Tag Archives: birthday

Birthday Bliss

“I come to the sea to breathe.”

I once received a notebook from then-Cannon Beach artist and poet Mary Anne Radmacher with those words written on the front. I think of them every time I visit the Oregon Coast. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take just about any ocean beach, but the Oregon Coast is where my compass gets reset, my inner tides get aligned, and where I find myself.

It’s no wonder, then, that I long for the beach on my birthday.

Eric’s school auction was Saturday, preventing us from spending even one night, so a day trip would have to do. And it did!  We were blessed with an amazingly fantastic day. While I missed out on sitting in a cabin drinking wine watching the ocean planning out my goals for the year (I’ll take a raincheck on that activity), I’ll still call it a success.

We went to Gearhart, where a 10-mile stretch of beach is car-friendly. The only reason this is important is because it’s so much easier to deal with kids and sand at the beach at sunset when we can drive right out there and then not have to hike back out to the car after dark. We love Smuggler’s Cove and Manzanita for daytime beach play, but for sunset – we drive out past Gearhart.

Here are a few pics from the day. We were fortunate enough to have my brother Jeff join us, so we put him to work as staff photographer. Thanks, Brother!


pink light makes me happy


Eric and Brian enjoying a snuggle on the top of our climbing structure.


as silly as we want to be


horses heading south at dusk...


We stay off the higher dunes so as to not disturb the grasses, but a little bit of duney sand play is usually in order.


I just can't get enough of silver sunlight on water. It brings me peace like nothing else.


We parked near this big old tree, I think it must have washed up in the recent storms. Can you imagine this big thing bobbing around the ocean?


The view south, toward Gearhart and Seaside.


...and horses heading north at sunset!

1 Comment

Filed under Family, Nature, Oregon, Travel

Princess Pool Party

I’ve tried to avoid the trap of giant kid birthday parties for as long as I could. Dinner parties with family and close friends seemed more reasonable and fun for the adults, but I was finally busted by Anna: “Why haven’t I ever had a birthday party with anyone other than our family?”

Darn it.

She vacillated between wanting a “Rainbow Party” and a “Princess Pool Party.” She finally settled on Princess Pool Party, because who can turn down swimming in December?

We booked the party room and pool at East Portland Community Center. The package includes a party room adjacent to the pool for one hour, then swimming for as long as you want until the pool closes. Sweet! We booked the room from 1:30-2:30, so we’d have the longest possible time of open swim (the pool closes at 5).

Anna invited our neighbor friends (at least the ones close to her age), all the girls from her Kindergarten class, and a few friends from pre-school. To play on the Princess Pool Party theme, we had a mermaid cake, decorate-your-own-crown craft, plus beach balls that we took in the pool. Anna wore her new Disney Cinderella dress over her swim suit. I love the dichotomy!

She declared the birthday party a success! I just hope I don’t have to top it next year…

{click on a photo for a slideshow}


Filed under Family

Happy Birthday, Anna!

My first baby turns six today!

She was 2 weeks overdue, so boy was I ready. I kept saying, “Baby, come out! It’s time!” I should have guess then how stubborn and independent she would be! Everything in her time…

As my dad said, "Babies now come with hats!"

Anna meeting her Daddy. She was a bit irate at having to come out, but she was transfixed by Brian. She probably recognized his voice.

New family! My eyes were actually protruding from my head from the pushing during labor. Brian called it, "Optical Poptitude"

Anna sharing a moment with my mom.

I spent so many weeks being impatient for this baby, but those hours and days just blur up until the day before Anna came. I bought and decorated the Christmas tree that day before, thinking, “Surely if I start this big project, the baby will start to come so I won’t be able to finish it.” Nope, I got the tree up and decorated, all the presents wrapped. Nothing more to do but wait. At about 12:30 a.m. on December 11, Brian said,
“Honey, just go to bed!”

“But I don’t to wake up and have it be one more day that the baby hasn’t come yet.”

“But if the baby is coming, you’ll need your sleep. So come to bed.”

Brian always makes so much sense. At about 2 am, I got up to go to the bathroom, and my water broke! We headed off to the hospital, slept a bit, and called our parents at around 9.

“WE’LL BE RIGHT THERE!” from my parents, who were more than just a little bit excited to be welcoming their first grandchild.

By noon or so, I still wasn’t having contractions, so my options were induce labor or go for a walk to try to bring on labor. Funny how walking either intensifies the contractions or makes them go away altogether. In this case, they intensified. All the miles of walking I did with Dayl in the weeks leading up to this… not so much.

I was so glad the walking worked this time because I had heard horror stories of how much harder labor is if you’re induced. I was hoping to do the whole thing without drugs, and inducing most likely would derail that effort. During the months I was pregnant, several people told me, “Why do it without drugs? It’s not like you get a medal!” But I really wanted to try. I truly believe that whatever is best for the baby is the right choice, and no mother should be judged for how the birth goes down. Unless she vodkas her way through labor – I think I could be judge-y over that choice. But I digress…

After my walk, labor officially started about 2 pm. YUP, THAT’S A CONTRACTION. All those Braxton-Hicks faker contractions seemed like a joke once I felt a real contraction. ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS? I thought my cervix was being ripped out of my body with a jagged knife.

Nurse: “Now would be a good time to talk about giving you something for the pain.”

I explained that I would like to see how far I could go without drugs, so she offered different positions, and the ball. I found the ball to be a horrible idea. How can I relax into the contractions when I’m using muscles to balance on a ball??

I thought I was relaxing, but my midwife Kelly came in and touched my leg, my arm, and said, “Relax this. Now relax this.” It’s surprising how much easier the contractions were when I was truly relaxed.

We finally ended up in a tub, which was amazing. Being in the warm water, with my Mama stroking my forehead and Brian holding my hand, cut the intensity of contractions by about 30%. Getting out of the water was not my favorite part, but labor had progressed enough that they wanted to get me back to the room.

There’s a dark moment when I had gotten out of the tub, and the pain was so intense that I couldn’t breathe. I was in transition, and it was hell. I didn’t ask for drugs, because I remembered what my friend Katherine had said: “You can handle anything for one minute.” Everything was black in between contractions, and searing white pain during the contractions. Brian leaned his face within three inches of mine, and whispered, “Let’s try a breathing exercise from the class.” We had laughed at the goofy counting fingers breathing exercises, but Brian had the good sense to pull one out right when I needed it. He totally got me through that hardest part by distracting me. I’ll never forget how he knew just what I needed at the moment I needed it most.

After six hours of labor, it was time to push. The pushing officially lasted 1 hour and 50 minutes before Anna was born, but it could have been three minutes or it could have been another six hours.

A screaming baby was placed on my belly, and all of us – Brian, my parents, and Brian’s mom, along with the nurses and midwife – were happily ooh-ing and ahh-ing, “Hi Baby! Beautiful Baby!” Finally my Dad said, “Hey, what is it?” A quick check revealed a girl, to which I replied, “Hi, Anna!”

Happy Birth Day to my beautiful daughter!



Filed under Family

Happy Birthday Eric! {Wordless Wednesday}

birthdy boy


Filed under Family