Monday, December 31, 2012


Without a doubt, 2012 has been the biggest year of my life.  I got pregnant in early February and spent nearly the entire year growing my baby girl. I gave birth on November 1st and spent the next two months nurturing my baby girl. And now it's New Year's Eve.  The day that everyone spends looking back, talking about the year.  I can't even begin to describe how stressful, scary, and absolutely amazing 2012 has been, so I won't try. Instead, I want to look ahead to 2013.

I am a completely different person than I was at this time last year.  Aside from the obvious (I'm somebody's mother now. WTF.),  I am battling a bit of postpartum depression.  I have 30 pounds to lose.  I haven't run in nearly a year.   I don't get as much sleep as I should, and this won't change anytime in the near future.  I need to get control of a raging sugar addiction that started when I was pregnant and craving nothing but sweet.  Coffee plays a larger role in my life than it should.  Basically, I am sad, fat, and tired.  And I'm trying to remedy the sad and the tired with sugar and caffeine.  Not exactly a recipe for healthy living.

So here's the plan:

I am pretty much starting over with running, so I have downloaded the Couch to 5K app on my phone and am starting the program this week.  My goal is a sub-30 minute 5K this year, and to complete another half marathon.

I have joined Weight Watchers, which helped me achieve and maintain a 70 pound weight loss years ago.  My goal is to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight by August 1st. That is really a lot of time to lose 30 pounds, but it is exactly nine months after the day I gave birth.  Nine months to gain, nine months to lose.

I am going to cut out refined sugar, except for on special occasions.  For example: if I can eat this thing anytime I will not have it. However, if it is something like a really awesome cupcake on my birthday or a piece of cake at a wedding or something like that, I will eat it.  My goal is to not crave sugar anymore, and to view it as a rare treat rather than one of the food groups.

The PPD is tougher. I am not sure what my goal should be with this, other than to feel better again. I know that it takes time to overcome and that exercise should helpr.  If I start to feel worse I know I will need help, but for now I think it is manageable.  I guess my goal is to be kinder to myself and ask for help if/when I need it.

I'm not doing anything about the caffeine because, frankly, I don't think I can do all of the above without it.

So there we go.  2013 is going to be the best year yet. I can tell.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dear Baby

This is the story of how you were born.

On Halloween, I was still very pregnant (41.5 weeks) and really hoping that you would come soon. My doctor called me that afternoon and said that he wanted me to come in that night to be induced.  I was expecting this to happen, but not that day.  I was disappointed because I had always really wanted (and planned) for you to be born naturally.  But I agreed, and Daddy came home from work early so we could get things ready for the hospital. We were nervous, but so excited to meet you.

We got to the hospital around 7:30 on Halloween night.  You were no closer to coming on your own, so at 10:00 the nurse gave me some medicine called Cytotec.  This was supposed to dilate and thin out my cervix so that you could make your grand appearance.  I had to stay in the hospital room getting this medicine for 8 hours!  Luckily I was able to sleep a little bit.  Daddy had a very uncomfortable chair to sleep on as well.  And we waited...

The next morning, my doctor came in and broke my water.  That's when we found out that you had already pooped!  This was one of the things that the doctor was afraid of, because there is a possibility that you could get an infection that way.  He wanted to start me on medicine right away to give me contractions, but I asked him for a couple of hours to see if you would begin the journey on your own. He agreed.  I had some contractions on my own, but they didn't seem very strong or like they were going to help you very much.

At 10:00 that morning, my doctor came back and started giving me an IV of medicine called Pitocin.  This was not how I wanted you to be born. I was hoping that we could work together and let you come naturally, but you were way too happy snuggled up inside.  There was only so much that I could do -- you needed to do your part as well and you were being stubborn.

The doctor had to go, and Daddy and I were left to work through the contractions together.  I got to bounce on a big green ball, which helped me feel better as the contractions got worse.  You seemed to like it too; I had been trying to bounce you out on my own ball for weeks, so you probably recognized the feeling. I told all of the nurses that I didn't want any pain medicine.  I wanted you to be born without all kinds of medicines and doctor interventions.  Obviously that plan was no longer viable, but I was hoping to hold on to this one last part.  Having or not having pain medicine was the only thing that I had any control over at this point.

Daddy and I were doing a good job of managing the pain on our own. The medicine was increased every 15 minutes, and the contractions got worse each time but I felt like I could handle it with Daddy's help and with bouncing on the ball.  But then, around 3:00 in the afternoon, a nurse came in and told me I couldn't use the ball anymore. She said that your heart rate was dropping and that I needed to get into bed. I didn't think it was from sitting on the ball, but more likely from the high dosage of medicine that they were giving me.  But I got into bed and my contractions got worse and worse.  They were coming every 15 seconds and were so intense that, for the first time, I didn't think I could do it anymore. I looked at Daddy and said that I needed the anesthesiologist right away.  Daddy said I was doing a good job, and that I could handle it.  So I kept trying.

Then, around 5:00, my doctor came back to see if I had progressed and if you were on your way!  But he had bad news for us. I was not dilating and you were not dropping.  He turned off the medicine IV and had me use an oxygen mask to get your heart rate back to normal.  Then he sat down on the end of the bed and I knew what he was going to say. It was my biggest fear, my worst case scenario, what I had been hoping to avoid since the moment I found out I was pregnant.

"We need to do a C-section."

He went on to explain that my body wasn't cooperating even with the medicine, and you could be in danger of infection or worse if you weren't born soon.  I felt like I had failed you.  The doctor stepped out to give Daddy and I a moment to talk about it. But we both knew we didn't have any other option. 

Someone gave Daddy a big white suit to put over his clothes, and a blue hat and mask to wear.  They wheeled me down the hall to the operating room, which was bright and white and very cold.  I was still having contractions while they put a spinal block in.  It was very hard to sit still through them.  My doctor held my hand and apologized that things didn't work out how I'd wanted them to. I was so, so scared.

Soon I was totally numb from my ribs down and Daddy was allowed to come into the room.  He sat next to me while the doctors removed you from my body.  I won't go into the details of the surgery, and it was probably really scary for you. After the doctor pulled you out, I heard him ask Daddy to tell me whether you were a boy or a girl. This was the only part of my birth plan that ended up remaining -- that Daddy would be the one to tell me rather than the doctor.

"It's a girl," I heard Daddy say.

"It's a girl? Really?"  I guess I was expecting you to be a boy, because I was so surprised.

You cried immediately and loudly, and I cried too as I watched the doctors check to make sure you were OK.  You were more than OK; you were perfect. Daddy went with you to the warmer  bed and got to cut your umbilical cord while the doctors sewed me up.  Then Daddy got to hold you, and he brought you over to me so that I could see your face.

You were born at 6:14 PM on November 1st. It was a Thursday.  You weight 7 pounds and 7 ounces and you were 21 inches tall. 

At that moment, my life changed completely.

I couldn't believe you were finally here.

We named you Laurel Gray.

You are so beautiful.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Last night I poured some caustic drain cleaner into our bathtub and bathroom sink. Both were draining slowly and, since I am now on maternity leave, I need to get this place in order before baby's imminent arrival.  That means cleaning the bathroom super well (Brad and I both have the ability to ignore a gross bathtub for longer than I care to admit). 

This morning when I woke up, I noticed that Brad's shower water was in the tub and it wasn't draining -- at all.  I came downstairs and called a plumber.  After spelling my last name SIX TIMES for the woman who answered the phone, I procured an appointment for Wednesday morning. I figured I would just, I don't know, shower quickly up to my ankles in cold dirty water? 

After that I started thinking about how I really didn't want to shower in the filth, so I decided to try our plunger in the bathtub. I figured the worst that could happen would be that it didn't work, crap would start coming back out of the drain into the tub, and I would call my friend Misty to see if I could shower at her place today. I had the plumber scheduled, so no big deal. I'm sure they've seen worse.  Lo and behold, it worked like a charm.  I took a shower and our drain drained like a normal drain.  I was immensely proud of myself.

So I came back downstairs and cancelled the plumber. Then I called Brad at work:

B: Hello??
K: I am a plumbing genius! *Goes on to describe in great detail how I awesomely saved the day and like $200.00 in plumber fees.*
B: Could you maybe text me or something that you are not in labor before you call?  Like, say, "I'm not having the baby, but I'm going to call you."

I guess I gave him a bit of a scare, especially since the last thing he said to me this morning on his way out the door was "call me if you go into labor!"


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pregnancy Musings: 35 Weeks

1.  Every autumn leaf that I see is a little floaty reminder that I'm going to be a mother soon.  Fall has always seemed so far away, but now it's here.  It's like a leaf wafts past me and whispers, "don't fuck it up!"

2.  My feet are so swollen.  Here are the shoes I can currently wear: Ugg boots, fuzzy slippers, flip flops (but  just barely).

3.  Speaking of swollen, I torture myself every day by trying to put my wedding ring on. Still can't get it past the knuckle.

4.  All of these little annoyances of late pregnancy are totally worth it. I'm so excited to meet this little one that I've been carrying for the past almost 9 months. Will it be a boy or a girl?  Will it have my curly hair? Will it like music? Sports? Reading? Will it be as smart as its daddy?  Will it ever truly understand how much I love it?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pregnancy Update: 33 (!) Weeks

Well, I managed to survive 12 days of being alone and super pregnant in the southern summer heat while Brad was off having an awesome time in Colorado.  He sent me updates in the form of pictures of beautiful mountains and super awesome goats, and weather reports (70 degrees and sunny!) while I sweated in Southern West Virginia.  He had a great time though, and I am glad he was able to go.  

I can't believe I am 33 weeks pregnant! That means I only have 7-ish weeks left. Yikes!


-Super cold water. Like, from the refrigerator and with lots of ice cubes. The more the better.  I'm thirsty all of the time.
-Feeling the baby. Not only feeling it move, but feeling its body. It keeps sticking its butt out at me in various positions. Sometimes if I poke it it will move or poke back.  It's kind of like playing with it, and it's kind of like something out of Alien. Either way, it's really really cool.
-GROUND BEEF. Sometimes it's all I can do to stop myself from driving to a fast food restaurant and buying something disgusting like a Whopper (I KNOW!  I haven't actually done this, but I've thought about it).  (Un)Fortunately, Brad prefers to eat things like spinach salads with chicken for dinner, which is what I should be craving. But I'm not.
-Friday Night Lights. Especially Tammy Taylor and Riggins.
-The baby's room. It's getting closer to being done and I looooove it!  Just need a few more things and a few finishing touches. I also need to make the mobile I've been putting off for weeks. Hopefully we can finish it up this weekend.
-My awesome friends, who are throwing us a sort of couples/families baby shower in a few weeks.  I can't wait!

Not Loving:

-Still the damned heat. When is fall coming? Hopefully any day now.
-Still the teenage boy breakouts.  WHY?
-Swollen hands and feet -- really swollen hands. I can't fit my wedding band past my knuckle, so I am out there looking like a single lady again.
-Ligament pain, which has been happening with alarming frequency the last few days.  It makes me double over and it really blows.   Hoping that ends soon, although it probably won't.
-Spotting all my favorite pumpkin beers in the supermarket and wishing Brad liked them so I could steal a sip. He continues to buy beers I don't like. 

In other news, Brad bought a new car, so we now officially both own vehicles that can drive safely on the highway. I don't think we have ever been in this situation -- at least one of us has always had a total piece of shit.  Now we both have grown up cars. Weeee!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Luckiest

I have this friend who is tall and thin and beautiful and cool. We grew up together and she was always tall and thin and beautiful and cool.  She had one attractive, bad-boy boyfriend after another when we were young.  If you had asked me when I was 16, or 18 or, shit, even 23 which one of us would have the awesome life when they were 34, I would have hands-down said her. I was the insecure chubby sidekick friend. She looked like Uma Thurman. It had to be her.

I haven't talked to my friend in a while -- that's what happens when you grow up and move to opposite parts of the country -- and I don't mean to in any way disparage her life. Her life is probably awesome for her, and I love and support her in anything that she chooses to do with it.

But me? I know that really, I'm the lucky one. I'm the one with the awesome life.   I'm the one with the handsome green-eyed lawyer husband who rubs my feet and makes a mean burrito.  The one who owns a cute house with a white fence and a backyard for my awesome dog.  The one with the decent, steady job. A group of  friends who make this non-home-town feel like home. About to have a baby.  

Of course, she may not want any of these things.  But I do. I always did. It's strange to be at a point in my life where I feel like I am exactly where I want to be, to have everything I've ever wanted; it's weird, in a way.  How lucky I am that I get to live my life.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pregnancy Update: 27 Weeks

I am in the final days of my 2nd trimester.  That is so hard to believe.  It seems like only yesterday I was happy to be starting  the 2nd trimester and now it's almost gone!  Here are some things I have been loving/hating lately:

-Feeling the baby move.  I swear it is doing Tae Bo in there sometimes.
-Brad talking to the baby. It's adorable and hilarious, because he talks to it like it is an adult. I have a feeling   that he will continue to speak to it this way after it is born.
-Fruit.  I gorge on fruit -- it's a little embarrassing, the sheer amount of fruit I can eat in a day.
-The "Your-Baby-is-as-Big-as-This-Vegetable" emails.  This week it was a rutabaga.  I'm not even sure how big that is, but I was proud.
-People being nice to me at the grocery store. I had a guy offer to carry my 20-pound bag of dog food to the car for me.  I declined, but it was still a nice gesture.
-My nails, which are stronger than they have ever been in my life. I've always had weak, peely nails, but they are so hard now that they're difficult to cut.

Not Loving:
-Sore, swollen feet.  At the end of the day, my feet hurt and my toes look like mini sausages.
-The heat. Good lord, the heat.  See also: sweating.
-Breaking out like a 14-year-old boy. 
-People asking me if I can sense what the sex of the baby is. Dude, I don't know and I don't want to know -- that's why we are keeping it a surprise.  My mother asks me this question every single time I talk to her. Every. Time.
-Pregnant lady rage. It is a real and dangerous thing.

This weekend Brad is staying in town (!) so I am hoping to go out to dinner, see Batman, and hang out with my love. We haven't seen much of each other lately and I miss it!  I am also going to make a mobile with paper lanterns that I bought from a shady website.  If it works like my brain thinks it will, I will share.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Clay Matthews Bars

About a year and a half ago, when the Packers beat the Steelers in the Super Bowl, my parents (who understand my love for Green Bay Packers' outside linebacker Clay Matthews) sent me a box of Wheaties with Clay's photo on it, like so:

This has been unopened in my kitchen cupboard ever since.  Brad has been trying to throw the box away since it arrived, knowing that I would probably not eat them.  Since they expire next month, and I can't let Clay's legacy go to waste, I made a batch of Clay Matthews bars today.  Behold my crappy iphone photo:

And if you'd like to also make Clay proud, this is how we do it:

Clay Matthews Bars


6 cups of Wheaties FUEL cereal with Clay Matthews' photo on it
11 ounces of marshmallows
~1/4 c of extra virgin coconut oil (see what I did there?  This is not the standard krispie-rice cereal bar recipe, no!)

Melt 3 TBSP of coconut oil in large pan over medium heat.  Take another little glop of it in your hands and coat a 9"x13"pan.
Add marshmallows and let them melt. Actually let them get a tiny bit carmelized/brown -- you will see faint swirls of caramel-colored marshmallow in the mix. This is a delicious thing. Just don't let them burn to the bottom of the pan. Stir, stir, stir.
Mix in cereal.
Pat mixture into pan. Let harden to room temperature. Eat a little corner piece, then cut the rest into squares.


This weekend, Brad and I and our friend Dave are headed up to beautiful Snowshoe West Virginia, here Brad will be participating in some ridiculously long mountain bike race, and I will be eating Clay Matthews Bars -- hey, the baby needs FUEL.

Someday I'll tell you about the time that I was 6 months pregnant and it as 100 degrees every day and we didn't have power for a week.  

Sunday, June 10, 2012


I saw a huge display of one of my favorite Summer beers from back home, Leinenkugel's Summer Shady, the other day at the grocery store, and realized that I'm going to miss drinking this summer.  There's nothing like an ice cold summer beer on a hot afternoon, or a glass of cold, fruity sangria sipped on a porch on a warm summer night.  

I have never really been a big drinker, but I have been known to enjoy an adult beverage or two now and then. I remember the last drink I had. It was a lovely glass of Cabernet enjoyed at our favorite local restaurant, Lola's, with Brad and two of our friends.  The very next day, I found out I was pregnant and thus, my 9 months of teetotalism began. 

Years ago, when we lived in Milwaukee, we went to a Cuban restaurant and I had my first Mojito. It has been one of my favorite cocktails ever since.  Mint, sugar, lime, rum -- what could be better?  We happen to have a huge, overgrown patch of mint in our backyard, so I took it upon myself to whip up a faux-Mojito this afternoon. It's not quite as good as the real thing, but it's pretty darn refreshing.


fresh mint leaves (maybe 6-8)
lime juice (fresh if you have it, I used the little lime-shaped squeeze bottle and it tastes just fine)
lemon lime flavored soda

-place the mint leaves in the bottom of a pint glass. Muddle them with a spoon until they are a bit broken down and you can smell the deliciousness.
-add a couple of squirts of lime juice (maybe 2 to 3 Tbps).
-fill the glass about 1/2 way with soda.
-add ice, then top off the glass with more soda if you'd like.
-stir and enjoy!

You could absolutely muddle the mint with sugar, as you do in a regular Mojito, and use seltzer water instead, but I took the easy way out.

I'm going to experiment with other herbs that I have in my garden, like basil and lavender, this summer, as well as maybe adding fruit. I had a strawberry basil Mojito once in Pittsburgh that was incredibly good.  Maybe blueberry and lavender? Or peach and basil?  The possibilities are endless.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

An Actual Conversation

I don't know what position I have been sleeping in lately that has resulted in this, but every morning I wake up with my hair sticking at least 4 inches from my head.  It's like a cross between televangelist hair and a raggedy Southern girl poof.

This morning, I roll out of bed like a zombie and walk into the hallway, where Brad is tying his tie and looking all handsome getting ready for work.  The door to our spare room is open, and I can see a large pile of clean laundry on the bed.  I point to it.

K: "Oh my god, laundry mountain!"
Brad: "Whatever, James Brown on a cross-country crack spree."
K: ...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I met Brad when I was 20 years old. We were kids and neither of us really knew how to be an adult. We spent our money on stupid stuff and had inane conversations about things like Sublime and Corona. I knew from the beginning, though, that he was going to be in my life for a long time. It took a few years for me to realize that it would be forever. We basically grew up together.

We saw each other through bad times and good times, and lived a nomadic existence for years as we moved from town to town, state to state. We finally got married after 11 years, and 2 years later bought a house. In West Virginia, of all places.

Now, it's time to start a new chapter. Brad and I are going to be parents. I found out that I was pregnant on a Sunday in February, and I took four home pregnancy tests just to be sure. Then I kept it to myself for three days (which was torture), wrapped up the positive tests, and gave them to Brad for Valentine's Day. It was a moment I will always remember.

I was lucky enough not to ever get morning sickness, but I did spend the first three months feeling like I got hit by a truck after running a marathon. By that I mean I was exhausted all. of. the. time.

Fast forward to today. I am almost 16 weeks. I am showing, and am wearing maternity pants almost exclusively. I feel really good. I've gained a bit too much weight, which was an embarrassing conversation to have with my doctor, but I have much more energy now. I've joined a new gym by my house and am working out again (no running outside in the southern heat for this pregnant chick). I'm tracking my food intake on this website called, and I'm trying to make good decisions about what I eat. Because I don't want to be huge, and I don't want to have a 10 pound baby. I also want to remain active because I've read that it can make labor easier and recovery shorter.

We have a million things to do before my due date in October, including picking names and, you know, learning how to parent a child. But I have nothing but faith in Brad, and that makes me feel better about my chances as well.