2013 Year In Review

I skipped this annual tradition last year.  I still have it saved in my drafts, unfinished, because it got pushed to the side like so many things have in my life. 

 01. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?

 Became mother to a two year old.  That is something in and off itself.  I also did a couple trail rides competitively that I hadn't done before.

02. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

 I always make them, don't always keep them.  This year I did pretty horrid.

03. Did anyone close to you give birth?

 Well, now that you mention it.  The one and only blog post this year that wasn't centered around new year's was my daughter's birth story.   I also had quite a few cousins give birth. 

04. Did anyone close to you die?

 Tim, my barn cat.  This hit me hard, mainly because it was my fault.  I accidentally ran him over and it made me sick to my stomach. 

05. What countries did you visit?

 None.  No new states either. 

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

 Sanity.  And Time. 

07. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 3.  Take a guess.

 08. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Delivering a healthy baby girl in under two hours of labor with no drugs.  That was pretty awesome actually. 

 09. What was your biggest failure?

 Not getting my garden in.  Really, it's been kind of a chill year in that regards.  I can't think of any at the moment.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Does childbirth count?  Though I came out of it pretty well.  I also got bucked off a horse and maybe broke my thumb (sucked it up and didn't see a doctor, but it hurt for a few weeks so I'm guessing it was bruised pretty well at least)

 11. What was the best thing you bought?
A Mini-Van

 12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Whenever Kaia goes to the potty on the toilet, or listens to me, and doesn't destroy my house, it merits celebration.  Yay Kaia!

 13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
I try not to let other people get to me, so maybe it is time for this question to be rephrased.  Anyway, Kaia got to me several times, being a two year old (throwing phone into the toilet, smearing poop all over the house, doing a lot of questionable crap with said poop), and in subsequent actions, I get mad and frustrated with myself. 

 14. Where did most of your money go?

To kids and various 'projects'.

 15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

 Gus getting orders out of here. 

16. What songs will always remind you of 2013?

 Wrecking Ball is a guilty pleasure. 

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

 Oh gosh, I think I'm more stressed now.  Just where things are.

ii. Thinner or fatter?

 Thinner, only because I'm not four months pregnant.

iii. Richer or poorer?

 I'd say it's a draw. 

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Ran more, or just did more activities, whether it be races, running, adventures, snowboarding, snowmobiling, things like that.  This was a pretty activity-less year.  Although I did a couple trail rides that were pretty awesome and I wish I had discovered them earlier.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Sat on my ass surfing the net on my iPhone.  The thing eats time.  I told my husband I wanted a basic flip phone with texts when I was ready to upgrade, he talked me into another iPhone and I kick myself.    

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Quietly, at home, with my family.  Very mellow and easy going day.  Christmas Eve was spent at my sister's house playing games and eating dinner. 

 22. Did you fall in love in 2013?

Yes, I have a second child now.  No matter how much they stress you out, you can't help but love them

23. Favorite Month 0f 2013

New Question for this year.  I'll say May.  Because new baby and all, and it had some fantastic weather.  Though I must admit, Spokane really rocked October.  Perfect Fall weather.  September was a pretty great month as well.

 24. What were your favourite TV programs?

  I started getting into Breaking Bad, didn't finish it.  Phineas and Ferb is hilarious. 

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I try not to hate on people.  Really, juvenile question.  Next year it will be rephrased to say something like, Did you have a falling out with anyone that left a particularly bad taste in your mouth?  To which I will reply for this year, hmm, not really.  (I think most of the questions on this little year in review were written by a teenager at the time I found them)

 26. What was the best book you read?

 I didn't really read, but I did a fair bit of writing (its my escape, when I get into a writing mood I have to write my way out of it)

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

 What Does The Fox Say?  Ok, so I totally cheated because my brain is mush. . .

28. What did you want and get?

 A sushi making kit.

29. What did you want and not get?

A knitting kit, but it's all good.  I'll get one later. 

 30. What was your favourite film of this year?

 I think I saw a grand total of five films this year.  I don't sit through movies anymore and the movies I do watch are geared toward families, so I'll say Monster's University. 

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 33.  My husband took me to eat Sushi.  He knows me well. 

 32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having a perfectly content and well-mannered two year old, but you know what?  Honestly I wouldn't trade her for the world, no matter how destructive and rambunctious she is.

 33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

Unkept appearance.

 34. What kept you sane?

 I have a two year old.  I am far from sane at this moment.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you like the most?

Dr. Ben Carson is up there, though I disagree with him on Gun Control.  Otherwise, argh, I cant think of any!  I'm caught up in mommy world that public figures don't hold my attention these days

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

 Gun Control and ObamaCare.  I am against them both.

37. Who did you miss?
Maybe this should say 'What'.  What did I miss?  Not one, but two weddings, and subsequently opportunities to catch up with many cousins, friends and family.

 38. Who was the best new person you met?

A little girl named Ashlyn

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

 Life's to short to get to stressed out, because when it is all said and done, it doesn't matter, it's just infuriating at the time you are in the middle of it.  You'll laugh about it later. 

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

  Drive me crazy!


Ashlyn's Birth Story

On May 3, 2013, Ashlyn Sage Donnelly joined our family and brought our number to four.  It was quite an interesting journey!  But let me start at the beginning.

We were wanting to have at least two children, wanted them close in age, and I want to be done with childbearing by the time I hit 35 so we could still be relatively young enough to enjoy raising our kids.  I'm currently 32, so with the possibility of having one more, we wanted to make sure we hit the timing right.  We weren't really trying when Ashlyn was conceived, but we weren't doing anything to prevent a pregnancy either.  It was really just a let things come if they may type situation.

If we had a boy, Gus was done and we would consider our family complete, but a second girl was in our future so we are going to try one more time and take what we get.  After experiencing a pregnancy with a very busy toddler under foot, I have decided that the next one will need to be spaced out a little more, so when this little one gets to be about fourteen to sixteen months old, we'll be looking at getting pregnant one final time.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

My 'Due Date' was May 9th, but I had this sneaky suspicion I wouldn't make it that far from early on, and this being my second pregnancy, with a daughter that was 17 months old, I was feeling it.  I wanted to make it to 38 weeks, so I have been trying to take it easy while at the same time trying to not put my entire life on hold.  As I got closer and closer to my goal, I just felt more and more uncomfortable.  That discomfort kept me cautious, forced to skip two weddings because it was just to close to the end for me to make the trip.  This was especially true about week 36 when they checked me and found that I was already dilated to a 3, though i wasn't effaced.  Something told me from the start that when it happened, it would happen fast.

I didn't have them check me again until this Wednesday, I was one day shy of Week 39, ready to go, but wanting it to happen when she was ready.   My midwife was a little surprised that I was dilated to a 4 and effaced 80%.  She basically told me "As soon as you start labor and you know it's labor, or your water breaks, come in as soon as possible."  This being a second pregnancy, and we living where we did, she didn't want to take any chances for me to wait and labor at home when I was already progressed to where I was at.  She offered to speed things along, but I declined.  I was determined to do this with no interventions.
Ok, so I decided maybe I would do a little bit to speed things along.  I was having Braxton Hicks all day on Wednesday, so family was lingering around after my appointment and helping me get things ready while tracking contractions to make sure they were the real thing or not.  They weren't, they were all over the place.  I have no doubt they were doing something, but labor wasn't progressing.  Yet.  On Thursday, I was still pregnant, for sure it would happen that day, and even jumped on the horse bareback just to see if it would do anything.  I had a couple chickens on stand by for butchering, since that worked the first time (inside joke) but never got around to it.  Took my daughter Kaia for a walk, felt something, but no labor.  

Went to bed Thursday night thinking it could still happen, but Friday might be the day.  I woke up feeling pretty tight and a little sore, but overall, just very pregnant.  My husband left for work and I had my sister and my mother on standby in case I needed them.  It was just me and my daughter and we tried to take it easy while getting some stuff done around the house to prepare for the arrival of this little one.  

Turns out, its fortunate that we were able to wait.  Gus got home, I didn't feel like cooking anything fancy so we threw a frozen pizza in the oven.  We discussed other methods of speeding things along, as  he was feeling a little impatient with the stand by as well.  Nothing quite like being in limbo waiting for a baby to be born.  Me, I've been just focusing on doing what I could around the house.  

Well, about 8:25pm, I felt the first undeniable contraction that felt like 'it'.  I've been having tightness and contractions for weeks, but this was definitely different.  I was still able to move through it, but I had downloaded an app on my phone and when the next one hit a few minutes later, I timed it and gave Gus the heads up that this could be it.  I timed another one and texted my doula to give her the heads up as well that baby might be coming soon.  I wanted to get a couple more timed, just to be sure, and sent a couple texts alerting my sisters while Gus called his mom to arrange for her to pick up Kaia if things continued.  I called my mom and got voicemail.  

By 8:45 I knew this was the real deal and tried to let everyone know while Gus got the car ready and I continued to time the contractions while coordinating with everyone via texts.  I had one sister and my doula heading out for sure, mother in law planning on meeting us at the hospital, getting a hold of the midwife on call and trying to pacify a toddler who was ready to go to sleep and wanted to cuddle with momma, while momma wasn't in the position to cuddle.  

At 9:00, I called my mom again and left a voicemail, letting her know we were heading to the hospital because we were pretty sure this was it.  Gus, being a typical guy, decided that every time I had a contraction he would slow down.  Dork.  I'm not sure he realized that he was taking his life into his hands when he was teasing me like that.  They weren't bad yet, but they were getting a little more intense.  I also noticed the dreaded back and leg labor was back.  Fortunately, my body seemed to realize that it needed to slow down and the contractions went to every five minutes while driving to the hospital.  

We got to the hospital just before 9:30.  One reason we changed hospitals from the first time was because I had to go through triage at the other hospital and I hated triage.  The nurse was horrible, completely discounted my birth plan and it ruined my vibe, but here they took me straight to my room and my midwife was there to assist me.  She had me change into a hospital gown really quick while my support group slowly started to trickle in.  My mom and dad got there first, dad settled on the couch next to Gus and they sat back trying to stay out of the way.  

That's when the contractions really started to hit.  I bent over the bed and tried to endure the contraction, and Gus and Dad were still chatting about whatever, I don't remember.  Dad teasing me about being so serious or something like that, something no man should say to a woman in labor.  I just know when I go through a contraction, I like silence.  That's my thing so I can concentrate.  So the first thing out of my mouth was "Shut up!"  

Midwife noticed that the intensity level had changed and she went straight into supporting me and hitting the pressure points on my back.  After the contraction she quickly monitored baby's heart beat when my mother in law came in.  I went into another contraction while they were talking, and suddenly I'm trying to endure that while subtly telling them to quiet, shushing them but they didn't hear me.  Finally I told them to shut up again a little more forcefully.  

Sister and Doula showed up together and man oh man I was thankful for them as they hit those pressure points while I tried to labor, those contractions were coming up quick with little break between them.  Finally, my midwife asked to check my progress.  This was the one and only time I had been checked since coming into the hospital.  I was dilated to a 7.  I had been there less then thirty minutes.  Things were moving very quickly.  

Ok, sometimes, labor isn't pretty.  A laboring momma isn't really that concerned with otherwise embarrassing factors.  I guess one way to describe one symptom is labor is the feeling that you have to take the biggest crap of your life and you can't.  I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom, I started peeing a little bit and felt like I needed to use the bathroom.  Good thing too, I was able to empty my bladder though I had a contraction right there on the toilet.  I finally had my bloody show at that moment, but nothing else, coming out of the bathroom, another contraction hit me hard and I just braced myself again leaning up against the bed.  At that moment, all I could think is "I don't care, I'm just going to take a crap right here, I don't care if everyone sees me."  I tried to take to have a bowel movement and that's when it hit me, nope, this is not a simple poo, things were moving quickly.  I let everyone know that I had to push.  

Midwife asked me what position I wanted to deliver in, and to be honest, i wasn't sure.  I just knew I didn't want to be on my back like before.  That was miserable.  I just crawled onto the bed on my hands and knees and apparently everyone was in for a shock.  My water was not broke and my sack was apparently sticking out.  My midwife didn't have her gloves on, my mom had to get Gus in the room, we weren't expecting it this quickly.  

Next contraction, I eased her out through the coaching of my midwife.  I was told that she was still in the caul (the birth sack) but I think she had slid out of it.  However, the water gushed after her and drenched her as she let out her first cry.  The first thought I had was 'Woah, that was a rush!'  It was a completely different experience from my first birth and it happened so fast.  She was born at 10:09, about an hour and forty five minutes after I started my first contraction.  

I had to reach between my legs to get my baby, who still had her umbilical cord attached, but I delivered her completely drug free with no interventions.  I was able to do it without grunting (last birth I screamed) That was my goal, that's what I wanted, and the fast delivery was an added bonus.  If I could change anything, I would have wanted to hold my baby longer, but because of the shower of amniotic fluid while she took her first breath, they needed to get it out of her lungs so I had to relinquish my baby to the nurse and let them take care of her while I endured the joys of the after birth.  

My midwife commented that I made more noise while she pressed on my belly to get the excess fluids out then the actual delivery.  I guess I was mentally prepared for the former, not the latter.  
My other sister made it two minutes after Ashlyn was born.  Didn't give everyone a whole lot of time, I know.  Gus joked that the next baby will just fall out.  Hey, these fast births are pretty cool, I'll take 'em!

 Little girl has a bit of a temper to her.  She looks a lot like her sister, but I already noticed a few ways where she is her own person.  She has a darker complexion then Kaia and I think she's going to be a brunette.  She also suckles to soothe herself, so i think we have a binkie girl on our hands.  Kaia never took to one.

Welcome to the family Ashlyn, hope your big sis doesn't beat on you to much.  


Resolutions, 2012/2013 Edition

I'm a little late rolling this one out, but even though my blog is often ignored, I can't break from tradition.  So, I put up resolutions last year, how did I do?

1. Regularly attend church - Ok, I did better this year then years previous, and I was actually doing pretty well at the beginning of the year.  I fizzled out badly toward the middle of the year and then dropped out entirely when I discovered getting up to attend church at 9 was a little harder then I thought it would be.  This year, I don't have to go until 11, so I will likely be shooting for this one again.

2. Get back into shape  - I actually bounced back from having a baby pretty well.  I wanted to get into better shape then I did, and I wanted to be able to continue to work out through a subsequent pregnancy.  Having an infant that is dependent on you can make this task difficult.

2.5 Pass PT test first time out - Passed it, the run by the hair of my teeth, but I passed it. 

3. Run at least 5 races -  I ran two.  Leadman and The Dirty Dash (though the latter wasn't quite a race, more like a fun run where at one point you were forced to just walk in a line)

4. Horse Events - I had plans for this, I ended up doing pattern racing once with Breezy, but getting on the old girl while somebody watched the baby was harder to do then expected.  Would like to do more, but I won't make them a resolution.

5. Meal Planning - I had a couple of months where I successfully did this.  Then Gus changed his schedule to swings and it is harder to meal plan when you are cooking for just yourself. 

6. Breast feed at least 6 months -  Yay!  Smoked this one!  We made it to a year!

7. Agility Training with Scooby -  I no longer own Scooby.  We need a dog that can come indoors, and that requires one that doesn't shed.  I would like to get a dog, but I will wait to get approval from Gus for the next one. 

8. Get a job that coincides with staying home with Baby - .Kind of sort of, but I'll tell you this.  Staying at home with a baby is a full time job!  Plus homesteading, which is what I'm trying to do, also makes it difficult to stay on top of everything.  I have done some stuff with ebay and Craigslist, but it's an on and off kind of thing.  We'll probably continue to do similar stuff this year.  I don't see myself entering the workforce other than Army Reserves once a month. 

9. Get an A in classes while sticking with school -  I did take a couple of breaks, but when I am in class, I do get A's.  I'm not the most reliable student however, and I have been struggling to get my homework in on time.  I used to be able to hold off to the last minute and just wing it out, I have to manage my time better, but hey, I'm still getting As.  If I don't take any breaks, I'll have my degree by June, however i know I will have to delay my last two classes on account of newborn, but that's ok, I should have my degree by the end of the year.

10. Work on baby Number 2 - We're a Go!  She's due in May.

Ok, so I was 3.5 for 10, with 6 partially done resolutions and one flat out not done.  Not bad, not bad.  Could be better. 

So, what does 2013 have in store for me?  Well, only time will tell, but here's an idea of things I want to do...

1. Grow a garden - I had one this year, it was fun and a lot of work, but it wasn't as successful as I would have wanted.  Having free range turkeys didn't help either, especially when they discover your lettuce.  So, we'll be working on another garden this year, and it will be a bigger focus.  Along with fertilizing and all of that jazz. 

2. Do at least one meal a week by scratch - I'm on a goal to get self sufficient, we live on five acres, but with how busy one gets with life, sometimes its easier to just pop a ready made meal in the microwave, as well as those nasty burritos that taste oh so good.  Those ready made meals are not the healthiest things to eat, and baking from scratch is often cheaper and healthier in the long run. 

3. Eat more fruits and vegetables - I guess my list is getting pretty traditional.  The problem with this is it requires you to make multiple trips to the store to get fresh produce.  Getting to the store sometimes can be a challenge.  And i'll be toting around not one, but two little ones.  So this will be a challenge. 

4. Milk Cow Daily - This is going to be one test for the ages.  I have a milk cow.  Can you see a pattern here with my resolutions?  Anyway, I've been milking my cow twice a day since I got her, and using the milk.  So my goal is to get fresh milk for the year.  I've got a lot of people willing to help me in this quest.  She will be going dry for a couple months while she preps for her baby due in May. 

4.1 Milk the Goat - I have a goat, I've had her for almost a year.  I got her as a milking goat, but i never used her as one, so I have to get her prepared to let me milk her.  So I want to get her into milk and use her as one.  Fortunately, when the cow is dry is when I can start milking my goat.  Good times. 

4.2 - Learn to make my own Cheese, Butter, Yogurt, etc - yep, see a pattern?  I'm trying my hand at homesteading.  I might have to get some tools to accomplish this, but with my own milk cow, why not? 

5. Attend church at least twice a month - I'm out once a month just because of Drill Weekends, but I really need to focus on my spiritual needs, and I am more fulfilled when I attend church regularly.  This year, church is two hours later so it should be a little easier.  I also want the munchkins to socialize with kids of like minded values, and I need friends with like minded values too.  I see this as becoming more and more important for myself and my family, so we're going to make an extra effort to attend. 

6. Do More Art - I am neglecting my art, and it is something I really do enjoy, but I never seem to find time for it.  I think if I can find time, I will enjoy this.  We'll settle to once a month, do a painting, or a drawing, something art related.  Maybe get Kaia involved as she gets older. 

7. Learn a new craft skill - I'm thinking knitting or crocheting, something like that.  I finally learned how to use a sewing machine and have made several baby quilts for some family and friends. 

7.1 Make more quilts - This is very enriching to complete a baby quilt.  I have discovered I quite enjoy it.  I made three last year, I know I'm going to make at least one for little Bean, but if I can make several, I can start making it a habit to give them out as gifts.  I love recieving home made gifts, there is something about it, and I think a lot of people appreciate the thought and work put into something handmade. 

8. Breastfeed through the new year - Baby Bean will come in May, I plan on strictly breastfeeding her for the first few months.  The Army might get in the way of my plans, but I hope to continue to breast feed her through her first year.  However, that extends past this resolutions list.

9. Graduate from College - I should complete my Bachelor's degree this year.  I plan to do so, without any breaks I should have my degree completed by this summer, but I know I will be taking at least one. 

10. Exercise more - Generalized, though I should get into specific goals and numbers, as they are easier to judge wether success was reached or not.  Milking a cow does help, but I would really like to work out more even while I'm pregnant.  Right now it's just things that are safe for pregnancy, but overall, just working out regularly, even if its a short walk or a round of yoga or whatever it is, could help with making me feel better. 

10.1 Complete one full cycle of P90X - This will have to be later in the year, so it is later in the resolutions list.  I have to wait until after the baby is born of course, and probably after the six week post partum period, but I think this will make me feel great if I can do it at least once. 

11. Read one new book a month - I used to love to read, still do, but reading much more then this with everything on my plate might be difficult.  Still, would like to try. 

I think that should do it.  Only a year will tell if I succeed or not.