Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Baby Jack

The new year is here. I'd like to blog more. I always say that.  2013 really had a lot of things I could,  and probably should have blogged about: we joined the Catholic church (deal with it Puritans), we found out we were having another baby (deal with it people who don't like babies), we got through another deployment,  I took a toddler on a trans atlantic flight by myself; like I said, a lot of things I could have blogged about. I probably won't blog about those things now, but I might as well share Jack's birth story. Don't worry--I'll try to be as graphic as possible.

you're welcome.

Thomas Jackson Royse was born at home. Some people hear that and ask me, "Er…don't they got hospitals over there?" Yes, they do, and no, I'm not like that high school girl who didn't tell anyone she was pregnant and gave birth in the girls locker room at prom because she didn't have the foresight to get herself to a hospital. 

Before Ava was born I did zero preparing for having a baby. I don't beat myself up about it too much. I think that was the only way I really knew how to cope with the triple whammy of: giving birth for the first time, in a foreign country I had only just arrived in, without my husband. One of those too-excited-for-college freshman psychology majors might have diagnosed this behavior as "avoidant coping." It's kind of like what you're doing right now instead of laundry, or e-mails, or showering. 

Before I went into labor with Ava I couldn't imagine why someone would have a baby at home. Without turning this post into "Ava's Birth Story," let's just say that I totally understood the appeal of staying at home, after I delivered Ava. However, the German system of health care involves a pretty sweet set up for the labor and delivery ward of a hospital. Midwives attend all births, and the rooms are (typically) complete with birthing tubs (sign me up!) birthing balls, stools, comfy beds, low lights, you name it. So, originally I had intended to give birth in the small hospital in the town of Sulzbach-Rosenberg. 

After I had Ava, (or perhaps after countless documentaries, books, blogs, and articles---which shall remain nameless for the this post) I decided I wanted all my future birth experiences to be different than what I had with Ava: a lot of confusion, a lot of exhaustion, a lot of pain, a lot of me whining, and a lot of intervention. With Ava I was induced early, and after a 30 hour labor, (which I completely understand is not long at all in terms of an induced labor ) I had an epidural, and then subsequently a healthy 8 pound baby. Yay :) ! So, I didn't really get to experience all the great amenities the German hospitals offer. 

Shortly after I found out I was pregnant with Jack I had already imagined a very specific "birth plan." Once again Steven would be in Afghanistan, and I wanted someone there to help me carry out that plan. Even though my german is substantially better now, I knew I wouldn't be able to explain everything regarding my preference on saline locks, cord clamping, placenta delivery, circumcision, "no talking to me during contractions," and, "I'll push how I want and then you guys don't bother me,"and which flavor of tea I like best. The list went on forever, which is a big reason I liked the idea of a home birth. I went to check with my insurance about coverage, and I was pretty disappointed when I found out that they are currently NOT covering homebirths while we're stationed in Germany (as of very recently). I'll save that explanation and subsequent rant for another time.

So I chucked the homebirth plan. I hadn't even talked about it with Steven yet. I still wanted that natural, "my-body-knows-how-to-do-this" experience though. I opted for a doula. The only person I know around here though who could fulfill that role was actually a local, independent midwife. She speaks perfect english, and has worked with many Americans before Tricare stopped covering her independent services. We talked, and Steven and I decided to hire her out of pocket to come with me to the hospital. She's an incredible midwife, but she was essentially going to be fulfilling a doula role. She came by the house, and we discussed my birth plan. I told her that I was really more interested in the homebirth, but that I would have to wait until we were back in the states to have one. She told me if I changed my mind, that she would cover a homebirth for us, no extra charge. I was thrilled! I told Steven homebirth was back on the table. He was not so excited. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that he wouldn't even be here. I definitely didn't want to do a homebirth if he didn't want to. However I REALLY wanted to, so we went round and round about it. Eventually he told me that it was up to me, and that he trusted me to make the decision. He wanted me to have the birth experience I wanted, and knew that it was important. One thing Steven was very concerned about was the distance from our home, to the hospital. Both of us knew that the odds of something going wrong were very slim, but of course those odds are always there. We also knew that Nina would be fully prepared, and capable of handling and predicting most of the "emergency situations," and could effectively arrange my transfer to the hospital. She can also do a number of medical procedures herself, on me--or the baby, if need be. All of that is comforting, except that the hospital happens to be twenty-five minutes away. Some people might think that's not far, but to me that seems very far when every second counts. I had been reading about how negative, or anxious feelings can really effect the progression of labor, and I didn't want that to happen to me. Thanks Ina May Gaskin, and Dr. Sears. ;) 

Again, I chucked the homebirth plan. I told Nina that I wanted to do the bulk of my laboring in the comfort of my own home, and then transfer to the hospital just in time to have the baby. I decided on a waterbirth at the local hospital. My friend Emily was also going to be by my side--so I felt ready to take on anything. 

Then I was 39 weeks pregnant. Nina came by the house to check me. We both agreed the baby had a long ways to go. Jack was so high up, he hadn't really descended at all. Nina said sometimes that's common, and it's nothing to worry about, though it was unusual. I had zero signs of impending labor. I was happy about this news because just a few weeks earlier I had found out that Steven was going to be come home early, and might actually make it for the birth! All Jack had to do was come a few days past his due date, and all signs pointed that he wasn't going anywhere. 

November 15 was so uneventful. Ava and I ran errands, and went to the park. I made dinner, and gave Ava a bath and put her to bed. Then I watched that new Great Gastby movie, with Leonardo DiCaprio; I remember thinking, "wow--this movie is so overstimulating." Right as the movie ended, and the credits were rolling, I remember getting online to do some last minute online shopping for Christimas. It was 11:00 p.m. I was thinking, "Oh geez…this promo code for 30% off expires in an hour! But does it expire at midnight my time, or midnight U.S. time?" I decided to send an email to their customer service to ask when I got a major cramp:

"OUCH!…What fresh hell is THIS?!" 

It went away quickly. Ten minutes later I got another one. I sat on my birthing ball, which really helped. I like to call it a birthing ball, (instead of "stability ball" that it's marketed and sold as) because it makes me feel better about the fact that I only used it for labor, and never for my abs. When I got the second "cramp" I decided this must be Braxton Hicks. I should say, I never had Braxton Hicks contractions with Ava, and never had them with Jack either. But Jack was supposed to be late--way late--so this must be early labor.  

This was supposed to be my "39 Weeks" photo for Facebook.
Instead of posting it, I went into labor.
"Great…this could go on forever…" because I had read about women having early labor contractions for days…daaaays. I got up to take a bath, and get ready for bed and had another "cramp," this time I was starting to get suspicious because it hadn't been another ten minutes. So, I texted my friend Emily.

That was the last thing I could do. Right after I hit "send" I got another cramp, only there was no mistaking it. I knew this was labor. I grabbed my bag for the hospital out of the bedroom and put it by the door, and started to run the bath water. 

(Side note: since I was a little girl, nothing has made me feel more comforted then running bath water. NOT a bath full of water; RUNNING bath water. I know, I know, it's incredibly wasteful, blah blah blah.)

Only I couldn't get in the tub. Another contraction hit and I was rocking back and forth on all fours on the bath mat. It helped. The doorbell rang. I think it was 11:40 p.m. 

My text to Emily
I let Emily in and quickly returned to the bathmat. Then I told her she needed to call Nina. I didn't know what she should tell her, "just call her!" I was down to three word sentences. A few minutes later Emily said, "Okay. Nina said we need to time a few contractions. She's on her way." "Whatever," I breathed, as I hopped back into the tub, then I instructed emily to pour hot water down my back. It helped. I also asked her to talk--say something! "Tell me about your trip," she had just got back from Spain. Only, Emily could NOT tell a decent story about Spain to save her life (sorry Em). "Okay, it looks like the contractions are four minutes apart." 

"I don't think…that's probably not right."
"Are you having a contraction now?"
"….that's two minutes apart…I think we should go to the hospital."

"Why can't my friend time contractions? It's not rocket science." I thought. 
"Fine," I said. "Pull the car." I really didn't think Emily was timing the contractions correctly. There's no way they could be two minute apart. The whole dance had just started an hour ago. 

Here's where it became a homebirth. My then contraction had just ended and I decided to stand up to put my clothes on, (though I have to say, I did consider NOT putting on clothes) and I can't explain it, but with ever fiber of my being I had this intense, and very strange, physiological realization that the baby was coming---QUICKLY. I took of my dress and got back in the tub. Emily came in and I said:

"The baby is coming. We're staying here. Go downstairs and get Gerlinde. She's a nurse. Go." 

On her way upstairs, unbeknownst to me, Gerlinde called the paramedics. She wasn't sure who would arrive first, the baby or Nina. Gerlinde came running in, and immediately grabbed the sponge and squeezed water down my back. It was so nice to see her. Then I heard the doorbell, (which apparently neither Gerlinde or Emily heard, but I guess active labor gives you special powers) and when I looked up Gerlinde was standing at the bathroom door with a fireman, dressed in an entire fire rescue suit--hat and everything! Okay, that was a labor hallucination. Apparently, he was just an EMT dressed in a standard EMT uniform. No hat. I'm not sure why I envisioned him as a fireman. 

"Noooooooooooooooooooo!" Is all I could get out when I saw him. Fortunately, for everyone, the doorbell rang again, and it was Nina. The paramedics seemed relived she was there. Nina came to the tub, and said very quietly:

(just imagine me answering these questions with my eyes closed, breathing heavily)
"Blayne, you are pushing now I see."
"I'm trying not to yet."
"No, go ahead if you want. We can't leave now. The baby is coming."
"I know."
"Do you want me to check [for dilation] you?"
"Okay, you will have to turn around the other direction, or get out of the tub."
"um…no checking."
"Alright, it doesn't matter at this point anyway I think. We'll just wait."

Then that's just what we did. Emily, and Gerlinde, and Nina, and me. Then I had a few of the heaviest, hardest contractions ever. I held on to this cord that holds a shower head on the tub. I kid you not, I have no idea what I would have done instead. It saved me. I'll never look at that cord the same again. 

I don't feel like I can really take much credit for what happened after that. I tried to remember what I read about breathing out, expanding my belly, not sucking it it. I tried to remember not to push the baby when he was crowning, but to the let the contractions naturally push the baby out. This was difficult, but fortunately went quickly, so there was no tearing (win!!).  

Then right after his head came out, I felt this immediate and immense relief. I really thought that after the baby comes out, there must still be some pain, like when you slam your finger in a door; a residual ache. No, it's immense and total relief. 

Total labor time from first contraction, to holding baby: just over 2 hours. It's like the fastest thing that's ever happened to me.

Jack was born at 1:10 a.m. 7 pounds, 7 ounces and 20 inches long. He was perfect. And sort of blue, (babies don't come out peachy and pink like in the movies, people. They were just squeezed through a birth canal. Bluish is normal folks. Cut the babies some slack). He took a minute to breathe, but it was fine because he was still attached to the cord. Nina checked him, and there was no distress. He was so perfect. The first thing I thought when I saw him was "Steven! He looks just like Steven!" Then he breathed and cried a little.

We drained the water, which had gotten cold, so I could stay in the tub to deliver the placenta. We couldn't run more hot water because I had used it up, hence the blankets for warmth. 

Emily on the left, and Nina on the right

Oma Gerlinde came back the next morning to check on us all.

I have to say, I had no desire to leave the tub. But the water I was sitting in was getting cold, and I had used up all the leftover hot water. So we drained the tub and Nina covered me all the available towels (and blankets). I wanted to wait to cut the cord until the placenta was delivered, and that took about an hour. Nina clamped the cord, and I cut it! I felt like a proud papa. :) Then Nina and Emily helped me to the bedroom. Nina covered the bed with some disposable sheet-like things, and essentially created a little trail of those from the bed to the bathroom (ya know…for bleeding and such). I took a shower. Nina and Emily fetched me Raspberry Leaf tea, coconut water, and dates that I had been living on the last several months. Then I got to rest in bed while Nina checked Jack's weight, and height, and all that technical stuff. She stayed about five hours, and then told me she'd come back to check on me that evening. Emily stayed the night. 

It was an awesome experience.  I got to have the drug free, quick, calm, and uninterrupted water birth I was so wanting. I'm so happy it worked out the way that it did. I'm definitely on board with the homebirthing. Though, with our next child, I'd like to be closer to a hospital. That original concern is still there for me. 

I so wanted Steven to be there. He was deployed when Ava was born, and he finally met her for the first time when she was four months old. Fortunately, he's been home to experience the newborn days with Jack. He's such a great dad. I know it's not his first rodeo or anything, but he really is a natural. Steven came home from Afghanistan exactly a week after Jack was born. Another wonderful, and very special moment for all of us. 

My mom and stepdad and grandmother also came to meet Jack. They stayed three weeks with us. It was awesome to have a whole house full of family with us for the holidays, and tons of help! We miss them. 

Ava had some mixed feelings about Jack when he first arrived. One morning while I was nursing him, she got quiet, looked up at me, smiled, and said "I wanna kick it." She's such a rascal. 

Now she's better with him. She loves to help him, and fetch him blankets, or diapers. And she calls him, "a sleepy guy."

We are so tremendously blessed. Jack and Ava are very different babies, but lo and behold Jack has the same dairy allergy Ava had as an infant. So, get ready for posts about that nonsense as I cut out all forms of casein and whey AGAIN. Good times ahead folks.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Not For The Puritans

It's been one year since my last blog update! Happy Hiatus Anniversary! You're welcome everyone. :)

We're here visiting the good ole' U.S.of A. Steven deployed to Afghanistan recently, so we took a few weeks to fly home and visit the family and friends. The flight was hard, just in case you were wondering, (you WERE wondering) but that's another post, (unless I choose to block it out of my memory forever).

There's a lot of thing I enjoy about visiting the states, after being away. There's a lot of things I hate about visiting the states. I'll discuss the one that bothers me the most about our culture:



Raise your hand if you just cringed! Now take that hand and use it to navigate towards the "exit," on this page, because this post is not going to be for you.

Or perhaps it IS.

I've become so saddened by the state our culture is in right now. Over-sexed. So much that I'm not sure we even notice it anymore.

It's just a salad, Jenny.

Good things these ladies are here to inform our youth. I didn't know it was tequila that gets one pregnant.

Oh! Tune in on Tuesdays at 10:00/ 9:00 central to find out what happens!

I'm sure you hardly batted an eye at those. You've seen those clips one hundred times. They're practically white noise.

How about these photos?

Apparently there are 42 new tips on how to have the best sex ever. And Demi Lovato is definitely a solid C cup. Definitely.

Just sellin' some underwear on TV. Nothing to see here.

WHOA! Wait a second!

My eyes! MY EYES ARE BURNING! She's "got her boob out in front of God and everyone!"

Is that a Victoria's Secret model, breastfeeding? That's body fluid! She's getting it everywhere! NO!! MAKE IT STOP!!!

Whew....that's better. Put those breast back where they belong: gratifying pervey men everywhere.

The other day I posted a shared story on Facebook, describing one woman's story of being treated badly on an American Airlines flight because she was nursing her baby without a cover.

Heaven forbid. "There are children on this flight!"

This hits home for me, not just because I breastfeed, but because I've never had to deal with some nasty comment from someone uninformed. Europe has a whole host of problems, but seeing a woman breastfeed isn't one of them. I'm not sure how I would feel if someone were hateful to me in a restaurant, or store, because I was nursing a child. I think I would probably be very hurt, and confused. I don't think I would be able to just brush it off. I also believe strongly in extended breastfeeding, which comes with its own host of prejudices, (but that's a different story).

This particular post got me into a fairly involved debate over whether or not it's reasonable to ask mothers to "cover up" during nursing sessions in public places. For a lot people the issue seems cut and dry: cover up your breasts, (because I don't want to see them when a baby is attached to them) when you're around me, and we won't have a problem. This is oversimplification at its very worst. Breastfeeding can be complicated. Covering up an infant during breastfeeding can actually make it impossible to breastfeed them. Covering up an infant can be uncomfortable, for both mom and baby. Ultimately, covering up an infant presents an additional, totally unnecessary hardship for a mother who is trying to feed her baby. Most women are not feeding their babies in public to make a statement, though I'll concede that some probably are. But for the sake of argument, let's say that women are only trying to feed a child---no ulterior motive involved. Why then,does it make people so uncomfortable? Children are being undervalued, and so is breastfeeding.

In America, I think it's three main reasons:

1. It's strange. Let's face it, it's not everyday you see a woman breastfeeding in public, (covered or not). You may or may not see it more than once, but you likely don't witness it everyday, or even every week. Most women would prefer to nurse their babies in the comfort of their home, or in a quiet secluded spot--but sometimes this isn't possible. But even if it were possible, it still shouldn't be expected of the mother to remove herself from a situation.When a baby's gotta eat--a baby's gotta eat. Formula fed infants are fed on schedule, breastfed babies are not; they eat when they want to, and a variety of factors influences when they want to eat. And yes, wanting to eat and needing to eat are the same.

2. "I'm uncomfortable...but I don't know why." A lot of people really have no idea what makes them uncomfortable. No one wants to admit that they see breastfeeding as sexual. Because, well, that's embarrassing. Deep down we know it isn't's kind of sexual...right? Right?! Wrong. So people will list off rationalizations for why they're uncomfortable---none of which actually answer the question of WHY breastfeeding in public is wrong, or indecent:

"I don't want to see your breasts!" What if you literally can't? What if the combination of the top of my blouse, and my baby's head are covering me entirely? Why are you STILL uncomfortable, (I'm also totally naked under these clothes--by the way)?

"I don't want to have to explain this to my children." Which part causes you to shudder at the idea of talking this over with your child? Is it the nudity? Or the milk coming out of the breast? Or, perhaps, is it your own lacking of understanding on the topic? Get enlightened, parents. Because news flash: in a world filled with rape, genocide, murder, poverty, AIDS, discrimination, a-moral behavior, and just general "hate" towards others---I think feeding a baby with your body, falls under the "easy" category of discussions to have with you children.

3. Breasts are for sex! Here's the one no one wants to claim. Yet, my impression is that it's really the biggest reason. We're so used to breasts being solely for sex. Children, obviously, are not for sex, so breast + children = unnatural. Possibly immoral. But only so long as it's not out in the open. Out of sight, out of mind. Cover up--and we don't have a problem.

And that's my biggest issue. Women in America have been so objectified, that our breasts, God given to produce nourishment, have been reduced to merely things we stuff into lacey contraptions for men. Any other function is, "too weird!" or even, "gross!" Well, I've had it. I've had it with being a woman, and constantly having to worry about some man not taking control of his own thoughts. That's right sir---my,"dear Christian brother"---it's YOUR responsibility to keep a clean mind; not mine. Because let's face it: at the beach, there's no difference between this:

and this:

and this:
Ultimately, I can see every curve of each of these women's bodies. A man who's going to objectify a woman is going to do it whether they are in something like the first image, or whether they're wearing something more "modest" (and I laugh a little when I say that because the one-piece-suit girls would be considered practically naked in many cultures) by our current cultural standard.

We've been telling our daughters over and over and over again, that it's their fault if they're objectified. Look at dress codes for high schools: 98% of the content directly applies to female students. There's even a dress code for elementary schools! How sick is that? A six year old can't wear a spaghetti strap top. Why? There is nothing sexual about a pre-pubescent child's body. What are we telling our kindergarten daughters about their identities?  We're telling our daughters to dress modestly, so as not to frazzle the men folk. Where is the male responsibility? If a woman decides to wear a short skirt and a push up bra, is it her fault if a man chooses to lust after her? No. It isn't. That is a sin that the man will answer for---not the woman.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think there is certainly value in dressing modestly, (I dress modestly by our culture's standards), and In being modest. I don't think modesty is an issue when it
comes to breastfeeding---because breastfeeding is not sexual. I plan on encouraging my daughter to dress modestly, not to protect her male peers, but because SHE is a person, a person with values that extend far beyond how beautiful her body is. She shouldn't unnecessarily flaunt her body, because she is not a sex object.

I plan on telling my son that he is responsible for his own thoughts. When he chooses to look at woman and think sexual things---he doing just that, CHOOSING to degrade her, even if she in fact is degrading herself.

I think my husband sums it best. Steven has more integrity and moral fiber than anyone I know. He also values femininity, and motherhood. He understands that children are always-and-only blessings from God, and ultimately they are people. He's also an American know, he's got that going for him:

 People are offended by breast feeding in public with no cover because they do not really view babies as people the way the view grownups as people; they do not believe infants have rights, feelings or value; and they view women as only sexual things rather than real people. This a dehumanizing argument. I find it quite interesting that "society" would choose this mountain to die on in the realm of public sexually explicit behavior. The fact that we even correlate breast feeding with public indecency is disgusting, a-moral, and repulsive. The moment people gauge decency by that which offends modern society, we have lost our ability to
know right and wrong. Babies are the foundation of our society and ought to be valued as such, but instead we think our modern, screwed up, warped informed spectrum of comfort ought to outweigh the mode by which an infant is fed; regardless of how uncomfortable it may be for the child or mother.
Shame on our society. Blaming a woman or child for your inability to maintain custody of your eyes or mind is heinously sinful. If a man objectifies a woman while she's feeding her child that is HIS mortal sin and not hers. Luckily we have never had to nurse Ava uncovered in America, but I would literally lose my mind if someone tried to shame Blayne for feeding our baby in a way that is natural and comfortable. If you're ok with eating outside with a blanket over your head in the summertime to keep people from being offended, then maybe there's something to talk about, but otherwise you may ought to reconsider using societal norms as a way to inform your conscience as it relates to feeding babies. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

Monday, August 6, 2012


 I haven't blogged in a long time, because...

I just didn't feel like it! :) 

Then my friend Mary Rachel, (this is a link to her blog: go here instead of reading the rest of my "blah-g") nominated me for  a"Liebster" award. A few months ago I was nominated for a Liebster award  by Sarah Lillian from this blog, (Go there now!! Today she has a recipe for Guacamole--- AND I DO NOT). 

I'm convinced I won these awards because they go to people who have less than 200 followers. 

Three cheers for mediocrity!

I want to apologize to you, my Dearest Five, (as in, Dearest Five Readers Total). I will try to blog more regularly. Most of my updates have been going towards Facebook; because it's just easier. Facebook, however, has become quite the comparathon. I've noticed everyone has been hard at work, putting their best selves forward---while simultaneously trying to sound perfectly self deprecating. 

Buncha liars. Tsk tsk tsk.

But I'm proud of you :) 

Instead of lifting each other up---we're all crushing each other one Instagram photo at a time. 

Well done. Not sure what I'm talking about? It looks like this:

Jane Doe: "Some days I feel so exhausted. I think the fact that I'm volunteering at an animal shelter part time, single handedly organizing the church picnic, and taking in foster children might be too much. Good thing I'm not too busy to hit the gym! (Inserts hand-on-hip photo of self in bikini and tennis shoes)"

Jane Doe: "Im exhausted. I hate volunteering at the animal shelter. I'm quitting next week. This photo is from six months ago---and I hadn't eating anything in ten days" 

Suzy Smith: "Has the most amazing hubby in the whole wide wide wide world!!! Gosh he spoils me. (Inserts photo of flower arrangement, box of candy, teddy bear, and diamond encrusted necklace) Can't wait for our date night! I love date nights with my hubby-bubby-wubby so muchy!!!" 

Suzy Smith: "Husband bought me all this crap after I sobbed for an hour to him about how he never tells me how beautiful I am! All my friends statuses are about how their husbands tell them how beautiful they are! I'm excited for our date night. We actually go out regularly---but sometimes I forget to post about it on Facebook."

Mary Jones: "Gosh I love being a new mommy. I was born to do this. I think I want to have 100 more children. It's just so rewarding. Everyone NEEDS to have a baby right now! :) I want to type more, but I can't because I need to breastfeed my baby---which of course it the most wonderful amazing gift you can give to your newborn infant. There is no other gift that is better. I feel so sorry for all the mommies out there who can't :( Saying a prayer for them now." 

Mary Jones: "I do love being a mommy. But breastfeeding is killing me, and I'm so exhausted and overwhelmed I have no idea what I'm saying right now. Praying I look good over Facebook." 

Blayne Royse: Dressing up for a fun night out with friends was just what I needed after being covered in peanut butter and finger paint all day. :)

This status says the following:

1. My husband takes me out on super dressy occasions, simply because it's "just what I needed."  No big deal.

2. I was covered in peanut butter and finger paint today, not because I'm a slob--because I'm such a great, hands on, involved mommy. :) 

The truth behind this photo:

1. This was a scheduled, military event. It was "mandatory fun." Well--for Steven it was.  

2.  I was covered in peanut butter and finger paint---but it was because I'm slob, and I was wearing the same dirty shirt from the day before... oops. 
                                                              3.  My friend Emily graciously took 6 photos of the two of us, until we got one that I thought would be acceptable for Facebook. 
                                                              4. This photo is the sit-down version of having my hand on my hip.

See what I did there at the end? I didn't want Jane, and Suzy, and Mary to be too mad at me. Because the truth is, I too, am guilty of this best-self-forward-Facebook-faking. I think there are certainly things that are worthy achievements for Facebook. I think they include life events, like getting married, having a baby, buying a home, finishing a marathon, graduating from college. People like to share in these joys. Those events are wonderful, and inspire people. They make people happy. 

HOWEVER, most people know the subtle difference between this:

"Can't wait to bring home the new baby!" 

And this:

"Can't wait to bring home the new baby in my Ergo carrier! I sure hope she fits in her brand new Britax carseat! Goodness knows that carseat barely fits in our brand new BMW! So blessed! :)"  

Facebook is one big Comparathon. Which is why I consider leaving the book of faces. Rest assured, Dearest Five, If I do leave, I WILL blog more. My mom would be so mad if I didn't. 

So, in the spirit of my Liebster award nomination, AND in the spirit of honesty and full disclosure. I'm going to answer my Liebster questions from Mary Rachel. 

1. What is your favorite hobby? I like running. I like to run four miles. No more, no less. Four is good. 
2. Beach or Mountains? Tough choice...."Beachtains". :) 
3. Who is in your family? Well, the short answer would be: I have a older brother, two older sisters, and a little brother. I have a husband named Lieutenant Steven Royse, (I call him "sir") and a baby I affectionally refer to as "Bunny."
4. Favorite Movie: I tell people my favorite movie is Gone With The Wind. That's mostly because I haven't been to the movie theater is about two years. But it's all trash and naked people now anyway, right? 
5. Favorite Book Series: I don't read much fiction. I really do love non-fiction though. Right now I'm interested in where our food comes from, and global warming. (And then all of her readers participated in the largest simultaneous cyber eyeroll in history.)
6. Where do you consider home? Wherever we are. 
7. Where do you see yourself in ten years? I don't know. I hope we're doing basically the same things were doing now. 
8.  Who is the one person you look up to the most? Lieutenant Steven Royse
9. Do you like your name? Does it have any special meaning? I do like my name. It means "wisdom from within." No, it has no special meaning. 
10. Least favorite household chore? Taking the recycling to the Recycling Center. 
11. What does an average day look like for you? Since you asked:

Ava wakes up around 6:00 and I nurse her, and then put her back to sleep. I get up and drink coffee and judge everyone on Facebook. :) Around 7:30 Ava wakes up, and Lieutenant Steven Royse comes home from PT (mandatory Army exercise) and we have breakfast. Steven leaves and Ava and I get dressed. We play for about 30 minutes, and then I do cleaning and laundry. Steven comes home and we have lunch, and then Ava goes down for a nap.I take a short nap, then I work on stuff around the house. When we wake up and have a snack, and run errands, meet friends for coffee, or go to the park. Then we come home, finish laundry and pick up the house, and start dinner. After dinner Steven gives Ava a bath and reads her a story, while I clean up dinner. Then I nurse her once more and put her down for bed. I go for a run, while Steven showers and shaves. Then we hang out. Then we go to bed. The End. 

Really, the end. :) 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Paris and Returning to Facebook

Lent is over! So, I'm back to Facebook.

I have to say, I debated getting back on (but of course I did get back on). I've been so productive, and I've rediscovered old hobbies and interests. And, it was nice not to worry about other peoples business.

I'm so nosey.

I read somewhere that it takes 28 days to break/make a habit. I was off Facebook for 40 days, so surely that's enough to break the habitual-constant-never-ending use. I think so.

We went to Paris! It was wonderful. It really was. We had some delicious food, (and some sub-par food) delicious (tiny) glasses of wine and (tiny) cups of coffee. We hit the major sights: The Lourve museum, the Orsay Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, St. Chapell at the Conciergerie, the Eiffel Tower, the Concorde, the Arch Di Triomphe, and the Champs elysees. 

The Seine river at night

Eiffel Tower at night

Breakfast. The traditional French breakfast is a Croissant, a piece of baguette, orange juice and coffee. It came with a very Parisian price tag of 9 euro, ($12)

beautiful bridge

This bridge crossing the Seine is from Napoleon

Notre Dame

Ridiculous lines...

Too dark inside the Cathedral to get any good shots. 

Here is a piece of one of the nails, and a piece of the cross Christ was crucified on. We really wanted to see the Crown of Thorns, (which is kept here) but apparently it was on display that day? Whatever.

This is Saint Chappell. Amazing stained glass.

The Lourve

Mona Lisa! (It's so small) 

Breastfeeding at the Lourve :)

Venus Di Milo

This is Van Gogh's self portait at the Orsay museum. The Orsay museum has a lot more recognizable paintings from Monet, Degas, Renoir. Apparently, you aren't supposed to take photos inside the Orsary---so this is the only shot I got. 

The American Embassy (McDonalds) here sells Macaroons. 

The super crowded Champs Elysees. 

Arch Di Triumph

 Parts of Paris did not meet my expectations:

1. It's not glamorous or romantic. In fact, it's very gritty--very urban. Crowded, loud, overflowing with traffic, and filled not-so-pretty sights. We took the train to Paris. We arrived at 9:00 p.m., and we thought it'd be a great idea to walk from the train station to our hotel, "So we can see Paris at night!." In most European cities I've been in, the train station is right next to all the action. Not in Paris. The train station is 5 miles away. Our hotel was a few blocks south of the Eiffel Tower. I thought, "We'll just hop off the train, spot the Eiffel Tower, head that way--and then glance at a map to find a hotel." When we get off the train....there was no Eiffel Tower. Just the dark, gritty, underbelly of Paris. We turned our phone on to use the Google maps to walk (for 2 hours) to our hotel. Needless to say, on the way home--we took the bus to the train station.

2. It's touristy even when it's not tourist season. Sometimes it didn't feel very "french" because it appeared that 9 out of every 10 people where tourists. It had a Disneyland quality about it that I was not expecting. 

3. I was not surrounded by Eucharist-wafer-thin ladies. BUT--no one (besides the tourists) was overweight. Everyone was normal sized. Average height, weight, and appearance. So, maybe "French women don't get fat" but they sure don't get super skinny either. 

4. No one was wearing stripes, red lipstick, and a black beret. 

5. The croissants and baguettes did not blow my mind. They were delicious; and they were just as delicious as the croissants and baguettes I had already tasted. 

But, it was an amazing trip. I couldn't believe we looking at those sights in person. I hope you had a happy Easter too! I'm sure you were too busy to keep up with my Letters so, just so you know--I blogged twice on my hiatus from FB. Feel free to catch up. ; )