Friday, December 23, 2011

Pickles and Poinsettias

Another Christmas season is upon us. It is no secret that I love this time of year.
I love the smell of fresh pine and Christmas goodies baking in the oven. I love the Christmas tree in my living room with about a million colored lights on the boughs.
I love the ornaments we have made every year since Doodle was a baby.
I love the mistletoe hung in the archway.
I love listening to the primary children practise their songs for our Christmas meeting.
I can hardly listen to them sing the words of these joyous carols without getting all teary, no matter how many times I hear them sing the same song, over and over again.
I love hearing my own sweet little Sunbeam sing them at the top of his voice (and get all the words right) at the kitchen table.
I can't help but joining in at the top of my voice, too, much to the sharing of the other children.
I love driving around and seeing all the fancy light displays.
I love to hear my children's chorus of oooo's and ahhhhh's from the back seat as we approach a particularly magical house.
This year Mr Bird and I were lucky enough to enjoy The Forgotten Carols AND The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert, live. Both were amazing and added such a sweet spirit to our already festive season.
This year two of my favorite things seem so small compared to all the other sights and sounds of the season.
My lovely sister, Donna, gave me a jar of pickles for Christmas.
I could not have asked for a better gift in all the world.
You see, this was no ordinary jar of pickles.
The cucumbers were grown in her garden, hand picked and sliced with her own two hands.
She prepared the jars and brined the little lovelies with fresh dill and other yummies.
They remind me of the pickles my mom made when I was a kid, although my mom did not grow the cucumbers herself like The Amazing Donna does.
These mean so much to me probably because the last batch of homemade pickles I made did not turn out so well. I still have a dozen or so jars just sitting in the pantry untouched. They've been there for over a year, no one dares go near them.
Donna's pickles though? Like little slices of HEAVEN!
The next thing I am loving this year are the poinsettias.
Poinsettias have always held a special place in my heart.
My grandmother always had a live poinsettia in the kitchen during the holidays.
Some years the poinsettia lasted much longer than the Christmas season.
I remember one plant growing enormous, loving the warm air in the laundry room just behind the kitchen in the old house on Baker Street.
Then, after Mr Bird's mom passed away 4 years ago, one of our neighbors gave us a potted poinsettia in lieu of a vase of flowers.
Long after all the other flowers had faded and drooped and died, the poinsettia was just as bright and vibrant and full of life as ever.

photo by Precision Turf

In those bleak December and January days I needed that color and that life more than anything else.
Just the sight of it gave me hope in the everlasting life Christ promises to us all.
This year, my fabulous sister-in-law, Lisa, gave us a couple of poinsettia plants.
I love them more than I probably should love an object.
Again, I am brought to the knowledge of the gift of everlasting life The Wondrous Baby brought to all the world.
I see the vibrant red leaves and remember the blood He shed for me, for my silly sins that I somehow insist on committing.
I think of a love that brightens the bleakest, darkest times of our lives.
I love the Christmas season, I love the hope we are given each and every year, brought to us by a tiny baby born in the lowliest of circumstances the world has to offer.
I love the hope that when He comes again He will come, not as a babe in a manger, but in His great power and glory.
Then, every knee shall bow and tongue confess and my heart will burst.
I love Christmas because I love Christ.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


A bloggie friend of mine (I use the term friend lightly. She really does not even know I exist, but I LOVE her blog) wrote a post entitled
Why Everyday Begs to be Thanksgiving

And really, I could not agree more.
Sometimes I just look at my life and am just blown away with how much I am blessed.
I could make a carbon copy list of all the things I am thankful for, but I won't.
I don't need to.
We all know how much I love my family, how my kids keep me laughing day in and day out.
You have heard me say a million times how blessed I feel to have my kids with me at home and to have this home school adventure with them.
So this post will be a little different.
This past year has been amazing in so many ways.
We have had our share of laughter and wonderful hikes in my majestic mountains.
We have learned and grown and danced together.
We have welcomed our littlest Weaver to our home, what a breathtaking experience.
That little girl has planted herself right in the deepest part of all of our hearts in the 8 short months we've had her.
She is such a joy.
We have also had our share of blood, sweat and tears.
I have witnessed my share of toddler meltdowns and children hitting, pinching, pushing, biting and generally being mean to one another.
Those moments make the ones when they all build a tower that's taller than Doodle out of wooden blocks and then play with it together for hours, always rearranging the parts and pieces, that much sweeter.

I have had days when I can't wait for the moment when Mr Bird comes home so I can just get away for a few hours.
Who ever knew that an evening alone in a grocery store could feel like paradise.
Those hard days make the ones when we just can't leave the dinner table and stop talking and eating together all the better.
I have enjoyed a nice long hot shower just to be spit up on and have boogers wiped in my hair (by 2 different children) less that 10 minutes later.

I have spent hours sweeping and moping the miles of tile floor just to have an entire plate of dinner dumped on it along with 4 pairs of muddy shoes come in through the door before the floor is even completely dry.
We all have the good times and the bad times.
The laughter mingles with the tears.
The birth of a new baby mingled with the thought of those we love and have lost.
The moments of love that make your heart feel as though it could burst mixed with the moments of frustration that leave you shaking with anger.
We have our ups and our downs, everyone does.
And personally, I am thankful for every last moment, the good along with the bad.
Could we even appreciate the amazing moments life gives us if we did not have to go through the tough times as well?

Isn't it the bitter that makes the sweet that much more enjoyable.
And it's the same the other way around as well.
When we are going through a rough patch we can look back with love and gratitude for the happy times we've had.
Sometimes the memory of happy days literally gets us through until the hard parts are over.
“God gave us memories, that we might have June roses in the December of our lives.”
~ Thomas S Monson
So this season I celebrate it all.
The love, laughter and dancing along with the blood, sweat and tears.
There is beauty in every single day of the year.

Everyday Begs to be Thanksgiving.
May our eyes be opened to see just how sweet this life really is.
Through it all, God be praised!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

First Day of School

I just had a sad, sad realization.
I have only been blogging about once a month.
That is just pitiful.
Can I just tell you how busy life is with 5 little ones?
I am loving every moment of our adventures, I just need to take more time to write them down for posterity's sake.
So here it is, one for the record books.

The first day of school is tricky for us home schoolers.
The thing is, we never really stopped doing school this Summer, therefore we did not really have a first day of school, so to speak.

But then everyone started posting pictures of their kids' first days of school on facebook and I felt like we needed something to mark the turning of a new leaf for our school as well.

(By the way, you all have beautiful children and I Love, Love, Love seeing their pictures and how they are growing.)

I decided we needed our very own "back to school night".
We started with a fancy dinner, we even pulled out the place mats and Fine China.

Doodle thought that since our dinner was so fancy she needed to wear her fanciest outfit.
The boys on the other hand... well at least their clothes were clean!

At dinner we presented our theme for the school year.
Alma 37:35
"O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God."
We posted it on the wall, and now we all have it memorized.

Mr Bird then took us into the family room where he gave each of his children a special Blessing to start out this new chapter of learning and adventures.

Then it was out to the back yard to enjoy the cool evening and a chocolate slushy.
Plus they had to endure mom taking a million photos.

Looks to me like they would do anything for a chocolate slushy!
I know I would!
We are so excited to start this new school year and to continue our fun learning adventures!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Practically Perfect in Every Way

I keep thinking my little Miss Mae is just so darn perfect.
I want to keep her just like this forever.
But then, when my babies are 9 months old, I think that's the perfect age, then when they turn 1 I am in love, head over heals.
18 month olds are my favorite things in the world, too.
And don't get me started on 2 year olds, be still my heart.
I guess what I'm saying is that I just love every phase of babyhood.
I really don't know what I'm going to do when M&M is not a baby anymore, I don't think Mr Bird is going for yet another baby.
I feel like I always need to have a baby around.
The sweetness they bring to my day is truly a treasure.
OK, I'll stop being so corney now and get on with this "baby brag board" post.
Here it is, my top 10 reasons I am loving this 4 month old stage.

1. The sheer cuteness. Need I say more. Just look at that face, it melts my heart every time I look at it.

2. The joy. Whenever anyone sees her (even complete strangers) they instantly smile, which in turn triggers huge smiles and coos from the baby. Joy, it's all she knows.

3. She can't talk back yet. The other children could take a lesson from her.

4. She is not mobile yet. Well, mostly. Lately when I put her on her tummy on a blanket she inch worms her way off. Or she rolls to the other side of the room. But she's not crawling or walking and getting into drawers or cupboards or crayons or scissors yet.

5. She's sleeping 9-10 hours at night. This makes one very happy (and well rested) mama!

6. She giggles and belly laughs and kicks her little feet at the kids as soon as she sees them coming close.

7. She is the perfect size. Not so little that she needs fed every 2 hours around the clock, but big enough to play with the kids. Doodle loves to make her blanket nests in the laundry hampers and get her all snugly and warm until she falls asleep.

8. The baby kisses. You know, the ones that are open mouth, suction cupped to your cheek or chin, full of drool with baby hands holding fistfuls of hair in each hand, death gripped to your face/head. Help me Rhonda!

9. Naps. She still naps enough during the day so that I can get things done around the house and pay attention to my other kids.

10. Those fingers. When she gets those two middle fingers in her mouth it looks like she's signing, "I love you!"

We all agree, this little girl is perfection personified!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Mountains

I happen to be one lucky mama.
My cute nephew, Justin is my personal mountain trail tour guide.
Every Tuesday morning we meet in some obscure (usually gravel) parking lot and he hauls (quite literally) me and my 5 children up some gorgeous mountain trail.
Sometimes it's just too much for the 3 year old.

We end up overlooking the valley that we call home.
One of those tiny dots down below is actually my house.
We drag along anyone else who is brave enough to join the throng.

I've learned a thing or two about myself during these sweaty excursions.
I grew up in California (well, that I already knew).
The nearest mountains to our home looked like tiny pencil drawings on the horizon.
Some days you could not see them at all through the smog.
It literally took hours to drive to them.
While we visited them a few times in the winter to play in the snow, I did not spend much time in their majesty.
As a young single adult, I told myself I'd never live in Utah.

I loved my California sun.
Plus, I figured there were plenty of Mormons in Utah, I was better off where I was.
And I was happy about my decision.
Until I wasn't.

I moved to Utah in the Spring of 2000, supposedly for college.
The first time I walked out the front door and saw the huge looming mountains just overhead, I was stunned and it was love at first sight.
For weeks I could not help being in awe of their beauty every time I stepped outside.
I had no intentions of staying in Utah forever, however.
Until I met Mr Bird.
One of the first things we did after we were married was to go up in the mountains on a camping trip where we canoed to the back of some unheard of place, packed our stuff into a deserted spot and slept under the stars all by ourselves.
Not a hiker or a camper to be seen.
It was beautiful.
My love for these mountains has only gotten stronger each Summer season I spend in them.
They are part of me now.
They are part of my children and my family and my home.

I love to look out the kitchen window and see the mountains ablaze in the setting sun.
I love to hear my children's laughter with their cousins as we plug along another beautiful mountain hike.
I love to take off my hot, stinky shoes and dip my toes in the cool mountain streams.
I love to watch the sun come up behind the tallest peak.
I love to look below and for just a moment take a break from the worries and stresses of this thing called life, and just breath.

I love spending time with so many awesome family members and friends.
I love how the leaves on the aspens twinkle in the early morning light.
I love saving our yummy snacks to eat at the very tippy top.
I love the exercise we get from climbing nature's stair master.
I love the first hike of the season, when the winter snow has melted and the world is just turning green again.
When we finally reach the top, I love the soothing spray of the waterfall on my hot face.

I love the millions and millions of wild flowers.
Their beauty and wonder is etched into my heart.
I have learned that I need these mountains.
They keep me focused.
They help me to know my creator as I see his hand in their majesty.
I've learned that this place is my home.
These mountains are my mountains.
I've learned that no matter how hard the climb, it's always worth it once you get to the top.
I've learned that when I'm breathing the air up there, it feels like I'm finally home.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Ninja Warrior Think

"BEANO! It's time for morning jobs!"
"BEANO! Beano! Has anyone seen Beano?!?"
"Mom, he's in the kitchen."
Upon entering the kitchen this is what I see.
Again I try to tell him it's time to start our morning jobs.
Again, I am met with silence.
I run and find the camera, turn it on, dead batteries.
I go find new batteries, hurry and put them in the slot, making sure they're not upside down.
I run back into the kitchen worried he has broken his concentration and is on to some other mischief (anything but morning jobs).
But nope, I hurry and turn the camera on and snap a picture of my little Dalai Lama.
Still he sits in perfect silence, unfazed by the click of the camera.
I think, maybe I should enjoy the silence and not be so quick to hurry him along.
He is, after all, meditating. That can't be bad, right?
After a few more moments he suddenly looks up at me with those amazing blue eyes.
"What were you doing, kiddo?"
"I was just doing the Ninja warrior think. Braden told me that's how Ninja warriors think."
Then I start thinking, oh great, all I need in this house is a Ninja Warrior...


Friday, July 1, 2011

The Pit of My Stomach

A few years ago Mr Bird got a motorcycle.
I honestly can not tell you how many years it's been now, they all seem to just blur together lately.
Could be 3, could be 6, it's all the same to me.
Right around the time he got the thing we took out a massive life insurance policy for him.
We had been meaning to do it for some time, but for some reason getting the bike pushed that item of business to the top of our priority list.
When I was younger my best friend's dad had a motorcycle and he would take turns giving us rides on the back of his bike.
It was fun when I was a kid.
Now that I have 5 little people who rely on me for practically their every breath, I don't enjoy it so much anymore.
Plus a few years ago I saw a motorcycle wreck on the freeway just behind our house.
Needless to say I have become a Nervous Nelly.
At least as far as Mr Bird and his chopper are concerned.
He has a 40 mile commute to work in Salt Lake and the days when he rides his motorcycle in I am a bundle of nerves until I know he's safe at his desk.
Earlier this week was no different.
He left for work at his usual time, it was a bright sunny day, perfect for the bike.
He hopped on and our kids waved to him from the living room window until he was out of sight, like they always do.
About 30 minutes later my cell rang.
I glanced at the clock and quickly realized Mr Bird would be in the middle of his commute.
I looked at the number on my cell and it was not one that I knew.
Immediately my heart started to beat faster.
I flipped my phone open and said a shaky, "hello..."
The voice on the other end was deep as he asked, "Is this the residence of Jay Weaver?"
Now my heart was beating at triple speed, I just wanted to know how bad the accident had been.
I could barely manage a half hearted, "yes" while leaving the room so the kids would not have to hear the conversation.
My stomach dropped and I suddenly felt nauseous.
The man on the other end of the line continued to say he was calling for the heating and air conditioning company and was confirming our appointment for our AC tune up later that day.
Suddenly I noticed my whole face was smiling.
Yes, of course, the air conditioner.
We finished our conversation and I hung up the phone to realize I was shaky and sweaty and sick to my stomach and I could not sit down.
I had enough nervous energy to power all the lights on Las Vegas Boulevard pumping through my veins.
My heart felt like I had consumed about a million cups of coffee, I could not get it to stop racing.
It was quite some time before I could stomach the rest of my breakfast.
A few minutes later I called Mr Birds phone, I caught him just as he had stopped his bike at work.
He had arrived safe and sound, like he always does.
*knock on wood*

Sunday, June 26, 2011


In January Mr Bird started a work out called Crossfit.
Some friends of ours opened a new Crossfit gym near our house and it did not take too much arm twisting to get Mr Bird there.
He was immediately hooked.
He would come home from the work outs and be sore for days, not able to bend or walk straight.
Since then Mr Bird has dropped a few pounds and pants sizes.
He claims he's in the best shape of his life.
If he has to miss a workout during the week he is beyond bummed.
I was still Prego with Little M&M when he started this new hobby.
Every day he would tell me of the brutal work outs and then proceed to tell me that I needed to try it once I had the baby.
My first thought was, you want me to do what?
After having my 5th child?
You must be out of your mind.
So I have slowly been trying to wrap my head around this crossfit idea.
A couple months ago we went to the open house of the gym.
While we were there a little boy was trying to lift a bar that the weights go on (I don't know the name of it).
I was standing right next to him in open toe sandals when it came crashing to the floor, landing square on my pinkie toe.
It bled and throbbed and swelled.
It did not take too long to realize that the toe was broken.
Fast forward a few weeks and Mr Bird convinced me to do a WOD (work out of the day) at home with him.
I decided to oblige.
Big mistake.
Half way through the work out my back seized up and I could not move (something about bad form, yadda, yadda).
It took weeks to get any sort of mobility back.
Picking up Little M&M from her crib at night to feed her was sheer torture.
So far I did not have a very pleasant experience with this thing called Crossfit.
Yesterday I decided to wake up my poor postpartum self and try again.
I am ready to have my abs back.
For the most part, it went well and I enjoyed the work out.
(They take it easy on newcomers and give us a work out just for weaklings like myself and call it the newbie WOD)
However, I made a shocking discovery during the warm up.
I was trying to do a movement called hollow rocks.
It requires lying on the ground on your back and holding your legs up in the air at about a 45 degree angle.
Then you lift your head off the ground with your arms raised over your head and rock back and forth from your bum to your back.
As I tried to get into position I was alarmed at my body.
Try as I may I could not lift my legs off the ground (while keeping them extended).
They felt as if they were glued to the carpet.
I could lift one at a time, but not both.
It was such a weird sensation to have my brain telling my legs to move a certain way and get absolutely no response.
My lower abs are not just broken, they seem to be totally MIA.
Gone somewhere along with my sanity.
I am still alarmed that I could not even get through the warm up without totally tanking.
Now I have a new resolve.
I WILL be able to lift my legs, both at the same time, off the ground if it kills me.
This is my new quest.
Small as it may seem I have a goal:
To mend my broken abs.

Enjoy this video about Crossfit:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Little M&M

Way back when Little M&M was 2 weeks old (seems like an eternity ago) our good friend Matt of Barr photography came and did a fun photo shoot with our newest little Weaver.

We had to capture her babyness before it's all gone.

How much longer will I be able to cradle her in the palm of my hands?
Not long enough, I'm afraid.

I think naked babies are so scrumptious.

Just look at those perfect little lips, couldn't you just eat them up?

And the cheeks! Heaven help me!

She's our little Angel, what more can I say?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Happy Self

My poor, poor neglected blog, has it really been so long since I posted?
Time has been flying by in a whirlwind, as it does once the baby is out every time.
It feels like you're pregnant for an eternity, then all of a sudden they are going to college and you just can't figure out where the time went.
My little M&M is no different.
She is already growing and changing so much.
It's good though, she is so fun when she smiles and talks and blows raspberries at us.
Doodle thinks it's hilarious that she will flare her little nostrils when you flare yours at her.
We all end up laughing til our sides hurt at all the cuteness.
There have been a million things I have wanted to blog about the past few weeks, but I just can't seem to sit down for 10 minutes without a baby in my arms smiling at me and making it really difficult to type.

Like Little M&M's blessing day and how Dubs thought she looked just like a little princess.
Or the fact that the 11th anniversary of our little family came and went.
And how Mr Bird is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I thank heavens every day that I married that man.
Not to mention the fact that he makes me so much better than I could ever be on my own.
Before we were married I told him on several occasions that he should not marry me because it was painfully obvious that I had no clue how to be a good wife or mother.
He insisted that I would do a good job. I don't really know that I'm doing that great of a job, but I sure do love my role as Mr Bird's wife and being the mom to the most fantastic kids on the planet.
I have wanted to blog about Spring and the return of the fairy dust days.
My kids are all outside at this moment playing in the magic as it floats in the sky, filling the air with sheer wonder.
Not to mention Mother's day and Father's day.
I have wanted to blog about our weekly hikes in our gorgeous Utah mountains.
I never knew I could love an inanimate object like I love those mountains.
I love to hear my kids laugh and play with their cousins as we tread onward and upward.
Their laughter seems magical as they run and jump through the thick trees and climb huge rocks.
I have wanted to blog about the newest addition to our little family.
We brought home our very first K-9.
He's a cute 9 month old Beagle.
I have never had a dog of my own and am excited and nervous at the same time.
It seems like one more creature to worry over and take care of.
Why is it I like taking care of small things so much?
Babies, apples, fruit trees, chickens, turkeys and now dogs apparently.
So far he's been a really good dog.
It does my heart good to see my little boys running around and rolling in the grass with their cute and snugly pup.
Now we just need to agree on a name...
And last but not least, I have wanted to blog about the fact that I don't think I could be any more happy if I tried.
I am truly blessed to have the life and family and home that I do.
I believe that I live on just the exact perfect spot on the whole green earth.
I really do feel as if my life is practically perfect in every way.
*insert cheesy grin*
A fantastic husband, 5 adorable children and now a little tail wagging dog, what more can anyone ask for?
Well, maybe just one more baby, but we'll let Mr Bird have a year or two before we bring that up again.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Scarred for Life

I over heard Doodle and Beano and Dubs talking at the kitchen table the other day.
Their conversation went something like this.
Beano: When I grow up I'm going to have 10 kids.
Dubs: When I grow up I'm going to have 100 kids, I'm going to need a really big house!
Doodle: I'm only going to have 2 kids; do you know how hard it is to push babies out?!?! (sounding completely appalled)
She went on to explain that she wants 2 kids , preferably twins (so she only has to go through labor one time), so that they will not be spoiled and mean.
I think it may have been a mistake for me to let her be here for Little M&M's birth.
I think she may be scarred for life.
Plus I think she's one smart cookie, why didn't I think of that plan 3 children ago?
Not really though, I would not trade any one of them for all the riches in the world.
They are so good (most of the time) and I can not imagine my life without any one of them.
Even Little M&M has worked her way so deep into the fabric of our lives that it seems she's always been a part of us.
When I was on the phone with my grandma (Little M&M's name sake), telling her of Little M&M's birth she said, "I think Heavenly Father tricks us into having more babies. None of us would do it more than once if we were in our right minds."
I think she may be right, at least Doodle thinks so!

Monday, April 25, 2011

A New Name

It's official.
Baby Cakes has officially out grown his bloggy name.
(OK, OK, I know it's been official for a while now)
He is anything but a baby any more.
Yet for so long he has been my little boy.
I admit it, it's been really hard for me to let go of his babiness.
Harder, for some reason, than any of the other children thus far.
I have a million reasons why, I will not bore you with all the details, but that little boy had my heart from the start.
A few days before M&M was born, the thought occurred to me that Baby Cakes was not going to be 'the baby' anymore.
It nearly ripped my heart out.

For those few days I hugged him every chance I got.
Which is really hard to do to a 3 year old who thinks he's going on 30.
He is so busy being a little man, he has no time for mommy to keep trying to snuggle him.
While I was in labor I literally sobbed, out loud, that he would not be the baby anymore.
And when I say sobbed, I mean cried out loud, whaled even, with huge tears that seemed to come in torrents.
(Not my prettiest moment)
Then another contraction came and distracted me for a while.
A few days after M&M was born, we were saying family prayers one night and it hit me again that Baby Cakes was indeed growing up and a new little being had taken his place of "The Littlest Weaver".
I held him close for his good night hug and cried again, not wanting to let go of his baby-ness.
I choked back the tears as he kissed my cheek and I scooted him off to bed.
I have loved that little boy fiercely.
I still do, but it's high time I come to grips with the reality that he's just not a baby anymore.
With that said, I have a new bloggy name for my not-so-baby-anymore-Baby-Cakes.
He will officially be known on this blog as,
Drum roll, please!

Little Man.
Not very original perhaps, but very fitting.
He thinks he's all grown up.
His goal in life is to be just like his daddy.
He wants to grow up and go to work and eat hamburgers for lunch just like his dad.
In fact, if I make a dinner he does not like, all I have to say is that if he does not eat, he will not grow up big like daddy and he instantly cleans his plate.
Works like a charm.
He has to be right in the middle of what the other boys are doing.
Building forts to keep out the enemy, playing army and war and defending his family.
He may just be the littlest man I know.
Even though he may be growing up and becoming a man, he'll always be my Baby Cakes.
I sure do love that Little Man of mine!

Friday, April 1, 2011

My How Time Flies

So much has happened in just the past 2 weeks.
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly things can change.
How we adapt to change and grow with it.

Here are some photos of the little changes going on at our house.

Our little M&M is already growing like a weed and working her way into our hearts and lives.

It's already hard to imagine we were ever with out her.

A Star is Born

Warning:This blog post may contain graphic material not suitable for all audiences. It contains graphic descriptions of a real birth, no holds bar. It is very descriptive and I tried to make it as honest as possible. If you are squeamish about this sort of thing or are a man, you may want to skip this post all together. We will return to our regular scheduled posts next week.

It all started with a big bang.
Well, it was actually more like a tiny pop in the stillness of the night.
1:00 in the morning Friday March 18 to be exact.
Mr Bird was in California for work and was not due home until about 11:00 that night.
I had a hard time falling asleep that night, so when I needed to turn over in the night, I was again awakened, but this time with a pop and a huge gush.
It only took moments for me to figure out that my water had broken.
I got up to go to the bathroom, heart racing, and my fears were instantly confirmed.
My water had broken and Mr Bird was hundreds of miles away from me.
What was worse is that there were no contractions to accompany this development.
I take that back, there were a few tiny contractions.
They were irregular, to say the least and not even as painful as period cramps.
Just how Doodle's labor started.
Broken water with no labor in sight.
I was worried I'd end up in the hospital on pitocin to get labor going.
Not exactly the home birth I had been planning and dreaming about.
I called my midwife who assured me labor was imminent and that I should lay down and sleep before it got intense. She said I should call her when the contractions started to pick up.
Then I called Mr Bird.
"Guess what? My water just broke!"
"What? You're joking, right!"
"Why would I call you at 1am joking about something like this?!?! No, my water really did break!"
I think this is where the tears started and I freaked out just a little.
Mr Bird and I got off the phone so he could try to change his flight and I could "sleep".
I think I stayed in bed about 3 minutes before I realized my mind was not going to be quiet.
I decided to get up and do a few things that I had left undone the night before.
An hour later I had a spotless house and a very tired body.
Mr Bird called back to tell me he was able to change his flight and would be home by 10:00 am!
What a relief.
I layed back down, but still no sleep and very few contractions.
It seemed like I layed there forever just waiting for the sun to come up and waiting for the imaginary contractions to intensify.
Finally the children woke up.
We got breakfast going (banana muffins and a loaf of banana bread for snacks later) and did our morning jobs.
I told the kids we would be having a baby today and needed to get some things done to get ready.
They were beyond excited, although doodle was a little confused because just the night before I told her we still had 2-3 weeks until the baby came.
She was counting on it being born on her birthday.
I called my sister, Christine, to come over so I would not have to be alone until Mr Bird got home.
She got there a little while later with her 4 year old daughter.
The kids were instantly loud and noisy and excited to see their cousin.
There was running and yelling and laughing and an over all abundance of energy in the air!
My wonderful sister gathered the children for stories to calm them all.
She read for nearly an hour, until my sister-in-law, Mama Lisa, showed up with the fixings for smoothies and calming oils and rubbed my feet.
Shortly after that my nephew Brad stopped by with his cute little baby Chase.
By this time my house was no where near clean anymore and chaos reigned supreme.
The kids were in and out of the house a million times and the grown ups were talking and I was starting to stress, big time.
I was ready for quiet.
Mr Bird got home around this time and since there was no sign of baby he decided to go take a nap.
Meanwhile we went through boxes of baby clothes, put together the bassinet and hoped to no avail for more powerful contractions.
I had a few, but they were still not very close together or coming in any sort of regular pattern.
Frustration started setting in.
While Mr Bird was napping baby Chase started crying.
He woke Mr Bird, who thought I had gone ahead and had the baby while he was sleeping.
Mr Bird looked around at all the chaos and saw me looking overly anxious and decided we needed to get rid of some people if we ever wanted to get things going.
I went upstairs and called my midwife again, not to report strong labor, but rather the lack thereof.
I tried my hardest to sound put together, but it was all I could do to not start bawling into the hand piece.
"Heather, I am not having contractions and I really don't want to go to the hospital. What can I do to get things going?!?"
It was past lunch time and I was ready to try anything at this point.
She suggested a few things.
First on her list was the dreaded Castor oil.
She said she had a few more appointments to finish up with and would come over as soon as she was done to try to "stretch my cervix" to see if that would produce more powerful contractions.
She said in the mean time to try nipple stimulation whenever I did have a contraction to see if we could make them longer and more regular.
I thought of all the people in my house and knew they all had to leave.
It was time to get down to business.
Less than 1/2 an hour later the house was silent.
Lisa had taken my children with her to play and we sent Christine to the store for some Castor oil.
I put 2 Tablespoons in the last part of my smoothie and choked it down at about 2:30 in the afternoon.
While waiting for something to happen I laid down and tried concentrating on contractions.
I became very frustrated with their lack of oomph, even with the extra stimulation.
A few hours later, around 4:30 the Castor oil kicked in.
I found myself not able to venture too far from the bathroom.
Heather showed up about that time and we talked about options.
We decided to go ahead and try a few more things before throwing in the towel and heading to the hospital.
She went ahead and started to stretch my cervix.
She said I was not even dilated to a 2 and my cervix was not effaced at all.
She said my cervix was very unfavorable.
She said this could be a VERY long labor and that she'd plan on spending the night and the baby would likely not come until the next day.
Just like with Doodle, I started thinking that my body could not do this on its own after all.
I needed to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of her procedure, so I did.
When I got back to bed so she could finish she said that in those few minutes I had become 50% effaced!
Finally, a glimmer of hope.
My body was responding.
Since my contractions were still weak, Heather suggested I walk around.
I thought about running some errands that I had wanted to do before the baby came, but decided I could not be too far away from the bathroom at that point.
I opted for a walk on my treadmill while Mr Bird made a run to Wally World and to pick up Subway for dinner.
By the time Mr Bird came home I had been walking for about 40 minutes.
The contractions really picked up while I was on the treadmill.
They were still not very long or painful, I could still walk through them, but they were coming regularly.
When Mr Bird got home we all sat and ate our sandwiches.
I was thinking I'd get back on the treadmill after I ate so I could keep things going.
Lisa called about that time and said she'd keep the boys overnight, but that Doodle wanted to come home and be here for the birth.
I went upstairs to get some clothes packed for the boys.
That only took about 10 minutes, but in those 10 minutes my contractions changed significantly.
It was apparent I would not be getting back on the treadmill.
It was about 6:30 by this time and my water had been broken for quite some time.
We did not know the results of my group B strep test since we had just done the test 2 days before and the lab did not have my results yet.
We decided to go ahead and have my first round of I.V. antibiotics just to be safe.
The risk of infection to the baby had my group B step been positive was on the rise and I did not want to risk it (it turned out negative after all).
Heather put in the I.V. as I sat in the rocking chair in my bedroom.
It took about 20 minutes for all the antibiotics to enter my vein, then the I.V. was out.
From then on time becomes a blur, things started happening hard and fast.
I bounced on the exercise ball leaning over our bed until I could not talk through the contractions anymore.
We decided to set up the birth pool at this time.
By the time it was ready to go, so was I.
The warm water made me relax and soon labor became intense.
That's the best word I can use to describe it.
I had to really focus on breathing and even moaning to get through this part of labor.
Heather was great.
She helped me breath through the contractions and helped me to not get all panicky.
She moaned with me which helped immensely so I could have something to focus on, if I matched her tones I could do it.
This is the part of labor when I wanted to crawl out of my skin.
I started thinking I could not do it any longer.
I keep talking to the baby in between contractions.
I kept telling her we were ready for her and to hurry and come out.
Sounds silly, but it gave me something to think about instead of the pain.
Then the nausea hit.
That's when I knew I was in transition and was actually relieved because I knew it would be over soon.
During this time Doodle was in and out of the room.
Mr Bird had turned a movie on for her downstairs.
She would come in the room and watch, then go back down to watch more of her movie.
I don't think she even watched 5 consecutive minutes of her movie at any given interval.

Once the nausea passed I felt that the water in the pool was getting cool and I was ready to get out and try something new.
I got up and went to the bathroom and stayed there for a few more contractions.
I was really worried about having the baby in the bathroom so I got back to our bed before too long.
Heather checked me again and said I was 9 with just a tiny rim around the baby's head.
I asked her if she could try to slip the rim over the baby's head so we could get the ball rolling.
She did and then said I could try to push through the next contraction.
It felt much better to push through them.
Then suddenly, something funny happened.
My contractions changed again.
Only, instead of getting more intense and painful, they became very mild and short.
I could not even get the "umph" I needed to get a good push.
Heather said this is called "the rest and be thankful" stage of labor.
It happens to many women, only most don't know it because they have an epidural and can't feel it.
I was very relieved that the contractions were so easy for a while.
I kept saying how much better these ones felt and how glad I was that the others were gone.
Yet, I wanted to get things going, I wanted to meet my baby.
My hips started cramping up in the bed so I got out and assumed the squatting position next to the foot of my bed.
Heather told me I only had 30 more minutes until I had to have more I.V. antibiotics.
I really did not want more. I could not see myself sitting there with a needle in my arm for 20 minutes at that stage of labor. That became great motivation for me to get the baby out.
Somewhere around that time I heard Heather tell her assistant that the baby's heart rate was 107.
I freaked out and thought that was too low (it had been over 140 all during labor).
I was worried the baby was starting to get distressed.
Heather reassured me that for the fact that the head was in the birth canal that was perfectly normal.
Still, I was worried and started to feel that I really needed to get this baby out.
Heather checked me again and found that for some reason a little bag of water was hung up under the baby's head and that could be why pushing was not working.
She popped that little bag of water and we all heard a little 'pop'!
The next contraction I started pushing and could feel the head crowning.
I screamed and that sent Doodle out of the room like lightening, I think it freaked her out.
I felt like if I could just keep pushing, the baby would be born.
I stopped pushing and was irritated that the head had not come out.
"Now I have to do that all over again!"
The next push and baby's head was out, I paused and decided to keep pushing and her little body came shooting out into Mr Bird's arms.
10:44pm, 10 minutes more and I would have needed more antibiotics. Turnes out, I beet the clock.
If only I could explain the euphoria I felt at that moment.
Mr Bird said, "You're not pregnant anymore!"
My reply was a resounding, "Hallelujah!", that I literally felt from the top of my hair follicles all the way down to my toes.
Nothing has ever felt so good in my entire life!
Heather ended up behind me and I found myself lying in her arms.
So Mr bird caught the baby and Heather caught me.
Mr Bird looked at the baby and tried to see the gender, but it was dark and he was also trying to make sure she was breathing.
She coughed and choked a few times and then she was breathing and screaming at the top of her lungs.
This sent Doodle flying back into our room.
Mr Bird handed me the baby wrapped in a towel and I just held her so tightly.
It took a few moments before I could take her away from my chest to see what we had.
I turned to Doodle and said, "You have a sister!"
She could hardly believe it.
The next little while was pure heaven.
No one came to take my baby from me to be weighed and measured and poked.
We sat and looked at each other for the longest time, then got on the bed and nursed.
Doodle and I took turns holding her and snuggling.
After about an hour and a half they cut the cord and weighed her and measured her right on my bed, right in front of my eyes.
They did the newborn exam and checked her breathing and heart and reflexes and I don't even know what else.
They were so very thorough.
During all of this she never left my sight.
I then decided to let Mr Bird hold her while I took a quick shower.
Heather and her assistant took down the pool and cleaned everything up (they even brought their own towels which they took with them to launder).
We had tons of disposable pads and protective layers so nothing was soiled in the least.
The midwives left at about 1:30 am and we were left as a little family all cozy in our bed.
My Bird and Little M&M slept all night long.
I, on the other hand, could not sleep a wink.
I just lay there, staring at my baby and listening to her sweet breath and squeaky noises.
I was on cloud nine and I don't think I could have slept even if I had wanted to.
Now it has been two weeks since her birth.
Talk about a whirl wind.
We've had Dub's birthday and Doodle's birthday since then.
We've dealt with sleepless nights, taking shifts on the couch, the joys of the first week of nursing a new baby, jaundice and bili lights, a million trips to the hospital lab for more blood to check bili rubin levels.
We've had sick kids who have to stay away from the sweetest baby on the planet.
We've gone through 3 1/2 packs of diapers and are on our second box of breast pads.
She had her 2 week check up and is officially out of the jaundice woods. The lights are returned and we are all so much happier.
She is already growing and changing.
She now weighs 7 pounds 2 ounces and is a whopping 20 3/4 inches long.
That puts her in the 15th percentile for weight and the 50th percentile for height.
Tall and thin, just like her sister.
We have the hang of nursing down and are even getting a few hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
*knock on wood*
We are all so healthy and happy.
This journey has been a lot like life itself.
Full of ups and downs and twists and turns, but in the end full of joy beyond description.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Glow in the Dark Baby

My little M&M has been under the bili lights for 2 days and counting.
When I first found out she'd have to be there 24/7 it nearly broke my heart.
I literally sobbed as I strapped her into the little blue cocoon.
I can take her out to nurse and change her diapers, but that's it.
Even then she has a portable bili light strapped to her tiny chest.
The whole thing is so pitiful.
It's like she's being quarantined from our family.
We just got her and now we can't even hold her.

Logically, my brain knows it's good for her and will only benefit her in the long run.
But try telling that to my heart, whose wanted nothing more than to snuggle that sweet thing for 8 1/2 very long months.
Putting your baby on some alien experiment looking tray instead of rocking and cuddling and cooing at her goes against every fiber of motherhood.
It's like trying to tell the sun to stop shining or stopping the Spring from springing.

We are trying to be positive though.
We have thought of a few funny names for our little science experiment.
Lily Bili
Glow Worm
Radio active Baby
Glow in the dark Baby
Baby from the Blue Lagoon
She's our own Little Blue M&M
(I think the blue ones might be my new favorite color)
We are counting the hours until we can turn the lights off and get on with the serious business of hugging and kissing that tiny face.
For now, I take my time nursing and burping her and cherish the smell of her tiny head.
I lie right next to her in my bed and stare into her eyes when she's awake.
We have really good talks.
I have explained to her why she's there, I don't think she quite gets it though.
I listen to her tiny squeaks and hiccups and remember what it felt like when she had those in my belly every single night.
I marvel at the miracle she is and dream of our future together.