Thursday, July 22, 2010

my, how he wiggles

In an effort to not get completely overwhelmed by the demands of being a new mom, I am going to try and work a little bit of creativity into each day. And I do mean a little. (By the way, blogging totally counts as a creative activity.)

Yesterday, during one of Jeremiah’s “awake” times (i.e., the 15 minutes between when he finishes nursing and I put him down for a nap), I tried to take some photos of him. One thing I’ve already learned is that even though he isn’t mobile yet, he moves a ton. I could not get a photo of him without his arms and legs failing about.

calendar out takes july 2010

This isn’t exactly what I’m going for. The photographer I took him to earlier this week has the right idea. She pretty much only shoots newborns that are asleep- really asleep. She spent an hour holding him and rocking him until he was completely out. Oh, and her studio was very warm (unlike my house which will never be warmer than 75 degrees in the summer.) Between the temperature, the loud heartbeat sound she had playing, and the rocking, she was able to get him in some really adorable poses.

I, on the other hand, was less successful. This is probably the best shot I got.

July 2010 bw

His arms are doing that crazy thing that reminds me of Wallace and Grommit (“No cheese, Grommit!”) Needless to say,  I will be trying again. I’m not sure how a grown Jeremiah is going to feel about all these baby pictures—I think I should at least try to make him look less silly.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I’m having a hard time keeping straight what day it is. This always happens to me in the summer and I usually embrace it as a sign that I have few responsibilities and loads of free time. Who cares if it is Tuesday or Wednesday- all I know is I don’t have deadlines to meet, lessons to plan, or papers to grade.

However, the past 2 and 1/2 weeks have been a blur. Today is Sunday, but it feels like pretty much like every one of the 17 days before it. Since Jeremiah has entered our lives, my days consist of feeding him, changing his diaper (oh, the number of diapers that kid goes through), and listening to him cry as his mean mommy makes him sleep in his crib. He much prefers to sleep cuddled up in my arms (or anyone’s arms, for that matter.) At least he is sleeping and for that I am immensely grateful.


It is starting to sink in that small things—going to the grocery store, meeting a friend for lunch, stopping for Chinese food—are no longer small. Instead, they are events that require a fair amount mental energy and planning. For instance: to go to church we need to be there at 9:30. It’s about a 40 minute drive for us, so that means that we need to leave around 8:45. It is taking Jeremiah a good 45 minutes to nurse and it takes me 15 minutes to change him and get him ready to go. (The math teacher in me is resisting the urge to make this into a word problem.) Anyway, the point is that by the time we get anywhere, he is pretty much ready to eat again and there isn’t much point in actually leaving the house.

Hence, the blurry state of my days.

I’m hopeful that Jeremiah will not always be hungry and eventually there will come a day when I will have more than a few minutes of free time. (Please—if you are getting ready to disabuse me of this notion, I must ask you to refrain. I desperately need to believe this.)  I’m also hopeful that having an incredibly adorable baby around will force me to seize the moment and document his first months and years. I have plans to take photography more seriously (as in actually finding out what all the settings on my camera are for and diving into the world of photoshop.) I’m especially inspired by this idea and plan to steal it immediately. Making things and being creative is something I don’t want to lose—I just have to figure out how to do it in 30 minute chunks of time.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jeremiah David Holm

On July 1, 2010, at 1:37 am, Jeremiah was born. He has captured our hearts and I know that we will never, ever be the same.


Today Jeremiah is nine days old. The past nine days have been filled with happy moments as Michael and I begin to grow into our role as his parents. Seeing the gentle way Michael holds Jeremiah and the softness in his face as he looks at his son has been especially thrilling for me.

pianoJeremiah is still so new and we are learning more about each other every day. His sweet face is hard to resist and I find myself staring at him, willing him to open his beautiful blue-gray eyes. When I’m not staring, I’m kissing and smelling his sweet skin.

half yawn

He has been incredibly easy to take care of and seems content to eat, sleep, and poop. He is nursing well and sleeping for 3-4 hour stretches at night. All in all, we have been pleasantly surprised at how laid back he seems to be. Of course, all that could change as the newborn sleepiness wears off.


A few words about his birth. Warning- if you don’t know what dilation or effacement is, you might not want to read any further :)

My water broke around 4:30 Wednesday morning (June 30). I hadn’t had any contractions so our midwife said to try and get some sleep and call back when the contractions were about 10 minutes apart. Within an hour or so I started having regular contractions and they picked up in intensity pretty quickly. By about 10am I was having contractions that were 5 minutes apart and were lasting at least two minutes. We waited a little longer and eventually headed to the Birth Center in Chapel Hill. At around 1:30pm I had dilated to 6cm and was 90% effaced. We were all very encouraged by this and even though I was in a good deal of pain, I felt really positive about how labor was progressing.

Unfortunately, my progress seemed to slow down after that. I was still having intense contractions (many of them double peeked), but my cervix just wasn’t dilating much more. At around 8pm, our midwife decided to help things along a little by slipping the remaining cervix over Jeremiah’s head. She was able to get me to 10cm within about an hour. At around 9pm she said I could start pushing.

And I did. For 4 and 1/2 hours. Little Jeremiah wasn’t face down and so it took a long time to get him rotated around into the correct position. It probably didn’t help that he was 9 lbs, 1 oz. There were times when it was frustrating that things were taking so long, but I’m glad that we were at the Birth Center. I  felt so cared for by the staff; their encouragement and support was absolutely amazing.

I’ll be honest- labor was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Physically and emotionally it was draining. But, I also have to say it was one of the most faith-filled times I’ve ever experienced.  Michael and our doula (a dear, dear friend) were constantly encouraging me with their words and praying for me throughout the night. Michael was so strong and yet incredibly tender; he remains the most amazing person I have ever met. I’m so thankful for my little family and I know that, even when things aren’t as idyllic as they are now, I am blessed beyond measure.


Thursday, June 24, 2010


The nursery is finally finished! Considering that this room didn’t even exist a few years ago, I’m mighty proud of all the work that Michael has done. It is exhausting to think about all the work that it has taken to get the nursery to where it is today. I’m incredibly grateful for my husband’s humble spirit and willingness to serve his family.



This is the dresser/changing table that Michael and Jonathan built. After looking for weeks on craigslist and not finding anything that particularly struck me, they offered to build me one. I’m incredibly blessed, I know.

fabric frames

These are some fabric “blocks” that I decided to frame. I briefly thought about making a quilt with the leftover fabric pieces from the crib sheets I made, but I quickly decided that wasn’t something I wanted to tackle. Instead, I thought I could use the fabric pieces like a collage and hang them on the wall.

Now, we just need a sweet little boy to arrive and the nursery will truly be complete!

Monday, October 26, 2009

one step closer

That’s right- Michael and I are one step closer to our dream of owning a life size version of Monopoly. I’m hoping a four foot tall thimble shows up next.


Sunday, October 18, 2009


What a cold couple of days. On Wednesday, I was convinced I had slept right through my second favorite season and had woken up to winter. I am trying to convince myself that my beloved fall is just going through a phase and soon it will be back to its old self. Crisp air (but no more of this 45 degree nonsense), crunchy leaves, blue skies and puffy clouds. Surely this isn’t the beginning of winter- I don’t think I’m ready. (On a side note, I was talking to a friend from Washington state today and I remarked on how cold it had been and how that  isn’t normal for this time of year. She said, “You know, ever since I moved here a year and a half ago, people keeping saying that the weather isn’t usually like this.” It’s true- our weather is so weird.)

The only good thing about winter is that when it has gone on forever, and I’m certain that I can’t take another day, spring (my absolute favorite season) comes along and kicks winter’s butt.

I’m trying to make the most being cold (ALWAYS SO COLD!) I’ve got a cat laying across my lap , a cup of earl grey, and I’m wearing the best slippers ever. Known as my smurf slippers, these shoes are the equivalent of sticking your feet into a couple of pillows. Very soft and very warm.


Seriously, I know a thing or two about staying warm. One Christmas, everything Michael got me was for “Project Warm Nat.” I ended up with a Mary Poppins coat, some cashmere lined leather gloves, a hat and scarf set, and my favorite thing ever- the wood stove. There are moments in the depths of winter that I stand as close to the stove as possible. I have to consciously tell myself not to touch it- I just want to wrap my arms around it and give it a hug. It’s almost worth being cold just to experience the pleasure of finally being warm. Almost.

The only problem with the wood stove is that I’m not very good at making it work. Despite this significant failing, the wood stove and I remain on very good terms. I know some of you, with your fancy fireplaces that come with switches, don’t understand. Honestly, I kind of wish I didn’t understand. It’s incredibly frustrating to have this thing- this key to my happiness- sitting just 3 feet away from me and instead of emanating 600+ degree heat and driving Michael into another room or outside altogether, it stands there silent, cold. This winter I am determined to possess the knowledge and skills to make the wood stove go.

First, there needs to be wood available and split- I have tried splitting wood exactly one time. I was quickly convinced that anything requiring an axe is not my domain. It’s not that I don’t want to do physical labor, but more that I have terrible aim and I was pretty nervous that I was going to hit my shins with the axe instead of the log. Here’s my plan for this- we have a friend who has a hydraulic log splitter. I’m hoping to convince him to bring it by one day and just get all the wood split in one go. Then I can stack it somewhere to keep it dry. 

Once you have wood split and ready to go, you still have to light the fire. I’m just going to go ahead and admit it- I suck at starting fires. I’ve tried so many times (usually out of desperation because Michael isn’t home and I need to force myself to get out from under the electric blanket) but I have yet to successfully light a single fire. The key, I learned towards the end of that first winter, is to never let the fire go out. There have been (more than a few) tears shed over a fire that went completely out.  So, my plan for this is to set my alarm if needed, get up at 3am, and keep that fire going. It’s just not worth the heartache.

So, there’s my plan. I’ll have to let you know how it goes. Oh, and if you have any wood that you want to get rid of, let me know. Oak, walnut, maple, 2x4’s, broken chairs… I’ll take it. I’ve discovered that 100 year old wood paneling burns very hot- it’s my preferred fuel, really.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

the power of a name

Michael is always insisting that we need to get a kitten. When we first got married I thought that his desire for a cat was kind of cute and so I gave in. I didn’t realize that his desire wasn’t for a cat, but for a kitten. He loves how playful they are and I have to admit that kittens do melt my heart a little, too.

So we got Elle all those years ago. (Seven years ago, to be precise.) And she’s a great cat. 


But, it wasn’t long after Elle was full grown and stopped being so playful that Michael started to insist that we needed another kitten. And so we got Joe.

Joe in boxHe’s not so playful anymore. (And yes, that is the box where I keep my underwear. What? you don’t keep your undies in an old vodka box?) It really is crazy how much I love this cat. I love that he rolls around on the floor, all stretched out, meowing for you to feed him. He is always hungry. Always. I should have known something was up when we were choosing which kitten to adopt and I read the card that described Joe. It said “He sure does love to eat.” Yeah.

When we moved back to Fuquay, the house came with another cat.

Cat I have resisted Michael’s insistence that we adopt this cat. I don’t want another cat. No one ever talks about the “crazy cat man with four cats” but everyone knows about the “crazy cat lady with four cats.” Plus, this cat is semi-feral and would undoubtedly beat up Elle and Joe. And… he’s not the prettiest cat I’ve ever seen. He likes to sleep under the cars which means that he is regularly covered in oil and looks dirty. Despite all this and after weeks of threatening to take him to the pound, I started feeding him. I’m still resisting the idea that we own another cat, and so I have refused to name him.

We call him Cat.

Wouldn’t you know it… a few weeks after moving back, another cat showed up. And of course we started feeding it because we are suckers.

other cat 1This cat, or as we call him- Other Cat- is unlike any feline I have ever known. He is incredibly affectionate. He follows me around the yard and if I happen to sit down in one of the rocking chairs outside, he jumps up in my lap every time. He reminds me of the story in the Bible about the woman who was forgiven much and therefore loved much. This cat seems to be pretty aware of how much his life used to suck and is therefore grateful for the love and attention that we give him.

There’s yet another cat that keeps coming around. I don’t have a picture because he is NOT our cat. Michael has named him Ugly Cat. I’m hoping that we can encourage the neighbors to feed him. I just don’t think I can handle being the “crazy cat lady with five cats.” That’s just excessive.