Monday, February 27, 2012

The Privilege of Being a Doula

Studying and reading, training and practicing. Watching and listening for your phone tirelessly while on call for my client. Packing and repacking my bag. Always on the lookout for new tools and techniques. Making sure my logs are up to date. Rereading the birth plan and making notes. Thinking about my client and her partner and their personalities - wondering about all I could or should or shouldn't say, and the very best way to encourage them. Praying and thinking about all of their cares, concerns and fears. Answering questions, and referencing your books repeatedly to make sure I'm giving the right answers. Taking naps and going to bed early just in case she calls. Making that ever so intricate schedule of on call babysitters, and back up babysitters.

Then I get the call. I know it's time. Relying on instincts and knowledge, I say, "I'll be right there." The joy and anticipation and adrenaline is like nothing else. I always feel excitement. I always make an espresso or stop for coffee on the way, and grab a Clif bar for energy. And every time, I'm reminded of all the reasons I absolutely love what I do.

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Most people are clueless as to what I do for a living, even many doctors and nurses. Sadly, some medical professionals have had bad experiences with doulas acting outside of their scope of practice and are therefore rather unaccepting of my presence.

But this birth was different.

Knitting in between timing contractions at their home, as she read a book of notes her friends had given her at a baby shower. Silence. No TV or music. Sipping chai together and deciding it was "ponytail time," as daddy decided it was time to shave so he could have smooth cheeks to kiss his newborn. Playing with the dog, so protective of mama she didn't want to go to the sitter when we left for the hospital.

After almost every contraction, Mama would say to me, "I'm so glad you're here." I lost count of how many times Daddy told me, "I don't know what we would do without you." It was the second doctor to ever refer to me by name, and the first nurse to shake my hand, hug me, and tell me what a pleasure it was to work with me. With me. I've never been asked to stay until the family arrived because they wanted me to meet them. Grandma wanted a picture of me with Mama, Daddy and "Little Sprig."

Seeing the determination in her eyes and face when I told her to look me in the eye and stay with me. The singular sweet tear that rolled down her face, while she gave thanks at the news that she was so very close to the end of the work. The look on her face when the doctor invited her to reach down and feel her baby crowning. The burst of tears and joy when he saw his son emerging into the world. The sweet melody as they sang to him as he rested on his mother's breast, fresh from the womb. It must have been a song they'd sung to her belly a hundred times. The announcement that it was a boy. The announcement of his very special name.

This family was special. This birth was special, as is every single one I am privileged to attend. They are all unique and memorable in their own ways, but this one is definitively a turning point in my career. I know how special I am, and how needed I am. I am inspired to read even more, to study even more, to teach more and share more. I will continue to be irreplacable and invaluable.

I am so very honored to be called a doula, to be called by mamas and daddies to be there. To never leave, never give up, and always believe the very best and to know there is always, always a way.

I love my mamas, daddies, and babies, and I absolutely adore my job!

Love and Honey,

Monday, February 20, 2012

Recipe for Family Night - {Valentine's Special}

Family night last Sunday started with some homemade Valentine's Day decorations, and good ole red carnations!

And my handsome husband growing more handsome as he smokes some delicious turkey breasts in the smoker. See...isn't he getting cuter?!

I started working on a side dish. Chopped sweet potatoes and roughly chopped onions, pan-fried in olive oil and butter, with a bit of salt and pepper. Simple and delish.

And if you're lucky enough to have MY momma, you get to enjoy her super homemade cheese ball. Just cream cheese, shredded cheddar, garlic and onion powder...and a few other things. "Whatever I could find in the spice cabinet," she said. Perfect. I can totally follow that recipe.

In case you didn't know, when my family gets together, boxed wine is involved.


And since I was in a Valentine's Day mood, I decided to whip up some of Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Cookies with a Candy Dipping Bar. Thank goodness I finally found my rolling pin!

Popped those sweet little puppies in the oven while we munched on cheese and crackers and waited for the turkey to finish smoking!

The kids handed out their hand made Valentines to Mimi and Poppy.

Soon, the turkey was done. Oh. My. Goodness. Sadly, I do NOT have an exact recipe for this, friends. You'll have to speak to my gifted husband. I know he soaked it in a brine overnight, then put a dry rub on it the next morning. Then it smoked for several hours. I do not know the temperature, and I have no clue how to work the smoker...and there's a good chance he loves it that I don't know the recipe to share with anyone!

Poppy made some yummy garlic and herb roasted red potatoes. Super easy. Just quarter them, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a few cloves of finely minced garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. (When I make these, I make them with rosemary, and a little butter towards the end of the cooking process). Throw 'em on a baking sheet in a 375 degree oven for 45 min to an hour, or until they're a bit toasty on the corners!

Little bees were happy!

Mama Bee is happy! Oh, I'm remembering now looking at my plate we had some pan fried fresh green beans, and some brats my honey threw on the grill too. It was a feast!

Add some conversation,

and light up laser guns,

then pull those cookies out of the oven and let the kids create dessert! Throw some strawberry marshmallows on some cake pop sticks, chop up all kinds of candy and toppings, melt chocolate and vanilla almond bark and have at it!

Come on, you gotta get the grown ups in there too!

It got a little messy, to say the least!

I think my nephew might be yummier COVERED in chocolate than any of the cookies or marshmallows were, though!

Then, we had to make Paula Deen's Chocolate Egg Cream Sodas. Special request from Carter since he watched that episode with me! We like Food Network! I'm not sure why the word egg is in the title; there were no eggs in the recipe. Oh well!

I couldn't help but post this pic. My sweet Momma can't help herself. She was in there cleaning up and putting away leftovers before we were even done with dessert. I think we kinda look like each other in this pic. I love being in the kitchen with my Momma!

Marc told me I needed to smile more when he's taking pictures of me.

After you hype kids up on lots of sugar and chocolate, the very best thing to do is start wrestling with them,

and watch them give horsey rides up the stairs,

and know that the littlest bees will insist on continuing their play, even when Poppy is putting their shoes on to go!

Once you've sent all the guests home and all the little bees to bed, then you can finish experimenting and decorating with all the rest of the cookies, almond bark and candy bits!

 I hope your Valentine's Day was just as SWEET as ours was in the hive!

Love and Honey,

Friday, February 17, 2012

{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 to your moment in your comment!
Happy Weekend, Lovies!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Honey Bee Mama Sponsor - Shannon Hall Photography

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I have something special to share with you today, and that is my newest Honey Bee Mama Sponsor, Shannon Hall Photography!

I first met Shannon Hall about a year and a half ago, when our sons were in Pre-K together at Key Elementary. Her son, Trent, is adorable, and quickly became one of Aidan's best friends. Their teacher was beyond cool and amazing, and often posted pictures of the kids in class on her facebook page. She requested as many of the parents as she could find as friends on facebook, and several of us quickly became linked by chatting with each other through comment threads. Isn't social media fascinating?

As I nosed around on Shannon's page, I found out she owned her own local business as a photographer, and instantly fell in love with her photos of her own children, as well as her work with families and other children. She truly has an appreciation for kids in their own elements, and has a special talent for catching their silly faces and personalities. Many of the pictures of her own children show them making messes, romping around in their diapers, and dressing up in mismatched costumes. I love that she treasures the "realness" of life, which is where I think the real magic is!

A couple of weeks ago, she contacted me because she needed a "cute couple" to do a Valentine's Day shoot for the launch of her redesigned website. I have to admit I was flattered. I mean, wouldn't YOU have a hard time turning down an offer like that? She mentioned she was doing a give-away special, highlighting Iron Bear Jewelry, which is owned by a friend of hers. Talk about flattery - she says Marc and I were her top pick for a cute couple, AND I'm offered my modeling debut. Plus, she promised to take a couple of headshots for me for my websites, and said we'd get prints of all our photos! You've got yourself a date, sister!

We had a lot of fun on our shoot. We met Shannon and her husband Harley, who was her assistant for the day, at Ray Harral Nature Park, and romped around on the gorgeous, rustic trails while she snapped away. It almost felt like a double date; she would demonstrate a pose she wanted us to do by saying, "Here, let me show you..." and then she and her husband would snuggle, and Marc and I would follow suit.

Am I oozing with enough Valentine's Day cheesiness yet? Okay, okay, drumroll please - here are our lovely pictures from Shannon Hall Photography.

She designed some super cute Valentine's Day cards for us to begin with:

Then got several really sweet couples pics (Alec snuck into one of them).

Here's my awesome modeling shot.

And my headshots. I think my eyes look really cool in the first one. I look a lot like my dad, actually. I definitely have Boudiette blood!

Here is Shannon's blog post, featuring some of the lovely pictures I showed you, and you must see the adorable pictures of her son, Trent and his little friend Gabby. Absolutely precious! I'm afraid her Valentine's giveaway is already over, but you keep an eye on her blog for the next one, and contact her for upcoming photo shoots!

Love and Honey,

Hearts Delivery

I never think I'm going to get excited about Valentine's Day...and then I do. This year, I bought my first heart shaped cookie cutter, and I've kind of been obsessed with it.

We made gobs of cookies the other day, which I'll share with you in my family night post this afternoon, and then I got the brilliant idea to make heart shaped pancakes for the kids for breakfast. Strawberry milk on the side to boot!

Aidan: "When you dunk your heart pancakes in the syrup, it's like you're dunking your heart into love!"

Alec: "Mom, I am just in LOVE with this pink milk!"

Sadly, the ease I had envisioned I'd have making those pancakes didn't really occur, but the result was worth it!

My five year old may give me a run for my money with his non-stop (loud) talking and constant stream of ideas and questions, and yellow days at school for talking too much, but his thoughtfulness and giving heart puts me to shame. This boy has made piles of valentines for each of his teachers, friends, specials teachers, family members and neighbors. After he finished his store bought cards for his party this morning, he was working until the last minute before we had to leave. He just kept thinking of more people he wanted to make cards for. So sweet!

Homemade decorations are just THE best, if you ask me.

Here's your "Hearts Delivery" for 2012.

Happy Valentine's Day, Lovies!
May we celebrate all the love in our lives, and share Love with everyone in our paths!

Love and Honey,

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