I hate it...no wait, I love it....no wait.....

First, an update on the "crescent rolls": I came out of the bedroom all in a tissy later that morning after unsuccessfully trying to take a nap- children making too much noise with their new toys- very grinchy of me, I know. And what did I find but pans of perfect, buttery, flaky croissants covering the kitchen counters. But because I was being a grinch what I said was, "NOW will you believe me that you were making croissants and not crescent rolls?" And then I flounced out of the kitchen. But I ate my words that evening at Christmas dinner- and they were good.

And, a thought for today: nasty cold + mastitis = feeling like a big pile of junk. Which caused me to think this thought- I HATE THIS!!!!! I hate breastfeeding. I hate that it makes me sick (this is my EIGHTH bout of mastitis people) and I hate that I have spent the entire afternoon, which I should have spent in bed, alternately nursing (ow!) and calming a cranky baby. But then. She looked at me just now with her little snakey grin and her perpetually raised eyebrows and I thought, I love this. I really do. But why does it have to hurt so much?


Somebody save me...

Conversation had in the kitchen...

Me (nervously): Eric. This is a recipe for croissants.
Eric: I know. Trust me. I'm making crescent rolls.
Me: Okaaaaaay......because croissants are really hard to make.
Eric: Just trust me Katie.

I guess he was not taught by his mother, as I was by mine, that normal, sane people do not make croissants. Especially when they think they're making crescent rolls.

Merry Christmas!


Virtual Christmas cookies for all!

Those yummy plates of treats are so much fun to receive and, theoretically, to make and give- but I just can't do it this year. And I will shamelessly use Marley as my excuse. Just know, wonderful friends and neighbors, that I love you and that in my heart I WANT to make Christmas cookies for you- the BEST Christmas cookies- sugar cookies with royal icing and red hots on them, buttery spritz in red and green and white, gingerbread men decorated to look like you, toffee sprinkled with pecans, thumbprints filled with jam and hershey's kisses. On a cute plate. With a ribbon on top. And a card telling you that I love you, you're wonderful, and I'm so glad our lives are intertwined. I mean it- I really do, so please except my virtual Christmas cookies- I'll make up for it next year, I promise!

And now I will rant:

WHY!?!?!?! WHY do they make CHILDREN'S toys that cost so freakin' much money?!? And WHY do my children ask for these toys from Santa?! The treasured desire of Brigham's heart is a batman lego set. He has never seen one. But he knows that Santa's elves can make one. And they can, my friends. They CAN make batman legos. And they SOMEHOW can charge $88.00 for them. Don't believe me? Go here and weep. For a bargain, you can get a lesser set for $44.95. Have I ever heard of craigslist? Why yes, yes I have. Batman legos cost even more there. No, no that doesn't make sense. Not to me, the desperate mother of a five-year-old boy. Perhaps it makes sense to the socially challenged, forty-year-old, still-living-with-their-moms LOSERS for whom these toys must really be made. I hope they have a very merry Christmas. Needless to say, Briggie will not be getting his heart's desire on Christmas morning. I'm still trying to think up an excuse for Santa.


Don't I know you from the cinematographer's party?

Click here to see a commercial my brother shot- very cute!


Strange days, these

As I sat down to write this post, I heard Eric say: "Hi, I was calling about the chickens posted on craigslist? Do you have any chickens left?" ...and it occurred to me that my life is getting odder buy the day.

Further evidence: while looking for a meatball recipe I found this index entry: scorzonera salsify. Salsify, I learned, is a vegetable "which resembles a large beige carrot covered with tiny rootlets", or, alternatively, "a long, thin, black-skinned root that looks like a stick" (that would be the scorzonera variety). And that is why I love The Joy of Cooking.

Here are some pictures from Eric's department's Christmas party, which featured a professor dressed like Santa Claus, some really good gingerbread cookies and a lot of women in fur coats. Is that my future? I had to wonder. To be paraded about in a fur coat at Christmas parties like some trophy wife? Just as long as Marley gets a matching one...

And here is me with Marley and my cousin Janice, who came to visit yesterday morning and brought us homemade mints.

She and cousin Fred pulled into the driveway just as I was about to water the Christmas tree. I watched through the window as they got out of the car and their little dog, CJ (pronounced southern style with the emphasis on the 'J', FYI), took off down the street. Fred took off after him in the Buick while Janice pursued on foot. I shrugged my shoulders and began to water the tree, which promptly tipped over. See what I mean?


Running again

Here is evidence that I am not the most compulsive runner out there. But I do love to run. Having a baby is an amazing experience, but it takes a while to start feeling like yourself again- physically and emotionally. Every time, getting back to running is what gets me back to being me. Last week my mom bought me a used Dreamer Design I had found on craigslist as an early Christmas present. I used to have a double Dreamer Design when we lived in Seattle. I got it when Brigham was a few months old, on the day that Eric started teaching early morning seminary. Almost every morning for the next two years, I pushed the boys up the big hill to the blessedly flat Burke Gillman trail. On the way up I would talk to them, listen to their quirky little observations, unwrap packages of crackers, etc. But when we got to the trail I put my earphones in and they knew that "mama can't hear you now because she's running".

If one of them dropped a toy I would pick it up once. If they dropped it again it was lost to the trail. Once Brigham kicked a shoe off and I didn't notice it until we got home. I loved those shoes. When Eric had worn them he'd kicked one off into the fish ladder at the Ballard locks and a worker had to retrieve it from amongst the salmon it with a long-handled net. I looked for the shoe on the trail everyday for a week. I finally gave up and threw away the other shoe, and the very next day I saw the match while driving to a friend's house- he had kicked it off on the bridge over Sandpoint Way and it had fallen onto a bush next to the road.

If they cried or screamed to get out of the stroller, I turned up the volume on my ipod. Many a disapproving stranger stared me down as I ran along, earphones in place, volume all the way up, smile on my face, while both children screamed and kicked their legs for all they were worth. Once or twice I almost didn't have the energy to push that load for five miles, and that's when I would think of my hero- triple jogging stroller lady. Somewhere in Seattle lives a woman with a set of twins and an older child that she pushes in a triple jogger- while running. Wow, is all I can say!

Mostly, though, they were good times out on the trail. The boys were content to watch for bizarre sights like the guy who rode a two story bike (two frames welded together, one on top of the other). How he got on and off, I still don't know. And the one-legged cyclist, another of my inspirations. We even trained for a marathon with that stroller (minus the long runs- I'm not that hardcore).

So as I begin a new jogging stroller era with my little Marley B., I wonder what strange sights we'll see, what great feats we'll accomplish, and what beloved articles of clothing we'll lose....


Want to hear about my bad dream last night?

We were all in some kind of building, and we had to evacuate it, but we had to turn off all the light switches first. I was carrying Marley down a messed up spiral staircase and she kept getting heavier and heavier. I almost dropped her, and had visions (terrifying visions that I can't get out of my head!) of her bouncing down the stairs. I had lost Brigham, and when I found him, he was carrying a tiny baby of his own in a bjorn. What, I ask you, is the meaning of this?


Thanksgiving recap:

We went to the beach.
We forgot our camera.
We did a turkey trot (which is what you call going running on Thanksgiving).
We reverted to waking up twice a night.
We watched football on TV, and little Eric was heard to say, "Why is that coach getting so mad? It's just a game!" (That's my boy:-)
We made chocolate chess pie.
We swam in an indoor pool with the lights off.
We selected as our Thanksgiving dinner must-haves: sweet potatoes (E), gravy (K), root beer (e), "the kind of chips that come in a can" (B), milkmilkandmoremilk (M).
We got a new jogging stroller for an early Christmas present.
We took apart the jogging stroller's hand brake in an effort to adjust it and ended up with a ziploc bag full of parts.
We caught colds.
We got a little too excited about seeing Mr. Nielson on youtube.
We practiced catching the football while diving into the sand.
We drove home in the rain.

And now for Christmas: I'm obnoxiously proud of the fact that it took me less than twenty minutes to put up all our Christmas decorations. Marley's stocking is in the works...I'll post pictures as soon as it's revealed. I just thought of something...does it have a bird Santa? Note to Mama- it needs a bird Santa! The advent calendar is hung, stuffed with drug company swag culled from various conferences my mom has attended this year. Don't laugh- there's some good stuff: an antibacterial stethiscope cover, a syringe-shaped highlighter- things of that nature.

I can already tell it's going to be a good one....


For my little Eric on his birthday...

...my very favorite poem in all the world:

Since You Were Born
by Darlene Young

Since you were born I’ve never been alone,
never will be, standing now at zero on a line
that stretches out forever to the right.
Always at the edges of my sight
you pull at me, your dance a haunting grace.
Nevermore I’ll live in just one place:
my restless senses stretch like tentacles into
other rooms and lives to protect you.

Since you were born, I’ve stood upon a cliff,
exposed to gales until I’m stony stiff
with fear, which I disguise as rules or whims
to keep you safe. Humming the hymn
of “all is well” to soothe myself, I stride
ahead. But dizzy with an inward tide,
the wash and pull between “enough” and “should,”
I flinch. Constant atonement, motherhood.

Since you were born there comes sometimes at night
a sense there’s something dark that I must fight
without a sword. At night, upon my chest
you and all your children’s children rest,
a leaden handicap of dread, of grace.
The future is both straightjacket and brace;
for though I gasp, I must admit the cost
of breath is just: untethered, I’d be lost—

because, since you were born, I’ve tasted fruit
I never knew could grow from the thin root
of my cold life. I’ve savored all your grins,
your honeyed sleep, the freshness of your skin—
delicious. This new fruit is more than sweet;
my tongue prickles with terror as I eat.
But even terror lends a tang: it’s joy,
since you were born. My son, it tastes like joy.



Has anyone else noticed that the little letter verification thingies you have to fill out when you leave a comment have suddenly become more "wordish"? Like, they used to be a random assemblage of letters, and I would get all excited when they spelled a word (usually nonsense), but now they always spell a nonsense word. Tell me I'm not the only one who pays attention to this!


By the skin of our teeth, as always...

Well, we voted. We were the very last people in our precinct, and walked through the doors exactly two minutes before the polls closed, to the applause and laughter of all the volunteers. Little Eric filled in my ballot. I voted for Obama, I don't mind saying, and for whoever was running against Elizabeth Dole, and for someone named Winkie, because how could you not?

And, before I go feed the babe, a list of things that Brigham currently will not eat:

1. coconut
2. unmelted cheddar cheese
3. water without ice cubes in it


Back alive...

I'm supposed to be searching for a new car online, but since there is nothing I hate more than car shopping, I'm blogging instead:). We had to make an impromptu trip up to Boston last week for Eric's grandfather's funeral. I decided that being left alone with a two-week-old was worse than traveling 13 hours each way (and in reality, it was much, much longer) in a two-door Honda Civic with three kids, so that's what we did. The highlights:

1. Honoring Eric's amazing grandfather, who lived a very full, 97-year-long life and helped a lot of people along the way, including us.
2. Brigham feeding a Mexican jumping bean to our hosts' dog.
3. Watching the fifteen minute process of Eric squeezing all three kids and their car seats into the back of his little car 6 or 7 times a day ("watching" being the operative word here).
4. Stopping in Baltimore to see my grandmother on the way home.
6. Breastfeeding in: a Japanese restaurant, a catholic church, during a funeral procession (we were going slow and had a police escort!), stuck in traffic on the George Washington bridge, and at what must have been every rest stop on the East coast.
7. Seeing Eric's Uncle Sandy who has named the boys "turtle man" (Brig) and "the bear" (Eric), but has yet to divine Marley's animal (these things take time to emerge, I'm told).
8. Observing little Eric's excitement as we entered the state of New Jersey (turns out his school friend is from there and talks about it a lot).

I have to say, I'm so glad we went, but I never, ever want to do that again. Ever.


Born and reborn...

One week ago today I was staring at my computer screen and wondering how much longer this pregnancy was going to go on. Turns out it was just a few more hours, and thank goodness for that- I was starting to unravel. Now that we're though the first week, with it's incessant eating (Marley's) and quite a bit of crying (mine), over the wear that the incessant eating was creating on certain of my body parts, I thought I'd share some of the story of Marley's birth:

I had a prenatal appointment last Wednesday afternoon with Sarah, my favorite of our midwives (though they are all amazing). When I asked her to strip my membranes, since I was officially four days overdue, she said "I don't have anyone else in labor right now, so sure." As I left the office and drove to the kids' school to pick them up, I starting having some more intense contractions, but they were 10-15 minutes apart, and I'd had entire days of that over the past few weeks that had led to nothing, so I didn't get my hopes up. By the time we got to their friend Lauren's house to drop her off, though, I had to wait in the car through a contraction before I could get her out. So when we got home I called Eric and told him to come home.

I started packing my bag and trying to relax through the contractions. By the time Eric got home and got the kids packed up to go to their friend Harrison's house, they were 4 minutes apart and getting stronger, but still totally manageable. While he dropped the boys off I laid on the couch and listened to my "birthing day affirmations" CD, which is part of our Hypnobabies program. Eric got home and loaded the car with the bag, pillows and carseat (!). I listened to my "fear release" CD on the ipod (so as not to hypnotize Eric while driving!) on the way to the birthing center. I was so relaxed in the car that Eric told me later he thought I'd fallen asleep. It was interesting to me that at each transition- getting in the car, getting out and getting settled in our room, the contractions slowed and lessened in intensity, like my body knew I needed to focus on something else for a moment.

I was worried about "checking in" at the birthing center, since my experience at the hospital was that you have to fill out paper work, get checked and be on the monitor for a while to make sure you're really in labor before you can get your room and get on with things. But when we arrived, at about 7:30 P.M., Sarah met us at the door and led us straight into our room, which was dimly lit and had a rocking chair, cradle and tub in it. She asked how I was doing and started to fill up the tub, since we were thinking of doing a water birth. Since our birth plan said that we wanted to be left alone as much as possible, she left us for a while to get settled and then came back to check me. I was 5-6 cm. I decided to get in the tub, and after a few minutes, I had a really intense contraction and felt something pop in my stomach, which was my water breaking. Eric wanted to go to Whole Foods before it closed to get me something for after the birth (you have to eat a high-protein meal before you go home). I told him to RUN!

While he was gone, I listened to my "easy first stage" CD and laid on my side on the bed, still relaxed and limp through all my contractions, but they were definitely getting more intense. When Eric got back, I got back in the tub, and he got in with me to try to help me stay relaxed and focused. After about 30 minutes, I got really hot and uncomfortable, and was starting to feel a little scared at the intensity of the contractions, so I got out. This entire time, even through the pushing stage, I could feel the baby kicking like crazy inside me, trying to get out. Pretty soon I told Eric to go get Sarah or Erin, our wonderful nurse, because I was having a hard time staying comfortable and was feeling a lot of pressure at the end of each contraction. When they came in, Sarah asked if I was feeling the need to push at all, and I said maybe a little, but I couldn't really tell. She said, with no sarcasm, "there will come a time when you're sure, so just let me know when that is," and then she sat by the bed and waited with me. About two contractions later, I knew without a doubt, and I let out the loudest yell of my life as I started to push. Right away I could feel the baby's head, and with the next push, a LOT of burning. Eric told me that I could change positions if I wanted (I was still lying on my side, and had envisioned being in the tub, or at least more upright). I told him I was scared to move. So I stayed on my side and pushed for about 10 minutes before I finally felt her head come out. Sarah handed her up to us and I just can't describe the feelings I felt in that moment. Amazement that I had done what I'd just done, relief that it was over, intense love for Eric, who was next to me on the bed the whole time encouraging and reassuring me, and an unbelievable sense of gratitude for the little person I was holding. From that moment, she stayed in our arms, except for about 10 seconds while they weighed her (hours later). As soon as I was cleaned up, Sarah and Erin left us to be alone together and get to know our baby. The atmosphere was so peaceful. I fed the baby and showered off and we rested for a while. At about 5 A.M., only 7 hours after Marley was born, we went home. I felt amazing- a little sore and like there was a lot of extra space inside me all the sudden, but otherwise healthy and strong.

I know a lot of women who have delivered their babies in hospitals and were perfectly happy with the experience, and to them I say more power to ya. But for anyone who has felt like their birth experience in the hospital wasn't what it should have been (which is how I felt, x1000), I SO highly recommend a birthing center and Hypnobabies. From the beginning, I felt respected and nurtured. It was assumed that my body knew what it was doing, and their job was not to manage and intervene, but to stand by, guard and protect as my body did what thousands of women's bodies have done naturally since the beginning of time. I never once felt pressured in any decision. The assumption was that they would give us all the information we needed, and Eric and I would make the decisions that were right for us and our baby- because who else on this earth would be more sincerely motivated? Looking at the videos of Marley just hours after her birth, and comparing them of the ones we have of Brigham at the same point, I am struck by how much stronger the sense of peace and sacredness was at Marley's birth. I can't say that it was a pain-free labor, or that I never felt scared, because I felt both pain and fear, pretty intensely at times. But Hypnobabies had taught me not to fight my body. I had to trust it, and I did. Major life lesson learned. Right after she was born, Erin and Sarah told me what a beautiful job I'd done, how well I'd controlled my pushing so I wouldn't tear, that I was a rockstar. I smiled and agreed with them to the depths of my soul. I AM a rockstar. I hope I remember that feeling for the rest of my life.

She's got her father and brothers all wrapped around her little finger. Brigham draws her pictures, builds lego ships and picks berries and dandelions for her. Little Eric asks to hold her at every opportunity and has strong opinions about her wardrobe. Her dad looks into her deep blue newborn eyes and has 30 minute conversations with her.

The other day we went in to the birthing center for a breastfeeding consultation. Eric was holding her in his lap, naked, while waiting for the nurse to weigh her. She peed all over the crotch of his pants- so it looked exactly like he'd wet himself when he stood up:). I think she got his sense of humor. Other funny moments were when I attempted to drive the kids to school and ended up at the church- probably should not have been driving on that little sleep! And the fact that there is currently a loaf of bread wrapped in tin foil in my bed. I think it has something to do with Brigham coming into our room this morning and asking for breakfast, but I'm not too sure...guess I'm still a little foggy. But it's a happy fog.


Marley Bella

She's finally here
Born October 8th, at 10:01 P.M.
7 lbs. 12 ou.

There is so much more to say, but I'm going to try and sleep now:). If you want to see video, you can go to Eric's website.


Why am I so sad today?

1. The boys went back to school on Monday.
2. My cousin, Laura went back to California.
3. I woke up this morning to the sound of the dog vomiting a giant glob of grass on the carpet beside my bed.
4. I took a bath earlier in the boys' tub, because it's bigger than mine, and now my hair smells a little like pee.
5. I have just eaten a king-sized Snickers bar.
6. Oh yes- and I'm STILL pregnant.

Send me some cheerful thoughts...


Morning conversation:

B: Look at my crown Mama.
Me: (giggle) Cute Briggie! Let me take a picture.
B: Is it funny?
Me: Yes.....(thinking).....did you want it to be funny?
B: No. I wanted to be a king.

And then we put soccer balls under our shirts and paraded around the living room....


Behind it all

I was talking with a beloved friend yesterday who's going through some pretty difficult struggles in her life. When the subject turned to blogging she said: "I would blog, but they're always happy, and I don't have anything happy to say right now." That comment floated into my mind when I sat down tonight to write yet another "I'm so happy" post. I hate the idea of facades, and yet I, like most people I know, don't feel completely comfortable living without them. I clean up my house before a friend, even a really good friend, drops by. I attempt to look somewhat put together when I go out (though it probably doesn't look that way to most people!). When asked how I'm doing, I generally I say I'm fine even when I'm not- something that Eric has tried to beat out of me this week as I've dealt with insurance agents calling about our car accident. So I spent some time really thinking today: is my life truly as happy as it looks on my blog? Or is it just another facade?

I rarely blog about how disgusting my kitchen is at the moment, or the unkind thing I said to Eric, or how I smacked the dog on the nose for eating my flip-flop. But those things are not what make up me. The moments when I am my best self, when I take a moment to look at the lego ship Brigham has built, or help little Eric write a secret note, when I apologize to my husband without expecting anything in return, when I look at my thighs in the mirror and smile- that's me. Or the me I want to be all (or at least most) of the time. The me I am working toward. I just think it makes more sense to memorialize and share those good moments, because then maybe I'll have more of them. I'm pretty sure it works.

The boys and I opted to stay home from church today due to a VERY nasty strain of stomach flu circulating our ward. I forbade Eric from touching children and hard surfaces, and made him wash his hands twice when he got home. We have invested WAY to much time, energy and money into a positive birthing experience for either of us to be puking in the delivery room. Can you imagine? Anyway, when he got home and we had a quiet moment together, I said, thinking of the hours that the boys had spent drawing, playing in a puddle, building forts and being read to, "our kids have a good life". He answered, "WE have a good life". And we do. And what I want my friend, and all my friends and especially my family to know, is where that good life comes from:

It comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that God knows each of us and cares about us and what we do in this life. We believe that we're here to give and learn and grow and become, to the best of our ability, like our Savior, and that after all that we can do, he will make up the difference. We believe that after we leave this life, we'll be together as a family in heaven- that our family will go on into eternity, and that the smiles and hugs and laughter we've shared on this earth are only a shadow of the happiness and closeness we'll feel together in the life to come.

The night after our car accident the boys fell asleep in our bed. I looked at them and saw, for the millionth time, how heartbreakingly fragile they are- from their little noses and eyelashes, to their sensitive spirits. I thought about how I would ever make it through life with such fragile little beings carrying my heart around inside their bodies, how I would ever find the strength to let them make the mistakes they will surely make, and feel the heartache they'll surely feel. But then I remembered that although our lives here on earth are fragile, the sealing ties that bind us together as family are not. And I have the power to make them stronger by striving every day to be as much like my Savior as I possibly can. I can't think of any greater motivation to keep trying, no matter how terrible I feel, or how many mistakes I make. That's what I hope comes across in my blog- that we're nowhere near a perfect family with perfect lives, but that we try very, very hard. And in that trying there is growth and in that growth there is joy.

If you would like to know more about our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, you can follow the link on the right. We're excited to hear our prophet speak to us this weekend. It will be broadcast over the church website, and my prayer for my dear friend is that she'll be watching, and that she'll open her heart and hear something that will help her start to heal.


Alrighty....anytime....seriously, go right ahead....anytime at all....

...or not. Nature is playing a cruel trick on me. I had Eric at 38 weeks. Brigham at 36. I had braced myself for bed rest and all manner of measures to keep this baby in past 34 weeks. And here I am, at almost 39 weeks, no sign of labor. Perhaps I should have listened to Eric, who warned me: "Katie, two data points do not constitute a trend." I swing wildly from gratitude for these extra weeks with the boys, which have truly been special, to eyeing the castor oil at the supermarket. I'm not quite that far gone yet.

Two days ago the boys and I were on our way home from my prenatal appointment and we were rear-ended by a very nice man in a giant pickup truck. I thought he was going to have a heart attack when he saw me get out of the car, pregnant as can be. Our car is a goner, which is kind of a bummer. Nothing like car-shopping with a newborn.

In the meantime, Eric is spoiling us all with his latest hobby: making chocolate from scratch. I've noticed something about him...he absolutely LOVES to breaks things down to their pure, essential form. Running barefoot, swimming without goggles, commuting to school on a fixed gear bike, grinding wheat, making chocolate. His hot chocolate, which is made of milk, honey and ground cacao nibs (or cow nibs, as Brigham calls them), is amazing. Maybe if I drink enough of it I'll go into labor?


Why am I so happy today?

It's raining, and that reminds me of Seattle (plus Eric fertilized the lawn on Saturday and he says the rain will help it grow). Then he told me that he "can't" mow it for three weeks, and we both laughed because that's about how often he mows it anyway. Good thing we're such nice people or the neighbors would be getting sick of us.

My boys are on the second day of a three week vacation from school. I am so much happier with them home. I need someone to periodically come up to me and burp, or show me how he can jump off the kitchen counter, or bring me a feather. Right now they're playing in the driveway in their winter coats in 70 degree weather because I have yet to buy them new raincoats.

My baby is healthy and happy inside me. I'm trying SO hard to be patient while I wait for her to be born! Yesterday Eric walked into the bedroom and woke me up with nice loud burp aimed at my belly. She gave me a whopper of a kick in the ribs. That was kind of a nice start to my day:).

On my schedule today: 1. Clean bathrooms while blasting Micheal Jackson songs. 2. Go to Whole Foods to buy snacks for during/after the birth. 3. Pack my bag for the birth center.

My toenails are painted. I asked Eric to do it- it was so cute to see how hard he was concentrating on not getting nail polish all over my toes. He did a better job than I would have- he's got good fine motor skills. Girls like guys with good fine motor skills:).


My second best birthday ever

Friday was my 28th birthday, and, I have to say, next to my 19th, which I doubt anything could ever top, it was the best ever. It started out kind of lonely with the kids and Eric at school all day, but in the evening we went out to dinner at the Cheesecake factory, ate ourselves sick, got free t-shirts from our brand new triathlon store, stopped by my old friend Liz's and talked on the front porch while the boys slept in the car, and then came home to the second best chocolate cake I've ever tasted made by my wonderful visiting teacher, Nancy, and left on our front porch. The best one, if you're wondering, was the one that my friend Tamra brought me while I was in the hospital after I had Brigham. It may have been the drugs, but there was voodoo magic in that cake. Anyway, here's the photographic record:

Waiting in the car for the sudden downpour to cease so that we can go inside the restaraunt...

Trying on Halloween costumes at the store next door while waiting for a table...

Well behaved children...seriously, they were pretty great...

Birthday kiss...

Happy family of four....but not for long.....

Installment 4: You are getting Sleeeeeeeepy.....

As of three weeks ago, Eric and I are official graduates of the Hypnobabies childbirth course. The idea is that I will give birth to our baby in complete comfort (or close to it) with no drugs or interventions of any kind. My friend Kate had her two kids using Hypnobirthing, a similar method, and she swears by it. The basic idea is that fear and tension cause pain during childbirth. And when you think about it, there is a HUGE culture of fear surrounding birthing- how many horror stories have you heard/told about birth in every setting from dinner parties to book club meetings? So Hypnobabies teaches you how to get into a state of very deep relaxation, and then, while you're in that state, gives messages to your subconscious that replace the notion of inevitable pain during birthing with feelings of confidence, peace and excitement. And you know what? I AM excited! To find out more, check out www.hypnobabies.com. And for local readers: www.tranquilbirthing.com, which is the website for our amazing instructor, Susan, who came to our house each week for six weeks to teach us the method. There are also a lot of clips on youtube showing women using hypnobabies while in labor- it's pretty amazing.

Susan and me after our last class...

Installment 3: You should know this about me...

You know how there are things about you that you want people to know, but you don't want to sound show-off-ish, so you have to wait for them to find out randomly? Like that your second cousin won a bronze medal in fencing in the 1988 Olympics- something like that. That's how it is with my Grandmother. She never won any medals (that I know of), but she's just that cool. When I introduce her to someone I just sit back with a self-satisfied smile and think, "Isn't she the most quirky, fun, awesome grandmother you've ever met? And she's mine!" I love these pictures from when she came to visit last month because they capture in visual form one of the things I love most about her- her reading voice. I can't describe it, other than to say that listening to her read Winnie the Pooh (as she's doing here) is pure heaven. I laid awake that night wondering whether I would be able to remember the sound of it twenty years from now. And whether the boys would. Good thing I caught it on video. Anyway, I wish you could all meet my Grandmom- she's the best.