Thursday, December 18, 2014


Juj is quickly catching up to Peyton with her shenanigans.

I found a mysterious pile of clothes in the middle of the living room floor.  I started putting the clothes away and when I got to the bottom of the pile I found a pair of scissors and a long lock of hair.

Me: Juj! Why did you cut your hair?

Juj: I had split ends. (Confused by my frustration) Umm...I thought you'd be happy.

Me: If you thought I'd be happy why did you hide it?

Juj: For a surprise for you to find!


In the car...

Me: Pops, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Pops: Either a Native American or a mom.

Juj: I want to be a dad!

Me: A dad, huh?  What's the difference between a mom and a dad?

Juj:'s fun?

Me: Juj! ....Which one is fun?

Pops: (Leaning over toward Juj, in a loud whisper) Don't tell her, Juj.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Once upon a time there was a princess named Juj...

Juj loves to tell stories.  They vary in length and plot but they have one common theme.  I am the villain.   Every time. Example from last week:

Juj: Mom, I'm gonna tell you a story, okay?

Me: I don't know if I want to hear any more of your stories.  You always make me a bad guy who dies or tries to hurt people!

Juj: This one is different!  Once there was a princess named Juj and a hero named Popeye.  And there was a wicked witch.  Named Mommy.

Me: See!?  I don't want to hear this story!

Juj: It is different!  You won't die or hurt anybody!  The end is a surprise!

Me: (Relieved) Oh.   Okay.  A surprise ending sounds nice.

Juj: Princess Juj and Hero Popeye were friends with the witch (Looks to me for approval.  I nod, satisfied.  Juj smiles.) But then the witch tried to turn everyone to dragons!  Princess Juj and Hero Popeye tried to save everybody but the witch wouldn't let them!  (Speaking faster)  They had a dragon eat her up and she died!

Me: JUJ!  That was a mean story!  You said it would be a surprise ending!

Juj: (Confused by my disappointment) But...I said you wouldn't die but then you did so it is still a surprise!

Now, I don't think that these stories are the kids' way of saying they don't like me, although, sometimes they probably do it to make a point.  I think it has more to do with the fact that they like telling stories about people they know and somebody has to be the villain, ya know?  It can't be their sister because they are best friends.  There is only one other person home so I am the villain by default.  Here is some supporting evidence.

Yesterday was my birthday.

Juj: Mom!  I'm going to tell you a birthday story!  Since it is your birthday, you don't have to be the bad guy!  You can be the hero, I will be the hero princess, and Pops can be the witch!

Me: Thank you!

Popeye: Hey!  I don't want to be the witch!

Juj: Please, Pops?

Popeye: I really don't want to be the witch.

Juj: (Letting out a frustrated sigh) Okay.  Sorry, Mom.  Popeye is not choosing the right and she won't be the bad guy!  You have to be the bad guy witch again.

Sigh.  Fine.  I'll be the witch, as long as we all understand that I'm doing it out of the goodness of my good heart.  Because I'm a good guy.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sometimes a girl just needs some butter.

Image result for pictures of butter

Me: What would you ladies like for lunch?

Pops: Something with butter on it.

Me: ...Something with butter on it?

Pops: Yes, like popcorn or toast. With butter.

Me: With what else?

Pops: Just something with butter.

Juj: Is that healthy?

Me: I wouldn't exactly call it well-balanced or nutritious.

Pops:  Sometimes I want to eat healthy and sometimes I just want things with butter.  (Big sigh)  It's been a big morning.  I had to share all my things with Juj.  Can I please have it?  Mom, don't you understand?

Frankly, I don't think I have ever understood her more clearly.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"But my underwear is CLEAN!"

Juju hates pants with an intensity that is unmatched by anyone else on the planet.  She did not take it well when she learned that pants were just a part of life.

Me: Juj, you cannot wear that outside. You need to put pants on.
Juj: But, I don't like wearing pants! You made me wear pants yesterday and the day before. I don't like pants and shorts and skirts. I like wearing no pants. Do I have to wear pants tomorrow?
Me: Yes. You have to wear pants every day.
Juj: Every day!? (Collapses and starts crying) I have to wear pants for my whole life? (Loud sob) This is the worst day, Mom! (More sobbing) I just hate pants.

She really doesn't like them.  Today Juju and Popeye got in an argument.  Pops said, "If you don't knock it off, Santa is going to give you pants for Christmas!"  Juj came unglued.

Here are some of Juju's responses to being told she needs to put on pants.

Juj: But Mom, pants give me a headache!

Juj: If you make me wear pants, I can't have freedom!

Juj: If I eat my vegetables do I still have to wear pants?

Juj: But Prince Hans wore pants!  He was so bad!  And selfish. ...Do you want me to turn selfish?

Juj: Pants will ruin my day!

Juj: Pants ruin my LIFE!

Juj: Pants will take too long to pull up after I go potty!  I'll miss everything!

Juj: But my underwear is CLEAN!  And they are on the right way!

Juj: But Mom, cold never bothered me, anyway!

Juj: But Mom, wearing pants makes me think of putting all of your candy in my pants and if I think about it then I have to do it!  I DON'T WANT MELTED CANDY IN MY PANTS, AGAIN!

Juj: But the library doesn't care if you wear pants!

Juj: Fine!  Then I'm going to have a baby and I will name him Oh, David and I will NEVER make him wear pants for his whole life!

Juj: If I'm good at the store can I take my pants off when we get home?

I still make Juju wear pants.  Honestly, though, I feel like we are kindred spirits.  I have finally found somebody who likes pants as little as I do.  She might even dislike them a little more.  I still think vegetables are worse than pants.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tempers, Cows, and Underwear

Juj and Popeye were in a heated discussion.  Juj lost her temper and threw a toy across the room.

Me: Juj, do you have something you'd like to say?

Juj:(scowling) What?

Me: You need to apologize for losing your temper like that.

Juj: (Exasperated) I didn't lose my temper!  Popeye lost my temper!


Pops did something nice.

Me: Thank you, ya big sweetheart!

Popeye: Thank you, ya big, sweet cow!

I chuckled because I know Pops is fond of cows and she meant this as a very sincere compliment.

Me: (still chuckling) Pops, that is so sweet and it made me feel good, but you probably shouldn't call other people a cow.

Popeye: (Confused) Why not?

Me: It might hurt somebody else's feelings if you call them a cow.

Popeye: (Dumbfounded) I don't see why.  The cow is a perfectly lovely animal.


Pops has been wearing dresses a lot lately.  She got cold yesterday and pulled her dress up to wrap the fabric around her arms.

Me: P, please put your dress down.

Popeye: Why?

Me: People can see your undies.  It is inappropriate.

Popeye: underwear are new.

Me: I know, but it is still inappropriate.

Popeye: (Very skeptical and snotty) So it's inappropriate?  Even if my underwear are new.

Me: Yes.

Then Peyton exhaled loudly as she slowly put her dress back down.  Guys, I swear she rolled her eyes at me.  A year ago the kid thought I was a genius who knew everything about everything.  Now she doesn't even think I am smart enough to know if it is okay to show the world your underwear.  I hear it is only going to get worse.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Year Ago...

Again, this is an old post from last year, right before I had Caroline.  

*~*At my chiropractic appointment*~*

P: (To the doctor) You can make my mom's back go pop pop.  But don't pop the baby out of her belly.

Dr: Okay, I definitely won't do that.

P: Yeah, because it isn't Halloween, yet.  

Dr: Nope.  She still has to wait.

P: Yeah, and when the baby explodes out of her belly it will be so loud.  Like BA-BOOM! (Jumps with hands in the air).  You will have to cover your ears.  

Juj: BA-BOOM (Covers ears)

She actually thinks my stomach is going to explode.  I really thought that we had cleared that up when we had this talk.  So much hard work and it didn't even stick.


In line at the grocery store P was making everybody smile.

P: Mom, you are so beautiful.  

Me: Thank you!  I think you are beautiful, too.

P: And you are nice, and that is really important!

Me: YOU are nice, too!

P: And you are strong and brave.

At this point older women were looking on with big smiles.  Popeye looked at them and continued a conversation with them.

P: My mom is strong and smart and brave and nice.  And she isn't big like a hippo, no.  There is a baby in that belly!

My cheerleader and advocate.  Love that kid.


P: Mom, do you have an arranged marriage?

Me: What?  No!

P: You didn't save anybody from bad guys?

Me:  There were no people to save.

P: Oh.  Did you marry my dad because you had a duty to your heart?

Me: ...Yes.

P: He's a prince.

Me: Mmm hmmm.

P: Do you think my dad is hubba hubba?

Me: Yes.

P: I thought so.  (Sigh) I hope I get to marry somebody who is hubba hubba.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Birth Story

I wrote this a year ago and never published it.  We just celebrated Caroline's first birthday this week so it seems appropriate to share the story.

I like to read birth stories.  Is that weird?  I'm not one to record birth stories of my kids, though.  That being said, this experience was completely different in every way from my two previous deliveries and people keep asking about it so I thought I would share it for the few of you that might be interested.

Making the decision to birth at home
After I had Juj I had toyed with the idea of having a home birth for the next baby.  I never would have considered it for the other two.  With Popeye, I didn't even know people did that.  I knew that some people opted for midwives instead of doctors but I figured they were weirdos or hippies.  I wanted a doctor and a hospital.  I was convinced that that was the only responsible approach.  I felt very educated because I read What to Expect When You're Expecting (I know.  You can role your eyes with me).  With Juj, my outlook changed a lot and I knew I wanted a midwife.  I wanted a different approach and I wanted a provider who embraced the normalcy of birth.  My midwife with Juj did not do home deliveries.  When I asked her (just out of curiosity, not out of real interest) she laughed and basically explained that she only delivered in hospitals because, "What if something happened?"  I was fine with that.  I still wanted the "safety and security" of a hospital.  I would have been good with a birth center, but there wasn't one that was close.  I still pictured birthing at home to be risky and messy.  Like, I thought maybe you would just throw a tarp on your floor and have a baby?  I don't know...As I was in the hospital with Juj, I found that there were a lot of policies and procedures (and the fact that they kept gluing bows to my newborn's head, making her head gross and sticky) that I didn't like and felt were unnecessary.

With this pregnancy, I wanted a home birth but I never thought Chris would go along with it.  When I brought it up to Chris he was surprisingly okay with it.  I think it was partially due to the fact that he thought I'd change my mind, but I'm not sure.  As the pregnancy progressed I grew more sure of my decision to birth at home and Chris grew more and more excited and supportive.  I think he trusted that I had done a lot of research into the subject and didn't take it lightly.

Reactions to my decision
The local hospital here is not known for being excellent so many people commute to a hospital in the neighboring state to have their babies.  Because of this, people out here often asked me, "So where are you going to deliver?"  When I told them that I was going to deliver at home very few were supportive.  Their eyes would get big and they would start to look uncomfortable and they would say something like, "Well, I guess that's one way to do it...." Others would ask if I was crazy or would ask, "But what if something happens?"  And then they would share with me tales of  terribly traumatic and life-threatening birth experiences of people they knew.  Some thought it was just about avoiding medications.  I didn't want to just do it medication free, though.  I wanted to do it intervention free. I wanted to do it hospital policy free.

If you want a laugh, Jim Gaffigan talks about midwives, home birth, and parenting in this clip and it makes me laugh every time.

My parents were both very supportive.  When I told my dad I thought he'd try to talk me out of it.  Instead he said, "Wow!  That's great!  You are doing the right thing!"  Yeah.  I was surprised by that response, too.

The birth
Anyway, the birth.  I had been grumpy, because I was tired of being sore and pregnant and tired of people asking me why I was still pregnant and REALLY tired of people telling me that I was huge and "there is no way there is only one baby in there."  I had been having regular and strong contractions for several hours a day for weeks.  I was exhausted.

Saturday, the contractions seemed to last longer.  By Sunday afternoon they were intense enough that I told Chris, "I think this is it!"  I couldn't really sleep that night but by morning when nothing had happened I became discouraged.  Monday I went for a walk to try to make the contractions worse.  They didn't get worse.  I ate something and took a bath to try to make the contractions stop.  They didn't stop.  Around noon I called the midwife to tell her that I had been having contractions for over 24 hours.  I told her that I wasn't in labor, they were just Braxton Hicks, but was wondering what I could do to make them either get worse or stop because I needed to either have a baby or get some sleep.  The contractions were not painful at all, just distracting and annoying.

My midwife said she would like to come to my house.  I felt silly and insisted it wasn't necessary because it wasn't real labor.  She counter insisted that she just wanted to check the baby to make sure she was handling the contractions well.  So she was at my house by 3:00 with her student midwife.  I had avoided pelvic exams this entire pregnancy but after witnessing a contraction the midwife said she felt uncomfortable leaving my house because she thought it was real labor.  She lived pretty far away and was afraid that if she left and it was labor she wouldn't make it back in time.  She said that if she checked and it wasn't labor, she would leave.  I obliged.  To my surprise I was almost completely dilated and fully effaced.  She suggested I call Chris to get home right away.  We figured we'd have things wrapped up in less than 3 hours.  I mean, we thought I would be pushing before Chris got home.  At that time I was dilated "more than 9 but less than 10."

I called and Chris came home.  They prepared the birthing tub while I was able to lie down on a heating pad in my bed and work on homework (my midwife frowned upon doing homework in labor but I was working on my final semester of grad school and wanted to finish some work).  Still didn't feel like pushing.  My water still had not broken.  The midwife asked if I wanted to deliver with the waters in tact.  She said some people consider it lucky.  I gave that a hard pass.  She broke my water.

The tub.  Man, oh man.  The birthing tub was AWESOME!  I almost didn't feel contractions at all in the tub for a while.  I didn't think I was in labor until I got out of the water and felt the full intensity of the contractions.  I just stayed in the water and waited.  For hours.  Nothing.  We knew the baby was not positioned ideally but hoped that the baby would move with contractions.  Around 9 p.m. I was disgusted that I was still pregnant.  The back labor was awful and the contractions were getting worse.  How was I not needing to push yet?  It had been hours!

The girls were home for everything and still awake at this point.  I tried not to make weird faces during the contractions because I knew the girls were watching.  Popeye rubbed my back and told me how brave and strong I was.  Juju patted me on the head and said, "Everything is just fine.  Don't you worry!"  They both read me books and sang me songs.  They were awesome.  Around 10 they felt ready for bed. Popeye said, "I'm going to bed but you just call me if you need anything."

By 11 p.m. I was crying.  The contractions were relentless and it wasn't fair that I was still in labor.  By 11:40 my midwife said, "Well, looks like you are going to have your 11-12-13 baby, after all!  That's what you said you wanted at our first appointment!"  I was furious and snapped back that I had changed my mind.

I had been getting up and walking around.  I was so sad and the contractions were so bad that I remember telling Chris, "I'm going to die.  Really.  I'm dying, I just know it."  Kudos to him for being supportive and not rolling his eyes and pointing out how dramatic I was being.

A few minutes before midnight the midwife suggested that she turn the baby because the contractions and weird baby spinning techniques just were not doing it.

Her turning the baby was without a doubt the most painful thing I have ever experienced.  Luckily, it was fairly brief and she was successful.  I wanted to move back to the tub but I felt the urge to push right away and knew that I wasn't going anywhere.  I pushed for a short time and the baby was born.  Truthfully, nobody had any idea exactly what time she was born.  We figured out that nobody checked until 12:05 am.  It could have gone either way.  The midwife called it 12:01 am so the baby was born one minute into 11-12-13.

I was so exhausted.  I kept waiting for that natural high to kick in but it didn't.  After holding and nursing my perfect baby for 40ish minutes, I hopped into the shower.  Then I started to feel great and full of energy.  I felt incredible.  I came out of the shower to discover that my bed was made with freshly washed sheets and blankets, my baby was dressed and entertaining her dad, there was a snack ready for me, and all birthing stuff had been put away. 

I was surprised how great I felt the next morning.  This is definitely the easiest recovery I have had (though, it is still a recovery).

So, that's the story!

People keep asking if I would recommend this to others.  Honestly, it isn't for everybody.  If I had this same experience with my other two, I would not have appreciated it for how awesome it was.  I had to be ready for the experience and since I was, it was amazing.  If you have considered home birth or had any interest in it, then I would recommend it.  If you like your hospital experience, home birth  may not be something you'd like.  Worked for me, though, and I would definitely consider doing it this way again.