Monday, April 30, 2012

Emerson.


I still haven't gotten my act together enough to do official newborn photos.

Favorite photographer: see here.


I snapped a few photos of Miss Emmie this afternoon.
















Gosh, you think your heart is full, and then this little person comes into the picture. Wham! 


I'm completely intoxicated with her.


This newborn thing, it just never gets old.














Thursday, April 26, 2012

This is important.

We've been enjoying our down-time at home with Miss Emerson. Naps, cuddling, nursing, and generally scoping out life with four bity ladies. But I interrupt this pause to bring a video of my litte sister that had me laughing so hard I was reminded of the joys of postpartum bladder {non}function.

Have you heard of Ellen's pregnant lady dance dare?! For Mother's Day she challenged pregnant women to dance in public behind unsuspecting strangers.

Well, Sarah rocked it. 
Oh yes she did.

A must see....






Makes me proud.


Lol.


{Emerson photos to follow shortly!}


Saturday, April 21, 2012

She's here.



Thrilled to introduce.....



Emerson Alexis Haack
Born April 19th, 2012  4:04pm
7 lbs 11 oz






So perfect.

................................................



Meeting her sisters:



She was an instant hit.



Even Miss Ellie Jane took right to her...

 Oy! Wish us luck with this combo...!








...........................................


My four daughters are here!

There aren't words fit to describe the feeling.




One happy Mama,

Rae














Monday, April 16, 2012

Thinking it through + Post Edit.



I should be sleeping right now. Tired. So very tired. And still pregnant.

I am in no state to be speaking, let alone blogging. I've learned over time that opening my mouth during peak moments of blind, self-pitying vulnerability only leads to legitimate doses of embarrassingly 20/20 hindsight. I said whaaaaat?
For example, when asked yesterday {by a naive and well-intended passerby} how are you feeling these last few weeks? and responding with

An ironic mixture of apathy and rage choked by hopeful exasperation drowning in anxious despair...

I just knew I was gonna regret that.

The combination of impatience mixed with control freak mixed with dramatics mixed with hormonal imbalance mixed with 40 weeks gestation mixed with anxiety creates a cocktail of crazy so potent it becomes necessary I lock myself indoors to protect those outside. But with the advent of the computer, no one is safe anymore. I'm sorry, you've been warned.

Last night I cried to Tyler,

I am in a race. A long, tedious marathon. And maybe it's a good marathon...yes, one I'm glad to be in. But I'm almost to the finish line and the real problem is...I have no idea where exactly the finish line is. Three feet away? Twenty? Two miles? I'm running running running ...i am so sick of running!!!!! I just need somebody to PUHlease tell me where the finish line is!

I paused and waited for this earth shatteringlyBRILLIANT analogy to sink in as Tyler gave the usual sympathetic smile and briefly bowed his head in a look of Dear-All-that-is-Holy, save me and get my baby out of this psychotic shell of a woman i love  and began rubbing the acupressure point on the ball of my foot more furiously.

I wish I could explain how someone who chooses to have four children in 6 years could be so. bad. at. pregnancy. In a world plagued by infertility, my difficulty with this blessing will be my lifelong guilt. And let me be clear that it has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the actual baby. It may be dramatic but it certainly is truthful when I say I consciously, forcefully, choose to be happy each day of my pregnancies. Contentment is elusive during these months. Whatever mental/emotional/biological forces conspire within my being during this time seem bent on making me second guess everything I ever thought I knew, and I fall into deep wells of reflection and seeking and angst. But, during these journeys also come moments of intense clarity, when I am positive my perspective has been shifted for the better. I can feel it on occasion: a leap in understanding or growth in the stronger aspects of my character. I am tougher than I think. I am also hideously wimpier than I think.

I've always remembered an informative passage in a book about the functioning of a woman's body. It spoke of the innate wisdom of transitions we go through. The most brutal, often irritating phases of PMS, pregnancy, and menopause serve amazing purposes beyond what might be easily observed by the physiological eye.  During any of these times, we might suddenly find ourselves pummeled with feelings of sadness and extreme sensitivity. We may withdraw and become quieter, more thoughtful, and ready to examine... really examine...our lives. We make changes and call attention to things that have bothered us, things that we may have stuffed or set aside or ignored. These may even be minor things, or in some cases major things. But with the magnifying glass of whatever transition we're in, this massive lens through which we are now perceiving our reality, we can no longer ignore it. And so finally, we clean it out. We rid ourselves of it. We cry or we freak out or we storm through or we fall apart until finally, we stand up. Better and refreshed and more....ourselves.

Some may call it crazy-woman-problems, the icky tricky business of being female, or the gross  of being a girl. I say it's a gosh darn efficient system that keeps us from, oh i dunno... starting wars and using violence and blowing things up...you know, all the gender stereotypical stuff that seems to be the icky tricky business of being a male.

Applying that knowledge to my pregnancies has been helpful. I guess it isn't such a failure that I feel rather terrible during the whole process. From the moment of a positive test to that heavenly blessed most wonderful day ever when they hold up my squealing baby, it is a journey in which I am extra attuned to the nature of life. The lens through which I see is one of life-giving and life-protecting and life-altering. Which is why it is understandable that I plow through three boxes of tissues sobbing over everything from a Pamper's commercial to London's darling handwriting to the Sunday paper obituaries.

It is during these long months I open up and allow myself to become a little more pathetic and needy and empathetic. I cry more, I celebrate more, I grieve more, I feel more. And that isn't such a bad thing, now is it?



.....................................................................................



Big fat POST EDIT:


I wrote that post (and left it unpublished) a little over a week ago.

Imagine how I felt this weekend, waking up another day still pregnant. Tyler leaned over in the early morning and asked,


"How are you feeling?"


".......An ironic mixture of apathy and rage choked by hopeful -------




"Okay okay, THAT'S IT. We gotta get you out of here."







He suggested escaping town and taking the kids to the Sacramento Zoo
where it was projected to be a sunny 75 degrees. Aaahaaa! He was onto something! California air heals the soul at this time of the year.

Plus, assessing my behavior at this point in the reproductive journey, he felt it made sense to rejoin fellow primates.

{Sweet sista friend. I. get. you.}





Finnan and Forrest joined us. Dan and Ali are cool, spontaneous parents like that. Always up for a last minute adventure. We called them that morning and asked if they wanted to come along. They arrived at our house ready to go within the hour. 
If the reverse situation had occurred, I am positive I would have declined citing really. important. matters I couldn't pull myself away from....like reclassifying my lasagna recipes according to sodium content and folding laundry.

Note to self: after this pregnancy, stop being so lame.











Poor Ellie Jane was terrified of the giraffes. Cute. Random.












Good call husband, it was just what the doctor ordered.
 A wonderful day in the sun.




Next up on doctor's orders:


A baby. 


By Friday.



No more messing around.




Signing off
excited,
 nervous, hopeful, 
grateful, scared, blessed,
happier,


Rae
















Saturday, April 7, 2012

Notables.



The little things you swear you'll never forget and then inevitably (tragically!) do:

17 months old...

Runs to the bathroom every morning repeating "Teese! Teese! Teese!"
{Loves to brush her teeth}

Signals to me by patting her bottom and saying "Ew. Ew. Ew." when she needs her diaper changed.

Also follows her sisters into the bathroom and comments "Ew. Ew. Ew." when they go potty.

Would spend the ENTIRE DAY, EVERY DAY, in the backyard if allowed.

Loves Monster's Inc.

Runs in place when Tyler gets home, totally excited but likes to play coy and not jump right into his arms immediately

Loves to tell me, with tear filled eyes, about any "Owies" and "Uh ohs" she encounters during the day...
"Owwie, owie owie"


Hates the stroller and cries when we go on walks because she wants to ride the bikes instead like her big sisters. 

Fearless. 

Adventurer.

 A little bossy.

Doesn't prefer to cuddle nearly as much as her Mama would like her too.

But still gives good kisses.

And has the WORLD'S CUTEST TEETH.

Ellie Jane is one. perfect. lady.








Friday, April 6, 2012

All over the place.


If you're notice a flair of bi-polar,
a bit of dissonance 
as the universal thread laced throughout this blog

you're spot on.




Yes, Easter rice crispy baskets filled with peanut butter egg M&Ms family night activity is the most suitable chronological follow-up to the vegan/vegetarian/tofu/heavenhelpusfatAmericanMormons! post.








I am determined to get something done today. My house is in shambles.

Seems this baby won't be early. I was convinced she would be.
I can't explain it, but it feels like I've failed humanity when I go to my weekly checkup and am told I'm not dilated any further. Patience is not. my. forte. What?!? How could this be?! I've done such a thorough job of moaning and cramping and walking around the house hunched over in mock agony: isn't there anything to be said for the dishes piled in the sink and the unwashed children eating saltine crackers off of the carpet? 

........................................

Last week, I lost the cervical cap known by the dignified title of mucus plug. TMI? Tell me about it. I don't believe in being all willy nilly ashamed of normal body functions, especially regarding the female condition, but even I found it hard to mutter the words. I called Tyler at work,

"Hey babe..I lost my mpl this morning."

"Your what?"

"My mcsplg"

"Huh?"

"My mucus plug."

"I can't hear you."

"My mucus plug. You know, the bloody show."

"Oh, your MUCUS PLUG! YOU LOST YOUR MUCUS PLUG.
ATTENTION EVERYONE, RAE HAS LOST HER MUCUS PLUG!
CAN WE GETTA MUCUS PLUG IN HERE?!?!
MUCUS PLUG ALERT! MUCUS PLUG ALERT!

I hate you. Good bye.

That night at dinner he got up to grab me a drink.

Did you want a mucus plug to go with that babe?

No more children for him.

...................................................

I purchased the entire season, episode by episode, of The Real Housewives of Orange County.Watched one every night, thinking: oh, just one more. I'll have a baby soon.
Season is over. 
Dang.

I debated between purchasing The New York versus The Beverly Hills seasons and then decided I could no longer support such mind-numbing soul-less garbage. (cough cough...Beverly Hills, definitely purchased Beverly Hills.)
..................................................


I scheduled an acupressure massage yesterday to try to induce labor. I was excited speaking over the phone with the Chinese woman who would perform the reflexology:

"Um, hi - yes, I have a doctor's note giving permission to do anything that can stimulate labor."

"Yes yes, you hab baby."

"You think so? Does this work on your expecting clients?"

"Yes yes, you hab baby."

"Oh good!"

Only to arrive and realize there was a serious language barrier we were dealing with. I reiterated the above instructions and was met with a curious gaze. You mentioned certain pressure points that could stimulate labor? Remember, to have my baby? She looked at her husband and they shrugged their shoulders. We spoke about it yesterday? Blank, confusion. Okay nevermind, foot massage it is! It was hands down the best foot massage ever though.


.............................................



Off to do those dishes.

I'll keep ya posted.














Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Evolving.


{Scroll to the bottom for recipes!}


 About a year ago I became intensely interested in dietary connections to health. One tidbit of information led to another and another....all reinforcing a firmer conviction that

diet IS THE CONNECTION to our health.

Growing up Mormon, this wasn't exactly a massive epiphany. Most people, if educated on nothing but one specific cultural red flag of Mormonism, are aware that it is a faith which has something to say about dietary choices. Most of the perplexed gazes I have encountered from those not of my faith came with questions regarding why a religion would feel the need to counsel about one's diet. To an outsider, we may look like the equivalent of orthodox kosher Jews: only with non-inebriated, boring wedding receptions.

I mean, come on, so. many. rules?

Lame.


The main bullet point of Mormon theological doctrine that most people absorb is the "Mormons can't drink" rule. But really, the law of health established clear back in the 1800's in Mormon doctrine, known commonly as The Word of Wisdom, is much more in depth. 

Stemming clear back these olden' days, Mormons were counseled to:

 avoid alcohol, tobacco and strong drinks.
To eat fruits and vegetables in prudence and thanksgiving
To consume flesh of the 'beasts and fowls of the air' sparingly
And to enjoy wheat, rice, and oats as 'the staff of life'

In return, we are promised 

"health to our navels...and marrow to our bones...wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures..."

and that we 

"shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint."


Pretty progressive stuff for the 19th century, especially given the hazardous results of the current American diet. Unfortunately, I would argue that a sizable portion of fellow Mormons gloss over the bulk of these health guidelines and instead zero-in on the same "no alcohol" rule as much as the general public in narrowly defining the Mormon proto-diet. But truth be told, I have a hunch our staple baked potato bars piled with sour cream/bacon/cheese could be killing us equally if not faster than our neighbor's affinity for a one too many night caps.

 If ya think about it: why would God give us these awesome bodies without so much as an owner's manual on its upkeep? The Word of Wisdom makes sense to me!
When asked, why would a religion care about one's diet?
I can't help but respond

Why wouldn't it care?!

Spiritual, emotional, mental, sexual, physical
it's all connected.
At least that is what I believe.


Is this sounding preachy? I'm sorry. Let's move on.

I really want to provide a bunch of 'non-religious' links that have greatly improved the diet of our household. So I am going to share some books, documentaries, and RECIPES to try out! I began trying to cook vegetarian at least three nights a week for our family about a year ago. But with Tyler and the arthritis condition he's been busy healing (successfully I might add: booo yeah!), we  have added vegan and even gluten-free to a lot of our meals.

I won't lie, it was like suddenly having to deal with the Helen Keller of diet changes.
What exactly are you supposed to eat that is both vegan AND gluten free? Well, after research and checking out twenty cookbooks at the library, turns out there are plenty of things. But I won't lie again, I don't wish that level of change on anyone unless you absolutely must. Which for a time, Tyler must. But in exchange for not having to take powerful and potentially dangerous steroids to deal with his pain, the man is a champ and willing to make the commitment.

We are more vegan-ish, more vegetarian-ish, but I am only willing at this point to commit to the "ish". I modify Tyler's food to the strict regulations, but there is no way I will do it for our entire family. Slap me with major restrictions and one day I'm bound to be found in some back alley hoarding sausages, ice cream, and a bazooka ready blast any fool's attempt to take them away.

And before I inundate you with links, let me also say this has been a slow and steady evolution for me. Gradually educating myself has led to minor improvements, one by one in our lifestyle. Too much, even of a good thing, can be overwhelming. But the info is too good to not pass along, try a bit here and there!:

...........................................

Click titles for links.
Let's start with the book list I recommend (I've posted a few of these before):



.............................................

Food documentaries worth seeing:




...............................................


And now, best of all: I will post periodic recipes that we come across and like!


Breakfast sample:


Blend a combo of three whole/natural cereals, different crunch and textures. You can even add nuts too (yummy). Jam pack it with any of your favorite fruits/berries (think strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas, kiwis, mangos...!!!), top with almond milk and enjoy.



Lunch sample:


A skip-the-meat sandwich. Notice I can't give up some cheese though. Use hummus as your condiment. Pile on any veggies you like (some favorites are cucumber, roasted red bell peppers, spinach, and avocado). Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper. Use good bread! 




Dinner sample:


Recipe from this site
(which has tons of good recipes)

2 cans cannellini white beans, drained
1 large sweet potato, baked/peeled/mashed (about 2 cups)
2 Tbsp tahini {I skipped this ingredient}
2 tsp maple or agave syrup
1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning OR Cajun seasoning (or another fave spice!)
1/4 cup wheat flour
optional: additional seasoning (whatever you have on hand - I used a few dashes cayenne, black pepper and a scoop of nutritional yeast)
salt to taste if needed

plentiful Panko crumbs
safflower oil for pan

burgers: avocado, Dijon mustard, grain buns, romaine, onion, olive oil, pepper

Directions:

1. Bake sweet potato. Peel, place in large mixing bowl.
2. Add drained beans to mixing bowl. Mash beans and potato together.
3. Mash in seasoning, flour and any additional seasoning. Your mixture will be quite soft and moist. But you should be able to form a patty. Add more flour or a scoop of breadcrumbs - or dry rice to thicken the mixture if needed.
4. Heat 1 Tbsp safflower oil in a pan over high heat.
5. Form a patty from mixture and coat in Panko crumbs. Thick coating. Then drop the patty in the pan. Repeat until the pan is filled. Cook until browned on both sides. You could also bake. If baking, use less Panko.
6. Transfer cooked patties to paper towel. Cool for a few minutes.
7. Serve on toasted bun with lotsa toppings.
{I added caramelized onions to ours: they make the world a better place} 





{Disclaimer: If you've been raised on a meat-based, American diet your entire life - like me - you might think of tofu as I did: the world's freakiest food utilized only by hippies and starving Asian countries. As shocking as this may seem given my usual accuracy with ignorant stereotyping, I am pleased to report it IS AND CAN BE DELICIOUS. Give it a try!}

1 block extra-firm tofu
2 red/yellow bell peppers, seeded and sliced thin
1/2 cup sliced shallots
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon agave nectar
15 leaves fresh basil

Cook tofu in a non-stick skillet with a little olive oil or cooking spray, about 10 minutes until browned on all sides. Remove to the side. Add peppers, shallots, garlic and ginger and saute for about 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. 
In a small bowl, mix together the curry paste, water, soy sauce, and agave. Add mixture and tofu into the pot with the peppers and shallots. Cook for another 5 or so minutes and add fresh basil. It's ready!

You can serve this over regular cooked brown rice, or get extra fancy and make this highly recommended YUMMY rice as a side:

Pineapple Rice:

3 cups cooked brown rice
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup sliced shallots (or red onion)
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
dash of salt
2 tsp Thai Red Curry Paste
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons agave nectar
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 1/2 cups diced pineapple

Saute olive oil, shallots, garlic, and ginger until shallots are tender and caramelized. Mix curry paste, water, soy sauce, and agave nectar in a small bowl. Add cooked rice to shallot mixture and pour curry mixture all over. Stir to combine over medium heat and add pineapple. Cook until heated through.



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Here's to good health!