummy feeling right away. I had some really sweet moments that first night with her [Ben had gone home to sleep too, which I was totally fine with], holding this little wide-eyed blinking stranger in the quiet of my room, just the two of us. Saying her name to her over and over - knowing that she would grow into it, in awe of the little being that I finally was holding.

So basically everything went opposite to my hoped for experience, sigh. The recovery was almost worse with all the stitches and other swelling down there coupled with the crazy hormone roller coaster and a baby who violently refused to nurse. I remember just bawling my eyes out and poor Ben being at a loss to help me.

However, slowly things started healing, Vera figured out how to nurse and life assumed a new pace. In those first weeks I felt I couldn't possibly go through that ever again, but in a few months I thought maybe perhaps I could and a year later I knew of course I could. Amazing how our bodies and our memories work! Above all I'm so thankful we were blessed with such a healthy, beautiful baby and am so excited for the newest little one!! I'm doing a lot of the same and more natural childbirth reading and will hopefully be more prepared should I face some of the same problems. In the end though, it's just a day or so in the scheme of my whole life with my daughter and she doesn't hold it against me that I had an epidural and that she spent her first night in the nursery with bottles :)

That was even longer than I thought it would be.

El fin.


*habla y habla

Yesterday I didn't feel well and so I laid on the couch while Vera took care of me, letting me hold Bunny and her blanket.  She brought me toys and food and talked and talked and talked.  I had a little notebook next to me, so I wrote down things as she said them.  I know anyone feels the same about their own child, but I couldn't stop thinking this child is magical, I LOVE HER.  I love how she takes her experiences and phrases she learns from me, books and -yes- videos and strings them together into random strings of consciousness.  

Guess what??! [whispers] You get a milkshake!  and you'll go to the SWIMming pool in a few days and 4 minutes when Stella gets here after your quiet time. That will be so EXCITED!! [arms up]

in a few days ago and 4 minutes it's your BIRTHday but you have to wait until it's fall I'm going to make you a cake with cookies and brown things and cupcakes!!!!  you can have a vegetable after your cookie and doughnut and cupcake.

but it has not sugar but it has a little sugar. [whispers] but guess what we're gonna make milkshakes and icees!  that sounds so YUMMY!!
[off in her room preparing my treats, singing] so we gonna get princesses we are princesses all of my heart la la la dee da. jesus loves me this I know school school don't be late! sign your name at the golden gate v-e-r-a cinderella dressed a yell-A went upstairs a kiss a fella made a dadala kissed a snake...

I'll sing one more and then I'm gonna go, okay sweetheart?