Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow days

It has been snowing for the last two days. After living in Western Washington most life I learned how to enjoy and cherish each moment we had snow. I have always loved the way snow seems to quiet the world both inside and outside our home. Outside the world is covered in a soft blanket of white while inside we cozy up next to the warm (very warm in our case) wood stove. Even Emi seems to understand this cozy feeling as she is taking more naps on these quiet days. Connor, on the other hand, is buzzing with energy and anticipation for that upcoming snowball fight or walk in the snow blanketed woods. I think he has already had two cups of cocoa today. I am so glad I have nowhere else to be but here...the best place in world.

Christmas was spent down near Mt Shasta with my parents. Although we didn't have any snow there we went in search of it and finally found it at Bunny Flats half way up the mountain. It seems funny that we had to climb up to nearly 8,000 ft just to see snow in December. Mt Shasta truly is a wonderful and beautiful place. We took a drive around the back side of the mountain this time and were lucky to find some snow for Opa, Connor, and Daddy to slide on.

This was Connor's first Christmas where he really understood the Santa thing and was quite surprised to find that Santa had eaten all the treats that he had left out for him. I truly enjoyed seeing that bewildered look on his face. Oh to see the world through the innocence of children's eyes.

Emi is growing like a mad woman. She smiles and giggles when talked to and has recently discovered the joys of peek-a-boo. She also likes to attempt sit-ups on a regular basis but has yet to show any signs of rolling over on her own. She was supposed to have her 2 month appointment around Christmas, then shortly after New Years, then today...oh well. Maybe fourth time's the charm. I can't wait to see how much she weighs next week on our fourth attempt to the doctor's office.

Connor is one big ball of energy and excitement. His zest for life and everything in it is apparent through his constant questioning of how the world around him works. His ability to count and comprehend simple math has this Mama so proud. If we could only get him to sit still for more than a few seconds! I think he is going to be a runner just like his great-grandpa.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Smiles all around

As these cold December days continue to get shorter and shorter I am reminded of how lucky I am to be spending them at home with my kids. I am really enjoying these long lazy mornings sitting by our Christmas tree with a sleeping baby on one side of me and a smart little boy playing Angry Birds on the other. Let me tell you...Angry Birds is obsession in this house! We have also had various visitors to share coffee and lunch with while exchanging gifts, as well as indulge Connor in his favorite activity of chase around the house. I love really do love December and its coziness.

Our beautiful Miss Emilia is such a joy. She is so easy going and has quickly become the sweetheart of the family. She loves to lie on the couch or in her bouncy chair and watch the goings on around the kitchen. She will also sit in Tom's lap for quite awhile, rocking out with him to whatever music videos he has decided to pull up on YouTube. She rarely cries unless hungry and has started cooing and interacting with anyone who will talk to her. And the best part of all is that she has started smiling! I think the highlight of every day for me now is watching her smile at her big brother when he tells her something funny. She loves to hear him laugh.

Connor will be turning 4 in just a few weeks and is bigger than ever. He towers over most boys his age and loves to race any boy who will challenge him. He has recently become a gaming wizard and can beat any game can dish out. I can't believe my baby boy is growing so fast. Preschool is very close on the horizon!

Life has been so good the last few months and full of planning and scheming for the future. I will really miss these lazy days of Winter but I am really looking forward to watching my kids grow hard as that will be!

Monday, October 31, 2011

She's here!

Emilia Noel Nance joined our family on October 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm at Harrison Hospital in Silverdale. She weighed 8 lbs 6 oz and was 20.5 inches long and is as beautiful as can be! We couldn't have asked for a more perfect and beautiful fall day for her to come into the world. The air was cold but the sun shone brightly and the sky was as blue as could be. That morning I woke up to the very familiar feeling of mild and erratic contractions. As the morning progressed the contractions became more organized occurring around every 10 minutes. I mentioned this to Tom and told him to be at the ready because today might be the day! Lucky for me I had an appointment with my OB scheduled for that morning so my mother and I headed down to Silverdale around 10 am. After dropping her off for a visit with my Grandmother I went to the Doctor's Clinic for my appointment.

While I was waiting in the lobby for my appointment I realized that the contractions had become much more noticeable. Sure enough, my doctor was surprised and very happy to find that I had already dilated to 6 cm. She told me not to go home and find something to do in Silverdale for the next few hours because we were most likely going to have a baby tonight! Lucky for me (once again) I had made a coffee date with one of my dearest friends at a coffee shop very close to the hospital. While catching up the contractions increased in intensity and after an hour or so I suggested we take a walk on the Clear Creek Trail near the hospital to get things moving a little faster. Let me tell you I was so happy to have such a great friend there with me to distract me through the early stages of labor.

After walking for a half an hour or so we went back to the hospital and decided to get some lunch because I knew this might be my last chance for food for a while. While we were eating the contractions continued to increase in both intensity and frequency and at that time I decided it was time to check into the hospital. By the time we made it up the stairs it was around 2:30 pm and Tom, Connor, and my Mom had arrived. We said a quick goodbye and made our way into a triage room where we were met by the charge nurse. She asked me about my contractions and I told her that I was already dilated to 6 cm and she immediately admitted us. After changing into my lovely delivery attire she checked me again and I was somewhere between 7 to 8 cm dilated. Although the contractions were extremely uncomfortable at this point I was still able to handle them easily using my breathing and visualizations.

After about an hour Tom's Mom arrived and took Connor for a walk and stayed with him for the rest of the delivery. At about 5 pm the contractions began to really pick up in intensity. Unlike my labor with Connor, the contractions themselves were well spaced with at least 1 to 2 minutes between each to relax. At this point my breathing and visualizations became really important. I concentrated on the idea that the contractions were more like waves on a beach and each peak brought me closer to holding my baby girl. Even though they were painful it made me smile each time knowing we were getting closer and closer. Each time my doctor came in to check on me she kept commenting on how my stats and vitals looked exactly like a person who was on an epidural due to the fact that I was able to keep extremely calm during each contraction and let it flow.

At 5:30 pm the contractions became particularly intense and my doctor came in to inform me that she had to go pick up her son from soccer so another doctor would be coming in to deliver my baby (?!?!?), Although this threw me for quite a loop I decided that I wasn't going to let it get in the way. Just 15 minutes later I felt our baby Emilia descend into the birth canal and I let the nurse know that I was ready! Really ready in fact that I was no longer able to remain as calm as before. At that point the doctor was called in and things began to move quickly. It's hard to remember exactly but I think it took four good contractions to bring her into the room. Between the last two contractions Emilia took a "long pause" in a most inconvenient spot. I have to admit that I have never felt pain like that before. Afterwards my sister-in-law told me that she had to lie to Connor and my nephew about the noises coming from the delivery room. She assured them that it was coming from somewhere else entirely...hehehe. I was very lucky to have the doctor and nurse that I did, however, because they talked me through it like superstars. The doctor in particular was very matter of fact about what I was experiencing and spoke in terms that immediately made me feel like I could accomplish almost anything. In the end, I was actually very glad to have had him deliver our Emilia.

I can't even describe in accurate words what the next few moments were like. Tom, my Mom, and I welcomed our new baby girl into the world with many tears of joy! Her little body seemed so fragile as they laid her on my chest but her cry and movements proved she was a mighty little one. That moment is such an extraordinary meet for the first time someone you have known and loved so fully for the last nine months. Let me just say I couldn't really contain myself. She stayed there on my chest for quite a while as things were "repaired" in certain places and as soon as I was ready to sit up she started breast feeding which she took to like a pro. It really is amazing to see a baby shortly after birth that was birthed naturally. They are so alert and strong it kind of takes your breath away.

After about an hour our patient family was let in the room to meet Emilia. Connor was so relieved to finally meet this baby sister of his that we had been talking about for so long. Her Aunt, Cousin, and Grandma were also there to welcome her into the family. We had many other visitors that evening including several of our closest friends, Great Grandma, and Emila's second cousin. Many calls were made and text messages sent to family and friends all over the country.

We stayed one night in the hospital with our dear little girl. Throughout the night a nurse came in periodically to check our vitals and ask if there was anything we needed. Emilia was so sleepy that night she slept a total of 5 hours which she would have done in a row if I would have let her. Did Tom and I sleep? Of course not! I still had all of those lovely endorphins surging through my body that even closing my eyes for a few minutes was difficult. By the time morning came we were itching to go home! Unfortunately we had to wait a until 6 pm to be discharged so we spent the day sitting near the giant windows in our room absorbing the sun and getting to know the newest member of our family.

In the late afternoon Connor and my Mom joined us and by 6 pm we were cleared to leave the hospital with our perfectly healthy baby girl. What a wonderful and beautiful time of welcoming such new little spirit into the world. I'm so happy you are here little Miss Em. You have completed this family of ours and we couldn't be happier.

Friday, October 07, 2011

The circle of life

Today is the first day in quite awhile that I have been able to stay in my pajamas and relax. Life has been chaotic during this season of change. Autumn has always been my favorite time of year and this year will be marked with several major life changes. The circle of life has been a profound phenomenon that has played itself out to this family as we said goodbye to my Grandfather and Buddy (the dog) and are in the process of preparing for the arrival of the newest family member Emilia. Although there has been a great sadness surrounding this family over the passing of one of our dearest members, there has also been a lot of reminiscing and celebrating a life that was both profound and full of love in such a unique way. There is something special about the quite moments when an entire family congregates around one of its members with no plans or expectations, just to be there. We love you Grandpa and will always keep your memory close to our hearts. You have taught my little family so many things about life and will always be one of our greatest examples and influences.

And Buddy. What do I say about Buddy. He was one of the most stubborn dogs I have ever come across and yet I could not have imagined my childhood without him. He was a faithful member of of our family for over 15 years and will be missed greatly. He was our comfort, comic relief, and couch partner and would never pass down an opportunity to go outside to smell absolutely every bush, tree, rock, pebble, and piece of bark he passed...oh Smelly.

At the same time we are mourning for those we have lost we are also starting to celebrate the arrival of our newest family member. Our dear Emilia seems determined to make an early appearance which is welcomed by all of us. I am 3 cm dilated already and we technically have 3 weeks left to go. She continues to move and dance inside my belly but has also started to feel very heavy. I am no longer working as of today and am just enjoying the quiet time with Connor at home. Connor is so excited to meet his baby sister. He has started singing to her and loves to tell me how he will rock her to sleep and let her play with his toys (if she doesn't break them of course). He also can't wait to play tag with her...that might be interesting at first.

So here we sit and wait with mixed emotions of pure sadness and pure joy. This demonstration of the workings of the circle of life have taught us even more how to be thankful for past life, current life, and new life. Once again we have seen first hand why every moment with our loved ones should be cherished and why holding onto regrets is so pointless.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer? What Summer?

So far this summer I think we have hit 80 degrees only twice...and it's almost August! I think my short trip to Michigan might be the only warm Summer I actually experience this year. That's okay though. We Northwesterners are accustomed to such craziness. The data collection went quite well and I was able to come home with just enough data to complete my thesis and finally finish my Masters degree. This was the first time I was away from Connor for more than one night and I think it ended up being harder on me than on him. Apparently he had a grand time playing with his Daddy and Oma who kept him very busy.

This particular week marks the 26th week of pregnancy for me and miss baby. She is approximately the length of an english cucumber and by next week her lungs will be developed enough to breath outside of the womb with medical support. Much like Mr. Connor did, our baby girl moves and tumbles around whenever I sit to take a rest. Her favorite time to move is right as I'm trying to fall asleep at night. Unlike my pregnancy with Connor, however, is the fact that I actually look six months pregnant right now! It seems that my body has decided that it already knows what to do so it's getting things done a little earlier this time. This includes the hip pain unfortunately. The more time passes, the more excited this little family of ours is getting. Connor is ecstatic to be having a baby sister and has been oooing and ahhing over all of the baby girls he sees. I think he is going to make a wonderful big brother.

In my research this time around on birthing techniques I have come across something called Hypnobirthing which has caught my attention. Although I was able to birth Connor without the use of any medications or interventions I did experience a significant amount pain throughout the whole process. This particular method of pain management and labor claims that labor pain is more a result of the fear associated with the birthing process and a pain-free or only slightly painful labor and delivery is very possible when in the right state of mind. I am looking forward to reading more about this and see where it takes me.

In other news Darwin has taken to sucking his thumb (paw?) whenever he is taking a nap. We have such strange cats. Cheers!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


As I write this I am sitting in a coffee shop back in Lansing missing my family terribly. I have finally made it back to start my data collection and all is going well. My first day of scanning radiographs at UM Hospital went really well. In the end I may not be able to collect as many usable radiographs as I would have originally liked but beggars can't be choosers. Unfortunately the radiographs I need are periapicals with a full view of the the teeth from root tip to crown. When assessing dental development all parts of the tooth are important. Kids with disabilities, however, very often do not have the ability to sit through a whole session of x-rays so what we are left with are a couple really random small x-rays that are often crooked or slightly blurry. Out of the 46 files I went through yesterday I think I may be able to use about half. Hopefully I'll be able to make it to 50 or more. We'll see.

This is by far the longest I have ever been away from Connor and it's been pretty hard. I find it so funny that here was a girl who 7 years ago swore she wouldn't get married for many years because she couldn't imagine being dependent on anyone else. HA! Now I can't even leave my husband and son for more than a night or I feel like part of me has died. Life is funny like that. I do have to say, however, that I didn't come alone. Our baby girl has been kicking and moving around a lot. I don't think she likes the fact that I have to sit for long periods of time scanning radiographs.

A couple of days ago I ran down to the library to get some books on dental anthropology and stopped by the river on campus to sit for awhile. As I sat there it dawned on me that roughly four years ago I was sitting in that very same spot also very pregnant. So much has changed in the last four years! Both Tom and I have changed so much! Life is good and a little unpredictable.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

World's worst blogger

I think I may be the world's worst blogger at this point. But I do have a good excuse this time around. When I'm not working or chasing a three year old, I'm sleeping...and sleeping with a vengeance. I think one of the big differences between this pregnancy and the last is how tired I am. Whether this is actually a physiological thing that is taking place or just due to the fact that I am so busy and always on my feet is debatable. We are sure having a blast this time around, however. The weather has just started turning for the better in the Northwest which means outdoor activities abound. Already we have been kayaking a few times out in the Kingston marina and have explored around Lake Crescent and the Elwah River. I love it here during the summer! And Connor, amazingly, has been perfect in the kayak. He sits still the whole time and catches seaweed from the side of the boat. He also likes to yell commands and directions for chasing the seagulls.

Our little girl (yes I said girl!) is growing, moving, and dancing her way to almost 20 weeks now. I was able to feel her move much sooner than I was able to feel Connor. I had forgotten what a wonderful feeling that is! In fact I didn't even recognize it at first. It wasn't until my second baby checkup that the doctor mentioned something about baby movements and I suddenly realized that what I was feeling was probably the baby instead of gas. Pregnancy is so full of surprises and funny moments. We had an ultrasound at 18 weeks which was such a blast. Watching her move and spin inside my belly made it really sink in that we are going to be parents of two children!

We are so blessed and so thankful for everything we have been given. Life is good.

Friday, February 18, 2011

New beginnings

Hi there's been awhile...a LONG while. This last year has been crazy to say the least with finishing classes, moving back to Washington, starting jobs, reconnecting with family and friends, finding a home, finding another get the picture. I figured, however, that it was time to start writing again due to the fact that life is so short and children grow so fast. We are embarking on yet another adventure with the arrival of our second child sometime at the end of October. Life never seems to slow down for this family of ours but that's okay. My goal is to find peace in the small quiet moments of everyday life.

As of now I am roughly 8 weeks pregnant and feeling...uhhh...okay. I seem to be the best in the morning but by the time 5 pm rolls around I am through! says the baby is the size of a kidney bean and we should be able to hear the heartbeat within the next two weeks. Sometimes I can't believe this is happening all over again. I think at this point our excitement and absolute terror have combined to make us somewhat dumbfounded but thrilled at the same time. I am always amazed at the range of emotions that a pregnant woman is capable of!

This week we are at the beach with the family so I will be posting pictures soon. Here's to a new beginning on this blog and the start of yet another adventure!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"I try all things; I achieve what I can"- Melville in Moby Dick

Let me begin by saying that this last school year has been the hardest and one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Throughout the last nine months I have come to learn what I am really made of. I have cried more, learned more, swore more, laughed more, danced more, sung more, and prayed more than any other time that I can remember. I have learned that the strength of a mother is almost limitless and that the love and support of a spouse and family is more precious than gold. I have been pushed to more limits than I ever knew existed and was surprised to learn that I was inspired most when I reached the depths of those limits. Most importantly, however, I have become a student of life and love. I will take away from this experience a profound respect for the natural rhythms of life and its incredible beauty. This lesson was an interesting one to learn against the backdrop of raising a beautiful and healthy child while at the same time having an intimate encounter with death nearly every day. This has been one crazy adventure that I will be sad to leave behind but the future holds new adventures that are calling us forward and I can't wait to meet them with a smile on my face! Here we go...

Friday, January 01, 2010

A wish for a peaceful New Year!

What a year this has been. What a journey this has been! With my impending graduation moving ever closer, it has prompted us to begin reflecting on the past three years as well as plan excitedly for the end of this short journey here in Michigan and the beginning of a another new and still unknown journey. We have learned so much about ourselves and each other over the last three years being so far away from our family and friends. The experience, although difficult at times, has helped this little family grow in so many ways, the most important being our love. We look forward to whatever life brings and the prospect of a new year filled with peace and the hope of great things to come. Happy New Year everybody and thank you all for your support and love.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fly by...

Just a quick stop by ye olde blog to share some pictures of the kick off to our Christmas season. Once again I successfully roasted a turkey (with stuffing this time) for our Thanksgiving dinner which was shared by a good friend and fellow anatomy lab buddy. The day after was spent pulling out the Christmas decorations and attending the annual Christmas tree lighting and light parade in downtown Mason. Tomorrow...A CHRISTMAS TREE!!! I have already started planning the barricades which will be constructed around the base of the tree to keep curious little hands away. I do love those curious little hands though.

Friday, October 23, 2009


No, we haven't fallen off a cliff or been eaten by sea monsters or anything. I fear it is much worse! We have been consumed by the beast that is medical gross anatomy. When I started this class I knew it would be difficult but I had no idea it would be such a burden. These days I spend every spare minute I can find while Connor is taking a nap or has gone down for the night to memorize the innervations of the arm muscles, or the branches of the brachial plexus, or the vasculature of the neck, etc. I think the most important lesson I am learning this semester, however, is about balance. I have found it really difficult to maintain that perfect balance between school, family, and myself. I don't know if there really is a perfect balance but I am striving for one. I am slowly learning to listen to the that voice in my center telling me when enough is enough and it is time to just let loose and play. For someone who has prided herself in her high grade point average, this is a really tough lesson to learn. In the grand scheme of things, a single test or paper is such a small part of such a huge life.

Connor is growing into such a wonderful little man. He is quite the handful these days but such a joy! I can't even begin to describe to you the joy I have watching him explore the world. He is experimenting everyday with new words and loves to talk talk talk. Unfortunately his feet don't quite go as fast as he would like which has resulted in a few falls recently. Daycare is going great and all of his teachers really love having him there. Apparently he has become quite the artist there as he loves to paint, draw and color. You should here him sing too. What a guy!

I will leave you now with some pictures from the past two weeks. Living out in the country here in Michigan is such a treat during the Fall. The colors this year have been fantastic. I will really miss Fall in Michigan when we leave.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Who would steal a guy's sand bunnies? -Curious George

My goodness...there went summer and here comes Autumn with a bang! The last two weeks have been quite a milestone for this little family. Connor started daycare for the first time and I have started what will most likely end up being the hardest semester of my Master's. Connor has adjusted to daycare really well and is having a blast with his new friends. I think finger painting has been his favorite activity so far. Unfortunately for us, however, he came home last week with a terrible cold which he so kindly shared with both of his parents. We are on the healing side of it now so we have survived. I only thought I was going to loose my mind a few times.

This semester I am taking one class and thesis credits. Unfortunately that one class is Medical Gross Anatomy which alone is enough credits to make a full load. I'm really enjoying the class and learning about the intricacy of the human body. I just can't get over the sheer complexity and beauty of the human form. At the same time, however, I'm completely daunted by the sheer amount of information I'm required to memorize. I have a new found respect for people who go to medical school. Go first year med students!

As I said earlier, Fall has already started to slowly settle in here in Mid-Michigan. Some of the trees are starting to turn and the breeze has a slight chill in it. I love this time of year more than any other. Last weekend we were treated to a visit from Tom's father who drove up from Mississippi. While he was here we decided to take a trip out to our favorite apple orchard for the best apples in the country. We will definitely miss this tradition when we leave!