I Had A Baby! And Some Other Stuff Too,

Um, hi everybody.  How’s
it going out there?  It’s 2017!  And yet again, I’ve had another year where I
failed miserably at blogging.  From now
on, let’s just assume I’m going to post like 3 freaking times a year, and write
about things only months after they have happened.  For example, my last blog post.  Does anyone even read this silly thing
anymore?  Marco…?  Just kidding. 
I know people read it, because some random guy just recently emailed me
about my post from Spain where we went to the Dali museum.  He wanted me to put a link to his website
there (which I did, because why not), but guys, this is PROOF that people are
totally listening to what I say.  Which,
really, is too bad for them, because most of what makes it on this blog is
And now, we’re going to be skipping over the other 2/3 of
2016 that I haven’t yet posted about, and I’ll give you pictures of stuff that
just happened!  In an attempt to be
timely.  Which will probably last just
for this month, because I’m on maternity leave (and I convinced myself that
while on maternity leave, I would be able to GET THINGS DONE.  You know, those things that are always on a
to-do list that you never ever have time to do? 
Like finish a scrapbook.  Do some
blog posts.  Clean my shower
curtain.  At what point did we determine
that maternity leave is actually vacation? 
Cause I’m just here to confirm – NOT VACATION.  It’s a sleep deprived squats workout holding
a 10 pound squirming weight (now more like 12 pounds, and getting chunkier by
the minute), all day every day.  Gonna
get those legs SWOLE though. And probably develop tendonitis in my elbows.).  (Sometimes I feel like I put these things in parentheses just so you guys can know these comments are really just me muttering to myself.)
I digress, as usual. 2016 was an eventful year for us.  I went to Kenya.  We went to Italy and Greece as a family.  My uncle got diagnosed with brain
cancer.  My dad had some pretty drastic
lifestyle changes for the better.  My
other uncle passed away.  I got
pregnant.  I got a new job (I guess I get
pregnant and then decide I need ADDITIONAL new things happening in my life,
cause I got my first job at Mercy Corps while pregnant too…).  Evelyn got potty trained, and started
school.  Then she turned 3.  My Uncle George passed away from brain
cancer.  I had a baby named Atlas!  And what’s awesome is that I basically posted no pictures of me pregnant anywhere, so this might actually be a surprise to some folks.
Oh yeah, and the whole Trump thing.  Let’s not talk about that here, mmmkay?  We’re going to agree that this blog, while
full of my sarcastic commentary, will remain a politics-free space.  I promise to only rant about other things
that actually don’t matter at all, leaving all the important stuff to be
debated on Facebook where it belongs. 
Yeah.  So 2016.  I’m aiming for 2017 to be less eventful in
terms of crazy negative stuff, and more awesome in terms of cool trips.  And ROCK CLIMBING.  Which we don’t really do anymore, because we’re
parents, but mostly because we live in the stupid Pacific NW.  Guys, I love the PNW.  I’m just going through some serious withdrawals.  I think we’re going to have to move away in
the not too distant future.  Jason might
implode if we don’t get to a real crag sometime this decade.  Anyway, we won’t dwell on that now, but I’m
putting together a 5 year plan.  I’ve got
some great ideas.  A lot of ins, a lot of
So some pictures of this kid Atlas that we’ve introduced
into the household.  These are the pictures from Bella Baby, who comes by your hospital room to take pictures and then charge you an arm and a leg (which is totally worth it, for the record):

Evelyn thinks he’s the cutest doll she’s ever met.  She wants to help give him his binky, and
pick him up, and when he cries she says, “It’s okay buddy, I can help you!”  We’re transitioning well – which is a
positive spin on the fact that having a second kid is a total freaking
whirlwind, and even though everyone tells you, “Oh, introducing a second child
isn’t just double the work, it’s exponential,” and you’re all like, right,
exponential, got it – you can’t really
get it until you do it.  Much like having
a first kid.  So, we’re
transitioning.  😁  Evelyn is doing great with him, and is
naturally a bit more demanding of our time, since she hasn’t ever had to share
it before.  She’s not like me at all, not
wanting to share the spotlight or center of attention.  
And Atlas is cute as all get out, which babies have to be,
right, or else we’d really never have them. 
They’re hell on the midsection, those babies.  It’s currently great for my cleavage, which
is a twice in a lifetime thing.  (Get
it?  Two babies?  Breastfeeding makes your boobs bigger?  Anyway. 
I think I’m funny, which is all that really matters, clearly.)  

The birthing story actually was a lot like Evelyn’s.  This time we hired a doula (birth coach/assistant) – I had a lot of angst
about Evelyn’s birth, wondering if I had done something differently if I might
have avoided a C-section.  So with Atlas
I really wanted to do everything in my power to try for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth
After Cesarean).  Our doula Trish was
AMAZING, and I’m really glad we had her around.
Contractions started on Friday the 23rd at like
7am.  They were pretty far apart and
inconsistent, so I figured no big deal. 
I hung out with Evelyn, cleaning house and doing the usual.  We even actually went to get her a haircut (I
just clamped my mouth shut and breathed when I had contractions in the hair
salon, no one even noticed, except Evelyn). 
Evelyn could tell something was going on, but she was okay.  I passed her off to my sister around noon
that day, and labored at home until Jason got home from work at like 4 or
so.  Called the doula, she came over
around 8, and coached us through it.  To
distract myself while I labored we watched 21 Jump Street.  Guys, that movie is hilarious even when you’re
in pain. 
Despite the fact that the contractions app that Jason
downloaded kept telling us that birth was imminent (because the contractions
were pretty damn close together), it wasn’t. 
We went to the hospital around 11pm, and I really didn’t want to know how far I was dilated, because I knew it
would just be discouraging.  Good thing I
didn’t ask, because it turns out it was just 1cm at that point.  They admitted us, and we labored in the
hospital.  I got nitrous, which helped
for a while so I could sort of rest, but eventually the contractions were
strong enough that it wasn’t working.  So
I got an epidural after about 24 hours.
The epidural went WAY better than last time (when freaking
Doogie Houser put it in wrong the first time and made my legs numb but left my
abdomen totally untouched).  And then it
was just a bit of a waiting game to see what happened.  The most entertaining part of all of it is
that Evelyn is totally obsessed with Dora the Explorer (which she pronounces ‘Expl-uh’).  Anyway, as I’m laboring in the hospital, I
couldn’t get the stupid backpack song from Dora out of my head.  It was like a different level of torture, to
combine that with labor…
Long story short, it didn’t work.  Atlas didn’t descend enough, I never dilated
more than 4.5 centimeters, just like with Evelyn.  Eventually my cervix started to swell instead
of dilate, and then it was off for a C-section. 
Which I was actually pretty relieved about, because then it was all
over!  And it really made me feel better
about Evelyn’s birth – apparently this is just how I have babies.  Thank the lord for modern medicine.
I really could have done without the vomiting though, which is apparently a pretty common reaction to strong contractions – ugh.
So he arrived at around 9pm on Christmas Eve, a healthy 8lbs
11.5 oz (compared to Evelyn’s 8lbs 11.2oz). 
And after a few hours in the recovery room, we were in the mother baby
unit to sleep, which was desperately needed at that point.  All told, about 36 or so hours, compared to
50 with Evelyn.  14 hours shorter!

Meeting her brother for the first time!

Grandpa, with Evelyn opening Christmas presents

The whole family!

Uncle Bryan meeting Atlas

Mike’s not sure about babies.
Evelyn stayed with Nicky all weekend, over Christmas and
everything.  My sister is amazing.  She and my dad brought her to the hospital to
meet Atlas, and we got to do some Christmas present opening there.  Our nurses were AMAZING.  The hospital was really quiet (probably
because of the holiday), and so they helped us get Atlas to sleep a ton, and
really gave us wonderful attention.  Our
nurse on Christmas Day was hilarious. 
Jason had been asking the nurses for tips on swaddling, and so when she
came back in, Jason was pretty proud of his swaddle job, and asked her if she
had noticed.  She replied, ‘Did one of
the other nurses do it?’  And when he
remarked to Michael Lary and Bryan Caldwell if they’d looked at the size of
Atlas’ genitalia (I mean, it is Jason, you should have expected that), she
commented, ‘Is it genetic?’
And we were sent home the Tuesday after Christmas.  Jason’s sister Kari came to visit the 31st,
and then his younger sister Jami and her oldest daughter Jacey.  Then his mom came for a week.  It was awesome to have family around and
helping – we didn’t really have to figure out how to take care of him by
ourselves until mid-January.  😌

While she was here, Jason’s sister Jami took some amazing photos of Atlas.  She’s a photographer, clearly, and this baby shoot was done in our living room – check out how great they are!

I mean, you should have expected this.

And so now Jason is back and work and I’m hanging out with Atlas until the first week of March.  And then it’s back to work part-time for me for a few months until I transition back to full time.  Recovery has been going well – I was SO damn uncomfortable there for the last few months of pregnancy that all the aches and pains of C-section recovery were actually a relief.  I had a lot of back pain in pregnancy that was almost all gone right after delivery, and I didn’t have to pee every hour!  I’d been waking up just about every hour and a half or two hours for the month before Atlas was born or so, so switching to being up with him every few hours wasn’t too bad.  Of course, now I’m really sleep deprived, but we expected that.

The only hard thing was avoiding sneezing, coughing, or laughing too hard – Jason is funny.  We’d get fits of the giggles because we’re tired and he’s ridiculous and I’d be in the kitchen laughing at him, holding my belly and saying ‘ouch’ every 10 seconds because I couldn’t help laughing.  The only time it sucks to have a hilarious husband.

I think what prompted at least one fit of the giggles was Jason insisting he was going to get his ‘tube tied’ so we’d definitely be done having babies.  If you don’t think that’s funny I just am not sure we can be friends anymore.  

Yup.  And so now we have two kids at home.  And Evelyn is a RIOT.  She’s doing great, loves her brother.  She has seen me pumping though (and apparently we’re talking about my boobs a lot more now) because she’s grabbed pieces of my pumping stuff and put them on her chest and walked around the house.  Or grabbed cloths to shove down her shirt because ‘her boobs hurt’.  Or, ‘When I was your age, I had big boobs like Mommy!’  
Jason and Atlas’ selfie

Baby burrito.

Nicky got Evelyn this headband for Christmas.  Clearly it’s amazing.

Swinging is like Evelyn’s #1 favorite thing to do.  Besides watch Dora.


Siblings.  In Evelyn’s brand new sleeping bag!

Someone loves Aunt Nicky, and Aunt Nicky’s chickens.

Petting Goldy!
Nicky and Atlas

You can’t tell, but Jason and Evelyn are in this picture.  This is the Winter Light Festival.

Atlas’ first hike!

Atlas is talking up a storm these days, and smiling too.  Check out this adorable video of the kid:

The cuteness.

So Evelyn is totally into stories.  Jason tells her stories all the time, making them up, with all kinds of characters and plots.  One story was about several dragons (Puff the Magic Dragon, Trodgor the Burninator, Smaug, and Elliot the Dragon).  Smaug was the only one who didn’t eat his vegetables, and in a flying contest, he could not fly as fast as the others.  Until he ate broccoli, and then he flew faster than them.  

There are other stories about Evelyn climbing mountains, saving people from avalanches, discovering fairies and Beorn the BearMan, and Gandalf the Grey… you see where this is going.  In all of these stories Jason makes Evelyn the main character, which is both good and bad.  Good because he says things like ‘Evelyn wasn’t scared’, or ‘Evelyn is so brave’, or ‘Evelyn never gives up’.  Bad, because she is 3, which means in her mind, she mostly DID do these things!  Because three year olds haven’t quite established the line between what’s real and what isn’t.  For example, Evelyn watched Mary Poppins, and for a while she really wanted the ‘Other Evelyn’, the one in the pictures, to come out so she could play with her.

Anyway, so now she wants to make up her own!  This video isn’t actually a video – there’s nothing to see.  But you can hear her hilarious story if you listen.

Sometimes these stories backfire – Jason loves to talk about how Evelyn never gives up.  So one time a few weeks ago, we were trying to get Evelyn to take a nap at home on a weekend.  She’s basically stopped napping at school during the week, so she’s exhausted in the evenings and we really want her to make up some of her sleep whenever we can. Plus, I’m not ready for her to give up her naps.  Anyway, she’s not  having any of it.  She wants to play.  So she does the usual, comes up with all the excuses as to why she can’t sleep.  When I tell her she has to rest, she says, “Mom, I’m so happy!  I WAS so happy, now I’m so SAD…”  Then crying, so much crying, and we keep having to go into her room to calm her down or give her a glass of water, or lay her back down because she came out of her room.  Anyway, it ends with her sitting on her bed, crying loudly (mostly fake to get our attention), and yelling, at the top of her lungs, “I NEVER GIVE UP!”

Oh dear.

Speaking of real vs. not real – several of our friends have really good stories about things their parents convinced them was true when they were little… which was decidedly not.  Like Brad’s dad telling him that all the trails from airplanes in the sky were actually from rockets… and then when he was WAY TOO OLD and ought to have known better, commenting to his friends ‘Oh, there’s a lot of rocket activity today…’.  YES.  AMAZING.  It’s a cruel truth, but I think this is a fantastic way to be entertained as a parent.  So we try to convince Evelyn of things that aren’t true.  In a hilarious way, because perhaps this world is as magical as Evelyn’s imagination would have it. Jason is especially good at this, clearly.  

Because of our friend Shane and Julia’s van, which has doors that close automatically at the push of a button or a pull on the handle, Jason has Evelyn convinced she can open doors with her MIND.  In order to do this, she has to put out both hands, fingers splayed, and concentrate really hard, which she thinks means she needs to squint her eyes.  So, anytime we go anywhere with an automatic door or elevator (like the grocery store, or the doctor’s office, or virtually any other public shopping space) Jason prompts her to open the door for us.  I think this is amazing.  Evelyn thinks that this power extends to opening other things too, so when Jason was trying to open a jar, Evelyn prompted him, “Daddy, open it with your big strong mind!”  

We are the best parents ever.

Aunt Kari and Atlas

I found this onesie at the Goodwill.  It’s a full fleece size 3T.  I bought it because I want one for me.

Pretend sleepover party with Lola!

Planning shenanigans in the kitchen table fort.

Aunt Nicky and baby snuggles.

Dude, Portland has been experiencing serious Snow-pocalypses.  During the first 2 weeks back at school after winter break, Evelyn only actually got to go to school for 4 days.  I was going a bit crazy.  Thank goodness for all the family visiting, and the fact that Jason got to take a month off work.  Otherwise my transition into ‘mother-of-two’ might have driven me right off the edge.  We did get to do some awesome playing in the winter wonderland though (and now Evelyn keeps looking out the window, pronouncing, ‘It’s snowing!’ when it definitely isn’t…).

We built Frosty!

We got a foot in 6 hours.  It was bananas.  For us at least.

Yogurt in one bowl, snow in another.

Washing dishes with dad.

Extreme family cuteness.

Great Grandma Evelyn!

Yeah!  So them’s the haps.  Compared to Evelyn, Atlas is easy.  However, compared to having one kid, two kids is like WOAH.  Somehow, people make it work.  I’m still trying to figure out how not to have bedtime devolve into everyone screaming and crying, myself included.  But we’ll get there.  In the meantime, I went to the climbing gym for the first time since October!  Rock climbing is hard.

K, now I’m going to go start the next blog, which will be a lot of catch up from 2016 that you didn’t get to see.  Since clearly you’re just dying to see it.  🙂  Don’t be confused by pictures of me pregnant – we’re done having babies. 2 is perfect.  No more for us.

I go back to work in 2 weeks!  Wish me luck.

She doesn’t like ice cream at all.
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