Sunday, April 29

portlandia, here we come!

So it's time to make this blog-official: Doug has a job!

He'll be working as an associate dentist for our brother-in-law, Ben, a dentist in Hillsboro, Oregon. Doug is thrilled that he gets to work in private practice for such a successful, well-running office. Plus, he gets to keep wearing scrubs (a/k/a pajamas) every day to work, and he'll be allowed to do dental work without a professor breathing down his neck. What's not to love?

Hillsboro is a beautiful, moderate-sized city about 20 miles west of Portland. We'll be super close to family: the same area as my sister, and 1.5 hours from Doug's parents up in Washington. We'll also have killer access to the Oregon Coast, delicious berries, gorgeous wooded areas, and extreme liberalism.

Doug's psyched to be going back home to the Pacific Northwest. I actually lived in Hillsboro for over 3 years when I was little, and I have super fond memories of it. The only reservation my grown-up self has about the area is the weather, but really... who needs sunshine? (Gulp... ME!)

Virginia has been so good to our family that we're sad to roll out of here in less than a month. But it's time we started adult life, mowing our own lawn and griping about taxes like the rest of the grown-up world.

So buckle up, Oregon... the Shafers are coming!

Saturday, April 21

Friday, April 20

thank you, baby

Grace is still enjoying celebrity status at our house, and this week she really earned it: the girl took a bottle right away like it was no big deal. HOLLA! No crying, no resisting, and she's still happy to nurse.

We had to practically pay Addy to take a bottle, so this rocked our worlds.

PS- For those that care, Gracie is still dealing with the atomic spit up. We've been giving her Zantac for over a week and a half now, but it's only helping a little bit. Since she's gaining weight, the doctor said she may just be one of those kids that spits up a ton. "It's not a medical condition... it's a laundry issue." I hope that means the doctor's coming over to do a load for me today.

Tuesday, April 17


Our neighborhood is crawling with green inchworms. They hang down from the trees from their silk threads. One is cool, two are interesting... thirty are terrifying. Going for a walk is extremely dangerous.

I didn't realize it, but apparently the worms have made quite an impression on Addy. Here's the proof:

At church Addy was looking through this board book we have of paintings of Christ. She found this painting of Christ and Mary, and turned to Doug and said, "Worm!" Doug was super confused until she pointed at Mary's sleeve and said it again.

What. The. Heck.

The little eagle-eye had found an inchworm. Obviously she was pointing out a little-mentioned part of Mary's experience at the tomb. Thank goodness it was only one.

Sunday, April 15

and so it begins

Addy had her go, and now it's Gracie's turn.

Wednesday, April 11


Hunting at our neighborhood's Easter Brunch

Dyeing Eggs

Making (and eating) birds' nests

The family's loot

Hunting for eggs on Easter morning

(this video is more for the grandparents... she doesn't juggle eggs or anything, just looks for them)

It was an egg-cellent weekend! (Yes!)

Monday, April 9

the new normal

Maybe it's more "getting by" than "normal," but I'll take it.

Family of Four

Open eyes, big hair
Addy does me a solid and watches another show whilst I try to get my act together

Her post-bath hair is unreal!
Taking Addy on a date

"Sure, you can climb on there. Yeah, leave your sweatpants on all day."
Finding her thumb already?!

Sunday, April 8

because i can

Yes, my girls have a lot of dresses. Yes, Grace is zero and not going to church today. And yes, it was ridiculous to get them matching Easter dresses.

But I did it anyway. Because I can.

(And because they were on super sale.)

Hey, just be glad I didn't have an adult size made for me out of the same fabric. But maybe that's something I can save for next year...

Happy Easter, one and all!

Thursday, April 5

getting gracie

And this is the tale of how we got our Gracie.

(You know, for those of you that are into this sort of thing.)

I knew from the get-go that I wanted to try for a VBAC delivery (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean). Everything had been normal with Addy’s delivery up until I pushed for 3 hours and the girl was just painfully stuck in the face-up position, making us opt for a c-section. We had every reason to believe Grace could come the ol’ traditional route, and my doctor agreed.

After quite a bit of research, I also came to a few conclusions:
  1. I wanted to go into labor on my own (the usual dosage of Pitocin for a VBAC can lead to uterine rupture) (UTERINE. RUPTURE.)
  2. I wanted to go without an epidural for as long as I could (that way if Grace was face-up too, I could be more mobile and try different positions to see if she’d turn)
When my mom came into town the day before Grace’s due date, we made it our full-time job to get Grace to come. Whether she felt like it or not. I walked, jumped, danced, swayed, and walked some more. I drank herbal tea, scrubbed floors, took a warm bath, and had Doug massage acupressure points. And I was this close to taking castor oil. But even after all that, I didn’t feel so much as a weak sauce contraction.

Eventually we decided to go with my doctor’s offer to break my water and give me a small blast of Pitocin just to start things. I really felt passionate about going into labor on my own, but Doug gave me a blessing and we felt like it was the right thing to do. (It didn’t stop me from trying a few last ditch efforts to go into my labor the night before. But no dice.)

At long last, the big day came.

Zero o’clock: Doug and I report to the hospital. I have the ideas I liked for natural birth written on the back of a receipt (seriously).
7:10 am: After getting situated, my doctor breaks my water. I start the day at 3 cm. Doug and I walk the halls for the next hour. We do some fist pumps when I start feeling some mild contractions.
8:15 am: They start giving me the small dosage of Pitocin. I request some comedies on the TV to distract me. Fresh Prince really helped me through those early pains. So did standing next to the bed rocking back and forth like a crazy person.
9:00 am: My doctor checks me and I’m at 4 cm and 80% effaced. By this point we’re watching Psych, and I’m rocking AND moaning through the pain… double the crazy points. Doug is standing next to me comforting me, although I did have to give him a death glare during a tough contraction when I caught him watching the TV instead of tenderly caressing my face.
10:00 am: My Mom arrives and I can tell by her face I don’t look so hot. I’m in the fetal position on the bed. They turn off the Pitocin.
10:20 am: The contractions are mega uncomfortable and close together. The nurse checks me and I’m 7 or 8 cm. She brings up an epidural because originally I told her I might want it. I ask if she thinks it will be over soon, and the kind soul told me she couldn’t say. But really it could all be over soon. I decide to have her just start to prep some things in case I want it.
10:30 am: The contractions, to put it kindly, SUCK. The nurse checks me again and I’m still at a 7 or 8. I say, “I WANT AN EPIDURAL.”
10:45 am: The nurse checks me and I’m at a 9. We all realize there’s no point in getting the epidural now. My doctor had run back to his office when things looked slow, so now they were frantically calling him.
10:50 am: I want to push. And I’m begging anyone in the room to let me push. Still no doctor.
10:55 am: I’m fully dilated. My doctor comes huffing and puffing into the room, throws down his keys, and yanks on a gown. They let me start pushing within a few seconds. Hallelujah.
10:56 am: I realize pushing REALLY hurts. The doctor does some helping along, but now I’m begging them to let me NOT push.
11:00 am: The pushing hurts so badly that I stop pushing well. The doctor patiently reteaches me how to push. The doctor, Doug, my mom, and the three nurses are all cheering me on. Really, it sounded like a pep rally. "Come on Jackie! You can do it!" They reassure me that she’s facing down and everything looks great.
11:05 am: All the pushing pays off… Grace is born! They lay her on my chest and I immediately melt back into the bed. I'm in love with that baby girl and SO glad it's basically over.

The rest of the day is kind of a blur. I was just so shocked that it all happened in 4 hours. It felt fake for a while. It was so great to spend the rest of the day holding sweet Grace, introducing her to Addy, and eating Easter candy.

Looking back, I feel really happy with how everything went. I was able to have a successful VBAC at a hospital I love with a doctor we love and trust. Even now a week later, Doug and I can't stop saying how grateful we feel that everything went so well.

I loved that day.

Sunday, April 1

welcome home!

As much as I love the cherry pie and the extra help at the hospital, it was great to bring Grace home last Friday.

(And considering our shenanigans in the snow when we came home with Addy, the gorgeous Spring day was greatly appreciated.)