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Parenthood (Season 4, Episode 1)

September 17, 2012

I’m not going to even try to hide the fact that I love TV. Today, I went through my calendar and noted the fall start dates for each of my favorite shows (and new shows that have potential to become favorite shows).

Parenthood started last week. I love this show even when it frustrates me. That is probably why the Bravermans feel like family.

I was worried that Ray Ramono’s addition to the cast would be a bit annoying but I actually really liked him. Last season, I was 100% sold-out on Team Seth. I love a good redemption story – a recovering drug-addict and the re-kindling of what Sarah called “the love of her life.” I so wanted that to happen but for some reason Sarah still loves the mustached Mark Cyr (ick). I’d be more than happy if Ray Ramono’s character, Hank, stole Sarah’s affections. Gosh, I would even be happy if Sarah was just on her own for a bit. Am I right, ladies?

Last year’s adoption plot-line was PAINFUL to watch. I had so much frustration over how it was handled and then at the last minute Joel (who I refer to as “The Man Who Can Do No Wrong”) and Julia take in a seven-year old boy. I’m still nervous over how it will play out but I thought Julia’s realization in the season opener was pretty realistic when she said, “I feel like I’m waiting to fall in love with our son.” I hope that is what we get to see happen as the season continues.

(*sob*)

The show closed with Haddie getting on a plane to leave for college. She was full of attitude the whole episode. It was too relate-able. I remember being such a brat as I got ready to leave for college and being super embarrassed as my mom asked some other students for directions when we got to campus. I sat there watching that scene with my baby girl in my arms and decided that we would home-school our kids through college. That is possible, right?

And two quick and parting thoughts…

  • Oh, Drew. Poor Drew. Does he even see it coming?
  • Joel’s Hair. I have mixed-feelings.

Feel free to call me over-invested in the lives fictional characters. I’m okay with that and I know plenty of you who are with me on this.

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Back to Blogging (Maybe)

August 14, 2012

The other day, I found myself leaving a comment on people.com. Obviously, this is not a good sign. It is not an place of reason. I had an opinion and I needed to get it out of my head. Sometimes I just need to write.

I changed the header and title of this blog (not the URL because, well, I don’t know how to do that). I stole the new title from a Rosie Thomas song that makes me cry. It is about all that can happen in just a year. For us, it was about 14 months. It has been amazing and crazy and some days it does not seem like there is much left of my brain.

But, whatever is left, may just end up here from now on. I’m realizing I need to a place to remember what life is like right now as we raise these three young children. If I don’t write it down, I’ll soon forget. So, I’m officially back to inconsistent, random blogging.

Reading Material

May 9, 2012

I really do want to write. I can’t decide if I want people to read it or not. And I also have a hard time getting a coherent thought out without being interrupted by someone who needs to be hugged, fed or clothed. So, for now, I’ll share some of what I’ve been reading…

The Trouble with Dave Ramsey from Shannan at Flower Patch Farmgirl

We resisted what we believed in the pit of our stomachs to be true. We thought we could serve them both. We thought maybe we could be that one rich couple who has a lot of money so that they can give more away. We wanted a piece of the blessing of God’s promise, but we hoped it could be without sacrifice. We didn’t want the “living like no one else” to be for nothing.

Six things adoption has taught me by Shaun Groves at Simple Mom

In 2007, I visited an Ethiopian orphanage, trying not to make eye contact with any of the little ones around me in need of a father. I’ve always found avoidance to be the surest way to never feel bad about saying “no.” My brother-in-law, who was adopting from Ethiopia, was there with me. “Maybe we’ve made it too complicated,” he said. (I knew by “we” he meant “me.”) “What if God’s will for our life is found wherever someone’s need and our ability intersect?”

From By His Wounds You Are Healed: How the Message of Ephesians Transforms a Woman’s Identity by Wendy Horger Alsup

I was taken back a bit when I first read the definition of the Greek term translated humility. It means a deep sense of your littleness, especially your moral littleness. Unlike our culture’s watered down version of this term, humility does not mean that you are simply nice, polite, or diplomatic. It means that you have a correct understanding of your salvation as Paul outlined in Ephesians 2. You understand that you were dead in your sins, you were born a child deserving of God’s judgement, and God saved you by his grace and not by your own works. You understand your moral littleness. Then you respond to others in light of this understanding. A humble person does not stand in judgment against others from a point of righteous indignation. You and I have completely missed the entire message of Ephesian 1 and 2 if we think we have any moral high ground over anyone else. This is the core of the gospel.

And, lastly, this verse has shown up to me through various people and places over and over in the last month.

I have told you these things, so that in me you you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33, NIV)

Chicken Soup with Kale & Sweet Potatoes

April 14, 2012

I was at a women’s event at our church and someone brought something similar to this soup. I went home and looked up a recipe on Pinterest and found this. But, oh, there were so many steps! I decided to make my version with a lot of short-cuts.

Chicken Soup with Kale & Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

  • Chopped up carrots, onions and celery (Trader Joe’s sells this & I used the whole container)
  • Chopped up garlic & scallions (Trader Joe’s also sells this & I used about half of the container)
  • Kale (bought a pre-washed & chopped package at Trader Joe’s, used about half the package)
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 sweet potatoes, skin removed, cubed
  • Chicken (I had a rotisserie chicken from Costco. I shredded the meat and added about 3 cups to the soup)
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 package of bacon
  • Sale & pepper to taste

And, here is how I made it:

1. Pour 6 cups of broth into crock pot.

2. Sautéed the carrot, onion & celery mix in a pan in some butter. Added it to the crock pot.

3. Sautéed the garlic & scallions in some butter. Added it to the crock pot.

4. Went through the kale and pulled out any tough stems (I don’t like them). I wilted the kale in some water on the stove for a  minute or two. I have no idea if this was necessary or not. I just didn’t want it to be tough in the soup. When finished, I added it to the crock pot.

5. Cubed the sweet potatoes and threw them in the crock pot.

6. Shredded the chicken and added it to the crock pot.

7. Added the nutmeg and small about of salt & pepper to crock pot.

8. Set the crock pot on high. The potatoes were tender in about an hour or so. Then just set the crock pot to warm until dinner time.

Before dinner, I made a package of bacon. I crumbled mine and added it to the soup along with a little Parmesan cheese (suggested in the original recipe). The boys preferred their bacon on the side.  If I was making this for myself only, I would add a jalapeno to the mix for a little spice.

The miracle of the soup is that my kids ate it! DIB (who I am hopeful that I can turn into a little foodie) had two bowls. AIB was much more hesitant but didn’t argue too much.

My 3 Favorite Blogs (Right Now)

April 13, 2012

I know I haven’t written a post in a while. But I have been reading other blogs. Here are my three favorites reads right now (they are all over the map topic-wise).

1. House Tweaking: The Millers are fixing up a mid-century ranch after downsizing. They have two sons and just had a little girl (I might be a bit biased). I love Dana’s style and all the information they share. I love seeing their new house come together. 

2. Mama Pop: Snarky, sarcastic coverage of pop-culture written by parents. I have a little dream of writing for this blog someday. 

3. Practical Theology for Women: I’m honestly not adding this in just so you won’t judge me for loving the pop-culture blog so much. Wendy Horger Alsup writes this blog (titled the same as her book). She says the blog is a “lecture to herself” but I am so glad I get to listen in. When I see a new post in my reader, I know I have to save it for when I can really pay attention because there is so much to take in.

Birth Story

February 16, 2012

I’ve been wanting to write out our birth story but debating whether to put it here or not. I am fully aware that this may not be something everyone cares to read so feel free to skip this one. I won’t be offended.

Here it goes…

December 27: A Groupon appears in my inbox for a prenatal massage. It is serendipitous. I buy it and go that afternoon. Surely, this will induce labor.

December 28: I’m 40 weeks pregnant and my midwife says not much is going on. In fact, I’m in exactly the same place I have been for weeks. D asks her if there is anything we should do and she suggests acupuncture.

December 29, 30 & 31: Stick needles in my face? Sure. I’ll do anything. This baby needs to come out. I go three days in a row to a hippie community-acupuncture clinic. But, I’m a bad hippie because right after acupuncture, I go through the McDonald’s drive-thru for a Coke (and maybe some fries).

December 31: Our friends are so nice to come over for New Year’s Eve since our only plans are to wait for this baby. Late at night, I start feeling different but I blame it on the queso that we are all eating.

January 1 @ 1:00 am: Our friends leave and I tell D that I think I am having contractions but I’m not sure. I go to sleep for a few hours.

4:00 am: I’m definitely having contractions. Nothing crazy and totally manageable. I breathe through them and the come every seven minutes or so. I’m excited now…too excited to sleep, something I will regret later.

8:00 am: Contractions are the same. The boys wake up and we tell them that their sister is going to come today (what did we know?). AIB just stares at my belly, waiting for her to jump out. They proceed with the day as normal. We let our family know that I am in labor.

12:00 pm: My parents take the boys to lunch and we finish packing up our bags for the hospital. Contractions are still very manageable. I just move from the balance ball to the tub to walking around the house. We’ve let my midwife know that I am in labor.

3:00 pm: My contractions pick up and are now closer together, maybe three to five minutes apart (and they stay this way until she is born). We call the midwife again and she wants me to sleep (this was excellent advice). I try my best and maybe get a couple of hours of sleep, with contractions every five minutes. Our friend comes to pick up the boys and they are totally spoiled for the afternoon and evening.

7:00 pm: My contractions seem to be slightly stronger and are as close as three minutes apart. We decide to go to the birth center.

8:00 pm: As soon as we arrive at the hospital, my contractions slow down. I feel silly for being at the birth center and the midwife tells me, “You are not in active labor.” (If you really want to know, I’m only at 2 centimeters dilated). I’m really annoyed by this. They tell us to go home. I’m that lady – the one who went to the hospital too early. The midwife tells us, “Stop timing contractions and try to rest. First babies take three days to come.” I’m super, super annoyed with her. I tell D I don’t like her (about 12 hours after this, I am in love with her).  As soon as we get back in the car, my contractions pick up again and the ride home is awful. We get home and I labor more.

January 2 @ 1:30 am: I’ve gotten a little bit of sleep but not much because, well, contractions are uncomfortable. While leaning over the balance ball, my water breaks. I tell D to call our friend back who is watching the boys and she kindly comes back to stay the night. He also calls the birth center to tell them we are coming back. I tell him, “Tell them to turn on the tub.” All I want is to be in the giant tub they have at the birth center – pretty much my whole reason for deciding to have a baby there.

2:00 am: We arrive and I’m now 5 centimeters dilated. I hang out in the tub. The awesome-ness of the tub cannot be overstated. I am there for a while.

5:00 am: I keep looking at the clock and thinking, “For sure this baby will be here by 6:00 am.” The nurse checks me and I’m six centimeters. Seriously. I labor on the bed for a while and get back in the tub but I am obsessed with sleeping. Sleep is the only thing I can think about. I start to think getting an epidural would be a fantastic idea so that I can sleep. All I want to do is sleep. I tell D that I want something so that I can GO TO SLEEP. Things get unpleasant. I keep asking D to get me some drugs and he keeps saying encouraging things (D states: “At this point, I had no idea what I was doing”).

6:00 am: After moving to a few more positions, the nurse and D put me on the bed because I can’t even keep my head up. I have never been so tired in my entire life. My contractions are still three to five minutes apart and I’m starting to think I’m going to be doing this for a lot longer. I really want an epidural so that I can sleep but I am able to lay in bed with my head down and belly propped up with a bunch of pillows, getting small portions of sleep between contractions.

7:00 am: I’m so over this. I’m so, so tired and I tell D I want some drugs. The nurse gets the midwife and tells her I want to discuss getting some help. The midwife arrives and she is really calm. She says she wants to check me before we even discuss any medication. I’m about 8 centimeters dilated and, turns out, my water didn’t really break all the way. She asks me if it is okay if she breaks my water. Yes, it is okay. It would have been okay like five hours ago. She tells me that anything she gives me for pain would just slow things down and I know that she is right. In some genius move, she totally changes the subject and I’m talking about something completely unrelated to labor between contractions. I don’t feel so stuck now. By breaking my water and distracting me, she has helped me get over my frustration about not progressing as fast as I would have liked.

9:00 am: I am ready to push. I move to a few positions but squatting seems to be the most effective for me. (Sorry if that is TMI but it is the truth). I never really envisioned things going this way. It is a bit primitive but I don’t care because if it means the baby is going to come out, I am down with that. The midwife asks me if I can drink a Coke because an Amish midwife she used to work with always gave women Coke when they were pushing to help. I love Coke and she goes off to find one but the baby is coming and the nurse has to go get her before she can find any. I’m pushing on the bed at this point but it isn’t that effective. I hear the midwife say, “If she squats again, she’ll have the baby.” I say, “I’ll squat” and that is exactly what I do and, sure enough, Baby Girl is here just minutes later (at 10:09 am). It is crazy and awesome. She is big (8 lbs. 6 oz.) and has lots of dark hair. I go from being obsessed with sleep to wide awake and in awe of our little girl.

A few things…

  • My husband is a really awesome doula. He was encouraging and there the entire time. One of my books said to have people around who relax you. He truly is my “relaxing” person – in childbirth and in life, in general.
  • I’d say I was about 80% committed to a low-intervention birth when we were planning. I’m not even totally sure why this was important to me because I really have no issues with pain medication or epidurals. I had a lot of fear about having to be induced and having a c-section. From what I researched, planning for a birth with low-interventions would help me avoid those things and it did (but it did not make it fast).
  • The midwives and nurses at the birth center were so helpful before, during and after birth. I want to hug all of them…a lot.

Notes from Maternity Leave

January 30, 2012

Our little girl was born four weeks ago which means I have four weeks left of maternity leave. I very much appreciate and need the time off but not working is very strange for me. My job is only part-time and very flexible but it was part of my routine so everything feels a bit different.

In the fall, we signed up for a cable package so that we could watch college football. Well, college football is over and we still have cable. I told D to cancel it this week because the endless amount of home-buyers on House Hunters who claim they can’t live without stainless steel appliances, open concept and walk-in closets is making me cynical about the American public as a whole. It isn’t good when you start talking to the TV in a sarcastic and judge-y tone. You would think I would just turn off the TV but I don’t have the will power so cable must go.

DIB joined his first after-school activity last week and is now a proud member of the Running Club. They literally just run for an hour two-days per week after school. He really, really wanted to participate and I think any way he can get out that extra energy without damaging something is a great idea.

AIB lost two teeth this week. One was very loose and he let me pull it out for him. The one that was next to it was also loose and was kicked out by his brother while they were playing in a ball-pit. He was so happy about getting another $1 that he didn’t seem to care that his brother had kicked him in face.

MNB is growing and doing well. She is doing all the things that babies do. We’ve been enjoying all the cuddles and she is a great sleeper. Since I head back to work in a few weeks, I knew I needed to set up some type of routine so I’m doing the same thing we did with T (which is the EASY routine from The Baby Whisperer). We just started today and it is going pretty well but things are going to be very different this time around with two older brothers who have their own schedule.

Tomorrow, our foster licensing worker comes over to add our new family member to our file. All this means is that she needs to see her and see where she sleeps. We probably won’t be taking any respite or long-term placements for a while but our license still up-to-date since we don’t feel done with foster care yet. In the meantime, we are happily filling out reference forms and answering questions from a few friends who are either new foster parents or getting their license soon.