Saturday, December 29, 2012

It's a. . .

very healthy, but very modest child.

The ultrasound tech spent ages trying to determine gender, but Baby was determined to avoid it.

After almost 45 minutes, we got a clear enough shot, that we're about 85% sure.

It's a girl. :)

Can't wait to meet you, Samantha Paige.

Friday, December 28, 2012


So, I had scheduled posts for each day while we were out of town.

Apparently, they didn't work.

I have failed at writing a post every day for a month.

Oh, well.

I will start posting the back-posts tomorrow.  Happy Holidays, everyone!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Tuesday night, we took Miles to meet Santa.

We took him to Bass Pro Shops, because it was free.  I figured there would be a catch, and I was ready for it.  As we walked in, I saw the Santa's village with tons of activities.  Aha, I thought.  There's the catch.  It probably costs an arm and a leg for the activities..

Wrong again.  All of the activities are free.  Including crafts, coloring, an indoor snowball fight with stuffed 'snow' balls, and a carousel.

And the picture was free.

They did have photo packages you could buy, but they were mentioned in passing, as we were leaving, with our absolutely free and clear photo of Miles with an awesome Santa.

All in all, it was a great experience. :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


It's funny how inspiration can strike in the strangest of places.

I've been feeling kinda blah the past few days.  Something about a sick kiddo, and a busy weekend, and not getting enough sunlight, I guess.  Still functional, just not . . . excited about life.  It's no secret that I struggle with motivation all the time, but these past few days have been even worse.

Then, I read this article.  I processed it.  Took it to heart.

And got up and started working on things.

The thing that struck a chord with me was the idea that what you are means nothing, unless you can create something that shows it.  You are a thoughtful and kind person?  Show it.  Call someone, just to see how they are doing.  Buy a latte for the guy behind you at the coffee shop.  Do something.  Anything.  But prove what you are by what you do.

Disagree?  Think about your five favorite people in the world.  What makes them so special?  Dollars to donuts, they do something for you.  Even if it's just reaching out to you when you need it.

Want to be happy?  Want people to like you?  Do something.  Want to like yourself?  Do something.

It's so simple, when you think about it.

Monday, December 17, 2012


It's 8 days until Christmas.

My kid spent most of the weekend puking.

My house is a disaster.

I haven't finished my Christmas shopping.

None of the presents I have are wrapped.

For these reasons, and so many more, this is the post you get today.  Hope your day is going better than mine. Sigh.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Miles 3-year-old Pictures

Back in October, we had professional pictures done of Miles, in honor of his 3rd birthday.  It was my first time working with a photographer, and honestly, I only went with her because she was a friend who was trying to build her portfolio.  I figured that I had nothing to lose.

Oh, my.  I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing the experience was.

Miles can be a little. . . difficult, sometimes.  Especially when you point a camera at him.  When we take him to a studio, he runs around, hides behind the drop, and falls over every single time the lights flash.  It's a tad stressful, to say the least.

Part of the reason I had Juliann do the pictures was that I wanted pictures of Miles at the Festival site, where he had spent so much of his life.  Juliann met us there, and then spent two full hours just following Miles around the site, snapping shot after amazing shot.  She climbed a pirate ship, hid behind walls, laid on the ground, and chased Miles around, just to get photos of my kid.  For the first time ever, Miles and I left a photo session with smiles on our faces.  I honestly cannot wait to repeat the experience.  It was that amazing.  So amazing, in fact, that I have already booked her to take newborn shots, once this new munchkin arrives.

Anyhow, I could go on and on about how amazing she is, but really, I think the photos speak for themselves:

If you live in the Topeka, Kansas City, or Lawrence area, I promise you won't be disappointed by Juliann Courtney Photography.  :)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pregnancy Update

As I look over the posts of the past few months, I realize how seldom I write about my pregnancy.  There are two main reasons for this: 1) Miles is super interesting right now and easy to write about, and 2) There's nothing really to report.  This pregnancy has been so easy, so far.  Some comparisons to my first pregnancy:

  • First pregnancy: Morning sickness that lasted throughout first trimester, and into the second.  Yuck.
  • This pregnancy: A bit of nausea for about a month, and then it was over.  Overall, not terrible.
  • First pregnancy: SUPER active baby, who literally never stopped moving.  Part of the reason I walked so much is because it made the kicks less painful.
  • This pregnancy: Very chill baby, who has two active times of day - right after lunch, and right before bed.  The rest of the time, I may feel a kick or two from time to time, but not constantly.
  • First pregnancy: Incredibly busy and stressful 2nd and 3rd trimester.  Assistant directed 'Footloose' and the Renaissance Festival.  Barely had time to sit.
  • This pregnancy: Relatively chill.  Worked Renaissance Festival for most of 1st trimester.  Holidays fall during 2nd trimester, but even those are pretty low-key.  Nothing major planned for 3rd trimester.
  • First pregnancy: First of my local friends to be pregnant, and didn't know many other moms to ask for support and advice.
  • This pregnancy: Fantastic support system filled with other moms, both local and online.  
  • First pregnancy: Anxiety-ridden, and didn't really know why.
  • This pregnancy: Got back on my meds when the panic attacks returned.  Result: Happy, chill Mommy.
All of the appointments have been uneventful.  The tests come back normal for everything.  The worst part is heartburn, and general aches and pains, but even those aren't all that bad.  

So, yeah, when it comes to this pregnancy, just assume that no news is good news. :)

Friday, December 14, 2012


Miles got his haircut on Tuesday.  By a professional.  For the first time.

I've always cut his hair, but it just gets harder and harder as he becomes less and less patient with Mommy.  Which results in uneven cuts, and stray chunks of hair that I find over a week later that are longer than everything else.  It was time.

I was nervous about taking him in.  He doesn't sit still well.  And someone else with scissors near my baby's head?  Hold me.

I worried over nothing.

He sat, chill as can be, and watched Dora on the little TV, while the hairdresser lady went on and on about how well-behaved he was. 

Gah!  He looks so big here!  
 By five minutes in, I was laughing hysterically, because Little Dude made this face almost the entire time:

"What the heck are you doing?"
But in the end, I was full of sighs of wistfulness.  Because he looks like a Big Kid, now.

Oh, my, Kiddo.  You are growing up right before my eyes. Sigh.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I don't watch the news.

I don't mean just tv news, though I honestly never watch that.  I mean that I don't really pay a lot of attention to the news at all.  I will read headlines in the morning, but I rarely follow up and read the articles.

Do I feel uninformed?  A little.  But here's the truth: the news, as it is presented in this country, only serves to fuel my anxiety.  Example: North Korea is launching rockets.  That's something to panic over, until you realize that there's really nothing we can do about it as individuals.  That we've done what we can by electing officials to panic over these things.  Spending time worrying over whether or not this spells disaster fixes nothing, and only serves to drive me away from my family, as I sit in a corner, in a fit of anxiety, trying to calm myself.  So, I read the headlines, pray for our leaders to make good decisions, and try to put it out of my mind.

In the end, I'd rather ignore the world and focus on keeping those around me happy and healthy.  And I truly believe that if we each did a little of that, the headlines may not be so panic-inducing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What the picture doesn't show

As I prepare for this new baby, I am reminded of my first one, three years ago.  My Miles.

Looking at this photo, you'd think I was like any new mom, just enjoying her brand new baby.

This picture doesn't tell the whole story though.  That 'brand new baby' is two hours old, and that is the first time I got to hold him.  The time between his birth and this picture was filled with anxiety and exhaustion, the depth of which I didn't even begin to comprehend at the time.

Let's back up to the weekend before he was born.

I was at Festival, walking around, when the contractions began.  They continued throughout the weekend, but were far enough apart, and weak enough, that I didn't worry too much about them.  I rested when I felt tired, but spent much of the weekend walking.

The contractions continued through Monday, and by Monday evening, they were strong enough, and close enough together that it was time to head to the hospital.  Or so we thought.  They monitored the contractions all night, but they never got any closer together.  By morning, the doctor had decided that I still had plenty of time, and sent me home to rest and eat.

By Tuesday night, however, I knew it was time.  We went back to the hospital, and they immediately prepped me for an epidural.  We called back all of the family that had recently returned home, and told them that this was really it.  At 11:30ish, the nurses broke my water, so they could put a monitor on the baby's head, since they were having a hard time finding his heartbeat consistently.  I'll never forget when the nurse said, "Um. . . that's not a head. . . That's a butt. . ."

Things moved quickly from there.  Miles was born via unscheduled c-section at 1:34 am.  They brought him to me, and he burped in my face.  Then, they whisked him away.  Patrick followed.  I remained behind, paralyzed by the epidural, while they finished up.  I was wheeled into a recovery room, covered in a warm blanket, and ignored for the next two hours.

For the first time in nine months, I was totally alone.  And mostly paralyzed.  As the drugs began to wear off, I began to shake uncontrollably.  I still didn't have enough muscle control to find and press the nurse call button, and there was no one in sight.  I laid there, terrified and alone, and exhausted.  At some point, I apparently regained enough muscle control to call my mom and tell her that Miles was here.  I have zero memory of that phone call.  My only memory of that time was the shaking, and the fear, and the utter isolation.  Time passed, and still no word on where my husband and son were.

Two hours later, they returned, and I was finally able to hold my new son.  I was informed that he had been to the NICU, and that no one had bothered to inform me.  Based on his heal prick, they thought something was wrong, but none of the medical professionals there thought to inform his mother.  Or even check on her. They simply left me alone to wonder.

Given that experience, and the months of crying that followed, it's no surprise to me now that I developed PPD/PPA.  At the time, though, I was so happy to finally see my son that everything else melted away.  I never fully processed through those frightening moments for months afterward.

You may see that photo above and think of the perfect moment when mother and baby meet.  I think of the relief of finally ending my two hours of isolation and fear, and finally knowing that my baby was okay.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Super Heroes

They've invaded my house.

See, Netflix has this:
And this:

And of course, a couple of these:

Consequently, Miles is a tad obsessed.  But only a tad.  Because he's my child, and is still more obsessed with Jousting and trains.  But, it is nice to know that someday, he might want to watch this with me:

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Other People's Kids.

Let me start by stating that this only goes for strangers' kids.  Not for the kids of friends and family.  I like those kids. :)

I've always been fond of children.  One of my earliest memories is of seeing a small toddler, and thinking, "Aww.  I love kids." And then realizing that was an incredibly odd thought for a five-year-old.  By the end of Kindergarten, I knew I wanted to teach, and by the time I was 12, I was telling my grandmother that I wanted to be a "professional mommy".*  Later, I got my degree in education, and worked my way through school at daycares, schools, and as a nanny.  And I loved those kids.  Every one of them.

And then I had my own kid.  And he is awesome.

Suddenly, other people's kids lost their luster.

I found myself becoming annoyed with children for the first time ever.  That kid being a little jerk in the store?  Suddenly, I was just glad he wasn't mine (at least, not this time).  That cute newborn at a restaurant?  For the first time, I had zero desire to coo over it.  The adorable little girl dancing at Faire?  Cute.  Meh.

It's not that I hate OPKs, or even really dislike them.  I'm just not interested in them.  Not in the least.

I have my own, now.  And he's plenty interesting and cute all on his own.  :)

*How prophetic of 12-year-old me. . .

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Battles & Blessings

I miss doing these, and this is the perfect time of year for a reminder of just how blessed I really am.  And also to vent about the battles in my world. :)

  • Miles has been in a mood this week.  One second, incredibly clingy, the next throwing a tantrum, and the next playing quietly by himself and telling me to "go away, please."  It's exhausting trying to stay ahead of him.
  • Miles also hasn't been sleeping well, which probably has something to do with the moodiness.  Either they share a common cause, or one is causing the other.  Who knows.
  • I've been exhausted.  I learned that it is now impossible for me to stay up late and still function normally the next day.  Oh, college me, how ashamed you would be. 
  • I also haven't been sleeping well.  It's already getting difficult to get comfortable.  And I barely have a belly, yet.  Grrr.
  • Miles is healthy and happy, and I am getting a ton of cuddles this week.
  • I managed to get a nap on Thursday, and Patrick let me sleep in this morning.  Yay!
  • My wonderful husband took me to see Les Miserables live on Tuesday. :)
  • I managed to get most of my Christmas shopping done on Monday!
  • I got to see all of my Faire family on Wednesday. 
  • I spent last evening at a Christmas event with Miles and Patrick.  It was lovely.  Miles got to see four different trains go by, we saw fireworks, we launched a paper lantern, and we ate dinner in an old train car.  Miles was so excited. :)
  • Baby is healthy, and far calmer than Miles was at this stage. 
Life is good. :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Friday Photos!

Building towers.

Showing off his truck.

Classy hat and a teddy bear. :)

Art time!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sir Miles

Okay, so this happened back in October, but I totally forgot to write about it until I came across these pictures.

While visiting Faire one day, Miles got to be knighted by the King.  My normally wild, rambunctious boy became very serious and focused when it was his turn.

He knelt on the pillow, his face suddenly solemn.

The king touched the sword to his left shoulder, saying, "In the name of St. Christopher,"

The right shoulder, "and St. Andrew,"

On the head, "and St. John,"

"I dub thee, Sir Miles!"


He was so proud of himself, insisted on being called "Sir Miles" the rest of the day, and told everyone, "I a knight!"

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Little Voice

I want to record everything Miles says, because the way he pronounces things is fantastic and beautiful. I never want to forget it.

Like the way he asks for "choc-wat".

Or how he insists on referring to my Nook as "dinosaurs", because the first book he had on there was about a dinosaur.

Or how he asks to watch "you-too", instead of YouTube, making it sound like he wants to watch an 80's band.

Or how he wakes up every morning and points at the Christmas tree and says, "It's Christmas!"

If only I could bottle these moments and phrases, to pull out in my old age and listen to again.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Growing Up

Sometime over the course of the weekend, Patrick and I looked at each other and said, "Um.  Miles is getting big.  When did that happen?"

He can ride a carousel by himself.

He sits and tells you what he's thinking and feeling.

He carries his own backpack and lunch bag on school days.

He's tall enough now to help push the cart at the grocery store, or ride on the back of it.

He can ask specifically for things he wants and needs.

He talks on the phone, and is fairly coherent.

He can paint, and color, and draw.

He can answer questions with thoughtful, insightful ideas.

He sings songs, and even gets most of the words right.

He can make toast, and waffles, and peanut butter sandwiches, and basic salsa, with only the smallest amount of help.

He repeats everything he hears, and seems to understand a great deal of it.

He has an imaginary friend.

My baby is definitely no longer a baby.

Monday, December 3, 2012


Meet Figaro, the newest addition to our household.

No, not Miles.  The invisible elephant standing next to him, holding a sword.

Figaro first made his existence known to us grown-ups on Friday.  We were killing time at the bookstore, and Miles found a coffee table book filled with pictures of elephants.  He opened it up, pointed to one, and said, "Is Figaro!"  He then went page by page, telling us the story of Figaro chasing giraffes, splashing in the water, and walking in the dark.

Figaro has hardly left his side since.

Saturday morning, Figaro asked to borrow Daddy's big sword.  Mommy had already told Miles no, but Figaro had to ask, too.  Apparently, Figaro wanted to joust.  I told Figaro that we don't joust in the house, and we don't play with Daddy's toys unless Daddy says it's okay.  Miles told me then that, "Figaro sad.  Figaro needs play Daddy's sword."  So, the invisible elephant seems somewhat sensitive.

Saturday afternoon, as we were getting in the car, Miles started to get upset.  When I asked him what was wrong, he said, "Figaro come, too!"  I had to open the car door and let Figaro in.  Then, upon further insistence from my son, I also buckled him in.  It obviously didn't work well, though, because when we stopped to pick up a prescription, Figaro jumped out the window and ran beside us the rest of the way to Wal-Mart.

Figaro helped us pick out a Christmas tree, and kept Miles entertained as we waited to check out.  Miles had to show off the finished decorations to Figaro.  And when Miles was done helping with the decorating, he said, "Come on, Figaro. Let's play trains!"  And the two of them happily ran up the stairs.

I'm just glad Figaro doesn't take up as much room as most elephants. :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012


One of the items on my bucket list is to live outside of London for at least a year, sometime in my life.

I have longed to visit England for ages.  To be wrapped in its old world charm and adorable accents and breathtaking history.  Sometime in high school, I began listing all of the things I wanted to see and do in England.  Topping that list was this:

The Globe Theater.  Built in 1997, it is a replica of the very theater that Shakespeare himself performed in.  The original was built for his company, and was used primarily by them until one of the first major pyrotechnic mishaps in theater.  A canon was mis-shot during a performance and caught the thatch in the roof on fire.  There was no fire department to put it out, and the bucket brigades were just not fast enough or efficient enough for such a task.  Before long, the Globe had burned to the ground.

The New Globe is based on drawings of the original, and houses a museum of Shakespearean artifacts in the lower level.  On the main level, however, it is still a theater.  From the time I first read about it, I have wanted to attend a performance there.  In fact, I'd love to have season tickets and attend several performances.  The connection to a past I have studied so long would be thrilling, to say the least.

In fact, that connection to the past is what draws me to London, and to all of England, so strongly.  I want to see Big Ben in person.  I want to wander the narrow pathways of Baker Street, to see where Sherlock Holmes would have lived.  I want to touch the Tower of London, where so many queens and nobles were once imprisoned, often for the capital offense of disagreeing with the king.

I want to take short jaunts around England, visiting Stratford-Upon-Avon, where Shakespeare was born.  I want to stand near Stonehenge as the sun sets. I want to visit castles, and manor homes that once belonged to the most important and influential people in history.  I want to visit Canterbury, and see for myself the town that we portray at our renaissance festival.  I want to attend the Scarborough Faire.

With all of that on my agenda, a week would simply not be enough time.  Neither would a month suffice.  I need at least a year to soak it all in, preferably while living in some quaint little rented cottage outside of London.

Outside of London, because this is what the city looks like:

For all of its history and charm, it is still a major metropolitan area.  I want somewhere quiet.  A bit secluded, maybe.  Like something out of a storybook.

A place where I can write about everything I've seen, and organize my pictures, and breathe in the reality of being in a place I've only dreamed of.  Someday, little cottage, I will be there.

For now, I will but dream. . .

Saturday, December 1, 2012

An Experiment

During the month of November, a ton of bloggers got involved in NaBloPoMo - National Blog Post Month. It's an offshoot of the National Novel Writer's Month, which is also in November.  The difference is that for the former, you just try to write one blog post every day for a month.

November was a tad busy, so that wasn't about to happen.

December is looking a little better, and I'm up for a challenge, so I'm going to try it, a month late.

That's right, everyday, for the month of December, I'm going to try to post something here.  It probably won't always be about Miles.  Or parenting.  Or even anything remotely interesting. But I will post everyday. Or I'll get halfway through and give up.  We'll see. :)

So, here goes!  Happy December!