Saturday, November 9, 2013

Miss Carter Avery

We have a baby! She is now 16 days old, but those 16 days have gone by so fast. It seems like she has always been here.

She came 8 days before her due date, which I was convinced was not going to happen. I needed her to come on her due date so I could finish up some projects for my Master's program and take a midterm. But Carter came on her own time.

This is the story of how I had a natural childbirth-even if that wasn't the plan.

The day before, October 23, I felt great. Several times that day I was asked if I was feeling anything. I had not. I had not had one contraction or even fake contractions. I felt normal-or as normal as one can feel while 9 months pregnant. I planned on going to work the next day. I had parent conferences scheduled, tests printed, papers to grade, etc. 

I had class that night which ended an 1 1/2 hour early, so I used that free time to go to bed. I was sleeping by 9pm. At midnight, I woke up with some cramps. Nothing too major. I got up, walked around a bit, got out the heart monitor to make sure the baby was still alive (she was) and went back to bed. Around 1am, I realized that I wasn't going to get any sleep with my "cramps" (I was refusing to call them contractions). I went to the couch and downloaded an app to track my cramps. They were happening about every 3 minutes and were about 1 minutes long, average. But I wasn't in too much pain. And she wasn't due for another 8 days!

I eventually decided to run a warm bath and sit in there for awhile. Things slowed down a bit and were less intense. However, when I got out, that was not the case. At 4 am,  (I was still calling them cramps in my head) I had decided that I probably shouldn't go to work that day and I started timing again. They were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting 1-2 minutes. 

A little before 5am, I woke up Chris because I realized that I was in a lot of pain and just in case I had to go to the hospital, I probably shouldn't be driving myself. He called into work and I called the hospital. The nurse told me to drink some water, take a tylenol and lay down on my left side. If I didn't feel better in an hour, then I should come in.

Well, I called into work and decided to take a shower while Chris got some tylenol. By the time he got back, I guess I sounded like I was in pain and he decided we should go to the hospital right away and not wait an hour. But I really wanted to finish my shower, so I sent him to pack a bag while I suffered in the shower. I was still sure that these cramps would go away and that I would be coming back home before the end of the day. Chris kept trying to rush me, which was the one time I snapped at him. I kept telling him to be patient with me. 

At 6 am we were on the road and I was kind of screaming by this point. It hurt. I have never had such bad cramps in my life. We made it to the hospital around 6:30 and I had to stop a couple of times walking in because of the pain. (I did not want to be dropped off and walk in all by myself while Chris found a parking spot.)

We got checked in and into a room and  I heard the worst words of my life. "Well girly, you are at 9cm." I knew that I was not going to get an epidural which was not the plan. I did not want to feel the pain- the pain I had already felt for 7 hours. At 6:58, I was at 10 cm and time to push.

I pushed for 2 hours. The on-call doctor said that she thought the baby would be there by 7:30. No such luck. I was just hoping to have her out by the time our families showed up. They were an hour away. That also didn't happen. My doctor came in around 8:30 and mentioned using a vacuum to help get her out. And at 8:50 I asked her to use it. 

At 9:03am, Miss Carter Avery Stowe was born. She was 7 pounds, 7 ounces and 20 1/2 inches long. And she had a lot of hair. 

Life is mostly definitely different now. I don't really have a sense of time as I get used to being on her schedule for the moment. Chris took off a week of work and had to go back this last Monday. That was hard, I wish he could stay home with us forever. 

She is mostly a good baby. She cries when she is hungry. She doesn't like her feet touched, and she doesn't like her feet covered up with a blanket. She hasn't really liked sleeping in her crib, but I think I found a solution for that. 

She is just adorable and I really can't imagine our lives without her. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Everything is Changing

It has been awhile. I feel like not much has happened, but when I think about it, there has been a lot of changes in our family the last few months. 

Chris and I took a very long vacation to Washington D.C and New York this summer. It was so long because half of it was paid for by the Mickelson Exxonmobil Teacher Academy I attended. We flew in early so that we could have some time when I would not be in workshops. While there we rode a bus to Washington D.C. and back, saw a lot of broadway shows, watched my ankles swell, and sweated through the worst heat wave in NYC ever. We had a lot of fun, but I am still glad to be home. 

We drove up to Oklahoma to go to Adison's wedding. And then they came down the next week for an open house here. It was a fun week to spend time with him and Alyssa. 

Charleah had her baby at the end of August. She is now over a month old. Which is just absolutely crazy. And I think she looks more like Charleah every single day. I can't wait to see her at Christmas. 

I started grad school. When I tell people I am in grad school, most of them look at me like I am crazy for starting grad school at the same time I am expecting and will have our first baby. But it is literally free. I pay nothing. (Except for the pack of oreos I had to buy for class last week.) A free master's from the University of Houston. I couldn't pass that up when I got accepted. This weekend will be spent watching conference and getting ahead so that when the baby does get here, I have all my assignments already done. 

Our baby is closer to getting here. These last months have felt like forever and I feel like I have been pregnant forever. But I am also glad for the time to prepare for it. And these last 4 weeks will be spent preparing a lot of stuff. Since the only thing we have done is set up the crib. But I kind of feel that is the most important thing. I am not too worried about getting everything done before she gets her.

We still don't have a name chosen. I have just decided that I am going to meet her first and then I'll know better what name to pick. We do have a short list of names we both like. 

My coworker pointed out to me yesterday that I could have the baby in two weeks. I am not counting on her being early. I don't have things set up for my sub when I am maternity leave, which is really the only thing I feel like I need to get done before she gets her. I plan on getting that done in two weeks. So, she can't come early. 

This is me at 19 weeks, 24 weeks, 30 weeks, and 34 weeks. I am now 36 weeks and feel like I have really started to pop. Plus, I am waddling everywhere. No matter how hard I try to stop it. 

Well, I expect the next post will probably be a couple months away. We'll just be waiting for baby, working, studying, and possibly getting things set up in her room. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Stand by Stephen King

I realized that I never posted my new years resolutions on this blog. One of them was to read 20,000 pages this year. I chose pages instead of books so that I wouldn't look at big books and think that it would take too long to get through them.

On July 6, I have read just over 6,000 pages. Not close to where I should be. But some things have changed since the beginning of the year and I probably won't make 20,000 pages for the year.

But, this book gave me 1,153 pages to add to my total. I am pretty sure it is the longest book I have ever read. It took me 2 weeks and 3 days to complete it.

And I hated it. I realized this when I got around page 600. I didn't want to read it anymore, but I was so far into it! It had taken a creepy turn. I really wanted to read another Stephen King book after reading 11/22/63 but I didn't want it to be horror.

The Stand wasn't really a horror. There were some parts that I just didn't like. And now that I am pregnant, anything I am watching/reading/doing before bed is what I dream about that night. So I had to stop reading this book before bed or I would have dreams that were too crazy and just creepy.

Here's the story: A superflu wipes out the world population except for maybe one or two people per town. These people start to gather together and as they do, they all start to have the same type of dreams. Dreams with an old woman in Nebraska (the good) and dreams with a dark man in the west (the bad). As they have these dreams, all the people choose sides. Eventually it was supposed to be some big, end-of-the-world show down between the two sides.

So I wouldn't recommend it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It's a Girl!

I have been patiently waiting for this day for a long time. And then for the last week, not so patiently waiting. 

I haven't been sleeping well the last week because I would wake up every day thinking "Today's the day we know the gender!" and then I had to remind myself that it was only Saturday and we still had to wait 3 days until the appointment. 

Chris patiently waited, until we were at the doctors office and we went into the sonogram at 9:35am instead of our appointment time of 9:20am. 

But we made it in and within 2 minutes she had told us it was a girl. She measured some stuff, showed us her face. Told us what she was doing (because honestly, those things are hard to read.)

Towards the end, she was curled up with her little hands in front of her face and her legs tucked into her. 

So...we are having a girl! We went shopping as soon as we left the office and got a couple dresses. It was hard not to buy more. We had to narrow it down a lot. Only 20 more weeks until we meet her!

For the record, I have been saying for the last week she was a girl. It was the first time all pregnancy I felt like I knew the gender.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This book has been on my to-read list for years. I had thought that it would be boring, I am not sure where I got that from.

For reasons that would take too long to explain, I needed something to read and this was the only book available at the time. So, I started reading it and I immediately loved it.

First of all, Harper Lee starts the book with a plea to never put an introduction on her book. I hate introductions! I always skip them because by the time I am half-way through, I am disinterested in the book. So, thanks Harper Lee.

I didn't know the book was told from the point of view of a 9 year old girl, Scout. I knew the basic premise of the book but that was it apparently it. The book is set in a county in Alabama during the 1930s. It tells the story of a girl and her older brother and their journeys together throughout school and summer vacation. Their father, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer. His main case throughout the book is defending a black man who was accused of raping a white woman.

For the most part, his children don't know much about their father's trials. But this one is dividing the town apart and his children feel the effects of it.

The book is also full of mini-lessons, which I suppose is what has made it great.

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...Until you climb inside his skin and walk around in it."

"I like to think there's just one kind of folks. Folks."

"Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts."

“Before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.”  

Like I said, I absolutely loved it. It was a book I was sad to see end. And it is the only book Harper Lee ever wrote. If anyone else hasn't read the book, do it now. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Busy Summer

I have had amazing summers every year that I have been teaching. The first year I went to the east coast, the second year I went to California and a geology trip through Texas, Colorado and New Mexico. This summer is no difference.

I would be going to New York and Boston (for free) but another opportunity came up that was too good to pass up.

I applied and was accepted to the iSmart program at the University of Houston. It is a Master's program and is completely free. No joke here. I have to attend a session at the University of Houston in June, the same week as the free New York and Boston trip. Well, free master's outweighs free trip. This is an online program that I will be able to do while still teaching. In fact, I have to keep teaching to participate. This is the last year they are running the program.

But no worries. Because I was also accepted into an Exxonmobil week long teacher academy in New Jersey this summer. Also paid for. While I will be in sessions all day long, I will be done at 4:30 everyday. The hotel is directly across the Hudson River from New York. And I don't have to share a hotel room. So Chris and I are going up their early, we'll explore the city, and then when the academy he starts, he will keep himself occupied in New York until I'm done. If anyone can keep themselves occupied in New York, it is Chris. 

We were already planning on going somewhere big this summer. This was number two on the list. (Europe is number one.) So this is an awesome way to do it and save some money at the same time.

All this, a prepping for a baby. It will be a busy summer.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Baby!

I am finally ready to type out my pregnancy so far. I have been exhausted everyday and have not felt like doing anything... even type.

This is our little coconut at 10 weeks.  I am currently at 16 weeks and in the second trimester.

We have heard the heartbeat twice. And it is amazing every time. I still have a hard time believing I have something growing inside of me so hearing it shocked me both times.

We had been trying for 3 1/2 years. I have posted about it before. I knew that we would be parents someday; we just weren't sure when one day was going to happen. It didn't seem like it would be happening anytime soon.

At the beginning of February, we went to see a specialist to discuss our options. One thing we were told might help was surgery. Since it was an optional surgery, insurance wouldn't cover much. We were trying to figure out how to pay for it, when to take time off work for recovery etc.

At the end of February, I realized I was about 5 days late which doesn't happen. I have trained myself over the last 3 years to not freak out every month and just let things happen. I went and taught Saturday School and then as soon as it was over I got a pregnancy test. Chris was at a debate tournament and I wasn't planning on telling him anything just in case it was negative.

I took it and walked away for about 5 minutes. I wanted to make sure it had time to tell me the truth.

A faint line is still a line! I broke down in the bathroom crying of joy. I couldn't believe after years of trying I was finally seeing this. But since I have read a pregnancy test wrong before, I immediately called Chris. Who didn't answer his phone. When he finally did, I told him I was sending him a picture that I needed him to look at.

He still took forever to get back to me. But he finally called me back and we decided that I should buy a more expensive test just to make sure. Which I did and got the word "pregnant" to flash.

And 12 weeks later, I am still pregnant. I have taken some belly shots, but they are far away in a camera somewhere. And I am not showing yet anyways. I can tell there is a difference, but not too many other people can.

We find out on June 11 what we are having. Chris says boy (because he is scared of girls) and I don't care. I just want a healthy baby.

We still have 26 weeks ahead to get through. As soon as school gets out (in 9 school days) I am going to start crafting and cleaning organizing our second bedroom. I've got all summer to get it done.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I finally took the GRE. Something for which I have been "studying" for 3 years. But really studying for the last 2 months.

I found a masters program I really want to get into and it requires the GRE so I finally took the plunge.

It was the worst 4 hours of my life, or it felt like it.

Since Christmas break I feel like I have neglected almost everything and now grades are due on Monday so the rest of the week will be spent grading.

I did a little better than I expected, a few points more, so I am happy with it. Now on with the rest of the application.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Favorite Books of 2012

I tried to narrow my lit down to 10, but I could only get it to 12. These are just in the order that I read them. I don't know if I can say I had one favorite this year, but these are all books I would recommend to anyone. There's two from my favorite author, Jasper Fforde. Two from my new favorite discovery this year, John Connolly. But all of these books were "I need to go to sleep after one last chapter" type of books. 

I've Got Your Number, Sophie Kinsella
The Gates, John Connolly
The Devil in the White City,Eric Larson
The Woman Who Died a Lot, Jasper Fforde
The Last Dragonslayer,Jasper Fforde

The last ones on the list, were after I stopped blogging for 6 months, so no link to them. Possibly later. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 Books Read

Yea, it really has been almost 6 months. Life has been busy. I started my third year of teaching and picked up some new hobbies and didn't think any of it was post worthy. I can't promise I'll post more this year.

But this year I read 54 books, for a total of 18,300 pages. Goodreads keeps track of how many pages I read.

Here is all of them before I delete my list on the side and start 2013 books read.

This year I read 3 nonfiction books and 1 classic. Two types of books that are so difficult for me to read.

This next year, I made my goal based on pages and not books. This way I might be more willing to read longer books and not worry about making it into my count. The goal is 20,000 pages.

I don't know how long I will be able to keep up reading 40+ books a year. One day, I'll probably have to cut back, but I'll get as much out of it as I can.

I'll list my favorites from the year a different day.

The Thirteen HallowsScott and Freedman

Crossed, Ally Condie
Gathering Blue, Lois Lowry
Prized, Caragh M. O'Brien
Ella Minnow Pea, Mark Dunn
Damned Lies and Statistics, Joel Best
The Revisionists, Thomas Mullen
The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Genesis, Bernard Beckett
Dawn of the Dreadfuls,Steve Hockensmith
The Case of the Missing Books, Ian Sansom
Veracity, Laura Bynum
When She Woke, Hillary Jordan
Overbite, Meg Cabot
The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly
A Long, Long, Sleep, Anna Sheehan
The Leftovers, Tom Perrotta
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
Build A Man, Talli Roland
The Last Town on Earth, Thomas Mullen
Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins
A Million Suns, Beth Revis
Wtiches of East End, Melissa de la Cruz
The Rook, Daniel O'Malley
MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
Epitaph Road, David Patneaude
The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers, Thomas Mullen
Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver
How to Get a Literary Agent in Two Murders or Less, Ellie Burmeister
I've Got Your Number, Sophie Kinsella
Death of a Dreamer, M.C. Beaton
The Uncommon Reader, Alan Bennett
The Postmortal, Drew Magary
The Hangman's Daughter, Oliver Potzsch
11/22/63, Stephen King
Twenties Girl, Sophie Kinsella
The Gates, John Connolly
The Infernals, John Connolly
12.21: A Novel, Dustin Thomason
The Devil in the White City,Eric Larson
The Woman Who Died a Lot, Jasper Fforde
Size 12 and Ready to Rock,Meg Cabot
The Woman in Black, Susan Hill
Getting Rid of Bradley,Jennifer Crusie
The Scorch Trials, James Dashner
The Death Cure, James Dashner
The Last Dragonslayer,Jasper Fforde
666 Park Avenue, Gabriella Pierce