Piggie flu

Photo from Here

Oh Swine flu... I don't know what to make of you. I think back about the Avian flu, SARS, Mad Cow Disease... I didn't get any of those. I didn't wear the masks or walk around constantly scared, then again none of those things had any direct impact on my life, swine flu is the same. No cases confirmed in my area and I'm a generally healthy person so I'm not all that worried.

What about you? Are y'all concerned about it? Do you live in an area where people are concerned? Are you seeing masks around town? Twitter's all abuzz and every major news station seems to have swine-flu-fever... Am I right in thinking the hype is worse than the actual problem here?

They totally made a poster for me

More swine flu lulz here!

Weight Loss

Weight loss is hard.

I've been at a reasonable size for a year now, hoping to lose the last 15 lbs that I set out to lose so long ago, but with no luck this year. In fact, over the course of the year I gained 15... so now I have 30 to lose. Le sigh. I've been mighty discouraged but I've also been mighty lazy. I keep calling my extra weight my winter coat because it came on quickly when the weather got cold. Now that its nice I'm spending some time outside and really enjoying it. I went for a walk two nights ago and last night, a quick run! It was nice, but very obvious that I'm out of shape.

Gotta get to it!

Progress pictures make me feel so much better about where I'm at though, so here you go...

(Middle) Spring 2004

Summer 2005

Fall 2005

Fall 2005

The weekend I found out I was pregnant, Summer 2007

Wedding day

Very pregnant, Spring 2007

5 weeks post-delivery, April 2007

Summer 2007

August 2007

Fall 2007

Christmas 2007

February 2008

May 2008

August 2008

October 2008

January 2009

April 2009

Lots of change, lots of really good change... and lots more to come. :)


I've been a bad friend. Really, its one of my major downfalls... I get so wrapped up in a million things- kiddo, work, family, personal life... and I forget to concern myself with the people that matter the most to me.

My closest group of girlfriends, "the cubs" all grew apart recently and it was really hard for me. I noticed we were all talking less, then spending less time together, then all of the sudden there are hurt feelings and crappy arguments. We're hanging out more now, and its a good thing because two members of our five person clique are moving before the summer.

Bailey & Emily are both moving :(

I pride myself in having amazing friends who I am incredibly close with. Not a day goes by that I don't remark about how lucky I am. My daughter is growing up with a ridiculous amount of "Aunts" and I love that.

Darcy & I

I'm going to miss my girls, but I'm so thankful for the time I've spent with them. We've had some awesome laughs and I know they'll be in my life forever, regardless of where we all end up.

Bailey & I

Its hard for me to think about how my inaction has hurt others, because I certainly wouldn't ever try to be distant or less compassionate than I should... unfortunately it happens. Its so hard not to get completely wrapped up into my own life, especially when things are busy and complex.

Darcy, Bailey, & Zaynab

Emily B is an excellent example of this, while she's one of my very closest friends I hardly ever talk to her. When I do, we catch up and chat for as long as possible, but its still not as often as it should be. She lives far away so we can't just call each other up to drink wine and talk... and I tend not to text/call/email as often as I should. Its no good at all.

I'm not proud of a situation with a really close friend... We've known each other online for quite a while, and she's been an invaluable source of advice, support, and understanding during my separation and divorce. When I started dating again she was the first to ask how things were going, so excited for me... When she faced a rough spot in her life though, I didn't show her the same compassion as she showed me. I was too concerned with my own things to give any thoughts to hers, and right when she needed it the most... Its a real shame. I noticed she all but disappeared from my online life and it gave me such a heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I immediately thought of how much she'd done for me and felt horrible.

C, I'm sorry I've been an awful friend. I love you tons and I realize what a slap in the face my distance has been. I'm very sorry. <3

I'm learning that the biggest part of having amazing friends is making sure they understand just how much I appreciate them. Putting effort into maintaining those relationships needs to take a much higher priority in my life, and it will be from here on out...

We teach our kids by example and I want Marti Pearl to grow up building healthy relationships... I need to make sure I am.

Single moms just wanna have fu-un!

Ashley and I, bringing some fun to single mom-dom

I feel like I'm starting to become somewhat of an expert on single parent dating... it seems its only right of me to share some of my wisdom. There are so many misconceptions about what single moms want out of relationships so let me enlighten you... single moms want to have fun. We're thrillseekers, living on love and giggles. We are experts at play... we love fun and we simply can't get enough of it. Yes, being a single mom is tough, but its also one hell of an adventure. Very simply, we know what we want, and that's someone to adventure along with us.

There was no lack of sex in my marriage. My ex-husband and I both agree, in fact, that sex was not a factor in our divorce. If anything, it was part of the reason we stayed together as long as we did... Though at the ripe ol' age of (almost) 25 I find myself divorced, thinner than I was the last time I was a single woman, and completely ready to have some fun.

Yes, that's right... fun. I'm not looking to fall madly in love, to have a serious relationship, to settle down, to get married and pop out more kiddos... I'm simply looking to enjoy myself, and I don't see a damn thing wrong with that. You see, I realized something very important when I became a mom... on the whole, adults are entirely too serious. We spend our time planning and calculating, making grocery lists in our heads and dreaming of vacations from our mundane lives. We all do it, but we didn't always.

Do something for me... find a toddler. A 2 or 3 year old, find them and ask them a simple question: "Do you want to play?" You'd be hard pressed to find one that'd say no. Kids live to play, they love fun more than anything. The toy industry is thriving despite recalls and unfavorable economic conditions simply because play is important! As a single mom I spend at least half of my day just playing... watching the little one every day reminds me to just relax, enjoy the moment, and have fun at all times. I knew I was on the right track when a friend said "I like your excitement over the simplest things"

When I started dating again I became very familiar with "what are you looking for?" ...its everyone's favorite icebreaker. Its a tough question, the first few times I really struggled through it, explaining that I was fresh out of a divorce, not quite ready to start another relationship, a busy girl with very little time to invest into a relationship, a mom who always put her kiddo first... but I've since realized what I actually am looking for, and that's to just have some fun.

I recently woke up in bed with a man, it was a beautiful day with sunlight peeking through the blinds, and as I sat up in bed I could feel him looking at my backside so I turned to look at him. I was startled a little when I realized how intently he was taking in every bit, watching me as I fixed my messy hair and began to dress, his eyes fixed on my hips and breasts, I felt so truly beautiful... in my most basic form I was sharing myself with another person, and it was so intensely satisfying. Much more than touching or kissing, this was a different kind of lovemaking. I felt appreciated in a way that I hadn't in so very long... and now I'm hooked.

I want to play, dance, flirt, laugh and feel to the fullest extent... I want to know that I'm bringing joy to someone's life, while also taking some for myself! I want to eat up all of the thrills and leave everything else for another day. The greatest sexual revolution of my life thus far began when I started acting like a kid again.

I'm not shutting myself off from falling in love, in fact I'd love to fall head over heels and see it being a very real possibility in the future, but on my terms... When I'm good and ready. When I get into a relationship again, it will be one based on a mutual appreciation of fun, play, and daily adventures. It'll be someone who turns me on without even trying, who knows just what to say or do to make me melt, but most importantly someone who shares my love and excitement for the little things in life.

For now though... I'm just going to keep enjoying myself.

I <3 Vaginas.

Vagina... let's talk about it.

I sat on the couch with my roommate, checking my email and reading a local blog, Life + Kids, which is where I go when I start feeling stir crazy and overwhelmed by toddler energy. Terri is a saint, working hard to post events and information for kiddos and parents alike... I wanted to find some fun spring events for the tiny bean, but I actually found something that interested me much more. Next Saturday a group of citizens will be meeting to discuss VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) particularly the local hospital's policy against it. Its an event that I'm sure will draw quite a crowd, and I'm anxious to see what comes of it. I said "wow, this is interesting" and when she asked what I immediately responded "I assure you it will not interest you a bit" ...somehow a vagina's rights become so much more interesting to those who have pushed children out of them.

I have no experience with cesarean. I'm speaking for my vagina, not for my belly. My daughter came wailing into this world directly from said vagina, which I might say was pretty much exactly how I intended it. With the rising trend of elective cesarean also rises a new level of birth awareness, moms hoping to do things the natural way, the water way, the orgasmic way, hell... just their way. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not knocking anyone for having a baby however they see fit. I can see great benefits to an elective cesarean, it just wasn't for me. I can't be on time for a coffee date, I'd assuredly be late for the birth of my own child.

I went into labor the way that I think many young mothers do, a belly full of baby and a head full of big ideas... my doctor was very patient and put up with lots of talk about natural birth, questions about various methods and cesarean rates, endless talk about Pitocin and painkillers, and in the end he said what I wanted to hear... "its up to you how you want to do this" ...perfect. Sortof.

You see, my pregnancy was basically perfect. I exercised, I slept, I ate, I didn't have even one sip of wine... I had no worries going into the big day. I had taken the classes, practiced my breathing, and things were progressing exactly as they should... My hips spread, the baby dropped, I was good and fat, hormonal, always hungry, and my vagina... oh lord, it wasn't pretty. I knew this was all going as planned. I was shocked, however, when I arrived at the hospital. I was the only pregnant woman I saw in the completely full maternity ward all day long. I walked the halls, peeked at babies, listened as other women laboring in their rooms, made small talk with the nurses... but no other patients all day, everyone was laboring privately, it was surprising to say the least. I don't think I expected to hee-hoo-hee-hee-hoo in a circle of equally swollen soon-to-be mamas, but I sure never expected to be the only pregnant belly I saw in the maternity ward.

I noticed quickly that the nurses were making more frequent stops in my room and started to worry that something was wrong... they weren't really doing anything, just chatting with me. I chatted back, curious and excited, they all asked how long I planned to go naturally and I responded to every one "as long as I can, I just want to experience every bit of this." When the nurses from my OBGYN's office from across the hospital campus came to visit me all together in a group, I knew something was up. They informed me I was the only one in the ward doing things naturally and that they were all rooting for me. The pressure was officially on.

I didn't have miss Marti Pearl naturally, that is, painkiller-less... Pitocin-riddled, stalled at 7cm for over half a day, and exhausted after 15 hours of intense contractions I asked for an epidural, which numbed exactly half of my body. On the right side I coudln't have told you if I had a foot at all, on the left... I would've gladly noticed my foot if it weren't for my darn uterus. I watched, in a giant mirror, as my daughter was born, and it was incredibly beautiful. Scarily foreign vagina and all... it was amazing. I experienced labor in the fullest sense that I possibly could, and I am thrilled with the outcome. I'm lucky.

Would I do it differently if I had it all to do over again? Probably. I'd insist on waiting on the Pitocin, I'd walk longer, relax more, laugh harder, I might even find a big tub... I wouldn't feel so rushed, I'd ask my doctor to work on my schedule instead of his, I'd eat some grapes when I wanted them... You see, there's so many things we consider in hindsight, especially when it comes to the most important event of our lives.

I have a very dear friend who had her daughter by cesarean after a particularly difficult labor, her daughter is now 5 and her voice still cracks a little when she talks about it. She regrets not being able to experience the labor she planned and hoped for. My heart broke as she admitted she felt like less of a woman for not being able to naturally birth her child... I just can't imagine it. We place so much importance on how we labor because dammit, it is important. We all want to have control, that's why we buy the books, take the classes, fret and prepare.

Prohibiting vaginal birth after cesarean is outdated and unnecessary. With 60 - 80 percent of women who attempt a VBAC delivering vaginally it astounds me that hospitals like Washington Regional still have anti-VBAC policies. I have to side with my old pal Michelle Duggar (seriously girl, you still haven't given me a ring-a-ding and I'm still up for that beauty salon visit!) on this one... "We are thankful our hospital allows trying a VBAC as long as they have an anesthesiologist on hand in case there is an emergency," Duggar has had 15? 16? VBACs at this point, and is a big supporter of women giving it a shot. She's VERY lucky to have a fantastic doctor that will allow it, and I hope her story will help bring awareness to this issue.

Its about time we got with the times here in Arkansas. According to the Birth Network of Northwest Arkansas:

One in three women in America give birth by undergoing major abdominal surgery.

In Northwest Arkansas, vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is banned in most hospitals.

In our area, few women have access to professional nurse-midwifery care in a hospital and there are no freestanding birth centers.

Events like this give me hope that we'll be able to start having babies however we see fit. Check out all of the cesarean awareness events here, and here's another that I'm thrilled about: "The Vagina Monologues" comes to Fayetteville! not much labor involved, but vagina is vagina, right?