When you flush the toilet does it fall onto the tracks or is there a storage car for all the crap?

The alarm went off at 4:40 Thursday morning.

Which is really fucking early when bedtime doesn’t come until just 4 hours earlier. A wake-up call made worse by the fact that I tossed and turned during those measly 4 hours. But I had a train to catch and I was not going to miss it.

I had never been on a train before. Well, other than the one at the zoo and that hardly counts. I mean come on, I can walk faster than that train and it only really goes in a circle. That would hardly meet Amtrak’s standards.

The train I was getting on was the late train of the day. Set to leave at 6:15 a.m. I was excited about the new experience, nervous because I didn’t know what to expect, and absolutely hating the fact that I had to be up so early for the ride. But that’s as late as they run. So after a shower, half a blueberry Eggo, and not nearly enough coffee we left for the station.

Not much is going on at the Amtrak station at 5:45 a.m. in Toledo, Ohio. Everyone is noticeably tired and nobody says much of anything. We got our tickets from the ticket counter,  found a place on one of the leather benches, and waited for our train to arrive. G-tot and I were heading to Union Station in Chicago where we would be picked up to spend the weekend with my mom and step-dad. I was driving back home at the end of our trip so along with our bags I had to bring a car seat. Which, it turns out, is a giant pain in the ass.

In an effort to keep minors with their guardians, families with kids under 15 got to board the train first. G-tot and I were at the front of that line. Let me paint you a little picture.

One small piece of carry-on luggage.
One backpack.
One laptop bag.
One purse.
One car seat.

Very early in the morning (which is not known to be my most pleasant time of day).

And you know what the first thing the assistant conductor said to me when she took our tickets as we were getting ready to board the train? Not “Good morning”. Not “Welcome aboard.” No, instead she said in a accusatory voice, “Why didn’t you check any bags?”

Blink. Blink. I have not had enough coffee for this.

“Umm…I don’t know. I’ve never been on a train before.”

“That wasn’t very smart.”

What? Well screw you too lady. Way to be helpful. And you can kiss my ass as I drag my crap—that is within the range of number of acceptable items—onto the train.

She managed to piss me off and we hadn’t even stepped onto the train yet. Add to that the 2 extra hours the trip took to get to Chicago and I was so ready to get off that train by the time we arrived. Especially after sitting just outside the station for a good 20 minutes. So close but yet so very far away. I’m crossing it off my list and making no plans to board another one any time soon.

Imagine the sound that came with it

I hate to do back-to-back posts that are just photos but DUDE IT HAS BEEN OVER A WEEK!

Plus, this photo is just too awesome not to share. JQ took this on Easter and G-tot would not just smile so I thought I would join him in the face making. It is my new favorite picture of the two of us.



For those of you that celebrate—whether religiously, commercially or a smattering of the two—I hope you had a joyous Easter. For those of you that don’t celebrate in any form, I hope you had a great Sunday. Whatever the case may be I hope it was sweet.

Wow. That was a little cheesy.

Sorry about that.

Sometimes I get that way.

Okay. More than sometimes.

A lot more.



Color Therapy


Is It Ready?


Egg In Bondage


Boilt & Purtty


The Morning Hunt


What’s In This One?


Maybe Over There


It Has My Name On It!


The Afternoon Hunt

Weekly Winners—Pirate Party


It Took Forever to Paint but Totally Worth It


Happy Pirate Boy


It Had to be Blue


Pirate Booty Treat Bags


Finger Puppet Pirates


Blue Jewels and Gold Coins


Prepare to Walk the Plank

Happy Birthday Baby



Happy 3rd Birthday G-tot!

You changed our life forever the day you were born. I wouldn’t change a thing. This how it all went down. Originally posted on the Wee One (my old baby blog) April 7, 2007

The Wait
Monday, March 19th made Friday the 23rd seem so incredibly far away. Monday was the day we scheduled our appointment to be induced on Friday at 8:30 am. That still left three days for me to go into labor on my own—but if I didn’t the end was in sight. Tuesday…nothing. Wednesday…still waiting. Thursday we went to the hospital to have the cervical gel applied to encourage contractions and dilation that evening.

March 22, 2007—39 weeks and 6 days pregnant

That procedure took about two hours and when we were done, Josh and I went out for one last meal as just a couple—Applebee’s for burgers. The contractions started a little that evening but they weren’t anything to send us into a frenzy. Our bags were packed and we were so ready to get to Friday morning. To say I didn’t get much sleep that night is an understatement. I was such a ball of emotions—excitement, nervousness, bewilderment—that I barely slept a wink. I got up at 6:30 Friday morning, showered, and had my toast and banana. I was ready to go. That’s when the phone rang.

It was the hospital calling to tell me to not come in. There weren’t any beds available and they were calling all of their scheduled inductions and telling then to hold off for a little while. They said they would call us back when we could come in and hopefully it wouldn’t be that long. They were wrong. The minutes seemed to tick on and on and finally at 4:30 pm they called us back and said they were ready for us. Josh let out a little woo-hoo of joy and we grabbed our bags, about to embark on a journey that neither of us could have ever expected.

The Beginning
We got to the hospital and were once again left to wait. This time in triage while they finished getting our room together. It was only a short wait and within the hour I was in labor and delivery sporting the ever so attractive blue hospital gown. The doctor came in shortly after and by 6 pm my water had been broken. That was such an odd sensation. I could hear her trying to break it with her little crochet-hook like tool and then all of a sudden—gush. It just came pouring out. For hours after each time I had a contraction I would gush again at the onset. It was like constantly peeing without any control. The nurse must have changed the “pink pads” at least ten times by the end of the night.

After the doctor had broken my water, the nurse inserted my IV (which really hurt) and started the fluids bag—one of six I would go through before it was all over—and the Pitocin. The Pitocin line started at a level one and every so often (about every 30 minutes or so) the nurse would come in and pop it up a notch or two. She told us that the highest they usually go is a level 20. By Saturday afternoon I was up to a level 26. The initial contractions started pretty quickly and were entirely manageable by my standards. No need for any sort of narcotics at this point.

My Mom came up for a couple of hours that evening, which gave Josh the opportunity to go down to the cafeteria and get some dinner as well as step outside and regroup for a minute or two. When I got to the hospital I was restricted to a clear liquids diet, so no real food for me. Around 10 pm on Friday my Mom left and said to call her as soon as something happened, even if it was in the middle of the night. She wouldn’t get a call until the next morning—a call to say “No baby yet.”

I was hoping to get a little sleep Friday night and although the contractions were still manageable, they hurt, so I decided to get a dose of Nubain to take the edge off. The Nubain had an interesting effect on me at first. It was a little like being drunk. It helped a little but I really only managed to get two or three minutes of sleep between each contraction. This would go on for hours.

Hours 14 through 20
The doctor came in at 8 o’clock Saturday morning to check my progress. I was now dilated to a 6 which was not a far as I’d hoped to be. The nurse offered me a popsicle and I was so excited to “eat” something—which if you think about it, was just frozen liquid. Through the night Josh had slept briefly and awkwardly in both the uncomfortable chair and on the floor of our room. We were exhausted but hopeful. I was still drug free with the exception of the Nubain—which decreases dramatically in effect with each subsequent dose. The contractions were getting stronger and stronger but I took it like a champ. I never screamed and only doubted my ability to get through it once around 2 o’clock that morning. The nurses had me lay on each side to encourage progression and those contractions were really painful. I also sat on the birthing ball for awhile and I really had to concentrate on my focal points and coping methods to get through those. My coping method would be counting down and back up from 20 or reciting the alphabet in my head—not something I had planned, but effective.

At some point during the morning the charge nurse came in and told me how great I was doing. She said she would have had no idea I was having such a strong contraction had she not seen it on the monitor since I was so quiet and focused. Apparently I was the topic of conversation among the nurses at lunch for the same reason. I’m not sure how most women react, but I didn’t think screaming and carrying on was going to do me any good. Josh was amazingly helpful through the process and if he wasn’t there to help me cope I may not have been so relaxed. My Mom came up again to hang out with us and give Josh a break for lunch. They both reassured me several times throughout the day that I was doing an awesome job. And I really felt like I was despite the incredible pain I was in every couple of minutes.

The Last Few Hours
Early that afternoon the doctor came in and checked me again. Still a six. No progression since 8 o’clock that morning. Crap. At two pm the nurse came in and recommended that I get an epidural. She said the epidural would help me to relax and de-stress a bit which may help me progress those last 4 cm. It was at that point I had a mild break down. An epidural was not what I wanted. I just wanted this baby to be born. I was exhausted and scared and couldn’t stop crying about the decision I needed to make. Just thinking about it now brings me to tears. Josh, my Mom and I talked it over and I had the anesthesiologist come in and talk to me about it too.
I decided it was in my and the baby’s best interest at that point and although I was frightened of the whole procedure I opted for it. The anesthesiologist was great—she talked me through the whole process and told me several times how great I was doing. By 2:30 pm it was in and the pain was quickly subsiding. I could feel pressure for sure but not the excruciating pain that I had been feeling with each contraction. This would continue for the next three and a half hours.

At six o’clock all our expectations about this birth would change. I still hadn’t progressed despite all the Pitiocin and the epidural. My water had now been broken for 24 hours and was approaching the point of being a risk factor for both the baby and myself. I had been at this for 24 hours and was so ready to have the baby that when the nurse came in to say that an emergency caesarean section was now necessary I was all for it. Let’s get this show on the road.

In Labor & Delivery still, waiting to be taken to the OR.

Things moved pretty quickly that last hour. Josh put on his scrubs and I donned the lovely net hat. I drank some disgusting antacid concoction and had the fetal monitor and the internal monitor removed. My Mom called my Step-dad and Brother and went out to the triage area to wait. Several different people came in and out of the room that would be assisting with the surgery and at 7 pm I was being wheeled down to the OR. Josh had to wait outside the OR for several minutes while they got me up on the table and prepped. The whole scene was surreal and reminded me of that scene from Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life” where they wheel the lady into the OR and have to get out all the expensive machines that go “ping”.

They logged me into the OR at 7:06 pm. A flurry of things were prepped and taken care of over the next several moments. A more powerful anesthesia was administered and at 7:26 pm the first cut was made. Another surreal experience. I was completely awake and although I couldn’t see past the curtain that was just inches from my face, I was very aware of what was happening. It wasn’t painful, but I could feel each snip and slice as they opened me up. At one point Joe, the nurse’s midwive, said “Extreme pressure.” and he wasn’t kidding. I don’t know what was happening at that point—they weren’t pulling the baby out yet—but it was a crazy sensation. Josh told me later that Joe had turned sideways to brace himself and was sort of up on one foot with all his weight shifted to give him leverage. A few more moments and Joe would be saying to Josh, “Do you want to see your baby?” Josh looked over the curtain and Gideon was just halfway out of my body. They pulled him the rest of the way out and exclaimed, “He’s definitely a boy.”—we had been discussing the rate of error when we first got into the OR and had mentioned how we really hoped he was that boy we expected. He was wisked away for his initial tests and what not—scoring an impressive 8,9, and 9 on his APGARs. The doctor from the NICU came out and told me how beautiful he was and how great he was doing. Then they brought him out to me and put him just a few inches from my face so I could say hello and give him a kiss.

The doctors began to massage my uterus to help with the bleeding and what not. Let me tell you that was incredibly painful. It was as painful as some of the worst contractions I had just prior to the epidural. I got an uncontrollable case of the shakes, my bp skyrocketed—which apparently caused a bit of a stir among the doctors—and they sewed me up. When they were all done they wheeled me into OR recovery where I would spend at least the next hour—I think it was much longer. My Mom, Step-dad and Brother came in as soon as they could to see us all and then my Dad, Step-mom, and sister came up. They were all concerned about my well being and so excited about the arrival of Gideon that waiting was never an option for any of them. By 11 pm we were in our post-partum recovery room where I would finally get my first bite to eat of real food since 3 pm the previous day and where we would spend the next few days as a new family.

Mom & Baby in OR recovery.

At 7:33 pm on March 24th we had our baby. After 25 hours of labor—and just 7 minutes after the first incision—he was here. And he would change our lives in an instant.

Growing Up—34 and 35 Months

Dear Gideon,

In just a couple of days you will be three years old.


Holy crap.

For whatever reason I feel compelled to catch up on your monthly letters before that happens. I know, I know, it is just one more item to add to the list of neurotic things your mother does. Trust me, one day that will be a very long list. I’m okay with that and although it will thoroughly embarrass you as an adolescent, many years from now you may actually find it charming.

Anyway…months 34 and 35.

IMG_863934 months—February 4, 2010

IMG_883535 months—March 2, 2010

I imagine one day you will read these letters and notice that I tend to fail when it comes to writing them in a timely fashion. My goal is always to get them written within a couple of days of the 24th of each month. That rarely happens and this is by far the longest I have gone without writing you a letter. It has been a rough couple of months for me and I just haven’t been in the right frame of mind to compose a heartfelt letter to you.

But that hasn’t stopped YOU from being truly amazing and plowing full-speed ahead in terms of growth. And thankfully, you are ALWAYS the highlight of my day (the good and the bad days).


On January 15th, you came up to me, lifted my shirt, kissed my belly and said, “I love you baby.” Sweetly, compassionately, and without any prompting. My heart melted in that moment. The next day I lost the baby and my heart broke. I was confused, angry with the world, and devastated.

I had no idea how I was going to tell you what had happened. How do you explain that to a two and a half year old? I wasn’t sure if you could understand but I couldn’t have you say “I love you baby” to my now empty uterus. So, as I held you in my arms that afternoon before your nap, I told you that the baby was very sick and wasn’t gong to grow in my belly anymore.

And you cried. Which made me weep. There we stood in the darkness of your room that Saturday afternoon sobbing over our loss. I immediately questioned whether or not I had made the right decision by telling you at that moment. Looking back, I’m not sure there is any easy way. I’m still not sure how much you understood in that moment either. But your reaction was completely appropriate and somehow cathartic.

Oddly, that wasn’t the only loss you suffered that day. While you were taking your bath that evening I picked up your much loved binky. Holding it in my hand I noticed four small holes in the nipple from your tiny sharp teeth. Those holes compromised the integrity of the binky and made it a health hazard. You couldn’t have it back after that.

That was the last binky we had in the house and your Dad and I had no intention of buying you a new one. And just like that you were done with the binky. You never really complained or asked for it again. You were ready to let it go, you just needed the push. I had this grand idea of tying it to a balloon and having you let it float away as a final goodbye. We never did that and it is still sitting in the medicine cabinet collecting dust. One of these days it will end up in the trash. Thanks for making it so easy.


Rest assured that the last couple of months have been more than just heartache and loss. Even on the darkest of days you have been a shining example of all that is right in the world. One day while I did a bit of work in the office you came in “driving” your car with your “lunch” in hand. You came in to give me a hug and kiss along with a wave goodbye because you were “going to work”.

So adorable.

On more than one occasion you have looked at me and said, “You’re beautiful.” Wow. What was I saying earlier about your ability to melt my heart? It goes triple for statements like that.


Talking to you continues to be one of my favorite things to do and I am absolutely smitten with some of the phrases that come out of your mouth. One phrase in particular that always makes me giggle and that I would never correct is “piggy-ride back”. What you really want is a piggy-back ride but EVERY time you say “piggy-ride back”. And EVERY time I give you one without hesitation and with a smile on my face.

Because to me, that is just perfect.



In the Blink of an Eye

How have we gone from this…


March 7, 2008

to this…


March 8, 2009

to this…

Photo 583

March 4, 2010

…in what seems like a microsecond?

Anybody know how to slow time down just a hair?

Weekly Winners: Feb 21–27

IMG_8820Perfect Snow for Making a Snowman


IMG_8833Don’t Forget About the Little Guy

IMG_8792Crisp Cheesy Goodness

IMG_8803Enough with the Pictures Lady

IMG_8798I Said ENOUGH!

I Got Another Song for You

Sometimes it is the subtle little things that make me smile even bigger in an already joyous moment.

Have you any woof? from Artist Mother Teacher on Vimeo.

And sometimes it is the not so subtle and somewhat inappropriate things that make me laugh so hard I sound like a 90 year old woman that has been smoking too long.

That is some fancy necklace you have there from Artist Mother Teacher on Vimeo.

Take a couple minutes and watch these. If you don’t at least smile you are dead inside.

If this post was a song it would totally be a ballad but one with a killer drum solo

I’m having one of those days today. The kind that come laden with a heavy heart. The kind of day where you have tons to say but nothing comes out. The kind of day where you want nothing more than to snuggle on the couch and just breathe in the essence of your loved ones. The kind of day where just you can’t have any of that.

That’s the kind of day I’m having.

And since I can’t be with them right now I just look at pictures, let out a little sigh, and think about tomorrow when we can be together. Or at the very least, I think of this morning and those few moments of snuggle time we had then.

Those moments rock. Just like my kid.