Birth Stories Write Up

I recently had both of my birth stories featured on This West Coast Mommy... 

Going into my first birth I wasn't sure what to expect. You can read all the birth stories in the world and you will quickly realize just how different every single one manages to be. For me, birth apparently looks like a nighttime water breaking, followed by a steady progression of contractions, and then an hour of pushing. The biggest difference between my births was the time that it took to progress; about 11 hours the first time, only 2.5 the second!
{Click here to continue reading...}

I felt much more prepared for round two. Though a quick look at birth stories can tell you just how different second labors can be, I at least went in knowing that my body was ready and able, and that this child would be coming out! What I didn't know was just how much faster it would be this time around, in all ways!

[...] Besides the actual labor story, people are always filled with questions when it comes to surrogacy. After the birth of my daughter, Gwenivere, we pretty quickly realized that our urge for children was satisfied. We were one and done. There was something else though, in the back of my mind, a lingering feeling that I wasn't done being pregnant. There were numerous reasons, some selfless (knowing how amazing it was to have a baby, I wanted to help others to have that who couldn't do it themselves for whatever reason) and some absolutely selfish (I didn't think my first pregnancy would be my only pregnancy! I wanted to go through one enjoying it as my last). In the end it came down to much soul searching, a willing and supportive husband, and a fabulous match through an agency.

{Click here to continue reading...}

How lucky I was to have two amazing births, to bring into this world two amazing kids!
And how happy I was to write about those experiences again!


A Visit with My Baby Brother

Last Friday Ethan and Elise came out for a visit to Denver. We haven't seen them since our tattoo weekend, so it was a wonderful treat.

They arrived on Friday afternoon. We showed them around our neighborhood, including our favorite section of Cherry Creek Trail. 

The next day we took them out to see Red Rocks (of course, right?!).

We can't help it, its just such a fun, pretty park to visit. With great views, good hikes even in the winter, and great food waiting right below, its an easy choice for people's first visit out.

We relaxed and hung out for the rest of the day, including Ethan and I both taking time for homework.

Sunday we headed into the city. We didn't have many specific places in mind, just an idea to show them Denver. The one place we did hit up... VooDoo Donuts! I have been wanting to try them forever, and everyone else was excited about it too.

I forgot a before, but this is a during (we got a dozen):

And this is the after:

They were dang good. Gwen agreed, she was quite pleased with her pick.

After that we walked around Larimer Square and the 16th Street Mall, to help burn off the donuts; then drove by the blue Bear, and the Mile High Field and the Pepsi Center.

Monday it was time for them to head back home. We dropped Gwen off at school in the morning, then headed to the airport. It was sad to see them off, but I'm so glad we got to have a fun weekend with them!


Semi-Wordless Wednesday {so grown up}

She wanted a hot chocolate, and I agreed as a treat. 
Seeing her walking around like this though, I had a sudden flash of the teenage years. 
Slow down, child of mine...


Geek Alert... {X-Files}

I'm sorry for this, I really am... but I just have to let it out. Is anyone else here an X-Phile?!

Little FOX Mulder and I, all ready to watch!

I had been counting down to the reboot for ages! As of tonight, its over (cue the mini violins!), and I want more! It was so great to revisit some of my favorite characters, extend our favorite alien story line, and find new monster stories to enjoy! Please tell me I'm not the only one out there (tell me I'm not alone... ha).

What was your favorite story from the reboot?  [I love the lizard guy with the dog. Too funny. And Home Again for tugging on the heartstrings!]  What about from the original series?  [Too many to pick, but Humbug, Home, and Darkness Falls have always been some of my favorites, for very different reasons.]

Even after all these years, I still want to believe!


Birthday Interview: Year 6

You can find the preview years here

Me: “Hey Gwenie, how old are you now?”

Gwen: 6! 

Me: “Who’s your best friend?”

Gwen: Dominic, Riley [new friend here in CO!], Romie, Jordan, Miss Katie, my swimming teachers, you [aww], Daddy, and Auntie Ro, Pat, GG, and Casey, and Nonnie and Papa, and Nana and Pop-Pop.... That's it!

Me: “What is your favorite thing to do?”

Gwen: Play Legos, swim, play with friends, and go to Chuck E Cheese!

Me: “What is your favorite color?”

Gwen: Every color except for pink and purple.

Me: “Do you have a favorite food?”

Gwen: Junk! And pasta and rice.

Me: “What is your favorite thing to do with mommy and daddy?”

Gwen: Go to Chuck E. Cheese, swim, and play house.

Me: “What is your favorite toy?”

Gwen: Everything except for girl stuff.

Me: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Gwen: Everything except for a yoga teacher or an army guy.

Me: “What makes you happy?”

Gwen:  When you guys let me do stuff that I want, and my birthday and Christmas when I get presents! 

Me: “What is something that makes you sad?”

Gwen: When you don't let me do what I want, and when I miss my friends [in PA].

Me: “Do you have a favorite movie?”

Gwen: Every movie except for girl movies. 

Me: How about a favorite TV show?”

Gwen: Mickey Mouse, Jake [and the Neverland Pirates], Clone Wars.

Me: “Do you have a favorite book?”

Gwen:  Harry Potter and Junie B. Jones. 

Me: What do you like to learn about?”

Gwen: Lots of stuff! 

Me: “What are you excited about for your birthday?”

Gwen: That I get presents and cake, and get to go to Chuck E Cheese! And our breakfast.

Me: “Where’s your favorite place to go when we leave the house?”

Gwen: Chuck E Cheese and swimming, and fun stuff like that. 

Me: “What is your teacher's name?”

Gwen:  Mrs. Doughterty  

Me: “Do you have a favorite treat?”

Gwen:  Every junk! Lollipops, ice cream, cake, and creamsicles. 

Me: “What’s your favorite animal?”

Gwen: Every animal!

Me: “Do you have a favorite song?”

Gwen: Uptown Funk, Bad Blood, Rock and Roll All Night, and We're Not Going to Take It! 

Me: “What’s your favorite thing to wear?”

Gwen: My Star Wars clothes and the dress that Nonnie got me. 

Me: “What are you looking forward to this year?”

Gwen:  Going back to Pennsylvania and going to Cape Cod!

Me: "Me too girlfriend, me too!"


Wordless Wednesday {My Favorite 6 Year Old}

Happiest Birthday to my very favorite 6-year old!!!
Breakfast at a favorite diner.

Home to put together a new Lego set.

Out to Chuck E Cheese where we win some new trinkets.

What is a birthday without cake?

I love you Gwenie. I hope all your wishes come true!


6 years

Dear Gwenivere,
Tomorrow you turn 6 years old, and my mind can barely grasp that. The things that you've dealt with in the past year are enough to throw anyone off, and while you've had your rough times, you've adapted remarkably well. You are bright, fun, silly, sassy, and energetic.

Your birthday last year came right as my maternity leave was ending from birthing a surrobaby; we took the day to celebrate, then that week I headed back to work, back to yoga, back to all the things that had been on pause in our life. Since then, life has really picked up speed.

You got dragged along on our endless house-hunting adventures, something that both excited and scared you. You were excited for a new house, with a little more room, and for going to school with all your daycare/preschool friends when Kindergarten started in the fall. But you didn't love the idea of leaving our house, the only home you'd ever known, and all our amazing neighbors. But you kept a good spirit.

We all know how that turned out. In August, we asked you how you felt about moving to Colorado; and you were game for the challenge. None of us could know all that it would mean. The excitement, the new experiences, and the loneliness and ache for our family and friends left behind. 

Your Nonnie and Papa; Auntie Ro, Uncle Pat, GG and Casey; our neighbors Joe, Sue, Pat, and Kathy (as well as everyone else on the block!); your friends and teachers from the daycare/school you'd been attending since you were 12 weeks old. You miss them with a passion that bursts out of you sometimes, an amalgamation of sadness and anger and emotions inexpressible.

You talk about our old house with a mixture of melancholy and wistfulness.

But there have been amazing parts too. You and I have so much more time together (both a trial and a blessing!), and we've gotten to do some amazing exploring out here in the West. You've become quite the traveler.

You also started Kindergarten! You were nervous, but so excited about the prospect, and you have done so well. While you sometimes say that all your friends are in Pennsylvania, we've been assured by your Kindergarten teacher that you have lots of friends in class, and that everyone likes you. You are picking up more and more sight words, and are great at sounding out. You love math, and are fascinated by animals, as well as other cultures and languages.

You took up swim lessons, and they've lived up to all I thought they would be for my little fish. You continue to love hiking, camping, and all those wonderful outdoor activities that are so prevalent out here.

At six you are completely into Legos: Star Wars, Scooby Doo, cityscapes, it doesn't matter, if its a Lego, you will build with it. Your favorite things to watch, read, and pretend are Star Wars, Harry Potter, the Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings. You love cartoons (Wild Kratts, Arthur, CyberChase, Word Girl, and these Tinkerbell movies in particular), reading (comic books, Harry Potter, Junie B. Jones), and playing imagination games about super heroes.

You still love frozen green beans, your favorite breakfast is pancakes, your favorite lunch is soup, and you would eat pasta for every meal if I let you. You love berries, apples, and clementines; as well as steak, pork chops, and chicken breast. Tacos are one of your favorite dinners. You have a definite sweet tooth, looking forward to your daily "junk," with your favorites right now being ice cream, creamsicles, pez, lollipops, starbursts, and chocolate frogs. You are finally getting braver about food, eating things you previously wouldn't, and being willing to try new things most of the time.

You're long and lean, and seem to be stretched a little bit more every morning! You are now 33.4lbs, and 44.5" tall. We had your 6 year check up with our new doctor's office last week. They noted that you are healthy and spirited! And *knock on wood* you seem to have outgrown your need for the inhaler when you get sick!

It may seem boring to talk about favorite foods or how much you weigh, but I want to remember all there is to remember about you at this age. It is trying, but I also recognize just how fast it is going.

Right now you have fears about being alone, thanks in good part to having your first "new house experience," so you want one of us (me, Daddy, or Daisy) with you all the time... but already you do so much on your own that you didn't before, and I know the time will come sooner rather then later, that you don't need me around. A time will come of wanting privacy, of independence and growing up, and you won't cling to me and beg for me to come with you; instead you'll tell me to leave you alone. So this moment, right now, no matter how hard it is, I want to remember it. All the silly little details of it.

Already growing so much... this year you started taking on chores. You feed Daisy every night, put away your clothes after we do laundry, and are responsible for cleaning up your toys. You happily and readily sort through your stuff after Christmas to pull out items you don't play with anymore to pass them on to someone who will.

You also hit a milestone this year, with nighttime potty training. You've been completely potty trained (during the day) for years now, but just weren't there at night. You slept too soundly and couldn't hold it the whole night. Until just two months or so ago, you could! How excited you were to finally make that jump. After a week of dry diapers, we just stopped using them! And we haven't looked back. Diapers are now a thing of the past.

Daisy continues to be your favorite. You love walking her, feeding her, and just being around her as much as possible. You snuggle her on the couch, in our bed in the mornings, on the floor... wherever you can! You play tug with her, rub her belly, and are just generally happier when near her or touching her. Daisy doesn't quite have the passion for you that you do for her, but the bigger you get, the more she wants to be near you.

Gwen the past few month have been hard for us. There has been so much growth, but as we all know, growth can be challenging. I want you to know, that no matter the struggles, no matter the upsets and fights and misunderstandings, my love for you is the most intense thing I have ever experienced. I hope you always know that I'm here for you, that I love you, and that I always support you.

Love you "too much,"


Yoga Training, One Month In

Its been just about a month since I started yoga teacher training. The past month has been fun, exciting, and busy - oh so busy! A lot of weeks it feels like the days are a constant race: Gwen to school, yoga class or homework and chores or appointments, pick Gwen up, lunch, her homework, chores and errands and appointments and more homework, swim class twice a week, yoga teacher training twice a week. Then a glorious, clear Friday afternoon; and a whole weekend (unless it is the one weekend a month we have training).

Still, it is fascinating, and I am learning so much. History, origin, writings and theories. This week we moved onto really breaking down the poses, anatomy and alignment. My understanding of what yoga really is has grown by leaps and bounds, as has my appreciation of it.

My physical practice has benefited too. As has my general well-being. When you are working this hard to better your physical practice, and learn how to better yourself inside, you start noticing a lot more what you are putting into your body and how you are treating it. While sleep still needs work, my eating habits and general health practices have improved immensely.

Compass pose with dog, a work in progress.

I look forward to sharing everything I'm learning with my own students one day.
I cannot wait to see what the next 4 months will bring.


In the Interest of Accountability

There's not much better for accountability then letting others know about your goals. I wrote in another post about self care goals, well I'd like to share them with you.

Here are the things I've set out for myself, to build up to over the next few weeks. (Note that the number in parenthesis is the times per week I'm aiming for): 

1.  Rise by 7:15 during the week.

2.  Oil pull in a.m., before brushing teeth (6-7x a week).

3.  Green smoothie for either breakfast or lunch (to up my greens), and mostly water to drink (at least 5x a week).

4.  Yoga practice in a.m., even if its just a round of Surya Namaskar B (5x). 

5.  Do homework, either yoga or doula (5x). 

6.  Get 3 additional servings of fruits and veggies (7x). 

7.  One small treat only, and only if "beneficial" (aka because the treat itself will bring me great joy, not just because I feel like I need a sweet). 

8.  Reestablish oil cleansing routine (1-2x). 

9.  Floss!  (6x)

10.  Walk daily!

That's it!

Nothing too crazy, but a healthy body and mind depend on what food/time/energy you are putting into yourself. The better I feel, the more engaged and patient I can be for my family, and the more I can give to my yoga and doula pursuits!

I've been working on these for about 2 weeks so far, and its been going well. So wish me luck.