To read the story of our precious Harlynn Renae, start here and follow the "next" links at the end of each post. Thank you for coming and sharing with us in this journey.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Peace, Perfect Peace.

It's funny how when things don't go as planned, we get pretty bent out of shape. I had planned to work 6:30 to 3:00 yesterday for instance. On my way to work, I noticed how bright, full, and close the moon was. It was stunning and I said out loud, "It is absolutely beautiful. Good morning, Moon!" I was glad for the sight. It took my mind off how I had been feeling since the night before. Headache, "sloshy" stomach, just not feeling right. I got to work right on time and didn't feel exceptionally better. I was able to be productive, however, before a calendar reminder popped up on my screen. Employee meeting. Man...I forgot about that.

When the time was right I waddled, painfully (these darn hips) down stairs to the big room where our twice-monthly meetings are held. I grabbed a seat along the outside wall, towards the front. I tend to hear better when the sound can bounce directly off the walls into my ears, and there is a little more leg room along the outside of the room. Plus, I wanted to leave the table space for someone who would help themselves to a plate of food. Since I had already eaten, I didn't need the table space. During the meeting I still wasn't feeling "right". I can't really explain it. You know when you work out and then chug a bunch of water immediately after, and your stomach feels like a half-filled water balloon? That's what my stomach felt like. My head was still hurting. I was going to tough it out, but I kept replaying my last appointment in my head where my doctor told me, "The moment you feel sick, you call me." Then I heard myself telling her, "I will. I promise." That's about when I felt the first one. A contraction. Not "oh my baby is moving and therefore my uterus is getting tight." It was "Lord Almighty I FEEL Eve's pain in my abdomen!" The meeting was an hour long, and I sat through three of those contractions. I didn't feel like I could tough it out anymore. I had to go to the doctor.

I waddled, painfully, back up to my office and shut the door. I called the nurse and left a message of what I was feeling and even said something like, "I just need someone to tell me I'm over reacting." I called my husband and told him I might need to go in, and asked if he would be able to take me. To my relief, he said yes. I told him I would keep him posted. The nurse called me back within mere minutes, and after asking me more questions and consulting the doctor, told me to come in. I called Brent again, and he was on his way. I called in one of my office mates and went over everything that was on my desk. "Don't do anything until we know for sure whether I'm coming back or not, but just in case, here's what needs to be done." It's tax season. I'm the tax lady. All things tax cross my desk. I'm kind of a big deal this time of year.

I was trying not to raise concern in the office. I didn't want them to think I wasn't coming back until we knew for sure that was the case. When Brent came in and bellowed, "Are you turning on your out of office?" I shot him a look of panic and mouthed "SHUSH!" I went in to my boss' office (who was fresh back from vacation) and said, "I'm going to the doctor for a little bit. I'll keep you posted on if I can come back or not." The look on his face was a cross between "Well crap" and "I knew it." With that, I was out the door.

I had another contraction in the van on the way over. Brent dropped me off at the front door and I waited for him inside so we could ride the elevator to the birthing center together. Once on the right floor we walked over to be buzzed in, and there I went, into the triage room that neighbored where I had spent the morning two Saturdays ago. "Really I'm just trying to meet my insurance deductible before the baby comes, that's why I'm here all the time." I told the nurse. I put on the stunning cotton gown and the Cinderella slippers (with the rubber stickies on the bottom. They're not much to look at, but they are some of the most comfortable slipper socks you'll ever slip your feet into). I headed to the bathroom with a cup - my favorite activity. Afterwards the nurse stuck me with an IV needle to draw some blood samples, and leave in my arm "just in case". She was good, she got it on the first try. Three years ago, it was six tries, and the most painful part of my hospital experience. Time for the blood pressure. I closed my eyes, I took a deep breath, and was telling my blood pressure to be low. None of that worked. It was high. I laid on my side. She took it again a few minutes later. It was high. Wait a always goes down when I lay on my side.

This is it. I'm not leaving this hospital today. I didn't look at Brent. I couldn't.

I was having a few more contractions, even though they weren't registering on the little contraction monitor. I'm pretty sure the thing was broken, because I could feel them just fine. The nurse said the doctor wanted me to have an ultrasound to make sure baby was okay. An ultrasound was the determining factor three years ago in me being admitted. Here we go.

As we were waiting for the elevator to go down to the ultrasound room, I had another contraction. The nurse felt my stomach. "Oh yes, you're definitely tight all over. That's the real deal." We rode down to the room and got situated. The ultrasound began and the tech made the comment, "Your baby has dropped." She said something about the bladder and where it normally is, in comparison to where it was with relation to the baby, I don't know...medical jargon. All I could think was, "My bladder doesn't look nearly as full as it feels." Baby was measuring at about 36 1/2 weeks, even though I'm considered 35. My doctor has told me on more than one occasion, however, that I'm probably a few days ahead of where they think I am. It hit me - a huge, and painful, contraction. I was grimacing. I closed my eyes. The nurse asked me something, and I didn't hear what it was but I answered "Yup." Finally it passed. The tech commented, "Wait a minute...your baby dropped again. Even more. She's dropped since we started this." I know. I felt it! I was glad it happened that way, because the nurse and Brent realized I wasn't faking it. I wasn't making up contraction pains.

When the ultrasound wrapped up, I was wheeled back up to the tiny triage room. The on-call doctor came in to go over everything with me. This happened to be the doctor who was with me all through my pregnancy with Haley. She was very familiar with my history, and it warmed my heart and was an absolute comfort to have her in the room reviewing everything. She told me something I was not - at all - expecting to hear. "Val, your labs are beautiful. Everything a pregnancy should be. Absolutely beautiful. You don't have preeclampsia." ...Praise God... I uttered that out loud. She said, "Yes, absolutely." She explained everything in detail and told me that symptoms of headache and sloshy stomach sounded more like a flu-like virus. After all, it's going around. Still. When she described how "beautiful" my pregnancy was (and confirmed how big the baby was, over 6 pounds) I teared up. Sure my blood pressure may be higher than ideal, but you know what folks? I have a normal pregnancy. Not only that, I have a "beautiful", normal pregnancy. I think that gives me just cause to get choked up. She did instruct, however, since I have gestational hypertension at this point and since I was experiencing the real-deal contractions, I am to be on full bed rest. No more work. I wasn't really paying attention to that, though, because I had just been told I was having a beautiful normal pregnancy. Those words hung in my ears for a long time.

Once I was discharged (three and a half hours after going in), I went back to work to hand in my bed rest note, and to turn my out-of-office on. A coworker made the comment that my demeanor was much different (better) than it had been that morning. Yes...because I'm fine. Baby is fine. And I wasn't expecting at least one of those to be the case. We came home and I laid down until it was time for a massage I had scheduled a month ago. I will tell you, that is the absolute best activity you can participate in while on prescribed bed rest.

The day didn't go at all how I had planned. I didn't work a full day. Bummer. Then, I wasn't admitted to the hospital as I thought for sure I would be. Wait, what? Then! Then, I was told I was having a beautiful pregnancy! I never expected that. After the doctor said that, I turned to Brent and said, "Hey, that means we can maybe do this again!"
"You mean have another child? Oh, Val." What? I thought it was clever, at the very least.

Today is my first full bed rest day. I was up early because I'm used to waking up early. I got to get Haley out bed which I haven't done for a couple of weeks. I sat at the table and ate my oatmeal and toast. Now I'm here, feet up, on my side, and thanking God. Since yesterday, I have had a sense of peace wash over me like I haven't felt in I don't know how long. God is good, He is faithful, and even if I don't make it to the end of April, I'm ready when this baby is! She's healthy, I'm healthy, and I'm confident that won't change if she comes before April 30th. We'll see how my appointment goes on Tuesday - in APRIL - and in the meantime, I will revel in the fact that even when I freak out, get bent out of shape, and let my plans dictate my peace, my God doesn't falter. Doesn't change. Doesn't abandon.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Life's A Beach

Three Dog Night - one of my favorite musical groups - has it's own Pandora station under my login. I'm listening to Shambala right now. I have no idea what the song means, or even what half the lyrics are, but I love this song. I love most of the Three Dog Night songs that play on this station. I am a child of the 80s with a soul of the 70s, the ambition of the 60s, and the style of the 50s. No seriously, I have the most Plain Jane style of my generation. (Megan G, after I lose baby weight and then some, when are you coming to help me shop?)

It's the music of my parents, who listened to the music of their parents, and makes me wonder what Haley (and Cletus-the-she-fetus) will find classic comfort tunes when they recall the music of their parents. Will it be Three Dog Night? New Kids On The Block? Third Day? (Or to Brent's chagrin, John Michael Montgomery? Don Williams? George Jones?) I don't know. I just hope to shout it isn't the Dora the Explorer theme song...heaven help us I cannot stand so many of today's kids shows. Dora, Diego, Caillou, Yo Gabba Gabba - these are awful.

I'm brain dumping now because there are a few things on my mind that I don't want to deal with. Ever have those? I had to take a mental health break this afternoon, catch a long nap, and revel in the rays of sunshine the day provided. It's still winter outside (even though the first day of spring supposedly was six days ago), so to see the sun shining and creating puddles of water where snow used to be is certainly refreshing. Instead of working out my struggles through words, I'm going to tell a story that makes me laugh. You probably won't find it funny because you weren't there, but every time I think about it or tell it, it cracks me up. I'm also just going to apologize to my sister right now.

I have seasonal allergies. I've had them most my life. Put me anywhere with pollens, plants, dusts, (or most dogs) and my sinuses go absolutely haywire. I would venture a majority of the population suffers from the same. Thankfully, however, this is my only allergic suffering. Granted, I'm allergic to penicillin and ceftin-drugs, but you only need to retain that factoid in the event you are with me in a medical emergency. My sister, however, has some bizarre allergies. She is allergic to cold. If she has any skin exposed in frigid temperatures, she will break out in hives. Hives. From the cold. She is also allergic to Zuma Beach sand. I'm laughing already.

It was 1998, I think. Sometime close to it anyway. We had gone to California to visit family, and I have no idea if it was for a special reason, or just a vacation. We drove from Wyoming, to southern California, up to Oregon, and back to Wyoming. It was a long trip. Long.

When Veronica and I were growing up, we lived six blocks from the beach. We could see the ocean from our kitchen window. Mom sometimes took us to the pier before school. We were valley girls. Beach bums. There was one place I always wanted to be, and it was the beach. (Well, really Taco Bell, but the beach was a very close second.) We grew up with the sand. We grew up with the waves. We grew up with the salty air and the fog. It was in our blood. Literally, because the salty air gave me nosebleeds all the time. I digress.

We left SoCal and headed north to Santa Maria to see Dad's old work stomping grounds, his old boss, and our second family. Before we got too far, though, we stopped at Zuma Beach. It was quiet, it was peaceful, and it was the one thing we wanted to do while we were in California: spend time on the beach.

I was having "womanly issues" at the time, of course, because every time I have the opportunity to have fun in water, I end up with crippling cramps and the inability to enjoy anything. I rolled up my jean pant legs and walked in the wet sand and even dug up a few sand crabs, but mostly sat and wriggled sand between my toes while laughing hysterically at my sister. She, in her 14 year old youth, was trying to learn to body surf. Dad was trying to teach her. Most of his time, however, was spent telling her to stand up as she continually found herself underneath the waves. She bobbed up spitting and hacking and was ready to go again. It was hilarious. Mom had stayed back, but if she were next to me she would have told me to stop laughing. I think Veronica even yelled at me to stop laughing at her a time or two. I couldn't help it. It was like she was a weeble. That kept choking on salt water. I will tell you my sister became much more graceful and athletic post-beach-visit. And she's always been more athletic than me, so really I have no room to poke fun at her. Remember this example?

I took some pictures of myself - which if facebook had existed then, I'm sure would have made awesome profile pictures - and soaked up the California sunshine. Finally Veronica had had enough, and she came and joined me in the sand. She did the customary sand burying - covering her legs and letting it run through her hands. Since she had spent considerable time in the water (and under the water) the sand was sticking to her. Everywhere. Within no time, she began to itch. Like crazy. The look that crossed her eyes...I wouldn't do it justice to try to describe. I could tell she was uncomfortable, and I could tell she needed immediate relief. This was serious.

Off behind the shore were some public showers. She made a beeline for them and I followed to offer moral support. (She was more athletic than me at this point too, because I was winded when I got to the shower well after she did.) "Valerie. Valerie. It itches so bad. I just want the sand off!" (My sister is the one person on the planet not allowed to call me "Val". Something about the way she says it is like nails on a chalkboard.) As she relished in the water, we saw them start to appear. Hives. Everywhere. She had to ride up the central coast covered with hives. Hives that were brought on because she sat in some sand. On a beach. And it wasn't even cold.

I'm not sure what made me laugh harder - watching her jump the waves (or watching them jump over her, rather) or the fact that sand, on God's beautiful shore, had caused her such discomfort. Probably a little of both. I'm sure most of it was relief I didn't have the same experience. I don't believe it's ever happened to her since, and she's been in sand on a few beaches in the years gone by.

The good news in this is I guess I don't have to knit her legwarmers for her next beach visit...The bad news is she can never visit the shores of the Red River in the winter time...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

We Survived!

Back in the day when Brent and I were partially brain-dead and mostly self-centered (read: we didn't want to have any kids, ever), one of the several hundred reasons I gave was because I could not handle little kid birthday parties. I couldn't handle lots of kids in a concentrated area, being loud, and generally kid-like. Nothing but sound logic, right?

Today was Haley's 3rd birthday party - and for the first time, we had her party somewhere other than our home, and actually invited kids rather than just adults we wanted to visit with. Today we got the best of both worlds - good kids, with good friends as parents. I will tell you where we had the party is a great place as far as children's venues. For parties...they could use a little help. But still, I didn't have to clean up afterwards, and there was so much to keep the kids entertained, I wasn't responsible for coming up with games or activities. Win!

We had eight children present including Haley, and two other kids with two moms who didn't speak English tried to join our party a few times. I lost a couple olives from my veggie tray to them, but no harm, no foul. It was simple - the kids ran around and played for an hour. Then they colored and did a craft (for five minutes before they were done with that). We opened presents, had a cupcake, and played some more. I got to sit down for quite a bit of it, and we only had one organizational fatality - when Brent threw away my #3 candle. Thankfully I wasn't having an overly hormonal day, and no tears were shed. Plus, with everything the man has done over the last several months, I can't fault him for making one mistake. God bless him, he is our superman in the flesh. Even if he throws away reusable candles. (This reminds me of when Mom absent-mindedly put the large green number candle in the dishwasher. Remember how we thought it was possessed for leaving green flecks over everything, Mom?)

Haley got lots of cool new loot (and thank you to her cool friends who spoiled her!) and has been playing with everything since awakening from her post-party nap. I don't know how she recovered from the party with a less than two-hour nap. I, for one, could have used at least another two hours of sleep, and I didn't run or play as hard as any of the kids did. Or at all, in fact. But what a day - what a milestone - and what a blessing, seriously, to not be stuck with the mess. I mean, pure genius.

So here we sit, recovered and able to say we survived our first real kid-centered party. My precious baby girl is 3 years old, I have no idea where the time went, and she seems so grown up and sophisticated. She was so tired after her party that she let me cradle her for quite a while. Brent came up to me and asked, "Are you just gonna revel in this for a while?" Yes. Yes I am. Best part of my day. It doesn't seem possible that it was already three years ago when I was doing kangaroo care in the NICU, cradling my not even three pound bundle, and longing for the day when I could see her run in to the room with a big smile on her face and say, "Mommy!" I blinked. And here we are. At that point, and all too soon. I still remember almost every detail of her birth, her NICU stay, and our first few nights at home with her. Then we rode a whirlwind to present day. It doesn't seem possible.

Thankfully Brent and I woke from our no-kids-ever-coma and we've been able to enjoy Haley for the last three years. Now we're adding to the mix with another one who will join us at any point over the next five weeks. (I think I'm the only one who thinks I can make it to 38 or 39 weeks. You watch, though!) We'll be having a few years of kid-centered birthday parties ahead of us. Not only for our girls' birthdays, but for their friends whose parties they may be invited to. I still don't do well with lots of little kids in a concentrated area, especially if they're being loud and generally kid-like. I'll tell you, though, to see Haley soaking up every minute of today was totally worth it. And it will be every time. Absolutely worth it.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

First The Worst. Second The Best?

I woke up first this morning, as has been the usual for Saturdays lately. I stayed in the warm, cozy bed, though, trying to get a few more snoozes in. A bit later, I was delighted when Brent got up to answer the demands being yelled from the other room by Little Miss. Eventually I decided I wasn't going back to sleep so I might as well get up. Of course my first stop after any time spent laying down, but especially first thing in the morning, was the bathroom.

I'll spare you details, more for my own attempt to maintain some level of decent modesty, but when I came out I stood looking at Brent, wondering what exactly I was going to tell him. He looked at me and could see the wheels turning (underneath the mat of some pretty incredible bed-head hair) and said, "What?...What?"
"Well...I think you might have to take me to the emergency room."

I wasn't anticipating saying those words, and I can tell you he wasn't anticipating hearing them. I called the hospital to speak to the on-call OB, who to my surprise got back to me within five minutes. I explained what was happening, he asked me some questions, and based on the information given he determined I should come in. "But don't hurry, because the roads are slick out there." Oh, right, because we got 4 inches of snow yesterday. In mid-March. Because this is our tropical paradise.

I don't think all three of us have ever been dressed and out of the house before 8 a.m. on a Saturday, so that was definitely a first for us today. Not sure why, but I was pretty proud of how we pulled ourselves together and out the door. The distraction of getting everyone ready was good for me. Once we were settled in the vehicle and driving down the street, I reached for Brent's hand. As he was driving and holding my hand, he started to pray out loud. That's about the time I started to cry. I didn't want another March preemie. I didn't want to be admitted to the hospital a few days before Haley's 3rd birthday. I didn't want to have the same thing happen as before. I just wanted a normal pregnancy. Normal delivery. Normal.

We were met at the door to the birthing center and ushered into a triage room. I put on the lovely gown and a nurse came in to check my blood pressure and gather other information. I couldn't see the monitor from where I was sitting, and no one was telling me what the blood pressure numbers were. So I asked.

...."High." Said the nurse.
I raised my eyebrows.
"150/94" she said.

I started having flashbacks. Being wheeled to a holding room. IV. Surgery. NICU. The nurse had moved on to the computer and was asking me questions about medication, history, etc. I came back to the present and answered them. It was hard to hear her petite little voice over the loud "chook-chook-chook" of the fetal heart monitor. Cletus-The-She-Fetus was busy trying to roll away from the monitors and would occasionally hit one dead on as she kicked. Brent looked at me, "Was that you?" No...that was her. She has a thing against cold gel and machines.

I was in the room for three hours. My labs came back free and clear. No pre-eclmapsia today. Thank you, Lord. In that time I was told to lay on my left side - a routine I was familiar with. The next blood pressure after laying on my side was 118/67. What a difference a shift in position makes. The doctor came in to examine me. At that point I wasn't sure I could handle actual child birth, because the little examination was pretty painful and I was making faces for quite a while. Turns out, I'm dilated 1.5 cm. That could certainly explain why I was experiencing what I was experiencing prior to calling. While it wasn't common per se, it fell within the range of normal. Sigh of relief. My blood pressure the next two times was the same low number. After going over my daily routine and him finding my activity level (rather, lack thereof) to be acceptable, I was being discharged.

Bed rest all weekend. Limited activity during the week. Work is fine, if I stay off my feet. Discharge paperwork also specifically stated, "Someone else needs to do the laundry and cleaning." I laughed a little. You've all seen me gush over my husband before and today is no different. He's in cleaning the kitchen right now. Because he has to? No. Because I can't. Because he loves me. Because he's freakin awesome. I pray my daughters - his daughters - are blessed to find a man as wonderful as he is.

I called my parents to tell them what had happened. Mom said we had to stop doing this to her. Both of her daughters have had anything but easy roads when it comes to childbirth. "I can't believe after all of this you would still consider having more." said Mom. I laughed.

The last time I was on bed rest, I was in the hospital, only allowed to get up to go to the bathroom. I had to wear compression socks and fetal monitors at all times. I remember after a few hours I was going crazy. Today, I'm at home, in my own clothes, and have limitations, yes, but more freedom as well. Six more weeks. Just six more weeks. Bake in there for six more weeks, Cletus.

...and thank you, God, today was what it was and nothing more. Please keep protecting this baby and this baby's mama.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Best Picture Goes To...

Today is day two of me being home sick. Wednesday night I was ambushed by congestion and a sore throat, and all ills have ignored the eviction notice and are trying to take up a more permanent residence within my pregnant, exhausted being. The plus side of all of this is I get to watch anything I want on Netflix. I'm no wild and crazy movie fanatic, so I mostly turn to documentaries. (Buzzkill...) I will tell you, though, watching these documentaries has opened my eyes to many a truth I wish I had known before entering my 30s. I might just homeschool Haley and her little sis and show them Netflix documentaries all day. Not really, but if I had learned earlier what I'm learning now - who knows? I might not be sick today! Or ever! Netflix = Best $8/mo ever spent.

It started with my sister (who is more of a hippie than I am, and I think I'm climbing the hippie ladder pretty swiftly) recommending The Business of Being Born. I reminded her that the first time I was pregnant, I made the mistake of watching the live birthing videos on (This resulted in me bursting in to tears and telling Brent I was going to stay pregnant forever, and the child within was not allowed to ever be the child-on-out.) I sat and watched TBOBB, and to my surprise (because I'm not a Ricki Lake fan, and she was the brain behind the film), I not only learned a lot, but it confirmed a lot of what I had already been questioning or thinking myself. Then, lo and behold, I see they came out with More Business of Being Born - four follow-up episodes after the film. I've now seen all five, still not a fan of Ricki Lake, and if the good Lord (and my husband...that'll be a tough one) allow me to get pregnant again, things will be done differently on my end. Things are being done differently this time around anyway, but they'll be done even more differently next time around. Regardless of where you are in your life-walk of having children, if you ever plan to birth one after today, go watch those.

Next, it was a Saturday night and Brent wanted to kill some time watching a movie. He was scrolling through the queue and asked me what I was in the mood for. He regretted asking that, I'm sure.
"I'm kind of in the mood for a good documentary." I answered.
....."Seriously?" he replied.
"Yes, seriously."
After an emphatic sigh and scrolling through the documentaries, he asked if anything was catching my eye.
"I kind of want to watch that farm one." I said.
....."Seriously?" as if I suddenly was going to reveal the whole thing had been a joke and I would say, "Just kidding! Let's watch Dumb and Dumber!"
He selected it, and pushed play. For the next hour and some minutes, we watched - mesmerized - Farmageddon. You know I've evolved over the years into a moderate food-hippie. (And please, my use of the word "hippie" means no offense to anyone who may be a hippie, doesn't like hippies, or whatever other negative stigma is associated with actual hippies. It's the only word I can think of, however, that captures my "against-the-norm-free-spirit" mentality without pinning me in any specific group.)

You see, I was raised by wonderful parents. They never made me eat my vegetables, except for the three times I remember gagging at the table and Mom accusing me of faking it. Mom hated (and still hates) to cook. Dinner for us was hot dogs, mac n cheese, beans and cornbread, or spaghetti. We usually had a roast on Sundays. That was the extent of cooking in our home, though. Otherwise, it was Burger King, Taco Bell, Mountain Mike's Pizza, Carl's Jr., You-Bee's Take N Bake Pizza, etc. We had take out a lot, and in 30 years, they still don't send vegetables home with their burgers or burritos. As I've gotten older, I've tried to add them to my own diet, but always lamented the fact that they looked so good yet tasted so awful.

That all changed when I was pregnant with Haley, and decided my children were going to eat healthier than I did. This also meant I needed to eat healthier than I did. Ugh. I started doing my own research and came to the conclusion that we would make a disciplined effort to consume organic fruits and veggies, and less processed food. I started buying farm-fresh eggs, organic milk, organic produce, and as much "all natural" meat our pocketbook could afford. It hasn't always been the tastiest result, but I'll tell you we're a lot better than we were (sans all goes straight to crap while I'm pregnant, unfortunately) and we are definitely more intentional about incorporating healthier options into our meals. The bonus is, I actually love to cook and if you ask my dad, husband, or brother-in-law, they'll attest I'm pretty good at it. (Bro-in-law asked Brent if he proposed to me after he'd had one of my meals.) We've been very intentional about buying only organic milk and produce, and have gone to great lengths to be able to afford it regularly, and incorporate it diligently into our diets. So back to the documentary.

Brent and I sat watching Farmageddon. We were disturbed at the end for different reasons. My husband is passionate about politics and the see the political influence on our food industry had him riled up. (I'm sure you've heard the phrase 'profits over people' - your tax dollars at work, ladies and gentlemen.) I was disturbed because here were these people trying to do the right, healthy thing, and they were being shut down and essentially bullied because...well, because they were food hippies.

Now I'm not going to get on a political soapbox, and you're not either by the way, because that's not my point in sharing all of this. If you get to be in my position, though, and find yourself wishing you had done things differently in your food consumption habits, I would recommend watching this and would encourage you to support your local farmers. Heck, I'm from Wyoming. 95% of my friends are farmers or are from a farming family. Farms are a big deal, and there's a lot of crooked stuff going on to regulate how they make their living to feed the masses. Support your local farmers. Okay, now for real I'm not getting on a soapbox. Again.

Once you watch Farmageddon, chase it down with Food Matters, Food Inc (if you can stomach it...I had to cover my eyes at least twice watching that one) and The Beautiful Truth. Why am I recommending these? I'm not sure, entirely. I've seen them all, I've had my eyes opened to things I wish I'd known about years ago, and I've been validated in wanting to buy local, organic foods for my family. (And in wanting to grow some of my own, which I've wanted to do for years, but haven't gotten around to doing yet...) I'm not trying to sway anyone one way or another. There are two sides to every story. Sometimes there are things a person learns and they think "why did no one tell me this sooner?" (i.e. "The School of Mines" is just that, not "The School of Minds"...this freakin' hearing loss and the embarrassing things I come up with in conversations...)

Now...if anyone has some yoga videos they'd recommend, I'd be up for that too. I will not, however, be rushing out to buy Birkenstock sandals or protesting for or against any event or cause I either support or disagree with. Let's be real - I'm a food hippie. Not an activist nut.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Calm Before The Storm

That title seems so dramatic, but really I'm using it quite literally. It's supposed to be a gorgeous winter day today (high near 30!!) and then come Monday we're supposed to get a storm, accumulating between 6 to 12 inches of snow. More snow. Yay. In addition, we're already at a 79% likelihood of significant ("major") flooding in our area this spring, so the additional snowfall will increase that as well. No rest for the weary in the land Mother Nature can't seem to find favor for. Hey Mama Nate - what'd we ever do to you? Like, besides pollute, develop, and all that stuff. Besides that, name one thing! Big bully...

Anyway - I just used an entire paragraph explaining my title choice, so obviously I have a lot of poignant things to say today.

Or not.

Last night I had the pleasure of spending the evening with some women who I've become very fond of since last January - my fellow 35 Under 35 alum. There was a game night at a woman's apartment, and a few of us got together for that. Granted, I turn in to a pumpkin fairly early these days, but let me say I stayed over there till nearly 10 p.m. Ten!! I had to leave before I lost all ability to focus, so I could make it home in one piece, but it was a lot of fun. There's something about getting together with the gals that just refuels a person. I had a blast, wish I could have stayed longer, and will be doing it again. I came home, holding my eyes open, and found the sweetest belated Valentine's gift waiting for me on the kitchen table. Brent had written entirely sweet sentiments for me in a very special card, and there on top were...wait for it...Cadbury Creme Eggs. You all know I'm addicted to these, and if I could live on them, I would find a way. So much for being a food-hippie. I will only buy organic, unless it's a Creme Egg. There's only one way to make those, and that's with rich, chemically-induced goodness. I love them. And I love my husband for knowing how much I love them. I went to bed in short order, heart full, after girl time and husband adoration. Perfect Friday night.

This morning was supposed to be my morning "off". I wanted to be the last one out of bed, not decide on breakfast...just take my sweet time with my awesome bed-head hair do and morning halitosis. The joys of mornings off. Of course, I was the first one awake, due to growing a human in my belly and having to pee every 10.7 minutes. I laid in bed and pretended to be asleep, but it soon became painful to do that and I had to get up. When I sauntered to the bathroom (after fixing my insanely wild bed-head hair do, by the way) I heard a voice calling from her bedroom, "I NEED TO GO POTTY!......HEY!" Brent got up with her and I proceeded to enjoy my morning off by putting laundry away and unloading and re-loading the dishwasher (I know how to relax, right?) before he asked me if he could take a nap. Apparently being awake for 20 minutes was too much. Someone (Brent) stayed up far too late playing a video game with his brother-in-law and father-in-law (my 57 year old father, mind you...) and was a little tired. I would like this video game a lot if I could use it as a clay pigeon for shot-gun target practice. But these guys revel in it and would play it every day for hours at a time if they could. So they can hear each other talk about how frustrating their opponents are, and how it is pure "bullcrap" that they ended up shot themselves. I don't...I just...what in the sam heck is with you guys?

You all know how crazy I am about my husband. Seriously, if you doubt the existence of a mighty God, just look at how this man has stayed with me (me) for 12 years. Brent as himself is living proof of the power of miracles. So I'm crazy about this man, and love him more than I can even express, and sometimes more than I can even feel at times. I was thinking the other day of how we're so different, and how we drive each other crazy sometimes, and yet can't imagine life without the other. Well, I'm speaking for him now. I'm sure he's imagined life without me before and was so struck by the calm and quiet, he didn't know what to do with himself, so had to come back to the reality that is my crazy. Anyway. Take, for instance, mornings. When it comes to mornings, and I have always been this way, I need dark, and quiet. I open drawers and doors and quietly as possible, I pick things up and set them down as gingerly as I can, so as not to make a racket in the least. It's not because I'm trying to be courteous, it's because I can't stand noise in the morning. Don't talk to me, don't expect me to talk, don't turn on the radio or the television, and for the love of all things sane and sacred, DO NOT turn on a light. I have a transition time of at least an hour before I can say I am partially functional. Fully functional comes much, much later in the morning. You think I'm exaggerating, but this is my reality.

Then there's Brent.

Brent needs to not only have the radio on in the morning, but it has to be talk (sports) radio, and has to be blaring at least 34987348907 decibels. He makes his way to the radio by yanking open and slamming shut the dresser drawers, clearing his throat, sometimes even - don't make me say it - whistling. He walks (with far too heavy a step for the early morning) through the house turning on every light he can find, whether he needs it on or not. (Um hello, we have a planet to be conscious of, energy waster.) Yet, we've been married and I've been dealing with the polar opposite of my universe for nearly 10 years now. Does it drive me crazy? Please. Does it snow in North Dakota? Of course it drives me crazy. But I'm more crazy about the man than his oddities make me. How does that classic song go....I'd rather live in his world than live without him in mine. Even if he sounds like a bull in a china closet and turns on every light he can find a switch for.

So now he's napping, I'm taking too long to type this because I'm playing with Little Miss between keystrokes, and it's not the morning off I imagined. It is, however, a beautiful day, a beautiful morning, a beautiful life - and I will soak it all in gladly. God is good, and this day is proof of that. After all, there's a storm comin.