Friday, May 29, 2015

Austen Hope

It's 7:35 in the morning. A little boy is running around the kitchen, trying to figure out if he can get in the snack drawer without mama noticing. His big sister is away at her Granny's house, having had a blast this past week with two of her favorite cousins. My husband, he is asleep in our bed. My gift to him after he not only worked hard all week to provide for our family, but also got up with the boy all weekend so mama could focus on baby logistics.

Ah, the baby. The sweet smelling, dark haired, cooing baby is sitting next to me in her Rock-n-Play. Snoozing away so quietly and sweetly that it makes me wonder how we ever had a morning that did not include looking onto her darling little face.  Is it possible that it was only a week ago that she was not here. That I had not looked into her eyes, or smelled her sweet scent? That she did not lay next to me at night, snug close to my heart?

Monday May 18th was an average day. I had hoped that maybe, just maybe, I would go into labor that day since it was a New Moon. But as I had been hoping it might be the day for the last day or two, I didn't have much hope.  I had been bouncing on my birth ball for about a week to relieve the pressure she was putting on my hips, but other than that there were very few signs that labor could be on it's way. Nonetheless when I went to the doctor that afternoon I did consent to a membrane sweep, knowing that it would help my body only if it was really and truly ready to bring our sweet girl into the world.

Other than a few period-like cramps here and there, the rest of the night went simply like the ones before. I did my evening nesting-sweeping, tidying, and folding laundry just in case something were to happen, and then went to bed around 9:30, fully expecting to wake up to another day of pregnancy.

At 10:30 Atlas woke up to let me know he was no longer happy in his crib and wanted to get in our bed.  It's a nightly ritual, and one that I have grown to cherish as we snuggle for a few minutes before he falls sound asleep again between his daddy and me.  That night I did notice a few more cramps while I fell back asleep, but nothing that would make me think that this was it.

So imagine my surprise when I woke up only an hour later to a crazy and intense pain in my back, one that left my brain thinking that the only way to get it to go away was to go sit in the bathtub and hope that the warm water could work some magic.  To my surprise, contractions started almost as soon as I sat in the tub, and they were already varying between 3-5 minutes apart.  By 12:30 I decided to go ahead and make calls to my midwife, grandmother, and best friend to let them know that this *might* be it. I had several contractions throughout each conversation but ended up telling all of them that I would call and let them know whether to come or not in about 30 minutes.  I was scared they would get here and it would fizzle out.  Apparently none of them had the same thought, because each of them got up, got dressed, and waited for me to call them back.  My midwife went as far as to wait in her car for the call since she had a 1.5 hour drive to my house ahead of her!

By 1:00 I was sure that this was the real thing, and texted Heather, my best friend since we were nine years old, to make her way over. I then called my grandma to come and get Atlas (Addi was already at my other grandmother's house for the night), and woke up the Hubs to let him know that this was it.  Poor Atlas had no clue what was going on, he walked around the living room like a confused zombie while I gathered his things and got him ready to leave.  I held him through a few contractions and cried thinking that this was the last time I would hold him as the baby of our little family.  I actually waited another 15 minutes or so to call the midwife-just in case.

Heather arrived first, and quickly went into what I like to call 'Meagan Mode', focusing on me and helping me get through contractions while the Hubs started to get things setup.   My grandmother laughed at me when she was here, because I expressed that I was still scared it would fizzle out.  She told me there was no chance of that.

As soon as Atlas left I decided to get in the shower. The back pain (back labor) was still going strong and I was hoping that the massage setting on our shower head would help knead out the pains that were now anywhere between 1.5 and 2 minutes apart.  It did help a lot, and putting counter pressure on my back during the contractions with the water hitting it as well helped even more.  At this point Heather stayed in the bathroom with me, talking me through contractions while the Hubs continued to get things ready.

Here is where I seemed to lose track of time, even though I stayed pretty level headed throughout the labor.  The contractions continued to pick up intensity and I asked Heather to tell the Hubs to get the tub ready.  I was starting to feel 'pushy' although I was still sure I had many hours of labor ahead of me.  I was thoroughly convinced that I wouldn't give birth until  at least 9 or 10 in the morning.  While the Hubs blew up the tub I filled the bathtub with water, because at this point I needed the water during contractions (a very different reaction from Atlas' labor) and knew it would take awhile to fill the birth tub up.  I was very glad I had this thought the small 'pushy' feelings started to get more intense and it was only a few minutes later that the Hubs came in to let me know that we forgot to get an adapter for the hose we had planned to use to fill up the birth tub. He offered to go to the store to get one, but I told him no, I didn't want him to leave.  It was then that my phone rang with Pam, my midwife, on the other end telling us she was about 20 minutes away from our home.  When Heather got off the phone and told me what Pam had said I said 'Good, because I think I might need to push.'  That as the first time I had vocalized those feelings.

The weird thing is, that at this point I still wasn't sure that I did need to push.  Part of me was still convinced that I had awhile still to go.  But the contractions were so intense that I was having to vocalize through them now, and it was taking a lot of effort to keep my sounds low and open instead of tight and closed.  I remember asking Heather what time it was and she told me 2:10 or so.  I told her I would really like it if 'she' was here by 3:00.  She assumed I was talking about the midwife and reminded me she would be here in only about ten minutes or so.  I laughed and told her that I wasn't talking about the midwife, I was talking about the baby.  The midwife needed to be here by 2:30.  She was, and it turns out that was a very good thing!

***I actually remember saying a few things here, transition was not as intense or foggy as it was with Atlas' birth.  I remember telling Heather that the Hubs would freak if the midwife did not make it for the birth, and that I knew it wasn't time yet because if it was when it was time to push with Atlas things got trippy and sparkly.  FYI: That did NOT happen with this birth.***

The midwife arrived right around 2:20, and I immediately asked to be checked.  I told her about the pushy feeling, and that I hadn't convinced myself it if it was real or not.  She checked me and I was at a 9 with a lip.  I heard her update the Hubs when she went back into the living room and he replied 'Wow, so it shouldn't be long now.' We were all shocked by how fast it was going.  By then the urge to push was stronger, and I could not find a comfortable position in the tub, I asked Heather to put some towels down on the bathroom floor so I could stand up and hold onto the towel rack that is in front of toilet.  Heather stood behind me and every time a contraction would hit I would yell 'pressure' and she would press on my back.  Soon gravity took hold and I told Pam that my body was pushing on it's own.  Then I felt a distinct slide in my hips that let me know her head had fully engaged.  I pushed with the next contraction and felt her start to crown.  Pam reminded to push short pushes to help me not tear, and that was a good thing because her head did not come out as quickly as her siblings had. In fact I think it took me 5 or 6 separate pushes to get her head out.  She actually had a T-shaped bruise on her face the first day due to the areas where her head was sitting during pushes.  Even with all that it only took 5 minutes of pushing before I had her in my arms.  Pam sat me on the floor and I cried.  I couldn't believe she was here.  When Pam announced time of birth as 2:42 we all laughed.  I had gotten my wish, she was here before 3:00!

Austen hope came into this world after a fast and furious 3 hours of active labor.  She was bigger than both of her siblings, weighing in at 7lbs 14oz and her cone head brought her to 21.5" in length.  I can't count how many times we commented throughout the day on how fast the labor was, and how intense it was as well.

I still can't believe it's been a week.  Her brother looks so grown up now when he stands next to her, and I am reminded  daily how fast her sister is growing as well.  It breaks my heart, but fills it with love and pride at the same time to see this change in them.  Life is definitely a little more hectic around here, but I am grateful even for that.  I live for the hugs, the kisses, the spills, and messes that life with my littles brings me.  And I wouldn't trade it for anything in this world.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Saying Good-bye

 photo in_heaven-1024x640_zpsf6dfb9a5.jpg

I've touched on it somewhat in my vlogs (I think?), and I also posted about it a little on here, but this past holiday season was a really difficult one for me and my family.  I lost not one, but two of my grandfather's approximately a month apart.

You see, I am a very, very lucky girl.  Because although my parents came from divorced homes this gave me the opportunity to know and love not only two, but four grandfather's as I grew up.  In November we lost my dad's biological father, and this past Christmas Eve we lost my mom's adopted dad.

In some ways these men were polar opposites.  Where one had a hard time grasping the concept of being a dad, the other was born and bred to be one.  So much so that when he fell in love with my grandmother he fell in love with her three girls as well.  He took them in, raised them as his own, and through the courts and God's grace gave them his last name.  One loved to travel, and never wanted to stay in Texas too long.  The other travelled a lot as well, but he wasn't as fond of it.  I remember being on the phone when we had just moved to California, bawling my eyes out I was so homesick, and he cried right along with me.  He said they moved so he could work and make money, but every time he left Texas he counted down the days until he could go back.

But just as they were polar opposites in some ways, they were so alike in others.  They loved their grandchildren (one only had two, the other had thirteen), and their great grandchildren even more.  They both lived hard lives, but loved every single minute of it.  They were both passionate to the core, and held a spark of life in their eyes that I never saw go out.

This past Saturday my family held a celebration to say good-bye to one of these men (the other requested not to have a funeral), and what a party it was.  It was so amazing to see all these people gathered together to play music and reminisce about this larger than life man they would all miss.  Stories were told of his days as a musician, his ability as a concrete layer, his 'testifying' whenever he'd perform.  We remembered how he taught most of us to throw knives, some of us to dig ditches, and taught every single one of us kids how to 'chop, chop, timber' and showed us how a 'mouse eats cheese'.

I loved both of these men so, so much, and they each left an incredible impact on my life.  The things that they taught me, the experiences and memories they gave me, I can never repay.  Some have told me I am weird because I haven't cried that much, and honestly that is a little weird for me.  But the truth is I am so grateful for the times I had with these men.  Remember that post I wrote about my friend and the grace and peace she felt?  I think I have found it in this situation, and I thank God for blessing me with it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cleanliness and Godliness

I'm not perfect.  GASP!  I can't believe I just admitted that on the inter webs, because sometimes I feel that we as bloggers want you to believe that we are.  That we have it all together, our kids behave perfectly, always pose for pictures, and our houses look like an issue of Better Homes and Gardens at all times.  Well I'm sorry everyone, I'm not that person.

I'm sure you've heard the phrase cleanliness is next to Godliness, and if you grew up with grandmother's like I did you probably heard it a lot.  Heck, I still here it a lot!  The problem is that my house is not always the cleanest place in the world and therefore I think my grandma's sometimes have small panic attacks when they enter it.

I want to take a moment here to say my house in not a disaster area, my dishes aren't stacked miles high, dirty laundry doesn't cover the floors (although a lot of the time clean laundry waiting to be folded covers the couch).  It's the little things that clutter the house and tend to build up that is my problem.  Those little things are everywhere!

I've come to the conclusion that the problem is that I am a perfectionist, and while that may lead you to believe my house would be perfect all the time I believe it actually hinders it.  You see I want my house to be perfect, I want it to be perfect to a level it's impossible to maintain, especially with two kids and a daycare.  Have you seen my videos?  I call Atlas and his best friend (one of my daycare girls) the Terrible Two for a reason.  Those two kids can destroy a room in .02 seconds and then move onto the next room to see what else can be destroyed.  Half the time I feel like picking up after them is completely fruitless because as soon as they see a room is clean something inside them tells them it must be destroyed, right. this. very. second.  I love these two kids, and wouldn't trade them for the world, but there are many days where I wish they would just stick to destroying one room and leave the rest of my house in peace.

Now when it comes to cleaning my house I have tried everything.  Weekly schedules, Fly Lady, calendars, daily lists, etc.  Nothing really seems to be working for me, but I am not giving up.  I am not one to really do New Years Resolutions, but with baby Austen coming in May I have to get this place organized once and for all.  No if, ands, or buts about it.

So I am on a mission, to find a method that works for me and my family, implement it, and keep it!  I plan to keep you updated on our journey over here, and if anyone has any tips (any at all!) please don't hesitate to share them.  I need them!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

January Memory Verse:

Proverbs 6:1-5

My son, if you become surety for your friend,
If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
You are snared by the words of your mouth;
You are taken by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son, and deliver yourself;
For you have come into the hand of your friend;
Go and humble yourself;
Plead with your friend.
Give no sleep to your eyes, 
Nor slumber to your eyelids.
Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Frugal Friday-Utilizing Our Leftovers

 photo IMG_4593_zps50872ad1.jpg 

We've got a challenge on our hands, a no-spend January (more on that later).  Because of that we are trying to stretch every penny in our budget as far as we can.  I found this muffin recipe a year or so ago on a blog I follow and fell in love.  Oatmeal is a big staple in our home, but I always have leftovers.  I hate to throw food (aka-money) into the trash, we were seriously eating dressing for a week after Christmas because I refuse to waste it!

 photo IMG_4587_zpsdded55f2.jpg 
Doesn't that look appetizing?

These muffins fill my families bellies, while using up some of those leftovers; and did I mention they are delicious!  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do :)

 photo IMG_4590_zpsc8141a31.jpg 
It is not a watery batter, more like cookie dough than most muffins.

1 cup cooked oatmeal
1 egg
1 TBSP melted butter
1/2 cup milk
4 TBSP honey/sugar/maple syrup
2 TBSP baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cups 'extras' (we use chocolate chips and sometimes blueberries)

Mix all dry ingredients together, add in wet ingredients and then bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

2015 Goals and Plans

2014 was a hard year, and if I am being perfectly honest I'm kind of glad to see it leave.  A lot changed, but I changed too.  The hubs and I are not just trying to get out of debt anymore, we are not just mad at our debt.  We are furious with it and we are bound and determined to get it gone as fast as we can.

This new year of 2015 is not going to be easy, we are starting it off with the smallest income we have ever had since getting married almost five years ago and more debt than we have ever had (hello new house payment!), but we have a plan and are on a mission to kiss it goodbye once and for all.  Now I am realistic, I don't think we will get it all paid off this year.  Unless our income changes drastically it's just not going to happen.  But I am optimistic that we can get all but one of our consumer debts paid off, and I think in 2016 we can do all but the house and finish our emergency fund.  How awesome will that be?

I also have big plans for OhanaFarm in 2015, for one a few family members and I are actually hoping to take OhanaFarm from just a wishful idea to a real life small hobby farm this year!  As for this blog, as well as my youtube channel, I am hoping to stay active.  I will continue posting about our debt free journey but I also want to focus on how we live frugally to make our debt free dream a reality and how you can too!  Of course once we get the 'farm' up and running, even if it's just a large garden, I plan to take you on that journey too.

I hope everyone's start to this New Year was a great one, and it is my continued prayer that it is an amazing year for all of us!