Friday, October 28, 2011

{my moment}

{my moment}
A moment captured from the week that captured my heart.
A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link in your comment so we can share your moment!

Happy Weekend Lovies!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tulsa Tells Our Story

If you've followed my blog for any amount of time, you know I love Tulsa and I love supporting local businesses. That's not new news. What IS new news is that I married the man of my dreams on Sunday, October 16th, and I want to tell you our story!

It may seem strange to say that a city is part of our story of falling in love but it is. Something Marc and I have in common is the fact that we love adventure, whether it's a trip across the country or just getting out and finding fun things to do with our kids. We love trying new restaurants and veering off the side of the road when something interesting catches our eyes. I have never experienced more of this city than I have in the last year and a half; I finally found someone to explore it with me!

We first met on a Friday night at In the Raw, which is fun because there are so many Okie men who love their steak and potatoes and turn their noses up at sushi! To put it simply, we were captivated by each other instantly. We talked our way through a bottle of wine, a giant ITR salad and several rolls of sushi and didn't want it to end there. We made our way over to Vintage 1740 wine bar on 18th and Boston, and sat on the patio and talked ourselves into the wee hours of the morning, long after the place shut down and every other patron went home! The next evening ended the same way on that patio, after we stuffed ourselves full of pizza at Joe Momma's downtown.

The next place in our story is Haikey Creek Park, where we watched some friends play a softball game. Days later we were chomping on chicken salad sandwiches at Queenies in Utica Square and dancing with the kiddos to a Beatles cover band playing in the Summer's Fifth Night. While introducing my new man to some friends, I introduced him to one of my favorite restaurants, Elote Cafe (which later became the place we celebrated with friends and family after our wedding!).

Our first Elote date, and my favorite wine they serve.

Marc and Me.
That same night, we joined our friends at OneOK Field for a Drillers game. This is one of my favorite pictures of us, but a friend took it and I don't have it in digital form! One of these days I'll get organized and scan it...

Before we knew it we were inseparable, thrilled by each other's love for experience, food and conversation. It was a long time before we ever had the thought to watch TV together. We spent so much of our time just talking and exploring each other, and falling in love!

Here we are the same night we went to Elote and the Drillers game.
Me with Rusty from Mod's the night before he opened!

In the BOK Suite at the BOK Center for a Talons game!
Buck and Carla at Tulsa State Fair.
One of these days I'll tell you about Buck and Carla -
honestly, they need their OWN blog!
One of our most memorable dates at Admiral Twin drive in
just before it burned down!
Creepy pic of us under the bridge when we took
all the kids to see the lights at Rhema!
One of our many visits to Philbrook Museum for 2nd Saturday.

It seems completely ridiculous that we explored so much of our city, each of us with two children, full time jobs and overflowing plates of responsibility. But something else we share is an attitude of parenthood that isn't limiting. What I mean by that is we don't shy away from going places without kids menus or shirk from outings and festivals because we have to pack up four kids and possibly face a meltdown. Like when we took the littles to see the lights turn on at Utica last Thanksgiving and Alec peed his pants and we had to have an emergency quick change in Baby Gap! Our kids have experienced Mod's and Elote as well. The kids had a blast at Luchapalooza last year, and they're huge fans of Mod's gelato (especially Aidan, because they have several dairy free flavors)! Although I have been a weenie about taking my kids to the fair [insert shameful Mom face here]. Next year I conquer that one!

Since Tulsa tells our story, we thought it only fitting to choose some of our favorite places as the backdrop to celebrate our wedding! It truly was an iconic and memorable day.

Walking down the aisle with my littles at Linnaeus
Teaching Gardens tucked behind Woodward Park.

Our killer reception guessed it, Elote Cafe!

A moment captured in time on an iconic Tulsa street, Boston Avenue.
And though she's not exactly local, Holli Brewer is an Oklahoman and was our amazing photographer. Click here to see our wedding slideshow, and here to visit her website. Make sure and be on the lookout for Sweet Sherry Pies mouthwatering cupcakes in the pictures of the wedding reception! They are hands down THE BEST cupcakes in town, and you can find them at On the Corner in Broken Arrow!

I'm so grateful and fortunate to have met my best friend, soulmate, and love of my life, Marc David. I'm priveleged to be called his WIFE and share our story with you!

Love and Honey,
Mrs. David

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

haiku wednesday

fall air, leaves changing.
life brought forth against all odds -
now, to the hospital!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Considering Natural Childbirth

This week for Mama Monday, I would like to share some information with expectant families who are considering a natural birth. There is plenty of education available to help you make informed decisions about your birth, and I would like to highlight some of my favorite resources.

natural childbirth, tulsa doula, honeybee mama

As a birth doula, I am an advocate for women rather than a proponent of any method of birth. My passion is for women and their partners to feel informed and empowered in childbirth, thus eliminating confusion and fear associated with this life changing experience.

What is Natural Childbirth?
Natural childbirth can sometimes be a misleading term. Some people use it simply to refer to a vaginal birth rather than cesarean whether or not pain medications are in play. However, most think of natural childbirth as one free from pain medications and little if any medical interventions. I will use the latter definition for the purposes of this article.

Why Do You Want a Natural Birth?
I encourage you to be clear about your reasons for pursuing a natural method of childbirth. Keep a journal as you gather information and write down things that are important to you. Are you concerned about side effects of drugs on yourself or your baby? Are you fearful of having a cesarean? Do you have a desire to prove to yourself that you can do it without pain medication? Do you have drug allergies or other medical conditions that prevent you from being able to have an epidural during labor? All of these are important questions and are completely personal and different for each woman. You may take a look at the Pain Medication Preference Scale to try to gauge where you are and help you define exactly what your goals for birth are. Print it out or save it in your favorites. Write down your preference before you begin your research of natural childbirth, then go back and reassess after you get some more information under your belt. You may be surprised at your preferences once you've learned more!

There are a few key things I think are most important when considering natural childbirth as an option for you and your family:
  1. Learn about the birth process. It is important to understand what happens in each stage of labor and how the body is designed to function. Believe it or not, the female body was designed to give birth! There are natural processes that occur in conjunction with gravity, hormones and emotions that all work together for one purpose: get the baby out. When you understand the plumbing and how it is supposed to work, it's easier to make decisions about how your actions can aid your body with it's number one goal of giving birth to a healthy baby. Click here to get started learning about what natural birth looks like and what happens in each stage of labor.
  2. Understanding pain as well as comfort measures for labor. As you read about birth philosophies you will begin to see that there are many views on pain in birth. Some believe that through prayer, meditation, hypnosis or visualization you can experience a 100% pain free birth. Others believe pain is a guide and is your body's way of communicating to you where you are in the process of labor and helps you progress things by reacting and moving in certain ways to alleviate the pain and thus move things along. Wherever you stand in your philosophy of pain, you need to understand it and also have "tools" in your toolbox to help you deal with it. Click here for more information about understanding pain in childbirth and here to learn about comfort measures.
  3. Get educated. Along with reading trusted articles and books about pregnancy and childbirth, it's very important to enroll in a childbirth education class with your partner, husband, or support person. I remember seeing the movie Look Who's Talking as a child and hearing John Travolta's character ask the panicking mother in labor, "Have you been doing your Lamaze?" It seemed like such a joke and really downplayed the importance of preparing for labor. In reality Lamaze classes, or any other childbirth course, are about much more than the "hee-hee-hoos" of breathing. A childbirth education class will walk you through many of the items I've highlighted in this article, as well as give you an opportunity to test out different labor and birth positions, practice contractions, and experiment with different tools like massagers and birth balls. Ask your doctor or call your hospital to see if there are any free or inexpensive childbirth classes available. Also, click here for a list of courses that may be available in your area.
  4. Get support. Without a doubt, the most important tool you will need in your belt if you are considering a natural birth is support, both before, during and after labor. While labor and delivery nurses are extensively trained to help you during labor and desire to be by your side, they have other patients to attend to and duties to perform. You need someone to be with you encouraging you and making sure you have what you need during this intense time. You may have your husband or partner, mother, mother-in-law, sister, best friend, or a combination of some or all of these people with you on that special day. I highly recommend you consider hiring a doula as well. Whatever you choose, make sure you are not alone, and make sure those who surround you know your wishes for birth and are prepared to help you pursue your goals.
Resources to get you started:
At Honeybee Mama, I want to show mothers they don't have to be afraid of childbirth and that they can have the birth experience they truly desire. I'm committed to getting you the tools and resources you need to make informed decisions about your birth. If you're considering natural childbirth or just want to know more about your options, contact me or schedule your first conversation today!

More pregnancy info!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Joy and Pain of Groupon

We all love Groupon, right? Do you get your Groupon?

I don't know about you, but I've had good and bad experiences with Groupons I've purchased over time. No problems when I bought one for Sewflakes, Mod's or Vintage Pearl, but I've got to admit I've had a few duds too.

Once I bought one for cleaning services, and not only were they a little misleading about what services the coupon included, I honestly felt like my house was dirtier when they were done than how I'd left it! Then I purchased one for carpet cleaning. I called the number listed four or five times, each time reaching a recording that said the mailbox was full and not receiving new messages. When I finally did receive the actual voicemail for the business (3 days before the Groupon expired), I left a message informing how long I'd tried to get a hold of them and when my Groupon expired and that I'd like to make an appointment. Still haven't heard from them.

Recently, after writing about wanting to go horseback riding as a family on our Summer To-Do List, I saw Groupon for either one lesson or a horseback riding birthday party at Labzara Ranch. Of course we already wanted to saddle up, and to top it all off, I've got an October Birthday Girl who's in love with animals; I had a feeling it would be one heck of a surprise for her!

Corrinne was psyched, and so were the three boys. We invited neighbors, cousins, grandparents, aunts, ordered pizza and cupcakes and showed up to the ranch ready to get our party on. Labzara Ranch is located on the south side of 111th Street in Broken Arrow about halfway between Aspen and Elm. You can't miss it; there are a few large signs advertizing riding lessons, camps and birthday parties.

We were a little early, so we made friends with the barn cats. This little girl might just be a veteranarian one day the way she loves animals!

I worked in a barn at a summer camp and learned you could use horse troughs for watering horses and cooling off a barn hand with a bad attitude, but I've never seen one used like this! She made a little fountain out of it. Who says you can't dress up a barn?!

Here's our bunch anxiously awaiting the saddles and stirrups!

While two children at a time were allowed to ride horses in the ring, the other kids had stick horse races. We were entertained to no end watching them gallup along; you'd be surprised how much the bigs loved them as much as the littles!

And here's the birthday girl and first rider. She was very proud and kept telling everyone, "Don't worry, everyone gets a turn to ride with the Birthday Girl!" It didn't quite work that way; for the sake of time each child only got one turn, but they got to stay on a good little while.

We assured the little ones, whose only option for a helmet that fit was a pink one, that pink was a perfectly acceptable color for boys. They didn't seem to mind all that much once they got on the horse though!

Carter informed me, "Um, uh, technically this is my first time petting an actual horse." He was a little hesitant at first, but warmed up pretty quickly. The horses chosen for us were very sweet.

My littlest, Alec, was THRILLED to say the least. He kept saying, "Yeehaw! I'm a cowboy!" I was asked to lead him around since he was the youngest there. I'm not sure what I was thinking wearing Tom's shoes...I'm just glad I didn't step in poo!

Meanwhile, my Marc decided to show off his "trick riding" skills. This is a shot where I caught him right in the middle of the one where he jumps up (while the horse is still moving mind you) and turns around in the saddle and rides backwards. Impressive, I know!

The most intense race of the evening was between Marc and his sister, Auntie M. She pulls no punches when it comes to competition. She told me flat out, "He's goin' down!"

He was up to the challenge and they were off. I don't have proof, and they would both argue differently, but I'm pretty sure it was a tie!

Now, we had a great time, but our goofy clan can have a good time anywhere. I am highly committed to supporting local businesses, and normally don't blog about experiences with my kids that I wouldn't recommend, but I've got to be honest about this one. Without being too cruel, here's what we walked away with from this experience:

  1. The "rules" of the barn were not clearly posted or explained to us; however, we were scolded repeatedly for breaking such rules. "Don't stand on that side of the ring or the horses will think you have food!" "Not so much motion by the ring or you'll scare the horses!" We were also SHOUTED at several times to not shout or scream on the horses. Um...I think the only child who said ANYTHING on the horses was Alec telling us he was a cowboy, and it was anything but a scream!
  2. Our birthday party was scheduled from 5 to 6:30, and the woman running the place was busy with a lesson when everyone arrived and we waited at least 20 minutes for her to have the horses for our party saddled and ready for us. Believe me, I understand being late for things, but not when you're running a business, and especially not when it's a kid's birthday party! The kids already only got one turn each, and this just cut down on the amount of time they got in the ring. She then ended up rushing us, which I just felt was unfair.
  3. Just to prepare you if you do choose to have a birthday party there - it is a barn nearby a couple of riding rings and a field. The "accommodations" are two dirty plastic patio tables and plastic chairs. Don't expect picnic tables or tablecloths. Bring hand sanitizer, table cloths and pretty much everything you need if you want to have food there. Or, honestly, wait and go do food somewhere else after where the flies won't land on your pizza and cupcakes (gagface)!
  4. I can't be sure I would want my child to take riding lessons at this location. As I said, when we arrived, the owner was giving a lesson, but I don't recall her ever once being near the ring the child was riding or watching her for more than a moment at a time as she bustled around the barn. She would shout out, "tighten up your reigns," or "heels down" while moving buckets and hoses around in another location, seeming less than interested in the child's performance.

All in all, it was an adventure, and we are up for just about anything. The kids had fun, which is truly all that matters. Corrinne felt special and got to have fun with her friends, and the adults were entertained by the whole experience. I'm just glad I got it for half price. I'm learning to be more discerning and ask more questions when I buy Groupons, and...I think I'm going to keep looking for horseback riding options for the kids! Got any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

haiku wednesday

family pitching in
last minute details, food, laughs,
counting down the days...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Suspending Judgement

Several components of this Mama Monday post have been stirring in different parts of my heart and brain for a very long time now, but I just wasn't sure how they were all going to come together, or when exactly the right time would be to slap them up on the Internet! Reading this post from Natural Parenting Center brought it all together for me. Please take a moment when you can and read it; it's fantastic.

I studied Elementary Education in college. Got my degree and certification, though I've yet to have my own classroom (interesting how life's turns guide us isn't it?). In my first Social Studies course, I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life; it was eye opening then in my academic education and has only served to deepen over the years as I apply it to every new stage of my life. In her opening address to the class, my professor told us, "In this class I'm going to ask you to do two words: Suspend Judgement."

We read excerpts from A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn which documented Christopher Columbus' "discovery" of the New World. Many people in my class had been taught as children that Columbus was a missionary, coming to the Americas to tell the Indians about Jesus. We were shown through historical documents and journals that this was not the case, and in fact Columbus and his crew committed unspeakable acts against innocent victims in the name of Christ and discovery. Our discoveries continued as we tackled our understanding of the first Thanksgiving and what the real relationship was between the Pilgrims and Indians.

The importance of suspending judgement then was to consider what we teach our children and why. When presented with information that contradicts what you think you know, stop and consider and digest the information before dismissing it as wrong. Do we dress up like Pilgrims and Indians and eat turkey and stuffing together at picnics just because that's the way we've always done it? Would we teach children that 2 + 2 is 5 just because that's the way we've always done it?

Before I go too far into my philosophies of education, let me delve into what really solidified the idea of suspending judgement for my life: parenthood. It all started with the pacifier. I had indulged in books about Attachment Parenting (which is a wonderful methodology and practice) while pregnant with my first son and was convinced that I would breastfeed and only offer the breast to soothe my son. I had decided that any foreign object, be it bottle nipple, pacifier or teether would interfere with me nursing my child and would not be allowed. Ever.

Then I was in the car one day (a long one day), in traffic, with a screaming child. Screaming is an understatement. He was going hoarse he was screaming so loud. I'm sure he was overdue for a nap, probably had a soggy diaper and who knows what else. I could have pulled over to the side of the road to nurse and soothe him, but I just wanted to get home and get us all settled. I'm not even sure why I reached over into my diaper bag, and not sure how I found one (must have still been in there from the hospital), but my fingers instinctively and magically pulled out a paci. That hand, with a mind of its own it seemed, reached around behind me to that little baby's mouth in the car seat and stuffed that foreign object in.

Silence. Silence for the rest of the ride. He loved it. My shoulders eased though my heart felt guilty. I could hear the radio and slowly started singing along throughout the rest of the drive. By the time I got home I felt peaceful and happy and energized to care for my son. He still nursed and was healthy, and I began to change the way I felt about the pacifier. The same thing happened when I had to reevaluate my view of the baby swing, stroller, and car seat/baby carrier (which of course were all evil substitutes for Mama's arms).

Pacifiers, along with baby contraptions, crying it out, schedules, cloth diapers, handmade baby food, baby sign language, formula, spanking, fast food, immunizations, co-sleeping and TV are just some of the issues I have grappled with at levels that make me question my sanity. And before I wag my finger at other moms about how they run their homes, I check myself. I cannot judge the methods that WORK for other parents. Not only is every parent different, but every child is different, as I learned when I gave birth to a second. I sure thought I had parenting figured out with an only child, then welcomed a totally different personality into my life!

Parenting books are extremely helpful to us, as are the teachings of experts and our own parents we can turn to for help. But at the end of the day we have to know ourselves and know our children and strive to find that perfect balance that brings discipline, love, fun, and nutrition all into harmony. Parenting is about evolution as much as it is about suspending judgement. And how about grace? Don't we need to have grace for ourselves to navigate this incredibly challenging and rewarding journey called parenthood?

I make a lot of mistakes. I sometimes yell at my children and give in to whining. I buy silly things for them in the checkout line at the grocery store so they will hush their precious little mouths. But judging by how often they tell me they love me, offer up unsolicited hugs, and cause others to tell me what great kids I have, I think I'm doing an okay job.

And I think they're going to turn out alright.

Suspend Judgement. Evolve.

Love and Honey,


Friday, October 7, 2011

{my moment}

{my moment}

A moment captured from the week that captured my heart.
A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemama.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link in your comment so we can share your moment!

Happy Weekend Lovies!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

haiku wednesday

scattered brain: in-laws,
wedding vows, decorations,
painting, exercise, kids and...

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Little Things

I'm a little late in posting this Mama Monday, but I figure if I'm just now getting a moment to write it, there are plenty other mamas getting their first breath of oxygen for the day that might need to read it! This post is inspired by my little munchies, and makes me think of my own mama. The theme has been swirling in my head and heart the last few days, and is still taking form even now as I write.

You know what things I remember fondly from my childhood? It wasn't getting the Barbie Dream House of my dreams, the pink Power Wheels, or Kid Sister for my birthdays. No, I never got any of those things, though I wanted them ever so desperately. It wasn't the Disney vacations and family trips to Europe...those didn't happen either.

In fact, I don't think our little family of three ever went on a family vacation together. As a single mother who worked very hard to put herself through school and work full time while raising us, my sweet mom couldn't afford those kinds of luxuries. But I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt I had no idea then I was missing out on anything.

What I do remember is Candyland. According to my memories, my mom and I played every single night when we lived in our condo at 91st and Delaware. Before bed time, she would make me a glass of chocolate milk and we'd play the beloved game. I don't remember winning or losing. But I remember it being magical.

I remember my mom reading books to me. Berenstain Bears books even. You KNOW how long those are. And I know I chose them intentionally to extend story time and snuggling with my mama. I remember The Color Kittens and a handful of other sweet board books that now sit on my littles' bookshelf which I now get the privilege of reading to them.

I remember my mother sitting with me in my bed teaching me prayers before I went to sleep. She taught me the Lord's prayer and Hail Mary. She also taught my brother and me early on to pray before dinner. Every night we sat, our little family of three, around our dinner table and prayed, "Bless us, Oh Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ Our Lord, Amen."

I remember riding my bike alongside her while she walked and jogged in our neighborhood, and at La Fortune park. I remember feeling so "big" when she would let me ride a little way ahead of her and circle back around to meet up with her. When I got older, she bought me a pink and white pair of roller skates that I wore down to nubs skating around the block. She even let me wear them to the grocery store and would send me to the other end of the store to get items on her list for her! That was a superb thrill...until we got in trouble with the store manager!

I remember her taking me to McDonald's for breakfast on Saturday mornings (when breakfast used to be served until 11:00 AM), wearing her sunglasses inside because she didn't have her "face" on!

My mom never missed one of my brother's soccer games (though she may have been balancing her checkbook during a portion of them), and she never once missed one of my recitals. Or any of our other performances for that matter. To be clear, I know for a fact she sacrificed a lot to make sure we had those activities in our lives. When I asked her years later why she spent all that money on us, she said, "I decided early on that just because you kids didn't grow up with a mother and a father in the house, didn't mean you had to miss out on anything because of it."

As much as I am committed to enriching my kids' lives with interesting and cultural activities, supporting local businesses and being a part of our community, I'm reminded lately that it's the little things that bond us to our babies. The elaborate birthday parties and trips that require copious planning, packing, and excruciating car trips are memorable and worth it, but not the stuff of life when it all boils down.

We missed Luchapalooza this year, which is a bummer because all four kids are still talking about it from last year. But we did have some of our best friends over for a play date on Saturday, and you know what we played?


And last night, as I was bustling around the house trying to clean things up (I swear two days ago my house was spotless...)I noticed Aidie crouched down with his hands crossed on his knees on the front porch. I opened the door and leaned down and asked him what was wrong. With tears in his eyes, he said his friend next door had gotten in trouble and was in her room and couldn't come out to play. He burst into tears sad because he hadn't been able to play with her since Friday and he said no one wanted to play with him. I held him and let him cry for a minute, then asked if he wanted me to take him on a walk around the neighborhood so he could ride his bike. He sniffled and looked at me and asked, "really?" Of course, I told him, and as I slipped on my flip flops, I realized I'd never done that with him before. The poor kid has had to ride back and forth in front of our house on the side walk since he got his bike because he's not allowed to ride in the street!

That walk was so sweet, and was a true adventure for my sweet five year old. He was so thrilled at how fast he was going, and fascinated by the bumps in the road and all the different streets we had the option of turning down. What a small thing for me to do for him that made such a huge impact on him! He already asked me if we could do it tonight, which we were unable to, and I promise you not a day will go by this week that he won't ask to do it again.

So tonight, after my children each asked to say a prayer with me before bed (Aidan asked for the Lord's Prayer and Alec asked for the "Bless-us-oh-lord"), I sat down to pour out all that's been swirling in me. And with sweet thoughts of my Hero of a mama and a fresh glass of chocolate milk, I'm inspired to slow down and love my children through the little things.

I hope you'll take some moments this week to do the same!

Love and Honey,

Find me at Tulsa Family Doulas

Join me at the 2015 SMTULSA Conference!

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