Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Return to the Retreat

I can't remember the last time we traveled up to our Airstream retreat. Must have been sometime in October, before deer hunting season begins in Wisconsin. Back before Baby Lotus Bud, this would have been highly unusual for us. Winter never seemed to prevent us from heading up there. The only major deterrent was wood tick season, but I got over that soon enough when I learned how to be vigilant about checking for those evil things. By the way, Pumpkin is now going to be the Baby Lotus Bud. It seems like an appropriate change for Spring as pumpkin is a fall treat.

The ride up to the trailer was good, the Baby Lotus Bud slept most of the way there. We needed to head out early because we wanted to buy some meat from a farm that shows up at the summer Farmer's Market and every other weekend in the winter outside the town's information center. Futility Farms supplies the meat we buy and we tend to load up as much as our little city freezer allows. The only reason we got out of the house so early, early enough to make it there by noon, was because the Baby Lotus Bud let us sleep for four and half straight hours the night before. 4 1/2hours! Seemed like such a treat!

The weather was fairly warm and the snow had melted weeks before. We could tell this from the level of water on our property. There wasn't a significant amount. The road by our property was so inviting.

The door leading into the trailer was just as wonderful. I couldn't believe how good I felt. It was like coming out of hibernation, or what I imagine it would be like to get released from jail. All the open air, the wind, the smell of Spring emerging. A place so quiet that I would tell whether the occasional sound of distant truck was an automatic or a manual transmission. Birds were chirping, the wind was rustling the remaining Fall leaves, squirrels were jumping through the ground debris.

I carried the Baby Lotus Bud around all over our property, whispering in that tiny ear that it all belonged to her. It was because of this that we decided to have a baby, someone little to share our retreat.

I carried her down the path that lead to the firepit and made mental notes of all that needs to be cleaned, cleared or repaired this year. We need to gather fallen branches, re-build our outdoor kitchen counters, clear our little paths through the woods. But, all that can wait until later in the year and maybe even after wood tick season.

I showed her the firepit. I stood there remembering all those great nights we had cooking and grilling, occasionally with friends and family, but mostly just the two of us, the Big D and I spending time together, preparing a meal, sometimes simple and rustic, other times elaborate and extensive.

The only sad thing about that day was to see all the prayer flags down. We had finally strung four sets in all four directions. And, all four had been torn down by the wind and some scattered throughout our property.

We'll have to take some time to clean the outside of our Airstream trailer, a task we usually do when it is raining. We have no running water on our property so we take advantage of the nature's abundance, donning raincoats and scrubbing the place during a rainfall. The inside was not too bad, a little bit of mice evidence, but nothing not manageable.

We didn't spend the night. I wish we had, but the weather forecast had called for rain. And, although we did not get any rain, the temperatures were expected to drop into the twenties that night. We headed out in the early evening and made it back to the city just after dark.

I get such a sense of freedom when we head up to the Airstream retreat. It's quiet and at the same time, full of the woodland sounds. It was a relief that the experience went well with the Baby Lotus Bud. She'll grow up here and for that I am glad. I guess I would say it was the manifestation of a dream.
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Lobster Adventure

The Big D has an interesting job. He works for a local company and truly he is one those people who cannot be replaced. In other words, he has job security. He handles contracts, negotiates them and such (amongst all the other hundred things he does in one day). I got a sense of how he works when he spent the first three weeks of Pumpkin's life at home with us. He works in transportation and it was fascinating watching him get up to speed on Chile's situation just hours after the recent earthquake.

In the year before the economy tanked, he got lots of perks from those who wanted his company's business. He refuses many of the things that are offered to him, but occasionally we will head to a basketball game (9th row!) or a hockey game (4th row!) or dinner.

Without a doubt, this was one of the oddest gifts he has received:

Technically, it is not a gift. He put his name in for a drawing and won the lobster dinner. But, this is the second time this has happened, so I'm starting to wonder if the contest is rigged in his favor.

He works hard and does his part in reducing his company's carbon footprint. But then when I think about how far these lobsters came to be with us, I think that the flight to quickly ship these lobsters from the East Coast to the Midwest undermines the purpose of his job.

These lobsters were flown in from Boston on Friday morning. This box was sitting outside our doorstep before I even got up in the morning. Last year when he got these lobsters, he did not think it was live lobsters that were sent. I knew otherwise when I heard one of the lobsters bang its claw up against the side of the box. Me and the cats jumped.

The first time I had a whole lobster was that time, here in the Midwest. Strange, huh? Eating my first lobster in the great state of Minnesota - thousands of miles from the ocean.

Never ever saw seaweed that looked like this until it was in my dining room. Wasn't that nice that they sent a lemon along with the lobsters?

The lobster dinner also came with clam chowder. Yum. And, they sent claw crackers. Nice.

By the time the Big D came home from work, I was way high in anxiety land, having spent what seemed like the last 6 out of 9 hours with a small baby attached to my breast. I wanted to put together a pizza and throw it in the oven, but no, the lobsters needed to be eaten. Did I mention I started that day having completely forgotten that the lobsters were coming.

Eventually after downing a beer, I got myself pulled together enough to face what was awaiting us in the kitchen sink. Grabbed my camera and distracted myself with thoughts of a photo essay on adventures with lobster. Suddenly, it seemed nice. I didn't have to think about pulling out my breast only to stuff it into the mouth of a baby bird of a little girl. I didn't have to consider the dust balls taking over my house. I just grabbed my camera and focused on lobster.

Lobster #1: mine.

Lobster #2: his. His was a little blue. Loved the color.

As he grabbed the bigger lobster to put into the pot, I suddenly had flashes of an essay I had read last summer. David Wallace Foster's "Consider the Lobster." Not good. My mood which should have been ecstatic over a free lobster dinner was now overrun with paragraphs and sentences from that essay.

I started that essay hungry. I ended it just a tab bit horrified. Have you read it? It was written for Gourmet magazine and apparently caused some controversy. The essay recounts his experience and thoughts on attending the Maine Lobster Festival where people gather to boil and eat live lobsters. Imagine, Foster said, herding cattle into a field, slaughtering them and chopping them up into steaks for the barbecue grill. That's essentially what is happening at this festival except it's lobster hauled in live and dropped into water live. The verdict was out on whether or not the lobsters screamed when dropped into the boiling water.

Thankfully these did not; scream that is.

They did start turning a lovely shade of red. And the redder they got, the more relaxed I got, the more thrilled I got, actually, as my mouth started watering thinking about succulent lobster meat.

And then, I saw the last bubbles of their lives rise to the surface.

The thoughts of death did not leave me until I cracked open this lobster's claw and forked out the sweet, tender meat. I dipped it into melted butter and forgot all about the death bubbles.

One thing I have to admit is that I also had visions of omelets the next morning, omelets with lobster meat and smoked gouda cheese. I'm always disappointed when eating a lobster because I don't feel like there's a whole lot of actual meat to eat. The body that seems so big in the pot is surprisingly lacking in actual tasty bits to eat. Or am I eating it wrong? I consulted the internet just before eating and there were only instructions on eating the claws and the tail.

So, no leftover meat for omelets the next morning. Why? Because I ate every last little, tasty morsel of lobster!

While I felt somewhat like we had committed murder in our kitchen, the baby slept blissfully through it all, never the wiser that death bubbles had risen to the surface of a gigantic boiling pot of water just a few feet away from her own little precious self.

That's what life is like these days. Peaks and valleys. Death bubbles and sweet succulent lobster meat. Mommy anxiety and blissful baby sleep.

Adventure is knowing when to turn back. That's what a trail guide told us in Moab the day before we headed out on our first Jeep trail on our own at the end of December. I stopped eating when I got to the green digestive track. That was my turnaround spot.
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Friday, March 12, 2010

barking bird art

I received this print from a Co-op Board Member and it is my favorite baby gift! The artist is her daughter-in-law and when I went to her site on Etsy, I fell in love with all the prints!

barking bird art

I've come to realize that people around these parts go nuts shopping for a baby. Women and men. We got so many things. We are set for at least a year (And, it may take me that long to get all those thank-you notes out, too). We even got practical stuff like diapers and wipes and such.

But, that print of Elephants in Love is the best! The print I received has a greenish background as opposed to the gray that is shown in this picture.

When I get a chance I'm going to have to get Bird on Electric Guitar:

My favorite is Meditating Owl. It's going to hard to choose between the two. I might just end of covering the whole baby room with these prints!

And, then there's Birds on a Roadtrip. And Hiking Bird. And Gardening Owl. And, of course, Crafty Owl. Who can resist Owl Thinking Happy Thoughts?!? Oh, and, Pig with 35mm Camera? Big sigh of love.

So many to choose from! How can I possible decide on just one?
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Letters to the Pumpkin: Month One

To my precious Pumpkin Pie,

Today you have been out of my belly for one whole month.

What a month, Pumpkin! Has it really only been a month? It seems like it's been forever. And, I'm still not used to you. Will I ever get used to you? I don't know. You are a delight, a total frustration, a dream, a sleepless night or two or three.

I do get some sleep. It's just recently you've started waking every two hours to be fed. Although I'm not tired during the day, it feels really tough to be getting up every two hours to whip out my boob and feed you.

Sometimes I feel like I am all boob, nothing but boob, all day and night.

I started pumping, Pumpkin. It's so embarrassing. There is no dignity in this act of attaching pumps to my nipples and pulling out all the milk. Not that there is much of it, milk I mean, but I do it for you. And for me, because if I can pump enough, I can occasionally have a beer or a glass of wine with dinner. That is, if you let me eat dinner. How do you know the exact time I'm sitting down to eat? Huh? Pumpkin?

So, you're new. The pumping is new. The no sleep is sort of new because I gave up those all-night drinking and listening to music times a long while ago.

But, I've got you sleeping in the bassinet again. Now, Daddy and I can cuddle at night. I so need that. I need to be held by your Daddy as much as you do. Well, not as often as you do, but I need it nonetheless. I hope this doesn't gross you out, my little love child.

OK, I confess, I locked you in the Jeep the other day. You had this really early doctor's appointment and I was a little exhausted and well, yes, I just accidentally locked you in the Jeep. Then, everyone knew I had done that. The nurses and the doctor seemed sympathetic. I was embarrassed, again. Your daddy said it was a good learning experience. Yep, I learned to never do that again. Good thing it wasn't summertime when the Jeep warms up so quickly.

Your daddy went back to work this week. He misses you so much. But, I have to admit, I'm likin' our alone time together. I get stuff done around the house and you seem so peaceful. Also new this week is that I started massaging you. You seem to like it a lot. You're so calm and relaxed after, and then, you poop. I guess that's part of what the massaging does for you - it relieves gas and makes you poop. It's me changing those diapers now that your daddy is back at work. Jeez, you sure can poop a lot!

We bought you a blanket that goes around the car seat and now, I imagine it will be a lot easier to take you around town. I'm hoping we can get out more. I have an early morning meeting on Thursday. Maybe you'll get to meet the Mayor of our city! There will be principals of the local schools and a school board member at this meeting and I hope they impress me, baby, because if not, it's homeschooling for you.

Last night you drank two whole ounces of pumped milk, then you slept for two and half hours, and I swear, when you woke up, you were bigger! Your feet stretched all the way to the end of your onesie. Yes, I want you to grow bigger, but don't grow too big, too fast, Pumpkin.

I'll finish this letter with a picture of you doing tummy time for the first time. You did so good lifting your head. You had me running around, scrambling to get my camera. You look serious and grown up. What am I going to do with you Pumpkin? You're growing up so quick and I love you. I love you so much it hurts and being the sap that I am, I find myself spilling a daily dose of tears.

Maybe soon I'll get through a whole verse of You are my Sunshine without breaking down, weeping and a wailing. Maybe.

Forgive me, Pumpkin, for being such a wailing sap!
Love you lots,
Me, your mommy.

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Punky Pumpkin

Dear Little Pumpkin Pie,

It's been three weeks since we brought you home. And last night, we laughed together as a family like never before. Yes, you were smiling but I highly doubt that you realized it was you that we were laughing about. It's the first time in three weeks that your Daddy and I have laughed so much, we were giddy, smiling all night.

We laughed because of this:

We gave you a bath last night and your hair was all curly from the bath. Then, your daddy combed it and it got all frizzy and stuck straight up. You looked crazy. A cute crazy, yes, but crazy nonetheless. I laughed out loud every time I went to grab you to feed you because I would see that crazy hair again.

One day you will take over grooming your hair and we will never be able to get away with this again. So, last night we vowed to do this as much as possible while we still have the chance. It makes us laugh and believe me, we need more things like that right now in our lives.

I say you look like a troll doll. Your daddy thinks you look like that muppet from the Muppet Show that blows up bombs.

Maybe you did know what was going and you knew that we were laughing at you, because here in this picture, you look like you are trying to hide in the blanket.

Keep em coming, Pumpkin, because we need the laughs!

Me, your mommy.
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44 - Pasta and wine

Pasta with bacon and mushrooms, recipe from Pioneer Woman. It felt so decadent and sinful to be eating so many carbs in one meal. Pasta and petite pain bread. Is it redundant to be saying petite pan and bread in one description? Oh well. The meal was tasty and I had one little glass of wine with dinner. It did me a world of good to have this glass of wine! Wine chases away the baby blues.

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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Major Mommy No-No

Me: frazzled. No sleep because the Pumpkin was up every two hours during the night for a feeding. Doctor's appointment for the pumpkin at 7:45 in the freakin morning.

Me: finally getting out of bed at 7:15. Feed the Pumpkin. Brush teeth. Throw on some clothes and a hat to cover crappy hair.

Big D: steps in with changing the Pumpkin's clothes, strapping her into the car seat, warming up the Jeep.

Me: driving to the doctor's office, shedding a few tears of exhaustion, pulling myself together as the morning sun warms my body.

Me: getting out of the driver's-side door, locking door, shutting door.

Me: locking the Pumpkin in the Jeep.

Morning: FAIL!

Yes, that's right, folks. I locked my precious Pumpkin Pie in the Jeep. I had to call on Big D to drive over the doctor's office and open the Jeep doors.

That's what I call taking the "OM" right out of Mom.
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Friday, March 5, 2010

Baby Booties

I had leftover yarn from making Pumpkin's first baby hat, so I decided to make some baby booties. It was a quick and easy knit project. I didn't use much of the yarn that was leftover, and now I feel like making at least a dozen more.

People of the Internet, please have babies so that I can send you all baby booties. Lani, you're getting a pair!

They are so tiny. So sweet.

Here's the pattern: Roll Top Baby Booties
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43 - buds on the backyard elm

The buds are out on the elm tree. Spring is coming soon!
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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Lab Bill

I still haven't written about my birth story. There is so much that happened that day and night and then, the next day. I don't know where to start. Of course, I could start at the beginning, but I'm just not there yet.

So, let me start with this, which happened the night after our little Pumpkin Pie was born. She was a preemie, born a month and three days early. I refused the epidural. Then, the attending doctor suggested a narcotic, which I also refused. Then, she recommended morphine. To which I also said no. I gave birth to my daughter without any pain killing medication.

The next night, my Ob/Gyn came in to see me and the baby. She was livid when she walked into the hospital room. They had attached a something to my daughter's pee-pee area to catch her first urine, which we were told was standard procedure for preemies. My doctor was angry with this decision. She informed us that they wanted to catch her first urine to test her for drugs. Apparently women who use drugs during their pregnancies almost always have preemie babies, so they test preemies for a variety of drugs. My doctor was angry because I was someone who had refused all the legal drugs, therefore she saw no reason to test my baby for other drugs.

She stated that we should ask them to take it off. After she left, I spoke to the nurse who gave us the runaround and wasn't accommodating our request. In the middle of the night, after a nurse change, we got our delivery nurse who was also angry about this decision to catch the baby's first urine. She thankfully had the thing removed. But, apparently they still had the chance to test her urine.

As you can see they tested my baby for cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, PCP, and opiates. Makes me wonder what would have happened if I hadn't refused the epidural which is a "caine" drug.

The other annoying thing is that they didn't actually catch the first urine. They took the first plastic bag off because there was a drop of urine in it, but not enough for the lab test. Right after they took it off, she urinated. Then, they put another one on. The plastic bag is attached directly to her labia with an adhesive. The change in bag irritated her skin and she cried most of the evening and into the night. She cried and fussed right up until the awesome nurse came in and took it off.

I told this nurse that I had spoken to the previous nurse about this situation and that I got nowhere with her. Alyssa's response: "I'm not that nurse" with the sassiest, sweetest voice I ever did hear.

Thanks, Alyssa!

I post this here to show that the world that indeed, I refused the legal drugs and the illegal drugs.

Future mommas-to-be who may give birth to preemies, take heed! Don't let them do this to you baby!
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