Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Holiday Gift for You

Dustin and I have been working really hard... learning a whole new skill... practicing and practicing... and YOU get the payoff.   Merry Christmas from Dustin and Clancy.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dear Weigh-Me-Down Junk,

I know that we've had some strange, codependent relationship these many years, (32, has it been? Yes, yes it has) but the time has come to say farewell.

I know there's a part of both of us that doesn't want to let go.  There have been reasons for both of us to hang on to this jacked-up relationship, but for me those reasons just aren't valid anymore, and I really don't think they are for you either.  I watch you sit idle, here and there.  I see that you long for fulfillment and purpose.  I have come to terms with the truth.  It can't be me anymore, Junk.  I can't give you what you need.  We both need to move on.

I know you think that it's that book I've been reading by Julie Morgenstern.  I know you think that she is the one who came between us.  Yes, that does have something to do with it.  She did give me a name for our process and I thank her for the gift of SHEDding, but really that was just a catalyst for the tension that has been building between us for a very long time. 

I don't love you anymore. 

I don't really know if I ever loved you.  You were more of a habitual state of being for me.  Harsh words, I know, but when you choose to examine the reality of the situation, you will see that I am right.

We aren't meant for each other, Junk.  And, furthermore, I think we should explore other relationships.  I realize that I probably have no right to tell you this, but you know Thrift Stores?  I think you two would make a perfect couple.

I will tell you that I have, for the last few weeks, been flirting with Organization and Empty Space.  I know, I know... you've told me a thousand times just what you think of them, but I think you're mistaken.  I think they are both diverting and refreshing.  I'm ready for the change.  We both are, Junk.

I am sorry if this hurts you.  You've taught me so many lessons about myself and I'll always love you for that.
Good luck with your life.  I really think that you and Thrift Stores would get along well.  Look into it. Please?  Or perhaps Thrift Store's friend, The Dump?  I heard nice things about both of them.  There's something out there fore you, Junk.  I just know it.

With Gratitude,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

And So...

Baby B is suddenly sleeping all night, bless her.  And bless me because I finally, in a moment of frustrated (yes, I succumbed to the frustration) exhaustion, let her cry herself to sleep. She cried all of 15 minutes the first night and she almost never cries now. (It's been about two weeks).  And she sleeps all night.  The trick is, she is currently sleeping in the room that is the temporary home of my computer. And she goes to bed nice and early... 7-8:00... so I have been spending VERY little time on the computer, which is both an amazing blessing and a terrible curse.  

One of the most curse-ish parts is that it is not easy to blog from an Android phone.  One would think that Google would have thought of that, since they run Blogger and made Android, powered by Google.  I guess I can't have my cake and eat it too.  

What kind of saying is that, anyway? What good is a cake that you can have but not eat? Silliness.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dear Brynja,

You are 6 1/2 months old and I've hardly said two words about you in this, my blogging record.  I suppose I really haven't said much at all here, so don't feel bad, baby girl. 

I was thinking about you this morning while I was in the shower.  I thought of the wonder of your existence.  Seven months ago I didn't know who you were.  Seven months ago I didn't know your name, or even that you were a girl.  Seven months ago I was scared for you to enter this world, both the physiological entrance and the entrance into our family dynamic.  Seven months ago was not very long ago, and yet... a lifetime.

I hope that when you read this someday that you don't feel sad for my fears.  Perhaps you'll understand when you become a mom someday.  I was just scared to change.  Scared to shake up the status quo.  But you, persistent little thing that you are, demanded entrance into this world and our family.  You whispered in my ear when I was in labor with your brother Rohan.  I felt you there waiting.  You peeked around the corners of your daddy's mind and showed yourself to him too.  You, in your patient way, stuck your foot in the door and waited for me to have the strength to open it.  And look at  you!  Look at the miracle of you, my precious little darling. 

Brynja Leigh, you amaze me.  You delight me.  You melt and remold me.  There are moments when I am frustrated because you love to be held so very much and that is not always conducive to everyday living, but the magic of being the fourth child over a ten-year span is that I get it.  I truly understand that this time does fly by.  These moments are gone so fast, and so I've found that I can't be bothered with caving to those feelings of frustration that come when you want only me, or when you wake up for the third, fourth, or fifth time at night.  I can be patient.  I know you'll sleep eventually.  If Mac could do it, I know you will too.  I also know that there will come a time that you won't want me to hold you all the time.  You'll want to run and play and leave me watching your growing self from a distance.  A distance that will only widen with time.  And so, I am here for you now, my baby Brynja.  My mommy muscles can hold you all day if you need it, which right now you frequently do.

Even looking at your written name, I see the wonder of you.  Your name, Miss Brynja, is a story.  I was so torn over your name.  I didn't know what to call you.  As I sat in the hospital and stared at your perfect lips and your sweet round face, I asked you over and over what your name was.  I had a name that I wanted and loved, but I was unsettled about it.  I tried several options on you and I was almost sick with my indecision so, I enlisted divine help.  I prayed.  Your daddy and I held hands and asked God to help us know your name. 

You see, there is power in a name, my Little Love and we knew that you brought a power of your own into this world.  The mere fact that you made it here, past my fear and mental blocks and unscathed from your somewhat traumatic birth, speaks of your power.  And God blessed us with an answer in Brynja Leigh.  As I wrote it on your birth certificate information page, the rightness of your name settled on me like a blanket.  I held onto that feeling over the next few months.  I found myself doubting, and, truth be told, mourning the other name that I so loved.  I don't remember the date, but I'll never forget the day that doubt left me. I knew that your were growing into your powerful name.  You see, my Sweet, your name is from the Old Norse language and it means "Shielding or Armor".  I don't know what it is that you will do in this life to need a name such as this, but it is yours.  And the spelling... I hope you aren't overly troubled by it in your life, but I love it.  Every time I see it written, I find that my eyes caress it.  The letters have a flow and a form that satisfies some deeper part of my soul.  I hope you like it as much as I do.

Little Miss B, you are a joy.  Your brothers and sister cannot get enough of you.  Ella wants to hold you so much everyday.  Mac likes to call you "Dee-Doh Baby" and I have no idea what that means, but you laugh when he says it in his very silly, squeaky way.  When Rohan talks to you, you light up in a manner that only Rohan can achieve.  You love your siblings as much as they love you. 

You are a momma's girl to the MAX.  You love on your daddy too, but mommy is the magic right now.  Daddy loves to come home from work and hold you while I make dinner.  Sometimes you are thrilled with this arrangement, other times... not so much.  I'm sure, as time goes on, that you will become a little daddy's girl, so I'll just enjoy this while it lasts!

Some noteworthy info and accomplishments:

  • Rolling over, back to front and front to back.  You are choosy about this and sometimes you still love to just lie on your back and kick your legs like you did when you were just a few months old.  
  • Sitting up.  This has been in the works for a couple months, but you've recently achieved "master" status with this skill.  You look extra cute and extra little sitting there on a large floor. 
  • Blowing raspberries.  This is a talent you have just developed and it elicits endless peals of laughter from your adoring siblings.  
  • Standing unaided for 3-5 seconds.  I have to keep my hands right there but I think you've got some fantabulous balance in the works!
  • You do this adorable little "gavel" thing.  You pat your little hand on everything and your brother Mac says, upon seeing it, "Order in the court!".  It's one of my very favorite things you do. 
  • You have gotten much better about being in the car, so long as it's Mom driving.  I think it's because you know that I can't do anything to help you except crank my arm backward to hold your binky in and touch your face.  If Dad is driving, you know that I'm available.  I'm not gonna lie, Brynja... you abuse that knowledge a little bit. :-)
  • You scoot around in your little walker and explore things.  And you "gavel" everything in sight.  You're so cute.
  • You will NOT eat anything but breast milk.  You have some hypersensitive gag reflex going on.  Anytime I try to introduce any food to you, you severely gag on it and sometimes even throw up.  Not so cool, Baby B.  Let's work on that, okay?
  • You LOVE to pull Daddy's chest, arm and leg hair.  Dad doesn't love it so much though. 
  • You lay on your tummy and spin in circles and will even scoot backwards, but no signs of crawling yet.  But don't worry, none of your siblings really "got" that either and look how amazing they are!  :-)  
  • You do this smile sometimes and it turns my heart to jelly.  You look like you're clenching your teeth, but you don't have any teeth, so it's just you clenching your little gums.  OH. MY. GOSH.  It's the cutest, funniest thing EVER.  Kid, you crack me up.
  • You love LOVE your Grandma Nene's glasses chain that hangs around her neck.  You're drawn to it like a fly to honey and you're amazingly gentle when you get a hold of her glasses.  

There's many more things, I'm sure, to write and I will try a little more valiantly to record these fleeting and priceless moments, my darling.   

And look how cute you are!!

Please know, my Baby Brynja, that you are my whole world right now and I love it.  Thank you for getting yourself here and bringing your sweet, peaceful soul to our family. 



Sunday, October 3, 2010

Getting to Know You

For school, I had to fill out a "Getting to Know You" sheet for Rohan.  One of the categories to fill out was titled "Child's Likes/Dislikes".  I was having a hard time filling this out because it is so broad, so I asked Rohan to help me.  This is what is being sent back to school, as dictated by Rohan:

Child's Likes/Dislikes:  Rohan likes Vikings, Lego's, Applebee's, riding his bike and scooter, and he would like being in a submarine.  Rohan doesn't like tomatoes and princesses, Yaki Soba (a Japanese dish that I make), or time-out. 

It made me laugh and I wanted to record it.  It doesn't read quite as funny as it was to hear him saying it.  He starts listing normal things like Lego's, and as he gets more creative with his answers, he cocks his head sideways and says funny things like, "I would also like being in a submarine!" 

These are the reasons I love being a mom.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Over and Over

Here's a little secret about me. If I find a song I like, I play it over and over and over and over and over and over and over. And over again. I love to memorize words so I can always sing along. Playing a song over and over is the best way to do that. And I just can't get enough of my current groove-song, so over and over helps with that too.

Here is my most recent over and over and over and over and overs...

Angus and Julia Stone... "And The Boys"

And Angus and Julia Stone again.... "You're the One That I Want"

And my friend Rob has some amazing music that I repeat ridiculous amounts of time. If you would like to hear this, go to this link.

Also, my brother Zandy (aka Alex) is in a band.  We listen to this link all the time too, particularly the song "The Matador". 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Over It?

I thought I was over my comment infatuation.  I thought I was ok.  Only 1 comment on my blog post?  I'm fine.  Life is ok.  My self-worth has ZERO to do with my comment boxes on my blog posts.  I keep telling myself these things. 

I have no one to blame but myself.  The grit in my teeth after my hard face-plant off the blogging wagon would be my first clue.  But I find myself looking at the 0 comments and feeling crestfallen.

Maybe there's still a part of me that isn't over it.

And really, that just makes me laugh at myself.  Big-belly-laugh kind of laughs.  HHHHAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA!!!

Let's not take us too seriously, Clancy.  Mmmmkay? 

Good idea.  Let's just love blogging and blog for our mental health and our posterity.  Sound good?

Sounds perfect.

(Mental health might be questionable as Clancy and I carry on a conversation, but we never said what state our mental health had to be in...) 

Happy, haPPy, hAppY WedNEsDay!

*Post Edit: This is not a request for sympathy comments, much as it may sound like it is.  It was really just a laugh-at-my-own-ridiculousness kind of post.  Come on, really.  Who wraps their self worth around blog comments...  HAHAHA!!!  (ha) Anyway, this post now has enough comments the self-worth meter is sated.  If you are moved to tears and simply must leave a sympathy comment, please search my blog and find some post that has 0 comments and leave a comment on that post.  :o) 

(You know what's hard to convey sometimes on a blog?  Sarcasm.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Missing Manic Monday: Preview

Sorry I've not been giving a preview of these words on Fridays.  I keep forgetting.  I've been going out of town a lot and when do we leave?  On Fridays.  I was sorely tempted to pick a different word today when I saw preview... click on the next word until I found one I felt like writing about.  But that was the whole point of using the random word generator... randomness.  The thing I liked about Mo's Manic Monday was I had to figure out how to incorporate whatever word he came up with into my blog post.  Not pick a word I felt like writing about and go from there.  So, I kept preview.

Is it just me or does going out of town stress you out?  Here is my normal modus operandi when I'm preparing to go out of town:

  • Think about all the packing I need to do. (even if "all the packing" is not very much packing)
  • Think about it some more.
  • Think about how I want my house clean because who wants to come home to a messy house?
  • Friday morning rolls around and I think some more about how I want things clean and what I need to do.
  • Do all the laundry I have piled up.  For some reason, I feel compelled to have completely empty laundry baskets when I leave town.  Although in recent weeks, this has changed because of our new bathroom in the basement.  You see, it's half bathroom, half laundry room, complete with a five foot folding countertop.  It's amazing!  I am suddenly the Laundress Queen Extraordinaire and I do my laundry, folded and put away ALL.  THE.  TIME.  It's simply amazing what a difference a beautiful space does to your desire, not to mention functionality, of keeping it in order.  
  • Think about how I need to clean out the car before we leave, because who wants to travel in a messy car?  
  • Get stressed out by all the things I need to.
  • "Rest" from all the thinking via brain-check-out, courtesy of the internet.
  • Waste too much time online and finally pull myself away. 
  • Mentally kick myself because I've wasted so much time and I have so much to do.
  • Run around like a crazy person trying to get ready.  This stage involves a lot of sweaty armpits and may or may not involve *actually* cleaning the car and my house, depending on just how much time got wasted on the internet.  (Yes, I just said sweaty armpits on my blog.  Uncensored.)
  • Leave at least one hour later than I wanted to. 
  • More metal butt-kicking.
  • Fall asleep in car, conditions pending.  *This final step has temporarily been bumped from "pending" to "omitted" thanks to the recent addition of one Brynja Leigh to our family.  :o)
 Do you see why I get stressed out about leaving town? 

For those of you who may be shaking your head in disbelief at my self-sabotaging ways (myself included), I would like to report that, while this has been my *normal* M.O. for most of my life (except the internet part... that particular distraction only showed up in the last five years or less), I am slowly changing my ways.  The old Clancy was so dependably late.  It was just ridiculous.  And, thus, the old Clancy would mentally rip herself to ribbons.  The inner critic had a heyday between the time-wasting, messy house, messy car, piles of laundry, and extreme lateness to top it all off.  It was a Self-Deprecation Party of epics proportions. 


The new Clancy (which is actually still the old Clancy, but a Clancy that is trying everyday to improve herself in small ways and learning to love herself unconditionally regardless of her apparent successes or failures) has, for the last few out-of-town excursions, been ready at a decent time with, at minimum, a partially clean house, or a house at a higher level of clean than she started the day with. 

This last Friday, I managed to be ready by about 4:00, which was the time we were slotted to leave.  We didn't leave until about 6:00, but this was, in fact, due to Big O Tires and not due to Clancy.  We took our car in for new tires, an alignment and a replacement of "sway bar bushings" (whatever those are) and ended up having to replace the "inner tie rods" as well.  So, an extra $200 and an additional two hours, we left feeling much safer on our journey to the City of Salt. 

I'm so proud of me.  :-)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Missing Manic Monday: Investment

Hi there.  Sorry I fell off my little bloggy wagon again.  We've just busy with the first week of school for Mac and finishing the rest of the basement.  Someday I might put pictures up of these remodels, but not tonight.  I'm just hoping to make it through the post without falling asleep. 

I'm really tired.

So, Random Word Generator has spoken and the word is "Investment". 

So many things come to mind with this word... duplex, basement finishing, banking, equity, 401K... blah, blah, blah. 

I could write about any of those... but I won't. 

I'll write about my most rewarding and challenging investments.  Each one took nine months to gestate and will take a lifetime to mature.  Each was a physical investment of my own body.  Each is an emotional investment as I navigate the rocky waters of motherhood.  But the prize... the joy and satisfaction when you watch it all unfold...

Best investments I've ever made.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I was just in my "Manage Posts" area of my blog and saw a few draft posts that never got published.  I can't even remember why I wrote this draft or what the rest of the story was in my brain... too bad... but I thought it was fun to read.  Mac was sitting here while I read it and he read it too.  My ten year old son pursed his lips, raised his eyebrows and said, "Huh.  Pretty good, Mom.  I think you should write a book."

I'd love to, Mac.  But first, I've just got to get myself writing again.

Here is my never-published draft of something unknown.... I wrote it on June 10th, 2009.

Kate saw him on the train that day. Cold air rushed past her as the doors opened, carrying the din of the commuters as well as the scent of his cologne. Sam's cologne was, as usual, too strong and she felt an almost irresistible urge to reach out and touch him. 

He hadn't seen her. Kate's fingers twitched toward him and then fell still as her mind played out the outcome of taking action on her urge to feel that soft spot below his earlobe. Sighing and biting her lip, she attempted distraction by looking out the window at the streak of scenery that flew by the oblivious commuters.

Who's Kate?  I have no idea.  But I think I'd like to figure it out.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Missing Manic Monday: Bit

When my Grandma Carol passed away I inherited a double bed that was in her house.  It was the very bed Dustin and I always slept in when we went to stay there.  This bed is now where Mac sleeps.  I was tucking him in tonight and as he was saying his prayer I had my face down on his bed.  As I laid there with my nose buried in his blankets, I realized that there is a lingering bit of the scent of my grandma's house embedded in the mattress.  It was a very faint trace, but as I caught that smell I started crying.

I would give almost anything in this world to be able to walk into my precious grandmother's house one more time and inhale that distinct Grandma-Carol's-house smell, walk up her brown-carpeted stairs, into her kitchen and see her sitting at her dining room table or on her couch and soak up the warmth of her smile as her face lights up in greeting.

I miss her so acutely in this moment. 

Grandma Carol and my baby Ella Brae, 2002

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday's Fabulous Five and MMM Preview

1- Dams breaking.

2- 1 hour massage gift certificate.

3- Overtime pay.

4- Horizon full of the promise of autumn.

5- Happy Birthday to me.


Missing Manic Monday word preview:


Happy Friday.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


She's always called it
a constellation. 
A mural of her indifference.

a picture
of the deeper places.

Her weakness revealed
on this map
of her self-inflicted turmoil.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Missing Manic Monday: Noise

Every night it's the same. 

'Ridiculous,' I tell myself.

'Why do you do this?', I question.

'Sleep should be a priority,' I reprimand.

But it isn't.  Night holds freedom from the demands of the sunlit hours.  The noise of responsibility is sleeping, blanketed by the darkness.

And I just never quite want it to end.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday's Fabulous Five and MMM Preview

Whoops.  The blog revival fell flat on it's face for a few days.  (Clancy likes alliteration)  But, I can persist. 

1- I am now the proud owner of a four bedroom TWO bathroom house!  (I've been the owner of a four bedroom, one bathroom house for almost six years but now we have two bathrooms, officially.  Actually, if we're getting technical, I was the owner of a two bedroom one bathroom house for the first three or so years and then it became a four bedroom and now it's a two bathroom too.  It's just all so wonderful...)

2- Android phones are awesome.  AWESOME, I say!

3- I was able to catch up with an old friend today.  Always a bonus.

4- My sister, Sarah, brought her kids up last weekend and then left them here with my mom so my kids have had playmates all week.  Cousins are the best.

5- Money seems to show up right when we need it, often in unexpected ways.  I'm grateful for that.

Oh, and if anyone wants to play Missing Manic Monday on Monday next, the word is:


So, come back Monday and leave a comment if you want to play. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Missing Manic Monday

It's a blog revival, apparently.  I find myself missing my old schedule of posts.  I always knew what I would be posting on certain days and that's a good thing for a blogger like me.  I need that.

Mondays used to be my favorite.  There was a guy named Mo who made up a meme called Manic Monday.  For this meme, Mo would choose a random word every Monday and then everyone who played would write whatever they wanted that included that random word.

I am missing this every Monday, not only because I haven't been blogging, but because Mo stopped doing his meme.  His heart wasn't in it anymore, which I can certainly relate to.  I now have no Manic Monday to turn to.  :(

So, I've decided that I'll just pick my own random word for the Mondays that I blog.  I'll aim for getting something regular going, but this blog revival might be a slowish process, or maybe I'm just going to jump right in and blog a lot like the old days??.... who knows.

Anyway, I am using  a random word generator website, so I won't try to cheat.

And today's random word is



I remember walking to school as a kid with my little sister.  We were often late in getting out the door so we would be in a hurry as we walked.  (ME late?  Yes, I know it's shocking to imagine, but I am late sometimes in my life)  My dear, sweet Lacy was a dilly-dallying kind of girl sometimes (a lot of times) and she just didn't seem to feel the stress I did about getting to school on time.  Lacy would often lag behind a little and drag her feet stating that she was too tired to hurry. 

Like any good big sister, if she lagged behind I simply punched her in the face.

Just kidding.

When my cute little Lacy would lag (Clancy likes alliteration), I would make up games to try to get her to hurry, because, let's face it, getting mad at her just made her mad back and that would make her move even slower.

Two games are prominent in my memory.  One, I would tell her to RUN!  She didn't like that very much so I would tell her I'd pull her for a minute and then she could pull me for a minute.  Really what we'd do is hold hands and I would pull her foward in a run and when she reached the length of our holding hands arm span she would pull me forward, running all the while.  Then I'd pull her again and she'd pull me and we'd run in that disjointed fashion and make it there faster.

The second game I really remember well was so silly.  I'm just embarrassed to even write it.  In our tardy moments, I tell Lacy to pretend that Dr. Harding, our principal, was the king of our school and Pat, the secretary, was the queen.  If we got there after the bell then we, the lowly servants, would be punished for our crime and get our heads chopped off.  She knew it was pretend, but it always made us hurry just a little faster.

And that's it for today's Missing Manic Monday post... for now... I'm literally falling asleep as I type.  Maybe I'll add more to the post later, or maybe I'll be correcting the typos I've missed while editing.  Just now, as I woke with a jerk sitting up in my computer chair, I was having a dream about laying sandstone rocks on our new patio instead of editing this post.  Pretty soon I'll be drooling.

So, forgive the mistakes.  I'll make it right later.  Or not.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday's Fabulous Five

Remember how I made up this game to play on Fridays?  I barely do. 

1- I'm blogging more.  Probably no one cares, but I think that's pretty fabulous.  It's an interesting thing because I can really see a difference in the ease of writing when I'm writing more.  This "break" I've taken has left my brain feeling like mud.  Blech.  But, I'm slowing cleaning it out and my thoughts are starting to flow more like they used to, which is fabulous.

2- Dustin has been out of town this whole week and I miss him.  He'll be home in about 2 hours. 

3- I will have a toilet/sink/shower in our new bathroom in the basement NEXT WEEK!  I can hardly wait.

4- My baby Brynja is growing so fast.  This is both fabulous and tragic all rolled into one.  I live the dichotomy of wanting her to grow up, see her personality emerge even more and gain some independence vs. holding and snuggling my last baby.  But it's mostly fabulous.

5- Late-afternoon thunderstorms. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Rohan is playing Legos.  I'm trying to fix my blasted printer that suddenly decides it's not going to "communicate" with my computer.  (Yessss, I love technology.  But not as much as you, you see.  But sssstill I love technology.  Alwaysss and forever.  Alwaysss and forever.) 

Anyway, Rohan is quietly playing with our cubic yard of Legos and he says to me, "Mom?  Does Jesus live on a dead planet?"

I'm thinkin' to myself, 'What the...???'

I reply, "Ummm, no?"

Rohan says, "Well all the people that live there are dead."

"Ohhhh..." I say.  I'm sorta following his train of thought now. 

Rohan... "Does it take a long time to float up there?  To Jesus?  When you're a ghost?"

Fortunately for me, he's not looking at my face at this point because how can you not smile when  you're having a conversation like this? 

My reply: "I don't know, honey.  I've never died."

His mind chews on that for a minute.  "But when you die, Mom, maybe you'll tell me?"

I love that child.  So much.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

School Shopping



Tuesday afternoon

One sassy ten-year old

One dramatic eight-year old

One "floppy" five-year old

One fussy four-month old

Three school supply lists

One sleep-deprived mother

This is a recipe for disaster, people.  When did school supply shopping become such a huge undertaking?  I think I remember buying pencils, a lunch box and a backpack when I was a kid.  And one new outfit. 

These lists are going to cost me some serious cash... I'm guessing we'll break a hundred just for the pencils, highlighters, notebooks, crayons, markers, paint, tissues, glue, glue sticks, scissors, hand sanitizer, blah blah blah... the list goes ON and ON! 

We got some of it, but I couldn't finish.  I needed to regroup and come back later all recharged.  I'll see if I can hit it again tomorrow.  Phew.

The Ties That Bind Us

I have an uncle that lives in Texas.  His name is Lex.  I've only been around him a handful of times, so he's remained a fairly enigmatic part of my life.  He's a music man.  He's an amazing guitarist and he has fantastic naturally curly hair.  He has a sweet wife that I've only met a couple of times and two beautiful daughters, my cousins, the oldest of which I've only met once, and the younger, not at all.

Through the medium of Facebook, Lex and I have been able to connect to a certain degree, be it sparsely and about fairly trivial things like discovering that we both love Imogen Heap, my straight hair vs. his curly hair, and comments on photos now and then. Those times we have interacted on Facebook are rare pearls that I've unconsciously tucked away in a safe place in my heart. 

Today my mom sent me a link to a video.  This video woke up an awareness of those safe heart-places and I am compelled to write about it.

I tell you that he's a music man, but that's not giving him enough credit.  He's been involved in music his entire life.  I don't know the whole story, and I realize as I type this that it's a story that I have a deep desire to hear, but I know he started playing the guitar when he was very young, and he never stopped.  As far as I know, he's always been in one band or another.  Music seems to be embedded in the fiber of his soul, filling all but the capacity of his mysterious heart. 

Watching this video, my eyes smart with tears.  The time I've spent with him in real life is scant.  To see him moving and breathing rather than frozen in a photo gives life to so many amazing connections.  In his face, I see my grandmother's eyes and my grandfather's mouth and nose.  In his movements, I see my brother and my mother.  In his voice, I hear that music that sings through so many generations of my family.  In his eyes, I catch a glimpse of his mysterious heart, quiet and unassuming, gentle and soulful. And, as I watch him move on the screen, just singing a country song, I realize that, despite the miles between Idaho and Texas, despite the gap in our age, despite the acute lack of interaction between us, I know him.  I feel a connection that goes beyond reason or cognitive understanding.  I love him as though we had eaten dinner together every Sunday of my life.

In this somewhat simple, broken-hearted country song, my Uncle Lex sings his soul.  And it resonates all the way to Idaho.

 (He's the cute one closest to the camera with the guitar and the amazing voice)


Sunday, August 1, 2010


I don't like chicken.  I love chickens... but I don't like chicken.

My mom has chickens and I think they are the funniest, cutest little things ever.  I love to watch them peck and scratch and cluck.  I love to eat their eggs.  I love when the hens sit themselves down on their little eggs and grow babies.  I love when they hatch and little baby chickens run around my mom's property.


I don't like to eat chicken.  I used to, but ever since I was pregnant with Ella... 8+ years ago... I stopped eating it.  It's kinda weird, I know.  I really do.



Some people don't like tomatoes.  Some people don't like nuts.  Some people don't like olives.  Do they get gasps and slack-jawed stares?  Maybe.  But not likely. 

What's the big deal with chicken?  Why is it not okay with so many people that I don't like chicken?  I don't really get it.

And it's equally hard to understand the incredulous shock people exhibit when I tell them I don't like warm cookies from the oven.  I just don't.  Sorry.  The world will continue rotating on it's axis if I like my cookies cooled completely, not even warm a little bit in the center..  Just so you know.

Next time you're in a restaurant, I want you to think of me.  I want you to read over that menu and see just how many dishes include chicken.  There's usually only one salad that is lacking this foul fowl.  I think us non-chicken lovers need more options.  This is discrimination.

I'm totally calling my lawyer.  Totally.

Friday, July 30, 2010


thinks it would be funny if she updated her blog like she updates her Facebook status.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Brynja's Story, Part 3

Same deal applies as previous two posts... skip if you don't like hearing crazy (and somewhat graphic) details about labor and birth, cuz here it comes, baby.  (no pun intended)

Previously on Clancy's blog...

From Brynja's Story, Part 2

..."You know, I wonder if that membrane is completely ruptured?" 


"When I was checking you, I thought I felt some membrane still covering the baby's head."

"How can that be?" I asked.  "My water is broken, right?"  Clearly, from all the "gushing" fluids earlier.

She told me that the amniotic sac actually has two layers.  The outer one is thick and strong and the inner one is thin and weak and they usually break together.  She even told me the names of them, but I don't recall them now.  It might have been that just the outer layer broke. 

"Would you like me to see if I can break that?" she asked.

"Sure.  Yep.  Do it."  I replied.

So, the nurse fetched her the magic crochet hook and voila!  There was still a little membrane left that she broke. 

And that's when all hell broke loose....


...So it turns out that hell is a woman in unmedicated labor with a baby that won't descend.  But hell broke loose, fo shizzle.

I thought things had been crazy up to that point, but I found out that I didn't even know crazy yet.  The second membrane was broken and the time was now somewhere around 6:55pm, give or take five minutes. (I was told this later.  Time was completely irrelevant to me at that point.)  If you recall, Brynja was born at 7:14pm.  This is not an unusual time line for my labors.  I have always gone from 7 or 8 cm to a babe-in-arms in a matter of 20 or 30 minutes, if not faster.  What was different in this case was what was happening in my body to create this outcome.  

In my previous labors, I was present but my body was in control.  I just rode the waves and managed the enormity of the pain and the process of birth.  It was amazing really.  I never realized until just now what went on during those births.  It was as if the part of me that makes me ME was separate from my body... I guess that would be my spirit.  I wasn't having an "out of body" experience, but I had to get myself out of the way of my body.  Does that make any sense?  This is hard to explain.  To deal with bringing my first three babies into the world, I had to rise above my body and just let it do what it was built to do.  It all just happened so beautifully and I got to participate as more of an observer.  Not that I wasn't participating.... I was participating as completely as I knew how to, but  I didn't have a say in what my body was doing... my body was just birthing that lovely finished product called baby, as it was engineered so divinely to do.  I couldn't have made my body do differently if I tried.  (Don't know if I was successful at explaining, but I think I've hit the beating-a-dead-horse point in this explanation.)

But for this birth, the baby was not descending right.  I didn't and don't know why.  There were no answers then and now there's only speculation.  Whatever it was, it made things not behave in that perfectly engineered way that allowed me to just ride those contraction waves and watch it all unfold. I had to take control and make things happen.

So, yes.  My second little membrane had been broken.  I had a contraction or two... maybe.  I can't remember exactly, but Helene's report kept echoing in my head.   

7 cm.... 7 cm.... 7cm... 7cm... 7cm!!

And then I got mad.

I was taking control and this baby was coming out. 

I don't know that I can explain what transpired in those next 10 or 15 minutes, but for my own clarity, I'm going to try.  And, to be a little raw here, I'm scared to voice all this.  This whole story has been so hard for me to write.  Obviously, since it took me three months to finish the first installment and more than a month to finish the second.  But writing it all out has also been... what's the word?... healing?  Giving closure?  I'm not sure, but it's been a good process for me.  I've had many strange feelings surrounding this experience and writing is my best therapy. 

So, after Helene broke that membrane and I got mad, I remember sitting Indian-style on the bed and going through a few contractions.  During those, I remember grabbing the arms of the bed and, with all the energy I could put into my lats, traps and delts, lifting my whole body (except perhaps my legs) off of the bed in some sort of hovering push-up thing.  I remember trying to create that feeling in my body of needing to push.  I was making some hellish noise and probably striking fear into every laboring woman on the floor.  I did several contractions like that and Helene said something to the effect of, "Clancy, I think you should move to hands and knees and try a few contractions that way." 

I don't really even remember moving as she suggested, but I labored through a few contractions that way, and she was right.  It was the next necessary position to get the baby down and I knew it.  I could feel it.

That's when "The Beast" emerged.  "The Beast" that had been laying dormant... in the depths of my soul.  Dramatic, you say? Yes. Yes, it is. And yes, it was.    

Unprompted from Helene, I turned that hands and knees labor position to a crouch position of sorts.  I felt like a frog, with my feet flat on the bed, my hamstrings resting on my calves and my hands down pushing on the bed in front of me.  I might have been sitting like a frog, but a werewolf might be a better description, noises included.  It was guttural, gut-wrenching howls.  And roaring.  Literally.  I was roaring.  I'll never forget the first roar that erupted as I forced that baby down.  My mom was standing behind me and to my right and as I roared, she laughed.  The moment she laughed my head whipped around and I'm sure my eyes were daggers.  That's how I felt.  She immediately stifled her laugh and stammered, "Oh, it's not funny at all!  It just took me by surprise!"   I think I took the whole room by surprise.  But the intensity of the experience had everyone present aching for me.  

I learned later that all those who came to support me were praying.  My dad told me that he was praying and imagining himself as a funnel with the powers of heaven pouring down from above, through  him and straight at me.  He said he was sending every ounce of strength he had into me and my baby.  Rebby was pleading for it to be over.  Lacy and my mom too.  I also learned that my father-in-law, who was hundreds of miles away and knew only that I was in labor, felt like something was going wrong.  He prayed all afternoon and evening too.  And even my cousin, also miles and miles away, had an intense feeling that something was wrong... a specific thing... and plead with God to "save her cousin". 

I say "The Beast" somewhat in jest, but something truly primal was occurring in that room.  I was MAKING that baby come down.  There was nothing automatic about it like my previous labors.  I, along with all the powers of heaven being sent my way, was bringing that baby into this world and I was telling my body so and IT. WAS. OBEYING.  

It was truly amazing.  And unfathomably hard.  I can hardly even remember the exquisite intensity of those 15 or so minutes, except that it was the hardest thing I've EVER done in my life.  

I hadn't felt pushing urges, but I was pushing anyway.  And pushing.  And roaring.  And pushing.  And eventually, I started to feel pressure!  In previous labors, that pressure was the part I hated the very most.  Pushing was so hard for me and I didn't ever want to do it because it is the most bizarre feeling in the world.  But this time, it was such a welcome change and it meant that the end was near, so I embraced it. 

I started asking Helene if she could see a head yet.  What I didn't realize was that my frog/werewolf position kept her from seeing anything because I had my back to the bed in the upright position.  She told me I could keep pushing that way, but I needed to turn around so she could see.  Strangely, after all this madness, I didn't want to push in this position turned around because I didn't want everyone to see my butt.  So weird that I cared about that at that point.  

So, I turned around, but I semi-reclined on the bed.  Actually, I was positioned so strange... I was all crooked at a weird angle, but once I got turned around, I was stuck because the baby was right there and there was no time for anything else.  

And, just like everything else about this labor, this part went differently too, but for once, it was in my favor.  My other babies I've had ZERO control when it came to the pushing.  I wanted that discomfort and strangeness to get over with so badly, I just pushed like crazy and rocketed those babies right out!  This time, I was in complete control.  Helene would tell me to back off and I would.  She tell me to do a little bit of a push and I would.  She said to take it easy and I did.  It was amazing.  All of a sudden, I felt perfectly in control and clear in my head.  I had been a crazy-insane basket case for the last seven hours and suddenly I was clear-headed.  Amazing.  

I eased the baby's head out and as she emerged, I remember Helene saying, "Oh my gosh!  Look at that cord around her neck!  We've got to keep this baby close.... things are really tight."  I didn't have a clue what she was talking about, nor did I care.  It was almost over.  The rest of her little body was eased out and I had a baby.  A big baby.  I was overjoyed!  I've never been so relieved in all my life.  NEVER!  It was absolutely amazing.  AMAZING! 

All that followed happened very quickly...the baby was out and lying on the bed below me and I heard Helene say, again, something about the cord around her neck.  I looked and saw it.  It was still around her neck and tightly.  Helene quickly unwound the cord and said as she did, "Count them: one, Two, THREE, FOUR TIMES!"  Brynja's cord was around her neck FOUR times!  As soon as she was unwound, they put her right on me and I saw her precious face.  And she looked at me.

There is something so magical about that moment.  The blood.  The joy.  The relief. The cessation of pain.  The look in that newborn face.  Sometimes the bond is immediate, sometimes it takes a little more time, but the wonder!  The wonder of that moment is something I'll never get used to.  I've been privileged to experience it four times, and it's just as amazing this last time as it was the first time.

She didn't want to cry for us and she stayed purple for a minute or so.  I don't remember being scared, but I remember Helene rubbing Brynja and saying over and over, "Come on, baby.  Cry for your mamma."  And then she did.  And so did most everyone in the room.  

My first thoughts were that she was going to be heavier than my other babies.  She just looked fuller in her skin.  At 8# 3oz, I was right.  My second thought was the profound relief that it was over.  And that feeling didn't go away for weeks.  In fact, if I think long on the experience, the feeling awakens anew.  That relief will likely be a lifelong thing.  Relief that it had an ending at 7:14pm, and relief that she made it here safe and sound.* 


*There was a video recorder running there at the end and Helene said, "This girl must have something special to do here.  We don't see many make it out with the cord around their necks four times."

In retrospect, I honestly feel as though Brynja's stubbornness to descend into the birth canal in a normal way saved her life.  Maybe I don't know what I'm talking about and she would have been fine... that's what my pediatrician seemed to think, but I have very strong feelings that had she stayed long in the birth canal, she would not be here.  And also, if I had allowed myself to get an epidural, which I considered when I was in that Jacuzzi, I would not have been able to feel what needed to happen to get her down and quickly, and that would have kept her in the birth canal for too long.  I think this would have ended in a Cesarean Section or worse had I gotten an epidural.  

I've looked at it long and hard for four months now.  I've analyzed and questioned, and that is my conclusion.  Maybe someone with more medical background than I would say that I'm wrong and tell me the reasons why, but I would still stand by what I said.  I think it all went as it had to.  It was for her safe arrival that things went the way they went.

And I'm so grateful.   

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Brynja's Story Part 2

Remember how I was telling Brynja's story a hundred years ago?  Yeah.  So if you don't want to hear about birth in all it's messy glory, skip this!

So, the kids were dropped off, the photos were taken, a blessing was given and we were on our way.  I choose to see a Certified Nurse Midwife for my pregnancies and the one I like happens to be in a town that is 30 miles away from where I live.  So, I deliver at a hospital that is a good half hour trek from my house.  For Ella and Rohan's birth, this half hour drive worried me a bit because I always have my babies fast once I'm in labor.  With Brynja?  Not so much.  The worry factor was missing as I was not having any contractions to speak of.  The whole ride up to the hospital, Dustin and I commented several times at how weird this was.  "We're going to have a baby and I'm not even having contractions?  Have we ever even done this before?"  It was bizarre.

So, we arrive and get ourselves all checked in.  My midwife, Helene, had called ahead and told them I was coming and needed to be started on my lovely little antibiotic.  She had also told me, in our previous appointments, that I should probably plan on spending two days in the hospital because it was likely that I would miss my second does of the antibiotic for the beta-strep since my labors are so fast.  (My previous labors were FAST!)  So, I was going in with that mindset, that I would just be so fast...but, I'm wasn't even having contractions.  I was all screwed up in my head because how can I go fast when I'm not even having contractions!?  It had never happened this way before and it was trippin' me out.

So, me and my screwed-up mind got plugged into a tasty little drip of penicillin and proceeded to sit on the bed and get watched by Dustin.  Now you have to understand that Dustin's usual role by the time we've reached the hospital is "labor coach extraordinaire".  In my previous labors, he's all in my face with breathing patterns and firm-voiced commands for me to focus and look in his eyes.  Nope.  Not. this. time.  As he's sitting in a chair ten feet away from me he marvels again, "I don't even know what I'm doing!" ...and,  "It's like we've never done this before." ...or maybe a, "You'd think on our fourth kid we'd know what to expect, but this is all brand new and so bizarre."

Yep.  It was weird.

We just stared at each other.  I was tethered to a monitor that revealed that I actually was having some contractions.  Nothing regular and nothing strong enough to write home about, but contractions there were.  Despite the contractions, I found myself getting dozey.  I wanted to just fall asleep.  And Dustin decided he was hungry.  But before I fell asleep and Dustin got some take-out, we decided to get up and walk the halls to see if we could get things going. 

After our fifth or sixth lap around the Labor and Delivery floor, a nurse sitting at her front-desk-post said, "You must not be having very strong contractions because you're making WAY too good a time around this desk."  And she was right.  We had nothin'.  In fact, I was walking faster than Dustin and he was asking me to slow down.  Well, the term walking is a stretch.  It was severe waddling, really.

We went back to our room and picked up where we left off, with Dustin sitting in his chair watching me not have any contractions.  His stomach spoke up again and demanded attention and I told him to obey his body and feed it.  Nothing was happening with my body anyway.  So, he left.

And, of course, that was right about the time that Helene showed up.  Perfect.  Helene came and looked at my monitor readouts and marveled at the lack of action (considering I was eight days overdue) and, with raised eyebrows, said, "Let's talk options."

Options... that sounded ominous.  I've never before had "options" during labor.  It's always just been a "GO" thing.  Well, a "GO" and a "OH MY GOSH! SHE'S COMPLETE!" and then a "CATCH" thing.

Helene started laying it out for me.  She didn't want to check my dilation, due to my broken water.  Didn't want to increase the risk of any germies.  So, who knows how much I'm dilated, right?  Right.  Because my water was broken, she wanted me in active labor 24 hours from the initial break.  We could do this one of several ways.  I could continue walking, walking, walking the very boring Labor and Delivery floor, all the while hauling my "puppy" (as Dustin not-so-affectionately dubbed my I.V. cart) by it's leash.  Or we could bring in a breast pump and get that oxytocin flowing that way. 

"Does that work?"  I asked.

Helene replied that she had just had a woman about a week before who used a pump and got her labor started.   Cool.  I was leaning toward that option.

"Or," she said, "we could start you on Pitocin and get you going and take you off when you're at about 5cm and let you labor on your own the rest of the way."

That option didn't sound so good.  Anyone who's talked birth with me knows that I'm sorta anti-induction.  I like to go "natural" or unmedicated and I had heard that Pit makes your contractions much more harsh and hard to deal with.  They are hard enough to deal with on my own, so 'no thank you', I thought to myself.

"Well, Dustin is gone to grab some food and he'll be back in a minute, so how about I talk to him when he gets back and we'll figure out what we want to do."  I told Helene.

She agreed and was going to leave to take her daughter, who was out in the hall, home and we'd call her when we decided what to do.  Good plan. 

Then, just as she was leaving, I asked her if she might want to check the baby's head to see if it had engaged in my pelvis because things had felt different the night before, like maybe the baby had dropped.  "Good idea" she said. 

And she grabbed that little baby head through my stomach and wiggled back and forth, the standard check.  And she gasped. 

"OH. MY. GOSH.  That baby is still floating, Clancy!" Helene exclaimed.  "I can't believe it!" 

I couldn't believe it either.  Just like everything else about this experience, this had never happened before.  My babies have always dropped and been engaged at a normal time and stayed put.  Not Brynja.  She was floating all around in her little warm world with no interest in "dropping" into that exit position.

"This changes things, Clancy." Helene told me.

She explained to me that, since my water was broken and the baby was not engaged, it significantly increased the risk of cord abruption and we needed to get things happening sooner rather than later. 


I think this was about the time that Dustin showed up, appetite sated, and he was brought up to speed on recent discoveries.  Helene decided to go ahead and check how far I was dilated so we knew where we were starting from. At my last appointment I was dilated to a measly 2 cm.  She checked and, disappointed, told me I was not quite 3 cm.

Double crap.   

Everyone was a little dismayed that I wasn't any further along than that.  Helene, knowing how I felt about induction, told me what she thought the best course of action was: Pitocin.  She wanted to put me on Pit and the monitors so they could watch the baby and make sure there was no problems with the cord and then take me off Pit when I was dilated to 5 or 6 cm and let me finish on my own.  Dustin and I, not wanting to risk something as dangerous as cord abruption, concurred that Pitocin was the best course of action.

Triple crap.

Lucky for me, I was already hooked up to an I.V. so they just plugged in the Pit too.  I noticed the contractions picking up soon after they plugged me in but they were fairly easy.  Helene had left to take her daughter home and told me to have the nurses call her when I thought I needed her.

I know that the time was 12:30 pm when it all started, but there were no other markers of the time in my memory of that afternoon, except when it all ended at 7:14 pm.  

I don't remember time, but I do remember the various stages of those seven hours.  Those easy first contractions didn't last very long and quickly morphed into something I was having to breathe through.  In my past labors I managed on my own with deep slow breaths and focused relaxation until I hit about  5 or 6 cm.  So I did that for a little while.  And I mean little.  In no time at all I had Dustin in my face, back to the role he knew so well, Labor Coach.  I had to change breathing patterns from those slow deep breaths to our "Ratio Breathing" that had gotten me through those tough contractions of the past. We did that for a while and then a nurse came in to check on us.  She watched me go through a contraction and told me what great control I had.  I managed a weak smile.  I wasn't feeling so great.

Another contraction started up and I told her that she better call Helene because I was panting.  It felt like I might be pushing soon.

The nurses called Helene at my request and then decided to check my cervix.  At this point I was working HARD to keep myself focused and in control during the contractions, and I felt like I might need to push soon.  I was sure I was going to be at least 7 cm dilated.  I was working as hard as I ever had at 7, so it had to be so.  The nurse checked me and gave me a 4 on my report card.  What?  Did she just say 4 cm?  WHAT?!  You've got to be kidding me.  I couldn't believe it.  COULD. NOT. BELIEVE. IT.

So, I continued on, breathing, moving as much as I could, tethered to the monitor and the I.V. cart as I was.  (FYI, if you've never experienced unmedicated labor, moving helps A LOT in your ability to deal with the pain.  At least it does for me and most women I've talked to.)

I had invited a few people to come to the delivery room., and one by one they showed up at various points throughout the day.  My mom was first and then my dad.  My good friend Rebby came at some point.  And lastly, my sister Lacy.  Some people freak out when I say that my dad was in the room.  Labor is a personal experience and I'm ok with him there, so get over it!  ;-)  My dad coached my mom on all five of their kids (all unmedicated except my own birth) and he loves and honors the process of birth.  He was there for several of his grandchildrens' births and since all his daughters are now done having babies, I wanted to make sure he was here as it was likely the last birth he'd be able to witness.  And he was so grateful.

So I was working through contractions and they were getting harder and harder.  Helene showed up again after they called her and I only remember begging her repeatedly to turn off the Pitocin.  She wanted me to be at 5 or 6 cm before they turned it off though, so I continued.  And before I was actually there, I begged some more and asked if I was a 5 cm yet.  

Things get hazy here.  Early on in this story, when I wasn't even having contractions, I mentioned that I was "dozey".  I was falling asleep before I even started but, as things slowly progressed I got more and more tired.  I remember hanging on the birth bar during a contraction.  I was so exhausted that I couldn't even stand back up after the contraction ended.  Dustin had to pull me up by my armpits.  And I wasn't even at 5 cm yet!  On that same birth bar I remember crying in between contractions.  Sobbing... dripping tears and snot off my face.  My brain was wacked out and I was completely exhausted and things were moving slow and contractions were coming HARD and FAST.  It was misery at it's finest.

It was then that Helene suggested that I have a change of scenery.  She had checked me at some point and I passed whatever milestone she was looking for before she turned off the Pit.  I think she said I was at 7 cm then.  In all honesty, I don't even remember the Pit getting turned off.  I only know it was because she let me go try the shower or the jacuzzi.  I chose the shower first.  Bad move.  It was FREEZING.  For some reason, I didn't want to get my hair wet, so I was contracting, freezing and trying to keep water off my hair.  Did I mention that I was crazy in my brain at that point?  I really was.

The shower wasn't cutting it so I asked for the jacuzzi.  It was down the hall and I remember trying to dry off and get to the jacuzzi before another contraction came.  Dustin could tell I had one coming while I was in the hall and tried to stop me to get prepped for it.  I pushed him aside and just told him to HURRY!  I practically ran into the jacuzzi room, threw my hospital gown off and jumped into the water.  I was insane.

I stayed in the jacuzzi for something like an hour to an hour and a half, I'd guess.  Off Pitocin, my contractions started slowing down.  It actually allowed me to rest between contractions which was just what I needed, I think.  I remember falling asleep as I lay in the water.  I only knew I was asleep because I had dreams.  And I woke up to yet another contraction. 

I remember making some crazy noises trying to deal with the pain.  My voice got all hoarse from whatever I did.  I remember feeling sorry for how pathetic my voice sounded.  It sounded like a baby that has cried too long in it's bed.  You know that scream?  So sad.  So pathetic.  That was my worn out voice.

Dustin told me later that I had completely checked out at that point.  I think he said it was about 5:00 when I got in the jacuzzi.  He told me he gave up about that time.  He didn't know what to do.  He didn't know how to help me anymore.  I was off in my brain and body somewhere and I wouldn't come back and focus on him no matter what he tried.  That had never happened before either.  He's always been my rock.  I would always turn to him and he would keep me grounded.  In retrospect, I am 100% positive that it was the Pitocin coursing through my body that made me so nutty.  Hormones make women crazy and Pit is just a synthetic hormone.  I was out of my mind and didn't cope well at all.  At least not compared to how I usually am in labor.  I would lay there sleeping or zoning, sit up and howl through a contraction and then slide back into my stupor.

I remember laying in one of those stupors between contractions, sort of sleeping.  It had been just Dustin and I in the jacuzzi room for a while.  I heard the door open and I saw, through the thin crack I had let my eyes open, legs walking in the room.  Legs wearing scrubs followed by legs wearing black velour pants, my mom's legs.  I heard Helene whisper the question to Dustin, "How is she?"

"I think she's going backward," he whispered back.

That wasn't good, was it?  There was longer and longer in between contractions giving me respites that I desperately needed. Can't be all bad.  I remembered at a few moments in that jacuzzi thinking that maybe I should get an epidural.  I really thought it would never end.  Never. 

Helene spoke to me then.  "Clancy?"

I opened my eyes.

I think we need to do something different.  Your contractions are slowing down and I think we need to get them going again.  I'm thinking you need to get up and walk some, or maybe we could put you back on Pitocin for a little while. 

*Whimper from Clancy.*

My mom heard the desperation in that sound.  And, being my mom, offered another option.  "Clancy," she said and looked right into my eyes, as only my mom can. "Maybe you can get out of this tub, go back to your room and get checked.  Maybe you're really close and you just need to move a little bit to get things going again.  At least then you can make more of an informed decision."

"Ok." I croaked with my howling-scream tired voice.

We managed to get back to the bed in my room.  As Helene checked me I saw her eyebrows draw down and in a crestfallen voice, she told me, "Clancy... you're still a seven." 

And, in Rebby's words, this is when Clancy swore.  No one said anything then, but all those present in the room were ACHING for me.  I hadn't progressed at all in the last almost two hours.  I can't remember whether or not I cried.

Helene just looked at me with a furrowed brow for a minute or two.  "What do you want to do?"



*More whimpering*

I had no idea.  I wanted to die.  I remember asking Helene to just make it come out.  Just get it out, please. 

Her face shifted a little bit.  Light came into her eyes and she said, "You know, I wonder if that membrane is completely ruptured?" 


"When I was checking you, I thought I felt some membrane still covering the baby's head."

"How can that be?" I asked.  "My water is broken, right?"  Clearly, from all the "gushing" fluids earlier.

She told me that the amniotic sac actually has two layers.  The outer one is thick and strong and the inner one is thin and weak and they usually break together.  She even told me the names of them, but I don't recall them now.  It might have been that just the outer layer broke. 

"Would you like me to see if I can break that?" she asked.

"Sure.  Yep.  Do it."  I replied.

So, the nurse fetched her the magic crochet hook and voila!  There was still a little membrane left that she broke. 

And that's when all hell broke loose.

...To be continued....

Part 3

Monday, June 28, 2010

Brynja's Story Part 1

It's been three months and eight days since my baby girl took her first breath and it's high time I tell her story as it is one that needs recording.  Childbirth is one of my very favorite topics.  I love to hear birth stories, and I love to talk about my own children's births.  Not everyone feels the same as I, so if birth is something you'd rather not talk about, or in this case, read about, please feel free to skip this post.

For whatever reason, I did not want to write much during my pregnancy.  Perhaps it's because this pregnancy was harder for me than any of my others.  I was more sick than I was with Ella and Rohan, but not as sick as I was with Mac.  Early in the pregnancy, I was so incredibly tired.  I've never been so tired in my whole life.  I was ready to go to bed at 6pm every day. 

But it wasn't just how I felt physically that made this pregnancy harder.  I feel like emotionally, or psychologically it was more difficult than ever.  For the last few years I've known there was one more person that was supposed to be in our family, but I was very comfortable in my then-current circumstances in life and I had gotten far enough past the "baby" stage of child-rearing that it was hard to want to start anew with diapers, nursing, binkies, and sleepless nights.  I honestly just wanted to be done, but my little Brynja was waiting and I knew it.  Dustin knew it too (although he always denied it).  Despite this mutual (but mostly unspoken) knowledge, years passed and the time was never right.

But then, suddenly, it was. 

And I got pregnant.

Those nine months flew by and suddenly my due date, March 12th, was here!!! ...and then it was gone.  I already wrote out some of those feelings previously.  It was such a weird time.  I had so much anxiety and yet so much detachment about having a baby.  I was scared of labor this time.  (I always am, but more so each pregnancy.)  I was anxious about how my life would change once the baby was born. And yet, it felt like it was never really going to happen.  It felt like, despite my ever-growing belly, it was not really going to happen.  I wasn't really going to have a baby!  As it turns out, I was and I did.

My due date came and went and I, relatively patiently, waited for something to happen.  But nothing was despite all the walking and various other things we tried to start labor.  I would show up to my midwife's office hoping for some progress with dilation or effacement and I was let down repeatedly.  I was dilated to 1cm and "thick".  The next week, no change.  And the next week, barely dilated to a 2 and still no effacement.  Then at almost a week over my due date I was still the same.  It was very frustrating.  Not to mention the fact that I kept thinking the baby had "dropped" because of the discomfort I was feeling and the fact that people continually told me I looked "lower" than I had been before.  But each time she'd check the head position, the baby was still floating around, easy to move, not engaged at all.  I only cried a handful of times.  

And so, on Friday, the 19th of March, I thought perhaps my water had broken.  But then I didn't know and I was left confused.  I called Helene, who is my midwife, and she said unless it's "gushing" or consistently leaking not to worry about it.  So, I didn't.  Dustin and I went and got some food that night and I was sure that the baby dropped as we were out on the town.  I was excited to go for a non-stress test the next morning at 10:00 to see if my suspicions were true.

We went to bed that night with no sign of anything happening.  I woke up at about 4am and found that my water was definitely broken and was at the "gushing" stage.  Awesome.  If you haven't had your water break, you haven't LIVED!  or something.  I've never had that happen before.  My water broke with Mac when I was in labor and dilated to 5cm, and Ella and Rohan's labors, my midwife broke my water just before they were born.  So, this was new to me.  Water breaking with no contractions?  Weird.

I figured I'd be having a baby within the next 24 or so hours, so I took a shower!  Yes, I took a shower, fixed my hair and put on some makeup at 4:30 a.m.  I was going to look "cute" in labor, I decided.  Vain?  Maybe, but I do get tired of looking like total crap in all the pictures of post-delivery so call me vain if you must.  Dustin was up with me and he showered too.  As I was fixing my face/hair, Dustin decided he was going to go back to bed for a while and try and get some sleep.  I finished my beautification and then puttered around and gathered the rest of my stuff for our hospital bag.  It was very weird to be doing that with nary a contraction.  Not even a ripple.

I got my bag all packed and it was almost 6am by that point.  I didn't want to wake my midwife up unnecessarily early so I decided to follow Dustin's example and try to get some sleep, make-up, fancy hair and all.  Into bed I climbed and I was asleep almost instantly.

Rohan woke me at 8:00 with his daily request for a bowl of cereal and the day was officially underway.  And oh, what a day it was!

I called Helene, my midwife, and told her I was "gushing" fluid and she told me to eat some breakfast and head on up to the hospital to get started on my antibiotic.  I was lucky enough to be Beta-Strep positive for the first time ever, and so I had the pleasure of an I.V. in my arm.  I had one previously with Mac, but neither Rohan nor Ella's labor did they require it of me.

I had always assumed I'd go into labor in the middle of the night, because that's what I've done every other time.  So, I had arranged for help with my other kids for the middle of the night.  I never dreamed I'd have to arrange for my children on a Saturday morning.  I made a few calls and got things arranged.  We all ate some breakfast and packed up! 

It's a very surreal feeling to leave your house with zero labor action and know the next time you come into it, you are going to have a baby in your arms.

So, we dropped our kids off at our friend's house.  Rebby wanted to take a picture of Dustin and I, on our way to have a baby.

And there we are!  Dustin and his big rarely-seen-in-pictures smile, and me, in all my round, feminine glory.  Uh huh.

And off we went.

To be continued...

Part 2

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Don't laugh, please.  Anyone who knows me knows I am not crafty by nature.

Despite that fact, I've been surfing some little crafty waves in my life.  I would just love to add pictures to this post, but alas, my camera just stopped working the other day.  No reason.  I didn't drop it or anything.  It just randomly freaked out.  Stupid thing.

It's strange but I've been "seeing" the possibilities in things.  I was at a craft store getting some supplies for this project I did with my kids and I saw this shelf on sale....


That was extremely boring and I don't want to write about it anymore.

I just want to write something and I want it to be good.  That was not it.  Neither is this though.  None of this is good writing, but I'm writing something and I'll take it.

I was at Lowe's this evening and I asked one of the workers where something was.  She told me and then walked with me for part of the way.  She smelled so darned good.  I just kept sniffing the air around her.  She stopped and helped somebody else and I looked for my items.  When I finished getting what I needed, I walked past her again and stopped.

"Can I ask you a strange question?"  I inquired of the woman.

She looked dubious.  "Sure..." she said.  Her tone was anything but sure.

I tried to look reassuring.  "Do you wear perfume?" 

That was not the question she was expecting to hear.  A myriad of emotions flew across her features in the blink of an eye.  She laughed nervously. "Yes, I do!"

"What kind is it?" I responded before she asked me if I was a psycho.  "What's the name?"

"Skin Musk" she replied and laughed.

I figured I owed her some sort of explanation at this point.  I told her how she smelled so darned good and I just kept wondering what it was I was smelling.  She was shocked and told me that she was worried because she'd been sweating a lot and she was sure she was just plain stinky.  I reassured her that she didn't stink at all, and, in fact, smelled heavenly and asked her where I could purchase this lovely scent.

"Walgreens," she informed me.  "Just down the street."

Guess where I stopped on the way home?  And guess what only cost me $6.99?  I hope it smells as good on me as it does on her.  I'll keep you posted.  Or not.  We'll see.

All in all it was an interesting trip to Lowe's.  And, all in all, this turned into a strange post that has nothing to do with the title.


I guess that would be sound I heard today as Dustin and I fixed the broken belt on the car.  Really, there was no sound to the fixing, I just wanted to synchronize my post from earlier.  There were a few sounds, I guess.  But I won't mention Dustin's cursing.  It just wasn't that nice.

So, Dustin and I didn't take the van to the shop... we fixed it ourselves.  That's right, I said we.  I totally helped!  (It's Shake and Bake... and I hailped!... random commercial line that just popped in my head.  Does anyone else remember that stupid commercial?)

Dustin fixing cars himself is nothing new.  He's a fairly good mechanic-man.  A very good trait, that.  But me fixing it with him?  New.  I was so brave.  I put my hand way down inside the enginey area and put the belt in the right place in several spots.  I hate engines.  I have fears about sticking my hand down there.  I remember my ball or toy going under the car when I was a kid... I'd try to coax someone else into going under to get it for me, or I'd get a broom or something to shove it out with.  I did whatever heroics I could to get that toy out without having to go under the car myself.  I was S-C-A-R-E-D.  So, yeah, I overcame some fears today and put my hand right down in those enginey parts.  TOUGH Clancy.  Dustin was way tougher than me though.  He laid down on the yucky road in front of the auto-parts store, got all grimy and gross and stuck his hand in enginey places whilst feeling claustrophobic.  (maybe he didn't feel clausto, but I did for him.)  So, he wins.  But he's not scared of that, so maybe I win, right?

Whatever.  And, as it turns out, it wasn't the alternator belt.  Well, it was a belt that goes on the alternator, but Dustin said it's called the "serpentine belt".  Did you know cars have serpentine belts?  I didn't, but it sounds so cool, right?

"I'm going to wear my 'serpentine belt' today."


Friday, June 25, 2010


That was what I heard turning my car in a fast food drive-through chute yesterday.  I thought I hit a little metal pole with my car, but I checked my mirrors and, no, I didn't.  Hmm... I shrugged it off, ordered my not-so-delicious-but-I-don't-care-because-cooking-dinner-is-apparently-beyond-the-scope-of-my-abilities-today food, and then heard a "ding"!  I looked down and saw a dash-light I didn't even know existed... the battery light.  Does your car have a battery light?  Mine does, but I didn't know that prior to yesterday.  'Why is the battery light dinging at me?" I thought.  "I don't know" replied my thoughts.

I started to pull forward to pay at the "second window" and realized that I had no power steering.  No power steering in drive-through tight corners is a bad thing.  I guess it could be a good thing if you're looking for a new arm and shoulder workout, but that's beside the point. 

The point is, I snapped my alternator belt.  It makes very little sense to me why my alternator belt would affect my power steering.  Dustin explained it to me, but I forget the mechanics of it. 

And, of course, that would have to be the day that I forget my cell phone.  Darn that dependency on technology!  Thank goodness for a nice gentleman who let me borrow his.  And thank goodness for my mom who came and rescued me because Dustin won't answer the phone if he doesn't know the phone number calling.  Even if it calls five times in a row, back to back, apparently.  (could have to do with the fact that he had a screaming baby in his arms... the cell phone was not the only thing I left at home.)

So, today I get to play the "car in the shop" game.

Good times.  

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I was right in the middle of a veritable cleaning frenzy.  And now I'm distracted by my blog.  I need to write things.  I love to read them later.  I just reread "Bounce" and it satisfied me to read it, silly as it was.  And so...

My older three children are on a little trip right now.  Dustin's parents met us halfway(ish) between our house and theirs and picked up Mac, Ella and Rohan.  This morning the kiddos got to ride on a passenger train of Union Pacific's.  I don't know details except that they were excited.  I can't wait to hear about it. 

This was important to Marsha, my mother-in-law, because her father was a train engineer for Union Pacific for a long long time.  He retired with UP.  She wanted her grandchildren to have an experience with trains and I wanted to be supportive of that desire.  Not to mention my kids were STOKED to ride a train.  I thought it sounded fun myself!  But the thought of driving anywhere of any distance with my newish baby and without my husband makes me sweat.  Brynja does not, particularly, enjoy riding in the car.  So, we met them halfway and they took our kids and are keeping them for a couple days, which is a nice little break for me, coupled with the duality of missing them.  *sigh*

Speaking of Brynja, she and I went on a long walk this morning.  One hour, to be exact.  I haven't moved my body very much since she was born.  (or before, for that matter)  It was excellent.  I am anxious to get myself moving and get my body back into shape.  Miss B seemed to like the stroller.  She hasn't liked it much so far, but she's almost three months old now and she's becoming more aware of the world beyond the 3 feet surrounding her person.  I think that made the difference in her stroller-enjoyment factor this morning, plus the fact that it was finally a pleasant temperature outside (hello, it's June 15th!  'Bout time, I say!). 

Garage sale is still pending.  I'm shooting for this weekend now.  It's rather an involved process, preparing for it.  And so, I best get back at it, the cleaning and yard-sale prep.