christmas 2014

I love the holidays! And I love getting Christmas cards and Christmas newsletters! I wish this was being sent through the mail to you all, but for this year this will have to do.  I will start the updates with the oldest and hairiest and go from there.

Clint is crazy.  Sometimes I look at him and just can't even believe it.  He started his real estate and mortgage company (Vintage Lending and Realty) several years ago and is doing really well.  In our family we call him the Mogul, except for that one time I mixed up my words and called him a Mongrel.  Despite his success I still nag him to help more with the housework and children.  He bought a pass to our local mountains for some snow boarding this winter, and loves nothing more than curling up with a space heater, some chips, and an entire season on Net Flicks.  This Thanksgiving he played in the annual Turkey Bowl, and as I was walking up to the field to watch, Clint scored a touchdown.  And then he threw a couple of touchdowns.  My heart went pitter patter for my stud of a husband and Zachary kept saying Daddy!! Daddy!! I am so proud of you!!!

I take spot number two in terms of hair and age.  I have been thinking about how I want to sum up life in 2014 and realized that for the past five years (minus one month in Jan 2012) I have either been pregnant or nursing (or both).  What a blessed life!  But to sum it up: I am tired.  
Despite the general fatigue seems to line both my days and nights, I am happy and I feel tremendously lucky.  I love going on morning jogs for Sophie's first nap (God bless the jogging stroller.) I step outside and it is like taking a bath in cool fresh air.  I am starting to feel stronger and am inching my way back to long lost pieces of clothing, but really the nicest thing about my daily exercise is I have yet had to wipe a butt while doing it.  I am still teaching dance courses at our local community college as an adjunct professor, and I love getting to know my students and I love being an educator.  Next semester I will be teaching a couple of nights a week, which means on those nights Clint will be doing dinner/bedtime/bath solo.  I bid him good luck and goodbye.

Zachary turned four this November and started going to a fine arts preschool, which means that they are essentially learning through dance, art, music and theatre.  It's probably not unlike most preschools out there, but the dance curriculum is based around creative/modern dance so I felt especially excited about it.  Grandma Womack went to Grandparents Day with him back in November and upon getting in the car says Welllll he definitely is a four year old boy.  Followed by Annnd I don't think he is going to be your artist.  So theres that.  Future career aside, Zachary loves running and jumping and riding his green scooter with his green helmet.  Green is his favorite color.  He is enthusiastic about lots of things, and is so fun to be around.  He still loves drinking milk out of a sippy cup, and putting the lid on (which is this strange ritual that we really don't understand).  This is a habit as an over attentive parent I have tried to break several times.  But he always wins by saying Mommy its just my favorite hing (thing).  It's my favorite hing in the whole wide world.  And bemember I wanna put the lid on!!!  And so I give up and give in because really who cares?  I figure there are worse things then being a grown boy and still drinking your milk from a sippy cup.

Baby Kate turned two in October.  She is finally starting to talk, although we really never quite know what she is saying.  I wouldn't say pronunciation is her strong point, but she sure is cute.  She is our family DJ and is always cueing up 'Don't cha wish your boyfriend was hot like me' by the Pussycat Dolls and some other equally awful song by Chris Brown.  We have lots of dance parties initiated by Kate and her signature move is called the peacock.  When she runs she picks her little legs up really high and essentially runs in place.  Again, not great in terms of function, but really really cute.  The other day she took off with Zachary's suitcase (a beloved possession) while he was doing his business.  Zachary started shrieking hysterically, trapped by the the call of mother nature, while Baby Kate looked at me with a sly smile.    

What can I say about Sophie?  She is a baby.  She does lots of cute things like laugh at her older siblings' antics, kick her perfectly chubby legs, and smile so big her cheeks almost burst. She also does lots of annoying things like cry in her carseat, get tired and cranky multiple times a day, and in general really cannot do anything for herself.  What gives?! 
Like I said, she is a baby.

This year was filled with many exciting things like Sophie's birth and moving to a new home.  We initially tried to sell our first home, but no one wanted to buy it because it has a small yard and no garage. Which is exactly why we wanted to sell it.  What's wrong with you people?!!! 
However, we were able to rent it out in a matter of minutes, so all is well.  And really we are happy to hold on to it.  So many memories and life happened between those walls.

This year also had its share of loss and sadness. My Mom's sweet sister Betty Whitley and prankster brother David Hair passed away within a month of one another.  It was really sad and they will be so missed.  Betty was loving and strong and the glue of her family.  David was the brother that would stand behind my mom and make her hands make him a sandwich.  Clint's uncle Larry passed away just a week ago, and leaves a legacy of ten children behind.

I have found that I as I get older I experience more joy and contentment, but am also more affected and aware of the sorrows and sadness that inevitably affect us all.  For those of you with heavy hearts this season my love and heart is with you.  I pray that you find eventual peace and comfort.

You know how some things just appear and you don't know who gave them to you or how they got there?  Such is the story of this Christmas/lullaby CD that appeared in our house.  We have been listening to it non-stop in the car and while I did yell at the man singing a painfully slow rendition of The First Noel to "SPIT it out ALREADY!!!!" and Zachary thinks the boy drummer song that says rump pa pa pumb is basically the same thing as saying poopy poop poop diaper face and each time produces fits of laughter, I have really been touched with songs about the birth of Christ and have loved basking in the spirit and hope of the season. 

 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller,The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday and hope that 2015 brings us all peace and good times.

With love,
Erica Clint Zachary Kate and Sophie Womack


fall 2014

It has been so long since I have taken the time to write in here, yet so much has been happening that I would love to write about.  Motherhood (of course), dance and trying to get out of the house with three very young children (challenging), death and the bond of families (sad yet life affirming), and marriage (as in trying to find time and energy to nurture one).

But because I am limited on time; I went downstairs to sleep Sophie, (which was not successful, she is sitting flailing on my lap whilst I write), I will organize this around my children and what they have been up to.  Which is more than fitting because that is exactly my life.  While most of the time I am happy that this is my life and privilege, I have on occasion sat in front of Clint with tears and whiney exasperation lamenting how I cannot do anything without organizing and negotiating what feels to be a million details.  And with these negotiations I seem to always have to push back the feeling that I am slighting someone and their needs.  Ahhhh!! Everyone and their needs!!!


Zachary is full of life and enthusiasm.  He glides through his days with ease and energy.  He loves going to his preschool; to see him tear away from the car and run into his classroom with such confidence makes me smile and feel nostalgic for past days of dependence.  I love carving out time to talk to him about his day and his thoughts.  He says that 'praying is a lot like sleeping' and when accused with watching more than one show on grandpa's iPad responded 'well you were asleep and grandpa was asleep and I don't care.'
This summer he watched American Injury (Ninja) Warriors and now finds every opportunity to make obstacle courses.  His life is one big Parkour!  I should probably be more regimented on what he can and cannot climb/jump/hang/repeal off of, but as a dancer I get satisfaction seeing him physically explore his surroundings, and love that his life is one big site specific improvisation.
I took him to his first dance concert (Mudson at the Masonic Temple) a couple of weeks ago and I loved watching him watch dance. Sometimes I question staying involved in dance when my children are so consuming both in terms of time and energy, but it was affirming to watch through his eyes.  To watch him watch dancers construct realities with their bodies reminds me of why I am so smitten with the world of movment, and inspires me to keep juggling it all.

Zachary working the fish lips rage and schooling everyone

Baby Kate, who we still call Baby Kate, can now climb out of her crib and pack'n'play.  She was sleeping in the laundry room for a time (middle child in a small house), but ever since her climbing exploits has now been sleeping with Zachary in his room.  Which is adorable but has had its challenges.  Sleeping in general has had its challenges.  I never thought Zachary was a particularly good sleeper, but compared to Kate he is.  Kate does not stop.  When we stayed in a hotel room on our way back from California this summer there was Kate, at 10:30pm, playing and singing and laughing in the pitch dark while the rest of us slept, (well I tried to sleep.)  It was hilarious, but not really.  In fact, that was the night that I eventually screamed into a pillow, threw the pillow at Clint's head and yelled at him for sleeping through it all.  How does he sleep through everything??!!! I know it is Darwinism functioning at its finest and I will die first due to all this sleep deprivation, and you know, that pisses me off even more.  Regardless, Baby Kate soldiers on.  She is easy-going, adventurous and loves chocolate.  She also loves wearing her shoes.  She has gone to bed many times refusing to take her shoes off, which really is the least of my concerns when it comes to bed-time.     

 And now Sophie.  The dessert of my children.  Sometimes I feel like I can't carve out enough time to truly enjoy this sweet baby, for she was born in the midst of two other young children with their demands and schedules, and parents that are frankly a little burnt out.  But when I do get to indulge in her babyness I am in love.  I love getting right up to her mouth and smelling her milky breath, and feeling the weight of her increasingly sturdy body.  I am now teaching a couple hours a week at the community college, and while I love getting out of the house, I hate coming back and hearing that she cried, which she does pretty much every time.  On the way back from dinner the other night Sophie was screaming in her carseat and Clint asked if I thought she was our fussiest baby.  I started to launch into all the ins and outs of her and her schedule and the family dynamics, and then stopped and said Honestly who cares, lets just survive and get through this. And so we are.  We are getting through this messy beautiful exhausting time.  And sometimes we love it, and sometimes I cry and throw a pillow at Clint's big head.  Se la vie.



You are three weeks old!  You are still so brand new, but somehow it feels like you have been a part of our family for a long time.  This past Saturday, after Kate had napped and Zachary had boycotted his nap, and well your life right now is one long or short semi-continuous nap so we don't plan around that, we got out the double stroller for the bigger kids and the carrier for you and walked to get some frozen yogurt.
Both your dad and I noticed that people in the shop were really checking us out, and at first we thought it was a little strange because a family of five in the beehive state is hardly rare, and then I said that maybe they thought we were Brad and Angelina or some other famous good looking couple, and then your Dad said that they probably were just debating whether or not to give us advice on birth control.

After yogurt your Dad took Zachary and Kate to the dollar theatre to watch some movie about Legos?? and I realized this was a prime time to get a pedicure.  Because when the rest of you isn't exactly on pointe it feels good to have something looking good.  The no nonsense woman who worked on my feet saw you in your pink and white stripped layette and pink floral blanket and asked

Your baby a girl??

and in that proud new mom voice with a hint of a smile I said


and she said

look like boy.

So now your father and I have been saying look like boy in our best Vietnamese accent (which I must say is the only good accent that we can do) pretty much non-stop.  It is awesome (and hopefully doesn't count as cultural appropriation), and at this point I do not see it ever getting old.
But really Sophie, you are a beautiful baby, and after seeing plenty of babies I'm still not sure what a boy or girl baby is supposed to look like, although everyone does say that you look so much like your  brother Zach, but everyone also said that Zachary was too pretty to be a boy.....so whatever, I don't get it.  You are you and completely perfect.

When you were just a week old we went to a local photographer friend (hmarie.photos.tumblr.com) to get some proper baby and family photos.  This is something that I didn't do when Zachary and Kate were babies, but with you I felt was needed.  When you are not attached to me (which is most of the hours in the day and night) I am taking care of another child, or doing something indulgent like showering.  Heidi did such a great job of getting some good shots of us all, and her house was equipped with plenty of toys and an outside playground which made it even more of a great expereince.

This is your brother Zach and he is so into you.  He calls you new baby and lets me know right away when you start to cry.  The first time that he heard your little newborn scream he came running in with big tears and said the new BABY is crying!!! quick mommy, come help her!!!  He has such a big heart and although at random times he will let us all know what we can't do with you, which are alarmingly violent (we CAN'T hammer the new baby!), he has been nothing but sweet and loving to you.

This is your big sister Baby Kate.  I was a bit nervous to have you two so close together and wondered what Kate's reaction would be---would she feel like her babyhood was being robbed?  But so far it has been business as usual for Kate, which means she just wants play and party party.  When she sees you its always a muhahhh with an awkwardly placed kiss, and then off to be busy busy busy.

And this is you, Sophie.  You are the sweetest baby.  You have two dimples, blue eyes, and more hair at this point than any of your siblings did.  Dad says you are a man hater because you cry on him and are instantly soothed when I take you; I tell him he just has to remember all the tricks and try harder.  Babies can smell apathy.  Either way you are a generally mellow baby and this has been my smoothest transition with a newborn yet.  I've had lots of help (I heart grandparents!), and your dad took a whole two weeks off of work.  And while sleep deprivation is never easy, and I'm working on my tone for those utterly exhausted moments (although we have agreed that what happens in a sleep deprived state doesn't count), in general I have felt pretty good and have enjoyed you and spending time with family.  Thanks for joining us!


the third birth

This birth story starts with a miscalculated due date and ends with a head cold.

When we found out we were pregnant with baby number three it was a big surprise.  When we calculated my due date based on my last cycle, which also happened to be my first cycle I had gotten since having and nursing Baby Kate, I thought it was a little sign from heaven/the baby/cosmos/whatever that everything was going to work out just as it should.

Our due date was April 8th, Clint's birthday and the day we were married.  At that rate I was already well into my first trimester and feeling great!!  This pregnancy was going to be the pregnancy that I always wanted: no depressing debilitating morning sickness, lots of yoga, dance, walking and pilates, healthy fresh eating, rubbing my belly all day with a contented smile, lunching with my friends who may also be with child....you know, like how the celebrities do it.

When I went to see my midwife Rebecca for the first time she did an ultrasound and said

That is not an eight week baby.  You are pregnant, no doubt, but just barely.

Got it.  Cue morning sickness and all the other challenges that can come with growing another human.  Also cue a new due date: April 25th.

There I finally said it.  The date I avoided my whole pregnancy.  When asked so when are you due? I would give some ambiguous answer that involved April almost as a high conceptual theory that one could never be sure of.  Partly because I really hate due dates, and partly because I was in denial about that being my due date.  I was more accepting of the middle of April, it just seemed to make more sense, seemed more fair.

Fast forward to the middle of April.  I got subs for my technique and choreography class that I teach at the community college and started to get ready for baby.  Between my sluggish/indifferent immune system that really only cares for baby, and two young kids that bring in a lot of germs, I was constantly sick this pregnancy, but was relieved that I had just gotten over a cold and wasn't going to be sick for the rigor of labor and delivery.  When people asked when are you going to pop!!? I'd say any day now!

Ten or so days passed and instead of popping! I got cornered by a man at the grocery store who bent down and put his face level with my belly and insisted that I was having twins.  Whatever.  Too tired to even care.

Then the cold that would accompany this birth arrived, and I started to question if I even wanted to go into labor, and if I would have the energy to do an unmedicated birth.  And I also started to feel that I really might be the first woman to be pregnant for the rest of her life.  One night during my regular bout of waking and peeing and insomnia I googled longest time a woman has been pregnant.  I got some bizarre story of an woman in India and that medicine and due dates weren't refined in the early 1900s.  Nothing to indicate that I might be pregnant the rest of my life.  It was a little reassuring.

As I approached, sort of accepted, and then passed my given due date I started to feel that maybe I would be interested in Rebecca stirring things up.  Which basically means drinking kohash, an herb that stimulates uterine contractions and having my membranes stripped.  If baby is ready to come this can kick-start labor, if baby isn't ready then you are signing up for an unpleasant day of cramping.  I still felt pretty awful from the cold, but I also felt extremely ready to be done with this pregnancy.  I wasn't sleeping at night, having a hard time caring for my three and one year old, and was growing weary of the contractions and cramping that I recognized as my body gearing up for labor.

I went to Rebecca's office on Saturday morning, she did an exam to see if the stirring would likely be effective and said

You are three centimeters dilated and 70% effaced.  She is really low and lined up perfectly.  If we do this, you will probably have a baby by dinnertime.  And it feels like she is about eight pounds.

Done.  We took the plunge and did it.  In the parking lot I turned to Clint and said

Would you mind taking the kids to Costco and picking up some food?

Sure, what do you need?

Hmmmm.........I just need you to take the kids and be gone at Costco for awhile.

During the Costco run I cleaned house in prep for our dinnertime arrival.  It was a good, emotion filled time, and I stared to think of the things that I would focus on during labor.  My first birth, Zachary, really shocked me.  I of course did not know what to expect, and the sheer force, intensity, and pain of it was something that I was not anticipaing (understatement).  During active labor I began to doubt myself and fear that I would not be able to do it.  It was then that I felt my Grandma Em in the room, and she stayed with me the entire time, a strong, comforting matriarch of a presence.  She had and raised ten children, and I am in awe of what she was able to accomplish as a mother.  She passed away when I was 22, before childbirth and parenting were relevant in my life, and I so wish that I could talk to her now, ask her a million questions about her experiences, and get advice.  With Kate's labor I actively sought out her presence and once again felt her there, a hand on my shoulder and an energy of power and encouragement.  Thinking of being with her at my third birth was something that I latched on throughout my pregnancy as a positive aspect of labor, versus getting bogged down by how hard it all is. (although I did do some of that as well.)  While I cleaned, and cried and listened to the Lorde station on Pandora, I began to sense my Grandma there with me, thinning the distance between birth and death, old and new.

Shortly after Clint and the kids came back I started to have some contractions that felt much different than the contractions I had been having for the past two weeks.  We called Megan, our awseome babysitter, and Amanda, our awesome neighbor, and between the two of them they whisked our kids away---thank goodness.  Having kids around while contracting did not work for me.  Once the kids were gone Clint and I put a movie on, ate some snacks, and just enjoyed each other's company.  At one point I said:

You seem really happy---like almost giddy.  Are you just so relieved that it is me about to go through labor and not you?? And that you will never have to experience this??

No, I'm just glad the kids aren't here.  This is a nice break.

And it really was.  The lights were dimmed, it was raining outside, Clint had gotten me roses from Costco, we lit a candle....all great little details that were setting the mood for a relaxing birth and would serve absolutely no purpose once I was in active labor.  I don't think seeing the polar bear from the Hogle zoo smoking a cigar at my kitchen table would have gotten me to look twice during active labor.  But regardless, these were nice details at the time, and added to the relaxation of a Saturday afternoon without kids.  I guess sometimes it takes having a baby to get some adult time???

Then the somewhat consistent, but very bearable contractions  just stopped.  And I thought

Oh, hell no!  This baby needs to come today!  The kids are taken care of, the candle is lit, come on already!!!

I texted Rebecca who offered to come over and do a second stirring.  I agreed, she came, stirred, told me I had dialated to a four, and then went to Trader Joe's and told me to call if anything progressed.

We put on another movie, The Fifth Estate (about Wiki Leaks), which is not a great movie to watch on the brink of birth.  The only thing I can tell you about it is that Sherlock Homles guy looks awful with blonde hair.  Within half an hour (it was probably about 4pm now) labor started again and I could tell this time it was going to stick.  Contractions became all-consuming, about a minute in length, and pretty close together so Clint texted Rebecca to let her know.  She thought I had awhile yet to go, we said that I didn't, she agreed to come.

By the time she got to our house it was about 4:30, and she could see/hear that I was really in labor and similar to my other births I was on the fast track to have a baby.  She gave me the ok to get in the tub (something that can slow down labor if not far enough along).  Although contractions will be contractions, being in warm water always seems to make it all more bearable, and I was thankful for the small relief.

Transition was hard (understatement).  I thought that I couldn't do it, I felt alone, I wished I was in a hospital hooked up to pain meds, and I just wanted it to all be over.  But  really this pregnancy was harder than any part of labor, and so when Rebecca said

Look for pressure.  You are looking for pressure.

I thought

Forget looking.  I am going to find it.

And I'm pretty sure I did find that pressure because by 6:00pm I was holding my little girl!!  It was a fast and get er done sort of birth.  Each birth I have cut my time in half---it's like I am back in highschool looking for ways to shave off my mile time.  If only birthing were an Olympic sport...

After Kate's birth I had so much energy and endorphins, I felt ready to take on the world. (Or at least make a grilled cheese sandwich and walk across the street to pick up Zachary.)  After this birth I felt pretty drained.  I'm sure it was the cold, the full day spent with kids and labor and stopping labor, and just this pregnancy rearing its last exhausting head.  In fact right after I didn't even think that I had the energy to hold my new baby, but Rebecca in her wisdom gave her to me anyways, and for the next hour we cuddled and nursed and looked at each other.  Vitals were checked, no stitches needed for me (always a plus), and the baby passed all those tests that seem like a screening for the Kirov.  Eventually I had the energy to shower and while I was putting on my face cream the thought

I LOVE home birth!!!!

went through my head.

Wait, What?!!!...Seriously??!  Can't I be tramitized for a little bit longer?  Is the human capacity for intense and painful experiences that great??  I swear I hated it all two hours ago and now I'm totally like loving it?!

I have found pregnancy and birth to be complicated up and down relationships, but how I feel about this new baby is very straight forward.  I am head over heels in love.  She is absolutely perfect.  I am the luckiest girl out there.

My Mom's middle name is Jean, and so in honor of my grandmother, who over 60 years ago birthed my mother, and I imagine held her for the first time with complete awe and wonder and love, and then  named her in a way that felt special and treasured...and of course in honor of my own mother who birthed me over 30 years ago and raised me with complete love and sacrifice, we name our daughter:

Sophie Jean Womack
April 26th 2014
8 pounds 6 ounces
21 inches long

Photos by hmairephotos.tumblr.com


hide and seek

Having children, taking care of children, is hard.  And tiring.  I think everyone knows that and accepts it on different levels depending how much sleep or free time has been had so often we just skip to the other side of it all: how amazing and fun and intoxicating it can all be.  But for posterity's sake I want to write a bit on the parts that sometimes get forgotten as the years go by and time rounds out any sharp edges.

Zachary was a hard baby.  He cried a lot.  And every time he cried I felt like it was an indication that I was doing something wrong.  Now I know on both an intellectual and felt level that it wasn't the case, but as a first time mom...well, I was just beginning to figure it all out.  At one point, probably after a long day and night and probably another day and night of trying to continually soothe him I called my Mom close to tears and asked

This is really really hard.  Was it this hard for you?

And my Mom replied

Ummm sure, maybe.

Which wasn't the most reassuring to a postpartum sleep deprived first timer.  And I know my Mom wasn't trying to be unsympathetic, thirty plus years smoothed out the hard and what was left was the memory of a sweet new baby.  So here is an outtake of our family life.  Because one day someone will want to remember.

Hide and Seek
Lately Zachary loves to play hide and seek.  Except he is missing some of the key elements.

Mommy, I want to hide and you find me!!

Ok, where are you going to hide?

In the closet! Come find me!

Every time that kid tells me.  Which is really a plus for me because I am usually tired and don't want to get up, and so I sit on the couch or chair and verbally look for him in a couple of places and then ask:

Wait, are you in the closet???

Yes!!! You found me!

Clint and I also have our own version of this game.  We usually end up playing it on the weekends.  Weekends can be challenging.  Before children weekends meant a stretch of time to rest, recuperate and recreate.  And not that those things never happen anymore, but lets just say that on weekends we often both look up to the heavens and plead Where is a grandma??!!!
And the answer to that question is California, the state that we both willingly moved away from seven years ago, before our children were on the scene.
Anyways, our version of hide and seek is played in a couple of different ways.  Sometimes we are on the same team.  We see a moment of opportunity; maybe the kids are playing nicely with some toys or having a snack or show, and we quickly and quietly remove ourselves from the situation and crawl into bed.  Then:

How long before you think they find us?

Last weekend I guessed three minutes which was a huge err of optimism.  Clint gave us a minute, which was more accurate.  This version of the game always ends with the four of us in bed, which is fun and cozy until Zachary steps or jumps on a head, groin or baby in utero and Baby Kate finds one of our phones and starts pushing buttons and discovering screens and settings that we didn't know existed.

The other version of this game is the every-man-for-himself.  Clint is really the one that excels at this, maybe it has to do with his maleness or upbringing in a large family, however over the years I have been taking notes and can sometimes pull off the looking after number one with surprisingly skill and presicion.

One memorable go at this game was Christmas 2013.  Zachary had just turned three, Kate had just turned one, and I was four months pregnant.  We were both tired and both looking for a break.  I hunted down Clint room by room, Zachary and I yelling his name at the top of our lungs (it really wasn't his turn at a break) and found him wedged half-way under a bed with a pillow awkwardly placed under his head and a frilly bed-skirt sort-of covering his body.  It was so ridiculous and so desperate that all we could do was laugh----and then negotiate who really deserved the nap.


last baby

We are saying that this is our last baby.  During the first trimester, when I was so sick, and still nursing Kate, and trying to keep up with everything that was swirling around me, this little fact was at times felt like my one silver lining. 
When I watched my belly get full and round, and the rest of me get full and round as well...When I stored away the pants and skirts that bear the mark of my real size, (the ones that I had just started to be able to wear after baby #2), I told myself that after this baby my body would be mine again---no more transitional clothes and elastic waistbands.  This made me feel good, like I would soon reclaim something that had been lost for what has felt like a long time.

I have asked my husband We are stopping at three, right??  You feel good about three, right?? so many times that I can literally see his brain reverting to auto-pilot-robot mode when he gives me his answer, which is always some variation of Yes.  When he has the energy to to elaborate on his reply, it is usually an amused laugh and then after I ask him why are you laughing!??  His reply is a I just think this is funny, because I mean haven't we already decided this like a million times?!!! 

Which we have.  But here is the thing: I really don't want to be pregnant again (and three has always felt right for us), but at the same time I always want to be pregnant.  Pregnancy has its downsides, but to be the literal home of a perfect sweet innocent being is more than a miracle.  Having a newborn is exhausting and often emotional, but is also like waking up to Christmas morning over and over.....and over and over and over......

I know I am not meant to be a Dugger-type whipping up tator tot casserole to a crew of twenty, but there is a part of me that never wants this all to end.......
I often look forward to the time when all my children are in school and I can start to have a bit of career, but then I realize that means I won't have a toddling child or a soft squishy baby and it makes me want to freeze time.

Through the pregnancies of my three children, and the birth of two, so much about myself and how I think about things has been transformed.

Instead of viewing labor and birth as an ill-designed painful process, I now see it as an all-powerful initiation rite where a new mother is born right along-side her new baby.
This time around I cannot wait to be chubby and soft, sitting on the couch, nursing and burping and staring at my baby.

Really I can't wait to be a mother all over again.


a california christmas

 This pregnancy has been challenging.  When I haven't been sick (which has felt like most of it) I have just wanted to sleep. Like sleep forever.  But with two young children that usually nap at different times...well its just not happening.
But you know what makes everything better??  Cute maternity photos.  And thanks to my sister and our friend Maria Torres I got some over the holiday.  Now when I look back I will remember the beauty and miracle of this pregnancy, and not just me wanting to it be over already.

                                 Cute pictures of your kids also help. 

The weather over Christmas was amazing.  We got to spend time at the beach and Zachary and Roan even went swimming.  My sister bought Roan a wetsuit for Christmas, which turned out to be a good buy; Zachary got to wear my old wetsuit from the 80s.  He didn't seem to mind.

Zachary loves Roan.  He is always saying "my best friend Roan......." or "Roan be there????"  They play like my older sister and I used to play:  Roan is the boss (my sister) and Zachary is happy to go along with all the games and their oh so important rules.


                      Traveling with kids is never fun, but seeing family is.  Cheers to a great 2014!