Lucy June's Birth Pt. 2

31 October 2013


We left the clinic just before 5:30, and I had a massive contraction as we got into the car.


I was devastated. All I could think about was how much labor I still had to endure. For Jake's labor, we arrived at the hospital and I was already at an 8, my dilation was slow but steady, and it still took me three more hours before I was ready to push.

This time around I seemed to be dilating even more slowly. 2 cm in 6 hours. At this rate, I would be in labor for twelve more hours. (I do math in my head when I'm stressed. It's genetic.)

We drove the sixty seconds to the hospital, and as we got out of the car I told Jacob we should take a walk. It was a beautiful evening, and as soon as we went through the hospital doors there was no coming back out. He thought that was a great idea.

Then a contraction hurtled me onto the asphalt, and I decided that was the last contraction I was having outside, and we made our way to the front doors. My uncle - a nurse in OB - buzzed us into the maternity wing and gave me a huge hug. He said they'd been waiting for me. I smiled feebly and proceeded to have another contraction in the hallway.

I tried to keep it together. After all, I was only a 6. Laboring women don't get to be drama queens in the hallway at a 6. They weighed me and ushered me into my room. Then began the lovely process of checking me in.

The nurse handed me a gown and a cup and sent me to the bathroom. Contraction in the bathroom. I climbed into the bed, and the nurse tried to hook me up to the wireless fetal monitor. Contraction. She hooked me up to the regular fetal monitor instead and almost managed to start placing the Hep lock. Contraction. The nurse placed the Hep lock. Contraction.

In the brief time between contractions, I stared at the birthing ball in the corner and thought that I had to start MANAGING these things because they were ROYALLY kicking my ass. There was absolutely no way I could go on like this.

The nurse started to take my medical history, but with the first question I headed into a new contraction and I got on my hands and knees on the bed. I brusquely told her to wait, and then I thought to myself: "If you want the hospital staff to feel positive about women going natural than you can't snap at OB nurses."And so I apologized for inconveniencing her (???) and went barreling into The World's Worst Contraction.

My mom reminded me to relax my face and keep my voice low because I kept surging up into a whimper. It was pretty pitiful. By the end of the contraction I was just saying: "Pressure. Pressure. Pressure. Pressure."

The nurse asked if I felt like I needed to have a bowel movement.

I answered yes and then thought maybe I did just need to have bowel movement. So it was decided that I should go to the bathroom. It would've been wise for the nurse to check me at this moment, but I had JUST been checked in the office...

So I went to the bathroom, and as soon as I sat on the toilet I had another earth-shattering contraction and I got down on my knees on the floor. At the end of the contraction I felt the baby crowning, and I thought: "6cm or not I'm going to push this baby out right here right now. I don't care what they say. I just won't even go out there." After the contraction, Jacob and my mom helped me back to bed; the nurse had run to get my doctor who was waiting for me as I fell on my side on the bed. She checked me, called for an emergency cart, and then turned to me.

"You're complete." She said. And I remember thinking how beautiful she was at that moment. "You can push on the next contraction."

 Baby's head was out about 45 seconds later.

The cord was wrapped around her neck so my OB had me stop to make sure it was loose enough, which it was, so she told me to keep pushing. I pushed but I wasn't in a contraction, and I remember thinking "This isn't working at all." Within a few seconds the next contraction hit, and baby was delivered. All 8 pounds of her. And Jacob and I were in total shock. Only 33 minutes before we were walking through the hospital doors preparing ourselves for a long night of laboring.

Lucy June. Minutes old.
Disheveled and on top of the world
She has her father's feet. (i.e. HUGE) (Jake inherited my deformed pinky toenail so I guess we're even.)

Opie and NanaSuz playing Dr.
Jake showed up, gave his sister one glance, and promptly fell in love with the birthing ball.

I drank my weight in Recharge and a couple hours later went to the bathroom and peed like I haven't peed in 9 months. I didn't think I even needed to go, but then I sat and peed for something like 90 seconds. TMI? Probably. But this is a blog.

Birth is over and blogged. Now off to the real work.

Lucy June's Birth pt. 1

28 October 2013

I suppose the birth story begins with me praying praying praying not to go into labor.

Jake delivered five days early, so I knew an early delivery was very possible, but I had a killer sinus infection at 39 weeks and Jacob was cramming as much work in as possible in Houston before heading my way the night before my Tuesday due date.

So there I was on Monday before my due date with Braxton Hicks contraction after Braxton Hicks contraction counting down the hours till Jacob arrived that evening.

Jacob arrived at 7pm and was greeted by a delighted wife who was not in labor. I fell asleep that night thinking: OK, baby, you can come.

I had my first contraction in the wee hours of the morning. They were faint and far between, and I had no idea if they would take, but I was excited and I was ready. We got up around 7:30, and I was having contractions every 8-10 minutes. We told my mom before she left for work, and she said she'd cancel her afternoon appointments to come be with me. My 40 week appointment was already scheduled for 10:45, and I told my mom I'd give her the update after that.

I still had to get my hospital bag ready and make arrangements for where Jake could hang out until my little brother was off work - I'm a huge procrastinator when it comes to these types of tasks - but otherwise we didn't have much to do by way of getting ready and I was glad of that.

When I went into labor with Jake I had a To Do list that was fifteen items long, and I spent the entire day sweeping and otherwise playing Cinderella until I couldn't handle it anymore and we headed to the hospital where all I could do was climb into bed and curl up in a ball. I wanted this labor to go differently - I wanted to try all the gimmicky pain management things during the early parts of labor. I wanted to find some stuff that helped me manage the pain before contractions were too intense. I wanted to sit on the birthing ball and get in the tub and have Jacob put pressure on my lower back and all those kinds of hippy mama birthing things that I hadn't had the chance to try last time.

Doing our nails in early labor
Around 9:30 my grandmother came over to borrow something and Jacob offered to carry it back over to her house. I plopped Jake down in front of "The Lady Movie" (Sound of Music), fed myself, and started to pack my hospital bag; my contractions slowly intensified and got closer together. After a while I looked up at the clock and it was 10:25: Jacob had been at my grandmother's house for an hour.  So I called him.

Wife: Hey, babe. How are things?

Husband: They're good. I'm playing cards with Nan.

Wife: I'm in labor.

Husband: I know. I know. She just asked me to help fix her clock, and I was waiting for the epoxy to dry.


Husband: I'm sorry. I just got distracted. We're almost done. Really. Only a few more hands before the game's over.


Husband: I'm coming now.

So he did, and we pulled some clothes on our offspring and headed out the door for our 10:45 appointment. We hit some roadwork and arrived twenty minutes late. My doctor is a family friend and practices in my parents' clinic, so throughout my prenatal care I always tried to be super respectful. I used the front door. I waited in the waiting room. I didn't want special treatment because I was the "boss's daughter." I felt horrible arriving so late and was crafting my apology in my head as I waddled in. I didn't have a chance to apologize however: my mother was at the front desk, and all the receptionists grinned as I walked in, as if I didn't feel conspicuous enough lumbering through the waiting room in my 40 week laboring glory. I went in to give my urine sample, enduring all kinds of encouraging smiles as I traversed the back hallways.

A few minutes later we were in the exam room with my doctor.

My contractions were about 6 minutes apart and still really manageable.

My OB checked me. 4 cm and 80% effaced. Good good good. That sounded just fine. She assumed we'd want to go labor at home, and we agreed. She said she'd text me before her last patient around 5 so we could come in and she could check me again and we'd go from there. I thought that sounded perfect.

We drove to drop Jake off at my friend's house, and the streets of Fredericksburg were especially charming. I couldn't help reflecting on how well the process was going. My husband was here; it was the beginning of his ten day leave from work; I'd gone into labor at the perfect time; it was the most beautiful October day; my OB and I were on texting terms.

My friend had some pumpkins on her porch, so we checked off the obligatory harvest photo shoot.


And things continued to go on perfectly pretty much all afternoon. I labored on the birthing ball and Jacob discovered the best way to put pressure on my back to really help the pain of my contractions. I finally got to drink my designated labor beverages: coconut water and Tropical flavored Recharge.

Jacob kept saying it was so beautiful outside that we should take a walk, and I got to smugly remind him that he wasn't the one in labor.

My contractions were 5 minutes apart and intensifying. At about 2:30 I got in my parents' big bathtub. I loved being in the tub. My labor slowed down to every 6:30 minutes, and my contractions were staying around 50 seconds long. I would lean against the tub wall and he would put pressure on my back during contractions. In between contractions, he fed me turkey cranberry salad. My mother came in and told me how many people around town had sent me their best wishes. We opened the window and let the October breeze blow in. Contractions were strong, but the experience as a whole was even kind of...pleasant.

So I began to think about blogging the birth story.

Because this was turning out to be the most boring birth story ever.

It was my due date. I went into labor after a perfect night's sleep and looked to have a baby in my arms by nightfall. My labor was slow enough but fast enough. Soon it would be five o'clock and we'd go in for some more encouraging news and then we'd go to the hospital and push out a perfect baby....and it really just didn't seem fair.

It didn't seem fair to all the women who have deeply traumatic labors and to all the women who deliver babies with complications and to all the women who don't have someone who loves them at their side as they deliver much less an entire town of hands that are eager to help.

I was about ready to cry about all this and expressed some of the sentiment to Jacob who had no patience with these particular emotions and told me not to count my chickens.

That sobered me right up, and I decided that it was mine to continue with my lovely birth even if the story ended up too obnoxious to even put on the blog.

Shorts: Nike
Sandals: My little sister's
Shirt: From my stint on the 1994 Fredericksburg All Star Softball team. Glory days. 
At 3:30 I got out of the tub and back onto the birthing ball. I leaned my head against the wall and did my best to hum through my contractions while Jacob massaged my lower back. These were getting serious and were 3-4 minutes apart. I could only handle them on the ball or on my hands and knees/child's pose. On about 5:00 I started to get faint so my mom had me lie down.

I lay on the couch until my pulse went back up, and thought I must be entering transition so we geared up to drive to the clinic.

Jacob got the stuff in the car and just as we were leaving at 5:15 my OB texted me that we should head her way. The contractions were intense, but in between them I was still able to marvel at how uneventful and well timed this whole birth was. The roadworkers were gone for the day, so we didn't even get delayed on our way into town. We drove up to the clinic, walked back to an exam room, and I lay on the table through a contraction. After the contraction, I told Jacob how hard things were getting but how encouraged I was by how things had gone as a whole. And then I said:

"But what if I'm only like...6 cm or something..."

As soon as I said this my OB walked in and checked me.

"You're at about 6 to 7...well...6."

I started to die inside.

She continued. "Did you want to go ahead and go to the hospital or what were you thinking?"

I smiled the fakest smile under heaven and thought: "Thinking?! What was I thinking?!? I was thinking I was at least an 8 and that you would comment on how well I looked for being so far along and straightway send me to the Women's Pavilion. That's what I WAS thinking. Now I'm thinking I want to die. 2 LOUSY CENTIMETERS IN OVER 6 HOURS. Grand. Just grand." But instead I just said:

"I guess we should go get checked in before things get more intense." She concurred and said she would come over as soon as she finished up at the clinic.

She left. I had a contraction. I pulled myself up off the ground and walked out of the clinic to the car.

And scene.

[Part 2 will be up soon. I want to pound this thing out before my newborn stops sleeping 22 hours a day.]


Taking Seven: Guinea Hens, Shallow Thoughts on Happiness, and Other Even Less Related Things

18 October 2013

Joining Jen today in the Friday ritual. And what a Friday it is.

It has already been the loveliest day. I'm feeling so much better with only remnants of drainage and facial pain that serve to remind me of just how much better. Birds are singing, my new batch of yogurt is straining, and the sun is peeking in and out of the clouds on the serenest of October days. We just got back from a lovely walk where we met some very friendly horses who sniffed Jake's head, and it was like a Disney movie or something.

Commence photo dump of recent visit to the guineas with Nana Suz.

"I'm just a guinea in the coop. My name's Grey Guinea White Guinea" - Sure, kid.

Sorry if you're not sunshiny today because all is rays at The Rhodes Log.

Let's record all the happy things shall we?

- 1 -
A few minutes ago my brother brought my son into the kitchen. Jake was holding a wrench and asked if he could go help Uncle Robert work on his truck. Twist my arm, kid. I looked up at my brother who said, "Is that OK?"

And I thought: OK?? You obviously don't speak "Mom."

So the little man is workin' on a truck outside, and I'm currently enjoying a second cup of tea and feeling only a little on top of the world.

- 2 -
My sister is coming home for the weekend!!! Huzzah! I should probably go put all her shoes back in her closet...

We didn't grow up sharing clothes because she was eight years younger than me. But in our more adult lives we've done all kinds of adolescent indulging in each other's closets. The shoes are contentious because my feet are a smidge bigger than hers and I kinda maybe stretch them out a little bit...but ever since she took my favorite shirt to study abroad for a semester and I spent six weeks looking for it, all bets are off.

If you know me, you know that I go shopping about once every...eight months...and at any given time I'm rotating about three outfits and otherwise living in cut offs. I don't love this about myself. So yeah...If I had all the money in the world I would probably be wise to get a personal shopper.

- 3 -
Have you ever asked yourself what you'd pay for or how you'd live differently if money really were no concern? I posed that question to Jacob on a date recently after I'd read Laura Vanderkam's All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Wealth

I didn't love the book, and I didn't agree with everything, but she did have some interesting points.
She attacked the penny pinching attitude and brought up, what I will call, The Latte Question. Have you noticed that as soon as you start talking budgets everyone talks about buying a daily coffee? The Latte has become the go to metaphor people use in America for wasted money. "Think of the money you could save just by routinely skipping the $4 latte."

Vanderkam falls in the camp that encourages you to figure out a way to sustain the latte habit, some new means of cash flow, because, she argues, that the daily sacrifice can take a significant toll on your overall happiness.

I'm probably not representing her point very well, but I didn't agree with it. I suppose because the Latte becomes valuable to me only when it is scarce. I suppose it's the Catholic in me, but I love sacrifices. I love them for themselves, and I especially love how they season the Feast.

How would you live your daily life differently if money were no concern?

I value frugal living so highly it's actually really hard for me to answer that question. But I would probably have local organic produce delivered to my house instead of having to fetch it myself. I would also get semi regular manicures and massages. A lot of massages.

- 4 -
One very interesting statistic that Vanderkam cites, however, is that happiness only corresponds to how much money you make up until an annual household income of $70,000. That is, people's recorded happiness levels tended to go up with their income until they hit seventy grand at which point the graph didn't stay true. More money didn't necessarily make people happier.

Such an interesting statistic.

[Insert Moral or Some Such.]

- 5 -
Tonight we're taking Jake to a high school football game to watch my cousin play. Jake's love affair with balls has quelled somewhat and been replaced by an obsession with heavy machinery, but I think he's going to have a blast.

- 6 -
As of last night I am officially more pregnant than I've ever been. Jake was born at 39 weeks 3 days and I'm sitting on 39w4d right now.

Snug as a bug and always a little to the right. 
Already a family record breaker. I wonder if she'll be as miserably competitive as I am.

Perhaps being massively pregnant isn't the most comfortable of states...but I'm SO GRATEFUL that I've avoided labor through this illness, and that Jacob's been able to get some really good work in at his new job in Houston before taking a break to father a toddler and a newborn. I'm hoping little lady waits till her due date which is Tuesday.

I was born on my due date, and we could be like twinsies.

I'd also like at least a few more days so we can do a better job on the name game. Jacob went soft on my #1 pick and since then we've been bickering at the drawing board.

- 7 -
I sort of apologize for the randomness and general lack of substance that is this post. Or not really. I have to rush and make sure my grandmother's dog isn't eating one of the guinea hens. We'll see how well a 9mo pregger breaks up a spat on the farm.

See Jen for more of the day's takes.

Hanging On

16 October 2013

Here I am to scrawl a quick update while the water in my neti pot cools off a little.

I'm in the throes of my first ever sinus infection which hit right when my cold started to disappear.

Yesterday I spent the entire day feeling as though someone had just punched me in the left cheek. I was complaining to a friend about it and after offering all kinds of sympathy she asked: "So how are things otherwise?"

And I stopped in my tracks. In my mind there wasn't any "otherwise." Is there an "otherwise" right after someone punches you in the cheek? It took me a minute to realize that otherwise things are pretty good. I mean let's see...

I didn't go into labor yesterday which was huge. For all my crunch living, cloth diapering, natural birthing blah blah blah, if I had gone into labor yesterday I would have gone to the hospital and asked for an Epidural and an Ambien and told the nurse to wake me up when it was time to push.

I have a toddler who has only skipped a couple naps in the past few weeks and is doing remarkably well with the world of off-limits things that is his temporary dwelling. He hasn't wandered off into the wilderness or broken anything or jumped into bodies of water. He's learned to ask before he goes outside. Even though, maybe, just maybe, he got loose with some dry erase markers in the den this morning. (Sorry, mom. I'll have Jacob come repaint. It's really not that might even be a little sentimental about it.)

Last night at dinner my brother asked Jake if cinnamon rolls were his favorite food, and Jake responded: "Cinnamon roll's not food. It's a treat." And I could have died a happy granola death right then and there.

My friend Anne's baby arrived on Sunday evening. The little guy hung on through a really crucial month and delivered at 27 weeks + 1 day. He's stable, "feisty," and last I heard he wasn't on a ventilator which is pretty amazing.

It is delightfully Octoberish here. Jake made a fire in the fireplace with his Uncle last night, and we ate Butternut Squash soup for dinner. After July and August in Houston, I had stopped believing in cold weather.

I got to spend last weekend with my husband, and it was lovely. He's back in Houston at the moment working hard and ready to drop everything and drive whenever I say "contraction."

So, yes. Life "otherwise" is quite good. And while yesterday was a real struggle, today I feel a lot better, maybe like someone punched me in the face about five minutes ago.

Now I must go rinse out my sinuses and tend to this

who just woke up from his nap.

7QT: Husband Feature

11 October 2013

Linking up with Jen again.

Here are some worth-remembering moments with my man because I love him...and as much as he drives me crazy he also keeps me sane.


- 1 -
He took issue with last Monday’s blog post where I complained about his typical lack of long distance communication.

I assured him that I was actually quite pleased with how much he’d contacted me over the past two weeks, and I really hadn’t meant for him to feel “guilty.”

“Oh, I didn’t feel guilty.” He said. “Just insulted.”


- 2 -
Once when we were watching a second toddler for a friend and I was busy getting dinner ready, Jacob called out to me for help from the bathroom.

“I just have two babies getting into things in here, and I don’t have any hands.” He paused and continued. “Because I’m flossing.”

- 3 -
Some evening before we’d left LA he got home from work late because of a happy hour. He grabbed a container of leftovers from the fridge and kicked off his shoes before coming to sit next to me on the couch.

He leaned in to kiss me, and (because I’m ever the graceful wife) I told him he smelled like whiskey, bacon, and feet.

He smiled and said: “You mean I smell like a man.”


- 4 -
I was laughing about the time he complained that in a post singing his praises I hadn't mentioned his "ass," and he said

“A tailor did tell me once that I had a ‘prominent seat,’ so it’s really not so funny as it is sad.”

- 5 -
After an unusually long silence at the dinner table:
"Did you know I shoot a bow and arrow ambidextrously?"
- 6 -
After I wouldn’t let him discard an old and broken household item because I was sure I could find a use for it:

"OK then, I'll just go put it on your pillow."

- 7 -
He wasn't scheduled to get in until this evening for his weekend visit, and the week couldn't go by fast enough. Yesterday, we chatted on the phone as I drove home in the evening from a friend's house, and I complained about how long the next 24 hours were going to feel before I finally got to see him. He said: "I'll be there before you know it."

Then I walked into my parent's house and I found him camped out on the couch with a beer and a grin.

Well played, Master Rhodes. 


Thank you for still surprising me and for being a husband and a father. Thank you for being the primary photographer. Perhaps someday I'll learn how to use our camera, but until then we can all marvel at your knee caps.

Five Favorites

09 October 2013

Linking up with Hallie and the favoriteers today for the first time in too long!

- 1 -
On Monday, the parents and their food restrictions were out on the town, so my eyes lit up with mascarpone, and I made this Butternut Squash Bake that I first had at my friend Brynn's house.

 My brother, in the words of my son, "ate it all of it" and has since mentioned it to me three times. Make it and don't be disappointed even when you forget to add salt.

- 2 -
This Lentil Soup is only a #1 Google Hit away, but it's cheap cheap cheap and delicious.

- 3 -
I was planning on some random favs but I just decided to go full on food since it looks like that's where my fuzzy head is.

I don't remember my last cold. I've had a scratchy throat here and there over the past couple years, but I haven't been beaten down by a good dose of acute rhinitis in quite some time. So I've been juicing. Here's my green juice recipe du jour.


4 stalks kale
1 c. spinach
2 sprigs fresh parsley
1/2 lemon (rind included)
1 inch chunk ginger
1 apple
1 carrot
10 grapes

I totally just ball-parked all those. I would go easy on the parsley if you're a green juice newbie, but the lemon rind and ginger give it some nice kick.

- 4 -
While we're on juicing ground. Here's my favorite juicer: the Omega Masticating Juicer
It's pricey. But what do you say when you want to feel better about overspending on something you really just want? Oh. Yes. It's an "investment."

The one above is the J8006 which is a newer version of mine (the J8003) which I've had for almost four years and I've been more than happy with it. The pulp is really dry, and it's very easy to clean. I try to use the pulp in a variety of different ways. Carrot pulp does great as a substitute for shredded carrot in muffin recipes. I save celery pulp for flavoring chicken stock. It's a dream of mine to make red velvet cupcakes from beet pulp...(don't act so surprised.)

Since we got a Vitamix some months ago, we've become more of a blending family, but juicing is a great way to up your vegetable intake, and for all the conflicting information you get on the web about nutrition, I have yet to hear anyone argue against the almighty vegetable.

[I'm returning at the end of the day for my fifth fav. The internet went out after #4, and after not getting a hold of my mom and frantically texting my tech-savy sister who's away at school to "PLEASE help a pregnant mom during nap time!!!" she told me to go read a book. Oh my, college kids can be SO snooty.]

- 5 -
And cinco goes to Jacob's favorite meal in our less than gourmet casa:

Mashed Potatoes with Veggie Gravy [Working Title]

I call this Mashed Potato Soup.

Jacob: Don't call it that. That sounds awful.
Me: I don't see why "Mashed Potatoes with Veggie Gravy" is any better.
Jacob: Calling it "Mashed Potato Soup" is like calling Helen of Troy, "Bertha"
Me: Wow, babe. I'm kinda flattered that you like my soup so much.
Jacob: It's NOT SOUP.
Me: Right.

So here's the "recipe":

I make a "Veggie Gravy" by sauteeing onions, carrots, garlic, and whatever other vegetables you think might work (peppers? cauliflower? tomatoes? CSA riffraff?) and then adding some chickpeas or lentils, a little chicken stock, and salt salt salt, and then blending it up nice and smooth. Basically just a pureed soup that I serve over mashed potatoes. 

And it's kind of awesome. It's kind of like Bertha meets Helen of Troy.

Check out everyone else's favorite things at Hallie's. 

Incidentally "A Few of My Favorite Things" is my toddler's favorite song. Only his favorite part of the song is "When the dog bites" and "When the bee stings" which he belts with the best of the utterly tuneless.

He's also pretty sure the next line is: "When the bee is sad."

And I will never ever correct him. We empathize with the bees in these parts.

38 Weeks!

08 October 2013


Here you go as promised! I will be honest and say that this cold has more than got me down: slight fever, sinus pressure, nose hydrant, sore throat, feeling pretty good when I hunt down a tissue instead of using my shirt, tempting labor by chasing down the toddler to do a number on his crusty face. So this photo was the SOLE reason I got dressed today. I even considered putting make up on, but that felt a little over the top.

Here's a photo from roughly the same moment in my last pregnancy, if you're interested.

Have a lovely evening! Three days till Jacob comes. Huzzah!

Marriage and Mothering Advice, A Blog Recommendation, & Brilliant Photography (You Know...The Usual)

07 October 2013

I just got back from an OB appointment. Last week's ultrasound went totally fine. Everything looks good. Little girl is measuring fine. She's just nice and low. This would seem hopeful for a soonish delivery, but it is apparently doing nothing except turning up the heat on the good ole BH contractions.

In an uncomplicated pregnancy like mine, I don't think internal exams really do anything except confuse at this point, but I wanted any info I could get since Jacob is still working four hours away, so I had my OB check me.

You'll all be happy to know that I'm dilated 1/2 cm LESS than last week.

I also have caught a cold from the delightful two year old who sometimes gets mentioned on this blog when I can stop talking about my pregnancy for half a sec. So I'm a little bit miserable, but grateful that I don't have to rally for anything except a daily nap.

But let's cut short the doom and gloom and see how long we can ramble on about unrelated things.


I've been reading Jen's recommendations for books on writing, because someday I will write a novel, and my nesting energy sent me to my bucket list after I cleaned my parents' fridge. I'm enjoying them a lot. I conned my mother into buying the recommended reads "for her house" because she's writing a book and she loves me and I'm spoiled.


I've often thought about doing a post on the parenting advice I've received from my mother over the years. She doesn't offer a lot of advice unless she thinks you're fishing for it. I actually learned from my friend's mother in high school that this is actually one of my mother's parenting rules. My friend's mother was saying how she takes every opportunity to guide and direct her children while they're still at home. She asked my mother her thoughts, and my mother said: "I answer their questions."

And she usually answers you sort of cryptically, so hmm...

Some gems that I've remembered from her over the years.

I once asked for some advice because I was worried about screwing up my kids, and she responded:

"Oh, honey, you don't have to worry about that. You will."

Another time a brother of mine asked why my mom hadn't communicated some basic rule of etiquette to him and she said.

"I guess I figured someone else's mother would do that."


Jacob is coming to visit this weekend! He's been working A TON for the past month and hasn't had a single day off since mid-September. I'm very proud of him and grateful for the work, but guy needs a break and I need someone to apply constant pressure to my lower back.



Jacob does a lot of things very well, but he's not the best at communication in these "long distance" situations. In August when I left him in Houston to visit my family for eight days, I realized after the first four that he hadn't initiated communication between us once. So I did a little test and stopped contacting him completely and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And four days later he finally called. I missed the call, but I was so excited I was giggling. I had done it! I didn't cave! I then proceeded to listen to his message in which I was dosed with absolutely no sweet-nothings, and he asked me one completely and utterly practical question and signed off.

I am happy to report that I was a little less petty this time around and admitted in a heart to heart one night before I left, that I needed him to contact me at least ONCE a day. It's been eight days, and he's 7 for 8.

THAT, my friends, is what I call progress. 


My sister-in-law just outed her blog to me today, and I will take this opportunity to shout it from the blogger-tops.  HEAD ON OVER and love on her recipes and my goddaughter!


Signing off with some photos of general loveliness from our recent days.

An evening walk with my 93 year old grandmother. I can almost keep up with her.


Gnarly oak trees.


Jakeboy and his Opie.


Jakeboy and his best friend.


My beloved Texan Hill Country. My heart doesn't beat anywhere the way it beats here (...perhaps encouraged by the biweekly scorpion sightings.)


 Check back tomorrow, and I'll hook you up with some 38 week belly shots. Pinky swear I will.
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