Playing House

the path to domesticity is paved with good intentions…

Merry Meade Farm / Checking In

Hey there.  How’s it going?  We’ve been settling into a new routine with Jim transitioning into his new job and now summer classes, and Rachel transitioning into her new daycare (she LOVES it).  Plus, I’ve been totally busy at work, writing annual performance reviews.  (There’s no quicker way to stifle creativity than to make someone write 10 staff performance reviews, I tell ya.)  We are all so looking forward to the long holiday weekend.

Do you have fun plans for Memorial Day?  We might have to go back to Merry Meade Farm to grab some ice cream and pet the pigs.  A few weeks ago we ran into some neighbors and they insisted that we join them for “the best ice cream you ever tasted.”  (Did they really have to do any convincing after that declaration?) The ice cream was seriously good, plus the farm itself was worth the visit.  We saw all the traditional farm animals up close, then we perused their awesome garden center and cute little shop/foodie paradise where they sell pickled vegetables and homemade pasta and fresh nut butter and all sorts of other treasures.

It’s going to be hot and sunny all weekend, so I’m sure ice cream will be involved one way or another.   Have a happy weekend!

Fort Washington Park

So, continuing on our playground tour…

You may think that once you’ve seen one playground, you’ve seen them all, but friends, that is not true.  Once you’ve seen a dozen, you still haven’t seen them all.

We randomly, but delightfully, ended up at Fort Washington Park on Sunday and the playground there had at least two features that I had yet to see at a playground.  One was the fake mountain climb, above.  (Conquered, below.)

And the other was the cool tube ladder-things (official name) that you could climb up to the top.  Seriously, they were cool.

Look how satisfied Rachel looks after scaling the cool tube ladder-thing.  Quite an accomplishment, I have to agree.

And they had the traditional playground stuff too.  Classic, can’t be beat: slides…

…and swings…

And I even got Rach to ride one without Jim’s help!

Becoming a Mom: Rachel’s Birth Story

Some things I know I can do: I can pitch a softball game with a broken arm. I can ace calculus without ever taking my book home. I can move to a big city where I know no one and own nothing. I can organize events (trips to foreign countries even) for hundreds of people, on a shoestring budget, with no experience. I can march in the heat and take a stand for what’s right, even when no one is listening. I can bounce back from failed efforts. I can run a half marathon up a mountain and through a dessert. I can turn nothing into something. I can stand up to tremendous pressure. And as my dad reminds me, when the bases are loaded and there are no outs…I never, ever walk in a run.

When friends asked me about my birth plan, I’d tell them I wished for a natural birth. “Because I think I can do it,” I would say, and they’d smile and say, “You probably can.” Even after 42 weeks of pregnancy, when I was scheduled to be induced into labor, a midwife in my OB practice reassured me, “This does not mean you have to give up on your plan for a natural birth.”

Several hours into labor, I found myself attached to an antibiotic drip, pitocin, and fetal heart monitors. I was flanked by Jim and my best friend Emily, but floating in a sea of wires and beeping sounds. The nurses changed shifts, again, and I greeted Melissa, part 3 with a loud, disturbing groan. (Would you believe that all my labor nurses were named Melissa?) My contractions were not getting longer and stronger. They were intense and splitting but totally unproductive. I was told I was experiencing back labor.

Jim and Em rubbed my back and encouraged me and kept me balanced on my birthing ball. Even still, labor was not progressing. During contractions I would totally zone out. Nothing existed but me and this pain. Hours passed with no progress and, confused, I wondered what to do next. I looked up at Jim who I had been leaning on – I couldn’t stand on my own – and I looked over at Emily, and they both gave me a look that told me they were there for me unconditionally. Between those glances and with their support, I felt sure. Then I did something I have never done before: I surrendered to the notion that “I can’t.” “I’m going to get an epidural.” I told them. “This is not natural. I have nothing to prove. I just want to have this baby.”

They nodded and asked for the nurse. An anesthesiologist soon followed and in my regular controlling way I told her “not to f— it up.” Many hours later, after sleep and some laughs with one of the Melissas, it was time to push and then suddenly…after all that…there was my baby. There was my girl. And as I held her I realized that nothing else mattered in the world.

I birthed a baby that day and I birthed a new self – a woman who can lean on her loved ones, trust her instincts, acknowledge her limits, and ask for help. I became a mom.

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Happy Mother’s Day! Today I’m more grateful than ever for my beautiful mom and for the indescribable gift of motherhood.

Change is Good

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As much as I believe in change, I hate making transitions. I’ve said it before, but it’s a true story. Confession: When I know I’m getting near the end of a notebook, I’ll subconsciously stop writing in it, just to delay that moment when I’ve filled the last page and have to figure out what to do next. And it’s just a notebook, people. I know. I know.

But even if I have a new notebook waiting, a plan (!) I still delay the inevitable, because it can’t be as easy as closing one notebook and opening another…can it!?

Jim just got a new job. A permanent job. Which is awesome, because it’s permanent 🙂 And all of my stress over our changing childcare plan and all the other logistical details (come to think of it, there aren’t that many), have probably made it seem as though I’m not extremely proud of him. I am. I just had to buck up and sort some things out, and you know, crack open another notebook.

Rachel will start daycare soon and this time, I’m not so stressed out about it. Actually, I’m excited for her to make some friends that aren’t just my friends’ kids. And finding a daycare spot wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. In fact, it was just as easy as asking for a favor (which I might hate doing just a little bit more than making transitions. I’m never one to leave things to chance.) But you know what? When you’re sort of in a pinch and you really need a favor, then hey- the first thing you should do is ASK FOR IT. It may just work out for you. (This was my positive self-talk before asking for the favor…it worked!)

Happy Friday. I hope you have exciting things planned this weekend!

The First Third

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I figure I might live until I’m 90, right? So I’ve just made it through my first third of life. Some things I learned in that short time: I can throw a ball really fast, I can dream really big, I can read a lot of books, I can help people sort through pain, and luckily, I can love. I have been so lucky to travel all over the country and a few parts of this world, but I haven’t focused enough on what keeps me grounded. Some things I was good at during that first third may not matter anymore. And in the next phase, I hope to learn so much more.

I had such a phenomenal birthday weekend, (and thanks to my sister I’ll be eating cake for days!)