five months.

>> 11.30.2011

Jameson baby is five months old today.
Next month, he will be half of a year. *cue weepy mom moment*
He is growing up way too fast.

This past week, he learned how to blow raspberries (along with the giant string of drool that comes out with them). Now, when he's really happy and he likes you, you'll get a raspberry (and a spray of baby spit) in the face.

He can roll over, from back to front, and he is lightning fast. Seriously, about a second after you lay him down on his back, he's already kicking himself over so that he can be on his tummy. However, he's still not a fan on this position, and cries for you to come get him if you leave him there too long.

He smiles a bit more now, mostly when he's tired, but also when he thinks you're funny. His little laugh is so cute, and there is no one that can make him giggle more than his Papa.

The teething monster showed up almost a month and a half ago now, and we have yet to see any progress. I swear I can feel a sharp ridge on his bottom gums, but I still can't see anything. Ugh. Poor monster baby. The teething necklace is still definitely helping, but we've also resorted to teething granules a bit more frequently since his pain seems to be getting worse. I wish his teeth would just show up!

He still loves the boob milk, and I'm happy to keep it that way for now. We're going to start baby-led weaning around six months (as long as he's ready), and I'm excited for him to try new things. So far he's sucked on bits of honeydew, apple, and orange, and has made faces at all three. We're going with the "Food for fun until one" adage, and I'm planning on nursing him until he's a year old, but hopefully for a while longer.

We love cloth-diapering (there's a post coming on that soon) and Hubs is officially an advocate for it. There is just something about washing diapers and hanging them up to dry that speaks to my momma-hood. I'm not even sure I can explain it. It just feels right.

But really, the most exciting thing is that we leave for the States in FIVE days, and I can't wait! Although I'm not looking forward to the eight-hour plane ride (which is only one of many, many plane rides we will be taking), I'm at the point now where I don't even care. It's been over a year since I've been home, and I can't wait for everyone to meet the new man in my life.

And finally, here are some pictures. Because what blog post about my baby would be complete without the pictures?

He was "The Last Airbender" for Halloween.
Perfect, I know.

The concentration (and drool) is overwhelming.

Oh mom. You're so embarrassing.

My beautiful, beautiful baby.

The artsy shot.

Hey guys? Guys? Can you come get me now?



that one time

>> 11.20.2011

So there was that one time that I was going to do this thing called "NaNoWriMo" and write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

There was also this time where I was going to lose the last ten pounds that I gained while I was pregnant with Jameson baby.

Not to mention that one time where I was planning on making sure that our house stopped eating most (if not all) processed food, and bought more fruits and vegetables.

Also, that time where I was going to play with my baby every day, and read him lots of books so that he would have a higher IQ to serve him better later in life.

And then, that time where I was going to start being a better wife by not nitpicking at my husband, and just being pleasant and biting my tongue when I thought I was wrong.

Oh yeah, there was also that time where I joined that one manic-lady's website about keeping your house clean and organized, and she sends you a million emails a day so that you get to practice tossing clutter out of your inbox.

And I just remembered, that time where God and I were going to really carve out some quality time together, and I was going to read my Bible daily and start journaling again.

But then, there were all those other times where the sun stopped shining, the baby wouldn't go to sleep, all I could find to eat was cereal, I couldn't come up with a plot line, and I didn't have enough energy to get off the couch, let alone clean my house.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.


teething (and this thing called Baltic Amber).

>> 11.08.2011

It has arrived.
That thing that I was dreading...


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my son decided to exhibit teething symptoms at 3 1/2 months old, and much to his parents delight, we discovered that this can go on for nearly two months before the teeth even break through!

Awesome. Except not.

Anyway, after Jameson had been replaced by this rabid, drooling, biting, dramababy, I realized that we were going to need something to help us cope, ASAP. Besides the bottles of wine that we've been buying (that's parental coping mechanisms, thank you), I discovered this thing called a Baltic amber teething necklace through a friend of mine who had recently purchased one for her daughter.

I was kind of skeptical about it, because it's not something that they chew on, but rather the amber has these analgesic (big word for painkiller) properties that are supposed to help relieve pain as well as other symptoms of teething. When I asked my friend how her baby had done with it, she was so enthusiastic about it that she told me that she had decided to open her own store ( and sell them herself.

Well, okay then.

Cue me, frantically emailing Mandy one afternoon, begging her to ship me an amber necklace internationally, because my child is crying and shoving everything he can into his mouth and I don't want to dose him up on Calpol (the UK version of Tylenol).

She emailed me back super fast, told me to pick out the one I wanted, and then she mailed it for me the next day. It took about a week to get here, and I was so excited that I was literally stalking the mailman for the few days before it came.

When I opened up my package, I saw this:
It's here! Yayayayayayaay!

I love the plastic clasp for safety, and it looks nice. There are knots in-between each individual bead,
so that if it happens to break, only one bead will fall off, lessening the choking hazard.

The best part about this whole thing is that it looks cute.

I put it on Jameson and cooed at him, cause he's adorable. He didn't even notice that it was there, and still hasn't, I don't think.

Look at my pretty baby.

Aaaand, another pretty baby shot. I can't help it.

So, besides the cute factor, let's talk about whether the thing actually works or not.

The night after we put it on him, he slept in for an extra hour (praise be to the Lord, God Almighty!) and took an extra long nap. I think he'd been so tired, but hurting too much to sleep, and this finally took the edge off of it for him.
I also noticed that his drooling was drastically reduced, and he didn't seem so frantic for something to relieve his pain.

He's had a few frantic moments since we put the necklace on him, where he seems to need a little bit extra "relief", so we give him homeopathic teething granules, but overall I'm really happy with the result. The combination of the two remedies has seemed to make life more bearable for this guy, and thus, more bearable for his parents. Even Hubs, who is the Biggest Skeptic of Them All has admitted that the necklace works and it was TOTALLY worth it.

I love the fact that a) it's natural (cause we all know how granola I've become) and b) it's cute. He looks like a little rockstar.

So, Mommas with crazy babies, I highly recommend that you click on this link, and go check out Mandy's shop. She's amazing to do business with, and I know that you're going to get the real thing and not some plastic imitation. The best part of it all, is that it helps not only with teething, but also just boosts their immune system in general, so you can leave it on all the time (we wrap it his around his ankle at night). I'm really debating whether or not to buy one for myself as an early Christmas present...(time will tell). Plus, if you like her facebook page, she'll give you 10% off, because she's just that nice.

And, okay, one last adorable baby picture. Because I can.

This guy has my heart.

*I received 50% off my order through a promotional review deal, however the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.



>> 10.21.2011

You know how there always seems to be that one person in your life that always manages to get what you want, only a little bit better, or a little bit more?

They're always there, somehow, kind of showing you up in this inadvertent manner that just drives you crazy, and makes you wonder if there's anywhere in the world you'll be able to go and escape from them.

A snippet of information here, a mention there...and suddenly you find yourself rocketed back into the one place you swore you'd never go again.

Jealous? Really?

But the problem is, in the end, it's always up to you to do what you want. So, even though they seem to have achieved that other level that you can never reach, when you step back and look at things, you have to admit to yourself, "If I had really wanted this, I could have tried harder. I could have fought a little bit more, carved out a little more time. I could have chosen this over that and then I'd be in a different place altogether...but is that really what I want?"

I guess I'm finding out that growing up means letting go of dreams and not begrudging other people theirs, even when you question whether it was ever truly their own.

And not only that, but life is about trade-offs. You get this, but you don't get that.

You have an amazing family, and a son that is beyond words.
You don't have a book deal in the works, and a flat stomach paired with a nice tan.

You live in a country that people would die to visit, and you've got international experience.
You don't live near your family, or see the sunshine, or feel comfortable in your own skin.

And I guess, in the end, that's just going to have to be okay.


baby terrorist.

>> 10.19.2011

Baby terrorist with evidence of puke-bombing on his pants.
Satisfied with his work.

Yeah, that's right. 
Apparently, Jameson has decided to let the world know that he hates mom, and has targeted me for his baby puke bombs that he drops at random.

It doesn't matter how long it's been since he's eaten, or how many burps he's just done, or how nicely I am cooing at him--BAM!

Puke bomb on mom's shoulder.

Even Hubs has admitted that he is definitely targeting me, but also says that I need to learn better burp-cloth technique.

This means war, baby terrorist.

Plotting his next puke-bomb attack.


half of a grapefruit and other things

>> 10.18.2011

In my attempt to get myself into some sort of shape that doesn't resemble "squishy", I found myself eating 1/2 of a grapefruit this morning while I was waiting for the mini egg casseroles I had made to finish baking. It was kind of a weird moment, because 1/2 a grapefruit has always seemed like the typical "diet" food, the kind of thing you hear twig-like women asking for in the mornings.
I've never been a big grapefruit person, and I just happened to have one in my kitchen since my mother-in-law had gotten it on sale at Tesco. It was kind of ironic that I had just finished reading a blog post by a really skinny person, detailing how they ate 1/2 a grapefruit every morning before the rest of their breakfast in order to help their food digest better, and to also get a fruit serving in.
So, I ate it, and it tasted okay. And then I ate three mini egg casseroles, cause they were only 97 calories each. However, it was after eating three of them that I realized that eggs do nothing for me, and the only way I ever feel "full" is if I throw some carbohydrates and starches in there. Too bad I'd just consumed my morning calorie allowance.

Cue also the fact that I can no longer drink caffeine (at least until I don't have a child attached to my boob), and you have me, sitting on my couch in my sweatpants that probably need to be washed at 11:15 in the morning, not doing anything because we've finally gotten the baby down for a nap, and blogging about food.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my new reality.

I did get a load of laundry going already, and I folded yesterday's, so that counts for something, right? I also have plans to go to the gym later (after bebeh wakes up) and I even have a pumped bottle of milk in the fridge so that Hubs can feed him.

Someday I'll write intelligent, interesting things again.
For now, you get the musings and scattered thought processes of a 22-year old mom who is trying her best to look 22 again, keep her house clean like she's 35, and cook like she's 50.




>> 10.05.2011

Some of you may know that about 5 months before I got pregnant, I decided to go gluten-free for a number of reasons, the main ones being that I was experiencing intense panic attacks as well as stomach pain that made me want to die. In the beginning, it was one of the most difficult things I'd ever attempted, purely because it meant cutting out all of my favorite foods. No bread, no cake, no muffins, no pancakes, no pasta, etc. Although I eventually found substitutes for these things (and just learned to live without some of them), even a small thing like going out to eat or eating at a friend's house was difficult, because I always had to be on the lookout for gluten-y things.

However, I found my rhythm eventually and was doing pretty well up until I got pregnant. It was at this point that the morning/all-day sickness hit and there were a limited number of things that I even wanted to attempt eating, one of which sadly included Whoppers from Burger King. Hubs tried to hold me off for as long as he could, but eventually the stress of moving to a new country, being pregnant, and not being able to eat anything that I wanted to got to me, and I just gave in. Surprisingly enough, I didn't seem to have the problems with it that I had before, and so I thought, "Well look at that. Pregnancy seems to have cured my digestive problems. Woo-hoo (and please pass the bread plate)!"

Now, three months after giving birth, I'm crawling back on that gluten-free wagon due to a sudden reappearance of that ridiculous stomach pain, coupled with bouts of thrush that won't go away. And can I just say, that even though I've done this before, and even though I hadn't been fully unlimited in my food choices for that long (I only stopped restricting myself all the way pretty much right before J-baby was born), giving it up again is HARD. Not to mention that I keep inadvertently eating gluten because I keep forgetting that I've got to get back on track.

Going back to eating gluten-free has gotten me thinking about all of the food that I am currently feeding my family. All of a sudden, the "hippie" food people have seemed to pop up out of nowhere and I have been confronted by loads of bloggers talking about going Vegan, going on raw diets, and limiting themselves to "real" food. I spent a good hour today reading through one family's journey of cutting out processed foods and sugars completely for 100 days, and it really impacted me. This family saw such an improvement in their overall health, and not only that, but their 5-year old and 3-year old were able to complete this challenge with an extremely small amount of difficulty and simply learned to accept that their family ate differently than other people.

This is not the first time that I've had a twang on my conscience about how our family eats. Hubs and I watched Food Inc. last year, and that was quite the eye-opener. We did adjust our eating habits slightly, but I feel like we've never quite taken the plunge wholeheartedly. To be honest, one of the main reasons for this has always been the cost. Sadly enough, eating "real" food seems to cost almost double the amount of the easy-to-prepare, yet processed-the-heck-out-of food. And although this is a legitimate concern (pretty much every choice we make lately revolves around our budget), today I was struck by the absurdity that is Western culture and our decisions about what we put in our bodies.

I have seen people (and been one of them) agonize over decisions about cameras and cars and computers and things that they "need" in order to get on with their lives. They research for hours, compare the pros and cons of this brand vs. that brand, and so on and so forth. They realize that this thing is going to be an investment, and so they decide that they are willing to make that investment because it will better their life somehow. However, when it comes to the food we put into our bodies to make ourselves work, we are willing to simply buy what is the cheapest without any regard for what is inside of it and what the consequences will be. This is so strangely absurd to me--what a ridiculous paradox. We are willing to take any means necessary to buy the stuff we want to surround us, and yet, when it comes to our body (which we only get one of!) we'll put anything in it depending on our mood or how well the marketing is done. This is not a judgment in any way, since I am completely and totally guilty of the same thing. (Hello. We're talking to the woman who ate Whoppers and whole chocolate cakes by herself during pregnancy. The woman who thinks breakfast foods are the best things on earth.)

I guess, ever since Jameson was born, I've taken a step back and begun to reevaluate all of the things that were so normal to me before. I've kind of become a crunchy-granola-hippie, if you want to know the truth. We're currently cloth diapering (which I am obsessed with. I mean it. I love it.), I'm breastfeeding (which I don't think should be such a big deal, but it can be, apparently), we kind of co-sleep, we wear our baby in a sling, and we're also holding off on vaccinations until he is at least two years old. I'm also planning on doing baby-led weaning with him around 6 months or so, which pretty much involves just feeding him what we eat. However, if I look at our diet right now, I can assure you that there are numerous things (and ingredients) that I DO NOT want to be putting in my son's mouth. And it's not just putting those things into his mouth while he's a baby, it's going to be for his whole life. If I don't want my son consuming something harmful right now, when would my stance on that ever change? And if my stance on that is never going to change, then what am I going to do when he becomes aware that the food that he eats and the food that we eat are different, and he wants to know why? Why am I more willing to look out for my son's health than my own?

Unfortunately, I'm not sure that I'm at the place where I can jump on the "real" food bandwagon completely just yet. Money is tight, and that is a major factor in everything we do. For us, right now, it's not about cutting back in other areas so that we have more to spend in this area, because we simply don't spend in any other area (except for bills, and I can't really justify not having electricity so that we can eat organic). However, I'm not giving up. I think I'm going to take the 10-day Real Food Challenge, just to see what that kind of lifestyle would involve. Also, since I'm gluten-free, my options are limited even further, since one of the main things that real food diets seem to include are whole-wheat everything.

I don't have the answers immediately, and I'm working on not expecting change to happen overnight. However, I do know that I am not currently satisfied with the way that our eating habits are going, which means that something is going to have to change. If anyone out there has ever attempted anything like this on an extremely limited budget, or as gluten-free, I would love to know what you think and what your experience was.

Whew. The end.


there's a drumming noise inside my head

>> 9.26.2011

Every time I think I finally have something to say, the words vacate my head faster then I can get them down on paper.

I'm afraid that this could be a permanent road block.
But then I remind myself that I'm only 22, and I still have years and years ahead of me to write and take pictures and live my dreams.
I've just got to get through the melancholy I sometimes feel in the here and now.
I've also got to get over the guilt I feel for feeling that way, because I have a son and a husband, and those two things are more than some people get in a lifetime.

I am happy.
Most of the time.

And besides, there is more to life than being happy.
I know that.

My two guys.
The best things to ever happen to me.


the cycle.

>> 9.08.2011

Sometimes I wish that my biggest struggle in life was the fact that I *willingly* decided to give up buying myself new clothes.

I just don't understand this world.
I just feel like there's got to be more.

And, I think that, sometimes, I'm a little disappointed in people when they act like this is all there is.
I just roll my eyes and try to keep going.

Then there are those sneaky moments where my covetous heart rears its ugly head and I am back on my knees asking the Lord to forgive me for all the items I'd sell my soul for.

And not only am I repenting of jealousy,
but I've also got to throw judgment on the pile,
and I realize once again,
that I am just as broken as everyone else.

Dang it.



>> 8.30.2011

I want a house.
And a car, to go along with that house, as well as some nice furniture to go inside that matches the paint colors that I would carefully pick out for each room.
I want to cook in my gorgeous, french-inspired kitchen that has loads of natural light and gorgeous mexican ceramic tile everywhere.

I want to be settled, living in the place that my son is going to grow up, where there is sunshine and blue sky and mountains to be conquered and everything else that makes for a happy childhood.

I want security.
I want to know that we've got something tangible to hold onto, a place for us to go when life gets tough and things get lonely.
I want to know that I've always got a place to call "home" and that it's the place my heart lives in and the place that my family is content.

I feel like that dream I had, the one with the "dream house" and the big backyard, the one where we've got stable careers and cars that work, the one with the friends that come over for dinner and go out with us, has somehow made it's way into the land of "never coming true".
After all we've been through in this country, all the trials and anguish and tears, I feel like the dream of security is the one dream that the Lord has continuously impressed on me will not be coming true.

I'm not sure how to take it, and I'm not sure how to plan a future around it.
I am doing my best to live in the present, to enjoy the way my son grows every day (he has just discovered his hands. It is adorable.), and this incredibly precious time that we're getting to simply be a family.
And most of the time I do enjoy it. Most of the time I am content, in a sense, and we get through our days in a happy rhythm.

But then there are moments, where I wish, just for a second, that we had a direction to go in, a place to look forward to, and the knowledge that I would finally, finally be able to rest in that place.

Lately I keep coming back to the fact that God is my Father, and that He loves me just like I love my son (except in an even more perfect and unconditional manner).
In an effort to understand this, I find myself asking, "If Jameson was here, right now, what would you want for him?"
I can't help but think that I would want to give him the world in a heartbeat, but I know that in doing so, I would force him to miss all of the opportunities to grow and stretch his character that he will need later on in life. If I handed him everything he wanted on a platter, he would never know what it means to work, and to trust in something bigger than himself, because he wouldn't have to.
And maybe that is what God wants for us. For me.
Maybe there is still more to be learned, more growth to accomplish, more stretching to be done.
Maybe I don't know it all, and haven't taken everything out of this situation that there is to find.
Maybe I will never be done.
Maybe I will always be growing, and stretching, and maybe there is no such thing as security until I am in Heaven with the one who invented the concept.

I guess, until that time, I will simply be here.
Trying to take one day at a time and live in it for all it's worth.



>> 8.24.2011

all I want to do is

eat peanut butter in copious amounts
snuggle with my two favorite guys
lay on a beach with blinding sun and crashing waves
laugh until I can't breathe
hike my mountains and stare at the valleys I conquered when I was younger
find a new place and just be.

ah, desire.
It'll take your heart and steal your mind, and if you're not careful
you might never get it back.



>> 8.01.2011

I am tired.

Jameson was a month old two days ago, and all of a sudden I seem to have put this invisible expectation on myself that everything should be "back to normal".
Maybe I've subconsciously told myself that one month should be long enough to physically and mentally recover from giving birth, and now I should be back to keeping the house clean, food in the fridge, working out at the gym, and making sure that my social graces aren't lagging.

I've got fifty thank you cards/birth announcements to write.
My living room looks like a bomb full of random clutter exploded everywhere.
My fridge and pantry are so empty that cereal has become my "go-to" meal for the past week.
And (embarrassingly enough) I can't really remember the last time I had a proper shower.

I went to bed yesterday promising myself that I'd wake up and feed the baby, then go to the gym and get myself started on getting back into shape.
Then I actually woke up this morning, fed my fussy baby, and laid in bed thinking about how maybe I could just learn to live with myself the way that I am, and going to the gym was second in importance to trying to get just another hour of sleep.

I got Jameson to bed tonight, stared at the stack of blank thank-you cards waiting to be written, and subsequently collapsed on the couch instead (which is where I am currently located now).

I think that I'm so tired that I literally can't think straight attention span has currently shortened to the length of time in between Jameson's meals (which is about an hour and a half) and I just feel like I'm walking around in a daze.

Maybe I just need someone to tell me that it's okay for me to still be a ragged mess a month after birth, and that people won't be offended if it takes me awhile to get their thank-you cards out.




>> 7.20.2011

I've started and stopped numerous blog posts in the past two weeks.
I've also come up with five million different things that I want to write about and explore.

But to be honest, every time I find a moment to sit down at my computer (which has become quite rare), I just stare, and stare, and stare at the blinking cursor and wonder what on earth to write down.

I could talk about the endless anxiety I experience thinking about all of the things that could befall my husband and son, and how every day I must make a conscious effort to step out of my front door and not let that anxiety rule my life.

I could talk about the unbelievably dramatic way that my son has forced me to stop and live in this moment, right now. The way that I see him growing and changing so much already, and the second I start to contemplate what he will be like next week or next month, I make myself stop and appreciate where I am now. He is already slipping away into a different person, and is growing right before my eyes, and my biggest regret would be to overlook any of that.

I could talk about the fire I have to write, and write well. I could talk about how I recently discovered this blog, and the way that it has changed my thinking, as well as the tinge of jealousy I have every time I read it, because I so long to be able to communicate the way she does. Will I ever have that moment? Will I step up and fulfill that dream of mine?

I could talk about how my center of gravity has shifted to this baby I hold in my arms and love so much that my heart feels like it's going to explode. How being a mother is perfect, and how I wonder why I was so afraid that it would be so unfulfilling. It is the best thing I've ever done, and also the most simple, while carrying incredibly complex emotions behind it.

I could talk about it all, but instead, I am simply sitting here with my thoughts spinning so quickly that it is nearly impossible to catch one of them and make it coherent.

Maybe I'll get there one day.

Or maybe it will simply be the trying, and I'll be one voice in a background of many, hoping that someone will pick it out and want to listen.


one week (and a birth story)

>> 7.08.2011

(This was supposed to be published yesterday, but I got sidetracked, so it's going up a day late. Oh well.)
My baby is one week old today.
I cannot believe it.
I've already got "bittersweet momma" moments going on as I realize that he looks different than he did a week ago--his cheeks are filling out, and he actually put weight on after being born instead of losing it, like most babies.

Words cannot describe all of my feelings about being a momma.
There are so many emotions wrapped up in this small, 7lb, 14 oz baby boy that I'm not sure I could even begin to dissect them if I wanted too.

Suffice it to say that I did not know it was possible to love another person so completely, simply because they exist. Not only that, but all of those fears I had about meeting my son and wondering who he was going to be have faded into the background as I look at him and realize, "I know you." There are moments when I feel like my heart is going to explode because I am so overwhelmed by him and everything he means. He is the most tangible answer to prayer I have ever gotten, and I feel so blessed and so unworthy all at once.

*Disclaimer: birth story to follow. If you don't want the details, it's probably a good idea to stop reading. I won't be offended, I promise. :)

On June 28th, when I was six days overdue, my midwife came over to do another check and see if I had made any progress. I had been examined four days earlier and was pretty much closed tight, with the outcome looking kind of grim. She let me know that an induction would be scheduled, but only until I was fourteen days overdue (unless there was a medical reason that we needed to get that baby out).

So, when she came on that Tuesday, I was preparing myself for more bad news, and had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that it was looking like I had an induction (and two extra weeks of pregnancy) ahead of me. However, when she performed the check, she found that I was 2cm dilated, 50% effaced, and Jameson had moved his head all the way down (even though he was still back-to-back). She performed a membrane sweep, and said that she would hold off on scheduling the induction because she felt like, "This ought to get things going."

A few hours after she left, I began having some irregular contractions that lasted throughout the rest of the day, all that night, and into Wednesday. Although I was getting excited, I also knew that this was called the "latent phase" of labor and could last anywhere from 24 hours to a week. By Wednesday night, however, my contractions were becoming a bit more painful, and a bit more regular. Hubs and I went to bed around midnight, and at 12:30 am, I started to feel this little trickle of liquid coming out, but being the people-pleaser that I am, I didn't want to let anyone know that my water had broken until I was sure...I think I ran into the bathroom about four times before I was convinced that I wasn't just accidentally peeing myself. When I decided that, yes, my water had broken, I got in the shower while Hubs went and woke up my parents to let them know that we were going to head to the hospital.

By the time we got into the labor ward, my contractions were getting stronger and much more regular than they had been. However, the midwife on-call decided not to do a check because she didn't want to introduce an infection, so she told us to go home and come back when my contractions were 2 minutes apart for at least an hour. But by the time we made it home, my contractions were a minute and a half apart, and coming on strong. Hubs put the TENS machine on my back, which helped for a bit, but about fifteen minutes after we got home, we decided that it was time to head back.

This time around, we went straight to the delivery suite, where the midwife on-call checked and found that I was 3-4 cm, which equaled active labor. I asked to labor in the birthing pool, and somehow managed to crawl in about 45 minutes later. Half an hour after getting into the water, the contractions were so strong that it literally felt like I was being ripped apart from the inside. I threw up from the pain, and began to panic--I had only been in active labor for an hour and a half, and there was no way that I was going to be able to make it through another few hours with contractions like these (or worse). The gas and air that I had planned on using to help me cope was doing nothing except to make me more nauseous than I already was. I started saying, "I can't do this. I cannot keep going like this. I need drugs. I want BIG drugs." The midwife tried to calm me down, saying that I couldn't have an epidural until my dilation was checked again, but they had a policy of not checking before four hours had passed from the previous check. She offered me some codeine, which I took, but knew that it wouldn't kick in for at least a half hour.

By now the panic was overwhelming and I was getting desperate. I could feel a lot of pressure, and (what I figured) was the sensation that I needed to start pushing. Hubs suggested that I have the midwife check how far along I was, even though it had only been an hour and a half since my last check, just so I could get my own bearings. So, although she didn't think that I had made much progress, she agreed to take a look. I managed to get out of the pool and back into my room, even though it seemed almost impossible to move. The midwife checked my progress and, come to find out, I was 9 centimeters. Yeah. 9. (No wonder I was panicking...I was going through transition and didn't know it.) Clearly surprised, she tried to reassure me with the fact that I was going to have a baby soon, and (unfortunately for me) drugs were not an option any more. With every contraction, the need to push got stronger, but I was told to breathe through it and fight that urge as much as possible. I needed to dilate to a 10 before pushing Jameson out, otherwise swelling could occur and that would make pushing him out that much longer (and more difficult). I asked when I would know that I could start pushing and she said, "When your body won't let you hold back anymore. Your body will take over and you won't be able to stop."

The back of the bed had been raised, and I crawled on top of it with my arms thrown over the back, in a kneeling position. Eventually, I started to push and couldn't stop. This was the stage that felt like forever, as I could feel his head moving down sloooowly with each push, but after I physically couldn't keep pushing, he would move back up. It felt like I was making absolutely no progress, and even though I knew that it was important for him to move down slowly in order to stretch everything out, it was frustrating. I finally felt him move down and stay there even after the contraction had finished. I knew his head was going to come out soon, and I geared myself up to push harder than I ever had. The next contraction hit, and the amount of energy it took to push his head out was unreal. It's almost hard to explain--it was a superhuman moment where I am sure that the Lord helped, because there was no way that I did that on my own.

After I felt his head come out, I tried to wait for the next contraction, but the delusional thought in my head was "I can't just leave him hanging there!" and so I decided to just push the rest of him out. It was almost like he slipped out on his own, and the midwife kind of jumped up to catch him. I had only been pushing for a half hour, but it felt like eternity.

After he was out, I started saying, "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh." I picked him up off the bed, slippery and crying, and thought to myself, "Who is this little person that just came out of my body? I don't know who you are!" I stared at his face and couldn't believe that this was my son. My son, that had just been inside my body five minutes earlier. He looked just like his dad, and the first thing I said to Hubs was, "He has your nose!" Jameson only cried for a few minutes, and (after pooping all over me) we just stared at each other. The midwife left, and it was just the three of us in that little room. My two guys. My family.


Although I spent most of my pregnancy trying to prepare myself for a natural birth, I don't think that there is anyway that I could have known how I was going to react until labor began. I truly did not want an epidural going into this whole thing, but by the time I hit transition (the puking and panicking stage) I was ready to try anything. 

To be honest, I felt like a bit of a failure asking for one, since I had just spent the last nine months gearing up to do this without pain relief, but I knew that (had I not actually been 9 centimeters) there was no way that I could have made it through another few hours with contractions as strong as they were--I was physically and mentally exhausted, and it was more important to me to get Jameson out safely than to save face. 

All of this to say, I think I'm grateful that everything went as quickly as it did, even though it meant that the pain became so intense so fast. It was only seven hours from my water breaking to actually pushing Jameson out, which is pretty unheard of for a first-time mother. Giving birth naturally is an experience I would not have wanted to miss, and I think my recovery has been quicker because of it. However, I understand completely (and have no judgment against in any way) why women opt for pain relief. Childbirth is something that words literally cannot describe and no one can prepare you for until you're actually going through it.

So there you go. 
If you made it all the way, thanks for hanging in there. 
This past week has been the biggest journey of my life, and we are simply getting through it day by day. 
I am a happy woman, a blessed woman, and every time I look at my son, I am overwhelmed with the fact that God chose to let Hubs and I take care of this beautiful boy.

The end.


Jameson Jia Sheung Ho

>> 7.04.2011

On June 30th, at 7:14 in the morning, Jameson baby made his grand entrance into the outside world.

We're on day 4 of life today, and although I don't quite have the energy to do a full post about his arrival just yet, I figured I'd do a little update to try and keep things current around here.

My recovery is going okay, and he is doing beautifully for such a new baby. Hubs and I are getting some decent amounts of sleep and are so thankful for my parents presence over the past few weeks--they have been lifesavers with all the cooking, cleaning, and crying-baby-comforting that they have been doing.

Jameson is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, and I cannot even begin to describe how much I love him. He is my answer to prayer, and the absolute best thing I have ever made.

We are happy.



>> 6.27.2011

Today is June 27.
Jameson baby was due on June 22.

However, as of now, he has decided that he likes his current accommodations, and will not be joining the outside world for awhile.

Unfortunately for me, England has decided to get it's one week of summer now, which means that it is currently 90ish degrees and we don't have an air conditioner.
Despite wandering around in nothing but the smallest amount of clothing possible and drinking ice water, I am so hot and miserable that I'm not sure words can do it justice.

Also, my stretch marks appeared over night, which is a whole new battle to fight.
I think that I figured since I had gotten this far, maybe I had dodged them. Had my son come out on time, maybe I would have.
However, this is not the case, and so I am the proud new owner of a body that is completely unfamiliar.

Pray for me (and my husband).
I'm trying to remember what the finish line brings with it, and how much all of this will be worth it when I get there.
Plus, I will only be pregnant for nine more days at the most, since they'll induce me if I go fourteen days overdue. It might sound pessimistic, but I am trying to ready myself for this, since the midwife did not make my situation sound very promising at my last visit.
She comes tomorrow to check things over again, but I don't really think much progress has been made.
Again, I'm just reminding myself that he will come out eventually, even if it's July 6.

Sorry for the whining...I just had to let it out somewhere.


short and sweet

>> 6.18.2011

I don't have a ton of time to post a major update, but for those of you that were wondering, Jordan and Brandi's visit was just as amazing (in fact, maybe even more so) than we expected.

We asked them to be Jameson's godparents and they enthusiastically said yes. 

Hubs and I are so, so blessed to have these two in our lives. 
There's not really a better way to put it than that, so there you go.

My parents are here with us now, which is another amazing and slightly surreal thing, and we are all anxiously awaiting the moment I go in to labor.

Which will hopefully not be very long, considering that I'm due in four days, and I would just really like him to come out sooner rather than later, so that he can spend a good amount of time with his grandparents as an outside baby.

So, if you don't mind, can we all just pray that Jameson baby gets the show on the road today? Or even tomorrow? Cause that would be excellent.

I know that it's short, but I'll post a more thorough update as soon as my head stops spinning from the amount of amazing people that have come through my house in such a short time.

For now, we are happy, and content with waiting for our baby, and that is enough.



>> 6.09.2011

I'm not in labor yet.

So, I mean, there's not much new to report on this side of the world.

Oh, except that our bff's from Moody are coming to visit us and will be in our apartment less than 24 hours from now!

Seriously, Hubs and I love these two.

We've been friends with them ever since our freshman year at Moody (Daveo and Jordan were both on the varsity soccer team, and Brandi and I transferred in together).

They've been through the ups and downs of our dating/engagement/break-up/re-engagement/marriage, and we've gotten to be there for them through the years of Jordan-likes-Brandi, Brandi-doesn't-know-how-she-feels, to finally dating, being a part of their engagement, and then having the honor of being in their wedding.

 Fall 2007

Fall 2007
Buckingham Fountain, Chicago 

Fall 2007

Spring 2008
The Drake Hotel, Chicago 

Sept. 25, 2010

We miss them so much, that a day rarely goes by when we don't look at each other and say, "You should text/call/facebook that to Jord and Bran." And then we go, "Oh my gosh, how much do we miss them?"

A lot. We miss them a lot.

So the fact that they are coming to see us all the way on the other side of the world is amazing and wonderful, and we can't wait until they get here.

*Wedding photo credit goes to MBach Photography



>> 6.04.2011

So, I've been wanting to take maternity pictures for ages (especially before my face puffs up and I start to look like Marshmallow Man).

However, there was no way that we could afford to pay for a shoot in a studio, so Hubs and I decided to host our own. On one of our neighborhood walks, we found a shortcut back to this random field, and figured that it would probably be a great place to take some shots.

*Cue us packing up camera equipment (and even a change of clothes!) and trekking through the forest to get there.

Hubs did a fantastic job and we even got some shots of the two of us (with the help of our self-timer) and I am pretty darn happy with the way they turned out. I've got some editing work ahead of me, but here's a peek at the few that I've managed to work on.

So there you have it.
I'll put a link up to the rest as soon as I finish them up.

What do you think?


a letter.

>> 6.02.2011

May 29, 2011
Dear Jameson,
Although there are still 24 days left until your due date, I can't help but wonder if I'm going to meet you a little sooner. At the moment, you've got your bum stuck way out on my right side while you kindly jab your heels into my left kidney--clearly you are running out of room. Not only that, but we're nearing you're favorite time of day--1 am, which means you're about to get a dance party started in my belly.

It's a strange thing, being pregnant with you--knowing that you're in there growing, thinking your own thoughts with your own personality already. To be honest, even though I know that I made you, you feel like a stranger in so many ways. You are already your own person, who does exactly what he wants to. This scares me in some ways, since it makes it difficult for me to picture your life--who will you be at five? Fifteen? Twenty-five? Will you still love me, or will you look at me with eyes that only see a failing human being? Your dad says that worrying about these things is pointless, but I can't help it. You are my son, my firstborn, the child I dreamt about while I was still a child--and I love you so much that it scares me. I think I am afraid you will break my heart.

Whatever you do and whoever you become, I hope you know that I'll love you forever. You are my greatest accomplishment, my best work. I could go on to write a hundred books and sing a thousand songs, but you will always be my most beautiful creation.

My hopes for you are small, but important. I hope you love the Lord with all your heart and follow Him always, even when you don't think you can. I hope you find a woman who loves you, and takes care of you, but also puts you in your place. I hope you love her more than yourself and cherish her more than anything on this earth. I hope the regrets you will have in life are not so big that they become insurmountable, but not so small that you fail to learn from them. I hope you are like your dad, with a bit of me mixed in, and that you embrace exactly who you are with abandon.

My baby, my son, my answer to prayer--
I love you more than any words can say.




>> 5.30.2011

Tomorrow marks three years since I put on a pretty white dress, picked up a bouquet of red roses, and walked down the aisle to marry the man who had become my best friend.

Three years has seen us go through so, so much--more than I could have ever imagined. 
There have been moments where I wondered if we'd ever make it, 
moments that I wanted to scream, "This is not what I signed up for!", 
and moments where I was convinced that there was no way on earth I could ever feel happier.

I could write a million sappy words, but they would never cover it.
So, here are pictures of our moments instead.

Engaged in Paris
August 6, 2007

 The Beginning
May 31, 2008

 Honeymoon in Cancun

Our first apartment!
June 2008

Late nights spent studying.

Fall 2009

December 2009

Two year anniversary
(Evanston, Illinois)
May 31, 2010

Summer 2010

 Uptown Ribfest
August 2010
The Glass House
September 2010

Last nights in Chicago
October 2010

We're having a baby!
October 2010

Moving to England
November 1, 2010
May 30, 2011

You are the best thing that's ever happened to me.
You push me to be better, and even though sometimes I feel like I might hate you for it, I'm glad you don't let me settle. The longer we're together, the better we fit each other, and there is no one else in the world I could imagine even attempting to live this life with.
I can't wait for this jump into being parents, and even though it scares me sometimes, I know that we're going to do it (and do it well) because we've already decided to be together forever.

Quite simply, I love you.
Your wife.

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