Tuesday, January 4, 2011

(I'm) Happy (It's a) New Year

So my no-contest, hands-down, absolute-favorite time of year has come and gone again. And you know what? I'm doing alright. I kept a little holiday (so to speak) up on my pot rack, and that's doing pretty well at keeping my spirits up.

Christmas was good. A little bit different than other years, but still wonderful.
As it happens, I was not home for Christmas Eve dinner, but afterward, I felt grateful I had been gone, because my potatoes and stuffing were awful. I felt sorry for my guests. What a let down. I was especially disappointed because I had been so looking forward to sharing with you my new stuffing recipe that I got out of my BH&G magazine. (Have I already talked about this?) The thing is--I've never liked stuffing. Ever. But this Thanksgiving, I had come across the recipe and had been a little intrigued because it had some ingredients that I'd never seen in stuffing before--namely: spinach, feta cheese, and potato bread. And since I always have guests and most often some of them ARE stuffing eaters, I had decided that this year I would make my first stuffing and it would be great. And you know what? It WAS great. So great, that when I asked my guests if they would like to take any leftovers home, they said they would like to take some stuffing. But anyway...I was just so stoked to have prepared stuffing that Brian (he's never liked stuffing either) and I and everyone else had really liked. So when Christmas rolled around, I was excited to prepare the stuffing once again and see if I could convert any additional non-stuffing eaters. It was not to be. I didn't use as much bread as I should have and as a result, a really nasty, soggy, stuffing came out of the oven. And I ended up tossing about 90% of it into the garbage. Really? On Christmas Eve? Bummer. And my potatoes were WAY undercooked, so like I said, I am just glad I wasn't there to see the grimaces on my guests' faces.

Have I already shared with you the discovery I've made about myself this year? I've come to the realization that I do not like to cook. In fact, I very much dislike it. And I like baking even less. Do I still do it (cooking, I mean)? Well, of course I do, because I've got a family to feed and I do care somewhat about healthy eating and I certainly can't afford to eat out very often; but I just do not enjoy it. I would rather clean all day than have to think about and then prepare a meal.
The crazy thing is, I never realized how much I dislike cooking because of how much I've always liked to eat. I love to eat, and I love to entertain and socialize. And for several years, cooking very often went along with entertaining and socializing, so I never realized how much (or how little ) I actually enjoyed the cooking part. As the years have passed, though, and our family has grown, and other families have grown, it has become much less common for us to have company for dinner (minus the missionaries). Instead I usually find myself cooking for three kids who normally do not stroke my ego and tell me how much they enjoyed my meal. And while I'm pretty sure Brian does appreciate it when I actually fix dinner, it is somewhat uncommon for him to be home when the rest of us are eating, so I don't get to enjoy his gratitude and satisfaction until he scoops up the cold leftovers later on. It just seems like lot of work for very little reward. Anyway...I don't mean to complain. It's been interesting for me to make this self discovery. I just wish I did enjoy cooking. Because it's a necessary evil. You know. Oh, and I need to include that a large part of what I dislike about cooking is the deciding-what-in-the-heck to cook part. And the grocery-shopping part. The stress I experience over what on earth to cook for dinner rivals the stress I experience over keeping my carpets clean. Not cool.

ANYWAY, though, despite my nasty potatoes and stuffing, Christmas really was wonderful. It was peaceful, and that it the greatest gift I could have asked for. There has been a lot of fighting in our home this year, and a day of peace was just so welcomed. The kids were delighted with their gifts, we ate junk, and watched movies and played games; I got like a 3-hour nap; and I was able to take a drive by myself and park down by the river to have a phone conversation with my mom. It was just a really good day.
And while I'm still on the subject of Christmas, let me say that I think Camp's believing-in-Santa days are drawing to a close. When Jane opened one of her Santa gifts to find a little CD player that we had picked up at a thrift store a couple months ago, Camp recognized it as the one he had seen up in my closet (where he had been instructed not to look), and called my bluff. Also, he made a quick connection between the fruit-by-the foot things that were in his stocking and the one that was under his pillow when he lost his first tooth a month or so ago. I may have said enough to encourage his belief in Santa for a bit longer, but I was forced to come clean about the Tooth Fairy. Oh well.....

If you live far from me and got my Christmas card, you know (or maybe you don't because you didn't know if I was kidding or not) that 2010 was a bit of a hard year for us--as it seems it was for many of you; also. Again, I'm not telling you this with an attitude of ingratitude. I DO feel truly grateful for the blessings my family continues to enjoy, and still feel completely happy and satisfied with my life. The fact is, though, that some years are just easier than others, and this was just not one of those years. That's Ok, though, because I'm convinced that we're all just that much cooler because of it. And we were cool before, so....you know..... :)

OK. So if I do not have this baby sooner, I'm being induced three weeks from today (I've always been induced, mainly because I live 1 1/2 hours away from where my doctor is.) January 25th. Just two days after Dad's birthday and the day before Charley's. Have I already said that Brian and I are pretty sure this will be our last baby? (Man, you would think I was 90 years old, judging from my memory.) Never say never, but we're pretty sure we'll be done. Because while I'm really excited about this little guy inside me, I never really have been baby hungry since having had Danin. The thing is--Brian always said he wanted 4 kids, and I've always wanted a big family, and three kids just hasn't seemed to make the cut. Four kids barely seems to make the cut in my mind, but I just don't know that I could handle any more and be any bit of a good mom. Anyway....I've realized this year especially how grateful I am to my mom for toughing it through SEVEN kids. Because in doing so, she provided us each with perhaps the second-greatest gift she could have given us(the first, to me, being her choice to stay at home with us)--that of six awesome brothers and sisters. Man, I love my siblings. I am so grateful for each of them. I just feel so lucky.

But here's the thing: I'm hoping (and really planning this time) on doing the whole labor and delivery thing drug free for the first time. And I've got two reasons and only two reasons for this: 1) I'm curious. Like I said--this will likely be my last baby and therefore my last chance to experience things the other way. And I really do want to know what it's like. 2) I'm really trying to save money. And anesthesia isn't cheap. Agreed? So at this point (deep breath) I'm committed to going au naturel. There's just one problem. I don't know what the heck I'm doing. I need help! I need advice! What the heck am I supposed to be practicing? I need one of you to give me a crash course in Lamaze. Does anyone have any good music to recommend? Any relaxation techniques? Anything? I realize I'm thinking about this a little late in the game--but better late than never, right? And most likely, I'll be doing this natural thing after having been hit up with Pitocin (0r at least that's what's been the case with my other three babies), so have any of you ever done that? Pleeeaaasse help me......

Here's wishing you a Happy New Year,


P.S. While I wasn't kidding in my Christmas letter, my main objective was to make you laugh. So don't worry too much.

P.S.S. I asked Brian to build me a coffee table for Christmas, so we'd have something to put our feet up on, and he did just what I asked. I think I'll eventually paint it red, but we don't yet have the red paint I want, so for now it is light blue (which I wanted to have under the red anyway.) I'll try and post some pictures soon.


Mim said...

I hate cooking too. I've always known it, because let's be honest--it's about the last thing I would choose to do with my freetime if I had a choice. I feel like it's a victory EVERY time I get a meal on the table, which to my credit, is almost every night. But it IS thankless, and boring and I don't know about you, but the most stressful time of the day, because my kids just sort of fall-apart with the combination of hunger, fatigue and neglect as I am consumed with food prep. Poopy.

Here's my advice as far as au natural: first of all, avoid induction if at ALL possible. I realize living that far away from the hospital makes it really tough...I don't know what I would do. But I've heard it's much more manageable without pitocin (the ONE exception to that being Sarah who said that pitocin was fine?!). Second of all, you've got to find a rhythm; I've never really subscribed to Lamaze or (especially not) hypno birthing, but rather just whatever my body felt like doing. And to be honest when it came down to it, all the pain visualizations and techniqes etc kind of go out the window once labor becomes serious. The thing that helps the most is withdrawing into yourself, and just doing whatever you feel like doing. For me it's been humming, or swaying or simply breathing quietly and evenly, or lots of other things. But just find something that works and go with it. Find a rhythm.
And expect it to hurt; I mean, obviously, right? But I mean anticipate the pain and welcome it or rather...think of it as a guide for your body, and associate the pain in your mind with the process. So like a contraction means your uturus is pushing the baby out, and the more you relax and let the contractions do their job, the faster and easier it is.
I think more than anything that is my strategy. Through every contraction I just visualize and FEEL what it's doing. I know this sounds totally crazy, but with Merritt's labor, I can't even remember the pain. I remember that it did hurt, but the pain was not forefront in the experience.
Sorry for the novel. It's hard to stop once you get going.
Birthing from Within by Pam England is an AWESOME resource book, (maybe a little over the top in places) but definitely has been my greatest help.

mim said...

oh wow. I'm totally embarrassed with how long that comment is. I didn't realize it until after it published.

Diana said...

I never did lamaze, the nurses were a great help to me. I also tried going natural, made it most of the way through labor and when I couldn't take it anymore, they gave me demerol in my IV and that really set the ball rolling. With the 2nd one, I had someone suggest drinking wine to help me relax, it did the job. Went to the hospital at 3:30 and delivered at 5:30.

You will do great. You're in amazing shape, which is the most important part. Can't wait to hear the outcome.

charley said...


Audge said...

Ahahahah. I love how in the first like five pictures Danin is busting a gut, and then all of a sudden she is hugging your pregnant belly, and the expression on your face says, "heaven help me."

Heidi :) :) ;) said...

Ann, you have an adorable family. It is fun reading your posts.

For an easy delivery I recommend the "Prenatal Package" from www.grandmasherbs.com

My last baby I was only in labor at the hospital for 2 hours 13 min, and then my baby was born. Not bad! :)

I hope everything goes smoothly for you guys and you have a fabulous 2011!

Heather and Billy said...

Ok... I have SO much to say. Maybe you should just call me or something.
But first things first...we cracked up at your card. Billy said "Best.Christmas.Card.EVER". My dad came in town so I showed him and he fell over laughing so hard. Great job.

As for the cooking...You need to get the cookbook called Dream Dinners. Dinner's in the Freezer is good as well but I like Dream Dinners for the most part better. Seriously super easy prep and you make 3 or more at a time. I pretty much just do ones where you throw stuff in a ziploc then put it in the freezer. When it's time to cook you just pull it out the day before then it's either crockpot or grill. That's mostly what I do out of the books anyway. If you just spend a day or a couple half days a month you could get most of your cooking handled I bet and with little prep. Then you don't feel like you've gone to all this work for nothing. AND they're super great with a new baby.

Lastly... Well *I* have had not one, but TWO, babies au naturel WITH being induced. Here's the thing... 1. It's in the head. 2. Just scream. With Keller I hadn't planned to go naturally. But the anesthesiologist was a major screwup and my epidural was inserted all wrong so it never worked. That delivery was by far my worst experience but I think because I totally freaked out. I hadn't prepared AT ALL mentally for going natural because I'd had 2 kids no problem. So when I went to have Kyle I thought...well, I survived one natural birth so I can do it again. I was so scared of having that happen again and the whole epidural with that dr was so traumatic I didn't know if I could do it again. My nurse was fantastic and understood completely (because she'd worked w/ that dr and I was evidently not the only one with a terrible experience). I said that I was planning to go natural but leaving the option open if it came down to it in the end. Just having that mindset ahead of time, knowing that I COULD do it, saved me. Truthfully, my labor and delivery with Kyle was so easy that I thought immediately "hey, that was easy...I could do that again" even though I was also not planning to have any more. I think it's key that you have someone (ie Brian) who will tell you over and over (even if it seems retarded) things like "you're doing great" or "you got this" etc. Brian should know from doing sports. Otherwise you just have to breathe (which, screaming is the only way to ensure you're breathing and getting through it imho) and remind yourself to just make it through the next minute (or 15 seconds or whatever) rather than focusing on whatever elusive end you're working toward. Baby steps to get a baby. ;) Otherwise I'd kind of echo what Mim said...but with the reassurance that natural with Pitocin IS survivable. And, truly, your fourth is WAY easier than any of the others. I mean WAY. My nurse said that was true of all mom's she'd seen on their fourth.

Heather and Billy said...

Oh... one more thing... Traditional Medicinals brand tea. Get the Pregnancy Blend and Raspberry Leaf. Drink them together (starting now). They're yummy. Here I can find them now at typical Whole Foods but also at Smiths, Target, Walmart, and Albertsons. It prepares your body and 'tones your uterus'. My neighbor, who has had all easy & fast deliveries and who used to work at GNC told me that was her secret. When I started doing that my prelabor contractions were much less painful and I swear to you I barely even felt any contractions after they gave me the pitocin until I was at an 8 and they broke my water. I thought they put it in wrong and would never have believed it. I've told other friends and they're reported similar 'easier' results.

Heather said...


Rob and Marseille said...

I wish we lived closer! I hate cleaning, but I don't mind cooking- we could trade!! But, I have done freezer meals recently and it has been awesome. make 3 meals at a time- 1 to serve, 2 to freeze. It is awesome. google freezer meals.
And, for your natural birth- read 'hypnobirthing, the hmong method' (I"m pretty sure that's what it's called). I've done epidurals both times, but reading this book helped me wait longer to get the epidural the second time & helped me through initial labor. it gave me ideas of ways to relax, but I didn't follow the whole method (also, it helps if your water hasn't broken yet, so don't let them break you water. it cushions the pain). they do have lesser pain meds (and less expensive) that are given through your IV that will dull the pain, you could ask your dr about those options.

Janelle said...

All 4 babies natural! None were induced. I'm with Mim, avoid induction if at all possible. I have used Hypnobirthing with all 4 and loved it. It does requires some prep, i.e. listening to their relaxation cd. I also love the book Birthing From Within as well as the Hypnobirthing book by Marie Mongan. I haven't ever had a completely pain or discomfort free birth, but the last two were so much easier.
I've never had pitocin, but have a couple of friends who were able to work through it. The teas previously recommended are awesome and work too! I love the scripts for your huband/birth coach to read from my hypnobirthing class. Email me if you are at all interested in any of those and I could send you a couple.
Aside from that I hum and deep breathe like Mim when things are more intense.
Josie (third) was my fastest active labor, but this last one was only about 2-3 hours active too, so it definitely helps that it is your fourth. I agree that you being in such good shape will really help. I wish I had gotten back in shape between the last two! I think it would have been even easier!
I agree completely with your sentiments about your big family, your mom's choice to stay home, and your awesome siblings! I feel the same way!!! :)

Talltiffany said...

Your christmas card definietly made Joe and I laugh. It was great! Good luck with the delivery and I hope it all goes well for you. Can't wait to see new photos of the baby...and the coffee table too.