One Month: James

This kid is one month old today, which is weird because 32 days ago I was certain that I’d be pregnant forever. My mom got here before he was born and so it seems like she’s been here forever but it doesn’t feel like she has. She saw me super pregnant and got to be here to see the first month but that can’t be possible because it’s all gone by so quick.


Sometimes I catch myself thinking, “He’s much harder than Stella.” But then I think back to some of those early nights when Stella needed so much help getting to sleep or staying awake to eat and I remind myself that the early days are just harder. Some days are so easy and some days are much harder. It helps that I’ve had consistent help for the past month. My parents are leaving tonight so tomorrow Wes and I will both have to be up early. No one will be able to sneak in and grab the monitor and James to let us catch a few more minutes of sleep. But tomorrow afternoon Wes’ mom comes into town for a week so we still have help. Hopefully by the time she leaves I will be better equipped to handle two children under two by myself.


James is actually a very good sleeper. And a very good eater. At his two-week check up he was 10 pounds and nearly 23″, which is what Stella was at five weeks. We don’t go back to the pediatrician for another few weeks so I don’t know his exact stats, but he’s got to be pushing 12 pounds at least. He’s wearing three month clothes and is making serious strides to pass his sister up.

He is wide-eyed when he’s awake, taking in his surroundings as much as he can. He pushes up with his feet and tummy time is not nearly as traumatic as I remember it being with Stella. His weight and height make him look (to me), a bit older than he is and I’m impatient for him to be able to hold his head up. Actually, I’m impatient for him to be moving around and exploring. Newborns and infants are snuggly, but the good stuff is when they start interacting.

He poops. A lot. So much more than I remember with Stella. We are constantly emptying diaper pails and it seems like as soon as I put a clean diaper on him he takes that as an invitation to poop.


His eyes are blue, just like Stella’s were. And just like Stella, Wes is hoping they stay blue, but only time will tell.


We’ve been getting out of the house a lot more than I did with Stella (and I got out quite a bit with her). James has been to the park, the zoo, the beach, and many stores and restaurants. He’s generally a good sport about being hauled all over the place and only cries when he needs to eat (which seems like it’s every hour!).


Stella likes to hold James and lay down on the floor with him when he’s doing tummy time. She likes to help me change his diapers and insists on kissing him goodnight before bath time.


Tsunami is much more interested in James than she was in Stella. I guess this time she knows what to expect from babies: that they’ll grow up and drop crumbs for her! DSCN2229 DSCN2230


The first month is done. It just gets easier from here.

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Dairy Farm

My mom came in to town over a month ago to help us out with Stella and James while we found our footing with a new baby. James wasn’t due to arrive for another week when she got here so she got to see what schedule Stella was on and spend some time just with her. Our first outing was to Naked Cow Dairy Farm with a mom’s group I’m part of. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew it would get us out of the house and Stella could see some animals so obviously I wanted to go. I’ve found that the more pregnant you are the more praise you get for just getting out of bed, and at 39 weeks pregnant I needed all the praise I could get!

Our first stop was to see the chickens and their eggs. We got to feed them and even pet them. Stella tried to steal an egg but we distracted her by showing her the goats, which you could also pet but for whatever reason she wasn’t into them. A shame, too, considering they were babies and they looked much softer than the goats at the zoo that we always pet.

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After the chickens and eggs, Stella talked Grandma into carrying her on her shoulders while we walked past the cows. The brown cow is their mascot, Princess Peanut Butter (I think) was her name and she looked pretty happy under that tree. The working cows were in a pen and, yes, they look terribly skinny. But we were all assured that it’s normal. They had just weaned the calves so they were thin from all the nursing (makes sense). DSCN2087 DSCN2089 DSCN2096 DSCN2097

From there we got to check out the butter they were making and then watch the cows get milked. Unfortunately, we were on the end of the line and didn’t get to see the actual milking of the cow. Instead, Stella nearly ran straight into a spider web and when I saw the spider (I will spare you all the photo), I grabbed her and she hit her lip on the bar. Stellar parenting, I know, but the spider had crazy long legs and ran really fast to get away from her. Basically, I panicked because spiders are scary but I don’t want my kid to carry my phobias so I grabbed her before she could see it. No way am I letting her hold a spider. DSCN2100 DSCN2108

And then we got to taste a lot of cheese and crackers. Stella mostly wanted crackers but enjoyed some of the cheese. We bought way too much but had a lot of fun. Even if I was a million weeks pregnant.




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Father’s Day 2014

I had a plan for Father’s Day. And that plan was: have a baby. I was certain that we’d be busy with a newborn and made no plans to celebrate an amazing dad (who, even though he can’t gestate a baby, can at least carry his child in a backpack up Koko Head and also change diapers). So I made a quick reservation at Monkeypod for brunch to at least get us out of the house.

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We had a delicious cinnamon roll and coffee, followed by breakfast burritos. Stella found a golf ball in the grass and we hunted lizards. DSCN2013 DSCN2017 DSCN2018 DSCN2019 DSCN2020 DSCN2021

After breakfast we decided to go for a walk around Ko ‘Olina. I suggested walking the entire path around the lagoons, but after five minutes of the slowest pace ever, we decided to run around on the grass. Pregnant women walk really really slow. Stella got to burn some energy trying to tackle and tickle Wes and give him raspberries. After about ten minutes, though, she crawled back into her stroller and we set off for home so that we could get a much-needed nap. DSCN2023 DSCN2026 DSCN2029 DSCN2031

After my nap I went to the grocery store and when I came home I found Stella and Wes making chocolate chip cookie dough. Not a bad surprise. Plus, how cute is that apron? I found it in Brooklyn and I’ve been waiting this entire time for it to sort of fit her. She loves it and now wants to help us in the kitchen all the time.

DSCN2032A last minute family photo since I’d neglected to get one all day. Happy Father’s Day, Wes. We love you and promise that next year when I’m not pregnant, there will be more adventure.


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Ow: A Birth Story

All things being equal, there are two types of people in the world when it comes to pain management. Two people slam a finger in a door. One will take a deep breath and literally shake the pain off by waving their hand around. The other will curse, loudly, while shaking their hand around. I am the latter. Something about letting loose a string of profanity actually helps with whatever I’ve done. Wes, on the other hand, is the former and this disparity has caused some kind of funny moments where he thinks that I might be dying when I’ve actually only stubbed my toe. He’s gotten used to it now, though, so he no longer comes running when he hears a thump followed by, “OW! Fuuuuuuuuccccckkkk!”

So I made it to July, still pregnant, even though I was counting on a June birth. Stella was a week early, so James would be, too, is what I kept telling myself. With every new pain that popped up in that last trimester, I told myself I just needed to make it to June 25th. I could do that. But June 25th came and went and suddenly (except, not suddenly because being that pregnant in the summer in Hawaii makes every day drag by) it was July and I was still pregnant. My sister-in-law sent me a text message telling me that Ruby was a beautiful birth stone and I responded with, “I hate everything about everything.” I had told everyone that if I made it to my due date of July 2nd, I wasn’t getting out of bed. Everyone would have to wait on me until I was no longer pregnant. I was only half joking.

(And yes, I know that babies should stay in as long as they need to. I understand that the longer they’re in the healthier they are. But being pregnant is horrible. Just horrible. And I was over it. My stand-in doctor did offer me a chance to induce at 39 weeks, but I didn’t take it because I wanted him to come on his own when he was ready. It was hard to turn down that promise of no longer being pregnant every time she offered it up, but I did.)

The morning of July 1st Wes had to go into work early after getting a 3:30am wake up call about a problem at work. Wes came home and we put Stella to bed early because she’d spiked a fever after her nap, and then we sat down to watch the USA World Cup Match. At which point I’d started to feel a few irregular contractions. I thought about our neighbor, who predicted I would go into labor that night since Wes was running on little sleep. And then came home to stay up late and watch the game while enjoying a few beers. But the contractions were sporadic so I kept them to myself. Around 9pm they started getting a little more intense and closer together so I decided to start timing them. By the time the game ended they were about 8 minutes apart, but the pain wasn’t bad enough for either my mom or Wes to notice that I was having them so I didn’t think it was time to go to the hospital yet. My water broke with Stella and I got the epidural before contractions got really bad so I felt like a first time mother again and I was worried about getting to the hospital only to be turned away. Just in case I told my mom and Wes that we might be headed to the hospital later that night. By the time I crawled into bed, though, they were getting much more painful and I had to get up and walk around. Wes lifted his head up from the pillow and said, “Do we need to go to the hospital?” I said I thought we did and we quickly grabbed our bags and left just after 10pm.

By the time we got to the freeway entrance (only about 5 minutes from our apartment) I was in a lot of pain, and the potholes that Hawaii is known for were not helping. A portion of the freeway had been getting repaved and even though it should have been opened by July, it wasn’t and we ended up having to take side streets, which were also covered in potholes. I tried to be calm and breathe through the pain because I was still a little worried about it being false labor and looking silly for making such a big deal. Presumably Wes could tell this was the real deal, though, because he was zig-zagging through traffic.

Wes dropped me at the ER at 10:44pm and left to park the car. I had to sign a few intake papers and then was brought up to labor and delivery where they checked me in and then parked me in the waiting room, which was full. At this point I’m still clenching my fists and trying to breathe through each contraction. Wes walked into the waiting room and then went to the nurses station to let them know I was in serious pain and should maybe be moved to triage. Once in triage I changed into the gown and immediately wanted to start puking. One nurse told Wes to squeeze my hips with each contraction to help with the pain, and then immediately left. Left to the secluded room, and realizing that I was definitely having this baby soon, I felt less self-conscious about making whatever sound I needed to get through contractions. I started throwing up and Wes left to, yet again, let the nurses know that I needed to be checked out. They hooked up the heart monitors and when they checked I was dilated between 7-8cm. I had a few more contractions, cried for an epidural. It was a particularly busy night in Labor & Delivery, though, so they told me that the anesthesiologist might not make it to me in time. I threw up again, and my water broke. They checked me and I had progressed to almost 9cm. My doctor (well, my my doctor was out of town, so the doctor who was on-call for her) was paged and I was wheeled to a delivery room, puking the entire time.

In the delivery room the hospital doctor said that if I could sit through the epidural, I could have one. The anesthesiologist was coming to my room next. By that time, though, I felt like I needed to push and there was no way I could see myself sitting still to get the epidural. So I pushed, surrounded by a few nurses and two doctors I had never met before. I screamed and I swore and at one point I apologized for making such a scene, sorry that any first time moms who might be surrounding my room, had to hear me screaming. But then another contraction would come and I would stop caring about anything but getting through the pain. I’m not sure how long I pushed – it felt like forever. Once his head was out the doctor let me  pull the rest of him out and we immediately got our skin-to-skin and I mostly forgot about how awful I had felt just moments before. He was born at 11:49pm, just over an hour after I got out of the car in the ER. IMG_7157

James  Bishop Renton. 8lbs 3.7oz, 21″ long. He’s a master nurser and sleeper and snuggler. He poops so much we’re emptying diaper pails every day it seems. But we are all so in love with him.


Filed under Family, James, Pregnancy

35 Weeks


35 Weeks already. Though I’m hoping for an early baby (like, maybe three weeks early), I don’t think that’s going to happen. Not that I’m not making contingency plans just in case James decides to humor me and arrive earlier than his July 2nd due date.

We’re rearranging and purging over here to make room for a second child, just like we did before Stella was born. The more we do this, the easier it becomes to drop things in boxes to donate. The first round of culling through books was hard, but this time around I’m not even looking at them or thinking about it. Just shoving them in boxes and hoping that someone else will get to enjoy them (if you’re in Hawaii and want to know what I have, let me know). This weekend Wes is going to start painting bedrooms to prepare Stella for her move from the nursery to her new bedroom (which will still be the guest bedroom, so she won’t actually be moving until after grandma Renton leaves in August.

It’s been really hot and humid and gross here lately and I’m getting bigger and bigger and Stella is testing her boundaries so I’m exhausted all the time. Lately she has taken to running away – sometimes getting precariously close to the street – and when I catch her and sternly tell her no, that it’s dangerous, she looks up at me and says, “Funny. Funny.” And then laughs. Toddlers, man, the worst and the best?

Anyway, I’ve got a To Do list a mile long that I keep adding to with things I’d like to accomplish before this baby arrives, but most of my spare time is spent napping so it doesn’t seem to get shorter

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33 Weeks


33 Weeks and 2 days. Just 7 weeks, give or take, until baby James is here and I am no longer pregnant. Being this close to having a baby is hard. I see people running or wearing clothes that fit or just not looking exhausted and I wonder when I will feel like that again. I know that just giving birth won’t bring about a drastic change, but I’m looking forward to being on the upswing. I’m looking forward to purging my wardrobe of all the clothes that don’t fit. I’m looking forward to exercising and cooking and having a beer or a glass of wine. I’m looking forward to not having my insides poked and prodded by every body part this baby can move around.


This was Stella yesterday afternoon. She woke up from her nap and had a fever so we spent the afternoon cuddling on the couch watching cartoons. Stella took all of her naps on my until she was about 10 months old. When it first started I would make up reasons to not move her, but after a few weeks I stopped doing that because I didn’t need an excuse. I knew that she would quickly outgrow our naps so I enjoyed them as long as I could. It’s rare to have her sleeping on me, so when she was showing signs of sleepiness, I barely thought about putting her down for the night. I wanted to have her wrapped around my chest to sleep.

Right now she’s going on hour 15 of sleep and I’m trying to get some things done around the house before I need my own nap. Looks like another day of cuddles and cartoons. I think the only one who minds is Tsunami, but I’ve got a near-empty jar of peanut butter that should entertain her this afternoon.

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A Relief

Last week, before left Wes, I told him that maybe having him gone for a week would be almost a relief. He’s been working crazy long days and some days I wait for six o’clock to roll around and bring him home and when he’s not there I’m irrationally angry. But knowing that he’s not coming home at all, I thought, would be easier. At least then I would know not to expect help or company. At the very least, I was keeping a positive attitude about his week-long trip.


Our first day alone was Sunday and we got through the day without any issues. We went to the farmer’s market and took Tsunami on a walk and had a nap and all was well when we FaceTimed with Wes. After that, though, the evening took a slight turn. Stella decided that solo parenting week was the perfect time to finally realize that she could crawl out of the dog door. For a minute I thought that I might have left her out there when I came in because sometimes she just doesn’t want to come in, but I was grilling and leaving a toddler outside with a hot grill just doesn’t sound like something I would do, pregnant or not. I brought her back in and looked in the living room a few minutes later and there she was, head first out the dog door. Then, at dinner, she succeeded in pushing her high chair all the way back and falling over. She’s been rocking that chair for weeks and every time we tell her, “No,” she takes to chanting “No, no, no,” as she rocks back. Luckily she didn’t hit her head and only cried for a few minutes. But I spent several minutes on the phone with my sister-in-law looking for signs of a concussion. And then, just before bed time, as she was trying to escape pajamas, she ran straight into the edge of the door. After some snuggles and a few stories I put her to bed and hoped for a better Monday.


And it was. We met up with friends at Waimea Valley and had a picnic. The mosquitoes were huge but Stella only got bit once on her arm. On our way to Waimea Valley we had to stop and drop the modem off but even that was done fairly quickly and without any tears. Once at Waimea we walked around looking at all the chickens and birds and flowers. We stopped for ice cream but Stella was much more interested in the babies than sweets and most of the chocolate bar ended up on her shirt and shorts. We stayed there until nearly two o’clock and though I was hoping for a nap the entire way home, she only slept for about 20 minutes and was fully awake when we got inside. IMG_6486

Instead of fighting her on nap time, we took Tsunami out to play and hunted snails. It rained last week and we found a few on our back fence and now it’s become a daily routine to search them out. We had some papaya and changed out of her chocolaty clothes into this dress that I made for her. Up close you can tell that I’m a beginner seamstress, but from this picture it looks pretty good. She went to bed early and easily and I spent the evening reading until it was a reasonable time to go to sleep.

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Today we had gymnastics and ran a bunch of errands and everything was going smoothly until bath time. I was letting her run around without a diaper so that I could get a shower in. She was running in and out of the bathroom, giving me a kiss and saying, “Bye bye.” And as she was leaving the bathroom I noticed poop. I was hoping that was just the start of it and said, “Do you need to poop?” She started saying, “Tsunami, Tsunami,” and ran towards her bedroom, where I found Tsunami licking up poop. Helpful, and yet, yuck. The only good news to come out of this is that she pooped on a dress that had been lying on the floor so instead of having to scrub the carpet, I picked up the dress and dropped it in the toilet while I cleaned Stella up and put her in the bath.

So things aren’t going exactly smoothly, but every morning when I wake up I know that I won’t have any relief. And that is a relief. I guess that’s how I need to start looking at every day, whether Wes is here or not.

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