Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I write a lot of blog posts about my kids, but I often wish I had time to write posts about other things…like modesty. Haha! Random, right? 

If I had time to write about the things that are on my mind, conversations that I have with Steve or other people, my blog would be a lot different. So, while this may seem totally random compared to the usual flavor of my blog, it’s not random to my life and the kinds of things I think about and/or talk about on a daily basis. 

I am actually thinking about modesty today. Steve and I have been talking about it lately because, although we don’t have to be concerned quite yet, we do have two girls who are quickly approaching an age where it will be an issue. 

This might have started because I was laughing the other night as I wore a sundress with thin rope-like straps to church. The dress was long and didn’t feel immodest at all, but I was thinking about how, what seems like a very short while ago (although it was when I was 15 or 16, mid 90’s), my friends and I would whisper to each other, “Ahem, your bra strap is showing.” This would be while we were wearing t-shirts. T-shirts. You know, if a t-shirt shifts too far to one side or the other you might see a tiny hint of strap.  It is laughable now – but we were so modest. Nothing we wore was too short, too low, too revealing. I think I basically wore jeans and t-shirts or sweatshirts every day of my life.

And now things have changed. Even as a 30 year old mother of 3 I struggle with thinking about modesty when so many things that are in style are so immodest. I like clothes, and I like to wear things that are in style. It’s not that I think that because I am a mother I should be concerned about immodesty. I mean, I don’t think, “Oh, I shouldn’t wear that because I am a mother and getting too old, or because I have stretch marks, or don't look "good" in that.” I think, “Oh, I shouldn’t wear that because I am mother and I would not want my daughters walking around in something like that.” And pretty soon they are going to start noticing what I am wearing. And when they want to wear something that is “less” than what I wear I don’t want to be a hypocrite. 

But then, as Steve and I talked about, what exactly is modest vs. immodest these days? I used to be of the opinion, and actually still am, that if I was wearing a dress or skirt that would only cover certain areas by an inch or two when I bent over that it was too short. Well, it seems like almost every dress for sale in stores these days is immodest. Very frustrating. I also think that shorts that don’t have a few inches, as in 3 or 4 not 1 or 2,  of material that measure from the inseam are too short. However, I looked for shorts in Target a few weeks ago and they literally didn’t have a pair that were between the 1 or 2 inches and knee length. 

I chose not to wear a shirt that I had first put on while getting dressed on Sunday. I decided it was too low cut, but then opted for the totally socially acceptable “showing of the bra straps” by wearing a dress with thin straps. You can see why this was laughable to me. And when and why did I decide that was an acceptable change?

Steve posed the question to me recently, and I had to tell him that I honestly don’t know (based off the question: Do women ask themselves if something is modest/immodest anymore?), do women just not care? Do we put on the low cut shirt, notice that it is really low and revealing, and not care? Do we think it is modest…even when it isn’t? And why? Because it’s in style? Because of the attention? What is immodest for most people these days? Because, really, it doesn't seem like much. Honestly though, do you really want guys, and girls, to be noticing just one certain area of your shirt all day long

I had this friend back in high school that one of my guy friends told me was one of the most beautiful women he knew. He also pointed out that she never wore anything even questionably immodest, therefore, what she was wearing did not make her more or less beautiful. When did we get so shallow that our beauty started to be defined by how much bare skin we can show and how good said skin looks while it is bare? It seems to me that women seem to think that wearing less and less makes them more and more beautiful. All I think it really does is draw attention. 

And why do we want that kind of attention? I mean, do we really want that kind of attention? Do you want your husbands (or boyfriends) noticing another woman because of the way that she is (barely) dressed? Probably not…but we choose to do it to other men all the time in the clothing choices that we make. (And why? Is it for personal gratification? "Wooing" our mate? Poor self image? And, does that justify?) And that's just the attention from men. While men are looking at the niceness of bare skin, women are looking at the bare skin and judging whether or not it actually looks nice enough (by their standards) to be showing. And all that could be avoided by wearing something with a few more inches of material.

And if girls are struggling with “barely there” clothing choices now, how much worse is it going to be in 10 years from now when my daughters are struggling with it?  Is that even something I want them to spend time thinking about, putting energy into? I remember as a teenager being frustrated with the fact that guys could wear whatever they wanted or, say, take their shirt off if they got hot while raking the yard. It would be nice, as a woman, to have that same freedom...but should my freedom be limited by my care and concern for my daughters and all the men in my life? Yes, I would say so. It's just the way things have to be right now.

This is what I am thinking about today. Anybody have any thoughts they want to share? Anybody have any experience with how you are teaching your daughters about it? Anybody have any thoughts about modest or immodest “guidelines” for the rest of us?

iPhone Pics

Since having Kye I started taking a lot more pictures on my iPhone. It's always around and now that we live in a place with more space my camera isn't always within arms reach. These are my favorite pictures that I have taken with my phone over the past 6 months or so. 

 First time Berlin ever wrote her name, all by herself. Both of us were so proud :)
Both of the girls came to lay with me on the couch one day and while I was rubbing their backs they fell asleep! I managed to slide my phone out of my pocket to snap a picture. This was such a rare and perfectly precious moment.
 I find these often, cups of Berlin's treasures that she finds around the yard.

 I love evening lighting, I am obsessed with it. I also love "wish flowers" almost as much as Berlin does. We don't see weeds when we see dandelions.
 Orange. Turquoise. Yes.
 Haha!! Trying to be tough, like a football player. Too cute to be intimidating though.
 Berlin wanted to come with Cait and I to one of our household trips to Costco, can you even see her at the front of the cart? Haha!! No, our cart doesn't always look like that. And yes, she is totally bored out of her mind.
 Perfect sweetness.
 My boys.
 This picture just about explains Berlin perfectly. In a dress, sitting in the dirt, bare feet, and digging for worms. All by herself and perfectly happy.
 What is better than a pancake shaped like a flower? Not much in Tryn's world.
Again, perfect sweetness. 

 Like I said, obsessed.
 This boy has such cute feet!
 Silly goof.

We found this baby turtle on a hike, the girls were obsessed with it! So cute. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Kye Update!

I can't actually believe that Kye is one. Sometimes he seem so much like a baby still...but other times he seems so much not like a baby anymore. I told Steve this last weekend that I might need to start volunteering in the nursery at church to get through this no more babies transition a little easier.

On the other hand, things are getting easier, as they always do, now that Kyeson is getting older. Last week I was doing dishes in the kitchen and walked over to the living room to check on the little dude (who was supposed to be playing with Tryn) and found him on the 4th step of our non-carpeted stairs. He can climb the whole way himself, but thankfully both times he has managed to sneak up himself he stops on the 4th step and just sits there. So scary. Right now we have chairs blocking the bottom of the stairs because there is no way to attach a gate, but I am sure it won't take him long to figure out that he can move those pretty easily. Sigh.

Kye is still doing his funny gimpy scoot crawl that I think is so hilarious. I think that is all we are going to get from him as far as crawling goes. He can go really fast, carry toys this way, and doesn't seem to want to change that at all. I think it counts as crawling...if not it is the fastest scooting that I have ever seen! He is not walking yet, but he is walking along furniture and standing independently. If he can place his hands on anything stable enough on the ground (like a toy) he will use that to get his feet under him and then just stand up. Then he will streeeettttccchhhhh as far as he can to try and reach something, which is hilarious, but he has only tried to take a step or two.

Let's see...Kye's favorite foods are blueberries, raspberries, bananas, yogurt, cheese, eggs, pancakes, pumpkin bread, and meat. The boy loves his meat. Chicken, steak, pork, whatever, he likes it all. He also eats a lot when he likes what he is eating. One breakfast meal he ate as much pancakes and eggs as I did - crazy! That boy can pack it away!

Since Kye isn't old enough to ask him his favorite things I think I get to say my favorite things about him. First favorite thing is that I love, love, love his laugh. He has this deep belly laugh that is just about the cutest thing of all time. Also, he is starting to say words (he says Mama, Dada, ball, dog, all done, and uh oh) and he gets the cutest happiest look on his face when he says a word and realizes that we understand him and that he is communicating. He is so proud of himself. I have also been getting him to copy me and so last week I got him to snort like a little piggy and it's hilariously cute.

Oh, and something that amazed me recently is that Steve started saying, "This little piggy went to market..." to Kye, but he wasn't close enough to touch him and wiggle each finger or toe. So, as Steve started saying this Kye watched him super carefully and then just reached over and grabbed his little finger and wiggled it, just like Steve normally would.  

 Oooo. Mom, what do you have there?!
A camera? YES. Let me TOUCH it and smear my fingers all over it!!! 
 Playing "This little piggy" with Daddy.
 Don't look Grandma! I'm having lots of fun! Wheeeeee!!!
 Mmmm. Just gonna eat my Dad's face. It looks tasty. 

He is just the Most Loved Boy in the World.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Happy First Birthday Kyeson!

First year birthday's are fun. I think they are mostly fun for the parents because the one year old has no idea what is going on. There is no pressure to pick out the right presents, no pressure to have a birthday party, no pressure...at all.

And, let's be honest, watching a little baby dig into cake for the first time in their little lives is one of the cutest things ever.

We celebrated Kye's birthday over a three day period. His actual birthday, the 12th, was a Tuesday and Steve had to work all day and we both had plans that Tuesday night. So sang Happy Birthday to Kye about 20 times that day, and he loves singing so he thought that was awesome.

The next day, June 13th, was also our housemate Cait's birthday and so we had a little combined 1st/26th Birthday Party with mostly adults present. It was fun for Kye, fun for us. :) I made a two guitar cakes, one for Kye and one for Cait. Yes, thanks to some helpful people who decided to point it out to me (after me and the 15 or so people who were here didn't notice), yes, I left out the "d" in birthday. So what. It still tasted good and I'm pretty sure Kye didn't notice :)

And THEN, finally, Thursday we had a little family celebration where we all ate lunch together and let Kye open, or not open, his gifts and play with wrapping paper. He got lots of trucks for his birthday which is awesome - we finally have some boy toys around here! We also got him a little drum for his birthday and he was surprisingly intrigued with it for a good 5 minutes. He took the little drum stick and tapped on the drum with a very serious and concentrated look on his face. So darn cute.

 "Whoa! It dumps!?!"
 "Ooo. Let me try."

 "Mmm. Shovels taste good!"
Practicing so he can play with Daddy someday. :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kye's Birth Story

One year and a week later...

I wrote the birth stories for all three of my kids, only the girls stories I wrote shortly after they were born. With the chaos that ensued with the birth of Kye and moving and etc, etc, etc, I gave myself a "I have to get this done by his first birthday or this is never going to get done." I finished it on his birthday, but at least I finished...right? Haha!

I was going to shorten it to put on my blog because it's a little long...but then again, it was a long labor. So I didn't shorten it - but you also don't have to read it if you don't want to...right?

Here goes. :) 

Kyeson was born two weeks before his due date at 2:09am on June 12th. I don’t know why, but the whole pregnancy I had a feeling that he was going to come early. Two weeks before his birth day, when I was only 36 weeks pregnant, I even had false labor with him. I woke up throughout the night from a Sunday into a Monday morning timing contractions that were consistently 5 minutes apart. 

Most people assume that a pregnant mother would love to have her baby four weeks early, but I was not excited. I was worried that it would be too early health wise, not to mention I felt like I still had a ton of stuff to do before his arrival. When I woke up still having contractions, I called the midwife and said, “How do I make this stop?! I am not ready for this baby to come yet!” A few hours, a bath, and a nap later we were all in the clear.

All that to say, when I went to bed on June 10th and woke up a few hours later with contractions 5 minutes apart I actually managed to get myself to go back to sleep. I thought it would be similar to the two weeks early episode and so didn’t think much of it. I woke up in the morning with contractions still every 5 minutes and took my bath. 

This time, however, the contractions didn’t stop after the bath. They actually got closer together. Since it was Saturday and Steve was scheduled to work I told him he might want to consider getting someone to cover for him…but neither of us thought this was the real deal yet. 

I called the midwife and after I told her my story of how Berlin was born in the car she said maybe I better come in, just in case. 

Well. That wasn’t going to work for me just right at that moment. See, we were planning this to be our last pregnancy and I had never done maternity pictures. We had actually planned to take pictures that day, June 11th, but casually on our own time. Suddenly I was having contractions and supposed to be on my way to the hospital so I told Steve that just wasn’t going to work for me. So I put on a dress and we went to the park and took a few hurried shots of my last few hours of pregnancy. Not really what I had envisioned, but suffice in the moment. 

Then our dear friend Gennae took the girls and Steve and I drove to the hospital, I was still have contractions every few minutes, but not in any serious pain at that point. 

After getting hooked up to some machines and sitting around in a bed waiting for the midwife to come see me, which took around 2 hours, my contractions slowed way down. During that time Kathy (a.k.a. Grandma, double a.k.a. our doula) met up with us at the hospital. Once the midwife was finally able to make it in to see me she was not impressed with my progress at all. I was less dilated than I had been at my weekly checkup two days prior. The baby was only 50% effaced and my contractions were dwindling. If I hadn’t given birth to Berlin in a car I think she would have sent me home right then and there. Instead I was told to take a walk. 

At this point it was around 1:15pm and Kathy, Steve and I hadn’t eaten lunch so we went to Whole Foods and Jamba Juice and got salads, smoothies, and really delicious chocolate chip cookies. Then we went to Lake Calhoun and walked the whole 3.2 miles around the lake. By this point my contractions were back every couple of minutes, but not especially painful. Yes, it might have been a bad idea to walk a 3.2 mile circular route while in labor, but if this was real I wanted there to be some serious progression by the time we got back to the hospital.

The midwife, Steve, and I were still not sure this was real labor; Kathy was the only convinced that there was going to be a baby arriving in our world soon. 

By the time we finally got back to the hospital it was around 4:30 or 5:00pm. The midwife was actually surprised to see us back. She thought that since we had been gone so long that the contractions had stopped at we weren’t coming back. After she heard about where we went walking she said, “Next time I tell you to go on a walk you stay close by, you don’t drive 10 minutes away and walk 3 miles.” She was feisty. :)
After another check we discovered that I was actually dilated a little bit more, 3 or 4cm instead of barely 2cms and the baby had dropped a little bit lower. Good news.

Then I had ordered rest, in which my contractions slowed way down again, and then another suggested walk. This time we stayed around the hospital and walked some boardwalk type trails over some hospital backyard marshlands. 

My contractions were definitely getting more intense and painful which was good progress, however, they were also sending this pain shooting down my right leg so that every contraction I actually had to stop walking because my leg hurt so much. That early on my leg hurt more than the contractions themselves.
That walk changed nothing except the midwife decided not to send me home. She said that if I went home I would probably just have to turn around and come back soon. So after some super tasty hospital food (blech!) we went on yet another walk. Walk, walk, walk. 

Steve found out that the room that Tryn was born in and the room that we were brought to after Berlin was born (the nicest room in the maternity ward) was available and so he sweet talked to a few nurses and the midwife and got us checked in to “our” room. I was so excited! I love things like “all of my kids were born (almost, except that car part) in the same room”. 

Except by then I was really tired from walking all day and from having contractions for 18ish hours. My contractions were finally getting pretty intense, but I was still only dilated to 5cms with no end in sight. This was super frustrating for me. I don’t know what I was expecting with my third baby, but it wasn’t to be in labor for hours and hours. My midwife asked me if I was interested in having her break my water. I was nervous about that because I had heard both sides of the affects. In some cases it speeds things way up, other times it just makes contractions more painful and things do not get noticeably faster. 

She said that since I hadn’t progressed much that it might be a good idea, otherwise I could be up all night in the same condition I was in. I had always had my water break naturally so it was a hard decision for me, but I decided to go ahead and do it in the end. I didn’t want to stay up all night. 

Sparing the details, my water was broken, my contractions got worse, and…nothing happened. 

I sat on an exercise ball and listened to some classical music. Nothing happened. 

I laid down for awhile. Nothing happened. 

I mean besides painful contractions and such. 

Finally, it got to be about 11:00pm I was not progressing at all and so the midwife asked me how I felt about getting hooked up to Pitocin. I just started to cry. See, I had been put on Pitocin after 30ish hours of labor with Tryn and it made my contractions so painful and unbearable after being awake for so many hours. It was the one thing I had hoped we wouldn’t have to do because I was pretty sure that more than an hour of Pitocin contractions would lead to pain medication or an epidural and I was also hoping to avoid both of those. 

However, the fact that I was crying was also an indication of how tired I was. I don’t function very well without enough sleep and I was well aware that I was exhausted and looking at several more hours or labor. So I said, after having someone poke me several times for a simple blood draw earlier, “No offense to any nurses, but please get someone in here who only has to poke my arm once. I cannot handle someone digging around in my arm with a needle right now.” So they got a seasoned nurse to come in and take care of me. 

I think I got the IV around 12:30/1:00am, June 12th now, and I was still only at 5cms. At this point I was at 24 hours of contractions and very discouraged to only be at 5cms. The plan was to start me on the very lowest dose of Pitocin possible and see what happened from there. 

Before they started to hook all the bags to the IV I decided I wanted to get in the tub. I settled in and watched the nurse start hooking bags of stuff to my IV stand. Within about 15 minutes, just about the time the nurse started to open the Pitocin valve I noticed my contractions getting noticeably stronger. I started getting really uncomfortable and decided to get out of the tub. 

As I sat on the bed I noticed the midwife just standing there watching me. I was in intense pain, had no idea if these contractions were going to last for minutes or hours still, and so I asked them to give me a shot that was supposed to take the edge off the pain. Well, I saw the midwife tell the nurse to just wait and not give it to me yet. That’s all I really remember in that blurry half hour of the worst pain of my life. I had been sitting on the edge of the bed and so I decided to lay back and suddenly I knew he was coming. 

After Kye was born at 2:09am the midwife kept saying, “I have never seen someone go from 5cms to having the baby in an hour!” The part that I wish was more clear to me is that Steve delivered Kye, something that we had talked about prior to his birth, but I had my eyes closed and was feeling lost in pain during that time and so I can’t really remember much. Steve, of course, thought it was the greatest thing ever to catch his son while that little babe made his entrance into the world. He was the one to hand Kye to me and the one who cut the cord. The parts of it I remember were beautiful; I just wish I hadn’t had my eyes closed so much of that time. :)
The nurse finally gave me the shot while I was pushing and it was supposed to kick in fairly quickly, but I don’t think it kicked in until I was holding Kye in my arms. The Pitocin never had time to kick in either, so I never did have to experience those contractions again. I was amazed to find that out, considering the amount of pain I had felt in that last 20 minutes of labor.

And that was that. Our little boy was finally in our arms. Of course we didn’t actually sleep much that night, how can you with a beautiful new babe in your arms? We also didn’t name him until we were ready to walk out of the hospital, but that is a whole different story. Let's just say I won. Steve wasn't ready to argue with a woman who had just endured so much pain. Good for him. :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tryn's 6th Birthday

I know, I know, Kye's birthday was this last week and so it makes sense that you would think that there is a typo in the title of this post. However, there is not. I figured I might as well finish Tryn's birthday posts before I move on to the little man child celebrations.

As I mentioned in my previous post, this year was the first year of Tryn's life that we have not had a party for her birthday. It was a hard decision, but ultimately Steve and I decided that we would probably enjoy Tryn's birthday and be able to enjoy Tryn more on her birthday if we were not stressed out with the details of a party. For us it was a great decision. Tryn had to mentally adjust what "birthday" was to her because it has always meant party, but I think she had fun.

Also, because we weren't have a party I decided to just make a cake. Thank goodness that Tryn actually asked for a heart shaped cake because that is one of the only shapes of cake I already know how to make - whew!

 And of course now Tryn can read her own birthday cards! 

She went to school in the morning and brought a snack for all her school friends (she was SUPER excited to have her birthday at school) and after lunch, presents, and cake we went to the beach for the first time this year. Our whole family loves the beach! 

 Steve and Rollie spent a good 45 minutes working on a sand castle and trying to keep the kids from accidentally demolishing it while they "helped" the boys work on it. 

Kyeson had his first ever beach experience and thought it was the greatest thing ever. He loves his bath times and I think he thought it was like being in a big huge bathtub. :) For the first 20 minutes we were at the beach all he did is sit in this shallow water and splash as hard as he could. It was awesome. 

It was a really, really, really good day. I could get really into this whole no party thing. Happy Birthday sweet Trynie!! I love you so much!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Happy Birthday Trynica!

Dear Trynie,

Well sweetie, after waiting for months and months and counting down the days, you finally turned six! It was interesting this year because you learned days of the week and things at school so there was a pretty serious countdown leading up to birthday day. We didn't even have to tell you how many days were left, you would tell us, "Three days left until my birthday!!" There was no way anyone could forget ;)

I can't believe how big you are getting!! You are already six? Wow. You learned so much at school this past year and it makes you seem so much older. I can't believe you know how to read and add and tell the time. You are so smart.

My favorite thing about you has been my favorite thing for such a long time, you are such a good sweet girl. You are so helpful, you are so kind, you are so loving. You are such a joy to have as a daughter and I think that Kyeson and Berlin are just so lucky to have you for a big sister. One of my most favorite things that shows your heart is the way that you make people cards. I am thinking of just recently when I asked you to make a card for Grandma's birthday. Your answer? "I already did." You had already put it with the present and everything. You are just so thoughtful.

I love you so, so, so, so much big girl. I am so proud of you. You are doing a really good job being Trynica and Daddy and I are so thankful that we get to have you as our daughter.

Mom and Dad

Here are some questions we asked you today.

Favorite Color: Red

Favorite food: Pancakes

Favorite dessert: Cake and cupcakes

Favorite thing to do: Color. And make books.

Favorite game: The Memory Game

Favorite toy: My new birthday butterfly necklace

Favorite movie: Sleeping Beauty

Favorite song: Taylor Swift. Love Story, by TS specifically.

Any other favorite things: Our family!