Category Archives: Baby

OHM Rides Again…

(*please note that anytime an actual curse word is abbreviated in this post, you are safe to assume the actual curse word was spoken)

We’ve all heard those stories of women who deliver their babies on the side of the road, their husbands on the phone to emergency services, or worse- wearing a GoPro camera. I’ve always been a bit smug about these stories, especially after having my first baby in a very civilized manner. Thinking, “surely these women can get their s#&@ together enough to get to the hospital before their baby is born in the backseat of a car, or on the bathroom floor”.

I am smug no more.

Two days before my due date with baby number two, at about two in the morning, I woke up with the sensation that my water had broken. A quick waddle into the bathroom confirmed that finally this baby was going to make its grand debut and I would be pregnant no more. Hallelujah! Knowing it would be a long process, per my previous experience of bringing forth new life, I went back to bed, hoping to get a few more hours rest before the real fun began. The contractions were quite manageble, mild even at times and around twenty minutes apart. Somehow, I was able to calm my excited nerves and fall asleep between them. Charlie woke up around 6 that morning and like usual she crawled into bed with us until I sent Lucas downstairs to make a carb loaded breakfast of pancakes before we headed off to the hospital. All in a very calm and purposeful manner.

I wanted to wait until 7am to call my midwife, trying to be a “good patient” I didn’t want to interrupt her sleep with an early phone call when things weren’t desperate. At ten to 7, I hopped in the shower, washed my hair, shaved my legs, and hollered “Ow!” about 436 times. Why, my brain at this point didn’t say, “um lady? You’re totally going to have your baby really freaking soon! , I have no idea. I got out of the shower, more “ows” coming out of my mouth and called my midwife. I told her I was coming to the hospital as I couldn’t take it anymore and she assured me she would be there to meet us. Little did I know, how many that “us” would be made up of.

With pains so intense I couldn’t walk, or stand upright, I was reduced to crawling around on my closet and bathroom floor, feeling like I was going to lose the breakfast I’d yet to enjoy that morning. Recognizing the need to upchuck feeling as a sign of transition I knew it was quite serious and had to get out of the house immediately. Especially since my “ows” were turning in to F bombs.

My cries of pain grew much louder by this point but still no one came to check on me. What the hell were they doing downstairs?! I’m IN LABOR UP HERE!!!! So desperate to get to the hospital, I threw back on my pyjama top, and some leggings, slipped on my Havianas and grabbed my toiletry bag. My wet, uncombed hair soaking the back of my shirt. Half hunched over, I made it down the stairs, hearing music playing and my family having a good little chat.

“We need to go to the hospital now!” I bellowed. I made my way toward the door, as my pyjama clad mother and husband tried to assess the situation, not believing I was truly that far advanced to need to leave that very moment. Then came the first of many F-bombs, when I repeated much more forcefully that we needed to go to the hospital. Everyone spun into action, my mom trying to get me into the car. Lucas scooping Charlie upstairs, and apparently finding time to throw on jeans and a t-shirt. In his favor, he did remember to grab our hospital bags and throw both iPads in Charlie’s general direction as a distraction tool.

When I tried to get in the car, I couldn’t sit down, the only way I was getting anywhere was by laying down. But I most certainly wasn’t going to lay on the floor of my house, knowing that would be the last place I ever laid down because oh.my.gosh this pain was going to kill me. With both car seats fitted in the backseat, the only place I could fathom laying down was the trunk of the Touareg which is not the safest place to ride during peak traffic hour, although it is roomy. Turning to go back into the house, I told my mom I needed to pee, and she just kept telling me, “don’t push!”. As if that were an option my body would listen to.

Once back inside, the dinosaur noises really kicked into high gear. I demanded an ambulance, to which my dear husband argued against.

“We can get to the hospital before they even get here.”

I’m 900% sure I told him to “F off” and call the ambulance. I would like to take this opportunity to formally and publicly apologize to him for that comment. T-Rex CJ was in control and every person was fair prey. My mother was on the phone to my midwife, and between dinosaur calls, I was yelling for drugs. “Did she hear me?! I want an epidural and I want one now!!!” I was shouting at my poor mother. Who I know now was trying her hardest not to have a complete freak out, and was scrambling for her nurse hat to exchange for her mom hat.

On all fours, between my kitchen and garage, to which the doors were all hanging wide open. I was gracing our neighborhood with my expletive laden rants every thirty seconds or so. I recall thinking, we should close those so the neighbors don’t hear, but I was in desperate need of the cool morning air breezing in. Little Charlie’s sweet voice popped out of nowhere and she was asking what Mommy was doing on the floor.

“Just looking at the carpet Charlie!” My mom reassured her before Lucas swept her back up the stairs and tucked her back in our bed. Safely away from the animalistic noises coming from her mother.

Soon, some black boots appeared below my face, through the mane of hair around me, and an angel named Phil came to my rescue. Again my cries for drugs came out and I was quickly informed they couldn’t give me anything, but would get me to the hospital ASAP. He and another paramedic helped me to my feet, out of my amniotic puddle (sorry, gross, I know) and onto a gurney. As Phil was pulling my leggings off in the middle of my driveway, his partner handed me a green whistle looking thingy and told me to inhale off of it. Sweet. Baby. Jesus.

Lucas piled our bags into the ambulance, and away we went. Between primitive grunts and groans, I sucked on that magic pain whistle which seemed to separate my brain from the atrocity that was happening to my entire body at that moment. Bearing down was the only thing I could possibly do, and Phil kept looking under the blanket, assuring Lucas that all was ok and no baby was coming quite yet. Until we rounded the corner to the hospital.

Lucas will tell you in that instant Phil’s “annoyingly calm” face dropped and he said, “we are delivering this baby NOW!” I proceeded to deliver my baby in the parking lot of the women and children’s hospital. Lucas was able to help Phil catch our baby as the midwives opened the back of the ambulance. I flung the magic green whistle away and grabbed my baby as Lucas proclaimed, “It’s Deacon!”

“Happy Birthday Deacon!” I cried with sheer joy and relief, and then I’m pretty sure I blacked out for a few minutes as I can’t recall being wheeled out of the ambulance or into the elevator or into the delivery room.

All said and done, I actively labored for about an hour, pushing for only about ten minutes until my family became complete with the birth of our son. I certainly didn’t plan it that way and I absolutely wouldn’t want to do it again. But now that it’s over and I have been overcome by those glorious postpartum hormones I can say it wasn’t all that bad. Yeah right, it was freaking crazy and painful and mind blowing. While recovering, my mom tried to tell me she thought what I had just done was very Wonder Woman-esque. I quickly corrected her, it’s a very One Hot Mess thing, delivering my baby in such a fashion.

IMG_0858.JPG
Meeting Deacon William Copeland for the first time. Sept 19, 2014 8:09am.

The Cabin

When a miller-moth commits suicide in my Gentleman Jack, I transform into a huntress like you’ve never seen.

It’s Friday of Labor Day weekend, the last “un-official” weekend of summer in the US and as tradition holds, my family goes to The Cabin. Lucky for me, I am still in the States on my whirlwind vacation and am able to bring Charlie here for her first Cabin experience. I haven’t been to this place in over two years and while nothing has really changed, aside from the motion sensor lights my dad installed last weekend, the raw beauty of this place has stricken me in yet another new way.

All week I have been organizing, making lists, and gathering my supplies for this trip. It used to be so simple. Pack duffel bag: check. Pack firearms and ammo: check. Pack fishing pole: check. Pack adult beverages and cheeky snacks: check. This trip was different, I had to plan how much food I would need for Charlie because Tajmagrocery (King Soopers HGH version) and/ or Whole Foods is a fair distance away. Not to mention packing her 90 bajiollion necessities and trying to remember my own tooth brush is a feat in and of itself. Thankfully, the weather was forecasted to be so ridiculously hot on the Front Range that they closed school because the green movement has halted air conditioning of many schools. I say thankfully because that meant I had my awesome helper, JoLee, all day.

JoJo Beans, aka Auntie JoJo, has been so excited to help with Charlie at any moment. Which comes in really handy when my beloved Lucas goes back to Oz for work. Bath time is easier, I have a diaper changing assistant, and dinner time entertainment has never been better. That sister of mine is worth her weight in gold, even if she is twice and tall and half as heavy as an eight year-old should be. We spent the day lunching, shopping, getting fuel, and driving to The Cabin.

As we wove our way through the hills of the Eastern Rockies in Northern Colorado and Wyoming and Jason Boland played thanks to my iPod, I was taken aback at the majestic quality these peaks have. For many years I had a steadily growing appreciation for their pristine beauty but I realized today; I had been taking it for granted for so many years. This part of America is just like the rest, it’s absolutely different from any other place in the country. From the bright red dirt roads, to the evergreen pines, to the herds of speed goats munching away on grass in the distance, there has never been a place like it on earth. Wait, what’s a speed goat you ask? It’s an antelope.

A twinge of sadness pulled at my heart strings as we made our way to the place I’ve know for more than 20 years. I was sad for all the time I don’t get to spend here anymore. I was sad that I didn’t get to bring Lucas here for Charlie’s first trip. I was sad knowing I have to leave it all again very soon.

What I wasn’t sad about was the 15+ miller-moths I killed.

After we chowed down on Granny’s chicken and noodles, and I finally got that adorable little girl to sleep, I settled in for a bit of reading on my Kindle app and a night cap. If you know me, you know I appreciate whiskey. But never scotch- I have taste buds. Having been out of this place for so long I forgot about the moths. Perhaps I repressed that terrible memory of those shriek inducing creatures. Nevertheless, I overcame my lifelong fear of those nasty little winged devils and I’m pretty sure I’m now widely feared in the moth community. Deeply engrossed in my chapter about businesses that go small again and survive, I found myself being kamikaze bombed by some fluttering assassin. Luckily both Charlie and JoLee were fast asleep and missed out on my myriad of red colored words, which were whispered ever so harshly. I settled back in only to find myself whipping my ponytail around Tourette’s style and checking my little drink for bugs. When one finally appeared in my cup, it was on like Donkey Kong. I may have dated myself with that last bit but if you know what I mean you’re just as old. I marched for the flashlight and fly swatter. In the first few minutes I had successfully exterminated eight of those dusty, wretched, idiotic wannabe butterflies. Nobody messes with my charcoal mellowed fire water and lives to talk about it.

In the morning, 6:30am to be exact, when my little darling roused me from my slumber, I expected the floor to be littered with my casualties of the previous evening. I was surprised that they seemed to disappear through the night, even the bodies I thought I would have to look out for when I’m on my way to the portable crib seem to have vanished. Perhaps I made a bigger creature’s thanksgiving dinner come early- as long as he or she does not crawl or fly on me in the night we are cool.

20130909-192234.jpg
The highlight of my morning here at the cabin was first the sunrise rolling over the eastern hills. Although, when I snapped this photo of Charlie, my entire year was made.

The magic in this place is held in my heart and the hearts of my family. Our simple place, made with a huge amount of sweat, blood, and over eating, is so special we rarely share it with outsiders. I’ve seen my father, grandfather, and uncles all work until their backs were sore and their brows dripped. I’ve seen my grandmother sweep the floors of this place until she needed a new broom. I’ve watched as we raced toward Laramie after a lightening strike burned my family and electrocuted the dog. I’ve seen where that lightening blew a hole out the back side of this cabin. I remember when my Dad cried out after a face to face encounter with a little cinnamon bear. I remember my own encounter with a large bull Moose, and when my friend wrecked on a motorbike. I recall the drama of my new jeans being dunked in the black mud of the creek bed when I fell off my cousin’s four wheeler, and when a bumble bee and I went fisticuffs. I remember when we trailered the horses up here to round up a few renegade cows in October- I have never been colder and more like Encinio Man in my life. I remember the dirt tracks for our hot wheels, and the copious amounts of Tang we all drank. But most of all, I will remember the feeling of this place. The way the sounds echo off the trees down below and how the screen door sounds.

As I waited for my Dad and Grandma to secure the doors and get in their trucks, I took a moment to drive around the property and soak it all in. Nothing has changed here, but so much of me has. I’m ever so grateful that I can still recognize this place and it’s magic.

xxOHM

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s My Party And You’ll Celebrate If I Want You To

It’s all about me. That’s why I coerce my Australian friends and family to participate in American holidays. I lure them to our house with Thanksgiving dinners and All-American Fourth of July feasts. I also appreciate how Pandora Radio has a Fourth of July station which I played all-day-long! The only thing that makes it seem like pretend to me is that it’s bloody cold during Independence Day, and hot as Hades on Thanksgiving. This Independence Day was also a first for me, not because it was my first abroad, but because my lovely sister-in-law brought me a present. It was Jack Daniels, she hit the perfect present bulls-eye with that one!

It’s also all about Charlie, that’s why I dressed her up in red, white, and blue courtesy of my friend Vanessa who got her this cute Stars and Stripes jumpsuit. I want her to feel connected to both countries because I know it’s not easy being a citizen of the world.

20130705-160552.jpg
She will hate me one day for this outfit but I don’t care!

I think we all want to feel like we belong somewhere, or to something. That’s why we are so patriotic, join clubs and groups, accept the “membership” cards for various stores, and never, ever actually cut ties with our families no matter how crazy they make us. We all crave community, and lucky for my people, they get fed. Maybe it’s just how mothers show love, but I think it’s how Americans show love as well. We feed. (Perhaps that’s why most of America is working on a new level for the BMI scale!) I know each time I have a get together with my American family I leave with a food baby. Keeping with tradition, I subjected my Independence Day guests to Ribs, Chicken Wings (and Teradactyle sized drumsticks), Tater Salad, Fruit Pizza, and some red, white, and blue strawberries I made. Check out my Pinterest for these recipes, I will attempt at remembering to post them on the Tasties page here as well.

20130705-161729.jpg
Yes, that’s the fruit pizza, similar to the one I made at Easter. Yum-O!

I originally planned on getting this amazing pulled pork from Costco but of course they didn’t have any, in any aisle, because believe you me I checked! I also had to trim the chicken bicep off the wings, who knows if that’s what they’re actually called but I’m running with it. And when I say trim, I mean I had to cut the wing skin, grab the joint and twist like the poor chicken had offended my grandmother and my name was Tony Soprano. (Side note, may James Gandolfini rest in peace.)

Earlier I was chatting with my friend Lauren who is also an American living in Oz, and we were discussing how sad it makes us to see the photos online of our favorite pastimes. She taught me a new phrase, FOMO, to which I was befuddled. Apparently it’s “Fear Of Missing Out”. That girl is a genius, because I’m cursed and she put a name on it. I have FOMO over things back in the US, and now I’ll have that about things happening in Australia. I’m visualizing summers here, and summers back in the US. Now THAT’S a dream come true!

Very soon, less than two weeks soon, we will be hopping on a few airplanes and will eventually land in Denver. I can hardly wait to see my family again, let them chase Charlie for a bit, because I’m a little worn out, and enjoy a nice cold Fat Tire. Look out America, I’m coming for you!

20130705-210307.jpg
Here I am in Vail last US summer, enjoying a Fat Tire.

xxOHM

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Not American Anymore?

On more than one occasion now I’ve been told I’m not American anymore. Or I’ve been told I’m an Aussie. While I’ll take the latter, I will not take the former. I had to conduct some personal research as to why I felt this way. Why, after each instance of someone attempting to strip away a piece of my evolving identity, I felt so defensive and ready to rumble like a back alley cat over the last scrap of chicken. I’ve narrowed it down to a few reasons.

I love my country. Sure, the US is a functionally dysfunctional shit show at times. But she’s also full of diversity and ingenuity. Sprawling cities and small towns, both of which are filled with incredible people. A plethora of nice neighbors, and acquaintances you love to hate. A smorgasbord of political ideas, religious differences, and people either seeking or running from enlightenment. There is a Miranda Lambert song I love, “All Kinds of Kinds”, and not just because Stoney Larue also sings on the track. My interpretation of the song is that this circus of a world wouldn’t go ’round if we didn’t have all kinds of kinds. People who work their whole life in the same grocery store, or people like me who go out into the world, take a leap of faith and hope it all doesn’t go pear-shaped. I didn’t leave the US because I didn’t like it there anymore, or I was tired of the glorious Colorado sunshine. I left because it was the best decision for my daughter. She could have the best life her father and I could offer her at the present time in Australia. In all of my One Hot Mess glory, I found myself making the hardest decision I’ve come across in my short 28 years, and while I put on a brave face, it was scarier than watching Freddy Kruger at age 7. Selling just about everything I owned and jumping on a plane at 5 months pregnant with two suitcases and saying goodbye to my family seems almost unreal to me now. Thankfully, I have been welcomed into this beautiful country by an incredible family and some amazing friends. Now, let’s get back on track and I’ll tell you about my second reason.

I used to know who I was. Then, the sweetest, screaming, squishiest, little miracle known as Charlie graced us with her presence. Anyone who has become a parent, and especially the moms know, your identity changes when that time and date is forever stamped in your memory. I say especially the moms because not only do people start referring to you as Mommy, (who me?), your clothes don’t fit anymore, and you don’t recognize that puffy faced woman with the bags under her eyes in the mirror. Not to fear, you do begin to look like yourself again but on the inside you’re totally different. Scary! There are risks I won’t take anymore that I wouldn’t have thought twice about in the past. For example, eating cookie batter is a no-no. Not only because I’m not about to have time to make cookies, but I’m not eating raw egg. Who will watch the baby and take care of me if I am calling dinosaurs? Last time I checked I was only married to one man and there’s no nanny! Ok, bad example but you get the gist. I also haven’t done some of the things that used to be staple activities in my life in quite a while. Part of leaving the US was leaving behind the cold steel of my firearms, and the cozy leather of my saddles. Luckily, I still have my yoga pants and mat. Phew! I will ride again, and soon, but even then I will have to take up a different style of riding. Change, a necessary evil.

My last reason is this: I do what I want, you’re not the boss of me, and as long as my passport is issued by the good ol’ US of A, and I have to file taxes, I’m an American! One day, hopefully, I will carry dual citizenship. It’s a long and expensive journey but worthwhile. Just as one day, Lucas will become a dual citizen. When I moved out of my parent’s home at the age of 18, y’all didn’t quit calling me a Huffaker (maiden name, have fun trying to pronounce it if you’re new here). I posed the question of renouncing citizenship to a group of Americans living in Oz and the large majority of them said they would never give it up. I deduced from their reasons this, being an American is something we are born with, we become, and we (hopefully) take pride in. Now if we could just get the government to do that… Oh wait, that’s a whole other topic. I see myself as a representative of our great nation. When I meet new people, the first thing they ask me is where I’m from. Just as your mother isn’t perfect, you still love her, and that’s how I feel about my country.

I have no doubt that my little family will live in the US in the future and when we do, I will have this rich experience under my belt. Hopefully, that will only stand as something even greater I can offer my homeland having lived abroad. It’s a great big world out there, and it’s a short life.

xxOHM

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

How To Catch Baby Wee

They say it comes in threes. The bad stuff in life, the not so goods, the craptastrophies (yes you read that right, say it with me crap-tas-trophies) the stuff that makes you enjoy the good times. Alas, I begin my story of how I had to catch baby girl wee (Aussie speak for pee) in the tiniest of cups known to man. Or woman. Or child.

The first of my not so fun three was Lucas getting his shoulder repaired Bankhart style, after a year of dislocations, pain, and agony. Second was sending my dear mother-in-law to the same hospital for surgery to remove an ulcer that everyone was afraid had the big C hiding in it, but it’s all clear. Yay! After visiting her the first day I drove away thinking, “It comes in threes. But maybe not, maybe this is the third thing and I just can’t remember the first.” Yah. Fat chance. When a few nights later I was kept up all night by a cranky baby, it hadn’t quite dawned on me this was the third thing. Perhaps my head was too cloudy because I was rudely awoken every thirty minutes just when I had begun to drift off again. Then the barf came.

Oh the joys of being a parent. Your instincts tell you to cuddle them and fight your own gag reflex as they’re ruining your pyjamas. Especially as a first timer at this baby barf business, you don’t really know what to do. Just catch it with your t-shirt? Flip them on their belly and hold their head out of it? Make a run for the sink? (Oh Lord think of the carpet!) Whatever you have to do, be grateful if your child doesn’t have a full head of hair down the middle of her back, which could possibly be record setting but that’s another story. Be grateful of this my friends, because when they barf in bed with all that hair, it’s ten times worse. Now, when one is covered in spew and her baby is also covered in spew the shower is the first place to go. Charlie doesn’t particularly like the shower but I figured since she was already crying I just had to bite the bullet.

The next few hours of my morning were filled with multiple outfit changes, for baby and me, calls to the doctor, and the fastest pile of laundry ever created. Once we arrived at the doctor’s surgery (Aussie speak for doctor’s office) Charlie “Barfy Pants McGee” decided to let everyone know she really was sick by spewing yet again. You’d think that would keep the lady next to me from cutting the line but no. Eventually we were seen and sent to a private room to wait for wee. For comparison sake for this part of the story, let me tell you that 50c pieces are pretty similar in Australia and America. And apparently that’s the popular circumference for a teeny, tiny plastic cup some genius decided a baby could leave a sample in. I suppose we’re all just overdoing it with those massive diapers we put on babies these days.

Two hours of waiting, several little syringes full of water to hydrate the baby, my husband arrives to offer his one armed support. Then the doctor sends us to the Emergency Department. At this point I’m not sure why she’s sending us to the hospital but I go along with it as she’s the medical professional and I’d rather be safe than sorry. We pack up the tiny wee collection cup, a spare they so generously provided us with, and one cranky baby.

20130428-212452.jpg Daddy makes a great pillow.

This is my very first time at a public hospital here in Australia, and it’s not too dissimilar to the emergency areas I’ve been to in America. There is however, a woman who is traipsing around in her gown, robe, and legs that would make Bigfoot feel emasculated. When we finally get in to see the doctor, I have an Asian Doogie Howser moment. This poor kid doesn’t seem to know what to do with himself, and he too, hands me a wee receptacle smaller than the compact mirror in my handbag. When he goes to leave I have to ask him if he wants us to just let her wee all over the bed or if he has some sort of pad we can lay down under her. This question is followed with more uncomfortable weight shifting and he scurries off to find something suitable. When he returns and pulls back the curtain to our little area, I think I caused him a slight stroke with my nursing baby. Momma CJ six months ago probably would have felt just as uncomfortable as he did in that moment but Momma CJ today couldn’t care less. If I hadn’t have been so stressed about Charlie, I probably would’ve giggled at poor Asian Doogie’s expense. Finally, we are left in peace and I can attempt yet again, to collect some baby wee. After five hours of waiting, it finally comes! Do I catch it in the cup? Of course not! Do I catch the second stream that follows it? Nope. Does it go all over the bed? Yup.

At this point Charlie has had a couple doses of baby Tylenol, called Panadol here, and she is perking up a bit. They cut us loose and we are sent home to try and catch the next wee. I’m getting really tired of this wee business, but Momma’s gotta do what Momma’s gotta do! At least the nurse sent us home with a kidney shaped dish that was much bigger. Cheers for all the nurses who do an amazing job everyday!

20130428-211945.jpg A side by side comparison of our two receptacles. Fun!

In the end Charlie only improved and we didn’t have to go back to the doctor. Thank goodness! We happily made it an entire year before having to take her the the hospital and we will happily put as much time between now and any future visits.

xxOHM

Tagged , , , ,

Oh No She Didn’t!

I’ve been called a lot of things in my short life, but not being compassionate isn’t an old favorite. Today an article was passed under my nose regarding immigration and Australia. It also included the name of the particular type of Visa I hold in the title. Of course my interest was peaked! After making a dispassionate (Merriam-Webster defines this as cool, composed, unbiased), remark on said article, I was clobbered with a follow up comment which was an obvious reaction to a misinterpretation of my original thought. Now, I don’t tend to argue with people. Not in person and certainly not online. There is far too much lost in translation to ever have a proper debate in the land of cyber geniuses. A woman (I’m sure she’s a nice lady) who I have never met and isn’t privy to my political leanings, or even my view on humanity assumed I was being a meanie poo-poo head about refugees who come to Australia on risky boat trips. I can’t blame her, we live in a highly politicized society, one where many believe one party is a totally different than the other.

20130428-202714.jpg This photo, courtesy of the Herald Sun is of some Boat People.

Normally, I don’t give a rat’s pahtoody (like my creative spelling on that?) what people think of me. But in this instance, I needed to stand up for myself, and make it clear to those who don’t know me in all of my crazy pants glory, that I DO care about my fellow man. More so now than ever before. Why?, you ask. Because a little person came from my body and changed me forever. It’s a little sad to realize we live in a world where this is a normal assumption, and I have to defend myself, but that’s the next point to my little rant.

I wouldn’t say that prior to becoming a parent I didn’t care about people, or shelter animals, or whether or not my wine bottles in the recycle bin actually were recycled. I would say that after becoming a parent, I am keenly aware of the horrific goings on of our world. Tragic stories, crimes against humanity, acts of war, all violently thrash at my heart strings. I know there will not be peace in my lifetime, as there has never been peace in anyone’s lifetime. I know that I, one woman who has stood up for her rights and won, one mother who would go to the end of the earth to ensure a better future for my daughter’s world, will not make a big difference but I can make a small difference. I can nurture that difference, teach her to do things in the name of peace, not to harm others. To embark upon this world with an open heart and mind, a wisdom to know the right battles to fight when necessary, and a compassion for her fellow human and the nature that surrounds us all.

xxOHM

p.s. I know this was a bit of a “deep” post and not in my normal comedic fashion, but I promise to post something funny very soon! For now, here is a funny photo to satisfy your insatiable appetite for a laugh…

20130428-205558.jpg

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Sad Mommy

When being a parent is one of the greatest joys you’ll ever know, how can you be sad? Watch them grow up, that’s how. I know now why my parents begrudgingly at times allowed me to gain my independence. From the first sleepover at a friend’s house to getting my driver’s license, they were simply sad to watch it all slip away. At least that’s my theory. Who knows, maybe they were just happy to get my sassy self out of the house so they could have some peace and quiet!

The first year of Charlie’s life has been such an overwhelming time of joy and celebration over the tiniest of things. Yet, as I pack away the rear-facing baby seat, among other things, I feel a little choked up. Like I did when the last episode of Friends aired. Something I had become very attached to was now going away. At least I have the car seat in storage and I can go visit it at anytime, and Friends does rerun everyday. But somehow, it’s just not the same.

20130404-200105.jpg She squealed with delight every time she rode around in this new seat today.

Perhaps I’m a little mental, ok, ok, maybe slightly more than “a little mental” but I still have friends so it mustn’t be that bad. I get the same sad panda feeling when Charlie grows out of clothes, or needs the next size up in nappies. (Aussie speak for diapers- I believed it’s derived from napkin, which is bizarre. Why would you put a napkin on a baby? Yes I know napkin is also used to refer to feminine hygiene products but still! Ah, the great quandaries of life.) How on earth did we go from nostalgic, sad panda mommy to feminine hygiene? Back that truck up sister!

In all seriousness, the time does fly by and if you aren’t soaking in every second of it, you’re wasting it. Forget high school, forget college, forget youthful days of reckless abandon. These are the best days of your life. At no other point will you have something so fleeting. It’s faster than child-propelled cell phone hurtling toward the pavement. It’s more heart stopping than the last five seconds of that eBay auction of the original (insert your material guilty pleasure here).

Perhaps it’s a combination of things. Perhaps it’s a reminder that you’re getting older, that your parents are getting older. That you’re closer to that milestone birthday and further from that dream home than you planned. Yet, when Charlie looks at me, none of that matters. She doesn’t care if my forehead has ever so quietly begun to whisper for Botox. Or that I can’t shop in certain stores anymore because I’m someone’s mother and those tiny outfits aren’t kneeling-in-the-park-rubber-mulch friendly. Or maybe it’s that I’m too shocked at the lyrics of mainstream music to play it in the car and now Classic Country on Pandora is my go to. That is, until little yells from the backseat start requesting The Wiggles.

Whatever it is, I’ll use it as a reminder that I can feel joy, I can be grateful each day when I wake up that wonderful this life is mine and I get to live it.

xx OHM

Family Holiday and Poop in the Tub

Contrary to popular belief there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. There is also, of course, too much of a bad thing. This weekend was filled with both. I am happy to tell you though, it was much more the former.

We had a lovely four day weekend, filled with family visiting from Sydney, copious amounts of wine and chocolate, and way too much poop in the bath tub. I’ll get to that last part in a minute. Let’s start from the top.

I am very lucky to have married into a tight knit family who visit each other often. Lucas’ brother came down to Canberra with his four girls- his wife, two daughters, and the family dog, Rosie. I suppose it’s his lot in life to be surrounded by beautiful women. Tough gig.

As with any of our family get togethers we tend to cram as much food and wine into our bodies as humanly possible. I’m not sure why we do this but it sure is fun when you’re having a picnic Easter lunch on a hillside instead of any of the flat surfaces available in the park. It’s even more fun when an entire bottle of Pinot Gris gets shared with your sister-in-law who just so happens to be wearing black suede stilettos. Yes, you read that right, half drunk, on a hill, in a park, in heels. She did borrow her daughter’s “runners” (Aussie speak for running shoes), when it was time to visit “Grandma Jones” (CJ speak for the toilet). I am not above admitting that I also had on some fabulous footwear and while my boots were black and heeled, they were not stilettos, perhaps I’m just not that brave. Matter of fact, there was quite a bit of borrowing going on, I never felt as old nor as cool as I did when my 13 year-old niece borrowed my jeans.

Aside from our hillside shenanigans, we had much more fun. Like decorating Easter baskets, which my sister-in-law and I somehow ended up doing by ourselves when the kids ditched us. It was also rib-stitchingly good when we were out for a coffee in the city and a runner “stacked it” (Aussie speak for crash or fall down). It was the “stack that kept on stacking” according to Lucas. This poor woman was just out for a run, in a Phoebe from Friends fashion I might add, when she brought us to tears. Just as she turned to take the sidewalk in front of our little cafe area, the curb jumped up and tripped her. Her feet shot out like duck paddles and she was horizontal for at least three slaps of the asphalt. It was like she was training for the next Matrix movie and had to nail the scene where the bullets come at your back but you can’t touch the ground with your hands. When she finally recovered she gave a thumbs up to another table and kept running, yet again nearly stacking in on a newly installed rail lining the path. We were dying of laughter. Almost as much laughter as when it was footy pyjama time!

20130401-193812.jpg
My niece and I rocking the onesie look.

As with every holiday I try to inject some of my own family traditions, it keeps me from feeling too homesick. This holiday for me is always marked by fruit pizza, which is my stepmom’s specialty. I’ll post the recipe in the Tasties section of the blog. Check it out, it is so yum.

20130401-194341.jpg

I’d say the highlight for me during the whole weekend was when we all jumped in our cars and drove down the road to the new Cajun restaurant. An American guy (I’m sold just on that), is from New Orleans and has opened a few restaurants around Australia, along with being a celebrity chef. He’s a big personality and I’ve seen him a few times at the markets peddling his chicken wings. Had I known then how unbelievably delicious these wings are, I would’ve been partaking in them for a much longer period of time. But, I was hesitant to buy wings from a sidewalk vendor. We have been stalking his restaurant for weeks now, waiting for it to open and fortunately, we called, learned he finally opened and we made a booking for Saturday night. Why on earth we thought it was a good idea to take Charlie to a restaurant I have no idea. We’re optimists I guess! We even packed her high chair in the car and trucked it in the restaurant with us as we learned they didn’t have high chairs there. She didn’t even sit in it once. An overstimulated baby just won’t nap and then they fall asleep on uncle Simon at the dinner table.

20130401-202039.jpg

I hungrily jammed as much ribs, jambalaya, shrimp creole, gumbo, chicken wings, and cornbread in my face as I could before Charlie had a full on meltdown. That kid had great timing because I am now addicted to the Soulfood Kitchen in Erindale thanks to her mini nap. I wanted to tell the people looking at the menu on the door as I exited with a crying baby that it was awesome and they should totally stay but I think Charlie would've nullified any uptalk I could give the place.

After our Happy Easter it was the first official Geelong Cats game of the year. To say Lucas is a fan would be an understatement. He's a fanatic. This morning, he woke up and told me he was nervous about the game. You'd think he was playing his debut game for the Cats. I have to say, he comes by it honestly, his dad and brothers are all huge Cats fans. Biting their nails, pacing nervously, and making Corona (the best beer available in Oz) disappear at rapid rates is all normal behaviour to be expected from the Copeland male during a game. I am happy to report they won, and none of us women have to deal with sulky males. Phew!

Following the game, the Sydney Copeland Clan headed back north and we began to settle in for the evening which is where poop in the bath tub comes in. Charlie has her dinner, followed by her bath, and then goes to bed almost every night. This routine of ours helps the little miss settle down and drift off to leave mommy and daddy in peace until we are too tired to keep our own eyes open. This evening we had a first. Charlie actually pooed in the the tub. It's not the first instance in which there was poo and Charlie in a tub at once as I did neglect to check her diaper before yanking it off and dunking her in the tub. But it was the first time she actually added floaties to the water. She was making her "poo face" and I thought she was acting funny but it wasn't until I saw the friendly fire that I grabbed her up out of the water and Lucas made a mad dash for reconnaissance materials. We almost made it a whole year. Here's hoping we make it to the next visit by the Easter bunny before we deal with any more pootastraphies.

xx OHM

p.s. I know teenage Charlie is mortified I wrote this.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Good Friday? How about Best Friday Ever.

Sorry y’all, this isn’t a post about religion or the recognition of any Christian holiday. It’s about the day, or more like, really early morning that changed this little world of mine forever.

I haven’t shared Charlie’s birth story in writing, just verbal recounts of the massive event. It seems fitting to write it all down now that it’s nearly a year later and Good Friday will forever be an extra, extra special day in my book.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to share any disgusting details, or take you on a journey of incense and chanting. I’m an all American girl who gave birth in a foreign country, buckle your seat belts.

Let me start with the visit to the hospital a couple of months before D-Day. We had no choice but to go to the private hospital here as I am not an Australian citizen, nor do I have permanent residency. Yet. And we also had no choice, as I refused to share a room in the public hospital. I mean, who SHARES rooms anymore? This is something that baffles me with Australian healthcare. All in all, I had pretty standard expectations of this hospital as my nephew spent a night in the surgical wing after having his tonsils removed. I found his accommodation to be pleasant and up to date. Boy was I in for a surprise when we walked into the maternity ward.

Lucas and I waddled into the reception area, well Lucas didn’t really waddle so much, and we were greeted by plastic covered sofas and chairs in the waiting area that looked like they were from the 1980s. I wasn’t put off by this immediately as I was distracted by the competition. The other preggos. Who was going to deliver first in this group? I’m positive this morbid curiosity is only present in the warped minds of first time moms who have yet to embark on the highly anticipated journey of child birth.

As we collectively waddled and shuffled around the maternity ward, and shoved women who were much bigger than their real size and their husbands into little hospital rooms and delivery suites it became apparent to me this whole ward was out of date. When we were told that the husbands, “are only allowed to stay one night during your stay.” I realized the mentality was also a little out of date. Perhaps it just wasn’t what I expected but, I’ll be damned if I will be left alone with a new baby, in a hospital that has furniture older than the American Constitution while my husband chews his fingernails at home. In one room that we crammed our sweaty, pregnant selves into, I saw a television that I kid you not, was on a metal arm that pulled away from the wall. Where the hell is the plasma screen tv and double bed?! I kept pent up my concerns as I didn’t want to seem like the arrogant, loud American, who nothing was good enough for. Thankfully a little distraction came when a woman who brought her husband and toddler on a leash asked if she could stay longer than the maximum of six nights. Six nights?! And she wants to stay longer in this time capsule? I nearly laughed out loud. At the end of the tour, I couldn’t exit that building fast enough. The fear of the general unknown and difference of my expectations and what we were met with nearly proved too much for me. I soothed myself with the knowledge that aforementioned nephew had been born there and I was absolutely checking out after one or two nights. No exceptions.

It also didn’t hurt that my mother came to Australia the week before Charlie was born. We spent the next six days touring Canberra a little bit, as much as my hippo self could get around. On the Wednesday before Charlie was born I took mom and Dave to the Botanic Gardens. We walked through the rainforest exhibit as it was shady and cool, really nice for my giant swollen feet, and well, everything else.

20130329-173036.jpg
This is what pre-labor looks like. If I had only known!

Perhaps it was all the walking, or maybe just the fact that I had been cooking that little turkey long enough that the timer went off. We picked up Lucas from work that evening for dinner and a movie. He will tell you that I was a whole new shade of white and very quiet. At dinner, I started having the biggest Braxton Hicks contractions, and my stomach was like a rock. I felt a bit off but not like I was in labor certainly. After dinner we headed up to the movie theater to catch a showing of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Luckily for me it was sold out. All I wanted to do was go home and eat a Popsicle. All that evening the fun times started to roll. I couldn’t get comfortable to save my life and at 4:30am I shot upright in bed with a real, big girl, call your momma, the big show is a startin’ contraction. Game on.

13 hours, one breakfast burrito, one deli sandwich, a dozen soaks in the tub, and one of Dave’s (my soon to be stepdad- yay!) spicy burritos, I felt it was time to go time traveling. Now, at the ante-natal classes (Aussie speak for pre-natal) they told us to call the hospital before we came so they could gauge by the sound of my voice the gravity of the situation. Apparently, nurse midwives have a sixth sense and it is the ability to hear a woman’s voice and determine how soon a baby will come out of said woman. Apparently. I did as I was told, called the hospital and in normal OHM fashion, I made light of the situation.

“Hello, labor and delivery, how can I help you?” super nurse asks,
“Yes, hello. My name is CJ, my doctor is blah blah and I am in labor.” I tell the nurse.
“Oh ok, how are you feeling?”
“Well, haha. I feel like my baby is trying to escape my body.”
“Ok then, you can come in anytime but you might want to wait a few more hours.”
“Yeah ok.”
We left five minutes later. Just because a girl can joke about it doesn’t mean it’s not happening!

When we arrived we were escorted to a delivery suite and discovered that there was ONE nurse on staff. Another woman was already in heavy labor and going to deliver soon. The nurse called me “Petal” about 89 times and I was in too much pain to tell her that I didn’t know why she insisted on calling me part of a flower, or a car accelerator as I suppose it could’ve been either, but that she could stop. I donned my ever so flash hospital gown and proceeded to labor away. Every Ingrid Michaelson song ever recorded played in shuffle mode on my iPod and i couldn’t have pre-planned a better playlist for the time. About an hour later the nurse came back and asked if she could check the baby’s heart rate, and told me I’d have to get on the bed. I obeyed and she said she was concerned about the heart rate and wanted to continue to monitor it. Then she left.

Holy back labor.

Can I get an epidural now? Can we turn on the gas? Can I have ANY drugs?

Hello? Anybody?

My dear husband was such a trooper, he kept hunting down the lone nurse and begging her to call the anaesthesiologist for us. My in-laws arrived from Singapore before the anaesthesiologist showed up.

While waiting for the $1000 doctor to arrive and relieve my agony, I did use the F word. I am proud to say it only happened once the whole time and it was mid-contraction when I thought the flood gates had opened and both my mother and Lucas decided it would be a great time to let go of my death grip hands and take a little look. “What the F are you doing!?!?” I growled. They both promptly dropped the covers and resumed their posts.

After the drugs, and two and a half hours of pushing, some suction cup action, and some full on dragging my baby out the doctor proudly proclaimed, “Oh look! They’re shaking my hand! Look! look!” To which I replied, “I don’t have time to look! Just Get It Out!” Turns out, little Charlie was pushing back every time I pushed and she needed some extra assistance to make her debut. When her little face was visible my third birth partner and sister-in-law, let us all know, “It’s a girl!” Even though the “girl bits” weren’t even showing yet. Apparently my child was born with a very feminine face. Awwwwww.

At 3:58 on Good Friday morning, as “The Chain” played in the background, our sweet baby Charlotte Josephine was born. It was unlike I expected, and a little as I thought it might be. 24 hours of actual labor was quite enough for me and I am so grateful we had a perfect little girl. It was a flood of relief and joy like I had never known. Each day has been a steep learning curve but we are getting the hang of this thing. I venture to say we might have parenthood figured out in about 18 years. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had, being this little girl’s mom. Happy sort of birthday my darling girl. Good Friday indeed.

20130329-225057.jpg She’s named after my grandmother, Estella Josephine, aka Granny Jo.

xx OHM

Tagged , , , , , ,

Life’s Little Adventures

Today began like any other day. Where the night before was riddled with a hysterical baby who couldn’t choose between play, sleep, or cuddles. And her cot (Aussie speak for crib), was filled with hot lava that only babies can see or feel apparently. In the morning, the civilized part of the morning I should say, we got up and did our usual thing. The rest of our day was shaping up quite well, which in the world of One Hot Mess can only mean one thing. Something must go awry.

That something was when I arrived home after some grocery shopping to find I was locked out of the front door. Alright then, I told myself, lets check the back. As I struggled to open the gate from the opposite end it was meant to be opened, I also pulled off the trick of balancing a wriggly 11 month old on my hip. Ah! The latch came open and we shuffled through, down the back of the house. Recently, Charlie has been mesmerized by the opening and shutting of doors. So, to save her little fingers from smashing and our ears from ringing, we have been latching shut all the doors. This is fine and dandy until you have two bags full of perishables and can’t even get in the flimsy screen door! Luckily for me, there is a spare fridge in the garage so I was able to save the food, and perhaps a piece of my sanity. Unlucky for me, my dear husband was in a meeting and couldn’t answer my witty but pleading texts to jump on his next Knight In Shining Armor opportunity.

Let’s back track a bit. You’re probably wondering why on earth I don’t have a house key. I have car keys right?! Ding! You my lovelies are some smart cookies. I will reward your curiosity. I have traded cars with above said dear husband because he is handicap at the moment and can’t drive his car which has a standard transmission. He apparently doesn’t need a house key on his car keys. Why? I have no earthly idea. Or unearthly for that matter.

In the end, Charlie and I had a little adventure on the back deck. She played with the lone car key and I ate my sushi lunch I picked up on my way out of the shops. I’m glad I was around to vouch for her if need be though. She only has one sock on, hiccups to beat the band, and her hair is a mess. Someone might mistake her for a transient squatter.

20130326-151628.jpg
“Why won’t they let me in?!”

xx OHM

Tagged , ,