the eldest

Karl and I are both The Oldest in our respective sibling situations so clearly nature dictates that we are the RESPONSIBLE, RELIABLE, MODEL children.  We NEVER snicker like 13 year old children when Nate's teachers tell us that he consistently points with his middle finger (He seriously does.  It's so wrong.) or how he announced at snack time last week that "my little sister has her snack from mommy's boobies" to all his classmates.   YOU KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE WHEN YOUR CHILD'S TEACHER TELLS YOU THAT. 

Here are some recent moments with our dearest, darling and ever-hilarious oldest child. 

Last week, I was changing the baby's diaper and it was gross.  (Fact.  At least a 10-wipe operation.  Needed back up trash bags.) 

Me (standing over the half-naked and half-clean baby and yelling into the other room): Nate, do you know where the Kroger bags are?
Him (coming to the bedroom doorway and yelling): AT THE STORE.
Me (smiling): No, the ones in the pantry.
Him (walking closer but still yelling): WHAT'S A PANTRY?!!? 
Me: Never mind. 

One week, in the span of one hour, here are three sentences I said to Nate:
1. At a restaurant: Nate, do not lick the window.
(Licking has been his way of dealing with some of his emotions - it's real gross.  Like every time he got nervous on Halloween, he licked his light saber.) 
2. In our bathroom: Nate, do not put your sock in the toilet.
(Not sure WHAT he was doing there.  He said he wanted to see if it got wet.  Worked.) 
3. In the living room: Nate, put your booty back in your pants. 
(He wanted to run with just his butt and his butt only hanging out of his pants.  Because that's cool.) 

One day in the car with us last week:
Nate: Mommy, what's a bra?
Me and Karl glance at each other uncertaintly. 
Karl: Um, it's something girls wear.  Part of their outfit.   ::launches into awkward boob talk::
Me: Who taught you the word bra? 
Him: My friend Jaylon.  He says "What's up BRA?"
Me and Karl: OOOOOHHHH you mean like bro. 
Karl: Oops.

A few weeks ago, Nate and I were at Gigi's house playing on the floor and getting ready to go.
Nate (glancing at the baby): Gigi, do you have boobies?
Gigi: Yes.
Nate (glancing pointedly at the baby): Good.  Then Mommy and I can go play.    

Karl and I have also noticed he's been having these bursts of lovey-dovey emotions that I think he doesn't know exactly how to process and are sometimes awkward and always adorable.  Generally they involve hugging you until you fall over or crashing into your face with a kiss.  They are extra sweet these days because, at 3.5 years old, he starting to REALLY want to play with his friends and not us.   Yesterday he gave Karl a hug in the car and said "You're a good daddy, daddy" as he was buckling him in. 

We let him play his first video game and, MAN, I can see the screen time struggle becoming an issue.  He.  is.  OBSESSED.  I want to throw it in the trash.  Currently, he asks to play first thing in the morning and first thing when he gets home from school.  Here he is racing with his bra:

He mostly plays a Cars 2 racing game which has both regular races and battle races.  In the battle races, the cars have gun (we call them PEW-ers... as in the noise they make.  PEW. PEW.  PEW.).  Instead of saying I shot that car or I killed him, we say 'I pewed him!' or "I'll pew you." which doesn't really seem to be working as a, um, non-violence tactic as last night at dinner he ate his cracker into a gun and pewed the whole table. 

Despite the fights (well, we say 'no' to video games and he whines about it... and by whine I mean throws the occasional tantrum...and by occasional I mean, um, often.), he still wants to go places with us.  Little Rock's outdoor ice rink opened for the winter (amidst 75 degree weather).  My office does press for the rink so we were invited to one of the schmancy pre-parties.  (Shameless work promotion: http://www.holidaysinlittlerock.com - details here!  I did this website!)

Checking out the ice: 
He wasn't sure he wanted to go but we laced him up anyway and Karl helped him (basically drug him) around the rink once.     

AND (I saved the best for last) this weekend I opened his backpack to clean out his folder and FOUND THIS: 

Be still my heart. 

Guess those video games aren't ALL he thinks about. 

Sweet boy. 

okely dokely neighbor

The carport looked like this for four days.
I'm going to start this post by telling you how much I like my neighbors (and the fact that they don't know how to use the internet.).   I'm going to end this post by stating how excellent the exterior paint on my house looks.  I have no excuse for everything in between. 

So, we bought our house from our neighbors.  As in, we purchased this house and they moved next door into someone else's (now their) house.   It makes for the occasional awkwardness when we do any kind of renovation to the house (like when we ripped up all their carpet the first week we moved in).  They really are good neighbors - we occasionally feed each others dogs or get each others mail... we have keys to each others houses and have watched each others kids grow up.  They are good people.  


Over the years (we've lived here six or seven?)  we've had those minor neighborly annoyances.  I am SURE they could come up with a list a mile long about us - especially in the beginning when their kids were younger and we had, um, a more active nightlife and our friends often wound up at our house - and in our driveway or backyard not far from their windows -  until the wee hours.   

And we have some on them too - like The Year of the Ticy Taco stand (the photo below is not the actual camper - the real one was bigger and, uh, a little worse for wear) where they parked a camper from their deer woods between our houses for approximately one year (Karl and I decided we were going to sell tacos out of it - hence the Ticy Taco name.). 

Additionally, they once hung a dead deer from the tree in their backyard and proceeded to process it there - is that even legal in the city?   And, really, it's best not to get me started on their inability to leash their dog and their dogs ability to poop in my front yard (where all the neighbor kids play) or come inside my house if I leave my front door open.





We hired said Dad Neighbor to paint the exterior of our house.  We are currently on WEEK FIVE of the job.  FIVE.  As in almost the ENTIRETY OF NORA KATE'S LIFE.  It wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't working from home (Ever nurse a baby half-nakey in your bed and open the blinds and BAM SHIRTLESS NEIGHBOR ON A LADDER WAVING IN AT YOU?  No, just me?).  

It also would be a little, um, less awkward if I didn't come home one day from picking up Nate at school to find my holly bush CUT IN HALF (vertically and TO THE ROOT) and THEN asked if that was okay.  CAUSE THAT IS GOING TO GROW BACK NORMAL. 

It also would be a little less intense if Neighbor Dad didn't feel the need to discuss his start times (late), lunch times, and end times (early) and ask me if it was okay if he took off early to head to the (you guessed it) deer woods! Which, in a way, is real sweet (but no consult on the tree slashing!?!) and in a way makes me want to shoot myself in the head and tell him I don't mind at all JUST FINISH PAINTING MY HOUSE AND I CAN PAY YOU.  


Done now.  

I know, I know.  I'll stop.  I'm sorry.  

Like I said, the house looks really great.  (It really does). 

Carry on. 


a longer birth story

(Settle in.  I've been working on this post for weeks and the labor video is at the end!)

I'm sitting down to write this post about Nora Kate's birth and realizing that it will, most likely, take me longer to write and edit it then it did for me to birth her.  SICK.  After she was born, my darling dad MAY have asked me if there was something medically wrong with me b/c I (apparently) shoot babies out so fast.  I don't believe there is; I don't have an explanation other than I am, in fact, a complete freak of nature. (My midwife prefers 'Super Birther' or 'Speedy Gonzales' but we all know Freak of Nature is more my style.)

NK looking foxy at five weeks.  HOW DID SHE COME OUT SO FAST?

I've had some time to process the whole episode and, uh, it's so not processed.  It's been a little over a month and I'm still reeling.  I'm definitely sensitive about the whole situation.  Two unassisted-ish home births was not EVER in my plan.  (Trust me, some people really can make you feel like a 'freak' about something as relatively normal as an uncomplicated - i'll give you it was real fast - childbirth.)  Reactions are varied... just like last time.   It's sort of hilarious and almost embarrassing to be like, yea, pretty much EXACTLY THE SAME THING HAPPENED ONLY FASTER. Mostly because that exact scenario was the one people teased us about and, well, it happened.  Some people think it's awesome, some crazy, some people are SURE their partner would PASS OUT ON THE FLOOR if it happened to them.

Physically, I'm feeling great and my body healed up like it was supposed to and the memories of late pregnancy are fading - the peeing twenty times a night and, occasionally, needing Karl's assistance to walk from the couch to the bathroom b/c my back and pelvis hurt so bad. I would only need his assistance late at night when I had been resting too long in one spot; I would lean forward to take pressure off and he would hold my arms and we'd awkwardly dance/shuffle toward the bathroom. HOT. But, I mean, surely that didn't REALLY happen?  And SURELY I didn't walk miles and miles and miles enormously pregnant and swollen - did that REALLY happen?  I remember one walk Karl and I took (Nate in the stroller playing the iPad; it's hard to contain an active 3 year old in a stroller for too long) where I just cried the whole walk and begged him to call the doctor when we got home and take me to the hospital.   He reminded me of The Plan and told me that if that's what I REALLY wanted, we could do that, but that he thought I should try and stick to the original plan.  I also remember MANY moments of wanting to call the ultrasound tech to find out the sex (she told us if we changed our minds about finding out that we should call her; she also gave us a disc with pictures on it).  Karl also reminded me of The Plan on that (though I think he was quite tempted as well).  I have to say, on both counts, I'm glad that I stuck to The Plan but neither were easy.

Let's talk about those final weeks.  First, I tried secluding myself.  (Well, I didn't try it; I did it.)  The only person I wanted to see or talk to was Karl.  And I even hated him a little bit.  Karl's mom was picking up Nate from school and I was holed up watching our (very limited) movie collection.  (Super Troopers, Office Space, Juno, Knocked Up, Dazed and Confused, Little Ms. Sunshine.)  (For the record, I literally cried for hours during and after Juno.  And not just like, oh, little movie tears cry... like large, heaping sobbing.)   (Please remember my grandmother also passed away this week and I was missing the funeral so I had a WHOLE LOT going on emotionally.)   Oh and BASEBALL.  We watched A LOT of baseball.  I DVRed games and watched them again.  I know, right?

Then, finally, Karl and I decided that maybe secluding myself and crying for days on end was not the best option for an extrovert like myself and, instead, maybe we should start going about our normal business.  I really feel like this decision was the turning point for me.  It was Sunday evening and I sent out a massive call to action text message to invite some friends over for the Cardinals game.  And they came.  And it was glorious.  And we watched baseball and I stood in the kitchen (where we always end up) TALKING LIKE A NORMAL HUMAN BEING and was able to relax enough and let go of some control.   My midwife for weeks told me I needed to "allow my body go into labor" and I'm pretty sure I wanted to punch her in the face when she said it (I WAS TRYING EVERY TRICK IN THE GD BOOK!) but, looking back, there is some factor of mental control I had to give up (very difficult for a control freak like myself) and, once I did and let go of some of my plan, my body was able to relax enough to do it's thing.  (Call me crazy if you like; I'm okay with it.)

For the record, my midwives and my OB would not allow me to go past 43 weeks.  My particular midwife (Kim) has never had someone make it to 43.  At 41 weeks, we started assessments to make sure the baby and the mama were fine (we were).  I had her at 41 weeks, 6 days and was scheduled for an appointment at 9 a.m. the next morning at our hospital's labor and delivery - if she hadn't decided to come out by then, I'm not entirely sure I would have left the hospital even if everything had checked out okay.  My willpower was hanging by a thread.  After that initial assessment, we would schedule them every 24-48 hours to check both baby and mama vitals.

On Monday the 3rd, Karl decided to stay home from work (This is where, looking back, the Birth Story unknowingly becomes a bit like a scene from a cheesy, hippy-dippy 70s textbook.)  We took Nate to school together and we went for a looooooooong walk.  It was gorgeous outside and I spent most of the walk talking about my grandma and NOT The Baby or The Plan.  Then we went to lunch at one of our favorite date restaurants (Cheers in the Heights) and sat outside and I had one of my favorite meals in town.   I picked Nate up from school and we went to park with my friend Jaime and her little girl Sadie.  (Jaime is also a Labor and Delivery nurse and was going to accompany me to L&D for my tests that week.) We came home, watched TV and I went to bed around 11 with ZERO HOPE of having a baby that night, resigned and totally okay with going to the hospital Wednesday morning and perhaps staying there.

Labor Crab Cakes?  Are pregnant women even supposed to eat Crab Cakes?
Well, y'all kind of know what happens next.  I woke up from a dead sleep (for real) just before 2 a.m. with massive, crazy contractions and we called our midwives and Karl's mom within the first five minutes of waking because WE KNEW.  I am forever thankful that Mary Kay was able to get Nate out in time.  I don't remember much of that (I was trying to get in the bath to slow my labor the fuck down.).  Honestly, he would have been fine (I think?  He would have had to be?) but there was definitely hollering and bodily fluids and no one to hold him so I'm REAL GLAD we didn't have to contend with him being there and could, instead, focus. 

Nate this week in the exact spot NK was born!
As I mentioned in my previous birth story post, Karl was on the phone with Kim and she was flying down the highway (sound familiar?  NATES LABOR!).  This time, however, he did not stay on the phone with her.  (No, she did not quite make it.  And the midwife that lives closer to us was at another birth.  And, it must be noted, had we even tried to go to the hospital - which is literally 5 minutes from our house - I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have made it through admissions.).

We did try to keep most of the lights out (it was the middle of the night so most were out anyway) so I do remember it being dark.  We had some candles in the bathroom and the attic fan was on.  Totally creepy and way too cold for a newborn!  I know Karl was in the kitchen doing some dishes (because I remember thinking WHAT is he DOING?!  ha!) before Kim and Shea got there and, as stated, I was TRYING and FAILING at getting in the bath.  I remember screaming for him and thinking THERE IS NO FUCKING WAY I CAN DO THIS FOR EVEN ANOTHER HOUR.  I remember the overwhelming need to vomit (I didn't) and I remember Karl looking at me and I think I sort of saw him through my cloudy labor haze and I think he said "I think you are in transition" (Later he told me I had The Crazy Eyes.) and I think I said, "I WANT KIM!"  Then, he said that lovely, supportive line:  "It's okay.  We've done this before.  Just push the baby out." And I propped one arm against the wall and one arm against the sink counter and did that.  I do remember one of my legs shaking pretty uncontrollably the whole time (I think I must have been in much better shape when I delivered Nate!).  My amniotic sac came out with her - she wasn't quite in it... but it broke open the same push she came out and Karl kind of pushed it/swept it out of the way. 

The moment the baby came out time definitely stood still.  When Nate came out of my body, he cried immediately and then just opened his eyes and looked around.  When Nora came out, she was quiet and purple-er and it took her a minute to really work up any sort of cry.  After we determined she was breathing and okay, Karl was holding her and wrapping her in towels to get her warm.  STUPID ATTIC FAN.  Since Nora was still connected by her cord and my placenta was still inside my body, I'm sure it made for an interesting scene.  Karl couldn't move around me to turn the fan off, and  I was literally STUCK in my standing position.  Like I literally remember looking at my arms and thinking "MOVE" and not being able to do so.  It took me several minutes to work myself into a kneeling position.  Once I got down on my knees, my placenta did come out and Kim and Shea arrived within minutes of this happening.  Karl also used the time to determine Nora Kate was, in fact, Nora Kate and not a boy we would have been unable to name! (My dreams of having 3 boys named Nate, Nathan and Nathaniel are officially crushed.)

Shea and Karl and the baby stayed in the bathroom for a good amount of time (20 minutes-ish?) getting her warm (towels in the dryer!) and letting her cord continue to pulse some good blood into her little body.   Kim helped me get up and get out of there and into a quick shower before she tucked me into bed.  They don't really do APGAR scores but everyone agreed the baby looked and sounded excellent and there was nothing to worry about. 


And this, my friends, is where the labor video comes into play.   We all gathered in bed and calmed down while we watched it. 

It was absolutely perfect.

Sometimes, now, I just watch it just because.  And, now, if you are interested, I'm going to share it with you guys!  As a baby gift, my friend Amy gave us a domain name for Nora (how cool is that?) and we decided to use it for this.   

Forewarning:  the video is long and you can click away if you so choose!  There is some ridiculous video of me at the end ENORMOUSLY pregnant and crazily referencing BENDY STRAWS!  If you know me well, you can TELL in my voice and my face how much happier I am in the final video. (read: THE ONE AFTER THE BABY CAME OUT.)  

Background image of the site is courtesy of my good friend Christen Byrd. She also took some other amazing photos like this one:

AND IF YOU MADE IT HERE, I thank you for reading!

AND IF YOU SUBMITTED SOMETHING TO THE VIDEO, I thank you!   Neither Karl nor I are terribly gifted in the art of video-making but we had fun creating it and hope you like it as well. 

OKAY, OKAY, HERE IT IS: http://www.norakatehills.com - DO IT!  (Please let me know if you have any technical issues; video is not my friend.  It might take a minute to load depending on your internet speed.) 


just pitch it

My friend Jenny recently moved houses.  She was cleaning out some files in her old house and came across some information and pamphlets she received at the hospital while she was there for her son Maddox's birth. (He's now 2.5 years old.) We were laughing because she was unable to throw them away - I think we were particularly giggling over a pamphlet about SIDS (clearly not because SIDS is in ANY way funny but because she could not let go of that piece of paper that reminded her of that time in her life.) 

I looked around my own house almost six weeks post-birth and found several items I can't seem to throw away myself.

Sitting on my bookshelf: My newborn kit from the Health Department that we didn't use but were required to have - includes eye drops, Vit K shot and some other things: 

Please note it says it expires 9-30, Nora Kate was born on 10-4.
All the expiration dates on the meds were way past both of these dates?!

On my bathroom shelf: Still mass quantities of hydrogen peroxide (I think I had eight bottles in total?  It really gets blood out of EVERYTHING.), some Iodine solution and Peri-Massage Oil which I have ZERO use for.  (Well, I'll keep the peroxide.)

Some one might need to come over and THROW IT ALL AWAY FOR ME! 

(See Also: If you are a Christmas Card I've received in the last 10 years OR that really, uh, suggestive backless top I wore that one time in college and couldn't part with b/c it's a) hilarious and b) something I plan to use as an example of WHAT NOT TO WEAR for my daughter, YOU ARE STILL SAFELY IN MY ATTIC!)

Mostly, I'm putting this post up there to say I've been thinking a lot about Nora Kate's birth story and how I still want to share some of the details with you all (and write them for myself).  I've been working on a post about it for WEEKS now (THERE'S NO TIME!) and it's almost complete.  I am also going to (finally) share my labor video.  

I'm hoping to have it all posted this evening! 


a bit of a doozy

Source: Pintrest (OF COURSE I'm on Pintrest; don't be silly!) via Tumblr but I can't find the specific designer so if you know this print and its creator please email me so I can credit them?  For the moment, THANK YOU WHOEVER YOU ARE!  That makes it legal to share, right?  Ahem.  Geez, Internet.  STOP BEING SO DIFFICULT.) 
Hey friends.

Last week was a long week, right?  Like possibly the longest week ever?  No, not in your world?   

The short version: It started out okay with Halloween and CANDY and friend visits and then started downhill sliding and DID NOT STOP!  Nate had a respiratory infection (croup: his third bout with it and, thankfully, an illness most kids outgrow by 5 or 6.).  Karl had an insanely busy and stress-filled week at work (Karl also slept upright in a chair with Nate for two nights).   Me?  Mastitis.  (Which is a breast infection that causes pain and FEVER (the real kind).  I won't go into much detail about except to say it's miserable.  I even, after laying in bed shivering and maybe crying just a littlelot, called my doctor for some drugs.  Thank you God for antibiotics.  For me.  And (more so) for Nate.  (Even if he did throw up multiple doses and act like a crazy person whilst taking them.)  Through it all, Nora Kate has been the easiest and least problematic of all of us...just cruising along and growing like a weed.  (Oh, did I not mention we hit the baby jackpot with this one?!  Because we totally did.)

Nate asleep amongst the humidifier steam.  Those pillows are for safety purposes in case he rolled off the couch.
Don't judge me; at that point it had been like two days since he slept. 

Needless to say, it was definitely not the BEST WEEK EVER! But that's okay and I want to remember that it happened and that we survived.  (Perhaps someday I might even find it amusing.  Well, mildly amusing in a nostalgic-thank-god-i-never-have-to-do-that-again kind of way anyway.)

I'm sure anyone reading this could come up with a list of complaints about what's been going on lately.  I know it's been a week of rough stuff for many people near and dear to me.  Just in my little world I have friends and family dealing with the uncomfortable ends of their pregnancies, friends in the midst of moving, friends taking care of or saying goodbye to grandparents, friends dealing with job changes and losses, friends going through divorce, PLENTY of friends battling kiddo illnesses and ailments - hellllooooo fall - or illnesses or ailments of their own.

I honestly don't really know where I'm going with this post (and am going to wrap it up all awkward like right now!)  but I wanted to put it out there because this silly little poster spoke to me and reminded me to play nice.  

Join me?  

If you need to share your battle week (past, present or future) in the comments, feel free. 

just say no to christmas creep

This photo is to remind us all that there IS a holiday between Halloween and Christmas.  Er... one that the apparel apparently doesn't receive quite the same amount of attention. 

Respect The Turkey, am I right?  

(Also, please ignore the infamous gray tank top... it's really like a security blanket at this point.  I will wear it until it's in SHREDS.)