Sunday, November 29, 2009

stretching thanks

most of our week leading up to thanksgiving was spent in preparations. my mother in law came down monday to help out with the kids, and get ready for thursdays festivities. when b got off at noon on wed i made a quick trip to the store to get the last few things. thursday, we were expecting 10 people-- our family, my in laws, both my parents and b's grandma.

as i was leaving ralph's i saw a girl, prolly in her early 20's with a sign asking for food or shelter. now for most of you reading this, this isn't unique. at most shopping center exits across the nation, and in your own neighborhoods there are homeless people with those cardboard signs we know so well. most of us are so conditioned to seeing them, we don't think twice. we may give them some change, or say a quick prayer, but rarely are we moved to do anymore. i'm usually no different. but in osos, we know our homeless. we really only have one- a homeless lady- and everyone who lives here knows who she is and how to help her if they are so inclined. needless to say, seeing this young girl at ralph's really caught me off guard.

what struck me about this girl, was that i noticed across the street a young guy pushing a double stroller with a little girl in it. i rolled down the window and handed her the only cash i had-- $5. i told her good luck and god bless her and was on my way. as i drove and thought about her more, tears came to my eyes as i thought about their little girl. there was so much i wanted to do, and felt like i should do, but like so many of us i felt paralyzed. when i got home i called lealah to ask her if she had seen them and if she knew who they were. she didn't, and hadn't seen them. after talking a bit about them, she asked me if i wanted to pray for them. the one thing i really wanted to communicate with god was that i didn't want to absolve myself of responsibility, so if i was supposed to do something else, would he please quicken my spirit--or in other words, make it really obvious.

what i really wanted was for someone else to pick them up, clean them, feed them, and provide shelter for them. but if i was really honest with myself i knew what i really wanted was not to see them anymore and just assume the former was what happened. i started feeling guilty that i would have such a warm, abundant, family filled thanksgiving. with 3 small kids, the last thing i have time for is taking in a family of 3 right? and what about our safety? yet,i was conflicted-- cuz daily i pray that our family wouldn't just talk the talk, that god would provide us opportunities to walk the talk. and the thing is, i grew up with this sort of thing. wanderers and vagabonds were no strangers in our house growing up. i'm not gonna glamorize it and say we met all kinds of interesting people, cuz the reality was, was most of the people smelled horrible, were maybe really overweight, or even more often, struggling with a sort of depression or addiction i pray none of us will never know. as awkward as some of those holidays were, i know its the sort of thing that created an empathy in me i likely would not have had.

i arrived home with all these thoughts jostling around in my mind. as i walked in the door, my mother in law informed me that she would be leaving that evening and half of our expected company would not be coming at all due to b's grandma falling ill. so with a fridge full of food to feed at least 15, i realized it would only be us, and my mom and dad.

thursday morning came and honestly i didn't think once of the family. we started cooking, then took a break to enjoy some 80 degree weather at the canyon with my family. as we played in the tidepools and on the dunes, i again felt so thankful for my life. we came home and my parents had arrived and continued cooking, watching football and listening to christmas music. as i looked over and saw my dad playing trucks with oz, and lily and my mom dressing up dolls, i realized i hadn't had both my parents together like this since i was 7 years old. i could write a whole other blog about that, but i'll spare my family skeletons-- for now anyway:)

at about 3 in the afternoon lealah texted me and asked us if we could feed her dog for her. we kind of forgot till about 5 when we were about an hour from dinner being ready. b said he'd run over there. as i pulled together the last few things, b came home, and when i asked how it went he said fine. then sort of in passing he said, 'i saw the homeless family in front of ralph's.'

'really?' was my reply.


at this point my mom chimes in asking what we're talking about. i tell her the story of how i saw them and how they have a kid and how sad it is.

her response?

'we have to go get them.'

b comes in from checking the turkey and i ask him if its okay if we go get the family. he says sure. i get my keys and my dad asks where we're going. i tell him we are gonna go get a homeless family from in front of ralph's.

his response?

'sounds good. i'm used to that. i can't tell you how many times your mom brought home homeless people for holidays.'

as we're driving, my mom and i start praying. i'm beginning to feel nervous. i start having all those crazy thoughts like how embarrassing this might be, or if they're gonna steal from us, or of course, my default fear--what if they have the swine flu? then i start hoping they are gone, someone picked them up and we're relieved. then as we round the corner, i start getting excited. this is totally what we're supposed to do. this is what god would want, and i'm stoked my kids will have this opportunity. my mom, who's all to familiar with these situations reminds me that if they do come over, we have to be prepared to drop them back off-- potentially on the streets.

'its never easy,' she says.

we pull up and there they are.

my mom opens up the car door and announces, 'we want you to come to our house for thanksgiving dinner!'

girl (blushing)- 'gosh, wow that's so nice.. uh?? (looking to her husband for help)

guy- 'oh wow, uh, well we don't have a car.'

my mom- 'we can take you, we've got this van. your stroller will fit and everything.'

guy- 'oh, well we don't have a carseat for the baby.'

mom- 'that's fine, we've got carseats!'

guy- 'oh well, someone just brought us a couple plates of food.'

mom- 'we'd really love to have you, its my daughters house. she's got 3 kids, we've got so much food.'

i chime in nervously, 'yeah, really you guys should come.'

guy-'you know, i feel a little strange going to someones house i don't even know for thanksgiving.'

me- 'okay, but do you guys have somewhere to go tonite?'

girl-'yeah, actually we are watching someones house for them. we were just trying to get a little money to buy some milk for the baby and sodas for us.'

me-'okay, if you're sure. (they nod) you guys have a good night. god bless you. happy thanksgiving.

them- 'oh thanks so much. you guys are really sweet. we really appreciate it.'

when we pulled up to our house i could see my dad and b through the window. i joked with my mom that i bet they are prolly so nervous right now wondering what we accomplished. when we walked in alone the kids were bummed we didn't have the family, but hopefully they got the gist.

my mom decided the biggest irony about the situation was that here we were so nervous and apprehensive about letting them into our home-- we didn't even consider how awkward it might be for them. my mom said she really appreciated their honesty in saying they weren't sure if they wanted to spend thanksgiving with people they didn't even know. can you blame them?

i'll never forget this piper sermon i heard once. he was talking about giving money to beggars. his angle was that we can't question what they are going to do with the money.

we just give.

cuz do we want to stand before god someday and say, 'i never gave him a dime, i knew he was gonna spend it on booze.' or do we want to say, 'i gave him what i could. i prayed for him and loved him even though i never knew if it made a difference.'

even though we didn't succeed in saving the family in the way we thought, i can't tell you how good it felt to walk it out.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

hair bear

well hello little hair bear!

oz finally decides to hold his lil sister!

proud big sister!

tali's first bath

i guess she doesn't love it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

a little labor story... ok its really long.

*contains some slightly graphic content. if you are man, unless you love labor stories, you might want to pass on this one. if not, don't say i didn't warn you. also this is a long post, feel free to skip down where you get into the meat of the story*

once upon a time there was a 25 yr old girl, who after 2 years of wedded bliss found herself with child. now being the young girl she was, she didn't have many friends who had yet had kids themselves. seeing as how she had no younger siblings and had not done much babysitting in her younger years, she really didn't know much about this baby business. therefore as she got bigger and bigger, and people began to question her about how she envisioned her labor, she immediately seized up in fear. labor was, in her eyes, the worst of the five letter words.

her one friend who had gone through it had invited her to be in the room during the birth of her first son. this young girl found it to be terribly beautiful, but also devastatingly frightening. you see, her friend had opted for a 'natural childbirth.'

with the prodding of her one 'experienced' friend she decided to look into this natural childbirth business, and signed up for some childbirth education classes (aka lamaze) with a local known doula. without being overly in your face about it, this doula hypnotized educated this young girl and thousands others into pursuing an epidural free labor.

now did i mention this young girl is a total wimp, has a very low pain tolerance, and really nothing in common with rosie the riveter. she typically takes shortcuts, and cuts corners in all areas. not much about her shouts- 'i'm a bad ass and i wanna have this baby naturally even if i tear to high hell!' in fact when her time finally came, the dr had the nerve to announce that 'this is gonna be the first baby i'm gonna deliver that'll be bigger than the mom!' the labor came and went and with the help of her one friend who acted as a doula, and her amazing husband who literally took every single guttural breath with her...

she did it.


and it. hurt. like. hell.

fast forward a year later. she's pregnant again. this time she's feeling more inclined to consider other options after a long recovery including words like hemorrhoids and fissures.
yet her time comes, and she gets to the hospital, and 2 hrs later her son is born. her joy is overshadowed by the fact that she is getting sewn up for an hour as they consider whether or not she needs a catheter because she tore all the way up to her urethra. in the end she leaves the hospital a mother of two with a very sore geeg.

there you have it. one happy family with one boy and one girl. the young girl isn't so young anymore and decides if she is going to have another baby she should do it soon, cuz 30 is knocking down her door. after much consideration, she takes the plunge and is ecstatic to find out her last baby will in fact be, a baby girl. this time, she knows one thing for sure: she will not suffer... she will, at all costs, get the epidural.

this is her account of how she experienced a completely different childbirth experience...

the midwives told me i had to get to the hospital as soon as i knew i was in labor to ensure time enough to get the epidural. a week prior to tali's birth i was sure i was in labor and going to have the baby. all week i waited and wondered. finally monday (the 26th) came around. i had the feeling again- this is going to happen soon. monday afternoon i went on a long walk and promptly came home and had the ria. after dinner, we put the kids to bed and i went to the bathroom again. not normal. i sat down to watch tv and began timing my contractions. they were about every 5 mins, but not necessarily increasing. (i had been having contractions for weeks-sometimes really regularly) i was pretty sure i was in labor, but definitely the beginning stages. after my mom got out here, i dragged brandon we made our way to the hospital where i had to run into the ER bathroom to go, yet again. it was midnight by the time we got a bed and the nurse checked me. i was still at 3 and 75% effaced. the nurse told me she talked to the midwives and they said since that was what i was a week ago, maybe i should go home and wait till they pick up.
that sounded like a horrible idea.
what if they suddenly start picking up and i couldn't get the epidural??? fortunately the nurse was on my team, and told me she was going to admit me even though they only had one bed available! once we settled in, she began running the IV, and told me she had called the anesthesiologist, and he would be there shortly. relief.

at 2 am she checked me again, and i was barely a 4. she called the midwives and said i was going to stay. they agreed. by 3 am things had started picking up a bit and i was having to breathe through a few of them. i was starting to get anxious. what if he didn't get here soon? i couldn't bear the thought of having to do this naturally. at 3:15, like a breath of fresh air, in flew dr raj. with the precision of a trained ninja he took away my pain immediately. i cannot tell you how trippy it was to suddenly not feel anything! after he left, b and i decided to get some zzzz's. so from about 4 to 7, we slept. it was a pleasant sleep, even though i kept jolting awake and thinking, 'did i have the baby? no? okay, but i can't sleep to long, i have to have a baby soon.' it was, for lack of a better word, pretty surreal.

at 7 the new nurse came in and said the midwives wanted to start me on pitocin cuz they were thinking i wasn't really in labor. however, since no one had checked me since 3 am, she decided too. when she declared i was pushing a 7, we were all shocked. b ran out to get some coffee and bagels, and by the time he got back we were gearing up for a baby.
but first i slept a bit more... cuz i could.
at 9 the midwife was there. i was almost a 9. she decided to break my water. lealah waltzed in at 9:30 and we all just chatted like we were having drinks at guissepee's. lisa (the midwife) told me when i felt some pressure, i could push. sounds good. about 3 pushes later, out popped a little dark haired angel...

i did tear a bit, but not nearly as bad as i did with the other two. lisa was amazing at guiding me through the pushing-- had me slow down and did the ol perennial massage. she stitched me up quickly, and i was able to hold and enjoy my last born baby. i'm not gonna lie, and say i was without pain entirely. during the pushing, i felt some mildly uncomfortable pressure and the familiar sting of the ring of fire...

all in all, it was an awesome experience. if i had to sum all three of them up, it might go something like this. with lily, i was pretty determined to do it naturally, and even though it hurt terribly bad, i was proud in the end. when she came out i was overwhelmed and happy to have her. with oz, it hurt something fierce. i felt totally out of control towards the end and pretty sure i was going to die. when he finally came out, i felt relieved and thankful to have a healthy baby boy. with tali, i felt so peaceful and pleasant during the labor. when she finally came out, i felt a joy i didn't have with the others. maybe it was because i wasn't in such tremendous physical pain, or maybe because i knew she was my last... whatever the case-- i am so happy its over and that she is sleeping on my chest while i write this...
so three cheers to modern medicine... i am a believer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

in living color...

here are some shots of our first couple weeks with miss thang!


and i promise next time i'll get some pics of her hair... its a force to be reckoned with.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

a glimpse...

well, now that i am officially a mother of 3 for 1 whole week, i thought i'd share with you some highs and lows of this last week.

high- epidural. that thing was dreamy. look for the complete labor story (that mostly involved me sleeping) to come in the next week or so.

low- tearing... yet again. but not as bad as the other two!

low- having to wear diapers and nasty hospital underwear. tucks. pads, and more pads. for what seems like forever.

high- a healthy baby!

high- coming home from the hospital!

low- coming home from the hospital...

high- seeing my daughters sheer joy upon meeting tali, and my sons amazement and gentle touch with her.

low- feeling super overwhelmed thinking about how i'm going to manage 3 kids.

high- having an amazing husband who can literally clean, feed and entertain his 3 kids and his wife without complaining.

high- stool softeners

low- feeling like i was never going to feel better, and just being utterly exhausted.

high- tali is an awesome night sleeper. mastered the side nurse on second nite home!

low- tali acts like a pacifier is an abomination.

low- feeling like i don't have enough to give to my older ones.

high- my milk came in after 1.5 days!

low- my milk is in. ouch!

high- lily just sitting and adoring tali. asking to change her outfit every 15 mins...

high- seeing my husband adore his new baby girl.

high- (my favorite) on our first nite home at about 6 am tali started crying... in bounds lily with her hair all wild and her hand over her mouth giggling and smiling. i've never known anyone who is so delighted and excited to be woken up by a crying baby...

high- my mom taking the kids pretty much all week so i can just rest and be with tali.

high- meals every other day for 2 weeks!

so there you have it, a glimpse into my life this last week. i promise more pictures next time... my mother in law's got like a 112... i only have like 7.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tali June

Talia June Rodgers
October 27, 2009
10:06 AM
7 lbs, 7 oz
20.5" long

a bit about the name...
Talia is a contraction of two Hebrew words (tal and y-uh), and means "dew of G‑d."

Dew and rain are both considered great divine blessings, both mentioned many times in the Bible. Of the two, however, dew is considered a greater blessing. This is for several reason, one being that dew is constant, while rain is less dependable. Another advantage of dew is that it is always a blessing, whereas rain is not. Rain can fall to the extent that it is damaging, while dew brings only good.

Chassidic texts explain that rain and dew are both metaphors for divine bounty. Rain isn't a constant, at times there are droughts, because the divine blessing symbolized by rain is dependent on human effort and merit—which aren't always constant. Dew, on the other hand, represents G‑d's kindness that isn't contingent on our actions or behavior, the kindness that stems from His unceasing and immutable love for His children.

With that, we present talia. We are overjoyed and so thankful for a happy, healthy baby.