Nursery Tour!

For day 25, Sunday July 27, I didn’t take any pictures, instead I was thinking about how happy the nursery makes me. We built the nursery ourselves, framing in a door, tearing out a desk, moving around electrical, re-drywalling and painting, and a bunch of stuff. It’s a small little room joined to our bedroom and bathroom. Hopefully when we go to sell, it will read like an extended master suite.

Later on I have an entire blog entry about the renovation project, but for now I want to show off the finished product. I was really worried it wouldn’t get done before Annabelle got here, but it did. It got done and decorated even. These photos were taken before her birth, it isn’t so neat and tidy now.

Initially I wanted an outer space themed nursery but that was changed for a woodland themed nursery. Actually the nursery theme is “animals hunted by your forebearers” but not everyone shares my sense of humor so woodland theme it is. I will add links to various elements as I can.

The area is small, too small for a twin bed or a proper bedroom, but perfect for a nursery!

Baby room, the main wall. It's small, but so is she.

Baby room, the main wall. It’s small, but so is she.

Crib (from David’s parents) and changing table are from Costco. The cubes are some old ones we had laying around. The baskets in the cubes say BABY and I got them on clearance at Michaels. The Moose is from IKEA (courtesy of my sister). The wall decal is from an Etsy shop InAnInstantArt. I love these vinyl wall decals. They look great and they’re a great way to customize a space fairly cheaply and easy to remove as well. The shop I used allowed me to choose the colors of the owls and birds. The quilt over the crib was made by my mom and the afghan by David’s grandmother. And yes I know not to leave them like that once we put baby in the crib.

Let the sun shine in!

Let the sun shine in!

Our nursery is entirely an interior room with no windows. I like to think this sun light fixture (again IKEA) helps. David hated installing it and made me swear to never buy anything again at IKEA. I don’t think he’ll hold me to it though.

Changing table space.

Changing table space.

We took the doors off the closet and put the changing table in there. It’s such a small space, we really had no other choice. But it works out very well. We have just a few clothes hanging up. (Those are disposable diapers we used for the newborn stage.) And again the BABY baskets are from Michaels (sales + coupons). Just barely out of the picture is a diaper pail that we also got a cloth diaper liner for.The set up with all of our stuff seems to work very well.

Just in case we got confused about whose room it was...

Just in case we got confused about whose room it was…

Letters acquired from Michaels (Where else?) The letters were painted by Eliana (David’s sister) and did double duty as shower decor and then nursery decor. Owl hooks from IKEA. The door still needs trim around it. For that matter, so does the floor.

A little bit of geekery slipped into the woodland nursery

A little bit of geekery slipped into the woodland nursery

The Star Wars decal was a gift from David’s friend Dave. The painting was done by Eliana’s boyfriend Tom. And the fox toy tote is from Amazon. Please note David also installed dimmer switches which are a life saver.

This is the rug that started it all.

This is the rug that started it all.

Finding this rug on the IKEA website is what changed my mind from Outer Space to woodland nursery. I love having the forest floor rug, tree wall decal, and sun light. It’s a very into-the-woods gentle and sweet feel. IKEA only ships to communities where it has a store (such a stupid policy) and thus not to Alaska. So I went to Seattle to visit my sister when I was pregnant and we went to IKEA to pick up baby decor item. We got the rug which was the point, but also fell in love with several other items (the sun light the various stuffed animals including the fox peaking out of the fox bin). She generously gave them as her baby gift to us!

And yes I do have a HUGE suitcase but even I was surprised I managed to get the light fixture and the rug back home. It only barely fit.

And that is our baby nursery. So far Annabelle seems completely immune to its charms. She’s taken a few naps in there but mostly she sleeps in the bassinet beside our bed, or in someone’s arms, or occasionally in her swing or vibrating chair in the living room.

Oh and did you see those nice floors under the rug in our nursery? As part of the nursery remodel, I convinced David to install those on the entire top floor. They’re amazing and I love them. That’s another blog post though. But I will say that all the work for the nursery (moving electrical, floors, drywalling, painting) was done by family and friends. Most of the decor, even if purchased like the decals, were placed leaf by leaf by family and friends. This is a room built out of love!

Days 21 to 24, democracy, friends, and family

Playing some more catch up on happy day things. I like taking the photos, but updating with a newborn is more of a challenge.

Day 21, Wednesday July 23

I’m a board member of Alaska Common Ground. It is an organization that encourages civil discussion on political and policy issues. This fall there are four ballot initiatives going before the Alaskan electorate (one in August and three in November). We are hosting a series of forums/debates on each of them. The first one was on Wednesday July 23rd and was about the oil tax restructure. We weren’t sure how they would go. However we had a completely full house, standing room only, and turned away a lot more people. Hundreds of Alaskans showing up to become better informed. Few things make me happier.

A very well informed group of experts on both sides.

A very well informed group of experts on both sides.

Day 22, Thursday, July 24

On Thursday, we (Annabelle and I) joined Hilary and her mom’s group at the Loussac Library’s summer concert series. It was a beautiful day to sit on the lawn, chat with other moms, watch kids play, and just relax. Lovely time.

Kids dancing, sunny skies, picnic lunches, live music. perfect day.

Kids dancing, sunny skies, picnic lunches, live music. perfect day.

Hilary and Annabelle hanging out in the sunshine.

Hilary and Annabelle hanging out in the sunshine.

There was a skywriter who was advertising the airshow. He tried three times to write AIRSHOW but it was too windy and the words kept blowing away, he never even tried to make the W. It was possible we decided he didn’t know how to spell Airshow or how to make a W.

The skywriter finally gave up on spelling out words and drew a happy face.

The skywriter finally gave up on spelling out words and drew a happy face.

Day 23, Friday July 25

It rained on Friday and Annabelle and I snuggled. I love wearing her in the sling.

Rainy day snuggles in the sling.

Rainy day snuggles in the sling.

And we also did some tummy time. Mostly a low key mommy and baby day.

Day 24, Saturday July 26

Dave, Annabelle and I went to the Saturday Farmer’s Market for some fresh veggies. I love that place, I love those veggies. I bought a bunch of amazing spinach and various other veggies and treats. And we ran into a ton of people we knew because of course we did, that’s how Anchorage works.

This bunch of spinach is bigger than Annabelle, locally grown, super fresh and yummy, and only cost $5!

This bunch of spinach is bigger than Annabelle, locally grown, super fresh and yummy, and only cost $5!

That evening we went to Mary and Tom’s house for Tom’s birthday. This tends to happen when Annabelle is around her family.

No shortage of admirers for little Miss Annabelle.

No shortage of admirers for little Miss Annabelle.


Days 17 to 20

Let’s go through some more 100 Days of Happy. Some are duplicate photos that Dave already posted.

Day 17, Saturday July 19th

She’s a cloth diaper baby! I knew we wanted to cloth diaper before we were even

Lifting up Annabelle's onesie to show off her cloth diaper.

Lifting up Annabelle’s onesie to show off her cloth diaper.

pregnant. It makes more sense environmentally. I don’t like the idea of our daughter’s poop being wrapped in plastic and preserved in a landfill for a thousand years. And I was extremely blessed that my mom learned that you can sew your own cloth diapers and took it as a personal challenge. She has sewn us so many diapers (I actually got a box with some more today). Annabelle was too small for the diapers at first so we started out with using disposable ones. Her little legs are still a bit too skinny for them so we use disposables at night, but for the last week, starting on Saturday the 19th, we have been a cloth diaper family. Loving it.

She's got so many different diapers in different stylish fabrics. I normally don't like naked baby photos (with only a diaper) but I can't resist a few.

She’s got so many different diapers in different stylish fabrics. I normally don’t like naked baby photos (with only a diaper) but I can’t resist a few.

Day 18, Sunday July 20th

David already posted both of these, but on Sunday we finally got photos of our daughter’s beautiful smile.


We also got to spend some time with our twitter friends. Dave and I met at a twitter party organized by Valette and Marian Call. This rather makes them her twitter godmothers. Marian was in town so we had fun at a happy hour and got to show off Annabelle.


Day 19, Monday July 21

Days as a (temporary) stay at home mom aren’t exactly what I thought they would be like. I’m much less productive than I thought I would be, but cuddles with this snuggly little bug make it all worth while.


This picture is right side up if you consider I was also laying down when I took it.

Day 20, Tuesday July 22

Yes I'm aware it is probably not a good idea to immediately coat clean teeth in sugar but I don't care.

Yes I’m aware it is probably not a good idea to immediately coat clean teeth in sugar but I don’t care.

I had to go to the dentist on Tuesday. I’m a really REALLY bad dental patient. For my pregnancy, I had skipped the dentist entirely. There were a variety of reasons with differing degrees of validity, but mostly it boiled down to: pregnancy was hard enough that I didn’t have enough will power left to do the dentist as well. As a child, after dental appointments, my father would take us to get a doughnut; there was a good local doughnut shop near the dentist. (Mom didn’t do this.) So sweet treat after dentist became a tradition for my sister and me. To reward myself for surviving the dentist, I stopped at Carl Jrs to get a milkshake. I’m obsessed with their milkshakes, they are made with real ice cream and are delicious. I earned that milkshake.

After my dentist appointment, I went back to Margaret and Matthew’s house where they had been watching Annabelle and we were having a dinner for some people who were in town.

Annabelle sleeping with her Uppa.  Babysitting for us is hard work, clearly.

Annabelle sleeping with her Uppa. Babysitting for us is hard work, clearly.

Russian Mission, AK


My job sent me to Russian Mission, AK. I flew out there with a stop in Bethel.

The flights from Anchorage to a regional hub are usually on a “big” plane – 30 passenger seats or so. In this case, I flew on a Ravn Aviation Bombardier Dash 8-100.

Once in Bethel, we switched planes to a Ravn Aviation Cessna 207B. When you buy a ticket on such a flight, you’re assisting the Bypass Mail program – the plane won’t fly without a ticketed passenger, and when it does fly, the passengers are jammed in with a bunch of cargo (mail), most of the time. For many villages in rural Alaska, there wouldn’t be any air or mail service without Bypass Mail.

This also means that most flights are “milk run” flights. We stopped in Marshall and let some passengers and cargo off before we flew around a mountain to drop me off in Russian.

As you can see in the video below, though, I got lucky. There probably wasn’t much mail service the day I was flying, since there wasn’t much cargo in our plane.

On trips like this to rural Alaska, most of the time you’ll be put up in the village school or something similar. In Russian Mission, the extra bunk space is in their city jail. They didn’t lock me in! 🙂


Midsummer Garden (Day 16)

It’s been crazy busy around here and so I’m behind on my 100 happy days. I’ve been taking pictures, just not posting. I’d love to tell you about my garden because it makes me so happy.

Day 16, Friday July 18th

I love gardening, I’m not particularly talented at it, but I love it. At the end of last summer, David built me raised bedded gardens. This year he added in moose protection, rather a cage of chicken wire. Each side comes off easily for garden access.

My gardens now with moose protection.

My gardens now with moose protection.

I got plants into the ground before baby came, before memorial day actually. A few were starts I grew from seeds, others from purchased starts from local nurseries.

Turning this piece of wood at the top of each framed in chicken wire side releases it so I can get to the plants. Very clever of my husband!

Turning this piece of wood at the top of each framed in chicken wire side releases it so I can get to the plants. Very clever of my husband!

Not all my starts worked out which is why I had to buy some.

We transplanted raspberry bushes from David’s aunt’s house as well as some rhubarb plants. My strawberry bush survived the winter as did my chives. The rest are new plants. Mostly I’m a food gardener, if I’m going to do this much work, I want to eat my reward. However I planted some flowers this year because they were given to me. I do like their color.

Rhubarb (transplanted) and mint (purchased starter) plants growing at the side of the back porch.

Rhubarb (transplanted) and mint (purchased starter) plants growing at the side of the back porch.

I will spare you too many of the many photos I have. Here’s my plant list and status instead:

Mint (from a purchased start): growing like the weed it is

Rhubarb (transferred from Dave’s aunt): two are doing really great, one got attacked by an overzealous landscaper and is slowly recovering

Various flowers (from plants given as gifts): blooming and lovely

Basil (from seeds, started indoors): Not doing so well. I don’t see much pesto for us this summer.

Cilantro/coriander and Parsley (purchased starts): going gang busters, I’ve had to trim them a bunch

My basil plants (from seeds I started) aren't doing so well. Next year I'll probably go back to buying starts for basil.

My basil plants (from seeds I started) aren’t doing so well. Next year I’ll probably go back to buying starts for basil.

Kale: (purchased starts) I have Dino Kale and Cosmic Kale and all are great

Beets: (purchased starts) looking good, though I can’t see below ground

Carrots (grown from seeds in the ground) I should probably thin them again, lots more coming up than I thought would. Root veggies are a mystery to me because you can’t see below

Broccoli: The purchased starts are doing great. The ones I tried to start didn’t go at all

Snap peas: (started indoors, transferred outdoors) These are my best successes for the growing from seeds. They’re climbing the trellis, there are blooms and snap peas. I’m ready to start harvesting them.

Brussel sprouts (purchased starts) growing well though I don’t see any of the little heads forming yet

Raspberries (transfers): I’ve got blooms and berries, waiting for them to turn red to eat, should be very soon

Strawberries (one plant returned from last year, two new plants added to my patch) I’ve got blooms and berries, should be ready to harvest the first batch in the next week or so. I’m letting all the runners go out since this year I want the patch to grow as much as possible and fill the box

Snap pea blooms and blossoms! I'm going to have snap peas grown from seeds, the start that worked out best for me.

Snap pea blooms and blossoms! I’m going to have snap peas grown from seeds, the start that worked out best for me.

A Baby Story

Warning: this is the story of our labor and delivery. No graphic photos or details, but if it isn’t your thing, skip them. Also it’s long.

Friday, June 13th was the first day at work I’d really felt like there was a good chance I wouldn’t make it back to work on Monday and I got as many extra ducks in a row as I could. The last hour and a half of my work week was crazy productive, a flurry of activity.

Saturday we’d had various plans to do things around town. After sleeping in, I woke up still exhausted. We had a lazy morning and more naps. We finally made it to some evening social things, but I couldn’t remember a day when I’d been so tired or so lazy without being seriously ill. In retrospect, my body was making me store up some rest and I am really glad that I listened to it.

Sunday (the 15th of June) I started feeling cramps. They were intermittent and not too severe. I’ve never been in labor before and I didn’t know what it was so I ignored it. We had another lazy, full of naps day. Again so glad I took the chance to rest.

Sunday night we were at family dinner (once a week at Dave’s parents’ house all of the extended family that is free gathers for dinner) and I felt something that was a lot stronger than just a cramp. There was also an early birthday cake for me. By the time we made our excuses and got home (8pmish), I was pretty sure that I was in labor, or my appendectomy was failing at 20 minute intervals.

This is me about an hour before I was sure it was labor. So the most pregnant photo I have. Also it was Father's Day and 4 days before my birthday.

This is me about an hour before I was sure it was labor. So the most pregnant photo I have. Also it was Father’s Day and 4 days before my birthday.

And the cramps continued every 20 minutes for the rest of the night. At our childbirth class, they told us if you go into labor at night you should try to sleep as much as possible; you’ll need the energy. So we did. It’s far easier said than done. I didn’t get much sleep between contractions, David got a little more. Once during the night we called OB triage who reassured us we were doing the right thing and to come in when we hit active labor.

Monday (the 16th) we got up (or David got up and I stopped pretending to sleep), determined I was still in labor, definitely real labor not false labor, and called our bosses to tell them we wouldn’t be in. The entire time I had been afraid that it was false labor and they would send me home if we went to the hospital. I’d heard so many stories about people being sent back that I was determined to wait until it was absolutely active labor.

Primer for the uninitiated – early labor they want you to do at home, it’s the beginning part of labor and can last for 8 to 12 hours, or longer. Active labor, when you’re 4 cm dilated and/or contractions are 5 minutes apart for an hour or longer, is when you’re supposed to go to the hospital. So my 20 minute apart contractions weren’t going to cut it.

All day Monday David and I hung out, timed contractions, and tried to speed up the process. We took walks, warm baths, everything. And the contractions never got closer than 10 minutes apart, but usually hung out at 15-20 minutes apart. It was frustrating.

On dealing with the contractions – we had taken a class but I swear I didn’t remember most of the breathing exercises. I did remember the poses and those helped. We had an exercise/birth ball that we had ordered that was helpful to sit on. And heating pads and such.

About mid day, I began to suspect that my water had broken but not in a gush, in a slow leak. But I couldn’t be sure so I held my tongue and kept timing contractions. (Actually David was timing contractions with an app so every time one would start I would yell TIMER at Dave and he would wake up and hit his phone.)

I also kept eating all day. Again the class told us to eat since (many) hospitals don’t allow you to eat when you get admitted because they don’t want anything in your stomach in case of emergency c-section. So eat at home while you can, you’ll need the energy. I didn’t have much appetite but I tried to eat. The popsicles were the best.

By 5pm I was so frustrated that we were at nearly 24 hours of labor and no visible progress, but it started to pick up. For most of the day we had avoided starting laundry because we didn’t want to head to the hospital and leave a load of laundry in the washer molding. About 6:30pm I told David to start one. (He claims it was his idea, but he’s wrong.) My theory was the umbrella theory. You never need an umbrella if you’re carrying one. Starting laundry would be enough to kickstart labor and insure we wouldn’t be there to finish it. By 8pm that night my contractions were 5-7 minutes apart and a LOT more intense. After I threw up (multiple times) from the pain, I declared that even if it hadn’t been a full hour of 5 minute contractions, we were going in. I was exhuasted and done. We timed the drive to the hospital (a 7 minute trip) to be between contractions.

Fortunately we had finished packing the to go hospital bag on Saturday and just had to grab iPhone chargers. Or at least, I thought we had finished the bag, I had put a couple of go-home outfits in the bag for the baby (multiple choices since we wouldn’t know her size) and called it good. The car seat had been installed in my car for a couple of weeks – thank you Anchorage Fire Department! However on Monday as it became clear that we were going to the hospital, David started frantically packing the diaper bag. He added in diapers, more outfits, wipes, etc. I tried to convince him we were covered and the hospital would have diapers, but I think it made him feel better to do something. We’re both over-packers so I understood where he was coming from.

We had written a birth plan, but forgot to print it out and bring it with us. It’s okay because from this point on not everything went exactly how we hoped. But that isn’t too surprising. I was mostly glad we wrote the birth plan because it let us talk through things and make decisions together, many of which (delayed cord clamping, immediate skin to skin) we did do at the hospital. And since we’d already discussed these with the midwife previously, they were in our record and we reiterated them to staff during labor.

Our perfectly timed 7 minute drive to the hospital worked and I had a contraction in the parking lot. And then at about 9pm I waddled into ANMC (Alaska Native Medical Center) to have a baby. After 9pm, the hospital is closed to visitors and you are supposed to check in with ER/triage who will send you up to OB triage past the security check point. I’d just had a very painful contraction, I’d been doing this for over 24 hours, and I was exhausted and in a lot of pain. So forget those bureaucratic rules. I waddled right past security who was wise enough not to argue with the hugely pregnant angry looking woman. They just told David to come back and register for an overnight visitor pass when I got admitted. When we got to the locked security doors for OB, I just pressed the button and said, “Baby! Help!” and they buzzed me in.

OB triage checked me in, determined my water had broken (partially, slow leak), and tried to hook me up to the monitors to measure my contractions. They hurt bad enough that I was throwing up (again) and not really able to lay still so the monitors could work. Originally I had planned on trying to go without pain medicines if possible. But I didn’t count on over a full day of labor with no sleep. I was too tired and I wanted an epidural and I wanted it RIGHT NOW. The nurse told me that I didn’t get an epidural until I laid still and they got the monitor readings (she said it nicer) and I tried my best.

At this point we learned it was a very busy night in baby-town. They weren’t sure they would have a labor room for me. I could have the baby in triage, no problem, but I wouldn’t get an epidural. According to David at this point, I basically stopped just short of grabbing the nurse by the lapels and demanding an immediate epidural.

Apparently Native women are very good at having babies. They don’t scream, don’t often need pain medicine, have quick labors, etc. In other words I know there were other women in the other triage cubicles, but I was the only one I could hear screaming. I think that I might have gotten bumped up faster to get a labor room before the women who were farther along than me because of my screaming. Whatever, at that point I wasn’t proud. I was exhausted and in a lot of pain.

About midnight we get transferred to Labor and Delivery and 12:30 I got an epidural and tried to get some sleep. The midwife determined my water was only partially broken and finished breaking it. We slept for less than 2 hours, but they were lovely. At 2am I could feel things despite the epidural and I called the nurse. She brought in the midwife who checked me and determined I was fully dilated (10 cm) and ready to start pushing. 26 hours to get to 4cm, less than 2 hours to get the next 6cm. Dave came out of the bathroom and I told him we were going to start pushing. He was really surprised and blurted something about him just going to the bathroom. (Also operating on almost no sleep.)

Side note: ANMC is midwife led. All the midwives are nurse practitioners. I had a great experience there. All my prenatal care was with a midwife except for two appointments with an OB until they determined that my gestational diabetes was under control with diet. During labor there was always a doctor/OB available, but the midwife/nurse practitioner, and labor nurse took the lead. I didn’t see the doctor because I didn’t need him. Because the clinic and hospital are all in the same computer system, all my records were always there. I was really impressed with our care and glad I was eligible for Native medical services because my husband and child are Alaska Native. I am covered for up to six weeks after. Of course the best part of ANMC care is that it was all free. They charged my insurance but never sent us a copay or other bill. There were some oddities going through as a non-Native person and some inconveniences since Dave and I aren’t the average clientele. But there’s one thing that can’t be beat: Free Baby!

And we started pushing. Some women, especially Native women apparently, push for about 15 minutes and out pops baby. That was not me. They turned down and eventually entirely off my epidural (so I was feeling everything by the end). After an hour of pushing, I got my first dose of pitocin. Twenty minutes later they gave me another dose of pitocin. They just needed me to make more progress during this last transition stage.

It was now 3am, I’d been pushing for an hour and David was doing his best to be supportive. However he also had had almost no sleep for over 30 hours and was falling asleep between contractions. The nurses looked at him and offered him juice to keep his blood sugar up. He refused, but I accepted on his behalf. I knew I needed him. He drank the orange juice and it did help.

For the most part, I never went rude and yelling and mean during labor. There was one thing during early labor at the house that I said that caused David to give me a hurt look before remembering I was in labor and allowed to say whatever I wanted. And neither of us can remember what that was. During the pushing stage I was mostly too focused on pushing to say anything at all. Plus they want you to focus all your body energy on pushing and not to scream or moan. Maybe they just didn’t want to hear me scream. However everyone has their own idiosyncratic phrases and one of David’s is “you gotta want it”. Normally this is after I can’t do something like open a jam jar. During one contraction he was encouraging me, “you’re doing great, keep going, you gotta want it.” I waited until the end of the contraction before telling him that no one in that room wanted this baby out more than me and he could not use that expression again.

As I said before, I didn’t remember my breathing exercises. The midwife asked if I preferred word encouragement (you’re doing great, you’re so strong, etc) or if I preferred counting. Definitely counting. It’s weird and geeky but I love counting things. I always count stairs as I climb them. It also really helps me to know what is happening, how long it will last and what will happen next. So during a contraction, I would push for a count of ten, take a deep breath, and push for another count of ten. Four pushes (four counts of ten) and that was a contraction. Knowing that kept me focused and helped a lot. At one point I started pushing and no one was counting and I screamed at them to start counting. The nurse kept saying “you’re almost done” when I knew I had 2 pushes left and that was irritating me. Don’t tell me rosy lies, give me a countdown.

I've got some more immediately after birth photos, but we are going with the ones where I brushed my hair. This is our family of three and some of the happiest moments of my life.

I’ve got some more immediately after birth photos, but we are going with the ones where I brushed my hair. This is our family of three and some of the happiest moments of my life.

After almost two hours of pushing, they started using words like crowning and telling me they could see that she would have hair. Dave (briefly) left my side to look at the hair. I knew we were getting close because the midwife put on her serious baby catching outfit over her scrubs and the baby nurse stopped looking bored. Those last few pushes were the most intense pain of my life. In the videos during childbirth class, they asked the mother to stop after pushing out the head so they can do their thing before the body comes out. I think they asked me not to push after the head, but I was too focused at that point and just kept pushing. I was also screaming for the first time since the epidural.

Then the nurses and David had to tell me to open my eyes and see my daughter. They brought her up to my chest and everyone was crying (well David, Annabelle, and I were, the nurses seemed fine). After a few minutes, when the cord had stopped pulsing, they cut it. (They offered but David did not want to cut it.) We were allowed to hold her skin to skin and do immediate nursing for as long as we wanted before they took her for the bath/weight check/apgar score, etc. They also offered the placenta, but we chose to let 20140617-073356-27236414.jpgthem dispose of it as medical waste. By that point, we had eyes for nothing but our daughter.

Those first few hours will forever be some of my happiest memories. Watching David hold our daughter for the first time, and just laying there, feeling her, smelling her, holding her. At one point he carried her over to the window and softly talked to her. We made calls and shared our joyous news with the world. If I could have yelled it from the top of a mountain, I would have. (So super cheesy, babies make you cheesy.)

The rest of the hospital stay was more difficult. The mother/baby recovery area was under construction, loud, and crowded. The first night we were on our own in our double room, but we got roommates the next morning. With a roommate your husband can not spend the night. David was NOT going to go for that and as soon as day shift came on, we asked how to get home. We got out at 1pm Wednesday afternoon, 30 hours after birth instead of the required 36 hours. At the hospital they wake you up every two hours to take your vitals and the babies, it’s noisy, the bed is uncomfortable, and it isn’t a restful environment. Great care, amazing staff, but I was happier at my home.20140618-020327-7407132.jpg

I will say that I had sushi and a cookie cake brought to me by my sister-in-law. Delicous. I waited a year for that sushi. I’ve eaten a lot of sushi since then and probably will continue to. I’ve got ground to make up! Also breast feeding means you are starving most of the time. I feel like I can never eat enough.

Since she was losing weight and we were having trouble with breastfeeding, we had to come back for weight checks and to meet with a lactation consultant on Thursday and Friday. While she had lost weight on Thursday, she had gained a few ounces on Friday and was back to her birth weight by her one week appointment.

Everything didn’t go exactly as I wanted, but a lot of good things did. I didn’t need a ton of interventions and I got to hold my daughter immediately. Mostly at the end of it, we had our perfect healthy daughter, I was healthy, and that is all that matters.

Annabelle’s 1 month picture

Annabelle is one month old. Or she was on Thursday, July 17th, which is day 15 of 100 happy days. I’m just behind in posting. One of these photos went up on facebook, but enjoy a bunch of photos of me trying to get a cute monthly photo.

(Our monthly photo set up is whiteboard with letter magnets and stuffed moose in the glider.)

We went with this as her official one month photo. I love her worried, basically done with the photo shoot expression.

We went with this as her official one month photo. I love her worried, basically done with the photo shoot expression.


We tried a bunch of photos. I'm a bit ridiculous with the new camera.

We tried a bunch of photos. I’m a bit ridiculous with the new camera.

The baby is wondering why none of the adults are concerned that the moose is overtaking her.

The baby is wondering why none of the adults are concerned that the moose is overtaking her.




Annabelle’s Twitter “Godmothers”

Just over 3 years ago, musician Marian Call posted that she just got fresh avocados and, since such things are rare in Alaska, mentioned that we should have a Cinco de Mayo party and eat guacamole. Valette offered her place as a location.

It’s where Elizabeth and I first met! Now, 3 years or so later, Marian stopped in Anchorage for a few days. Several folks met up at Midnight Sun Brewery, and Annabelle got to meet the two people who introduced her parents to each other!


Days 12, 13, and 14

I feel like it is so easy to find joy in our new daughter that I’m almost cheating at this 100 Happy Days challenge.

Day 12 (Monday, July 14)

I didn’t get a photo of this, but we have a milestone! On Monday morning as we were playing with her before David went to work, we saw Annabelle’s first social smiles. Not gas, but actual emotion! Now if only I could get her to do that on camera…

We’ve been blessed to receive so many wonderful baby gifts. And some of our favorites are the handmade gifts. On Monday I received a box from my longtime friend Beth with an adorable baby outfit and a fantastic owl she had crocheted. Annabelle seems to really like it. It’s pictured with baby A on a lovely quilt made by one of David’s longtime friends Becky. Becky also made a beautiful quilt for our wedding. We are so blessed to have such talented friends who share their talents with us!

Annabelle likes her new owl friend made by Beth L!

Annabelle likes her new owl friend made by Beth L!

The quilt Becky made may look too big now, but she'll grow into it.

The quilt Becky made may look too big now, but she’ll grow into it.

Day 13 (Tuesday July 15)

Annabelle is not overly fond of tummy time. I know it is important for her development so we do small stretches of it. On Tuesday, I assembled her baby activity gym. The cats liked it, she was less impressed. I tweeted some photos with the phrase, “So far the cats like the baby activity gym more than the baby.” I realized that thanks to the vagaries of English that could have two meanings. One: the cats like the baby activity gym more than they like the baby. Two: the cats like the baby activity gym more than the baby likes the activity gym. I meant the second, but both are actually true.


That evening Annabelle got all dressed up in a fancy outfit for a party to celebrate her Aunt Ellie graduating from art school.

All dressed up and ready to party!

All dressed up and ready to party!

Day 14 (Wednesday, July 16)

Wednesday was Annabelle’s first trip to the library. She got to meet all my coworkers. I was meeting a new librarian whom I hired before going on maternity leave. We’ve read almost all of Annabelle’s books to her multiple times so I picked up a read with me bag. The read with me bags contain 10 board books on a theme, a toy, and some rhyme sheets and reading tips. It’s a great grant funded program and collection and I’m glad to be a part of it. I chose the baby faces bag because Annabelle loves staring at people’s faces. From other early literacy training, I knew that developmentally faces are of the most interest to her right now. And sure enough she tracked on the photos of the baby faces far more than she has any other book illustration. She even smiled back at one of the books!

Lots of new books to read! (Posed on a quilt made by her Grandma Cleta who took her kids to the library every week.)

Lots of new books to read! (Posed on a quilt made by her Grandma Cleta who took her kids to the library every week.)