28 December 2009

'09 Resolution check in

I thought I'd look back and see what my lofty resolution was for 2009. I couldn't even remember what I'd said.

Turns out, all I wanted was to complete my thesis. And I did it!!! Hooray!!!

Now, what to shoot for in 2010?

19 December 2009


I lay here on the couch
baby sound asleep on my chest
Christmas jazz on the radio.

My lover out shopping,
braving the stores for us, his family,
despite his intense dislike of consumerism.
We need rice.
He goes for us.

Doodle asleep in bed
after a long
cooped-up sort of day
being sick, and tired,
and sick-and-tired
of us,
of waiting,
of this whole big sister thing.

I need to be more patient.
To embrace the fun
and the play of these holidays
without getting bogged down
in grown-up blah.
Sure, there's still a pajama shirt to sew
(in purple, her current favorite color)
and gift bags to make
and food to cook
and a house to keep

but they're only this age once.

I remember the magic
and excitement of this season
from my childhood.

I want that for them.

So there's gingerbread dough in the fridge,
with plans for super-special cookie making
and much more listening to favorite Christmas music
(though on cd or streamed from the computer,
rather than the vinyl of my youth.
I'll still sing with the Muppets
and hope that one day Doodle will sing along with me).

Back to playing,
back to focusing on the little things that can turn a day magical.
We need more of that.
More magic.
For us all.

03 December 2009

I love these little people

I believe I asked her to smile.

Nice butterfly, Little.


How is he 8 weeks old already?!

19 November 2009

Beer zills and bubble wings

Doodle, as you may know by now, loves bellydance. She loves to put on my bellydance CDs and will dance for over half an hour without losing interest. Sometimes she insists on wearing my tinted chapstick because she knows that when I perform I wear lipstick. She also enjoys the props: she has some small silk veils she dances with, and a hip scarf she'll sometimes wear. But lately she's been coveting two of MY props: zills and wings. The zills (or finger cymbals) I'll let her play with on occasion, but only once has she gotten to wear and dance with my silver lamé Wings of Isis.

So what happens when she asks her creative, resourceful Papa if she can play with my wings or zills? He improvises and makes some just for her. Behold the beer zills and bubble wings:

Beer bottle caps with holes punched in them and ribbon running through.
Doodle dubbed them "Beer Zills."

The wings are bubble wrap with chopsticks as the handles.
(Apologies for the fuzzy wing photos - they're from my phone.)

What a lucky kid.

14 November 2009

Calling all sewing friends

Alright, crafty friends of mine. I need your help. I have three yards of this awesomely 70s rust-brown corduroy ($1 at DI) that's begging to be used. I'm thinking skirt for me and a 70s fantabulous jumper for Doodle, but don't have any patterns or ideas for where to start. Suggestions?

13 November 2009

5 weeks old

My little Punkin is 5 weeks old. How does time pass so quickly?

He has started smiling

06 November 2009

Tyler's birth story

Caveat: this is a birth story. Feel free to skip it if it's not your thing.

The pregnancy went well, very smoothly. I was still bellydancing, and had tentatively committed to performing in our big fall show a week before the due date. My troupe mates were nervous that I would give birth before the performance, but I figured I would perform. The week of the show we had dance practice Monday, Tuesday and Thursday for a couple of hours each. I joked that all that practicing would send me into labor. It didn't. We had our show on Friday, and I performed in all three of our choreographies. It was great. No sign of labor.

The following Wednesday afternoon, three days before the due date, J and I thought we'd try and start labor. We had some alone time, then took a walk with Doodle to the new Adventure Playground. We played for a while then took a quick walk home. I was having contractions, but they were less than 45 seconds long and sporadic. I texted Melissa to let her know I was contracting, and she said to keep her posted. I talked to Melissa again at 9:30pm and said we'd call if I had more consistent or powerful contractions. Otherwise we'd see her for our prenatal in the morning.

My Mom arrived around 10 that evening after a long day's drive from Spokane. We sat around and chatted for a while, then went to bed around 11:30. I woke up sometime around 1ish to pee. I had one strong contraction soon after laying down again, but was able to fall asleep after it passed. Again at 2ish I woke up to pee, and again had 1 strong contraction before going back to sleep.

I woke up yet again at 3:45am to pee. I laid down and had 1 strong contraction, same as before. But this time, about 9 minutes later, I had another contraction. Then another about 7 minutes after that. I wasn't certain that this was it, but I was sure it was something worth calling Melissa about. So at 4:30, after those three strong contractions, I woke J up. I told him what was going on, that I was going to take a bath and see if that would slow the contractions. I suggested he call Melissa. When he did, she said she'd hop right in her car and be on her way - being two hours away, I think she felt there was no time to dawdle.

J went out to the living room to tell my Mom what was going on. She had heard the bath water running and figured something was happening. J suggested that she could go back to sleep, but at that point I think we all knew there would be no more sleep that night. Meanwhile I continued to have contractions while in the bath. I got out and started leaning on the exercise ball propped on the couch, or on the bathroom counter during contractions, swaying my hips back and forth. My mom was timing contractions using the ContractionMaster website, and J was pushing on my back during contractions. Doodle was still sound asleep in the bedroom.

I was laboring leaning on bathroom counter when I realized that I was shaky and needed to eat. But my stomach was queasy and I had thrown up in labor with Doodle, so I was hesitant to eat anything. Finally I asked my mom to bring me a carrot - the same labor food I'd loved for Doodle's birth. Sweet and crunchy and not too heavy. Carrots were perfect. I kept laboring in our tiny bathroom, pushing down on the counter while J pushed on my back. I didn't need as forceful of counter-pressure this time as I had with Doodle, but I needed Josh there, supporting me. Throughout labor the baby was kicking & moving like crazy, especially during contractions, making each even more intense.

As the contractions became more intense I switched from swaying my hips side-to-side to an up-and-down shallow squat motion. This felt better, but I did think "oh no, I'm doing squats again. I didn't want to do squats this time." My concern was more that I didn't want to do squats for a long time. I shouldn't have worried. The contractions felt very intense, like I was nearly fully dilated and getting there fast. Then I felt a little bit pushy and grunty at the end of a couple really powerful contractions. I wondered if Melissa would be here soon, and thought "well, I'm not really pushing yet. I still have to go through transition, and I haven't even puked yet." I figured I had a little while yet.

Melissa arrived at 6:17am. I heard her car pull up as I grunted and gave a tiny push at the end of a contraction. I had two more contractions like that, with little pushes at the end, and I announced "umm, pushing." I could hear Melissa quickly setting things up in the living room. So much for transition! I gave one full push and my water broke, so I announced "umm, water." By this point Melissa and my mom had set things up in the living room, and they persuaded me to walk down the hall during a break between pushes so I could continue laboring in the much-less-cramped living room. I was not thrilled with having to walk down the hall right then, but figured if I gave birth in the middle of the hallway it was not my fault.

I made it to the living room and resumed labor holding onto the back of a dining chair, standing up. Melissa listened to the baby's heartbeat, then the next contraction hit. That push brought his head down to my perineum. I heard Melissa comment on me "being a pro" when I moved my hand there instinctively for counter pressure. Three quick, small pushes followed by one big, long push and his head was nearly out. I heard J say that his lip was stuck (which surprised me, because we didn't yet know the baby's sex). One more push and he was born into his Papa's waiting hands. A beautiful baby boy, Tyler Jesse D--, born at 6:25am.

Doodle woke up about 20 minutes later and got to meet her new baby brother. It all worked out perfectly.

Thursday October 8th 2009. 7lbs, 20" long. 39 weeks 5 days gestation, just like his big sister.

30 October 2009


Yesterday I successfully defended my Masters Thesis. I am a Master (or Mistress) of Science!!! YAY!!!

Technically I still need to complete thesis revisions and turn in all the necessary paperwork to the Grad School, but the big stuff is done!

HUGE HUGE thanks to J for supporting me and encouraging me through this process.

25 October 2009

Sisterly love

These are the photos a (sometimes too) adoring big sister takes of her beloved little brother.

As you can see, he's already accustomed to the paparazzi. Best approach: either ignore...

...or flee.

Isn't she sweet?
(most of the time)

22 October 2009

Favorite Doodle quote

"He's my best baby in the whole wide world!" - said by Doodle a few days ago, regarding her favorite little brother.

20 October 2009


Our days are packed right now, though with what I'm never entirely sure. It's kind of a whirlwind, a crazy blur. But I wouldn't trade a minute with this little family of mine for the world.

12 October 2009

Which is which?

I guess my babies *do* look similar.

11 October 2009

He's here!

Tyler Jesse was born on Thursday, 8 Oct. at 6:25am. He's 7lbs and 20 inches long. Labor was less than 3 hours long. Our midwife, Melissa, was here for 8 minutes before Tyler was born into his Papa's hands. We're all doing great.

I'll post the full birth story plus cute photos of my little harvest baby soon.

05 October 2009


... this is my first quilt. The other one was my first patchwork blanket and second quilt. But this one feels less quilt-y to me, with just two pieces of fabric and minimal "quilting" involved. So I unfairly dismissed it. But to be fair, I should share it too.

This is a scalloped baby blanket, also from Amy Karol's Bend-The-Rules Sewing book. Yes, it'll be sad in a couple days when I have to return that book to the library.

Anyhow, this blanket used a random piece of light green fleece I had laying around for the back, plus one vintage thrifted pillowcase for the top. Yes, I know the flowers are kinda big and the colors are kinda ugly. But that's the joy of vintage: it's often a strange mix of "Hmm, that's kinda ugly" and "Ooh, that's kinda cute!" I don't think J likes this one yet... give him time.

Here is my giraffe assistant, demonstrating the size of the blanket. Good for a Doodle giraffe or her many toys.

She loves it. See?

04 October 2009

39 weeks

Less than a week left until our due date. Still feeling good, and baby has not dropped. J took some bellypics yesterday with our neighbor's very nice camera. These are my favorites.

Show, part 3

Here is video of Doodle performing during intermission. No audio.

03 October 2009

Presenting: My Quilt!

At some point during this pregnancy I got a strange urge. Not to clean obsessively, nor to search Northern Utah for the fattiest food imaginable (though both of those urges did arise at some point). No, this urge was different. I wanted to learn to quilt.

Yes, quilt.

Being the good grad student I am *cough cough* I put off this urge for as long as possible. But with chapter drafts in my committee's hands and J needing lots of post-travel on-campus time, what else was there for me to do but indulge myself?

I started with this book, Bend-the-rules Sewing by Amy Karol. It's a perfect book for a rookie like myself who is totally overwhelmed by the precision required in fancy schmancy quilts and other advanced sewing projects. She encourages some level of winging it, which works perfectly for me.

I found a pattern in this book for an Easy Lap Quilt. It looked easy indeed. And I just so happened to have some pieces of fabric that went well together and I thought would look pretty in a quilt. Plus the directions specified that the quilting required to finish this piece was simple and easily done on a regular home sewing machine. I could do this! With nothing to hold me back, Doodle and I bought some fabrics to complement my stash and I pieced them together. A couple of hours of fussing over fabric order, plus one day of machine sewing and a couple hours here and there to sew the binding, and Ta Da!

I present my first quilt, completed today.

It's a lap quilt, so it measures ~40" x 40". Good for a full-size Doodle blanket, or smallish grownup blanket.

Here you can see the backing - just a solid piece of the green circle fabric.

It has passed family inspection, and will hopefully get a lot of snuggling time this winter.

Show, part 2

The real star of the show was Doodle. She owned the stage during intermission. She ate up the attention, loving every second of it.

I'll post video soon.

Show, part 1

The bellydance show last night went really well. Our performances were great, and went off without a hitch (or the breaking of water on stage). After all the practicing leading up to the show I will be glad for a little break from dancing. Lots of photos and video were taken, though very little by us. I'll post more as I get them, but this will have to do for now.

Can you spot the belly?

How about now?

27 September 2009


I feel big. Just... big.

Last night I decided to try on my troupe bellydance costume and make the necessary size adjustments before the show. Ho-ly cow. I knew I'd gained weight in my hips. And they've spread out some. I'm 38 weeks pregnant. This is normal. But inches? Plural? Whoa.

How my belt fits now - hooks are on the very ends of the pieces, though it *does* meet (thank goodness!)

The difference. Inches. The finger on the right is pointing to where the hooks attached back in May. Finger on the left indicates where they attach now. Yep, bit of a difference.

24 September 2009


"Pregnant" Doodle, practicing

In preparation for our homebirth, we've talked a lot with Doodle about the birth process and how things will go. We've even shown her some birth videos (with a running dialogue between Mama and Doodle all the while) to help her understand that it's okay when Mamas make noise. Things like that. I guess we're in the Open and Honest Explanation category when it comes to explaining birth.

Doodle seems to be processing all this birthy info really well. In fact, she has been practicing giving birth for the past three days. This is typically how it goes:

She shoves a baby up her shirt then tells me "I have a baby soon!"
She stands there for a second, then starts saying "Oh! Ohh! Baby's comin'!" as she pushes the baby down.
Baby comes out of her shirt, Doodle catches it.
She brings the baby up to her chest and starts making cute cooing "Ohhh, hi baby!" sounds.
She holds baby out to me, stating "Baby's messy."
I pretend to wipe off the baby while I tell her congratulations and that her baby is beautiful.
She holds the baby for a few seconds then tells me "Baby needs milk." Depending on her mood, she'll pretend to nurse the baby or she'll insist that I need to "because mama has big milk boobies."

I think she's ready for the big show.

23 September 2009

Shazadi Soiree, Oct. 2nd

Because I just realized that I haven't posted info on the upcoming bellydance show...

...here ya go. I'm hoping to perform in three choreographies in this show, so if you want to see an immensely pregnant woman (39 weeks!) dancing a lot, come see the show!

22 September 2009

Home Visit (37w3d)

Today our wonderful midwife Melissa came to our house for The Home Visit. I was excited to finally see her, as it'd been nearly five weeks since we'd met (I saw her midwifery partner for our last appointment). Oddly, I was nervous about the home visit. Nervous! I mean, really. She's been to my house before. She's helped with the birth of my child in my house before. Yet I was nervous that somehow my house wouldn't meet her approval? Yes, preggy logic strikes again.

The appointment went well. Very chill. Belly is measuring normal, my pee is good (though I seem to be perpetually spilling sugars... grrr). Still no internal exams, so no official numbers to offer up as to my cervical status. I know you're bummed. Tough. ;-) I told Melissa I've had pinchy cervical twinges off and on, and she said "Good!" I also told her that 1-2x/day I've had an actual contraction that feels labor-ish and makes me stop what I'm doing and pay attention. Her reply: "Great!" She's encouraged that my body seems to be getting ready, but also seems to be in no rush. Hooray for me.

Added bonus of the home visit: we now have drop cloths and chux pads and an inflatable kiddie pool at the ready for labor. I already have baby clothes laundered, towels at the ready, and the house is probably more tidy than it's been in a LONG time.

Now all we need is 1) J to come home, 2) me to complete my last few pre-delivery obligations of teaching and, hopefully, performing in the bellydance show coming up. Then baby gets the all clear and we're ready to go!

21 September 2009

37 weeks

Some awful belly self-portraits taken in the mirror this morning. 37 weeks, 2 days. Officially to term, and our midwife can attend our homebirth from here on out.

Still feeling mostly good most of the time. Sitting is becoming uncomfortable because little one takes it as a cue to stretch out in my ribs. Other than that, all is well. We have our midwife home visit tomorrow and will get all of the birth supplies from her then(!). This pregnancy has really flown by. It's crazy.

18 September 2009

We can do it! (I hope...)

Today marks the start of what may end up being a very VERY long week. You see, J will be spending the next week on the far side of the country from us, doing big collaborative things with his data and an awesome bunch of people. This trip is really a great thing. It's a wonderful opportunity for J to get help with analyzing a metric shit-ton of data while networking and schmoozing and being Mr. Independent PhD Student. It will help him A LOT.

The only drawbacks: I teach this week (meaning some creative Doodle-juggling is in the works), and I'm 37 weeks pregnant. So I'm tired exhausted most of the time, becoming progressively less comfortable by the day, and am totally stressing about all the things I need to get done *NOW*. Or yesterday, really.

At least today went well. We'd planned a big full day of a newborn-wearing sling tutorial followed by errand-running, more errand-running, grading and a midwife home visit. We ended up lounging, relaxing, coloring, doing minor errand-running, texting J a lot, and chillin' with the FanClub. Doodle had a couple minor meltdowns which started out as "Ow I smushed my toe" and ended up each time as "I neeeeeeeeed my Paaaaaapaaaaaaa!" But we got through. And now, courtesy of an early wakeup, no nap and fun with the girls this evening, she's asleep 1.5 hours before our usual bedtime. Ahhh, sweet tranquility.

I do have most of my major nesting projects done, so now it's time to buckle down, turn on a DVD (or five) this week and get some more thesis writing done. And grading.

Feel free to send any Mellow-Doodle and Baby Stay Put! vibes our way this week. Hopefully we won't need a lot of them, but you never know.

12 September 2009

International Rock Flipping Day

September 20th is International Rock Flipping Day. This is a fun way to explore a part of the outdoors that's often overlooked, and to share what we find. Homeschoolers, this would be a fun project for your kiddos to participate in.

If you're joining in for the first time, here's a quick rundown of the procedure:
  • On or about September 20th, find your rock and flip it over.
  • Record what you find. "Any and all forms of documentation are welcome: still photos, video, sketches, prose, or poetry."
  • Replace the rock as you found it; it's someone's home.*
  • Post on your blog, or load your photos to the Flickr group.
  • Send Wanderin' Weeta a link (she's coordinating IRFD this year). Her e-mail address is in her blog profile, or you can add a comment to any IRFD post.
  • She will collect the links, e-mail participants the list, and post it for any and all to copy to your own blogs. (Maybe we can Tweet it, too, this year. Use the hashtag #rockflip.)
There is a handy badge available for your blog, here.

* A reminder to all rock flippers that rocks should be flipped back into place. If there are critters underneath, don't place the rock back on top of them, move the animals to the side, replace the rock and let them scurry back.

Thanks to Bug Girl for alerting me to this fun exercise in nerdery.

Hope to see you flippin' rocks on the 20th!

09 September 2009

Ooh, great idea!

I'm so curious to see what this newest little person will look like... time to go make some Punnett squares?

31 August 2009

For Doodle

"Read me books, Mama.
All these."
She points to the pile.
We snuggle up, her head on my shoulder
her legs curved around my belly,
around her sibling.

We cuddle and read
book after book after book
with breaks for "what's that?"
"oh no, is he okay?"
My compassionate little bookworm.

I feel her drifting off to sleep
lulled by my voice
and my presence.
I'm glad I'm here now.
I have things to do,
lists upon lists of urgent projects
but right now, she needs me
and I need her.
We need this.

Soon she'll be a big sister
with big sister feelings
and a big sister portion of my time.
But right now, here,
we cuddle.

I know I'll love another
just as much as her.
I'll love watching her
embrace her new role: big sister.
It's just so hard to imagine.
Hard to think about
my divided attention,
my divided time.

I promise her I'll do my best
and kiss her sweet, sleepy head
as I settle in
and drift off to sleep with my Doodle.

30 August 2009

Doodle & breakfast

Miss Doodle is quite the amusing, entertaining, awesome little person. This morning she insisted on having hot chocolate for breakfast. When I refused she started crying and whining, even asking Papa in hopes he'd say something different. After a few offers of waffles, oatmeal or applesauce she wandered into the kitchen to figure out her own breakfast.

She proceeded to grab an ear of corn from a bag of farmer's market produce we hadn't yet put away. She turned and told me, "I eat corn for breakfast." She then walked to the garbage can, where she husked the ear of corn completely. I turned in time to see her take a bite of the raw corn, followed by an "Mmmmm" of satisfaction.

She then brought it to me, saying "you cook corn. It's ok, I only ate one bite."

While I cooked her corn she ate a waffle for breakfast.

29 August 2009

The Belly

I seem to have officially crossed some pregnancy threshold: I'm huge. I say this not because I have passed a certain measurement or hit a wall of awkwardness. It's what others are saying. Comments have recently switched from the "aww, you're pregnant. How cute!" variety to the "Holy... wow. You're REALLY pregnant. Due soon?" variety.

Quick Public Service Announcement: As pregnant ladies we aware that we are pregnant. This is not news to us. Comments of the "oh, you look great" variety are always welcome. Comments tending toward "wow, you're huge" or "oh, poor thing... you must be miserable" are never welcome, at least not by me. If I want to bitch about pregnancy-related stuff, I will. But if I barely know you, chances are I'd rather stab myself in the eye with a spoon than receive your unwanted sympathy for how big I am and how uncomfortable I must be. Because really? I'm not that uncomfortable. Honest. Yes, there are actions that are difficult for me, namely putting on shoes or shaving my legs. So if you're offering to give me a pedicure or tie my shoe, your help would be welcome. But for the most part I feel really good, and don't want your damn sympathy thankyouverymuch.

(P.S. I am 34 weeks pregnant. That means I have somewhere between 3 and 8 weeks until this little one is born, probably somewhere around 6 weeks from now. So I'm not sure how making me feel ENORMOUS now will help the next six weeks pass easily and comfortably. Y'know?)

Alright, alright. Enough ranting. Tell me what you think. Here are a couple of photos Doodle and I took on a stroll up at Tony Grove Lake yesterday. Is this belly shock-worthy?

Self-portrait of the cuteness.

View from the front. Photo by Doodle.


What do you think?