Thursday, February 26, 2009

Playing with Stools

Haha! That title sounds funny. Anyway, our girls come up with all sorts of ways to entertain crawling in and out of stools. Sounds exciting, but, yes, this did occupy them for a good 20 minutes or so tonight.

Happy Birthday Baby B!!

Dear little Berlin,

My beautiful, precious, perfect baby! You are one year old today! Happy birthday! It was fun to wake up with you this morning. You are such a happy joyful person. Wow! I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. I have been thinking of your birth a lot the past few weeks, such a crazy time that it was. I still can’t believe that you were born in the backseat of the car! It makes me smile every time I think about it. I have thought often of how eager you seemed to want to be in this world. I got pregnant with you just two weeks after your daddy and I decided that we wanted to have another baby and then you just popped into this world on the way to the hospital! It just fits you though. You are can be very focused, serious, and determined when you set your mind to something. I think this is why you started walking when you were only 10 months old (which, by the way, is so adorable! I think you are the littlest person I have ever seen walking around.) You are also very happy and content, a lot of the time you like to just play by yourself and do your own thing.

You have started communicating a ton recently, which also points to your determination. I have not had much time lately to spend on words with you, but you surprise me almost every day by learning a new word or sign. In fact, you learned your first sign ever all on your own; I didn’t even teach it to you! It was “baby” and you totally love babies, especially kissing them.

I was also very surprised to learn last week that you already have a favorite song! And, of course, it is not something simple like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or anything simple, it is Just Dance by Lady Gaga…yes, this is true. Whenever this song comes on you clap your hands, laugh, and start dancing. Which, I have to mention, it is so cute to see how much you LOVE to dance. Your daddy and I love to turn on music that we know you love just because we love to see you dance, you are so adorable.

I love you so much that sometimes there is a literal ache in the pit of my stomach. I want to just pick you up and hold on to you with all my might and never let you go! It is overwhelming how intensely I love you. You are one of the joys of my life. I can’t wait to see who you become and what you choose to do in life. I am sad that you are growing, my little baby, but I am so excited about who you are growing into. Your daddy and I can’t seem to get enough of you lately. Sometimes we just sit around and watch you play so we can get our “Berlin-is-being-so-cute” fix. Your daddy and I are blessed to have you in our lives, we are so thankful that we get to be your parents.

I love you with all my heart.


P.S. I have always secretly loved that you are a mommy’s girl. It is great to always have you be so happy to see me, I feel the same way about seeing you! It is great to come home to you at the end of the day.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

February 25 and 26, 2008

One year ago today I spent the day laboring my little Berlin into this world. I wrote about it for a magazine contest and had to limit myself to 1,500 words, which was almost impossible. This is not the most detailed account of her birth story, but it is close to what I ended up with for the contest (there are a few details that I just couldn’t live with leaving out, so I recently added them back in). Here, in the shortest form I could manage, is the story leading up to my life exactly one year ago today:

A Backseat Birth Story

There is one event that stands out when I think of the mile markers that make up the most important days of my life. It is significant not only because of what I experienced, but because of what I accomplished.

To start, I need to admit that my greatest fears include bees, being stranded in the ocean, and childbirth. I always wanted to have my own children, just not really have them. Every few days, in the weeks leading up to the birth of our first daughter Trynica, my husband Steve and I would have a conversation that went like this:

Me: “We are going to have a baby.”
Steve: “I know.”
Me: “It’s gonna hurt. Really bad.”
Steve: “I know.”
Me: “I don’t really want to do it.”
Steve: “I’m sorry, babe.”

In spite of my fear, I wanted to experience motherhood to its fullest extent, right down to the very last contraction. I wanted to undergo the whole experience simply to know what it was like. So I made a goal to go through labor without pain medication.

With their all-natural approach to birth, I enlisted midwives to help me achieve my goal. However, after 30 hours of labor, no sleep, and a midwife telling me I would have to endure several more hours, I could not be convinced of anything. After an epidural and a little sleep, I was almost euphoric by the time 38 hours of labor brought Trynica into the world with very little pain. I decided that epidurals were fabulous inventions. I was certain that we would become best friends in all future childbirth experiences.

When I became pregnant with our second child, I began to feel as if I had cheated myself out of something. As my due date grew closer, I asked my husband what he thought. He seemed to think it was crazy to even consider not getting an epidural. To him the options were clear: A) Have a baby with a lot of pain, or B) Have a baby with very little pain. The answer was not so obvious to me.

I had already experienced false labor twice with my second pregnancy, so when I woke up at 4:00am on February 25, with sporadic and mildly painful contractions, I was annoyed. Though I knew these contractions were different than the Braxton Hicks that had plagued me throughout my pregnancy, it was still four days before my due date, and this was the third time I’d experienced these contractions.

I continued with my regular routine of housework, laundry, playing with Trynica, babysitting for a friend, and taking a walk – none of which sped up my contractions. After a busy morning, I was actually able to lie down and take a 45-minute nap, contraction-free. We had invited some friends over for dinner so, after my nap, Steve and I made some homemade pizzas. The contractions were back, and though each contraction was painful, I knew that if it was real labor, they would progressively get stronger and closer together. At this point they were anywhere from seven to 20 minutes apart and I was more than able to hold a conversation.

For several reasons neither Steve’s nor my mom were readily available to help with the entrance of our second child, so we invited a woman who is like a second mom to both of us to be part of our experience. Though she lived two hours away she was “on call” to come help us out with our two year old and be a part of the birth experience. Kathy conveniently happened to be in town that night because she had a business meeting the next morning. Because of the activity from the day she decided to spend the night “just in case.”

Steve, Kathy, and I stayed up for awhile playing Scrabble. I sat at the coffee table on a big yellow exercise ball – similar to the kind you sit on in the hospital to help labor progress – and my contractions continued, every 7-15 minutes apart though they were now pretty painfully every time. At 11:30pm, I won our game and we decided to get ready for bed. I thought I might take a quick shower, in case we had to go to the hospital during the night, but I was pretty convinced we would not – especially since I hadn’t had a contraction for 15 minutes.

In the bathroom, I thought a bath might help me relax enough to fall asleep. As I settled into the tub, I nonchalantly suggested that my husband pack his bag.

“Do you really think we are going to go to the hospital any time soon?” he asked.

I had him rub my arm through a contraction. “I don’t know. I definitely don’t think it will be for several more hours, but it could be sometime tonight. You better, just in case.”

He left the bathroom and bam! I was suddenly struck with an intense contraction. Within minutes, wham! another. I shifted onto my side to ease the pain. Another – wow – sudden attack of the contractions. I had recently talked to a friend about her labor, and she had explained a “transition” that happened two hours before her baby was born. This was something that I did not remember about the birth of Trynica because of the epidural.

Uh-oh, this is definitely a transition. “Stephen! Can you come here? I need you.”

He came into the bathroom, mere minutes since I had told him that we would probably not have a baby that night. “It’s time to go.”

“Now? To the hospital?”
“Yes, now! I need some help.”

By this time it was getting hard to move. He pretty much lifted me out of the tub and got me dressed. A neighbor came to stay with Trynica and within minutes we were headed out the door. As I slipped on my shoes I felt a familiar balloon pop and the sensation that I was uncontrollably wetting my pants.

“Oh no! My water is breaking!” I grabbed my husband’s arm as another contraction struck. An uncontrollable urge to expel this baby from my body almost brought me to my knees, “Oh no! I have to push. We really need to go!”

I realize I was not being logical at this point. My first child took hours of intense labor and 40 minutes of pushing, not 20 minutes total. In my mind, we had at least 40 minutes to get to the hospital, which was at most 20 minutes away. I was also expecting the pain to get much worse before it was really time for the baby to come.

My husband lifted me feet first into the backseat of the car, he and Kathy jumped into the front, and off we went. I was fighting not to push with every contraction even though my body was screaming at me to do otherwise. Within four or five blocks, I was frantic. “I think the baby is coming. It feels like she’s coming right now!” Kathy turned around to look at me and I heard her say to Steve in a really low voice, “You need to pull over right now.”
So on a -6 degree February night in Minnesota, we pulled over a mere 11 blocks from home into a Walgreen’s parking lot and called 911.

I am a pretty private person. I don’t like to be the center of attention, I don’t like a lot of strangers to be a part of my personal business, and I have definitely never wanted any men other than my husband to be there as I brought our children into this world. Well, as I clutched my husband’s arm while he leaned over passenger’s seat to be near me and said, “I can’t have this baby in our car! This isn’t part of my birth plan!” I can’t say that I cared that there were seven other pairs of male eyes watching every detail. One of the firemen even climbed onto the hood of the car to get a good view as the back window spots were already taken by other firemen and two male EMTs, all wanting to see their male colleague catch my baby.

I did care that my arms were numb and I couldn’t feel my hands because I was breathing too fast. I cared that my husband was there. I cared that as she was emerging Kathy told me, “She has dark hair!” and I was glad. I cared what time it was. I kept asking Steve, “What time is it? What time is it?” until he looked at the clock. I didn’t want her arrival time to get lost in the chaos of the moment. I cared that my I saw my baby and she didn’t cry, she didn’t make a single sound. I cared that it was too cold for my baby to be born in the backseat with the door wide open. I cared that what I wanted more than anything was to grab that baby in my arms and they just whisked her away to the ambulance. I cared that I had to climb out of the car and up onto the gurney all on my own, bare from the waist down, without any shoes on, in the freezing cold.

I told them that I didn’t want to ride in an ambulance and they put me in anyway. At least I finally got to hold my baby. It seems that she was just a quiet one. I learned that she cried while they were performing the Apgar test and, though she has had many a good cry since, she didn’t cry the entire drive to the hospital. She just looked at me.

My second daughter, Berlin, was born at 12:19am on February 26, 2008. When I finally got to the hospital with Berlin in my arms, the midwife looked at me and said, “You did it. You did this all by yourself. You didn’t even need us.” I looked at her and realized yes, I did. Not only did I gain something that I had valued, I did more than I thought I ever could. At the end of the day, I felt a little bit like Superwoman.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

No Wonder it Took so Long to Fall Asleep!

It’s always a good idea to just peek in on your kids really quick before you go to bed. Doesn’t hurt anything and there might find some surprises that would be good to know sooner rather than later. For instance…we put our girls to bed at 8:00 last night. As they sometimes do lately, they talked with each other (more like lots of squealing and laughing mixed with a little singing) for a good hour. We didn’t go in to tell them to be quiet because at this age staying up a little late doesn’t really affect their following day because they still take naps. And I would say it’s about a 50/50 thing as far as checking on them before we go to bed. Berlin has always been such a light sleeper that a lot of the times she will wake up and cry and it seems more worth it to just not go in there. Well, last night I just happen to need to get some blankets out of their room, as Tryn had peed on our bed during a time-out during the day yesterday (she has not had an accident in months and I honestly think she was trying to rebel against the babysitter, stinker). Anyway, I opened the door and got out the blankets, oh so quietly. Then I decided to go over to Tryn’s bed to put a blanket on her and, lo and behold, I find her sound asleep, buck-naked. Actually, she did have her socks on still. It’s quite hysterical, as a parent, to go look at your child only to find something completely unexpected…and really funny. Ah, kids. Thankfully, I found her before there was yet another wet accident on a bed.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Not me, again :)

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week. This is not a tradition of mine yet, but, again, I feel I have some things to confess.

For starters, my second daughter’s first birthday is on Thursday and we are going to have a little party, and, I am not kidding, I have not even decided which day the party is going to be on yet. Most mothers have these things planned out to the nth degree, but Not Me! One would think that I would at least have a day picked out or a guest list put together or a menu planned out, but not me. One might even think that I would have at least thought about what we are going to get her for a gift, but nope, not me. Argh! This needs to get done…I am sure I will do it today. Positively positive.

While thinking of how on top of things I am, I was also thinking about what a good friend I am. One of my bff’s had a baby on February 5 and I was thinking of how nice it was of me to bring her (and her other two kids and husband) dinner and a gift for the baby. As most people do these things within a week or two after the baby is born, I was realizing how great of a friend I am that I have been so on top of this now almost a month a later. NOT!

Well, as always, I absolutely did not spend two full days in my pj’s over the weekend. I would never do that. I would at least cook some sort of dinner for my kids and not make things like egg sandwiches or bagels for dinner. Nope, not me! We eat way more nutritious than that, of course. I also did not stay up until 2:30am on Friday night playing Settler’s of Catan with some friends. I would never do something dumb like that because my kids get up at 7:00 and I need much more sleep that 4 ½ hours. Much much more.

And my last confession. While playing on the floor in my daughter’s room this last weekend, I did not find a rather large fuzz ball on the floor made up of carpet fibers, dust, and several random hairs. I vacuum way too much for stuff like that to happen. Not only did I not find this fuzz ball, but I did not just take it and shove it under the changing table instead of throwing it in the garbage. I would never ever do that.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday Mornings...

Since I work full-time Monday through Friday and Steve works around 14 hours between Saturday and Sunday, we never get a real Saturday together. Once every few months Steve will get a weekend off and we get to have a nice lazy Saturday together, hanging out, doing whatever we want. However, since that doesn't happen often, we try to make the most of our Saturday mornings together.

We have to start out with coffee, of course. Uncle Tim got us a french press for Christmas last year and it is our favorite way to make coffee, so tasty!

Part of the reason that Saturday morning breakfasts are so fun is because Tryn LOVES to cook. She is the master household mixer and mixes everything that does and doesn't need mixing.


We have to distract Berlin with blueberries because she is not patient enough to wait for the pancakes to cook.

Tryn's favorite breakfast ever. She can eat almost as much pancake as I can.

Mmm!! Yummy breakfast!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Love and Hate, more Hate right now.

I have never had such a love/hate relationship as the one I currently have regarding vehicles. I hate cars. Only, I love them because I would much rather we have them to get around than a horse and buggy. I mean, seriously, can you imagine me riding 15 miles to work every day on a horse? I think not. And I love that when the weather is -30 degrees here that I can still get around. However, I still hate them. Big hunks of seemingly mindless metal and steel that do, in fact, actually have a mind of their own.

We found out on Saturday that our car is terminally ill. Big fat stink. That just makes me so mad. Steve and I have been talking about how much we actually need a second vehicle lately. Our car is probably protesting the weekdays where it has to drive from Minneapolis to Maple Grove back to Minneapolis to Edina back to Maple Grove and then Minneapolis again. I mean, I would put up a fight too, but I wouldn't just go and quit! Sissy. But no, instead of getting a second vehicle we are reversing back past square one to counting down the days until (sometime within the next year for sure) we will have no car at all. Not only not two, but not even one! It could happen tomorrow. It’s like my car has an inoperable brain aneurysm. So excited about that. I mean, seriously! What great timing! We seem to have such bad luck with cars, I won’t give you the whole boring story, but just know, stupid car problems seem to follow us around like a plague. Well, here’s to hoping that I get to work tomorrow!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Steve picked up some little Valentine's Day gifts for the girls. Tryn was mainly excited about one particular part of her present (candy, specifically Jelly Belly's) as you can see below! Plus, Tryn has a special message for you! :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Berlin's first pigtails!! Oh my goodness, she makes my heart melt.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I did NOT cave for Not Me!

I have never participated in Not Me! Monday (a tradition started by McMama), but I feel that I have some things to confess today.

(Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.)

I was sick this last weekend and, though I don’t normally like my kids to watch much TV, I definitely did not sit on the couch all day Sunday and let my two year old watch whatever she wanted pretty much all day long. And I did not feel like a terrible parent for spending one of my two full days with my girls in this lazy manner.

I also did not leave Berlin in her pj’s all weekend. She did not wear her pj’s all day Saturday and Sunday, she definitely did not. I am also not worried that Berlin really hasn’t eaten anything substantial in the past week and a half. First she didn’t eat because she was teething, then she didn’t eat because she had the flu, and now she just shakes her head at most things I try to offer her. I am not worried that, if she eats, she only eats the smallest amounts and then closes her little lips tight and refuses more food. She is already so small; I am not worried that she might actually start shrinking.

After staying up until 2:30am last week to be at the birth of my best friend’s new little boy, I definitely did not take the morning off. And, after dealing with a sick little Berlin my whole morning off and then coming to work to learn some sad news about a friend, I absolutely did not eat a huge piece of chocolate cake to sooth my frazzle and tired emotions. I would never use food as comfort, nope, not me!

While I was making breakfast this morning at home I was not thinking about how I really wanted to be eating a Cinnamon Crunch bagel from Panera. After eating breakfast at home, I did not come to work and eat more breakfast by having this exact bagel that a co-worker had brought in. And it was definitely not yummy, and I was definitely not extremely full and feeling slightly gluttonous.

And I am definitely not writing this at my desk during my lunch because I was too full from both my breakfast’s to eat lunch with everyone else. I am not having loser lunch at my desk all by myself, not me!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Tryn "reading"

This is the actual text from the book:

One morning, the Little Mermaid, Ariel, went looking for hidden treasure with her best friend, Flounder. Ariel was supposed to sing for the first time in front of her father, King Triton, and all the other merpeople, but for now, she was much more interested in sunken ships than her father's concert.

(Turn the page)

While they searched, Flounder began to get nervous. "What was that?" he asked. "Did you hear something?" Suddenly, a very large shark smashed through the side of the ship. "Swim! A shark!" Flounder cried.

(Turn the page)

They swam away very quickly. Ariel and Flounder found a safe spot where the shark couldn't reach them. "You big bully!" Flounder shouted at the shark.


As soon as she was sre that they were a safe distance from the shark, Ariel thanked Flounder for being so brave. Even though he was a very small fish, Flounder had a very big heart - and he was Ariel's best friend under the sea!


After their adventure, Ariel and Flounder headed home, hoping that they would not be too late for her father's concert.