Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mommy Job Hazzard: Sometimes You Get Pooped On

I almost forgot to share this little nugget--Christmas day at my parents' house, Everleigh pooped on me. And not just kind of. The girl somehow managed to get poop in 3 different locations on my shirt, in addition to covering the lap of my jeans.

I was doing OK with it on my shirt ("this happens. she didn't mean to", etc.) until I saw it on my pants too. I had to pass her off to daddy and make a bee-line for the restroom. Good thing my mom and dad love me and didn't care. Too bad my mom recently lost a gang of weight and donated or gave away any and all her clothes over a size 6. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a "big girl", but my desk job/grad school/pregnancy have certainly bumped me up to a healthy Midwestern physique ;) So after telling my mom not to worry about trying to have me cram my caboose into her "I do Weight Watchers and run 5 miles a day" pants, I was given a Hawaiian-themed kimono to sport until my poop-clothes made it out of the wash.

Then all was right with the world again. I guess I should be glad this has only happened once, as I'm sure others are not so lucky. I just wanted to let you all in on what Evie got me for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Look How Cute My Baby Is ;)

Sorry I don't have much to say guys! The Alice show went really well and I had a blast kicking it with my old friends. The downside? I got "the call" as I was stepping off stage (at 11:45 at night) that Evie missed me and was refusing to sleep and would only remain calm if she was being walked around. So, I didn't get to stay and soak up the laughs or the applause. Frankly, I left before even getting paid. All I heard was that my baby needed me. After rushing to her side and giving her some magic mom milk, she dropped right out.  Sigh.

Here's the rub about trying to venture back out into the world a little post-baby-- you can still have a good time, but your heart is at home with your little one. And sometimes all the hoops you have to jump through in order to have those 3 hours out make the whole thing seem like more work than it's worth. Anyways, I'm not bummed--I had a really amazing time! But I also realized it wasn't realistic for me to try and play out a ton right now while Ev's so little. Maybe Scott and I can use this time to focus on our little side-project family-style called Moonhead...

Playing music is definitely easier if you're at your own house collaborating with your spouse while your baby plays on the floor next to you.

OK, happy Wednesday everyone! Enjoy the new baby pics I took with my awesome little easy snap Canon PowerShot that Scotti got me for Christmas. Peace and Love!

Evie's "My First Christmas" dress

Christmas Eve naked Santa baby

Christmas Day--she loved the bows and paper more than anything

Wearing the awesome custum outfit her Auntie Kristen got her for Christmas

Everleigh and Mommy snuggling up in our comfies

Monday, December 27, 2010

Back on Stage

Rachel and Me gearing up for the show!

The view from the stage

Alice and Absinthe. Can you say sugar cube please?

Goofing off before the show
Tonight, my old band, Alice is playing a show! My bandmate Rachel is back in town for the holidays visiting family, so we scheduled a little shindig at a local hangout called Cafe Acoustic. The show will actually NOT be acoustic, but...ah well :) We picked this venue because it's a place Rachel and I used to go and jam together before we were a "band", and also because it's been so long since we played as a group, we wanted to keep the show low-key, with lots of friends, family, and old-school fans.

This will be my first show with the band since I officially became a mommy! Rachel moved to Eugene, OR last spring when I was still pregnant with Evie. It was OK timing actually, because I was getting big and feeling slightly weird hanging out in bars, plus it was getting progressively more and more dificult to stay up late enough to play (concerts usually don't begin until at LEAST 10PM, and my pregnant bedtime was like 8). Plus it's tricky playing a guitar when your stomach is sticking way out. Although I've seen some men who've been quite successful at making it work :)

I am SO excited about tonight! Mostly because I miss my bandmates and the way it feels to collaborate, but also I'd be lying if I didn't also say that I miss the stage. I love singing and performing, and I miss the way it feels to have the lights on you and everyone watching. Or to look out and see people in the audience singing along to the words I wrote. Awesome. Plus, I don't think I've had a single night out with friends (besides my husband) since Evie was born, so this will be a really nice way for me to get some friend time in too.

Now for the most important question: what do I wear???? Taking a half-day at work today, so I should have some time to figure it out, then we're having an afternoon practice, and the show at 10. I can't wait!

PS: I'll post show pics and maybe even some vid from the show tomorrow. Promise.

The Best Christmas Ever of All Time :)

Folks, I have to say--this was the most magical Christmas I've had since I was a little kid. We didn't do anything fancy or give/receive the finest gifts imaginable. But we were a little tiny family--me, Scotti, and Evie-- and that was gift enough for me.

I remember the magic of the holidays as a kid--going to see Santa at the mall, making a wish list, hoping (and praying) that I would get that ONE amazing Barbie/Strawberry Shortcake Doll/Cabbage Patch Kid I had asked for. Listening to Christmas records on my mom and dad's huge record player console thing while the scent of my mother baking warm sugar cookies drifted down the hall. Helping my mom decorate the tree, helping my dad put small pieces of wood into our fireplace, attempting to crack chestnuts and walnuts. Going to church for the Christmas service, singing carols with my sisters, going over to my Grammies for Christmas Eve, eating a yummy Christmas dinner with my family. Waking up crazy-early on Christmas to open our gifts, and the excitement I felt. My dad reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" to us and doing silly voices. Seeing all the lights and the sights and smelling all those amazing Christmas smells--turkey, cookies, pie, cinnamon, candy canes, the fire in the fireplace, the pine tree--all blending together to create a beautiful scent that could make a grown man cry.

But as time went on, I got older (shocker), and the magic of Christmas really took a dive. Our "teenage" Christmas lists became pretty specific: "I want the blue and yellow hoodie from PacSun in a size Medium. It is $44, but is on sale the weekend before Christmas for $35" etc. We thought we were too cool for our parents and that Christmas was about putting up with embarrassing family events, being dragged to church, and receiving a few gifts that may or may not be the right thing.

While the approach to Christmas became less selfish as I got into my twenties, the magic still felt like it was gone for good. But I tell you, this year it was back. Having Everleigh made me feel so connected again with all the fun and beautiful traditions from my childhood, and even though she was too little this year to know what was going on most of the time, it still felt so special.

We spent Christmas Eve with Scott's family, which was lovely, and then after spending some time Christmas morning at the house (opening gifts, relaxing, taking pictures of Evie), we headed out to my familie's Christmas dinner (where I was responsible for cooking a 26 lb turkey!). I had so much fun just being with my family, and seeing my daughter interact with my sisters. It really did my heart good.

Later that night at home, a sense of ultimate contentment settled in, as Ev drifted off to sleep and my husband and I cuddled on the couch by the glow of the Christmas tree lights.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas Lawrence Welk Style

Image by WelkMusicalFamily
This weekend, Everleigh and I found ourselves with nothing but time and a 1985 Christmas reunion of the Lawrence Welk Show on PBS.

For those of you not familiar with the show, it was a super creepy good-ol' fashion fun kind of song-and-dance performance show in the 1950's, 60's, and 70's. It mostly reminds me of my early childhood church experiences, but it's fun to watch primarily for the hair, makeup, and outfit choices.

Well, Miss Evie and I seized the opportunity to hone our kitchen dancing skills. She really makes a heck of a partner :)

By the way--her favorite Christmas song so far? Deck the Halls. Why? I really think it's because she LOVEs watching people's mouths do the "fa-la-la" shapes. It always makes her smile.

On that note, I hope you're all having fun prepping for the big day and still taking time out to dance in your kitchen once in awhile!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Everleigh's New Trick

Guess whose 6 month old baby plays the kazoo?


Her papa taught her how it works, and now she loves it :)

She especially loves playing along while daddy plays the guitar. She's not quite in tune yet, but I'm pretty sure it will come with time.

I just had to share her new bizarre baby trick with you all. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Wish List

Lately I've been searching high and low for some special gifts for little Miss Everleigh's very first Christmas! Here's my Etsy wish list:
Personlized Organic Sapling Stacker by littlesaplingstoys' shop

Adorable Build Your Own Coat for baby  by theonnutmegotree's shop

Amazing paper doll set by one of my favs, theblackapple

Wooden Guitar Teether by littlesaplingtoys' shop 

Vintage Wind-Up Bath Toys by ChelsO89
And for Mama:

Perfect 50's party dress by Thrush
Pretty vintage train case sold by jherrmann

Beautiful locket by FreshyFig

Summer Breeze paper poms for Evie's room by PartyPoms

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Case of the Mondays

Two Monday's ago, my little fam took our first mini-baby-road-trip (only 2 and a half hours away) to a small town in southern MO so mama could work. While I knew from the onset that this would likely NOT be the most amazing, exotic vacay of all time, I also had high hopes that it would be a fun little family get-away.

Miss Everleigh Harper was an absolute doll in the car, which was a blessing since she usually hates car rides, and that's about where the good time ended. It started pouring rain--like the heavens opened and dumped the motherload-- kind of rain. We had to pull over at one point cause we couldn't see and there were semi's all over the road. Ev thought it was neat.

So I got to my work site late (a small University campus), while daddy and Evie hit the hotel room. I was trying to shake off the rough start and get into the groove of my event, when I discovered one of my "patients" (an actor) for the event was sick in real life and wouldn't be able to work. This happens sometimes, but not usually when we're out of town. So I was scrambling. Also, Ev was scared by her new environment and lack of ME, and was crying and basically had to be walked in circles around the small hotel room to stay calm. So if I could get the chance to get away and pop in at the hotel, that would be great...

On my way back to the work site, I apparently left my car in neutral, and it started slowly rolling down the parking lot as I crossed the street. The lunch sandwich I got had some weird sauce on it (sweet and sour on roast beef?) and tasted terrible. My cell phone started dying and I realized I had forgotten the charger at home. It was one of THOSE days.

But you know what? I still had fun swimming in the hotel pool with my little girly and tickling her on the bed, bathing her in the tub and snuggling her to sleep.

And I realized how absolutely happy I am to be a mom. Without her, my trip would have been an absolute bust, but instead it was a mostly-bad but also kind of special time.

It also made me really excited about quitting my job, and starting in a new position IN MY FIELD!!! I received an offer the day before Thanksgiving to go work for a behavioral health facility in town, where I will start as a case manager while I work on my licence, with the opportunity to become a full-fledged therapist there within a year or so. This is so awesome, because it's really my passion to work in a thrapeutic setting and I'm so happy to be getting one step closer to my career goals. Next step? Finish my Play Therapy Certification, get my LPC licence, start a private practice, become a consultant, teach at a University, write a book, have more time to spend with my family while making bank. A girl can dream right?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dear Everleigh (6 Months!)

Dear Everleigh,

This month you learned to say "Mum", and even though I'm not exactly sure you know what it means or how to use it properly, it warms my heart every time I hear it. Why "Mum"? Ever since you were born, you seemed really British (weird, I know) fact, when I got my first look at you, I may have even said something to the effect of, "she looks like a British guy". But a beautiful, feminine British guy ;) Plus, you seemed especially fascinated with the British flag hanging in the little shop, Brits, we visited in Lawrence KS. ANYWAYS, all that to say, the "Mum" vs. "Mom" thing wasn't a huge surprise. I'm half hoping you'll end up with a British accent, although I'm pretty sure that's not the way it works.

This month  you also started saying "Da-da" and "a-boo" (for peek-a-boo). You are quite the talker missy. You love to talk and you love people. This is kind of great but poses the need for a lot of "stranger danger" talks later.

You just keep getting more and more lovable and kissable by the day. This month, you started trying your first foods, and you are so curious. So far, you've pretty much loved every kind of food you've tried (you get this from "mum"), and you even try to steal other people's food when they look away--pizza, turkey sandwiches, chips, nothing is off limits for you in your mind.

You went swimming for the first time this week and  got so excited about the splash-factor, that you were pounding the water with both hands and kicking at the same time. You splashed with such purpose and commitment, that you also splashed water in your own face. This didn't slow you down one just blinked and kept on splashing! I think I've mentioned this before, but you seem very tough and your shoulders look really buff, which was pretty adorable and also a little weird in your baby swimsuit--you looked like a little baby gymnast.

Also, your papa had an old band mate in town for a visit--a lead guitar player, so you got to hear lots of music this week and you loved it! You seem especially fond of guitar solos, so maybe you'll be a little rocker. When I was about 39 weeks pregnant with you, your papa and I were watching a Stevie Ray Vaughan concert on PBS, and every time a big guitar solo came on, you danced your little bootie off. Then when it switched back to vocals, you stopped. This happened several times and was pretty fun to watch. While I've never been a huge Stevie Ray fan, I understand that you go way back :) Then last night, you were having trouble sleeping, and daddy took you downstairs and turned on the TV. You sat and watched an Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughan guitar jam special, and according to papa, you stared at the screen, captivated. Then, after the special was over, you fell right to sleep to have musical baby dreams.

In case you can't tell, I think you're the cats pajamas. You have so many fun and interesting personality traits already--I'm so excited to see how you change this next month.



Wednesday, November 24, 2010


My stepdaughter, T. Photo by Jennifer Flanagan of Image Market Photography
 I have to admit, before I met my husband Scott, I never pictured myself being a step-parent. I envisioned finding the man of my dreams, falling in love, starting a family, being super awesome ;), but never factored in the whole "what if Mr.Right already has a kid?" thing.

So when I found out the guy I was falling for had a 12 year old daughter, I must confess, I freaked out a little. This wasn't part of the plan. What if she doesn't like me? What if she's mean to me? What if I meet her, fall in love with her, and then it doesn't work out between me and her dad? What if it's too weird that I'm only 10 years older than her? (my husband is 12 years older than me, which put my age right in the middle)The what-if's piled high.

I remember the first time I met T, I was super nervous--it was like being on an awkward first date. It was a pretty big deal for me. My palms were sweaty. I actually still remember what I was wearing.  We met up at a local art gallery where T and her dad were taking part in a parent/child art exhibit (PS: both of them are awesome artists!).

And the thing is, as scary as the whole thing seemed at first, once I got to know her, I realized how lucky I was. She was (and is) really genuine, interesting, mature, smart as all get out, and hipper than I can keep up with.

My relationship with her was never really a mother/child thing, so we avoided all the drama of "you're not my real mom" and so on. Instead, it felt more like a kid sister relationship. In fact, she was actually born the exact same year as my little sister who passed away as a baby (see the post I Get It). As such, I could offer more candid advice about things like clothes, boys, friends, music. While I didn't pretend to know what it was like to be a pre-teen right then, it wasn't so far away that I couldn't remember.

The times we spent together, we formed a fun, if somewhat clunky, little family. When the three of us would go out, I think people were slightly confused about why a 34 year old, a 22 year old, and a 12 year old were all hanging out. But it worked perfectly.

When her dad and I got married 2 years ago, we had a very small wedding in Jamaica with T, my parents and sisters, and my best friend. T did us the honors of taking our wedding pictures and also serving as best man and maid of honor. By marrying her dad, I truly felt like I was also marrying her in a way--shrugging off my single status and becoming a wife and step-mom all in one day.

T's photo of me and her dad on our wedding day in Jamaica. Yes, we're really in the ocean and yes, she is a really talented photographer!
And now, she's all grown up. 18 years old and more beautiful than ever. I hope that as time goes on, we are able to become even closer, to speak more candidly, to truly be friends. I realize that as a step-mom, I probably didn't do everything right. There were likely times when I just wasn't grown up enough to handle it all (what 22 year old IS ready to take on a new relationship AND a preteen at the same time?). But I'm so glad I didn't let my preconceived notion of family get in the way, or else I may have never found this amazing girl who I'm proud to know and call daughter.

Photo by Image Market Photography

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Grow Baby, Grow!

It seems like Everleigh is growing so fast these days! I swear, if I turn away for a minute she's bigger, taller, stronger, more aware. I'm now starting to have panicky feelings about her getting into EVERYTHING in the house, since she's a super curious little thing and is (at less than 6 months old) already a hair away from crawling.

Now every time I eat something, she tries to wrestle it away from me...except I don't think babies should eat tuna wraps with kettle chips. Or grilled chicken salad. Sorry kiddo, milk it is. We've actually started experimenting with a little baby food too and I have to say, this little lady loves her food. She likes the taste but doesn't eat much of anything. So far she's really digging yams, banana-strawberry, peaches, and some kind of chicken&veggie combo. But the quantity she eats is so small, she's still nursing at every meal. And sometimes throughout the night too. I've actually started getting used to feeling her 3 or 4 times at night, and it doesn't bother me that much any more. Thank God for breastfeeding.

On an entirely different note: I've decided to commit to growing my hair out again. There was a time in college where my hair was long and really pretty and I spent WAY too much time on it to ever admit publicly. Then any time I went through a life change or just simply got bored, I would chop my hair or dye it dark brown. While both of those things look awesome on others, neither ever looked good on me. Once in high school, I cut all my hair off because my boyfriend at the time loved girls with short hair and talked about it constantly. I surprised him with the big cut the night he planned to break up with me. I firmly believe the 2 were unrelated, but that was a huge slap in the face. After that I promised myself to never change my hair for anyone but myself.

When I found out I was pregnant with Evie, I thought (amongst other thoughts) that this would be a great opportunity to grow my hair out long again! Except my pregnant hair didn't really grow long-ways. It just got thicker and thicker and thicker until it was crazy big and hovered at about the same length. Boo. Sick to death of the sheer quantity of hair I had going on, I made a hormonal decision to chop it the week before Ev was due. This was probably also a mistake. When you're already huge and puffy and feel like crap, cutting off your hair is likely not the way to increase your self-esteem.

So now that Ev is almost 6 months old (I can't believe it!), and I've gone through the whole post-baby hair loss thing where you get a handful in the shower every now and then, I'm thinking now is the time :) I would really love to have a weird hipster cut like this
but we'll see. In the meantime, all I can say is grow baby grow.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Where My Ladies At?

An older pic of me and my bud/bandmate Rachel
If you are reading this and you are also a mom, you can probably relate to the fact that once your little bundle arrives, your social life takes a bit of a dive. And rightly so--I mean, you are now "MOTHER", giver of life, feeder of baby, wiper of poop, picker upper of fallen binkies. Who needs all that fun and companionship anyways?

Let me tell you: I do. And you probably do too ;) Except it's tough to do when most of your close friends don't have babies, or they can't understand why you can't make happy hour or go see that concert and be out until 3AM. Sure, I'll leave my baby with---oh, right. No one. Or else your awesome baby-friendly friends all live in another city or even another state. Long-distance friendships? Yes. Long-distance babysitters? Not so much.

I may or may not have mentioned it before, but my husband is an artist, and he watches Evie 3 days during the week while I work. The other 2 days he attends school and tries to find time to get some creative work done. Because of this, he often waits until I'm home, and she falls asleep at night (around 7:30PM), then heads back out into the night to his painting studio to work--sometimes until 3 or 4AM. On nights like that, I applaud his drive and creativity. Lord knows, once I'm in my comfy pants, you'd have to pay me good money to leave my warm snuggly living room. I know it's not easy to feel inspired and wait all day to act on it. Someday, it will be fun to include Everleigh in our creative activities, to teach her how to play guitar or show her how to paint; but for now, get her within 3 feet of a paint brush and she will figure out a way to get it in her mouth. So painting waits for the evenings.

What this also means is that after I get off work, I'm on full time mom duty as soon as I walk through the door, then I'm essentially in for the night. Don't get me wrong--I'm happy about this most nights. I miss my daughter while I'm working and usually can't wait to be with her. Then, once she's asleep, and Scott's gone to paint, I'm left with a deathly quiet house and a sleeping baby. In the past, I've used that time primarily to catch up on sleep (Ev still doesn't sleep through the night, and pretty much treats 3AM-6AM as her late-night all -baby- can- eat buffet). So picture me--the coolest girl of all time (j/k) passing out at 8PM. Work, baby, sleep, repeat.

That worked for me for awhile, until I realized that WAIT. This is my life I'm talking about here. What about friendship? What about my music? What about all the stuff I want to do? What about the stuff I don't want to do but should (aka, cleaning out my closet)?

So lately I've been trying to embrace that evening quiet time--with a cup of yummy hot tea and a piece of dark chocolate, a chance to work on my homemade dolls for Everleigh, an opportunity to do some yoga (I've missed you!), or a moment to enjoy a long, uninterrupted conversation with an old friend.

This has been the greatest gift I've given myself in a long time. Last night, I used my time to have a really long chat with an old friend. It was one of those conversations where you talk long enough to get past some of the introductory "catching up" stuff, and can delve a little deeper into what's really been on your mind, what you're hoping to do, who you're hoping to become, etc. It felt so good to connect with another girl. I love my husband, and I consider him to be my best friend, but there are some things that women simply understand better. Plus when he and I talk these days, there's often a huge portion dedicated to plans--"so--I'm dropping the baby off at Jen's, then coming home and you're going to take the car to school while I work?" or baby stuff, "Did she poop yet today? How long did she nap? How long ago did you give her Tylenol?" etc. These things need to be discussed, plus I'm a bit of an obsessive planner. It's an anxiety thing. These conversations are often instigated by me, much to my husband's dismay.

But you get what I'm saying. Even if we have the best chat of all time, sometimes a girl needs her girls.

I've been lucky to have met so many really incredible women in my life, who are different from me in so many ways, have big dreams, and are super inspiring. I didn't even realize how much I had missed that connection until it was reintroduced to me via an 8:30PM phone call last night :)

So--I've decided to make friendship a bigger focus in my life, even if it means getting a little less sleep some nights. Being in the company of other women challenges me to be open-minded, to be myself, to be better. And who couldn't use a little more of that?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sorry I've Been Away!

Stop the madness!

 This week Everleigh had her first minor baby illnesses PLUS her first baby tumbles. It's been a tough week on baby, mommy and daddy.

I got sick to my stomach big time on Monday about 3AM and puked up all the pizza I had eaten on the bathroom floor, then cried, then started cleaning it all up. Ick. The cleanup process also required a shower since I somehow managed to get it in my bangs, up my nose, down my shirt, you get the point. I've always been a wimp about puking, but you know what? In spite of all the bad ways I was feeling, my primary thought was, "I hope I can get this (and myself) cleaned up before Evie needs me! What if she starts crying and I'm all pukey?" etc. Babies really have a way of muting the selfishness in us all, and if you know me, you know that's saying a lot ;)

So by the time I was clean and the bathroom was clean and I got back to bed, fed Miss E, and so on, it was about an hour before her insanely early wake-up time. Happy Monday! Plus I had a job interview Monday--which could potentially be really great news. More on that later though. And guess what? On my way in to the interview, I locked my keys in my car. That's right. And saw myself doing it as it happened. Luckily, the security guys seemed bored and mildly attracted to me enough to come to my rescue! Did you know it's actually kind painfully easy to break into a car? Gulp.

Within the last week, Everleigh has now taken TWO spills. Her first two ever. I think she's figuring out how to squirm her way around better so look out! The first one--she was in bed with me and her papa in the early early morning and I got up to brush my teeth and try to wake myself up. She was in the middle of the bed right next to Scott. I looked over, she was fine. I looked back and she was on the floor on all fours. She cried a little and scared the crap out of me, but she seemed to be perfectly fine with no scratches, bruises, or bumps. It seriously looked like she landed like a cat. Terrible but at least she was alright. Then later this week, I came home from work to hear that she had taken another tumble. She was on the couch next to daddy, he stood up and at the exact same time, she rolled off the edge and bumped her head on the carpet. Not good. Again, she seemed perfectly OK and was laughing again in minutes. I hate to admit all this, really. We always try to look out for her safety and never leave her unattended. She's just getting too curious and too strong without the coordination part yet. So, we have had to set some new rules for ourselves about where to set her down, looking away for even a second, and so on to ensure this doesn't happen again. :( Poor kid.

OK, enough grouching. I just wanted to give you a feel for what my week has been like. After I got sick, Evie got sick with diarrhea, which seamlessly transitioned into a full blown cold. I took 2 days off work to be with my little sicky poo and worked way more at home than I ever do at work. Stay at home moms--a tip of my hat.

I even had to bring her in to my office a couple times this week, which I was worried about, but she was just glad for a change of pace so she fit right in.

Now I have to crank out a 4 page paper by midnight for my Play Therapy certification, attend an online class tomorrow morning, prep for my second job interview Monday,and maybe just maybe try to get a little sleep somewhere in there. For now, I'm nursing my pumpkin spice latte and hoping my eye makeup is convincing enough to suggest that I'm not sleepwalking :)

What this week has taught me:
*babies are really cute when they sneeze
*it's super sad to see a baby feeling under the weather
*when babies fall short distances onto carpet, they are usually OK, but it will make you feel a guilt you've never known
*being a mom is hard. being a puking mom is harder
*trying to relax and interview for a job when you've been up all night and you're stomach hurts and you're worried about your baby and your car that you just locked the keys in is not easy
*somehow you make it through and things are OK, and life keeps going
*having a baby has made my life a million times more complicated and a million times more rewarding

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dear Everleigh (5 Months!)

Well, Miss Everleigh you've done it again. A whole month older and somehow years wiser :) You are now 5 months old and prettier every day. Here's what you've been up to:

This month you've gotten way into standing with help from mom or dad or in your exersaucer and shaking it or trying to walk (with lots of help). You still haven't completely mastered crawling but you're almost like, "crawling is for babies". You want to walk!

Your personality is coming through more all the time and I'm sorry to say I believe you've inherited a bit of your papa's lack of patience. You're super awesome most of the time, but when you want something, you pretty much want it yesterday. You hate being on your back unless you're sleepy, so you're still not very pleased with your car seat, bouncer,  or swing. After spending anymore than 30 seconds in one of the aforementioned items, you start arching your back trying to free yourself from the straps and make a break for it. But when we put you in your exersaucer for the first time and you realized that you were standing upright and had all kinds of gadgets to play with, you were in heaven. I mean, your face just lit up like a Christmas tree.

When I'm nursing you, I've discovered that you do NOT want me to also be watching TV or having a conversation with your papa or eating or really anything other than staring at you. The other night, your dad and I were trying to catch up on each others' days while I fed you and you seriously pulled yourself back, looked at us both, and put your hand in the air as if you say, "Do you people MIND? I'm trying to eat here!"

When you're mad now instead of crying, you've taken to lecturing us in your baby language--"ga nah na naaaaa!" which is pretty funny. Also, you've realized that you can make your voice really loud and that when you do this, people stop what they're doing and look at you. You're a big fan of this.

Basically I just love you more every day, even when I'm tired or frustrated or any of the ways new mommies feel. In those moments, I just think about your smile, your little personality, and all the ways you've completely transformed my life for the better and my crankiness evaporates.

Thank you for teaching me the true meaning of love. You have my heart little e.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Now this is the story all about how....

Now for something less deep, and I mean a lot less.

I've had the Fresh Prince of Bel-air theme song stuck in my head all morning ("In West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where I spent most of my days..." Come on. you know you know it). I'd really like to make the bad man stop so I'm searching for new tunes while also trying to work on contracts for my job. Have I mentioned before that I pretty much suck at multi-tasking and yet I still keep trying?

What else, what else. This past weekend I took Everleigh trick or treating with my big sis and her 5 year old Batman. This was a bit of a last minute decision, and it was super cold here in old Missouri that night, so I put her in her Halloween onesie with the orange tutu, a giant rediculous hairbow, and her warmest snuggliest coat. And for good measure I painted her face like a kitty. Except then she got hungry and wanted to nurse and it all rubbed off on my boobs. Good times. Regardless, we had fun and she seemed to enjoy looking at all the other kiddos. People were so happy to open their doors and see her little mug staring back :) Win-win.

Right now my old band, Alice is trying to get a holiday show together because Rachel's coming back from Eugene, OR for Christmas. The thought of getting back on stage and jamming with my buds makes me so happy it's silly. I hope it works out. I can't wait until Evie is older and she can come see us play at outdoor shows and stuff. I wonder what she'll look like? I wonder what kind of music I'll be making then? I wonder a lot of things! My hubby and I are currently working on a duo project that's a bit alt-country lo-fi called Moonhead. We've been sort of working on it for a long time, but would like to get it together and put some songs out there for people to enjoy. More to come on that!

Just had to cleanse my palet from yesterday's heavy post and let you all in on some of the light aspects of my life! PS: Everleigh Halloween pics to follow later today.

Hope everyone's having a smashing little Wednesday!

Monday, November 1, 2010

What DO I Believe? And Other Great Questions

First things first-throughout the course of my childhood and teen involvement in church and religious schools, I have developed close friendships with people from a variety of belief systems. This post is in no way meant to be hurtful OR to arouse a gang of "I'll pray for you"'s or whatever. These are just my random thoughts about my personal journey with religion and spirituality. Here goes nothing:

This morning I was not all that surprised to find an email in my inbox requesting that I participate in some grad student's research survey about religion, spirituality, and personal beliefs. Since I'm still on my counseling grad program's mailing list, I often receive these types of requests and usually go ahead and complete them in the name of research and helping a poor student out. But only if they seem interesting or I am really bored. Today was a combination of the two.

The survey stated that it was a study of the personality traits of non-religious people, and it was looking for both subjects who consider themselves to be religious and non-religious. I had to do it.

The thing is that I got way more than I bargained for, because in order to explain what you believe to someone, you kind of have to know for yourself. I've talked in previous posts about my background and childhood, so those of you who already know me probably know a bit about it and those of you who only know me via the blog can read some old posts to catch up (try "Hippie Friends", "That Time I Got In-School Suspension", or "Reality TV" for starters). In short, I grew up in an environment that was completely filled to the brim with Southern Baptist beliefs and practices. We didn't just go to church on Sunday. We went to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday nights, etc. I was home-schooled for many years with textbooks about creationism/Christian "science" and Christian history. Then I went on to attend the strictest religious school around for several years, graduated from a Baptist high school, and spent my first year of college at a private Christian university. All of my friends, family, and schoolmates were Christians. I only came across "sinners" at the store, at jobs (once I hit 16), etc. ;) I was on the Bible quiz team for several years, played in the church orchestra, sang in all the choirs, volunteered for AWANA's and vacation Bible school. My life was pretty much all church all the time.

I really never doubted my beliefs, because it was what I had been told since I was born, and what had been reinforced from every conceivable angle throughout my life. I would no sooner doubt Christianity than I would doubt that my parents were indeed my biological parents. It was all I knew. Upon entering college however, I knew I was ready to finally meet some people from other backgrounds and cultures, to learn about evolution (gasp!) and study other belief systems. To do that, I left my bubble and enrolled in a public university. I had never seen so many people from so many different walks of life--gay, lesbian, straight, black, white, mixed, Muslim, atheist, Catholic, Republicans AND Democrats--Oh my!

I fell in love with diversity and culture. I wanted to pick everyone's brain about their beliefs, way of life, understanding of self, relationships, everything. I was hungry for it. After lots of long conversations with people from other backgrounds, I started moving further and further away from the principles and beliefs of my youth and started developing my own understanding about spirituality and what it means to me.

At some point, I kind of came to the conclusion that formal religion really wasn't for me. I never felt a connection to myself, nature, and other people like I felt just sitting quietly staring at the ocean or lying on my back on a warm summer night staring at the stars. I knew there was a connectedness and a feeling inside me that I call my spirit. But God? Jesus? the whole heaven vs. hell deal? I really started feeling more like those things were an interesting way to conceptualize our journey through life and little more. There--I've said it. I'm an agnostic.

Anyways, sorry for the rant. Back to my original thoughts--so when I got this survey this morning, I jumped right in. One of the first questions asked me to write out what I believe happens when you die--what happens to your body (or spirit if you believe in that) while you're dying and after you're dead. Wow. Since going it alone, I had never been asked to put pen to paper and actually DEFINE what I believe. It was kind of difficult and made me think a whole bunch...what DO I believe? I mean for real. I recognized that I had kind of constructed 2 scenarios--1)what I found to be the most comforting and therefore what I wanted to believe in, and 2) what I really truly could look into the mirror and tell myself.

Does this make me confused? I'm gonna go ahead and say "yes". The weird part is that I didn't even really know that I didn't know until today. Time to start thinking, reading, and listening to my heart.

If anyone has good suggestions for books or articles on the topic, please recommend them to me!Let the exploration begin...
**picture by

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Columbia, The Zoo, and Farewell to My Phone

Made a mini road trip yesterday with Everleigh and her gramps to Columbia for a work thing. They played and shopped while I learned about integrating simulation into standardized patient work. I kinda wish I had gotten to play too.

Dad said he put a blanket down outside and let Ev show off her amazing rolling abilities in the grass. He said once she discovered the scent and texture of the fresh grass under her, she was smitten. It occurred to me that since we live in the city in our loft-ish townhouse, she doesn't get a lot of grass-play. We must correct this. On the way home we stopped at McDonalds to use the restrooms and I dropped my cell phone RIGHT into the toilet. It was in my well-intentioned sweater pocket and it didn't stand a chance. Maybe this is the sign I was looking for to buy an iPhone?

In other news: Sunday our little family made our first zoo trip! Everleigh seemed more interested in the other kids there than the animals, but Scott was super adorably excited to see the new polar bear. We rode the carousel with Ev on a little beetle bug and saw some pretty awesome tantrums. One little boy sporting a teddy bear backpack with a parental leash attachment threw himself on the ground, belly first to avoid leaving the slides. I laughed and thought--classic move! Everleigh--please don't do that stuff, k? But if you do, I hope I can have as good of a sense of humor about it as I do now!

Then on the carousel ride, a few young kids threw their hands in the air and yelled, "free the leashed kids!", which I thought was super awesome and funny. Protesters in the making folks.

That's about it! Zoo pics to come later today.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pump It

I'm just gonna go right out and say it: pumping kind of sucks. I don't know if this makes me more or less of a dynamic pro-breastfeeding mama, but I can't help how I feel. I don't know if it's the fact that you're hooking a machine up to your chest, the industrial sounds it makes (my husband compares it to a really loud coffee maker), or maybe actually seeing said milk in all its glory that weirds me out the most.

The thing about breastfeeding is that I ALWAYS saw myself doing it. I never really questioned whether or not I would. My mom breastfed me and all my sisters, and I guess I just grew up seeing it and thinking that's how you feed babies. Plus, I am kind of poor ;) so free sounded better than not-free.

But the whole time I was pregnant, whenever I would think about milk actually being manufactured by my body and coming out of my breasts, it kind of blew my mind. Jigga-WHAT? I read a book on the subject, but when it got into all the medical diagrams and whatnot, my ADD kicked in and I tuned out. What I got was, "my body magically produces milk and the baby drinks it and we all win". I even took a class on breastfeeding while I was pregnant in order to prepare myself. Here's what I came away with "I am doing the best thing for my baby. Breastfeeding is awesome." Along with a little bit of "take your breast out, put the baby on it. Go!"

Needless to say, my first 2 weeks of trying with an actual baby were interesting. I cried a lot. Everleigh cried a lot. My nipples cracked and bled a little. Then a layer basically came off, leaving behind super pink, tough-cookie nipples. I got my milk in and figured out how the heck to do it right, and Everleigh put up with my punk ass until I got it together.

It's been awesome ever since.

But something cool about breastfeeding that's not so cool about pumping is that when you breastfeed, you don't typically see the milk much, you know? It goes directly from you to baby and unless baby is a messy eater, it's a fairly clean transfer. With pumping, everything's staring right at you. You see your nipples going into the suction things and getting all puffy and weird. Then you see individual drops of milk coming out, dripping down into the bottles, etc. Then when you finish, you're holding two CLEAR containers of breast milk.

I feel like this should not give me the willies but it does sometimes.

I was thinking about this the other day as I pumped, and I really think it's a societal norm issue. I mean, I have a whole gallon of cow's milk in my fridge in a clear container and I've never once thought it was weird. And yet, holding a warm freshly pumped bottle of my own milk still seems a little strange. I MADE that. I made that baby and then I made this milk to feed it.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dear Everleigh (4 months!)

Dear Everleigh,

You're 4 months old now (this post is actually a little late, but I'm sure you won't mind). I don't know how this happened, except that we just kept on loving you and feeding you and giving you baths and dressing you and putting you to bed and somehow you got bigger and bigger :) The time is going by so fast, and sometimes I just want to put the brakes on so I can enjoy your sweet babyness a little longer. Other times I cannot wait until you're a little bigger and we can do more fun things together. We have so many adventures ahead of us!

Here's what you're doing now so I don't forget: this month you learned how to roll over from your back to your tummy and now that's all you want to do. On the couch--roll over. On your playmat--roll over. In your crib--roll over. When I'm trying to change your poopy diaper--roll over. Sometimes it's not as good an idea as other times. Regardless, I'm so proud of you for how hard you try! Right now you can roll over and push yourself up, but you can't hold yourself up for too long so eventually your face goes splat! down into the couch/playmat/crib/diaper changer and then you cry because dang it if you didn't just want to be able to hold your head up a little bit longer.

You're becoming quite the character too. Ever since you were teeny tiny you haven't been very big on sitting still. You want to get around, but since you can't do it yet for yourself, someone else is expected to do it for you :). And you don't just like being held. You like being held and walked--and not in place either because you know the difference. But I don't even mind. I'll pace the floors with you over and over because I know I'm so absolutely lucky to have you in my life. Plus carrying you is a good workout for my arms (which frankly need all the help they can get).

You are what your papa and I refer to as a "tough customer". You know how to laugh, but you reserve laughter for only the funniest of the funnies. You want us to work for it :) which I think is kind of great. Your dad makes you laugh better than anyone by shaking his head around and acting like a crazy person. You seem really into crazy humor.

You are also a super snuggler when you're sleepy. I fall asleep most nights cuddling with you and I just can't help it. When I lay down beside you, you always scoot in for the cuddle and I can feel your little baby breath on my face. You look most like your papa when you sleep and I love him even more for that. You have big things ahead of you kid so rest up! I can't wait to see what you'll do next.



Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Get It

In adjusting to my new role as mom, I've felt an overwhelming sense of appreciation for my own mother and everything she did for me and my sisters growing up. It's a bit sappy, but I just felt compelled to reflect on the some of the ways motherhood has changed my own perspective of my mom.

As a child growing up, mom was always there. Mostly. Except when she wasn't. See, she somehow managed to work full time as an RN, raise 4 daughters, and also serve as a nurse in the army reserves. This was quite the balancing act I'm sure. When I was 8 (and my sisters were 9, 6, and 4 respectively), my mother was called to active duty and sent to Saudi Arabia. She was gone for about 8 months total, which for a child is pretty much forever. My parents explained to us the best they could about WHY mommy had to leave and so on, but still--it was tough. My dad became responsible for a number of things I'm sure he never anticipated: picking out our outfits, fixing our hair, buying my big sister her first training bra. He also worked full time and was taking night classes to get his MBA, so we spent a lot of time with grandma and grandpa, aunts and uncles, and my parent's friends.

I'm not going to lie--we all felt a little abandoned. I cannot imagine the tears my mom cried over the whole thing or way my dad must have felt. It burned a lasting feeling into all of us that people we love can go away. Upon my mom's return, I remember her crying about how much we'd all changed--we were so tall!, my youngest sister was in glasses now, etc. This was before the days of Skype. We literally had not seen our mother in months. We had very few opportunities to talk to her. Looking back, we probably made her feel worse when she got back the way kids do sometimes, by giving her the cold shoulder or bringing it up a lot. I'm sorry mom.

The year she got back, she also had a surprise pregnancy! Our whole family was super excited (especially when we learned it was another girl!). I have a hard time remembering my mom being pregnant and I'm not sure why. Maybe I was too into my own stuff at the time? Maybe she did such an awesome job of keeping up with us and the house and her job that it never occurred to me that she would need more sleep, less stress, and more help while pregnant. Or maybe it's because every picture of that pregnancy has probably been thrown away or tucked away in a secret box somewhere. Who knows.

My youngest sister, Johnna Suzanne was born in February 1992. When my mom went into labor, my sisters and I were sent off to grandma's in our jammies, knowing by the time we woke up we'd be big sisters! Something didn't go right. Time stretched on. We heard hushed phone calls between my grandma and parents. We weren't told anything. Finally, grandma let us know that our sister had been born but she had some complications and that later on my dad would come get us.

My dad explained to us that Johnna had a heart problem (which I now know was a pretty rare condition called Tetralogy of Fallot) and that she had been transferred to a special hospital for children. We couldn't hold her because she was in the NICU. It was scary and sad. Eventually, she was sent home with us and my parents were told that she would likely not live long. She lived 2 weeks and died in my parents' arms at the hospital after struggling to breathe. We were at school and never got to really say goodbye. Later reports surfaced that many men and women who served in Desert Storm went on to have children with a variety of birth deffects, including a higher than normal rate of Tetralogy of Fallot, which served as an additional painful blow.

After that, my mom was never the same. I can't begin to speculate on how she felt. I can only say that I now understand the fear and grief I feel at the mere thought of losing my child. I understand the joys (and struggles) of pregnancy and childbirth. The absolute love you feel for your child when she's born and the physical exhaustion and hormonal high that follows.

I understand why you might burn the candle at both ends so you can spend time with your children while also trying to make more money to hopefully give them a better life. I understand the pain of leaving your child to go to work--the worries that something will happen to them when you're not there, the guilt in knowing they'll miss you. I can better understand why you might occasionally snap when your child is kicking your seat and you've asked them to stop and you've only had 3 hours of sleep and you know you'll only get 3 hours again tonight. I understand that all the trips to the zoo and the amusement park, the camping adventures and road trips were for US. That my parents probably worked all year and saved money to try and do nice things for us (Mom, I'm sorry for all the backseat fighting and the "she's touching me"s and the "are we there yet"s). I understabd that the fear of not having enough for your child can drive you to do just about anything, including going to Saudi Arabia to live in a giant tent and take 2 minute showers every other day and miss your kids and your husband like crazy.

I get it now, Mom. And I want you to know that while I didn't always agree 100% with your choices, I now understand. Thank you for giving me the greatest gift you could have ever given me--I can only hope to be as strong, gracious, and loving a mother as you.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stuff I Love

Baby vintage! From heartandsew...

A fashionable diaper bag by Petunia Pickle Bottom....

Baby leg warmers by Crawler Covers....

Everything by Emily Martin of theblackapple....

and baby slippers from Wooly Baby...


Art Baby

Little miss E has gotten a taste of what the city has to offer her and is now painfully bored at home. So papa and I decided to take her out for a little night on the town and went to First Fridays in the Crossroads. For those of you non-Kansas Citiers (City-ites? not sure), First Fridays is pretty amazing. It began several years back when some of the artists of the city bought some worse- for -wear property in the downtown and started making art and creating their own little pocket galleries in live/work spaces. The word got out that property was cheap down there, and some wealthy artists bought up big buildings and rented out studio space or lofts to the starving artists. This trend grew and grew until more and more galleries (including some super high-end ones) started opening all in this one little part of the city.

My husband and I actually rented and renovated our own little slice of the Crossroads pie several years back when the scene was just taking shape. In exchange for our promise to leave the space better than how we found it, we got cheap rent on a killer space which we used as a live/work/ gallery space for almost a year. It was a strange time and we made lots of art and music, saw a gang of free concerts at Grinders, ate way too many slices of pizza (we had no kitchen for awhile), and made friends with a whole bizarre subset of people. Our old space is still a gallery to this day. But that's a story for another time.

Now on the First Friday of every month, the Crossroads Art District comes alive as the galleries all do their big openings and the people come out to see what's up. There are street performers, live painting demonstrations, mimes, bands and musicians everywhere, and it generally rocks. If you're from New york or somewhere cool, I'm sure you see this kind of awesomeness daily. But it's pretty great for the Midwest.

This is now Everleigh's favorite thing to do :) This First Friday I wore a vintage dress that I LOVE (yay for normal clothes again!), and headed out into the night with my two little loves. Ev rode in the carrier and soaked in all the art action she could take before passing out. We saw incredible paintings by Hung Liu, caught the tail end of a "peace parade", watched a drum circle do their thang, and caught some really cool art and sculpture pieces by locals. Later, Everleigh woke up to see some street performers dancing with fire, which was pretty awesome. From her facial expression, I think it's safe to say her mind was completely blown. Then we took our little baby bird home and she slept like a mil. Win-win.
**Photo by KCPhotoBlog

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Finding the Beat

I've been singing and performing since I was teeny-tiny. It was just something I always dug, whether it was a performance in my shower, in my mom's van, in front of the fireplace, at church (as a kid), or on a stage--once I got the bug I was hooked. Call it a middle-child phenomena, but I felt a strong draw to do stuff in front of people that would later be rewarded with applause. This carried over into sports, dance, competative speech, vocal performances, and later as a teen and young adult into being in a band.
I first decided I wanted to be in a band when my 14 year old ears heard Veruca Salt pumping through the audio system of my friend's cool older sister's car. I knew right then that being in a band was the shit and I needed to make it happen. So yeah--just start a band right? No problem right? WRONG.
The dilema was as follows: I only played violin (which is really hard to play and sing at the same time) and the only guitar players I knew were boys. Did any of these said boys want to be in a band with a chick singer? They did not. They wanted to sound like Metalica.

And so it began. Frustrated by this initial setback, I decided if no one would play guitar for me, I would be my own hero and learn. Peice of cake right? Wrong. I begged my dad to hook me up with an acoustic I could practice on. This request was met with a big fat no, seeing as how most of my siblings had tried their hands at various instruments only to later discard them. My parents had an awesome collection of unplayed instruments going and were not about to add to the pile.

So I did what any poor teen would do--begged, borrowed and stole (not really). I borrowed a friend's guitar and learned some basic chords. I learned that D,C,A,and E could get you pretty far. After a year of borrowing from a friend, my dad finally came around and bought me some yard sale find. I practiced on that thing constantly, finding the chord--then singing a line, the pausing to find the next chord and singing the next line. It was a slow and frustrating process which made me like it even more. I WILL tackle this.

I wrote some songs with the help of my ex-boyfriend (a brilliant writer and poet). I started playing some open mics at local bars (I was under 21 but most let me in just to play), and coffee shops in town.

I recorded these songs for free with some recording engineer students at college. Upon hearing my project, the recording teacher asked to record me. Things were looking up.
I jammed for awhile with a female bass player, an awesome classical guitarist, and the recording teacher as my drummer. It just made me thirsty for more. The group was fun and interesting but no one wanted to call it a "band". This frustrated me.

Enter Rachel. I had a super awesome bud named Rachel who also played acoustic guitar at a local coffee shop in town. We would sometimes sing backup for each other at these open mics. Finally, a kindred spirit! Another girl who plays music and writes music and is constantly compared to Jewel just because no one can think of any other singer/songwriters to compare you to!

We decided over Christmas break one year to make a go of it and start a band. Since Rachel knew more chords than me on guitar, I was the designated bass player. Rachel's roommate had owned a bass for awhile and never learned to play it (I think this was where our bass came from?). Alice was born. We started writing songs that made us laugh. Then we started writing some seriously artistic stuff. We got an awesome drummer.

We continued to play at bars and outdoor shows and small festivals. We got better. And during all this time, I graduated, got a "real" job, got married, got pregnant, moved an hour away. Rachel got sick of hicktown MO and finally decided to hit the road with her man and move to Eugene OR. And Alice went on a hiatus.

So now that things are settling down a bit with the baby and I'm trying to find my own beat again, where does it all leave me musically? My goal was never to be famous. I always knew music would be a part of me forever and fanticized about singing jazz in my 50's and 60's. I always felt that it would be there for me whenever I needed it.

But you know what? I miss it. I don't just miss playing, I miss the stage. I miss performing. I miss being challenged creatively and collaborating. I miss Rachel and I miss Alice.

So where does this leave me? I guess I can always wait until Everleigh's old enough to play and start a band with her :P There's no real point to this. I'm just really greiving the loss of something that was never mine to own in the first place. Maybe it's time to blow the dust off the baby Martin and grab a new song by the short and curlies.
PS: You can check out my old band Alice here: