Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lake Tahoe

We received a very special gift from my parents this year for Christmas…a week in Tahoe at their time share! They wanted Zion to experience snow for the first time. It turned out to be quite an experience (2 ½ feet) for all of us! Here is what Zion loves most about snow…eating it! Our poor guy is teething some huge molars and can be beside himself at times, but a handful of snow seems to do the trick. I love how he’ll moan “MMMMmmm” as it melts in his mouth. We returned home late last night and enjoyed dinner (thanks Mom and Dad) after Zion crashed over a game of Scrabble in front of the fire. Jason and I went back and forth listing our favorite things about our family vacation.

• Cuddling, cuddling, and more cuddling with my boys.

• Taking Zion to the library for some much needed kid interaction. You would have thought we were snowed in for a month, not a day!

• Driving around the Lake the day we arrived. Zion napped and we just relaxed, talked, and enjoyed the views.

• Making my first snow angel…and on the beach. How cool is that?

• Cooking big breakfasts…and big lunches…and big dinners.

• Keeping the thermostat at 70 degrees, a luxury we do not allow ourselves at home!

• Finally writing thank you notes to all who celebrated Zion’s first year with us, a great reminder of how very blessed we are.

• Zion saying “hi” to everyone we pass. And he’ll keep saying “hi” until he is acknowledged. LOVE IT!

• Eating A-MAZING sushi at the Drunken Monkey in Truckee. I know. I was a bit leery about sushi in Truckee, too. Alas, it was superb, and Z is a champ at the bar. Win-win!

• Finding a local brewery, Fifty Fifty, for Jason to get his fix. He’s a champ at the bar, too :).

• Playing at the Truckee Children’s Museum with Jason and Zion. I’m not sure who had the most fun?

• Eating Italian at Lanza’s and watching Z eat angel hair pasta. This has become one of our tricks to keeping the boy entertained while we enjoy a night out. We all end up elbow deep in noodles, but it is totally worth it!

• Spending the evening at North Star Resort; watching ice skating, gathering around the fire pits and chatting with locals, Zion meeting “Santa”.

• Our last meal before boarding the plane home. Now tell me, is this ghetto-fabulous, or just plain fabulous? Our first stop when we flew into Reno was Costco. Jason found a local brew and I selected some yummy red wines. So, the morning we packed…I just couldn’t part with my half-full bottle of Pillar Box Red. On our drive down the mountain I spotted an In-N-Out. Let me tell you, they should seriously consider finally expanding their menu…that was the most delicious In-N-Out burger paired with my lovely blend of reds…enjoyed while sitting in the car and listening to Christmas music!

Happy Holidays! I’ll post pictures shortly!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

10 Things We Love about Mo!

Zion got to have his very first sleepover last week! Our friend Emily was unexpectedly playing angel/caregiver (she is a natural, and is destined to be a midwife!!!) and we were blessed to have her two-year-old son as our house guest. How do I put this?... MO BLEW US AWAY! Here are just a few charming moments.

• Mo always says AND signs please when making any request.
• Mo will eat absolutely anything.
• Mo fell asleep peacefully next to my side of the bed and slept through the entire night after Jason read him a book.
• Mo loves to dance.
• While Zion was napping, Mo was happy to hang with me and help with chores around the house.
• Mo quietly showed me a gnarly splinter in his foot and allowed Jason to remove it with sharp tweezers without making a peep.
• Mo shared all toys with Zion without any intervention.
• Mo and Zion took a bath together and giggled over BRUSHING THEIR TEETH for over an hour.
• Mo is very generous with hugs and loves to cuddle.
• Mo was all smiles, even after being away from Mama for 24 hours!

If there is any doubt that Attachment Parenting works, maybe Emily and Roger will let you borrow their sweet boy for a day?! Please take any ideas you may have about the terrible twos and flush them down the toilet!... Oh, did I mention Mo uses the potty?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Every time a child is born, a mother is born as well.

Zion, you gave me the most wonderful birthday gift today. I have been doing the whole “what were Daddy and I doing a year ago right now?” for a few days. I love that we are planners, but that you threw a wrench into our routine, starting with the baby-making charade, pregnancy…and our beloved labor and delivery. Hands down, the event that has changed us most, and made me a fierce, passionate Mama, was the day we welcomed you home. There is a part of me that was born on September 29th, 2008 that has forced me to be more honest, more loving, more argumentative, and more real than I had ever been.
The morning of your first birthday, Daddy had to work, so off we went to Stroller Strides. After playing with friends, you were ready for a nap when we returned home at 11:30. You fell asleep almost instantly as I held you in my arms and nursed you. As I placed you in your crib, I was a bit sad, realizing that we wouldn’t spend the moments surrounding your birth, 12:37 in the afternoon, cuddling and remembering.
I have never abided by everyone’s advice to nap while you’re napping. I think I’d just lay there and fixate on everything I should be accomplishing…like a shower that usually comes waaaaaay too late in the as it is! As soon as I could see that you were resting contentedly, I turned on the water to shower and left the door open so I could keep an eye on you in your crib. A warm breeze flowed through the house; I closed my eyes and as I shampooed my hair, was easily brought back to the feeling of complete calm while I was pushing you out. As I opened my eyes, I was greeted by your sweet smile and brilliant blue eyes gazing at me. I am not sure how long it took me to notice that you were awake, did you know that I was day-dreaming of you, of us?
I scooped you up, held you close, and crawled into bed. I hummed to you, rocking you gently. I fed you from my body, skin to skin, so warm, so delicious. I did not speak one word to you as you grinned at me with your eyes (you get that from your Mama) and you tenderly drifted to sleep once more in my arms. I glanced at the time; 12:37…thank you, Zion. Happy Birthday, to us both.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just like his Daddy...I know everybody does it, but do we have to talk about it?

I love the way Zion greets me with the giantest grin when he awakes.
This morning, as always, I jumped back into bed with him and he had a little snack
as we talked about our plans before we faced the day.
He began to wiggle around a bit...and then grunt....and rrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiippppppppp.
"Wow, Z! That was a big fart for such a little boy!"
his chubby hand shot up and was planted over my mouth.
Point taken.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Attachment Parenting

Jason and I decided while we were pregnant to ingrain Attachment Parenting in our lifestyle. The thing was, we knew that we would parent in this manner, it is so natural...we just didn't know that it had been labeled! I am so excited to have joined an AP Mom's group in North County. The following article is a reminder of all the support we are receiving from our family, friends and community. It really does take a village!
by Paula Yount

The last fading beams of sunlight filter in through the window as I sit here holding the tiny body of my first grandchild. The warmth of her body envelopes mine, and I cuddle her close to my chest, her ear pressed against my breast, the beating of my heart a soft and gentle reassuring song playing to her in the land of dreams.

Memories dance across my mind of her mother, a tiny newborn, a toothless grin, wobbly first steps, her joy at riding her first bicycle, her first hockey game, teaching her to drive, her first broken heart, her first dance, her first date, the midnight hour she burst into the room to share her engagement, seeing her in her wedding dress, watching her take the hand of her new husband, and driving away to her new home. Seems like it was only yesterday she confided she might be expecting, then the months rolled by as I watched this tiny miracle grow, and then emerge into the world, a tiny mirror image of her mother.

I caress the tiny hand that lay gently cupped around my own, feeling the softness of her skin, the dimpled knuckles, the tiny fingers. I revel in this magical moment, the emotion so strong I have to swallow back the lump that has grown in my throat. I blink back tears as I think of how proud I am of my daughter. Of the kind of mother she is, of the strength she has to listen to her instincts and ignore the advice of others or the ridicule for being such an "attached" parent.
I am thankful that my granddaughter is held in loving arms, even at 3 am, that she is rocked, and cuddled and snuggled. That she is nursed when she indicates the need, regardless of how long it's been since the last time, that she is never left alone to cry.

My heart swells with pride for my daughter, this woman, this mother - that she is committed every hour of every day, to the needs of this tiny child, that she faces the world bravely and fights for what she believes in.

My heart aches for the young mothers out there who strive for these very same things, with little or no support, little or no praise, little or no encouragement. They are hit at every turn with "expert" advice on feeding, on sleeping, on nurturing their babies, on when to wean - "advice" that goes against every fiber of her being. They are told that breastfeeding is not "that" important, they are told that unless they teach the baby "who's boss" they will never have a moments peace, that their child will be a "monster" - they are told to ignore the heartbreaking cries of their babies who just seek the comfort of mother's arms in the dark of night, to drift off to sleep within the security of her love.

My heart aches for the baby left alone to learn to "self-comfort", to "cry it out". Experts have told moms "not spoil their babies" and to "let them cry". This is a good thing? What are we accomplishing? Babies need nurturing and it is not spoiling them to provide it. Spoiling means "ruining" and you cannot ruin a child with love and affection.

We are made to "respond", to nurture. Call it "instinct", call it "intuition", call it being "tuned in", call it "natural" - it is the core of the relationship between mother and child... a "bond". If you steel yourself against your baby's cries, you damage the core, you begin to lose the "instinct", you're not "tuned in" to your baby's needs as easily, or as quickly, and eventually... you break that bond. You stop responding. The very life-force of the connection between mother and baby is being suppressed, and occasionally, snuffed out.

We are told "it works" because the baby stops crying. But what has worked? Has baby really learned to comfort himself; or he has only learned that he might as well give up, that he will not be responded to. Is this a good thing?

In the 1970s Dr. T. Berry Brazelton studied newborns to see whether they could feel hopeless or depressed. In the following quote from Suzanne Arms' book Immaculate Deception II, page 186, Arms tells of a study that Dr. Brazelton did in which he videotaped babies crying in order to get the attention of their moms:

In a heartrending series of videotaped sessions, each baby can be seen crying to elicit a response from its mother and, failing to do so, working even harder. After a number a minutes of making all kinds of faces and trying to make eye contact, each baby finally reaches its level of tolerance and begins to look away from the mother, finding it too difficult to continue making an effort with no response. The baby eventually turns its face away from its mother's face. Then it turns toward the mother again and tries to rouse a response. Each time it turns away for longer and longer periods. Finally, each baby slumps down, drops its head, and shows all the signs of hopelessness.

I remember seeing these segments on TV, and what an impact the end result had on me. I wish every new mother could see these. Perhaps it would make a difference for those who are feeling pressured to parent in a way that goes against what lies in their hearts. Perhaps it would give them the courage they need to "stay the course", to hang in there, even when things seem to be the most difficult, and most of all... to respond.

I wish every mother could know how important she is, and that the sleepless nights, the pain and difficulties she might encounter now, with babies and later with teens - are all part of the gift of mothering. For without this, how can we give true measure to the beauty and importance of being a mother?

The last fading beams of sunlight filter in through the window as I sit here holding the tiny body of my first grandchild. The warmth of her body envelopes mine, and I cuddle her close to my chest, her ear pressed against my breast, the beating of my heart a soft and gentle reassuring song, playing to her in the land of dreams. Arguments "for" and "against" may come and go... but I am glad that I am an "attached" grandparent.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This name.

When Jason and I were dating, over ten years ago, we had already decided that our first born, boy or girl, would be named Zion. We loved Lauryn Hill’s song about her son, Zion.

"How beautiful if nothing more
Than to wait at Zion's door
I've never been in love like this before

Now let me pray to keep you from
The perils that will surely come
See life for you my prince has just begun

And I thank You for choosing me
To come through unto life to be
A beautiful reflection of His grace

See I know that a gift so great
Is only one God could create
And I'm reminded every time I see your face"

We also wanted to give our child a name that he would strive to live up to, so the heavenly name Zion suited us even more. Yes, we have high expectations, don’t we?

…Yet, there is more to the story. November 2007, Jason secretly booked a vacation according to my fertile time of the month (what a man, I know). He took me to the lodge at Zion National Park, a special gift to let me know he was ready to be a Daddy! We conceived the next month, on our 7th anniversary!

The icing on the cake took place while we were in labor. After a surreal thunder and lightning storm the morning of September 29th, 2008, the clouds parted and heavenly rays enveloped us on the way to the birth center.

So, ten years in the making, the journey has really just begun for our baby Zion. He truly is so sweet, so friendly, so endearing…and just the right amount of naughty!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Lovin'

Summer has been glorious with our little man! I don’t have a picture or video of it yet, but Zion is “walking” in the pool now. He will toddle from one side of the reef ledge to the other, about 5 feet, and if we offer any help, he pushes our hands away! We are so very glad we went ahead with ISR floating lessons when Zion was 6 months old! Oh, he figured out how to open the gates a couple weeksago, so we ran out to buy caribeeners right away! We are in awe of his developmental milestones, but how does a parent keep from feeling a twinge of sadness, as he grows and relies on us less and less? I suppose this is why I enjoy nighttime parenting so much...sleep is so overrated!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The best 4th of July ever!

Jason had a meeting on Monday and everyone attending was asked to share their favorite part of the 4th of July weekend. Today is Friday, and I still can’t stop thinking about one thing; what a joy it was to watch Bubbie and Grandad enjoying being grandparents. The three spent all day Saturday together; swimming, playing and just hanging out. Zion’s face must have hurt by the end of the day; he didn’t stop smiling for one second! We are so very blessed!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

“Today is a beer day!”

“Today is a beer day!” I laughed when Jason woke up a couple of Saturdays ago and announced this to his son. Ever since Allan bought “us” the kegerator as a housewarming gift, then my parents gave Jason the equipment to keg his own brew on his 30th Bday…
EVERY day has been a beer day! Our latest creation is FJZ ESB: Faith, Jason & Zion’s Extra Special Bitter. In addition to learning skills such as blowing kisses, high-fiving and peek-a-boo, our 9 month old is also mastering the basics of mashing and sparging. Here, Daddy and Zion are forcing carbonation into our first family brew .

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

20 pounds and 8 ounces of yum!

I had visions Zion running around (or doing his swashbuckler crawl) in nothing but a cloth diaper this summer. Well, Zion has a different idea. I can't say I am surprised. After all, his Mama did invent the word nakedeez!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I heart Jason.

I was surprised to wake at 9:00AM Saturday morning. NINE O’CLOCK!…and my boys were nowhere to be found. Curious. I was greeted by the mystery men moments later, who had been playing in Zion’s room for two hours. I kept thinking, as we cuddled in bed and planned our day, not only do I have the perfect husband for me, Zion is blessed with the perfect dad.

Friday, June 26, 2009

No, it’s not Oprah and Bon-Bons…

When asked, “What do you do all day?”, I usually draw a blank. I find being a SAHM quite stimulating, we always manage to stay busy! And if you’ve stopped by my house unexpectedly, you’d know I don’t spend much time cleaning! Here is a snapshot of the past two days…


• Breakfast and play date with Grandma and Grandpa Haywood.
• Costco with Rachel and Galilee (Zion’s BFF). We love being a spectacle. We are always stopped and questioned if the babies are twins. While eating out with Jason, (Haven was away at work) I’ve even tried out the whole “Rachel is our second wife and we planned to have our babies four days apart” response. Reaction: “Whatever works for you, just don’t run out on the check”!!! Another cool moment: I wore Zion on my hip in the Ergobaby and put my nursing cover on. He ate while I shopped…could it get any easier?
• Picked Jason up from work, drove to Hillcrest to buy a compact dryer we found on craigslist. Jason wowed us all by carrying it to the van by himself. What a man.
• Ate dinner at Pizza Fusion where Zion melted my Italian heart by dipping his whole grain breadstick in marinara, oil and vinegar AND olive tapenade.
• Jason wore the Ergobaby and we walked to Best Start to show Zion where he was born. Yes we were teary-eyed, and feeling so blessed to be part of this loving community.


• Stroller Strides in San Marcos. We try to go four times a week. I actually feel like my old self again! While we are doing ab exercises, Zion does not hesitate crawl around and visit other Mamas and babies (and steal their toys). I am always keenly aware of how secure he is. Another proud-Mama moment.
• Lunch and play date with Robin and Fairfax. Robin was my boss while I was pregnant, and one of the main contributors to my overwhelming enjoyment of pregnancy, she is a gift from heaven! Zion chased Fairfax around, he just loves animals. Weird. You know me and Jason! Achoo!
• Picked up Daddy from work and did something I never imagined would take place…we adopted two cats; Izzy and Blane (or to Jason; Cat 1 and Cat 2). We thought some furry friends might enjoy country-living, and make it a little less like a Bambi movie around here. Jason fishes rodents out of the pool on a weekly basis, hopefully that is about to change!
• I went to Dream Dinners with Michelle while Jason and Zion did man-stuff. Michelle is in her 3rd trimester now and looking as cute as ever!
• Made dinner; fresh rosemary rubbed pork. We’ve really been into homemade sweet potato “fries” lately. Zion loves them. He’s pretty much eating everything we do now. But he still LOVES THE BOOB (Now that is a proud-Daddy moment)!

So there you have it. Every day I try to show Jason how appreciative I am for this life we are enjoying. No, it’s not Oprah and Bon-Bons…it’s much, much better!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Birth Story

Zion, I want to share with you a story; the story of your birth that started almost a decade ago in our hearts, and continued when your Father delivered you with his hands on Monday, September 29th 2008 at 12:37 in the afternoon. I woke up early in the morning on Monday at about 2 o’clock. I went to the bathroom a few times and felt like you may have been preparing the path to come. I remember lying in bed at 4am and telling Daddy as he rubbed my back that “at this time tomorrow morning, we will be at home with our son”.
I was feeling sick to my stomach and jumped out of bed just in time to make it to the sink. I actually felt relieved. We were surprised that I threw up a few times, but I didn’t mind because it was always when a contraction was finishing so I knew I had a moment to rest. From that point, I got in the bathtub and Daddy stroked my face and whispered encouraging words to me through each contraction. He noticed that the contractions were coming quickly, three minutes apart, and lasting for at least a minute. Daddy knew it was time to pack the car to go, so I stayed in the bath, and turned one of the jets in the direction of my lower back. I realized that traffic would be unavoidable on the way to the birth center, so I had decided that it would be best for us to stay home until at least 8am, I wasn’t worried about having you somewhere in between, it just seemed like the logical thing to do.
At 6am, I was still in the bathtub as I heard Daddy on the deck talking, I knew that he must have been making a video for you…even at a seemingly chaotic time; he is always clear-headed enough to capture a special moment. It was an absolutely magical morning, there was thunder and lightning, but the sun shined brightly and a rainbow was painted across the sky. Daddy came inside and helped me out of the bathtub and into the shower. The warm water was just so therapeutic. Though my contractions were back to back at this point, I kept thinking this must get harder. I trusted the urgency in Daddy’s voice when he asked me to get out of the shower and get dressed.
He helped me get my clothes on as I leaned over the bed, never was getting dressed so complicated or time consuming! During the process, I was crawling from place to place and felt quite animal-like, Daddy says that my sweat had a very unusual scent, and he enjoyed seeing me in such a raw state. As we drove down the hill at 8:30, Daddy started tearing up and said; “When we return, we’ll be a family”. Daddy had made the most wonderful CD for us to listen to during labor; I closed my eyes and allowed the music to wash over me. I asked Daddy to repeat the songs Let it Go and Falling Slowly over and over again. I didn’t even mind being stuck in traffic because the sun was so warm and soothing and your Daddy hummed with me through contractions to make sure I stayed low-pitched and calm.
An hour later, we were a block from Best Start Birth Center in Hillcrest and my water broke, it felt like it was boiling and I knew I had made a huge mess! Daddy asked, “How do you know your water broke”? I just laughed and said, “oh, you’ll see”. We decided to leave our bags that had been perfectly packed and ready for the past month in the car and settle into our room first. One of the midwives, Ruth, set us up in the smallest, but most private room, and checked my progress. I was shocked to see surprise in her face when she announced that I was 10 cm dilated and asked if I had the urge to push? I replied, “I guess so”. She encouraged me to move around the room, get undressed for the bath, and said she’d be back soon. I squatted beside the bed for the first pushing contraction and Daddy reached down and exclaimed “I can feel Zion’s head”! I literally tore off my clothes because I knew the next contraction would be coming quickly.
Ruth returned and started the bath, I practically dove in. I squatted in the tub and Daddy sat on the edge behind me, the water was so welcoming, that the urgency of my contractions seemed to melt away. Ruth asked me to make some noise while I pushed; I really had to muster up the ability to bear down. I wasn’t tired, I just felt very peaceful, and even napped between contractions. I could feel you descending even when I wasn’t pushing, so I asked if I could allow you to slide out on your own. Ruth and her assistants laughed and said no, that they would like me to keep pushing. Another midwife, Jude, noticed that you weren’t turning, I looked her straight in the eye and was determined to do whatever I needed to in order to avoid complications. I did two lunges on the side of the tub and Daddy was amazed that he could actually see you dramatically drop, gravity is an amazing thing! I was rushed to the bed to check your heart rate, and all was well. I was eager to get back into the tub, and looked to Daddy for approval, as we always worked as a team.
“Oh, Zion”, I called you by name again and again, gently encouraging your birth. I felt your head a few times with my hands; I knew that you would come when you were ready. Daddy massaged my perineum and seemed to assure you that it was safe to join our world. He welcomed you home and placed you on my chest. You glanced up at us, announced that you had arrived with a little yelp, and latched on and began breastfeeding immediately. I told Daddy “this could not be more perfect”. You didn’t leave mine or Daddy’s chests for hours, as we reveled in your strength and perfection. Zion, you made us so very proud that day, we know that you will continue to make us proud. You, Zion, are our heaven.