Daily Julia

 

Happy 3-month birthday to our cutie Jules!!  Every parent thinks their child’s life passes quickly, but I’m caught in this fugue state; she seems so young, but at the same time I feel like she’s always been here with us.  I wish everyone who looks at this blog could meet her in person.  I have never met such a sweetly tempered baby, who coos and laughs all the time at such a young age.

Birthday Girl!

Hazel is officially a toddler, or a kid, or something.  All I know is she's not a baby, and I might be more upset by it if I wasn't currently working on another baby.  We had a nice little party for her on Saturday.  Mostly the guests were family, although one of our neighbors stopped by as well.  Everyone was really awesome about keeping our family's sensibilities in mind, meaning that Hazel received no toys covered in SpongeBob or that little girl with the bowl cut (Dora?).  I was really proud and happy about that 🙂

So here are a few pictures.  This party was very low-key; basically we just had lunch, most of which was either very easy (pasta salad with a vinaigrette) or made by someone else (BBQ from Lawler's).  I didn't even have to make the cake – my stepsister took care of that and made a nice piano cake!  I set out musical instruments for the kids to play with while my grandpa played the harmonica and my little brother played the guitar.  Even so, even with all the help, I'm not completely thrilled with these pictures.  I guess it's just hard for me to take pictures and do anything else at all, LOL.  
ChillingPlayingFrisbeeHazel & NanaKazooHazel & NanaHazel

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Birthday Teaser

I don't have the time to write up a complete post on Hazel's birthday (ok, really I'm just exhausted), but I will post one of the pictures I took Saturday.  Tomorrow I do not have any classes, so I am hoping to finish editing the pictures and write up a little something.  Until then this picture will have to suffice – I'm off to drink a gallon of apple juice (my latest craving that WILL NOT QUIT) and take a bath!

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More Birthday Stuff

I have finally, in the midst of all the reading & typing & cooking & not showering I've been doing, edited all the pictures from Hazel's birthday party.  

And they suck.
I'm not kidding.  They're all…dark.  And kind of red.  I know, it's probably just me who cares, but whatever.  I'm consoling myself with all the pretty pictures I have of her on every other day, and I've concluded that birthdays are too hyped up and we may start celebrating her birthday on September 8th.
So here are a few (grandmothers, you are getting cd's with more):
Yes, that's right.  Her cake had no icing.  My baby hasn't had food coloring, or refined sugar, or a sugar high – arrest me!!
And this was taken a few days after her actual birthday; the sweet, adorable secretaries Amos works with (Hazel's "aunts") had a little something for her at school last Friday.  This time I made up an "icing" that's really just nuefchatel with a little honey in it, whipped all to hell so it's kind of fluffy.  That kid went nuts over it, so that made us happy.  Seeing her covered in food did not.  For y'all that don't know, Hazel is a pretty clean eater.  It jankled my nerves to see white stuff all on her hands, then clothes, table, chair, us, you name it.

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Happy Birthday Hazel

Today is the anniversary of several things:

The worst pain I've ever felt.
The first time my Mama saw all my junk in probably 20 years.
The first time someone I barely knew helped me go to the bathroom.
A bunch of even grosser stuff that I won't mention again.  Ever.  Probably.
But most importantly, the moment that our daughter was born, the moment we became parents, and the moment our parents became grandparents, our siblings became aunts & uncles, and our friends honorary ones.  Happy Birthday Hazel, our sweet, funny, squishable, beautiful daughter.
This video I just took!  Birthday dancing!

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Kitchen Adventures, Picnic Party, and Grad School

This summer has been a whirlwind!  We were so lucky to be able to go on several trips all over the east; to St. Louis, down to Fayetteville for a (kind of) secret visit to my grandparents, to Athens, to Pennsylvania, New York's wine country, and Portland for me!  Jeez Louise.  Reading that makes me think I should go take a nap.  As a side effect, I haven't blogged much here.  I know, I'm sorry!  I did try to post some photos every now and then, mainly because if I didn't y'all wouldn't recognize that mini-adult we call Hazel.  She is so big!!

I took that photo this morning.  Can you believe those teeth?!  She just learns so quickly.  Last night we were eating dinner, after she had been fed, and she was calmly playing in her high chair.  I gave her a couple of my green beans, and she picked them right up and fed herself.  Then I tried some mashed potatoes and kohlrabi with dill, and she scooped that mess right up off her tray & into her mouth!  Babies sometimes have weird things about food textures, or can also get mad if their hands get all dirty, so I was super pleased to see her eagerness.  Plus, she loved the food.  We've been experimenting with seasonings & herbs in her food, and so far she hasn't turned anything away, including jalepenos (that was all Amos), dill, basil, cinnamon, and curry powder.  This child will eat anything, and that's just how I like 'em.

(I know this picture will be embarrassing to her later, but it's so forking funny.  Yes, I'm trying to say fork instead of fuck now.  I'm a mom, you guys!)

Speaking of all this grown-up-ness, Hazel has both a birthday picnic and a birthday coming up!  I separate the two because we're actually having her party this weekend on the 9th, as my dear, sweet mama will be here for the weekend (yay!).  I still have to buy the plates, forks, and bubbles for the small fete.  As you may recall, I bought her dress in Portland, which just happened to be orange and blue.  Since I love that dress and it's Auburn University's colors, her picnic is orange & blue themed.  Loosely themed.  Mainly I'm just going to get plates in that color, and try to find some sheets that kind of match for picnic blankets.  

One thing I did want to do, since this is a simple party, was to make some great favors.  I cogitated on that for a while, and finally came up with making peach jam (orange) tied with ribbon (blue).  Have I ever made peach jam?  Or canned?  No!  But I did it anyway.


Jam


I don't know what's gotten into me lately.  Maybe it's some belated nesting instinct, but I have been very interested in cooking all kinds of things.  Amos and I sort of share dinner duty, and these days I make most of Hazel's baby food, but my interests have been leaning towards preserving food and canning.  My grandmother has canned for longer than I've been alive, but I never paid much attention as a child.  Now I wish I had, but it's better to start now than to keep wishing she would mail box after box of canned vegetables up my way!  So I just jumped right in and made it myself, and it turned out pretty good!  Plus, it actually did seal, which is awesome.  I immediately tried to can some green beans after these came out of the pressure cooker, and not a jar of those sealed.  I'm going to keep working on it, of course.  I made these today, though they aren't canned, just in jars:



Speaking of working (do you guys like how I laid out this blog post, so as to get all three weird topics into some semblance of continuity?), I took the GRE yesterday and made the score I needed to get into grad school.  So I'm in!  I have enrolled in the online English master's program at Morehead State in Kentucky.  I'm only waiting on Auburn to send my transcripts and I can register for class.  I can't wait to start classes!  The GRE has an essay portion, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the challenge of academic writing again, albeit a small essay with no preparation.  I'm just built for school, I guess!

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On the Map

We are just living up the short, not too hot summer that we are allotted way up here in the tundra.  I've been slowly adjusting to the 3 hour time difference (staying up all night while flying back probably threw me off more than the actual time change), so in between my naps and Hazel's naps we've been walking outside, visiting our CSA farm, and hanging out with Amos.  Next weekend we're going to Pennsylvania for a Slavic festival with Amos's parents, followed by a 3-day stay in Geneva, NY, for a quiet little vacation together.  Geneva is a sweet town on the finger lakes, which incidentally really do look like fingers from the sky, and I am excited for our stay.  We're shacking up in a B&B run by a very sweet couple, and between his parents & us we are taking up the whole house.  That's a B&B stay I'm willing to risk!  Plus Nancy has spoken to the couple, and they are both thrilled to have a little baby there for a visit.  After that we aren't traveling again until Christmas, but my mama will be up at the beginning of August for a quick long weekend.  I'm really looking forward to seeing her again.  While she's here we're going to have a slightly early birthday for Hazel.  Oh, and I bought her birthday outfit in Portland, and it's SO cute, not to mention being orange & blue, which is just a cool bonus.  


Here are a few photos taken just yesterday, plus one of her dress.  Amos dressed her that day as the Incredible Hulk; he's such a dorky laugh riot!



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Birthday

Thanks, everyone, for the sweet birthday wishes!  I had a great day yesterday – slept in a little, had a birthday breakfast, got all pretty and spent the day in Hamilton with Amos & Hazel, bought 2 gorgeous Christmas presents, then saw all the funnest people I know here when I got home.  It was sunny, 70 degrees, and beautiful!  Birthdays should be like that every year.

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Hazel’s Birth

I went into the hospital on Monday, August 25th, at 3 pm to be induced.  She was already 12 days late, and just a couple of days longer would have put her at risk for all kinds of nasty things.  The doctor inserted a progesterone gel onto my cervix around 4:30 pm, and then we waited.  My mom and I stayed at the hospital while Amos went home, hopefully to get a good night's sleep on a real bed.  The doctor gave me an Ambien to help out with that, and poor Momma was just stuck with a cot.  We settled in for the night around 10 or 10:30 pm, nervous and excited but also tired.


At 2 am I woke up to a wet bed.  When I stood up to go to the bathroom I felt a trickle down my legs, and I saw puddles on the floor and on my bed.  I was pretty out of it, though, so I went to the bathroom to try to clean up, thinking I had somehow wet the bed, and laid back down.  When I realized things were still happening down there Momma called the nurse to report my water breaking.  She knew right away that my water had broken and also noted the meconium staining, which isn't good news but was manageable since we were already at the hospital.  A quick call to Amos, then we moved to a labor and delivery room.  At 4:30 am I started the pitocin drip as planned, and we settled in for the labor.

After that things get fuzzy for me.  Contractions built steadily.  At first they were short and breathless, and gradually they moved into longer, more defineable pains that had a definite peak.  I grew more and more focused on the pain and less on what was happening around me.  People talking and coming and going, the sun coming up through the blinds, shifting from the bed to the ball to the shower; everything became jumbled into one long back and forth with the pain.  I moved around, walked to the bathroom, sat up, got on the ball, tried everything to get past the gripping, breathtaking pains that fell from breasts to thighs.  After eight hours I asked for pain medication, and the nurse gave me staydol in my IV.  

Let me backtrack for just a second.  When I started the labor I had a couple of things working against me, mainly lack of sleep.  Sunday night I tossed and turned, too excited to sleep much, and Monday I got three or four hours before my water broke.  Add to that the Ambien and you've got one sleepy mother-to-be going into the labor.  For hours I fell asleep between contractions, even if for a minute or two.  So, when I got the staydol, I didn't feel much relief from pain, but more sleepiness and exhaustion that I was trying to fight off.  I hated it but was so out of it I couldn't really tell anyone.  I ended up having two doses, but I have no idea about the time span in between.

After a time my contractions started piggybacking one another.  The uterine monitor wasn't working well for me, not catching my contractions as they actually came, so Amos started to really time things to tell the nurse.  He noted that they were coming every 70 to 90 seconds and lasting for 60 seconds – meaning I had 10 to 30 seconds in between to rest.  I remember the midwife at one point trying to do an exam and me screaming at her to stop, because the contractions were so fast and intense I couldn't take the extra pressure.  I was still only dilated about 4 cm at this point.

Even though I was upset and felt horrible, I asked for an epidural.  I just couldn't take it anymore, and anything to get some relief was a necessity.  I remember having three contractions while the doctor administered the shot, but not much else.  Finally I was able to lie down and relax a bit; I still felt contractions, but they felt more like they had hours ago.  I slept for a bit, only waking somewhat to feel the contractions and then drifting right back off.  The rest allowed me to dilate fully, although I remember absolutely nothing about getting there.  I woke up and was ready to push.

This was the best part.  After being a victim to pain for hours I could finally control the action, and thanks to the epidural I had gotten a little sleep.  I first felt the urge to push about 2:45 pm; I had been out of it for so long that I remember looking at the clock and being surprised at how late it was.  Momma and Amos each held one of my legs so I could push against their hands.  The first few pushes I used to kind of feel where to push from.  Pushing correctly is a lot harder than it sounds.  As she moved down inside me things again built in intensity.  I screamed a little with each one, both to release tension and to remind myself of my job.  It was the hardest and best thing I've ever done.  I felt her the whole time, and the final push when she came out was just amazing and wonderful.  At exactly 3:10 pm she was born, all slippery and warm on my chest.

Beautiful, dark hair, tiny feet, long fingers.  8lbs, 2 oz.  20.5 inches long.  She didn't cry much at first.  I will never forget her first wide-eyed stare at my face.  I just remember thinking, this is my baby, this really happened and now she's here and I can hold her.  It was indescribeable.


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