“You’re in the trenches.” I’ve heard this phrase many times in the last year, and I’ve not really known what to make of it until recently. It is typically used to refer to parents who have multiples under the age … Continue reading
I’ve had two amazing births. Neither one happened naturally, but I’ve loved them both just the same. And though both of my babies do things on their own time and in their own way, each one made it easy on me when it came to their delivery.
In July, 2012, Kyle and I became parents when Judah was born. And, as many of you know, between July 2013 to May 2014, we experienced three miscarriages. (You can read their stories here, here, and here). After going through so much heartache, we came to the decision that we would try one last time for another baby. Thank goodness we did, and thank God that His timing is perfect.
In early May, Judah and I surprised Kyle with the news that I was expecting again. With the history we had, going to her initial ultrasound appointment was quite the roller coaster of emotion. Thankfully, we heard a strong little heartbeat and saw our girl for the first time.
I did not enjoy being pregnant this time around. Though I didn’t experience morning sickness, it was physically very different than my previous pregnancies. My hips were in so much pain that it was hard for me to walk some days. I couldn’t sit on the floor and play with my son, which was devastating. I couldn’t sleep a majority of nights, and I was constantly exhausted. Not to mention the “what ifs” that come from experiencing three failed pregnancies. Thankfully being pregnant is temporary and the reward is so much greater than the short time of discomfort.
Lennon’s due date was January 7. She was positioned very low in my pelvis, and I had been experiencing early labor for weeks. This, among other factors led to an induction. I remember my doctor scheduling it and feeling like I had failed. I wanted to know what it was like to go into labor naturally, be able to work through it at home for a majority of the time, and then rush to the hospital while yelling at my husband to drive more carefully, yet with lightning speed in the car 😉 But honestly, feeling guilty about it was so stupid. She was full term, and for some reason, my body requires a little jump start to get the party started. Besides, I was already at 4 cm, almost completely effaced, and I have gone from five to 10 cm in the snap of a finger and I’m pretty sure Kyle didn’t want to deliver this baby in our living room. It turned out that my induction was necessary anyway, because my doctor tried to break my water only to find out it had been leaking for an unknown amount of time.
On January 7, we headed to the hospital early in the morning to have our baby. I was hooked up to all my machines and my drip started at 8 AM. About an hour into it, I was asked if I wanted an epidural. I said no because though my contractions were progressing quickly, again, I felt that guilt of not “really” experiencing those intensely painful moments, almost as if it’s a right of passage to getting your baby. However, my husband, nurse, and anesthesiologist looked at my contraction patterns and told me if I didn’t want to feel the “ring of fire,” now was the time. They also told me, no one gets an extra prize for not getting one. I agreed and was thankful I did.
At 11 AM, my nurse informed us she was heading out to her lunch break. She checked me and I was still around 6 cm, so we all figured in her half hour break, not much would happen and we’d see her when she got back. A few minutes later, I felt a lot of pressure and pretty “pushy” as they would call it. I held off for a couple more minutes, certain that it was not yet time because I was just checked moments ago and still so far away from pushing time. However, it was getting more intense feeling, so I called a nurse. She checked me and sure enough, within ten minutes I had gone from a 6 to a 10 and it was time to have our baby. I pushed three times, and our girl was born at 11:31 AM. (I told you my kids make it easy on me!) She was eight pounds, three ounces, and 19 inches long.
I remember so vividly seeing her little purple body, all scrunched up, being lifted into the air and placed in my arms. Her first cries were amazing. She was the spitting image of her brother, and Kyle and I were instantly so in love with this beautiful little girl.
We “oohed” and “ahhed” over her for several hours. Those first moments with your baby are pure magic–examining every inch of their little bodies, snuggling them close, and whispering “happy birthday, little love” over and over.
Then it was time for Judah to meet his sister. He fell in love with her instantly and has been the best, most gentle, and loving big brother from that moment on. We couldn’t have asked for a better transition. Our little guy loves his baby sister something fierce. And it’s totally true, all those moments I spent worrying about how I could love another being as much as my first baby were instantly gone the moment I laid eyes on her. And just when you think you can’t love your kids more than you do, you see your son holding his new sister and your heart beats so fast, you feel like you could burst.
Lennon, we dreamt of this day for so long. I hope you know how deeply loved you are, and how highly anticipated your life has been. You were born at the perfect time for our family. You are treasured, you are precious, you are prized, and you are adored. I cannot wait to watch you grow and marvel at the person you become. Happy birthday, beautiful girl, I love you.
So, a few weeks ago, we bought ourselves a house. Judah calls it “the red house.” It’s a bit of a project, but it’s in a great neighborhood where quite frankly, we couldn’t afford anything but a little project. And, our family is a little quirky, so it suits us well.
After seven moves in five years, a house is oh so welcome. We haven’t gotten everything finished…obviously…but we were able to make a few updates to the house prior to moving in, thanks to a connection to the seller. (You rock, Charles!)
But before we get to the photos, I have some people to thank for our first huge adult purchase. It’s never easy to move, but it’s especially hard when you don’t have family close by to help out. Thank goodness for great friends, right? So, thank you to Kyle’s parents for making it even possible, to the Geer family for never hesitating to watch Judah, help us paint, assist with moving, and clearing out all our boxes, to Alex and Harvey for always letting Judah come over to play while we were taking care of the house, and to Charles for thinking of us for our home and answering all of our questions no matter what day of the week.
Okay, here’s the first set of pictures. And my apologies, you have to deal with really crappy iphone pictures. We still have some work to go, but this is the first room in our house that is almost near completion.
This is our living room/ dining room before:
Charming huh? Here’s what we did:
Replaced the carpet with a laminent floor, removed the wood stove, painted the room a light blue/grey.
Here’s the after:
Still to go in this room are a wall decor like a photo wall (behind the Christmas tree), painted dining room chairs, and curtains. I think it’s a pretty good transformation so far though.
Stay tuned for more renovations to come…although they will be much later…our budget is pretty tapped for the time being, if you know what I mean.
Oh, and we also added this gem. Meet Lucy. She’s a German Shepherd/Lab mix, and Judah is (mostly) over the moon about her. However, she just pooped all over the bathroom floor, so she’s lucky we haven’t renovated that space yet 😉
After a semi-intentional hiatus from blogging…I’m baaaaccck!
So basically I took a break because life got hectic, then I decided to make it purposeful. My company recently rebranded, and it’s freaking amazing. You can check it out here. Dealing with that, plus a two-year-old who went through a spurt of the classic, “terrible two’s” made blogging seem a little more tedious than enjoyable for me, so I decided to take another little stretch of time off and just not worry about it. It’s been good–really good. But I’m excited to be back and to provide some updates.
Some exciting things have been happening around the Alcock household. We are about to celebrate our one year anniversary of living in Oregon. I cannot believe it, the time has flown, and we have been loving it! And, as we traditionally do, we’re making no exceptions now–we’re moving…again!
But it’s not what you’re thinking. This time, we’re buying a house. Planting roots and settling in. Phew. I for one am SO excited to not have to pack and unpack after this haul for quite a long time. I will have more updates on the house in a future post. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, so until we have some “after” photos, I’m not sharing any of the “befores.”
Short recap of life here:
I went on an amazing hike with three incredible women (and one in spirit) and cannot wait for our next adventure together. It was one of those “girl power,” “secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood” type deals that just does your soul some good. And let me tell ya, I am so grateful to have met these ladies and be able to hang with them from time to time. You guys don’t even know. We hiked Henline mountain up in Opal Creek and it was gorgeous. Here’s a view of the summit and yours truly.
We have also done some festive Fall things like apple picking with friends (twice), journeyed to a pumpkin patch/petting zoo, and last night of course was Judah’s first time trick-or-treating. This little monkey had a ball and was just so stinking adorable. And, my mama heart was so proud every time I heard an un-prompted “thank you!” from his little mouth as he received some sugary treats.
I have also undergone a few personal adjustments and some healing that has been oh so wonderful. That will also be saved for another post later on. Life’s been good and a break was refreshing.
Speaking of breaks…because I’ve taken a stretch of time away, I need to ask a favor of you readers. If you could, give a click to the “top mommy blog” and “top baby blog” icons to your right to show The Ramblings some love.
Happy Fall ladies and gents, it’s good to be back!
The summer is finally winding down and I’m hoping *fingers crossed* that we’ve had our last week of 90-plus degree weather. We managed to skip out on the last scorcher by going to our favorite beach with some friends, which ended up being a pretty fabulous day.
I thought I’d share some of our recent adventures with you via some slightly terrible iPhone photos. We’ve been lucky to have had some visits from family over the summer, so it’s given us a great excuse to continue exploring our new state and showing off the sites. Despite the drought we’ve been having, I gotta say, Oregon is beautiful in the summer.
We went to the beach and Silver Falls with Kyle’s parents, and as part of our anniversary, Kyle and I decided to do five little things to celebrate five years. Honestly, most of them are favored around Judah, but Kyle and I will getaway someday 🙂 One of our five things for five years included a family trip to Newport beach where we stayed overnight at a resort to swim, be lazy, and visit the aquarium. Judah had a BLAST. And…photos:
Tomorrow my Oregon adventures continue on a hike with some amazing women. I have a feeling it’s going to be one of those days that completely refreshes my soul. Hope you all have a fantastic Labor Day weekend!
Man, I’m on a blogging roll. What is this, like my third for the month? What is happening to me?
Who’s ready for Fall?? I definitely am. It’s been super hot and dry here in Oregon, and though I love me some sunshine, I’m ready to wrap up in a nice cozy sweater and wear something other than flip-flops on my feet. Also, the post-shower sweat is getting old…and gross.
I’ve been aching for some sort of change recently, and a change in season will be most welcome.
Summer has been busy to say the least, and not just busy for me. It has been busy for friends and family as well. It’s a good kind of busy–mostly–but it seems our schedules never mesh, and I miss those people I spent a lot of time with in the winter months. I think that’s why I’m craving a change of season, because I’m craving a more regular pace. A little backwards considering summer is typically our “slow down” time, right?
My yoga practice has dwindled due to schedules and not desiring to shower six times every day. There are seven splash pads in the city of Salem, and Judah and I have been to six of them…at least twice a piece. This week I’m sure I’ve been pretty annoying to Kyle. I’m constantly asking, “What should we do today?” (meaning Judah and I). Sitting in the hot sun when it’s 95 degrees out while your child gets burned on the hot slides at the park only goes so far. Yes, the beach is just a short hour and a half away, but when gas is almost $4 a gallon, making those trips every day just isn’t practical. (Thanks Obama…I’m totally kidding.)
So when I asked Kyle that question for probably the sixth time, I finally had a moment of clarity. That day alone, Judah and I had baked zucchini bread, drawn pictures, played with cars, gone to the store, went to the library, read books, and went to the splash pad. And this is a pretty typical day for us. What the heck else does the kid need to do in a day? What the heck else do I need to do in a day?
When we moved to Salem, I had more confidence in myself than I had possessed in a long time. It was a fresh start for me. I was free of being defined based on who my friends were, what church I attended, where I worked, what college I went to, etc, etc. I didn’t have anyone to impress or keep up with, and I figured, I am who I am–take it or leave it. I was so excited to escape the stigmas and just be more carefree and comfortable in my own skin.
But slowly, that old comparison game came back. Ooh, she’s a nasty one too.
We live 45 minutes from Portland, aka “hipster” capital of the world. No, I am not a hipster, but I do like their sense of style. I’ve come to find that although many of my friends and peers here in Salem have impeccable style, they are never dressed down. Never. And that is just not me. What happened to jeans and a t-shirt? And not some thrifted band groupie shirt you styled perfectly with your distressed denim and ankle boots. Like jeans and a t-shirt. Like, I work out in this t-shirt, t-shirt. And I have yet to see anyone in sweatpants or hoodies. Ever. (Except for the Geers, and this is why my love for this family is on an entirely different level.) I don’t like to dress like a bum all the time, but sometimes it’s necessary.
This is just one example of an area where I have so foolishly compared myself to others. So come fall and winter, from time to time I’m going to wear my yoga pants, my old college t-shirts, and my hoodies, and I don’t care, Portland area hipsters. I don’t care.
Not only have I been slowly putting my own personal style into the comparison game, but I’ve been placing parts of my parenting under the lights as well. This is why I have felt it necessary to fill our day with activity after activity, never being still.
We all know that I love Pinterest. Love it. Mostly for clothes and recipes, but it’s pretty great for many things. However, don’t you just feel so inadequate when you get on the “kids” page? All these crafty things to do with your kiddos, all these adorable and educational activities just thrown in your face saying, “Have you done this one yet, supermom? What about this? You mean your kid’s room doesn’t look like it’s straight out of The Land Of Nod’s recent catalog? You mean you haven’t whipped up a batch of edible, gluten-free, organic playdough dyed with berry juice?”
It’s a dangerous time to be a mom these days. Thanks to the advances of technology, there are so many ways that we can compare ourselves to one another every minute of the day, without even being in the same room.
So here is my challenge to myself: Stop. Stop running around. Stop comparing. Recognize that the quiet times at home are some of the best. I’m not here to entertain my child, I’m here to parent. So parent. Teach him to use his imagination. Teach him to be self-sufficient and creative on his own. Teach him to slow down and live simply. Teach him to linger. Teach him to enjoy making messes in his room, and then find the reward in cleaning it up. Show him how to be confident by exuding it. Live in the moments instead of thinking about what to do next. Stop “doing” and slow down. And wear sweatpants once in a while, dammit!
As we approach the change of season, this is going to be something I really try and commit to, anyone else with me?
This past Friday, Kyle and I celebrated our five year wedding anniversary. Holy crap. Are we really at five years already? Our wedding day literally seems like it was yesterday…yet also such a long time ago. Over the last five years, we have grown so much both individually, and as a couple.
The night before our anniversary came, I looked over at Kyle and said, “This year’s been a doosey hasn’t it?” We laughed about it, but really, it has. This year alone, we have been stretched in more ways than I think each of us have experienced in one short time span ever in our lives. Roughly in the last year, we have and continue to grieve three miscarriages, we moved across the country leaving our family and friends behind, faced job uncertainty, and lost significant friendships. Honestly, I think we’ve had more arguments this year alone than our previous four years combined.
However, these trials we have faced are also some of the best things that have happened to us. Experiencing the loss of our unborn babies has opened up new conversations for us about our family structure and what we really want that to look like. It has also, in a strange way, given us a renewed love and appreciation for the beautiful son we have. Our time with job uncertainty has helped me to learn the value in the way my husband relentlessly pursues his passions. He does not give up. And he ALWAYS wants the best for me and for Judah. Leaving our friends and family has caused us to rely on one another in ways we haven’t always needed to. Yes, it’s caused some strain for obvious reasons, but it’s also pushed us to finally consider what is best for our core family unit, not everyone else’s. It has allowed us to step back and begin weeding through what we want and don’t want as parents, as a couple, and as a family.
This year reminded us that marriage is tough. It’s not all happiness and fun times. Marriage takes hard work, and it takes commitment. Though this year has been both amazing and difficult, I wouldn’t trade it in. This year has opened up our eyes to new ways in which to communicate to each other, to encourage one another, pray for each other, and love each other. For me personally, this year has shown me the amazing patience Kyle has for me and my shortcomings. It has also revealed to me the length that he would go to help me become the best person I can be.
Looking back five years ago, I didn’t think this is where we would be now. Sure, some things have lined up, but others haven’t. And you know, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Doing life with this man has been an incredible ride that always keeps me on my toes, and I cannot wait to look back another five years from now.
Thanks for asking me to be your wife, Kyle. I’m one lucky lady.
This month has been nothing short of crazy. Our family has been overstretched and haven’t had as much time to enjoy each other as we had hoped. However, despite the craziness of July, it did start off with a pretty wonderful and significant event. Judah turned TWO on the sixth. It boggles my mind to think that he’s already two. Bye-bye baby, hello full-on toddler.
Prior to the big day, we’d been having some difficulty (ongoing) with Judah’s bedtime, so we opted to give him a toddler bed. He has loved it so far and here are a few photos of him checking out his mattress without those crib walls.
The next morning started off with some presents at home with Kyle and I and his Neena, who came in from New York to celebrate.
This little guy is into all things transportation. Trains, planes, cars, trucks, anything with wheels, he digs it. Can I get an amen for matchbox cars being a whopping 94 cents??
Later on that afternoon, we went to a local park and celebrated with some of Judah’s favorite people.
After all that partying we headed home for a birthday dinner of Thai take out…birthday boy’s choice. And I’m 100% serious. This is one sophisticated two year old.
Judah, I cannot believe you are two. You are an absolute joy and I will never be able to put into words how deeply I love you. You are the best little boy a mommy could as for.
Thank you to the friends and family who called, sent cards, gifts, or partied with us and were able to make Judah’s day so special. We love you all! Over and out 😉
In light of recent events, I’ve decided to take this summer season and refocus a bit and start working on different pieces of me. Sounds a bit vein, I know. I recently had a conversation with a new friend who has … Continue reading
Well, tomorrow I turn the big 2-7. I thought it would be kind of fun to share 27 things about myself. Some of you may already know these facts, some might surprise you, and probably most of it is really just pointless information. But, either way, I’m writing them down.
1. I grew up being called “Fred.” In fact, I think until I graduated college, my sister called me “Fred” more than than she used my real name. It started when I was three and just stuck.
2. I am a Christian. I have debated discussing this on my blog because though I’m proud of the fact that I follow Christ and that I love him, I’m not always so proud of the things my fellow Christians do. This being a public blog, I didn’t want to turn people off because of that. But ultimately, that’s completely contradictory to my faith.
3. I am a writer. But no, really, not just for this blog. I write for this company and am able to do so from home, which is amazing. If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, check it out. Seriously.
4. I’m a mother. I’ve had the privilege of carrying three different babies throughout my life. You can read about my unborn kiddos here and here and my little man Judah, here. Nothing gives me more joy than being the mother to this little boy.
5. I love to cook. Cooking comfort food is especially my thing. I love to make stuff like a good beef stew, chicken pot pie, or a big pot of jambalaya. But…
6. I hate to bake. I love to eat sweets, but I do not have the patience for baking.
7. The beach is my favorite spot. I could go to the beach every day of the year. The smell of the saltwater and the feel of the sand, the sounds of the waves crashing to the shore, mmm. I could just soak that up forever.
8. I am originally from New York state. Everyone thinks when I say I’m from New York I mean NYC. Not the case. The town I grew up in was actually so rural, there is not even one traffic light. Its claim to fame is a Subway, a Chinese restaurant, and a college, which practically everyone who lives in the town works in or attends. Just to give you an even better idea for how small it is, I graduated with a class of 35. I went to private school, but the average size of the public schools in the area were around 60-65.
9. I’ve lived on both coasts. Thanks to my upbringing, I’ve officially lived life on the east coast, the midwest where I attended college, and now, on the west coast in Oregon.
10. I’m an over-analyzer. But seriously, about everything. I often will think and re-think, and try to guess what problems or future problems might arise because of my actions, plans I might make, or things that may happen. It’s exhausting, really, but mostly exhausting for my poor husband who has to listen as I verbally process it all.
11. I am a verbal processor, and in other cases a written one. This blog is a prime example. Basically, it’s me processing through something and sharing with the internet. Lucky you!
12. I have two tattoos. One is on my left ribcage that says, “my beloved” in Hebrew. Yes, I know Posh spice has that and I also know it’s a little cliche to have the Hebrew tattoo, but whatever. I love it and it means a lot to me. I got it the first year I was married and it’s a reminder to me of how much my husband loves me, and how much God loves me, and has created me as his “beloved.” Tattoo number two is on my right inner elbow/forearm. It is a section of a Josh Garrels lullaby that he wrote for his child. I used to play it over and over for Judah while I held him and danced trying to keep him calm throughout his colicky stage. The lyrics state, “Love I never knew filled my heart when I held you.” It is the best way to describe becoming a mother. It’s a love never experienced before and that time with Judah was both stretching and one I will hold dear forever. And, despite my family’s distaste for tattoos of all shapes and sizes (yes mom, I see that eye roll) I cannot promise those two will be my last.
13. My favorite drink is a margarita. I enjoy wine and beer, but if I could have a margarita every day, I definitely would. Maybe when I’m old and retired I’ll indulge that.
14. I’d buy fresh flowers every week….if I could. Sometimes I think rich people can really indulge in some silly things, but something I would do if I could throw $10-$15 in the trash every week would be buying fresh flowers, just like these found at our local farmer’s market.
15. My middle name is Ruth. This is also my great grandmother’s name, my grandmother’s middle name, my mom’s middle name, and if someday I am blessed with a little girl, it will be her’s too. I love that it’s been passed down through the family and that I have the privilege of having it.
16. I can fold myself into a pretzel. Yep, totally can. And I checked a few months ago, and I still got it!
17. Reading puts me to sleep. Except when it comes to The Great Gatsby and The Hunger Games Trilogy. Otherwise, don’t even bother.
18. I love Bette Davis movies. I adore that actress. My mom introduced me to her movies when I was just a little girl. I love her sassy characters and overly dramatic plot lines. Not to mention, she is beautiful and looks just like my Grandma Lewis.
19. I was blonde. I had blonde hair as a kid and until I was about 16. I started dying it dark brown my senior year of high school and now it naturally settles at a light brown.
20. I have a love/hate relationship with “selfies.” Let me explain this. I can appreciate taking a picture of yourself, or an “artistic self-portrait” (it’s really a selfie, come on) if you will. But, let’s just get to the bottom of it. I despise when people post a “selfie” and then use some cryptic quote or caption at the bottom. Just be honest with it and say, “Instagram followers: I am ROCKIN’ this outfit today and I thought you should see it!” or “Hey-o, I actually showered, put makeup on, and did my hair and I’m feelin’ pretty good! Let me share that with you, and please tell me I look good back!” We all know certain “selfies” are fishing for complements…aka those ones you post when you’re not wearing makeup and you have to specifically point that out to get tons of likes and “oh, you’re so beautiful, I never would have known!” Or those ones where you’re gazing off into the distance, looking pensive and oh so “hipster.” Also, taking a “selfie” to make fun of a “selfie” is still technically a “selfie.” Just saying. But in all honesty, I never can tell when people aren’t wearing any makeup, cause they are usually just naturally beautiful, I can appreciate your awesome hipster outfit and pensive looks, and an laugh at your sarcastic duck face and appreciate that. So go on with your selfie taking selves, just be honest about it, that’s all.
21. I have been to five countries. Canada, Mexico, The Czech Republic, Australia, and Honduras.
22. I hate birds. To me, they are super creepy and diseasey. And I have this irrational fear that they’re just going to rise up and start pecking people. Isn’t that a movie? Though, I do appreciate their chirping on a nice summer day.
23. My favorite holiday is Christmas. Come on, who’s isn’t? Well, it’s probably at least in the top three if not number one.
24. I’m horrible at bowling. I think my “high score” was an 80 once?
25. I’m an introvert. I’m terribly awkward and horrible at making eye-contact. I’d rather crawl into a hole by myself than be in front of a large group of people, or be the center of attention. There is no way I would ever say anything I write in my blog out loud. Unless I know you really well, and unless I’ve had a margarita…or two. Good thing there are blogs, otherwise I’d explode.
26. I’m a closet cusser. I know my sister also shares this gene. I’m never bothered when other people say cuss words, unless it’s around my kiddo, then watch it. Otherwise, it’s just language to me. And sometimes, when I’m really upset, or I hit the stupid pole in our apartment parking space for the tenth time that month, or I bite my lip when eating, there is just nothing else to say but a cuss word. Am I right?
27. I’m a terrible parker. As stated, I’ve hit a few things now and again when parking. It’s pretty much a miracle any time I’m actually between the lines.
So, now that you know 27 pointless facts about me, don’t you just feel like we could be besties?? And, so you’re warned, I will be publishing a blog about 30 things I’d like to do before I’m 30. So be prepared for that in the near future.
Have a fabulous week everyone, we’re off to the beach this weekend to celebrate yours truly and my glorious arrival into this world with friends, and I cannot wait!