Slade’s Birth Story

Our sweet son has arrived! He’s four weeks old today, and he’s perfect and precious. We are head over heels in love with the little guy.

It’s nothing witty or creative, but I wanted to document some of the details about Slade’s arrival–I know how quickly time passes and the memories start to fade.

My due date was Friday, June 27, and since Tice was a week late, I was fully prepared for Slade to go past his due date, too. It’s a lot easier to wait when you’re telling yourself it will be later rather than sooner.

However, at my 38 week appointment, I found out I was progressing as if he would be here soon. The limbo began. I knew it could be any day, so I tried to be prepared, but day after day passed with no new signs. At my 39 week appointment, my doctor asked if I wanted to induce on the 24th. I ultimately decided not to since I wanted to at least wait until the due date before considering induction, but I was very tempted, mainly because I wanted my doctor to be there. (We did finally induce with Tice, and everything went very smoothly–and quickly!) By that point, I was back to expecting Slade to arrive late.

On Monday, the 23rd, I was trying to make sure Tice had plenty of outdoor time before his lunch and nap. I knew that he would probably be watching TV that afternoon while I got ready for an evening school board meeting. I really wasn’t looking forward to the meeting. I usually had a lot of contractions in the evenings, and being in front of a room full of people while trying to pretend I wasn’t having contractions didn’t sound like much fun. Anyway, after Tice woke up from his nap, I noticed that my contractions were occurring fairly regularly. I realized that I had been having quite a few all morning, too. But they weren’t really strong, so I figured it was just more Braxton Hicks probably caused by running around with Tice on the trampoline. After a few more contractions, I texted Harper just to let him know that there was a slight possibility that something was happening. I really figured it was a false alarm, though. The next thing I knew, Harper was walking in the back door. I thought he was jumping the gun, but he wanted me to call the doctor (who had jury duty that day). I went ahead and called, and, of course, they told me to wait until the contractions were stronger before heading to the hospital.

I started to get ready for the hospital instead of the board meeting–Harper said there was no way I was going to the meeting. I thought he was probably overreacting, but it wasn’t worth arguing about. I convinced Harper to go back to work, but he took Tice with him, just in case he would need to drop him off at my mom and dad’s. Almost immediately after they left, the contractions got stronger, and that was the first time I thought it might not be a false alarm. I started to feel the same urgency as Harper. We knew the chances were that the baby would come quickly–my labor with Tice was very quick and that was with being induced.

I called Harper and my doctor’s office and told them it was time.

It was a little after 4:30 when we got on the road. I was doing fine, but Harper was pretty nervous. I asked him if he was excited, and he said he just wanted to make it to the hospital. My contractions were still nine or ten minutes apart, so I was confident we would make it in plenty of time. My only worry was that I hadn’t given Tice a real good-bye–which, of course, made me very emotional. Luckily, we had done a good job of preparing him for what would happen, so he was fine. Plus, he was excited to have Bebe and Papa all to himself.

At 5:15 we arrived at the hospital. I asked Harper to take one last pregnant picture of me before we went inside. My contractions had suddenly become much closer together, so Harper really just wanted to get me admitted, but he humored me and took the photo.

Within a few minutes, one of the nurses checked me and assured us that this was not a false alarm. They quickly took us to a labor and delivery room and ordered the epidural. Again, I thought they were moving really fast–I was still handling the contractions pretty well, but I went with it. I’m glad I did because it took the anesthesiologist a while to get the epidural adjusted for my right side.

Everything happened really quickly–even more quickly than it had with Tice. It wasn’t long before I started feeling the pressure during contractions, which I knew meant my body was ready to push. Our poor nurse, who had only been a L & D nurse for a few months, knew I was ready. She kept going to see if the doctor was almost finished with one of the other patients (There were three of us ready to deliver at the same time and only one doctor). We joked that she was going to have to deliver the baby, but she seemed a little nervous. About 30 minutes later, the doctor came in and immediately let me start pushing. It only took a couple of minutes to give birth to my sweet boy.

When the doctor asked Harper if he was ready to cut the cord, I reminded him that I wanted to wait until it stopped pulsating. The doctor said it had already stopped, and he held up the cord to show us a perfect knot. He didn’t make a big deal about it, but he said the baby was very lucky. It wasn’t until later that I really let it sink in how lucky and blessed we were that the knot had not pulled tight. I know that there are thousands of births every day, but I still think that each healthy baby is a little miracle. Slade is our little miracle.

Unlike the hospital where Tice was born, no one whisked Slade away after the birth. The doctor immediately handed him to me, and the nurses wiped him off while he was in my arms. I’ve heard a lot of moms say that it was love at first sight when they saw their babies. I won’t disagree, but I have to admit, my first thought (just like with Tice) was more like, “Whose little purple sumo wrestler is that?” But I knew I loved him no matter how much he resembled a sumo wrestler. As I held him, that fierce maternal love took hold. He was worth every moment of pregnancy and waiting. Pink replaced the purple as our skin kept each other warm in the cold hospital room. He nursed and I noticed how much he looked like Tice. I couldn’t believe I was finally holding him and seeing him!

I held him and soaked up every inch of him for over an hour, but it felt like minutes. Harper was so patient. I finally gave him to the nurse, and she took all his measurements and bathed him while Harper helped. I tried not to freak out that they were using J&J soap on my sweet tiny baby’s skin. Why hadn’t I thought to bring our organic soap? Silly, right?

We all guessed about his weight after he was born. The nurses guessed between seven and a half pounds to eight and a half. Harper and I both said nine pounds and marveled at the length of his little body. He was nine pounds, three ounces, 22.5 inches–no wonder it hurt when he would stretch out in my belly!

Watching Harper hold him was almost as good as me getting to hold him. Slade will surely spend a lot of time in his Daddy’s strong arms, just as his brother has.

The next morning, my parents brought Tice to the hospital. Just as we had promised, he was the first one to meet his little brother. Now, that was love at first sight. Tice was smitten and has been ever since.

We had special gift for Tice to open at the hospital. It was almost as good as a new brother.

Of course, he wanted to share his new car with his brother!

My sister and niece and nephew soon joined the welcoming party.

And I caught my dad reading depositions. Someone tell him to stop working so much!

We came home on Wednesday afternoon and started life as a family of four. I wouldn’t say it’s been easy, but it has been easier than I thought it would be. It’s certainly been a smoother transition than having the first one.

I’ll be back soon with more pictures and probably fewer words! ;)


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Hello, Summer

As the final weeks of this pregnancy are winding down, we are trying to savor the time as a family of three.

The little guy got the flu or some other bad virus the last week of school, and then Harper got it even worse. I ended up with a much milder version that only lasted a couple of days rather than a couple of weeks like Harper (thank God!). It really slowed us down and interrupted my nesting. There are so many things I would like to get done before the baby arrives, but I’m trying to rest or at least sit down when my body tells me to, which is often. All the stuff on my to-do list will eventually get done. Hopefully.

T is so excited about having a brother. Of course, he has no idea how much things are going to change. I’m not too worried, though. He is so sweet and thoughtful, and I know he will adjust to being a big brother instead of an only child. He will still get plenty of attention and love. We will all be adjusting for a while.

Everyone says that you suddenly realize how big your toddler is when the next baby is born, but I’m already there. He is getting so big, and just like all the cliches, it has happened so fast. I’m so glad that we haven’t taken any of the stages for granted. He isn’t perfect, but he is so easy to love. I know his brother will be, too.

I hope your summer is filled with some warm evenings and cool water!


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Ginger and Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

I first posted this recipe in 2008, but my posts from 2007 through mid-2010 don’t show up in my archives unless you go to my “Old Archive” button at the top of the page.  You can see the original post here, but you’ll have to scroll through all the house renovation and garden posts from that month.

I have definitely been eating more ice cream than normal during this pregnancy. Tomorrow, we’re getting together with my family to celebrate Mother’s Day, so it’s the perfect excuse for me to make the first batch of summer ice cream. I’m thinking about this…

Or maybe a slightly different variation with a more traditional ice cream base since I have so many fresh yard eggs right now. Ya know, for the baby… those egg yolks are full of omega-3s and proteins and folate!

If I make a variation, I’ll be sure to post an update, but here’s the original recipe that uses sour cream.

Ginger and Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

**Lemon Verbena is the star of this recipe. I’m all about substituting with what’s available, but you’ll be cheating your taste buds without this delicious herb.**

2 Cups whole milk
6 Slices fresh ginger root
1 Cup moderately packed fresh lemon verbena leaves
1 Cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 Cups sour cream
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 Teaspoon salt

Bring milk to simmer over medium heat in saucepan. Add ginger; remove from heat. Let steep and cool uncovered.

In food processor, process lemon verbena leaves with sugar until finely ground (about a minute). Stir into cooled milk to dissolve sugar. Then, strain through a fine sieve. Refrigerate until chilled.

Whisk sour cream in mixing bowl to smooth it out. Gradually whisk in lemon verbena mixture, then lemon juice and salt. Immediately freeze in ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Best served softened.

I like to serve it with strawberries or blueberries–or both! Right now, our local farmer’s market strawberries are ridiculously juicy and sweet, so I think that’s on the menu–if I don’t eat them all first!

Let me know if you try it–or if you have any other recipes that use lemon verbena!


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Belinda’s Dream Blooms

Since our yard is so shady for most of the year, my lone Belinda’s Dream rose bush doesn’t get enough sun to be a prolific bloomer. But after a winter without leaves hiding the light, she gives one beautiful show every spring.

I used a few sprigs of two of my favorite evergreen shrubs to fill in and hold the blooms in place: lorapetalum (reddish-purple leaves) and elaeagnus (silvery leaves).

Photography notes: I took these on a morning that was oscillating between overcast and sunny, so the lighting kept changing.  I think the warmth and depth of the sunniest shots are my favorites.

If I had more sun, I would plant more Belinda’s Dream roses. You can read a little more about them here.



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Three Years of Life

My handsome little boy is three! We finally got around to taking his three year old pictures, using the spring wildflowers at my father-in-law’s place as a good excuse to get them done.

These days, I get a lot of silly faces when I ask him to smile for the camera. Usually, he starts by sticking out his tongue, and I have to tell him (again) that that is not a smile. It’s pretty cute, but not for every shot.

Our sessions are shorter than they were when he was younger. This boy is busy and doesn’t have enough time to sit still and look sweet for very long when we’re outside.

Suddenly, he stuck his hands in his pockets without prompting, and I snapped a few keepers. He wasn’t standing exactly where I wanted him, but as a mom and a photographer, I’ll take priceless expressions over pretty flowers any day.

Looking at these almost makes my heart burst it’s filled with so much love for this child. He is so full of life and joy–and LOVE.

Things I want to remember about this age:

-Three is a lot harder than two. “Why” and “No” are now two of his favorite words. And he’s having to learn that Mommy and Daddy are the bosses, but he is not. I think he was so easy and compliant when he was younger, some of the lessons about respect and the difference between grown-ups and kids weren’t ingrained. So, moments that lead to me saying, “You don’t tell me what to do!” lead to moments of him telling me, “You don’t tell me what to do!” Needless to say, there has been a bounty of teachable moments, and Mommy gets plenty of chances to practice patience.

-Sometimes when he asks “Why?” the explanation leads to another “Why?” and then another. Besides the final “Because I said so,” apparently I’ve also answered him with, “Because that’s how God made us,” a few times. Now he’ll offer that as an explanation for the most random things, and it cracks me up.

Me: Don’t spit.
Him: Why?
Me: Because…
Him: Because that’s how God made us?
Me: Um, yes.

-I love how he describes anything big as “the daddy one.” This can refer to anything–from a big truck to a big booger. Yes, I said “big booger.” The other day, we were loaded in my car about to leave when I turned around to ask him something. I saw him pick his nose and then look at his finger in confusion. There, on the end of his finger, was the biggest booger I’ve ever seen. I immediately started searching for a tissue, knowing the booger was about to get wiped somewhere. He asked, “Mommy, what is that?” I told him it was a really big booger while trying to control my laughter and clean his hand. Without missing a beat, he replied in his deep daddy voice, “A big daddy booger!” I couldn’t stop laughing. And just to be clear, it was the SIZE of the booger that made it a “daddy one.”

-He is constantly showing and telling how much he loves me and how beautiful I am. These days, while my skin looks like a war zone and I’m waddling around with my big pregnant belly, I feel anything but beautiful. But it blesses my day, because I know he means it. To him I am beautiful, and that’s even better than looking in the mirror and believing it!

-Even though he doesn’t sit still for pictures very often when we’re outside, inside is an entirely different story.  He loves to slow down and take time to snuggle. He loves to crawl in bed with us for a few minutes in the morning or sit on the couch nestled between us to read a book or watch TV. Now that he can feel the baby moving, he usually has a hand on my belly, just in case.

-He still loves for us to read to him. He will sit still for story time as long as we feel like reading to him. He’s also really interested in numbers and letters. He does well with counting and identifying all the letters. I’ve joked that he’s going to learn to read before he learns to talk properly, but his speech is finally catching up. There are still several letters/sounds he has trouble pronouncing, but he’s getting easier and easier to understand–even for people that aren’t used to hearing him all the time. He talks nonstop at home, so he gets plenty of practice! It’s been interesting (and sometimes concerning) to me that he was always behind with his speech while he was ahead with his interest in the alphabet and reading. You would think the two would go hand-in-hand, but I guess not. It just goes to show that they all learn at their own pace.

He brings so much joy to our lives, and I thank God every day that he’s my son.



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