Monday, January 30, 2012


As promised in my last post, it's time to talk about the fear of childbirth. From all I've read and been told, EVERY woman experiences a modicum of fear when considering birthing her child. It apparently took 24 weeks for that fear to set in for me. Last week I had a true breakdown that resulted in Michael being soaked in my tears. So, what threw me into such terror? Well, other women, of course.

It was mostly my fault. I should have known better. I've spent most of my online-adult life avoiding forums. Rarely is there anything of value on these cyber traps, but I just couldn't resist the thread on my baby site titled "What no one tells you about delivery." In truth, I clicked the link with an air of  "tell me something I don't know." After all, I've read a LOT about birth. I've had friends who have recently given birth who have shared their stories. I felt that I was prepared, educated, ready.

About 80 responses in to the thread that should have been more accurately titled "Let's try to scare all new moms to death (or into scheduled c-sections)", I started freaking out. How had I been so lead astray? Were my "friends" maintaining some sort of pact in this new mommy club they joined? Had they promised to tell enough of the truth to appease me but kept the real horrors of childbirth to themselves only to dupe some other poor sap (i.e. me) into pregnancy only to relish in her demise? (Lord help us if our son has my flare for the dramatic.)

I went straight to (one of) the source(s), my dear friend Sarah who is currently carrying her second child. (Baby VP 2.0 is due just a few weeks before our Clark!) After announcing that I was incredibly mad at her for lying to me, (you should know is that Sarah is also one of my business partners in Signature, Ink., a fellow teacher, one of my spiritual mentors, and easily my closest rival when it comes to being bossy, so she is used to my accusatory demeanor) I proceeded to explain why. I'll spare you the details because really, they're gross and it turns out that everything I was afraid of, according to Sarah, was not shared with me because it didn't happen or is "not normal and those people should see a doctor."

Where does this leave my fear quotient? Much lower than it was after reading the scary forum, but slightly higher than it was, let's say, 7 months ago. I know that reading will only do so much to prepare me for task of giving birth and that the classes we'll be taking will help a bit more. I also know that women, some of whom are  much stronger than me, but many who are much weaker than I am have done this for thousands of years. Our child will come into this world and all will be well. In the mean time, I'm reading, praying, and seriously considering purchasing Hypnobabies. At this point, any relaxation has to help!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Judge much?

Remember the adage...something about the things that annoy you the most about others are probably things that you're guilty of yourself? (I think it's an adage, if not, it's a Jane-ism compliments of my mother.) Anyway, I've been thinking about this a lot lately mostly because I can't seem to get away from judgment.

I'll start by fessing up. My name is Betty and I can be INCREDIBLY judgmental. I know this about myself--I'm not necessarily ok with it, nor to I accept it as who I will be forever, but I know that my natural tendency is to assume that my way it right/best. With that in mind, I will also say that I've come a long way. If you can believe it (and some of you can because you've known me for most of my life), I used to be even more judgmental than I am now. For much of my life I wrote it off as being opinionated, but I now realize it's more than that. 

With motherhood looming in front of me, I'm working on being a woman that Clark will be proud to have as his mother, and no part of me believes that being judgmental is part of the job description. I'm also realizing that this club of mothers that I'm about to join is not much different than a lot of other clubs or societies that I've been a part of or witnessed. My friend Sarah blogged just last week about mean girls. There's little value in me re-hashing what she said, so go read her post (and follow her blog while you're there) then head back here.

Sarah's observation about mothers being just as horrible to one another as the "Plastics" in the movie Mean Girls isn't a unique one this week. Just yesterday my sister-in-law/best friend Becky posted this article about women judging other women for staying home...or not staying home (because although we women may be bitches, at least we're equal opportunity bitches).

My point is this. While my child is still in utero, I've seen others judged for their choices (What?! You're ok with PUBLIC?!), and I'm sorry to say, I've even been the one judging. But what I'm realizing is what you might call another Jane-ism, we're all just doing the best that we can with what we have where we're at. It's possible that the mother sitting in front of me at church feeding her baby formula tried desperately for months to breast feed, but finally, finally was able to move past her own hang-ups and supplement or switch to formula for the health of her baby. Or maybe she never tried to breast feed. The thing is, it's not my business. And while I don't understand it and hope I'm never in that position, judging her doesn't help promote the greater good. It doesn't recognize that this woman has taken on what I already view as the most difficult job in the world. And it definitely doesn't make me the woman I want my children's mother to be. 

I don't believe I'll ever stop being opinionated. I have very specific beliefs about most things, and I won't apologize for believing that breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and non-processed foods are what's best for my baby. However, I'm done being judgmental about others who don't believe the same thing because if mothers can't get love from other mothers--women who have literally been there--then where can they get the love and appreciation they deserve?

Finally, the more I read about delivery and postpartum recovery the more love I have for all of you mothers because I'm seriously beginning to freak about this giving birth thing that's going to happen in a few months...but I'll leave that for my next post.

Monday, January 16, 2012

On with the show...

It's been over a week since I've blogged. This might upset me more than my readership, but to whomever is upset by this, I'm sorry. I have a good excuse though...I swear. 

About a year ago, something wonderful happened. Along with my dear friends Sarah and Jenn, I officially started Signature, Ink. LLC, a custom design company. We specialize in weddings but also create one-of-a-kind designs for essentially anything...birthday invitations, shower invitations, baby announcements, business name it. 

Yesterday we took part in our first bridal show. We're still waiting to see how well it truly went, but it FELT like it was a success! It took a ton of planning and preparation (it didn't help that it fell the weekend after final exams, the day after I had an all day training for my third job), so it took me away from the blog...and cleaning...and crafting...and cooking. BUT now that we've done one bridal show, all that follow should be much easier!

Here are a few pictures from the show. The booth was 98% finished when I took the pictures. We still needed to hang fabric under the boards, but by the time that happened, I totally spaced taking pictures. 

Sarah's dad made these presentation boards for us. After we hung fabric from the bottom, they were perfect. The three frames display examples of our three different wedding packages.

The water bottles from Signature, Ink. and Hoyle-Cunningham Photography were a HUGE hit! Our promotion for the show is framed with a copy of the magazine we were featured in.

Another project board made by Sarah's dad. Most of our past work.
Wow...we didn't realize we'd done so much!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


If you've read any of my pregnancy posts, you know that I absolutely love carrying this little guy! The good outweighs the bad in so many ways, but recently I've been craving a run. My college roommate, Sarah (if you don't yet follow/read her blog, you need to!), just posted about getting back into running after the birth of her daughter. While I'm happy for her, I was more jealous than anything. 

I miss running. Now this sounds silly given that if I were a hard-core runner I could still be running right now, 22 weeks into pregnancy. After all, Amber Miller ran the Chicago marathon and then gave birth to her daughter a few short hours later (she was even in labor during the last leg of the race...seriously?).  So, no, I'm not that hard-core, but even people who aren't hard-core can love and miss something. And, I miss running. 

It's really the feeling I get about 7 weeks into running that I miss. My lungs no longer burn, my feet and legs no longer hurt, and 3 miles is a "short" run. That's what I miss. That's what I've been craving. It's supposed to be 50 degrees in Chicago on Friday--perfect running weather, but instead of joining my fellow runners out on the road, I'll be avoiding their cautious glances as I drive by. While running and I have always had a love-hate relationship, the fact that right now we're stuck in this taboo love affair is a bit more than I can handle. I'm hoping that once my Lo gets here he and I will be able to hit the trail, jogging stroller and all, so that someday he'll love-hate running as much as I do.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Quick & Easy Homemade Bread...Yum!

Well, welcome to 2012! I can't believe we're here already. This last year went by so fast! I wasted no time getting a jump start on my resolutions for the year. Yesterday, I tackled bread baking in an effort to accomplish resolution #10: Cook/bake more of our own food. (It also accomplishes one of my unofficial goals of actually making stuff I pin on Pinterest!)

As a true carb-addict, I've always loved bread and been very picky about what kinds I buy. It's hard to find an economical bread that isn't made with a bunch of hard to pronounce ingredients. As you know, I'm trying to get back to a more holistic and healthy lifestyle. (Resolution #5: Work toward an organic, homemade lifestyle.) With this in mind, I decided that I would give making our own bread a try. I have to say that for a first attempt, I was more than pleased! In fact, the loaf has been baked for less than 24 hours and it's already half way finished!

I should have called my mom for one of her recipes (I have many childhood memories of my mom baking bread), but I thought I'd go with something super easy my first time out. I chose to use the recipe I found here

Here it is for your convenience: 
1/4 cup milk
5 teaspoons sugar (or 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoons salt
5 teaspoons butter (or 1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 package active dry yeast 
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups flour (get unbleached white for your first attempt) --Good tip from original source!
Corn starch or nonstick cooking spray (just to prevent the bread from st
icking to the bowl or pan)

Putting it together: 
-Dissolve yeast in 1 c. warm water. Mix until there are no lumps. (I used my Kitchen Aid to combine all ingredients.
-Add melted butter, sugar, and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined.
-Mix in first 2 cups of flour 1/2 cup at a time.
-Continue adding the rest of the flour 1/4 cup at a time. Mix each 1/4 cup in completely before adding the next 1/4 cup. (I did end up using 3 1/2 cups total in my loaf.)
-Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead dough for 10 minutes.
-Form dough into a ball and place into a bowl sprayed with cooking spray. Place in a warm place and allow to rise for 1 hour. (I set my oven to the "Warm" setting and set it there.)
-After the hour is up, punch down the dough 3-4 times; flatten into a rectangle (1 loaf pan size by 1 1/2 loaf pan size).
-Roll into a log; tuck sides under and place into a greased loaf pan. 
-Allow the dough to rise in the loaf pan for another hour. When it's finished, it will look like this:
Sorry about the quality of the pictures; my camera wasn't charged, so I used my phone. 

-Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes (This was the PERFECT amount of time for my loaf of bread!)
-Remove bread from pan immediately. Allow to cool a bit before cutting.

So...the first attempt at homemade bread was an AMAZING success! For my first time I just used all purpose flour and it was wonderful! I'll be branching out to whole wheat bread flour next. Since this bread recipe is so easy, I'll probably make two or three loaves at the beginning of the week for us.