First Winter

“Of this be sure: you do not find the happy life, you make it.” -Monson

 

Winter has always been the season I dread and complain about all year long. It can be the middle of summer, but on occasion, you can still catch me whining about the upcoming cold. Not exactly a positive outlook. The past couple winters we’d managed to escape the most frigid months and so this winter I was trying to prepare myself. This time I had a new baby and we were driving every week, two hours north, to an even colder climate. I am writing this after the fact, and so my memory may be skewed, but I think we did pretty good. Perhaps it was the excitement of being a new mom or just being busy with this role, that did not allow me the luxury to think about it too much.

 

We decided to take a trip to Des Moines to visit Ezra’s grandma, whom we hadn’t seen in quite a long time. It ended up being fortuitous timing. When we arrived we learned her health and just started to fail and we were grateful to get a few precious hours with her before she passed the following week. She was a woman with strength, courage and kindness. Her family only had the utmost respect for her and the stories were ones that made you realize how rare she was. It was special to have her and Indra meet, as they were passing through different phases of life.

In early January Indra started rolling over like crazy. I think she just needed to gain the confidence and motivation. She loved when we’d clap for her and smiles really big, which may be why she is rolling so much! She is getting more coordinated and observant. Watching my hair blow and when nursing helps to get everything situated and to her mouth.

My mom started coming up one day a week to watch Indra for a couple hours. I could go have a couple hours to myself, but it was hard for me. At first I’d only leave for an hour but eventually that time increased. It was good for the two of them to spend time together and bond as well.

Getting out and soaking up all the green and humidity at the conservatory.Why do I have a Christmas picture in here? Well, I made this little tutu and forgot about it. By the time I realized it it was after the New Year. The tree was still up so… why not? My little sugar plum ferry.Six months old! Sweet and chunky as ever! Nene and Indra hanging out.Getting some Diesel cuddles. Also know as cheating on tummy time.

Funerals are always an unfortunate reason for a family gathering, but it was nice to be around everyone who loved Grandma Dorothy and to celebrate her life.

Indra’s first teeth broke through on January 20th. She hadn’t seemed too bothered all except for an alarming amount of poop and blowouts! She’d also been tired but not sleeping very well. It could’ve been from all the traveling down to Iowa, or teething. I’m not sure. I also noticed her hair starting to get a little thicker and she’s been raising her arms to be picked up when I come over to her. She moves them really excitedly, we call it the little fish! 

Having a daughter makes me so conscious of the inequality in the world and our society. Ezra and I took her to the Women’s March. We want her to grow up feeling strong, capable and able to speak up. Having a child makes you so much more aware of your own behavior and actions. If we want equality, we need to stand up for it. She makes me laugh. Recently she tried eating/kissing my cheek. And sometimes she snorts when she laughs! Here she is, such a helper with the laundry.

This next month I noticed some new tricks. She does this thrashing thing with her head, I guess she’s figured out its attached to her!  She’s starting to grab at Diesel more roughly, but he doesn’t seem to care too much. It makes me nervous though because he’s old, but he’s patient. She put his ear in her mouth and then tried for his tail. I think I got it before it completely went in but his tail was pretty wet. I was pretty grossed out!

Grandma and Grandpa babysat so we could have a date night. We weren’t really in the mood and didn’t have anything planned, so we grabbed a bite and then just walked around a liquor store nearby our apartment. I refused to go back after just one hour, so we killed a little time. I know, so romantic. haha.

She’s starting to hit her music box and figure out that it will play. Grandma is such a patient teacher.Snuggling with Papa.

Ever the cautious mom, I made Indra wait about 7 months to have solids. She didn’t seem that interested so I didn’t feel rushed. I kept trying to remember that “food before one is just for fun.” She finally got some delicious sweet potato mash in her mouth and was less than impressed. Modeling her pretty outfit from Grandma!
Little winter bunny.Riding in the shopping cart for the first time at Joann’s… such a big girl!Cuddling with Nana while she babysat. Nana dressed her up in some of her old baby clothes.I love watching these two snuggle together. Ezra is such a good dad.I mean, like the very best Celebrating Valentine’s at Chevy’s was a little overwhelming for this tired one. Lately when she’s overstimulated or exhausted, it’s like all of a sudden she can’t keep it together anymore, her face will just crumple up and she’ll start crying. She bit Nana on the nose too! It’s not just you mom, she just bit me on the nipple for the first time.

She’s starting to give lots of kisses. I got like five in a row  – open mouthed, a little tongue, and slobbery but pretty sweet! She loves giving Soren kisses, she always goes right in for a smooch with him! Unfortunately, she cried when she saw Josh, which is the first time she’s had any sort of stranger anxiety. Hopefully it’ll pass quickly.

I’m trying to get pictures of her every three months or so. It’s so hard for me to notice the little changes because I see her every day. Ez will be gone for a few days and then comment on how different she looks. It sort of blows me away, because I can never tell. Plus, I have a horrible memory, so I figure it will be fun to look back and remember how little and sweet she is.  These are about 7-month old pictures, I must have missed my 6-month reminder.           

 

Trying to get her attached to this bunny. It was her birth gift from Ezra and I. It’s an organic handmade bunny made by a family in a lovely hamlet in Germany. Basically it was super expensive and I want her to love it!

This picture was totally posed! She did not fall asleep with the bunny like this! haha.

Sometimes when she’s asleep I’m torn as to whether I want to snuggle her, nap or go take a few minutes for myself. Napping usually wins out, but not today, it’s photoshoot day.

Celebrating her first Valentine’s day. Ez was gone so we celebrated a day late, but no matter!Her delicious new book from our Hawaiian friend.7-month old pictures!Absolutely beautiful weather in February calls for a walk by the lake.

I took Indra on her first flight, solo. It was a rough day. What should have been a short flight to Champaign took us about 10 hours and we both ended up with a cold… her first cold with a low-grade fever, congestion and cough. It was pretty horrible. I was worried to be away from Ez and her doctor. I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. Sammy was helpful in calming my anxiousness and helping me to know what was normal. We got very little sleep these few days, but I’m still glad we went and visited my sister.  

There’s nothing better than cousins, except perhaps matching cousins!
A lot of love going on in this picture.We went to the park one day and she sat in a swing for about 30 seconds, she wasn’t into it.I remember when Zoe was this little and I would give her baths. Where did the time go?

Thankfully the return flight went much more smoothly. No delays, no missed flights, no rude airline attendants. It was such a relief to return home to Ez. We all missed each other.

All of a sudden Indra seemed to change, even though its hard to pinpoint how exactly. More of her personality is coming out and she seem less like a baby. She’s funny and plays a lot with her toys, she likes hitting blocks together. Ez thought she started looking different too – more defined features. She’s talking a lot saying “mamamamama” and “bah bah.” When she’s really tired she’ll cry dramatically and then just stop, nurse and fall asleep. 

           I’m biased of course, but I think she is just the sweetest.

Indra’s has been a little more attached lately, needing extra comfort and touch. She always sleeps with her legs on top of mine, but lately she’s been sort of crying in her sleep. She gets up in the middle of the night then wakes every hour whimpering. She also did this during her 4 month sleep regression. I’m wondering whats happening in that little body of hers.

Ever since she was little, she’ll smiles up at you and sort of blink her eyes. It’s pretty cute.

    Ever the sense of humor with this one!She just noticed she can see me by turning around in her carseat if I peak over at her. This seems to bring her a lot of comfort. All of a sudden it seems like she knows her name too… at least sometimes.  She’s lunging forward – not crawling yet, but she’s getting close. She ends up on her belly and will sometimes move side to side with her arms. She thinks touching noses is funny and  loves watching me stick out my tongue. She’s trying to do it too. She squawks at me when she wants to be picked up and held, and when she’s excited she’ll raise her hands up and flail them. 

I woke up and saw these two dancing to “Landslide.” This is one of my favorite pictures and moments captured. It gave me such a sense of melancholy. Being a mom makes you realize how fleeting it all is.Learning to drink from a straw.Hey mom, I’m just loungin’.Sitting for snack at ECFE.My baby is 8 months old. How can that be?Other tricks – she’s trying out a new laugh and a cluck/tsking noise. Cords, phones and computers are the bomb. She loves them. She says hi, but it sounds like “heee” and she’s trying out “dada.” It also looked like she waved, but sometimes I wonder “did she?”

Uh, why is this guy holding me? A little nervous around Papa these days.

She’s been lifting her arms up and grabbed Nana’s hands to be pulled up. She tried to pull herself up on the bed rail too. She’s going to be mobile before I know it.

She’s a little weary of guys right now, especially those with facial hair. It’s pretty scary!She sits and clicks, she just loves clicking her tongue.   

Indra likes to lay back and lean against me sometimes. She is starting to act like a kid. Her milk sign is looking more and more like a milk sign. She got upset when I stopped nursing her to cook. She fussed at me and then made the sign twice very clearly. I’ve been doing baby led weaning although it makes me a little nervous and trying to get her to drink from a real glass, she’s pretty good until she decided to dump it all over.

 She’s been ducking her head and looking sideways at things quizzically and sits with her legs in a V shape and kind of taps her feet playing around.Reaching out for Nana and it made her day!When she’s nursing sometimes she’ll grab my hand and hold it.I know these days of her sleeping in my arms are numbered. I gave her broccoli this week. Mmm, you just suck on it right?

 It’s been hard getting Indra down for naps and bed lately – she’s not quite ready to drop a nap but its at the point where its about every other day. She’s been getting really wild at bedtime. She’ll make a “bah bah bah bah bah” sound or start clicking. That’s when I know she’s getting close to sleep. She also discovered she can fake cry. Like a newborn fake cry. It’s horrible. Her eyes will even get red so its really hard to tell if its real. But she can turn it off in an instant – I’m not a fan.

 Birth class playdate!

She’s starting to make a blowing sounds.       

 The weather is finally nice and so we’re going out for walks! It’s fun to all go out together! We also just discovered Indra has two more teeth up top.

Indra loves kids, she starts clapping her hands she gets so excited. I feel bad that I don’t have more kids for her to be around. Driving back to Mpls I saw her clapping and practicing the milk sign in the mirror. She’s also getting better control of her body. She fell backwards but did it in slow motion and caught herself on her elbows. She propped herself up on her hands from her tummy and it seems like its clicking that she needs to get her legs under her. She laughed when she saw me watching her, she was really proud of herself. She’s not quite crawling yet, but literally any moment!

Jill noticed a third tooth poking through up top and then we noticed a fourth the next day. Just hanging with the boys.Grandma was teaching Indra patty cake and spoiling with gifts. She really started clapping after all the practicing.Grandma and Grandpa let us out on another date! I had a Martini in the afternoon… what a treat.

It’s almost too much for me to write, but this was the last day we saw Laurie and the last good picture I have of Indra with her Grandma. I suppose I am writing about Indra mostly in this post because the winter was challenging and while I didn’t really enjoy it, nothing much happened either. Ez and I were apart a lot because of bad driving conditions. We were looking at a new apartment in Alexandria trying to make the situation better for me and Indra. This last weekend we spent with Laurie and Dave.Last few days of blissful existence before all of our lives would change.A dad and his sweet girl.

 

Indra’s First Christmas

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” – Mabie

This little cherub face brought me so much joy over the holiday season. As I’ve gotten older sometimes I feel like I’ve lost some of my zest for life. That raw enthusiasm and unapologetic wonder and delight. But this year was different, I was reminded of how the world looks through new eyes, and to be quite honest, it seemed a little magical.

The first half of the month we saw some new little changes with Indra. She would see herself in the mirror and just go wild with excitement. She loves babies. She finally debuted her roll from belly-to-back and decided why do it just once, when you can now repeat it.

Two of my favorite things! The only things that can brighten my day after a long and mostly sleepless night.

I can’t help but to take a million pictures of Indra. I have gotten so far behind on these posts because of the sheer amount of pictures to go through. And, as you can see, I’m not very good at narrowing that number down. But it’s all these little firsts that I just cherish. For example, it felt like she hugged me for the first time. She was holding on so hard I probably could have let go. She rubs my stomach when she’s nursing, its the beginning of what feels like affection. I love her so much. I love her for the sake of loving her, it’s almost a surprise to feel like I might get some of that love back. I don’t need her to reciprocate, but it makes life so much happier.

We took her to the European Christmas market and happened across the best Santa and some cold nippy weather.She is becoming more interactive. It seems like she tries to give kisses and to use signs. When I ask if she wants milk she starts to move her hand. Her teeth are starting to bother her and we’ve been getting a lot of dirty diapers – she is not a fan. Chamomile tablets seem to help, or maybe its just wishful thinking.

Here Indra is helping me with laundry!

A girl and her cat!

I was having a bit of a hard time this month. Ezra was in Alexandria and because of weather or various other factors, Indra and I stayed home some weeks. I never used to mind being at home alone, but with a baby it made me nervous. It was just me, the sole caregiver during those times and I felt anxious. It was hard for me to relax. Perhaps it was lack of sleep, perhaps it was still hormones, I don’t know – but I had a couple nights of intense feelings. Ezra surprised me by making the two hour drive home. He had to leave early the next morning, but that surprise was one of the best in my life. And one I desperately needed.

Trimming the Christmas tree!Wanting to create some new family traditions we all boarded the Polar Express for a ride through the North Pole. We are a family that loves trains.

Trying to force this bunny on her (emotionally). It’s so easy to let the days pass quickly, thoughtlessly. These moments holding my daughter are the essence of what life is all about. Having her makes me slow down and be present. It makes me want to be better, and to breath that moment in before it disappears. We have snow!

Hearing that Macys was closing I wanted to go to the 8th floor one last time. It was something my mom always took us to do. We decided to take Indra to see Santa there. He was perhaps the most uninspired Santa I’ve ever met. I don’t think he even cracked a smile once. For parents who don’t plan to teach their child about Santa, we sure saw a lot of them this winter!

The Holidazzle. We arrived right before closing time, so we found the most important tent, a beer tent, and settled in for a bit.
I had a renewed desire for Indra to take a bottle. It never really happens.Five months!!
Bonding with great-grandma Sandy at Grandpa Dave’s retirement party. It’s Christmas in Iowa! Let the party begin! Lots of snuggles from Grandma. She couldn’t love her grandkids any more if she tried. This may be my favorite picture of all time. Snug in Grandma’s arms on a chilly winter morning. There is so much love captured here. Putting money in her Elephant Bank.Our little family celebrated on Christmas Eve morning. Forging some new traditions with Creme Brulee french toast and mimosas of some sort. Do you really need anything more than that?  Indra got a little Red Flyer wagon and we were all pretty happy. Off to Nana and Papa’s to celebrate on Christmas Eve. Indra and Ez stayed behind when we all went to church. Ezra talked about how special that time was. Holding Indra in the quiet house. I don’t quite grasp what made that time so special, but I understand how those moments happen. What a wonderful peaceful moment. Isn’t that truly the spirit of the season? Aunt Nene is silly.Christmas morning. My two sweeties. Presents, and more presents.Back at our apartment that night we did our other tradition. Fettuccine alfredo and I had to dress Diesel up. I knew this was probably his last Christmas and I just needed to see him in his hat and beard one more time. Cousins are the best! They really got a belly laugh going out of Indra.

By the end of the month we’re noticing how much more she notices. The ceiling, the lights, her hands. She is sitting upright better, more sturdy, it won’t be long until she sits on her own. She has started dropping her ball and book. Sometimes it seems like she forgets and then sometimes she reaches for them. She pulls at our clothes and reaches for our faces. She peed three drops in her toilet today and took a bath in the little tub without the insert. She played with her duck in the water and is crying more to express herself. Basically, she is growing up. 

I finally sold her bassinet. But not without one last nap and first documenting how big she’s gotten.

New Year’s Eve! May 2017 bring joy to us all!

First Fall

“Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.” -Naeem Callaway

Indra is three months old now and so much has changed. I’m feeling more secure in this new role. I’m making mom friends and joined an ECFE class. Because we don’t know how to keep things simple, Ez took a job in Alexandria, which means a two hour commute back-and-forth every week. Indra has a hard time in the car, so for the two of us, this was a three to four hour drive. After all, it takes some time to stop and shed tears together! There were weeks we were unable to go to Alexandria, so with some trepidation, I stayed home alone with a three-month old. Despite these obstacles we are hoping for the best, grateful that Ezra had this opportunity, and know we were working towards our future. Living in a one bedroom and taking this job was for a purpose. We were working towards our dream, and that dream was now even more important with a baby.

Birth Class friends

Not a fan of tummy time, but more enjoyable at ECFE.
Fall photos at Nana and Papa’s.
  This little chick’s first time trick-or-treating!    In just this one month Indra changed so much. She became so observant and aware. She’d watch me eat pineapple is complete fascination, or watch feathers above her swaying, or notice Diesel walking by. She began to hold on to things. She likes to stand and started to put her hands on my face. When I’d say “kiss” she opens her mouth. She’s wants to be more mobile, trying to roll over and scoot out of her chair. She did finally complete a roll from back to front! She does the boat pose which everyone finds hilarious. It’s her pilates move. She has a crazy strong core and will lift both legs up and slap them down, like a whale tale. She is starting to grasp at her toys and holds rattles and found her thumb. She makes this “kheeee” sound. She slept in a crib for the first time! She started a sleep regression. She got sick for the first time – just a low-grade fever but enough to freak me out. She does a little fishy move with her arms. She holds onto me when she nurses and makes a “hmmmm mmmm mmm” sound. She likes to scratch at the mesh in her bassinet and loves the Regalo label on the toddler rail. She notices everything! 

Buds

But the best change is seeing more and more of her personality coming out. We’re starting to see who she really is. She is the happiest baby. Everyone, and I mean everyone, comments on it – strangers, relatives, friends, everyone. When someone smiles she smiles back, its just an automatic reaction. Her eyes light up and a smile flashes across her face. Even when she’s tired she will (almost) always reward you with a sweet smile. Even Diesel is drawn to her. A grumpy old cat that seeks her out. As soon as we lay her down, he runs across the room and plops down next to her. He loves to nuzzle her with his head or place his paw on her.
A collage of friendship!

First time volunteering at ARC! Dancing and doing affirmations in the mirror.
Four months – how did that happen! Thanksgiving – BonEash style.   As her mom, I want to remember everything. But since I have a bad memory I need pictures. I even want to remember her sad and tired faces. 

I always thought it sounded so cliché, but seriously where has the time gone? Every moment feels like such a gift, I try to focus on how lucky I am to have this precious time, not on how fleeting it is. Its like a mandala, these beautiful little moments that I can’t hang on to. They’re impermanent. Being a mother makes me in the moment like I’ve never been before.Just snapshots of our days.
Hanging out at Target. No crying and just chilling in the cart to her white noise.

Its official, Indra is a snuggler. She never wants to be put down. Carry her, wear her, lay down with her, its all fine. We traded the bassinet for the crib, but she still sleeps with us. I worried for awhile about doing everything all wrong. Then I read something that resonated with me – babies were happier when worn and slept with their parents. I decided right then and there that I would just go with my intuition and take her lead. My goal as a mother is for Indra to trust me. So much development is happening in her brain these first three years, I want those happy neurological pathways to be formed and reinforced! If my tiny baby wants touch and reassurance, well then I am happy to give it to her. No more second guessing and questioning.  It seems to make us all happy. In our ECFE class Ezra and I said our favorite moment is when Indra wakes up and looks between the two of us and just smiles. We’re a little unit of love and happiness.

Hanging out by the lake in Alexandria. Trying to soak in some sun and good spirits.
Hey look, I have a thumb!A sunny fall weekend with Grandma and Grandpa. Time to buy a crib! Officially outgrown the bassinet she never sleep in. We don’t want to say goodbye.

Baby cage!

First time voting – We’re With Her! One of our favorite pastimes is simplifying and minimizing. During this pursuit we found some technology from the past. Sambusa Sunday with the Somalian community. Showing our support!I don’t like tummy time, but I can’t help but smile anyway!

 So happy to see my Illinois cousins!  First grainy Thanksgiving family picture!Grandma’s girl Because baby butts are cute… and funny. Bathtime!

fourth trimester

“Meeting you was like listening to a song for the first time and knowing it would be my favorite.”

The fourth trimester. These first three months with Indra were pretty incredible. After that first month at home we took her out into the world. Okay, maybe not the world but our little corner of it, and it was exciting. Everything was a new adventure to be experienced for the first time. We were reminded how the world looks through a child’s eyes. We introduced Indra to our family and friends and complete strangers. It took some getting used to, having random people stopping to chat all the time – but I’ve come to love it. What ground is more common and an immediate connection than children.img_0993img_0765Indra's first month (3)-1IMG_0926-1Indra's first month (2)-1Indra's first month (5)-1Indra's first month (10)-1
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Our first foray out in a month – celebrating my birthday with a cafe, walk along the river and a trip to Target.

img_8535img_8538img_8545Going to lunch with Nana and Papa.img_8591One month old – how can that be?img_9807-1img_0948img_9562-1-collage-1After two weeks of paternity leave Ezra went back to work. There are ideal jobs and then, drag-yourself-out-of-bed-with-dread jobs. This job was the latter. So we were giddy with joy when, serendipitously, the opportunity to leave came. Yes, we were a little nervous to have a new baby and both be unemployed. But we are masters of frugality, and also, if there ever is a time to use credit cards, now was that time. The next month-and-a-half had its stress while Ez looked for a new role, but most mornings he’d spend a couple hours with Indra and let me sleep. He could actually be home for dinners and the weekends were mostly ours. It was beautiful how the timing happened. Those days were fleeting and precious. The memories are already a little hazy, but were so special, and we were lucky to have so much time together.img_8571Celebrating Ez’s 40th with family, bars, breweries and a walk.
img_0975img_8602 img_8610Daddy’s girlimg_8620 img_8632-collageSo many hours spent looking at this sweet face.
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img_1012First time walking along the trail to the grocery store. Only a minimal amount of crying. It felt like a mom win! img_1015This was the first time it felt like she was holding onto me. It deserved a grainy picture, right?img_1017-1img_8654Wanting desperately to remember all her sweet and silly faces.img_1021-collageimg_8656img_8661 img_1072-movEverything Indra did was important to us. At a week we were surprised when she found her thumb and started smiling. We gave her her first bath around three weeks. I noticed she started touching me more while nursing and pushing off of me with her little feet. We tried a pacifier but to no avail. We would continue trying and she would continue to resist. Then there was the bottle, which like the pacifier, was met with skepticism. Why take a bottle when you can get it straight from the tap?img_1074At about four weeks we thought we saw her first real awake smile. Followed by a steady stream that seems to never stop.
img_1088Except for when it does!img_8707-collage img_1091img_8713-collageLabor Day at the beach with family.
img_8723Happy little Buddha baby.img_1099So many precious hours spent holding and rocking this little being.
img_8768img_8786-collageWatching her puffins.img_1121 img_1128Our attempt to keep her warm while bathing always made her look a little like a friar or Leonardo da Vinci. She didn’t seem to mind.img_8754-collageGoing out as a family I felt proud and happy, and slightly overwhelmed figuring out all the ins-and-outs of parenting… and all this baby gear. There was a bit of anxiousness navigating the new role, but like anything, it just took a little time to gain confidence.  We started venturing a little further afield.img_8836img_8840img_1141

We discovered that she really didn’t like the being in the carseat. Perhaps there is nothing more stressful for a new mom than not having the ability to immediately pick up their crying baby. I would frantically pull over and get in the backseat to nurse, and start sobbing too. If there’s one goal I have, it’s for Indra to trust me. When she needs me, I always want to be available and present. This foundation is built young. What this means in terms of my actions, will of course morph over the years. However, right now, when she cries – I respond. 
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img_1140Every baby is so different and we were learning about ours.img_8879She has a spirit that immediately struck us as special (we are unabashedly biased). She was so aware right from the moment she arrived. Being a first time mom you don’t know what makes your baby unique, you don’t have anything to compare it to. Everyone who meets her, or just walks by for that matter, stops and comments on how aware she is. How could she be so young and taking everything in that way? She is a sweet little girl that would prefer to be held at all times, snuggling in, touching and smiling up at you. She has a smile for everyone – it’s an automatic reflex. Even when overly tired – if you smile at her, she will reward you with one back. Except when in the aforementioned carseat, of course.

img_8888 Walking with auntie Jill and Levi.img_1197img_8898-collageimg_9134I hadn’t given a ton of thought to what our sleeping arrangement would be, but our little snuggler decided for us. And we would resume “the position” every nap and every night.

img_9151img_9157img_9174 img_9172Two months!
img_9256First Annual Apple Orchard trip.IMG_9720img_9744img_9358-collageimg_9393img_9794img_9406At about six weeks we noticed her cooing and babbling, and we thought we heard her laugh in her sleep. She was getting strong and already trying to sit up in her chair and holding her head up. She’s started following people with her eyes. We started hearing her laugh – all the time. She’s so happy. 
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img_9420img_9437img_1291She started experimenting with her sounds and likes having conversations. She babbles, I talk, then she babbles some more. She cries less, and instead, is using different sounds to try and express what she wants. She resists tummy-time so we started working on it more. A baby cobra started to emerge – although mastery is still far off. img_1311-collageA possible role for Ez at the Mayo Clinic had us heading to Rochester to check out the town. I prepared for the arduous journey with new carseat bling and putting on a brave face. We had an interlude with horrible gasping sobs and me on the side of the highway bouncing my baby. Indra – 1; Parents – 0.

img_1350img_1348img_9487img_9491Every morning Ez would take a picture of Indra before heading out for work or a job interview. We are usually assuming the position.img_9499img_9526So much love from her cousins!img_9532Levi reminiscing about his baby days.img_9536Our two year wedding anniversary was spent sharing our birth story with the new birth class. I may have rambled, shared too much information and teared up. Maybe, but who’s to say? We followed this up with drinks and apps… and our two-year-old frozen wedding cake that my parents wanted out of their freezer.
img_9548img_9553img_9556A former boss offered Ezra a position in Alexandria. With a new baby who hates the car, why not keep considering jobs so far away? Trying to prepare and avoid the inevitable cries – I spend a good half hour getting Indra to sleep before we set out. My initial reaction to the job in Alex, “no.”

img_9561But it was pretty on this perfect fall day. And the job ended up being low-stress and family friendly, which ended up with a “yes.”img_9568 img_9569-collageAnother beautiful fall day before the winter hits. A walk along the path to get coffee, the bookstore and pizza. This will forever stay in my mind as one of life’s perfect days.img_1394img_9578Facetime with grandma and grandpa.img_9582img_9617-collageSo happy!img_9687-collageDebate parties with the Bjorholm/Eash clan.img_9753-collageimg_1444-collageAt about 12 weeks we saw Indra grab her feet and started laughing when I would nuzzle her neck and belly. It seems like she was trying to touch me now and would watch my mouth. Occasionally she wouldn’t cry in the car and that felt like a milestone, and also like she was growing up. Getting ready to shop with Nana.img_1448img_9890Heading to Stillwater for the Harvest Fest. Really we just want to see the huge pumpkin get smashed.
img_9902img_9922img_9949-collageimg_9973img_9983She started getting really good at entertaining herself. She’d play under her gym, once I noticed she was under there for almost an hour. She loved her zebra, and it looked like she actually started holding it. She loved watching me eat. Eating pineapple became the most fascinating thing. It’s like all of a sudden her eyes really opened. She noticed Diesel and the feathers moving over her changing table. She grasped at things I’d give her.

img_1474img_1494img_0026img_1478img_1503Looking back at these pictures I’m struck by how fast this all went. How aware and very young she was. How her silly personality and calm disposition and serious intensity started to become apparent.img_1517Not quite ready to retire the bassinet. Even though she hardly slept in it (and outgrew it fast), I’m not quite ready for her to be so grown up.img_0042No toys? Well, here’s a pinecone.img_1535img_0050img_0056-2Three month pictures. A little tired so smiles were harder to come by.img_0070Until we lost the pants!img_0080Mom life = blowouts and forgetting extra clothes.img_0083Pumpkin-patching.img_0088Three-months – such a big girl!  img_1555Already nostalgic for these early days.img_0283-collageimg_1554This pretty much sums up the magical fourth trimester.img_9562

sitting moon

“Let your life being a painting, let you life be a poem.” – Osho

The month following birth I observed sitting moon. Four weeks that were the best gift I could’ve ever given myself. Four weeks of staying home and adjusting to motherhood, resting and healing and bonding with this little human that was now in our lives. The only exception was Indra’s doctor appointments. Otherwise, we only accepted a few visitors. I rested and stayed warm, ate healing foods and cuddled with our little darling. I’m lucky to have such a supportive partner in Ezra. Without him, this time would not have been possible. In this month we really became a family and learned so much more about each other.

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The weeks after childbirth were a fragile and transformative time. I felt fierce and soft – I spent almost every minute with her cradled in my arms. There were things I was really unprepared for, I was surprised in how giving birth to Indra, I also gave birth to a new self.

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Eventually at my six week check up I asked my midwife about all the emotions I was feeling. She said being a mother was like having “everything a little closer to the surface.” I was thinking a lot about my mortality. No longer was I worrying about myself for my own sake, I would sit and rock her and think about how I would only know her so long. That I would miss out on her life and would find tears streaming down my face. Being a mother has made me feel in the present like never before. I will look at her face sleeping, or Ezra dancing with her, or I’ll be singing a song to her, and I’m so in love with each moment. I know that someday I’ll look back at how perfect this time was, and I feel a sense of nostalgia now, for the moment while I’m living it. Being a mother feels like a spiritual door has opened. It is a living meditation.

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I weep sweet tears so often that I asked my sister-in-law about it once, worrying that maybe I was depressed. She said, “no, you’re just a mother.” This gave me a lot of comfort knowing I’m not alone in my feelings. I love my daughter so much I feel love radiate out of me – like I could break open. It makes me feel so vulnerable, to have this type of love. It’s given life so much more meaning. Ezra and I say we can’t believe how wonderful being a parent is. We can’t believe people didn’t talk about it or pressure us more to have kids. It’s like the best kept secret, although apparently, its really no secret. Or maybe being parents just suits us particularly well.

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Having a daughter makes me think about the world and her place in it. I can’t hear the news or stories in the same way anymore, I’m bothered to my core. I think about the lessons I want to instill in her. How to be trusting and kind while also being strong and self-reliant. I think about my relationship with my own mother. Where we went wrong and what we did well. How will she look at me, what example do I want to set and how can I be better. I think about her in every decision I make. Being a girl means there will always be extra cautions and more to fight for. I want her to grow up feeling valued and confident and useful, and for her to feel her life has purpose. I want to give her everything.

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Looking back at this time with her is a blur. I just remember sitting with her and studying her face. Being up at night in the soft glow of the lamp nursing and rocking and reading. It all went so fast and I suppose that will continue. If I never do anything else I am happy for this time – to be Indra’s mama. And my wish for her is that she will live her life without fear and full of wonder and be happy and fulfilled.
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Earthside 

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

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The morning of July 15th I woke early after a short and poor night sleep. It was on my mind to get to bed earlier to be rested for labor. But sleep had been elusive. I was two days past my guess date and feeling a little melancholy. I set out for an early morning walk around Bass Lake and tried not to feel down. Other women in my birth class had started having their babies and I was ready and wanted mine. As I walked, I talked to the babe, referring to him by the name we’d picked. I rubbed my stomach and told him I was ready – we loved him, please join us when he was ready. I went back up to our apartment and read a few books to my belly. This was not something I often did, but was feeling weepy and sad. I thought about taking a nap and instead made an acupuncture appointment.

Xong my acupuncturist wasn’t in that day so I saw another doctor. She didn’t know me, and was surprised when I came in asking for help inducing labor, armed with my Zuo Yuetzi books, and asking for specific herbal formulas. She hadn’t been with me thru my last trimester. She mentioned I was only two days late and may need to come back a couple more times next week. Did I still want the treatment? I was confused. Yes, why else was I there? Afterwards I left a little discouraged and went home to work on one of my continuing education courses, called Nourishing the Womb. I was learning about everything I could’ve done in my pregnancy from a Chinese medicine point of view – much of which I hadn’t done. I was also being educated on everything that could go wrong. Dismayed, and now anxious, I stopped the course and decided not to continue until after the the birth.

Ez came home and tried to cheer me up. It was a Friday, and with the weekend ahead of us, we went to Whole Foods for snacks. Postpartum I vowed a strict healthy diet and wanted to get in one more scone (a weird pregnancy obsession – as well as yogurt with granola and tons of fruit) and maybe a piece of cake. While perusing the baked goods I felt something different. Almost a heaviness in my uterus. It didn’t hurt so I tried not to focus on it. Next stop, the liquor store for Ez. I decided to pick up some fake beer, tempting labor to start. Because who else but a pregnant woman would chose to drink that swill?

As soon as we arrived home I felt the strange sensation again. This time a little stronger and I mentioned it to Ez. The first time had been around 8:30 pm and now it was 9:00. I took a shower, ate and waited to see if it would continue over the next couple hours. At 11:00 I was pretty sure this was the real deal and texted our doula, Ellee, to let her know things were starting.

I tried to sleep but it was in vain. I went into the tub, laid down, sat on the exercise ball – repeat, repeat, repeat. Eventually around 5:00 in the morning Ez noticed I wasn’t in bed and found me in the bath. I hadn’t woken him knowing labor would be long and now was the time to rest. We started timing the surges, and although a little erratic, they’d been about 5 minutes apart for about an hour. I was uncomfortable from back labor and when we called Ellee at 6:00 she told me to crawl around on my hands and knees. She said she’d come whenever I felt I needed her. Ezra was such a wonderful support, and I was doing pretty good on my own, so I continued to labor most of the morning on all fours – clutching a comb in each hand. Digging the teeth into my palms was a trick we learned in our birth class. While it didn’t help with pain, it was a distraction, and I became oddly attached to them. A little while later we called the birth center to see what we should do. Again I was told to crawl and to get our doula there. I didn’t know at the time, but all this crawling was to encourage the baby to turn, which was the cause of the back pain. Eventually it worked.

Ellee was filling in for her friend at the hospital which made me a little worried. She said she’d come as soon as she could and to eat. I’d only eaten a popsicle and some fruit – she scolded me. Ez gave me yogurt with honey and I worked on getting a protein bar down over the next six hours. Around 3:30 Ellee arrived and everything started to feel a little more real. She had me crawl and sit backwards on the toilet through a few contractions. This brought a new intensity and I found myself trying to focus my energy down and open instead of up and contracted. I tried to watch the sensations without reacting, but this was a challenge. I found my body reacting in a primal way without concern for what my mind was trying observe. Concerned by how little I’d slept the past couple days, Ellee wanted me to rest. Contractions were coming faster at this point, about every three minutes, and she wanted to slow them down. Ez and I laid together in bed and I dozed a few minutes here and there. It was a sweet respite and later Ellee said she wished she’d taken a picture of us (I wished she had too), Ezra holding me, me holding our baby. Ellee was by my side occasionally soothing me and just a comforting presence. At this point I was pretty tired and wanted to feel like I was progressing. Ellee helped to keep me focused and at home for another couple hours. A little before 6:00 she said I had that look in my eyes – I was ready to be where I’d have my baby. I was happy to hear those words. It was wonderful to labor at home for so long in privacy and relative comfort, but it was going on 20+ hours and I wanted a change. I’d found the first 12-15 hours almost enjoyable – it was exciting. I was experiencing this crazy thing my body was made for. But I was now reaching a point of exhaustion and feeling a little despondent.

Ez pulled the car out front and I was thankful to see no one in the halls or elevator. Piling in the backseat there were a few guys out on one of the balconies. I couldn’t help but wonder what they must be thinking. I guessed they were happy not to be me! The drive to the birth center felt like an eternity. Clutching a pillow and hanging awkwardly over the backseat, I hoped no one could see me. In one of our prenatal visits Ellee asked if I like to be touched or a more hands off approach when I didn’t feel well? Ez put it perfectly – I’m like a cat who wants a dark corner and to be left alone. So being out in the sunshine, contracting in traffic, was sort of my nightmare.

Once we arrived at the birth center I met Mary, the midwife-on-call. I’d met her husband a few weeks earlier when he taught me how to install our carseat. They were an inspiring couple that had lived and worked in the Philippines and India while raising their boys. They were the sort of parents that Ez and I hope to be – having meaningful life experiences and adventures, while also showing their children another way to live.

Mary examined me (the last time had been at 15 weeks) and asked if I wanted to know how dilated I was. The birth center’s standard procedures were exactly what I wanted – so my birth plan was pretty generic. Originally I didn’t want to know, in case it was discouraging. But honestly, I also just felt I should put something on my birth plan and didn’t care all that much.  So I told them to tell me – I was 7 cm, this was encouraging. Ellee didn’t tell me then, but she’d been guessing I was 6 cm. My membranes were still intact and we used a Doppler for the first time. They were readying the tub when I felt a gush of water. I couldn’t see it, but imagined it looked as comical as it felt.

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Once in the tub it got a little confusing. Mary told Leah, the nurse-on-call, to come in. Ellee said if I felt like I needed to push I could try. So I pushed but it didn’t feel productive. They had me get out of the tub and said I could prop my belly in a sling to help with positioning the baby. At this point things were getting intense. Looking back I must have been transitioning. I knew I didn’t want to do this sling thing. So I laid in bed on my side with a bolster. Did I mention it was intense? I asked to try nitrous but found out why many women don’t like it. It takes awhile to find a rhythm and only works while you, yourself, hold the mask to your face. It felt like breathing through a scuba mask and it made me feel panicky – I thought I might hyperventilate. I ended up throwing it to the ground and getting back on my hands and knees. It’s supposed to take away the perception of pain, not the pain itself, but it threw me off. After trying it I was more motivated. I didn’t have it in the back of my mind as a crutch anymore. It was just me and I could do this – I had to. This was the reason I changed to a birth center.

They had me sit backwards on the toilet again. I didn’t want to, but said okay anyway, I was willing to do anything to help things progress. Using the back of a metal spatula, Mary looked every now-and-then to see if the babe was crowning. Nope nothing. She checked me again and said I was fully dilated except for just a little lip of my cervix. If I wanted she could push it aside. Again, I was sure I didn’t want her to do this, but instead I found myself telling her okay. I found myself saying “oww, oww, oww, oww.” They commented on how calm and polite I was – one of the calmest laboring women they’d had. I’m sure this was their way to make me feel good – but it worked, and somewhere in the back of my mind it made me feel capable.

Finally I felt like I needed to push, I was ready!  Back in the tub I go – fully dilated. It was go time. One of my friends told me pushing felt like reverse throwing up, and in the middle of one, I thought she was exactly right. It took a few waves to get the feel for how was most effective, but once I got it, I wanted to do it. I’d heard many women liked pushing. I wouldn’t say I was one of them. I was exhausted and wanted to be finished. But mentally I was thinking this might just never end. My back still hurt so I couldn’t lay against the tub and didn’t want to be on all fours. So I kneeled, and with each surge I tried to breath my baby down and into the world. Mary told me to feel for the head, but there was nothing at first. Then what I felt was strange, softer than I expected, so I wasn’t sure. When I heard Mary tell Ezra to get the camera (which was not charged and his phone died – luckily Ellee took these few for us) it was a surprise to me. I’d been bracing myself for each moment not thinking about the next. Not sure how I’d keep doing this while feeling capable all at the same time.

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Pushing was this strange almost out of body experience. I don’t remember if it hurt. I just remember it felt like harnessing some universal power that thundered through my body as the head descended down the birth canal. The head crowned and then retreated back in. It was a very strange sensation. Another push and the head was out. I remember feeling overwhelmed at the thought of having to keep doing this, but it all happened so quickly. I don’t even really remember the final push. At 10:10 pm Mary caught our baby and I lay back and held this special little being to my chest. Ezra wanted to announce the sex. The umbilical cord and a towel were in the way, he was looking around this and that and said, “a girl?” I was utterly confused by the way he said it, like he was unsure. We’d been guessing it was a boy. I was so shocked – we had a daughter! I kissed her sweet head and just wanted to know she was healthy. Trying to look at her while keeping her close all at once. Ez and I looked at each other and couldn’t believe it, a little girl. And just like that we had our little Indra Eloise.

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Immediately Indra cried – her day had been challenging too. We realized just how swollen her little face was only days later once it subsided. We sat in the tub and after 7 minutes her cord was still pulsing a little so I asked to wait. I wanted her to have every last drop of blood – it was her birth right. So we waited and then Ezra cut the cord. At the time I didn’t think about it, it was much later when it occurred to me – she would never be part of me again.img_8034

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Out of the tub I was shaky and cold, and was helped to the bed to deliver my placenta (a very unusual placenta which Ellee dried and encapsulated). They massaged my uterus and stitched and cleaned me up. Meanwhile Ez held our daughter and she initiated him into fatherhood by pooping on him three times, then once on me. Indra was healthy and weighed in at 8 pounds 10 ounces and 20 inches long. We tried nursing, with a lot of helping hands, and Indra’s strong instinct to suck (and not a very good latch), it seemed like one more obstacle but we’d figure it out in time. Afterall, neither of us had done this before. Leah drew us an herbal bath and the two of us got back in, mother and daughter, and soaked together. The conclusion to the best day of my life.

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At 2:00 in the morning, just four hours after her birth, we left for home in a downpour. We realized in the middle of it all there was a storm. It felt like a beautiful tribute to our little Indra who was the deity of thunder, lightening, storms and rain. She entered our lives and the world with an energy that would influence our path forever. I bore my greatest teacher.

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maternity photos

“When you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come.” – Leonardo da Vinci

I am at the pinnacle of my pregnancy heading towards what I suspect will be the most spectacular moment in this life. Soon I am crossing over the precipice to become a mother. I have spent my pregnancy in relative ease and am grateful for the sheer experience of it. I want to capture some of the feelings before I forget them, as I’m sure it will fade with the new tasks of motherhood. 

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My first signs of pregnancy were just a little weepiness followed with a bout of queasiness at a fish market. Soon after I felt a to-the-bone tiredness but that faded by the end of the first trimester. I didn’t realize I was pregnant until about 2 months in – the night before a month-long meditation retreat. I was in a state of disbelief with how fortunate we were that this pregnancy happened so quickly – we had only tried once. I had hoped to be pregnant on this retreat and marvelled at how it’d happened just as we’d wished. I immediately started preparing my body and my mindset shifted. Nothing was just about me anymore and I welcomed it whole-heartedly. img_6188earth img_6194bw img_6201air img_6213edit img_6216bw img_6227bw img_6234bw

As my belly was just beginning to swell around the 15th and 16th week mark I thought I felt movement. I’d been on the watch for it but wasn’t sure if it was just my imagination. By the 18th week I was fairly confidant and by the end of the 19th week Ezra thought he could feel the baby too. Around this time our little babe was moving regularly, mostly at night, but now also in the morning. At 22 wks Ez finally felt a good swift kick. Strangers were just starting to comment on my pregnancy and it made me happy that my transformation was now obvious. 

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At 23 weeks, I wanted to switch from a hospital to a birth center for delivery. Thus far I had declined anything more than weight checks, routine blood work and the use of a fetoscope. So while I had not wished to have an ultrasound it became necessary to be sure we were low risk. It was this ultrasound that finally made the baby seem real. To see it move and watch the heartbeat, even though I’d still not heard it, was surreal. Afterwards I bought my own fetoscope so I could hear the fluttering anytime I wanted.  The second trimester is called the honeymoon period of pregnancy and I felt strong and healthy. Some nights I felt a little restlessness in my leg which was an annoyance, but otherwise it was all good and the baby kept growing. img_6365bw img_6370

 Nearing the end of this pregnancy I started to feel more discomfort. Normal movements became more of an effort. Walking was tiresome and my feet hurt. I found myself bumping my belly into things forgetting how large it’d gotten. I would sleep with 3-4 pillows to find some comfort, propping up this part to keep that bit at a better angle. Anytime I’d want to turn over I’d have to mentally brace myself for the extra exertion. Normally a late eater I had to give myself 5 hours before bed to digest. Otherwise I’d bolt upright multiple times, my last meal threatening to come back up.
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My belly was full and hard and we were both running out of room those last weeks. I’d feel the little butt under my right ribs and feet kick off to the left. Hands would flutter by my pelvis and I felt the bambino’s hiccups more regularly. There were some very strong movements a week before my due date and it made me worried. I broke out the fetoscope to make sure it wasn’t now breech. During this time I talked to the baby more and played music – pop seemed to get the most action. I kept massaging my big belly and started to feel more and more connected. We’d gotten it into our heads we were having a boy and focused our energy on narrowing down those names. Girl names came more easily and we decided on one as a backup, just in case. img_6415bw img_6438bw img_6456bw

I was emotional that last trimester. I knew life was about to change and was excited for it but also a little sad that this phase was about to end. I loved being pregnant and perhaps realized it even more afterwards. It was a beautiful time in my life. A golden moment that passed quickly. img_6462bw

spring showers

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abe Lincoln

Back in Minnesota I was adjusting my attitude towards the idea of living in the Midwest. I’ve known disappointment plenty of times in my life but for some reason this was especially difficult for me. Not normally a crier, this became a new part-time hobby. Looking for apartments made me cry. Ezra accepting job interviews made me cry. It wouldn’t take much to set me off. Not wanting to be so affected by my emotions I made a conscious effort to shift my attitude and short-term (dear god please) expectations. 

So we found an apartment, I set up a little balcony garden and enjoyed the pool once it was warm enough. I dove into finishing my Shiatsu CEs to keep up my certification, and we went thru our garage and sold, donated and organized much of what was in storage collecting dust. And I started to nest in our little one bedroom abode.

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I started shifting my thoughts towards motherhood. We took a birth class that was incredibly eye opening and transformative in our preparation for childbirth. It was this class that convinced me to switch my care to the MN Birth Center. Back in January was the first time we attempted orientation, but there was a fire alarm that set off the sprinklers and thus it was cancelled. The second time we got a flat tire on the way. For awhile I gave up on it thinking maybe these were signs. Our class made me realize I should give it one more try and it ended up being one of best decisions I’ve ever made. This was where my wishes would align with the care I would receive. So while I hadn’t planned to get one – I scheduled an ultrasound and sent all my records to show we were low risk. We wanted minimal intervention and so at 23 weeks we saw the baby for the first time and watched the heart beating. Forgoing dopplers for fetoscope, we’d still not heard the heartbeat. So it was a surreal and profound moment. There really was a baby in there and I was a mother.

Twenty-three weeks

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In Iowa with the original mother.img_7254

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On the upside of being in the Twin Cities (and if I’m being fair there are many) was being around family who was very supportive and excited for us. We visited Ez’s parents a couple times and my sister for Easter.

What happens when Uncle Ez comes for a visit.

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Twenty-six weeks

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Birthday for Soren!

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 Our families threw a couple of fun showers with all the silly games and tasty treats. Everyone made us feel so special and cared for. We received so much support and gifts for the babe. My sister calls it the modern day equivalent to living in a village – looking out for the mother-to-be. I love thinking of it this way. 

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What happens when a boy attends an all girl shower.

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My parents had wanted to take us out for an engagement dinner back in the day, but because we had a very short engagement it never happened. So instead a year-and-a-half later they took us all out to celebrate the baby. It’s not often that we’re all together!

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The kids loved the “baby sake,” otherwise known as Sprite.

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Listening with my fetoscope to the baby’s heartbeat.

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Twenty-nine weeks

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Another shower with Iowa family!

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Spring has sprung!

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View behind our apartment. We literally live on the other side of the tracks.

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Our dear friend Chris (affectionately known as AK47) whom we met in Malawi arrived back to the US and his first stop was in Minneapolis for a conference. So very serendipitous how to world works some times. So he stayed with us for a night and we heard about the rest of his travels and future plans.

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Always a pleasure to hang with my nephews and stuff our faces with frozen yogurt. Indulging my pregnancy sweet tooth.

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Birthdays and the beginning of summer!

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There are no words needed for this picture. This is just how Levi rolls.img_7760

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Thirty-three weeks

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One more trip to Champaign before the baby comes. Memorial day weekend! I was feeling particularly lazy on this trip and took lots of naps. We did make it to the lake but you wouldn’t catch me swimming in this freezing water. Kids are crazy!

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Thirty-four weeks

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Soren’s 5th grade graduation!!

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My Aunt asked to take a few maternity pictures of us. We were given quite the photo shoot.

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Thirty-five weeks

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Thirty-six weeks

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Thirty-seven weeks

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While it was a hard few months for both of us transitioning in so many emotional and physical ways (and trying to be supportive and positive for Ez who was working a crazy 75 hours a week), it was also an incredibly spiritual time. It was a time to practice acceptance and gratitude. I may not have always done this with grace but I made an effort to be happy. After all, I had a special being growing in me, a loving family, my health and the ability to transform my thoughts. If only I’d try.

Thirty-eight weeks

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Thirty-nine weeks

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Preparing for Zuo Yuezi (aka: Sitting Moon). Cooking up congee, soups and healing herbal decoctions for the month after labor.

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Three days to go…

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Just waiting now…

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July 15th – two days late and the night I go into labor

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road trippin’ usa

“I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.” – Jack Kerouac

After the holidays and visits back-and-forth between Minnesota and Iowa, we were in the mood for a road trip. Either that or, let’s be frank, we were reminded how much we detest Midwest winters. So we decided to hit the road. We’d have a little fun in warmer climates and potentially job hunt in sunnier cities. We would try to find a new home before our little bambino arrived.

All aboard!
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We may be Yankees but we have a love for the South. The was our first bonefide cross-country trip together. So with Diesel in tow (in a pimped out back seat I may add) we started towards Louisiana with a quick stop thru Kansas City and Memphis and kept south down the old Mississippi River road.

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Dangers of the South: Moon shine, Elvis and me with a gun.
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We’ve never met a diner we didn’t like. Who cares if the tea is Lipton and the creamer is oil.

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Fifteen weeks

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A week in New Orleans because no trip south is worth skipping Creole Country. We were right in time for some pre-Mardi Gras festivities.

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