laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

No Longer A Baby


I know, I know… how can I even show my face around here? And I deserve it. Leaving you all high and dry. Ok, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic. But bear with me. I’ve been parenting and vacationing and organizing and garage saling and birthday-ing and working… you know, living. I do have happy news, I have had consistent clients from the get go, which is pretty exciting if you ask me! In fact, I have clients through February! (How awesome is that?!)

But the thing that drew me back here… well, really I’ve been thinking about doing a post for over a week now. Sharing various stories and laughs and pictures, but the thing that made it necessary to do today… is simple. Littlest is 2. I know, I know…it does seem like just yesterday I was recounting his birth (horrors and wonders alike)! And then I was dealing with the aftermath of his birth around his first birthday.

And now here we are, his second birthday. My baby is two years old.  My baby is no longer actually a baby. My house will no longer contain any babies. My house will never again be home to a baby. A baby will never again belong to me. Do you see the digression? Do you feel it? I feel it. I’m pretty sure I’ve been feeling it for about a month. I’ve become incredibly emotional and perhaps even a little irrational. You see, I would’ve been the little old woman who lived in a shoe, who had so many children she didn’t know what to do… and I would’ve liked it that way. Lots of people look forward to the end of babyhood and enjoy toddlerville and the elementary years; I am not them. Ok, that’s not entirely true- I do enjoy toddlerville and I am enjoying the beginning of our elementary years. But I am not a mama who looks forward to babies no longer being babies.

Obviously (as I’ve said before, I know), I would never trade Littlest’s sweet self for the option to have more children. But it is still bittersweet to watch him grown and to know that this is the end of babyhood. And childbearing. I’m even sad that I’ll never labor and birth another baby. That’s right, I’m in that deep.

But in the midst of the sadness, there is this deep thankfulness and joy. I have my boy and I get to witness his growth! My itty-bitty boy who never should have survived the pregnancy and his mama who almost bled out without anyone noticing. I have him. I cuddle him. I teach him. I try to ignore him listen to him. I love him. And looking at him today, I still see the miracle he was the day he was born, and the miracle he’s been every day in between.

The day we brought him home

Littlest E, you will always be the baby (as all of my children will always be my babies) and a constant reminder that miracles happen every day and to every day people. I am so, so blessed and thankful to be your mama. Happy birthday, my boy.

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The Lowest Of Blows


I know, I know… I’ve been MIA, continuously. And I’m still clinging to the fact that I will be back to blogging on a more regular basis! Last weekend (yes, just shy of two weeks from when hubbyman fixed my laptop) hubbyman accidentally knelt on top of my laptop’s screen. Don’t ask how it happened, I’m still not sure. I saw it coming, and even though it seemed to happen in slow motion, I was not able to react in time. Sadness. But at least he had practice in fixing it. I teased joked half-joked seriously told him to buy two screens, just so we were prepared. As a good hubbyman, he immediately ordered a new screen the next morning. And yesterday, it arrived! He tried to tell me he wasn’t sure if he had the tools to fix it at home, but I caught him trying to fix it a short time later. And he did! Yay! So now he’s not allowed to use it. I may have to hide it from him.

That fun stuff said… I couldn’t help but include you lovely in something I witnessed in our crazy household this morning; I heard some yelling and went to investigate and this is what I witnessed:

MissE is standing at the top of the stairs and delivers what those who know her best is the lowest of all blows, yells down to her brother:

FINE! You are NOT handsome anymore!

When there’s no response, she continues yelling it again.

Finally, her smart brother responded by yelling back up to her,

FINE! You ARE the prettiest girl!

Oh, I am so thankful for those funny, fleeting moments that get me through the day! And the kids who spurt them! And I’m also thankful that I get to go and babysit my nephew tonight! A few days ago- he smiled at me! I need to keep up with that trend and since I won’t see him for a month! (He’s only just a month old, so the idea of not seeing him for a whole month is a little devastating!) Anyhow, so I’m thankful for the opportunity to get a few more smiles, solidify my role as Queen of all Aunties, and maybe give his parents a bit of a break. I’m also thankful for the Kings of the Uncles who will have my kiddos on Saturday while we go have a day/afternoon/evening of fun and outdoor games with friends (and cocktails)! And I’m thankful for a hubbyman who is able to fix most of the things that he breaks.

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I’m Thankful


Today I am feeling tired. A little worn down. I’m sure it’s just because we stayed up really late last night. But I am looking forward to an extra little snuggley one tonight (a friend watched my little ones last night and tonight I’m watching hers!), and the kids have been practically pacing the floors waiting for her! And I do have lots to be thankful for.

I’m thankful for hubbyman and his new opportunities. Especially because this new position means not only a title bump, but it’s closer to home (3 miles!), it’s less hours, and it’s learning some new things (which he loves)! I’m very excited for him, and for us! And I’m very much looking forward to having him be around more!!

I’m thankful for friends! Who watch the kids, who play with the kids, that the kids totally love. MissE keeps saying, Mom, I really like it when My Big Cloth Adventure* watches me. I think she was hoping that instead of us watching her little one tonight that instead I would leave again. It’s so nice to know that I have some options with the kids! And… it was the FIRST TIME my children have been babysat by someone who was not a grandparent or aunt/uncle!! For any of them! While I did check my phone fairly frequently, I did not call, not even once- because I knew they were perfectly ok. And I knew that if they weren’t, I’d get a phone call!  (*obviously, Miss said her actual name, but I won’t!)

I am thankful for family! My grandma is here from out-of-state and while I haven’t gotten much of a chance to visit so far, I am looking forward to more time visiting!!

I am thankful that whatever yuckiness had taken over my household, is finally gone. Biggest looks like he’s lost a little big of weight, so I am feeding him peanut butter by the spoonful! And meals pretty much ’round the clock! But I am incredibly thankful to have my sweet boy back!

I'm thankful for a Biggest Boy who loves to take pictures. Every time I upload them, I am amused by some of my findings.

I am thankful for my sweet little girl and all her girly-ness. And the people that love her, and cater to that. She's even gotten an uncle or two to pain her nails.

I am thankful for a little boy who could find candy in the dark, with his hands tied behind his back.

I am thankful for a boy who is sweet, sensitive, and has a personality very much like mine. I totally "get" him.

I am thankful for sweet, nutella-covered kisses.

I am thankful for my children who like to get all dressed up... and then go to the playground, or play in the dirt.

Happy Friday to you and may you find lots of things to be thankful for this weekend!

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The Peanut To My Butter


I am so excited that it’s Friday I could just sing…or dance! And I just might! We sing and dance while we clean, and little do they know- that’s the plan for today. A good ‘ol cleaning cleverly disguised as a dance party! I love it! If you tell me you’ve never had a dance party while cleaning not only will I not believe you (c’mon, I know you’ve let a move bust through the tunes while cleaning.), but I will defriend you. Unfriend. Whatever, we’ll be through. If you really haven’t. Crank up some of your favorite tunes from when you were in high school… and find yourself a’dancing! And then we can remain friends.

Now back to our regular programming.., I was so happy just a few minutes ago, and it seems my mood is fading fast. I’d better get to cleaning dancing as fast as I can so that I don’t lose my good mood completely. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

So now we’re really back to our regular programming. It’s Friday, and I’m thankful. After a weekend that felt like it lasted a week, I’d never been so excited to see my children. 4 days was at least a day too long to be separated from them! But I am very thankful for my parents (and littlest brother) for having them, and the kids had so much fun. It’s very apparent our separation was much harder on the mama than the children.

Mostly, I am thankful for hubbyman. I wasn’t sure he was so supportive of me becoming a doula, but he has been amazing. During the weekend he’d make me a drink, and let me debrief. And he’d get up and make breakfast, and more importantly, coffee, before I’d head back in. After 6 hours worth of driving, 21 hours of sitting on the floor trying to soak in every word, and 3 hours of coffee runs… it left me completely exhausted. Mentally, physically, and definitely emotionally. Hubbyman has been so great. He’s put the big kids to bed and come up to find me still cuddling with littlest (What? After the weekend, I needed some extra cuddles!) and has taken him and put him to bed as well. And encouraged me to have some down time, some quiet time, and that it was ok to do so. He has done that almost every night this week. The first night I fell asleep on the couch, and the nights after that I’ve only spent maybe an extra hour awake and up, lounging on the couch. But it has been amazing for my own self. I actually have slept better, and better yet- I wake up, feeling like I actually got some sleep! And I am really shocked by how much more patience I have during the day. Apparently, I was really needing some down time. Where I’m not mom, and I’m not in charge, and even if it’s just mindlessly watching TV, I’m allowing myself some time to unwind, relax, and just be. And apparently, that’s exactly what I’ve been needing. I am so thankful to my hubbyman, for allowing and encouraging me to have some time for myself. (It’s like he knows me or something.)

Not only has he allowed me some time, but he was been incredibly supportive. He recently accepted a new position within his company and has promised to find ways that I could attend births, without having to stress over childcare, because he’d simply come home and stay with the kids. He is an incredibly hard worker and in his previous position they kind of let him do what he wants because of that- I’m hoping his next boss feels that way too! I will be doing daytime childcare for friends starting late fall/early winter, and so I’m trying to get all the births in that I can before then! (I have 3 on the books between now and then.) A local hospital has a great program where they offer doula services. While it’s unpaid, it would be a chance to get a good number of births under my belt, and stay active in the birthing community, and be able to schedule it. I’m going to wait a few months into doing childcare before officially signing up (I don’t want to over extend myself), but I’m very excited. And I love how supportive hubby is. He understands why I want to do it, and believes in it whole-heatedly. And is truly willing to explore every avenue possible so that I can do and achieve things that I want/believe in. It’s incredibly endearing. If I am successful in anything (be it professional or personal), a great portion of it is because I have his support. And I am so grateful.

And now we’re off to my dance party! I hope you all have wonderful, dancing weekends as well!

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The Doula Houla


I know, I know, you’ve been waiting with baited breath. Just waiting for me to write another post. Pour out everything about how my weekend went. Surprisingly, I don’t feel like it. I know, I know…it’s weird. I think that it all just feel really personal, and maybe I’m not ready to share that just yet. Sound strange coming from someone who blogs? Yeah, felt a little strange saying it.

Yesterday, I spent a full hour staring at the screen. Never getting more than the above paragraph out. I still feel like I’m at a loss for words. Helping someone birth, and apparently, even the preparation for doing so, is much like giving birth yourself. It’s emotional, it’s physical, it’s beautiful. And it’s very personal.

My weekend was so incredibly amazing. I was truly surprised at the diversity in women. And I don’t mean just racially or culturally even. There were all ages. While I was not the oldest, I was definitely not the youngest. Actually, I was probably in the top half of the age bracket. Another thing that surprised me was that half of the class were not mothers. They just loved pregnancy/pregnant women, babies, and birthing. And wanted to learn more about it.

Let’s face it. For those of us who are mamas, our birthing stories are highly personal. So much so, that they affect how we feel about ourselves. A mama who had a birth that left her feeling like Wonder Woman? Well, studies have shown that it can turn a previously low-self-esteemed woman into someone with much more confidence in herself. A woman with good self esteem and then has a birth that made her feel out of control and like it happened to her (rather than something she chose), well, studies have also shown that that will knock her self-esteem down a few pegs.

I think that I am also more aware of my role, as a doula, in doing all that I can to make sure that it’s a birth they can look back on in pride. Always keeping the How will she remember this? in the forefront of my mind as I offer suggestions and support. Obviously, I can’t birth for them. And births can kind of have a mind of their own… I’ve certainly had a birth that did not go the way I’d planned in my mind. It’s all about support.

I have received some awesome support this last week. Support of my friends encouraging me (and saying they’ll use me for their next babies!), my husband who listened to me unload and process through all the information and feelings at the end of each late night. Support of my family who kept my babies for a weekend. (The kids had a blast. I’m still feeling the repercussions of being separated for so long. I feel like it was too long- for me!) I am thankful for the wonderful women I trained with (and the oh so amazing wonder woman who led our training). They were a support, a help, a community. Some women had some great stories about birthing their babes, and others shed tears as they told theirs. As women, I think when our births don’t go according to plan, we tend to feel like failures. I mean it’s birth, it’s kind of what we do. What our bodies just know how to do. There is a lot of deep-seated emotions that go along with the thought I failed at something my body is supposed to be able to do instinctively, on its own. 

If you can’t tell already, I’m still processing some of my own feelings about birth. I’m learning to let it go. To accept it was it was. And to focus on some positives. Like the fact that when I wasn’t scared out of my gourd in previous births -especially my first- I felt like a rock star. I labored quietly in the night, letting my hubbyman get some sleep. I was relaxed enough to sleep in between contractions during the day, so much that the day seemed to go by quickly. I labored at home. I moved around. My water broke just as we were going through the gates to get on base (military). An hour and a half later… I was a mother. And he was perfect. And I felt like super woman. Like I could do anything. I birthed a baby, ok, that’s somethin‘.

The next two births left me with beautiful, perfect, healthy babies… and a little bit disillusionment of the medical world. I felt like this long, intensive, informative weekend helped in that aspect. Not that I now have unshakable faith in the medical community, but it was healing to hear of midwives, Drs, and nurses who have done things to protect the process I so fiercely believe in.

There is a secret in our culture and it is not that birth is painful but that women are strong.

-Laura Stavoe Harm

That is not to imply that if your labor didn’t go as planned, or it wasn’t what you wanted, that you are not strong enough. (Feel like that’s not a helpful quote for women? I can see why- read this.  The truth is that the quote actually is from an essay talking about how we need to talk more about our births. You can read about it here.)

After my weekend, I feel like that quote resonates. Even though I did not feel strong during the birthing of my last baby, looking back, faced with insurmountable odds and lack of support (outside of my  hubby and doula)… I birthed my baby. And that’s what really counts.

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I Choose


There’s my sign. There’s your sign. As I begin another journey. I’m telling you, you can begin yours too. No matter what you’re doing, where you are, or who you are… there’s your sign. We’ve all been waiting for something, right?

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I am and what I want to be, or do, in this life. It’s good to know that no matter what point I’m at, it’s never too late to choose another route.

And so today I am leaping in, with both feet. A new horizon. A new career. A new start.

Today I am thankful for the people in my life who encourage, support, uplift, and call me to tell me to take a deep, cleansing breath. I am thankful that with them, and often because of them, I am strong. I am determined. I am starting anew. It may not have be the life I pictured as a little girl. But it is definitely the life I want as an adult. It’s been a journey to this point, but as of today, I am choosing my life. I am (continuing) to live with intention. And I’m being intentional about it.

*Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts! Cross your fingers, this is a big weekend for me! Full of lessons, note-writing, training, and probably not a lot of sleep! Plus Littlest will be spending two nights IN A ROW away. (For the first time.) I already miss him. Hubbyman has promised to tell the grandparents that they can drop Littlest off with his daddy at any point over the weekend. I know they won’t, but his words were comforting to my mama heart. May you all have a weekend filled with new adventures, incredible food, and unending wine bottles!

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Lego Land


So we missed out on visiting my brother yesterday. And Biggest spent a good chunk of time, unmoving, on the couch. Which is pretty unusual for him. By lunch time he was willing to go for a quick stroll to the store for smoothies (hello! pump this boy with Vitamin C!) and ham! (2 of my Bigger Two’s favorite foods. Roll it in spinach and they’d be set for life. I know, my kids are  funny, little creatures.) Ok, so I maybe, might have, insinuated that he could pick out a redbox movie. But that wasn’t until we were already on the way to the store. If he really didn’t feel good enough, I would not have taken him. He’s not like death bed sick, but he’s cold sick. Where he has a cough when he lies down, has a bit of the sniffles (thankfully it’s not like the snot running down his face kind), and is all around stuffy. Which, obviously, doesn’t feel very good. But we were down to our last box of tissues and Biggest thought it would be cool to pick out his very own box.

The trip was rather uneventful. Littlest fell asleep while walking around the store. (And of course woke up as soon as we strolled into the driveway.) On the way home we received a phone call from another brother of mine. Whatcha Doin’?  He asks in a tone, that for him, always means, I’m a little bored and wondering if you have something to do that I’ll think is fun. That or, I miss the kids. Or I’m hungry, what are you making for dinner? But I digress. I told him of Biggest’s congestion woes and said we’re mainly just having a snuggle-up-on-the-couch kind of day. Having a feeling he’d be showing up, I picked up a couple of his favorite snacks and headed home.

The kids quickly snuggle up on the couch, munching on their ham, to watch a movie while I try to quickly do some “sprucing” before their uncles arrive. Thankfully our deck is arranged in such a way (with lattice for sides so that there’s no railings or slots or anything to worry about children slipping through) that a baby gate keeps Littlest in and he is free to “color” to his hearts content. By color I mean, eat chalk. Since that’s mainly what he seems to do.

Can you see the chalk on his face and the corners of his mouth (from eating it)? Its also all over his legs and arms.

Lo and behold, the Uncles show up. Along with over 15 lbs (that’s right, POUNDS) of legos. Biggest squeeled in delight. MissE squeeled in delight. Littlest dumped it all out, in delight. I also knew hubbyman would love this as well. In fact, I’m not sure who enjoyed building legos more. Biggest or his Uncles.

the tower started out as the chrysler building, but between all the other things being built, he ran out of blue and yellow. The tower is close to 4 feet tall.

While he is still a little sniffley, but he slept all night through- in his own bed. Wanted breakfast. And wanted to play legos vs watch a movie. So I’m thinkin’ that’s progress.

Welcome to Lego City

So…. I’ll just get to it. I am soooo thankful for such wonderful brothers who are amazing uncles!

I am thankful that even though visit with one uncle didn’t work out, we were able to reschedule for this weekend!

I am thankful Biggest didn’t get really sick.

I am beyond measure thankful that Littlest is more than well on his way back to his happy, clowning self.

I still can’t eat in the same room with him (or he won’t eat. He’ll just climb out of his high chair and cry and fuss and WILL.NOT.EAT.), but he has started eating more. And is overall happier. Which means hubbyman can come home without me bursting into tears for the first time in weeks.

I am thankful for a girl who is so mothering that she takes all of Littlest punches with humor. Sometimes literally. (*Sigh*)

I am thankful for warmer weather. (I’m just itching to get the garden all planned out and started)

I am thankful for all the flowers I transplanted from the house I grew up in. It is so fun to see them grow, and know where they came from.

I have more to be thankful for but they’re not quite ready to be shared (No, no baby news… why does everyone go there?). Hopefully next week there will be more to be thankful for, that can be shared out loud! (Or online…)

 I’m thankful for hubbyman. My feet get so cold at night, I could never sleep without him.

Also, I am thankful for legos.

I am also thankful they're keeping them off of the floor and out from under my feet!

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Ode To Sangria


This week has felt like it’s been a taste of extremes. We’ve had moments that felt like they were tastes of heaven, and nights that have surely been a taste of hell. Last weekend Biggest spent the weekend with his grandparents, and so I was left with just the younger two. And we had so much fun. Miss usually hangs with her bigger brother, so it was fun to see her and Littlest learning about playing together.

These two are something else. Miss is a chatter box and Littlest is the proverbial head strong bull in the China shop. They’re a little yin and yang, but usually, it works out. She’s mothery, and he’s fearless. She taught him to climb up all the ladders, and he taught her that the biggest tunnel slides are not so scary.

I just love that I captured their expressions!

On the way back we took a path through the “jungle” (a wooded trail), and Miss paused, looked closely at this pile of birch logs, followed by a sigh and a shaking of her head, nope, those aren’t diamonds.

Our weekend was followed by the crankiest, angriest Littlest boy we have ever seen. He has those terrible “2 year molars” coming in. Seems a little unfair, since he’s not even two. At least if he were 2, he’d have more words to convey his feelings. Yesterday was the first day all week for his nap to last even an hour, and last night he only woke up twice. Which in comparison is pretty good. However, his second waking was at 3:30 and while his teething medicine calmed him quickly, he lay restless and awake until around 5:30. Let’s just say this mama is going to need a lot of coffee for survival purposes today.

In the midst of the sleeplessness and the fussing, I am thankful.

I am thankful for the fun I had with my 2 littler ones.

I am thankful for the fun Biggest got to have- even if it was without me.

I am thankful I was with my dad when I locked my keys in the truck.

I am thankful that teething doesn’t last forever.

I am thankful for my hubbyman.

I am thankful for my family.

I am thankful for my friends.

I am thankful for friends who come over “just to hang out.”

I am especially thankful for the full pitcher of sangria I have sitting in my refrigerator.  So thankful, I’m even willing to share. Some.

(for my sangria recipe, go here. Do it. It’s worth it.)

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My Words…Kinda


My B button and my N button (on my keyboard) are not working. And so I’m having to use my on-screen keyboard. While I am thankful for this handy-dandy feature, it is not conducive for blog posts. So today I am attempting to tell you how I feel, or things I’d like to say, in other words… All found on pinterest. I tried my best to find their original links. Or as close as I could get (I tried!)!

(photo credit: Urban Walls on Etsy)

(photo credit: chphotographics’ photostream)

(photo credit: i.imgur.com)

(photo credit: Pinterest/Deb McFadden)

(photo credit: BabyRabies.com)

Hope you find some reasons (and strength!) to forgive, edure, love, play, energize, and giggle your way through your Moday!

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Choose Joy


It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? To just choose joy. But it’s not. But I’m trying. The truth is, when we first became parents, hubbyman had a bit of a short fuse. But his patience has grown with every year, and every child. And the sweet, sweet man that he is prays for patience and a softening of his heart, every night. Heartmelting, right?

My story is not so heartwarming. I’m pretty sure I was much more even-keeled, cool, calm, collected, and patient when I was a brand new mommy. But the brand new, wide-eyed mommy soon became the mommy of three. Three of the age where we’ve had 2 times of 2 in diapers (Biggest & Miss, and then Miss and Littlest. I guess by the time of littlest she was down to just nighttime, but still.). Which means that they are still ages where they often wake up at night. Ok, so the bigger ones don’t get up nightly and sometimes they’ll both stay sound asleep for weeks. (Ok, they don’t sleep for weeks, but they stay asleep, in their own little beds every night for weeks.) But Littlest normally still wakes at least once. Usually twice. And I’m with them all. day. every. day. EVERY. DAY.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that they have worn me down. My sweet little children that look like they could do no evil have (on more than once occasion) left me hiding and crying in the bathroom. My ego and my pride feeling bruised and beaten at the fact that I’ve been outdone by three children under five.

Part of the problem is my own fault. I am not good about fulfilling my own needs. Allowing myself a break now and then, instead of the every few months that it usually ends up being. Hubbyman gives himself breaks in the form of projects in the garage, working in the yard, or planning things on the internet, or drowning himself in the latest political debacle. What does that mean for me? Well, it means that after having a baby on my hip, a girl hanging on my leg, and a big boy who follows behind me closely… it means that I am also the caretaker for the evening. Suffice it to say by the time the kids go to bed, I have to stay up for another hour, just to regain some sense of self before going to sleep and doing it all over again! But when I take a breath, a very deep breath, I can remember all the things I really love about them and staying home with them. And I can refocus on the truth: that there’s really no place I’d rather be, no job I’d rather be doing, than staying home with them. And that’s the truth. And today I am choosing joy. I am choosing to end this post, turn off the computer, turn off the cartoons, and really listen to their sweet words, to really play trains, even if he won’t let me choose my own words to say. To brush a million different dollies’ hair, and to take Littlest to the bathroom for the bazillion time, just because he likes to sit on the potty and sing songs to me. And that’s a whole lot to be thankful for.

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