Saturday, March 22, 2014


We all encounter challenges on a daily basis. You may consider yours something small, like having enough time in the day to accomplish everything you set out to do, or it may be a bit bigger- perhaps something you have to overcome mentally or emotionally, or even a struggle when dealing with a difficult person. Whatever the case, take a look at your daily life- what would you say is your biggest challenge? Or if you have a past struggle you were able to overcome, how did you do it? This week, write about a challenge you currently deal with on a day to day basis, or discuss one you managed to get past.

This was the prompt for Sometimes Sweet journal day #5.

Murray taking his last car ride before the car seat was installed.

To tell you the truth, right now I can't say I have any major challenges. I think I might be on a "baby high" and I'm pretty much nesting and looking forward to Ellies arrival.

I think my biggest challenge right now might be deciding if I should have an active birth or instead get an epidural. I'm not going to pretend that I think a "natural" childbirth is better than any other type of birth. I know an epidural won't have much of an effect on Ellie, if at all, but I wonder if I would be missing out on something if I didn't just go with the flow. I've had a couple of friends who have done it all natural and they both agreed it wasn't as bad as they expected. I also know that I've never done this before, so I probably shouldn't rule out getting something that would make it easier on me!

I don't have much information on active child birth and the Bradley Method class that my hospital offers isn't really an option this late in the game. I'm afraid that if I don't make a committed decision that I will end up chickening out, getting an epidural and regretting it later. But would I really regret it? Would I even really care as long as Ellie is healthy?

My dad gave me some good advice when we were visiting California for Christmas. He told me that lots of people focus too much on "The Event" and forget that the most important thing is what happens after the event. Like focusing all your attention on the details of your wedding and freaking out over something silly, like candle holders, instead of enjoying your day. I've read a bunch of birth stories on different blogs and I recall one that kind of bothered me... I wouldn't link to it even if I remembered which blog it was, because I don't want to say that her feelings are wrong or don't matter, but I really felt like she was ungrateful. She wanted so badly to have a natural home birth but ended up needing a C-section instead. The poor woman said she failed her spouse and failed her baby! I couldn't help thinking how ridiculous that sounded. The baby doesn't care and I'm positive her spouse was just happy to have a healthy baby and wife. I don't want to sound like a jerk, but I've also read a ton of other blogs where women almost lost their babies. Babies that ended up in the NICU for months and babies born way too early. I feel like even though I have an idea of what my ideal birth experience would be, I also don't want to get married to the idea. Things change and you never know what could happen or what you will want in that moment. Getting my hopes up over something could just end up in a bad experience. I really want to enjoy as much of it as possible.

I really don't have much of a conclusion, but in doing some research I discovered an excerpt from an interview with Ani Difranco, who happens to be one of my heros since the age of 15. I'm pretty inspired by this lady!

(by taking drugs) women are numbed through their great moment of revelation. I believe the act of giving birth to be the single most miraculous thing a human being can do and it is surely the moment when a lot of women finally understand the depth of their power and connection to all of nature. You think it can’t possibly be done, you think you can’t possibly take the pain, and then you do — and afterward you look at yourself in a whole new way. If you can do that, you can do anything.’ (Excerpted from a March 7, 2008 interview published in Venus Zine)

Would I miss out on my moment of revelation?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Baby Bump - 36 Weeks!

Weight Gain: 20 lbs

Belly Button? Innie 

Feeling: Tired. Lucky for me everyone at work has been in the field for the past two weeks, so I've been able to just go to PT in the morning and then go back home and sleep for the rest of the day. I'm really hoping my leave goes through even though I've been spoiled for the past two weeks. It still gets harder everyday to get up and down and walk around. I really don't want anything embarrassing to happen at the office, like my water breaking or something!

Food I'm Missing: The other day Joe mentioned whiskey sours and I've been wanting one ever since.

Cravings: I can't get enough lemonade.

Listening to: Air, Arms and Sleepers, Sigur Ros, and making a playlist for the hospital.

Movement: Ellie has hiccups quite often and likes to try to escape my belly by pushing her little legs up against my belly. Sorry but that's not the way out, little girl!

Looking Forward to: I'm beginning to understand why people get so tired of being pregnant! I actually really love the whole experience and I'm not anxious for it to be over, but it will be pretty nice to have my body back. Sleeping on my back and on my side again without something hurting will be really awesome (not that I expect to get much sleep for a while!)

To the Sea

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Canning Apple Preserves

I know this really isn't the canning season, but I wanted to try it out anyway. Apples are pretty much good year round, right?
I won a giveaway from Girl Versus Dough many months ago and got a gift card for William Sonoma. If you have ever been to William Sonoma you would know that a spoon costs like, $100. After doing some searching I figured out that all the canning supplies were pretty inexpensive! I picked up some canning tongs, a lid lifter, a canning funnel and Sherri Vinton's book, Put 'Em Up for recipes and instructions. I chose Apple preserves as my first recipe since if the canning didn't work like I planned at least apples were cheap. I also love apple pie, apple tart, apple crumble... basically any baked apple is the best thing ever.

The recipe was super easy. I actually added some nutmeg and cloves because I wanted a little more apple pie flavor. I love apple pie more than anything.
I just have to say though... if you read the recipe directions you will notice it says to "ask your farmer" about the best baking apples. Are you shitting me? I may live in Louisiana now, but that sure doesn't mean we have apple farmers around. We have Walmart. That's it. She couldn't give a suggestion, like Granny Smith? 
Granny smith is what I used. I used those because that's what other recipe books recommended when baking apple pie... they don't get all pretentious about having apple farmers on hand to answer all your questions. 

I'm crossing my fingers it doesn't just turn into apple sauce! I can't wait to get some summer berries to make chutney and jam! I've got little swatches of gingham fabric, bakers twine and little tags to make the jars look all cute.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Walk by the Swamp and Life in Louisiana (so far)

Does this count as a swamp? I haven't lived in Louisiana long enough to know the difference between a swamp, a bayou or just a pond. I'm going to call this one a swamp since there was a sign that said "Beware of Snakes" and snakes seem like a thing that would live near a swamp. 

It gets pretty chilly and foggy in the morning but by the afternoon it's nice and warm, that is, if it's not raining. I realized that in the three years I lived in Alaska, there never once was a thunderstorm! Louisiana has it's fair share of thunder and lightning.

It's been nice to live in a place where we can go for walks. I love that I can go outside with a light sweatshirt and walk Murray around the neighborhood with Joe. In Alaska we didn't live in the prettiest neighborhood and most of the year it was too snowy, cold or rainy and we just wanted to stay indoors. While nothing can really compare to the beautiful mountain views in Alaska, I'm happy to live in a place with pretty blooming dogwood trees and rolling hills. I'm looking forward to taking Ellie out in her wrap carrier and walking the dog with Joe. 

Other than not having anywhere to buy quality produce I really like Louisiana so far. People were telling me such awful things about this place, but I have come to the conclusion that none of these people have ever lived in a place called Fort Leonardwood, Missouri. Let me tell you... This place is so much better! 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Baby Bump - 34 Weeks!

Weight Gain:
 15 lbs

Belly Button? Innie 

Feeling: Pretty good! The most annoying thing is my left ear getting plugged up.

Food I'm Missing: This week I took a breastfeeding class and was happy to hear that I can drink alcohol! Yay, for red wine being in my near future!! 

Movement: Not as much movement since there is less room now, but still rolling around and wiggling a lot.

Listening to: Scissor Sisters

Looking Forward to: More classes! We signed up for a bunch of classes at the hospital for newborn care, breastfeeding, breathing and relaxation and labor and delivery. The breastfeeding class was pretty helpful so I'm looking forward to the next one. I've also been getting freezer meals together when I get the chance. So far I've made quiche, a shepherd's pie and pizza dough. I don't know what else would freeze well but I'm going to try out baked macaroni and cheese, a lasagna and freeze a bunch of black bean burger patties. 

We took Murray out for a walk this morning and got some pictures by a swamp. He got busy sniffing everything and now he is totally pooped and napping in his bed. My belly is getting pretty big too! 

This week was Mardi Gras, but of course I missed it! I know that next year during this time we are going to be getting all packed and ready to move back to New York so we probably won't make it then either. It's too bad because I would really love to see what goes on and all the culture! I'm just crossing my fingers that we can actually make it down there at some point, if only to get some delicious food.

To the Sea

Monday, March 3, 2014

One Year Ago, Today

I'm taking a weekly journal prompt from Sometimes Sweet this week and the subject is advice I would give myself looking back at the past year. 

They say hindsight is 20/20, and with good reason- looking back at something always gives us a better view. We're often able to really see how our choices and decisions then shaped our today, and examine what we would have done differently given the chance. When looking back though, we often look way back, but for this exercise stay a little closer to present time and look back just 12 months. If you could go back just one year, what would you tell yourself? What advice would you offer about everything you've experienced?

It seems like 12 months wasn't really that long ago, but after I really thought about it, just one year ago was when Joe finally moved up to Alaska. Since that time everything changed. Only a year ago I was hauling my stuff out of the army barracks and moving to an apartment. After two years and four months in a long distance relationship, including one year of officially being married, this was the day I had been waiting for.

Let me tell you, things were pretty rough leading up to this. At this point last year I already knew that things were finally looking up. If I could give myself advice on this day last year I would say, All the little things you are going to worry yourself over aren't as serious as you think. 
I would definitely tell myself that I won't be disappointed anymore and to just let the past be the past. 

I might also want to give myself a few warnings, like, "Your landlord will scam you!" and how my boss would be a total jerk in my last few months of living in Alaska. But who wants to talk about boring stuff like that?

Aside from trying to avoid a few disappointments here and there, I would let myself know that a ton of great things are coming my way. I will find my soulmate kitty, Mrs. Peacock, at the pound. Joe and I will decide to have a baby and it will happen just like that, so there is no need to worry about timelines! That cross country road trip I had been dreaming about for almost a decade? It will happen. I'll even get to catch up with a bunch of old friends along the way.

Now that we have been living a family life for a year now, it's hard to imagine that it was ever any other way. Even Murray, or newest puppy addition, feels like he has been around for a longer time than he has been. 

Speaking of the silly boy, this is Murray wondering where his Daddy went off to... (he was taking out the garbage.) He gets so upset when his Dad leaves without him!

...and, of course, Miss Kitty-face is posing for the camera as usual. I can't believe we have had her for just one year! It feels like she is my oldest friend.

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