Monthly Archives: November 2010

Giving Thanks – A Little Late

‘Tis the season for ‘giving thanks’, stuffing our faces, awkward family gatherings, watching your ‘p’s & q’s’, and getting up super early for the deals, right? That’s all I thought about holidays for years and years. I’d just get through them and when they’re done no more family for a whole year!

For the record, it isn’t my family that I’m avoiding and it’s not that I’m not thankful. I do want to spend time with my family and I miss my family often. It’s really the awkwardness, pain and pressure I feel being around my family with my mother during the holidays.

I’m being vague here so let me just say that my mom is the drunk of the family. She’s not one of those funny drunks, either. She’s either crying, being mean, telling an inappropriate story at an inappropriate time, yelling to be heard above everyone, giving a piece of her mind (and it’s not usually a nice or constructive piece) when no one asked, or she just starts making things up.

Baby J & Cousin A w/ Grandpa C

Anyway, aside from my crazy mom we had a great Thanksgiving double feature celebration this year. First, we had dinner at noon with A’s family – which I’m still weird around. It’s just that I don’t do hugs, I suck at random chit chat, I’m socially awkward and I don’t really know his family members well. I’ll get better at it over the years, I hope. But, it was nice and also really funny to have the 11 month old screaming (literally) in her booster seat over how delicious her turkey was 🙂

Dinner at my aunt’s house was at three and over an hour away from our first celebration. I was really excited to go to my aunt’s this year because some members of my family haven’t met our daughter yet. My extended family is amazing, though. We each wrote three things we were thankful for, put them in a jar and took out three things to read off throughout dinner. My cousins each read either a poem, story or song about thanksgiving which was great.  I really wish that we weren’t hours apart so I could spend more time with my aunt, uncle and cousins because they’re all hilarious and fun.

Having a child made me realize and I’ve really learned that this time of year isn’t something you should just try to get through like I used to think. This year I’m really thankful for my life and everything in my life. Sure, the holidays can be a little awkward and family members embarrass you, but I also realized that I am my own person.  I’m not my mother – I’m just a product of her.  So, when she’s drunk and being herself I can be thankful that she’s still well and with us.  Even if she the family drunk. 

I’m thankful for my daughter, who is so full of life and filling my world with joy.

I’m thankful for my husband who can see through the cranky and know-it-all that I am and still love me deeply (even on the bad days). He takes care of us and I don’t show him nearly enough thanks for everything that he does.

I’m thankful for our family’s health, our home, our annoying yet faithful pets, and a steady flow of income even if some days we’d like to quit our jobs.

This year I hope to start some great family traditions, follow along with old family traditions and to start teaching our daughter how to give in the spirit of giving not out of feelings of obligation.

I did get up at 6:00am to go shopping with my sister and my daughter in tow on Black Friday, though. It’s the consumer in me, I guess, just trying to save a buck or two. At least the shopping is done and I only have a couple more gifts left to craft.

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Child Birth the Natural and Easy Way

When I became pregnant I knew that I would have a natural birth.  There was no question about it, really.  Women around the world for generations upon generations have been having babies successfully without interventions so why couldn’t I?  At first I thought that I’d just handle it myself, grit my teeth and bare it, I suppose.  Once I learned more about the process that your body undergoes during labor I realized I’d need something more than just will power.

At first, we I decided the Bradley Method would be the best for us.  I truly believe that this method of birthing is amazing and would be a perfect way to go IF my husband took interest in it – which he didn’t, at all.  In the beginning Adam was really on board and excited to take the class with me.  But, as the class crept up on us he wouldn’t even respond when I’d try to talk to him about it.  When it came out how much the class cost he threw a fit.  Luckily, there was a scheduling issue and I wouldn’t be able to get in a class before my due date and we cancelled.

I was really pissed off at him; I’m not going to lie.  I found myself married to someone who only thought about the price of a class not about how the class would help me.  My arguments about how much the class could save us if I didn’t have to get an epidural or a number of procedures that are routinely done during a woman’s labor were futile.  I knew that I had to find something else that I could do on my own that wouldn’t even involve my husband.  At one point I was so mad about it that I considered not letting him in the room at all!

During one of my prenatal appointments I told my midwife that Bradley was out the window and I think she breathed a sigh of relief (she wasn’t really keen on Bradley, either).  She mentioned hypnosis for childbirth and it kind of stuck with me.  It’s better than just going with the flow, I bet, so why not?  I decided to get Hypnobabies home study because I could do it all on my own and the investment wasn’t much at all.

And you know what?  I freaking love my husband for being a thorn in my side and not being on board with taking the Bradley classes.  Not only did Hypnobabies work amazingly well for me (and I was a slacker and I didn’t even use it during half of my labor – which I kick myself in the ass for) but I can seriously say that my labor was pain free.  I mean, yeah I felt lots of pressure, pulling, stretching and discomfort but I was expecting that.  I never got that “ring of fire”, I never screamed out obscenities, cursed my husband for making me pregnant, or any of those stupid clichés that you see in the movies.  I did some hard work and thoroughly enjoyed my daughter’s birthday without any drugs.  Not even an IV.

 “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right” ~ Henry Ford

What I believe is this: mind over matter.  Do you think labor is going to hurt like hell and is going to be one of the most agonizing events you will ever experience in your whole life?  Well, congratulations, you’re correct!  Do you think that child birth is natural, normal, easy and your body can do it sans pain?  Ya know, you’re right, too!  Childbirth has a lot to do with how you perceive childbirth to be.  If you tell yourself 10 million times that it won’t hurt if you let your body do what it’s supposed to do and don’t fight it then will it?  Probably not…  If you tell yourself and listen to everyone else telling you that it’s going to be excruciatingly bad then girl, it’s going to be.

Bottom line is, hypnosis works but it takes work.  You have to open yourself up to the notion of hypnosis and believe in it.  You have to practice it, and practice it often.  Once you believe in it and you practice it often you can reprogram your subconscious to believe loads of things.  I convinced myself I’d have a natural, normal, healthy, fast, easy, pain-free birth using Hypnobabies and you know what?  I totally did.

If you’re interested in reading my birth story you can do so here.

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Halfway Crunchy: A working mama’s blog

For those of you who don’t know me (and even for those who think they do) let me introduce myself.  I’m a new mama of beautiful 11 month-old, Juliana Marie, a new wife to my wonderful husband, Adam, and a self proclaimed Halfway Crunchy parent.

Let’s go back to the days before I became a crunchy, somewhat know-it-all mama and wife to get you up to speed.

On April 28th, 2009 I was headed home from work letting my mind race through its random thoughts of the day.  While I was wondering whether or not that last cup of coffee would cause me to pee my pants before I got home or not my mind started to wonder down to my neither region.  Earlier that month I had a couple brain lapses (ok – so I silenced my phone alarm one too many times without actually taking my pill) so the rest of my pills were “no good”.  Did I keep the pack to keep track of when my period should be coming?  Obviously not, that would be the smart thing to do.

That’s when my brain finally stopped and there I was stuck on her.  Where is she?  Why hasn’t she come yet?  It’s really not like her to be late, but, is she really late?  I can’t be late the last time I had one was… ok so I’m late.  I’m not that late though, it can only be like 2, 3, or 4… ok maybe 8 days, tops.  It’s no big deal; I’ll just ask Adam when I get home.

As casually as I could, I meekly asked Adam if he remembered when my last period was.  Cue the eyeballs-bulging-what-the-hell-have-we-done-face followed by “I thought that was your thing to remember”.  We hadn’t really done anything in a while because every day when I got home from work I’d make it to the couch before I’d promptly passed out from an exhausting day of sitting at my desk.  An early symptom of pregnancy would, perhaps, make more sense than my exhausting day of sitting.   Am I pregnant?

Naturally, I sent him to the store to get the pregnancy test because that’s how it’s done in the movies, isn’t it?  Ok, so let’s speed things up and get to the point.  Yes, I peed on a stick.  Yes, it said I was pregnant.  Yes, I was happy.  Yes, I was scared shitless.  Yes, my life was now “over” and a new life was beginning.  No, this was not planned.  Oh well, what’s done is done there’s no changing things now planned or unplanned.

Do I regret getting pregnant?  At this time in my life no way in hell, but, at the time I didn’t even know who I was anymore.  I wasn’t me anymore now I was us.  Do I regret not being more careful?  Yeah, maybe a little bit because I hadn’t prepared my body or mind for this news.  From that day forward I knew that since I hadn’t prepared I would have to work overtime to figure things out.  I’m neurotic and I need to know everything about everything yesterday.

April 28th, 2009 will forever be the day that I took the first step to becoming myself.  This was the day that I stopped living for myself and I started living for us.  This was the day I started onto my journey of becoming a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, gentle and respectful discipline loving, self proclaimed Halfway Crunchy parent.

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