Friday, July 29, 2011


it's hard to believe our "baby" is officially a toddler. i still treat her like a baby--lots of snuggles and (gasp!) a bottle each morning.* and her round cheeks and bald head still make her look like a baby, but she's two!** 
i think i will always remember the little details of quinn's birth, but i've never actually written them down. i suppose her birthday is as good a time as any...

we knew quinn was going to come early. the doctors had already moved up my due date twice and i'd been having contractions on and off for weeks. at my last appointment i was dilated to 4. on a sunday, as we were getting ready for church, i went to the bathroom and my ______ plug came out. (that is the grossest term so i refuse to write it.) that hadn't happened with piper so i was surprised and assumed she was going to be born soon! i started  having regular, painful contractions so i told mr.a i thought she was on her way! his response was hilarious--straight out of a sitcom. he starts nervously pacing, saying we need to pack our bags and call our parents, grabbing random was comical. i, on the other hand, felt pretty calm as i gathered our things together. we decided to go to church anyway because i figured it may be a while before we needed to go to the hospital and i didn't want to just wait it out at home. we sat in the back row and i continued to have strong, consistent contractions. but slowly, throughout the service, they became less painful and further apart. i knew it probably wasn't going to happen that day.
my last outfit pic before she was born.

on monday i had sporadic contractions throughout the day and just felt uncomfortable. my sister came over for dinner and the kids played in the yard. that summer the weather was mild and beautiful and we would have camp-fires almost every evening. we toasted marshmallows and i continued to have contractions. i was pretty certain it was for real this time. i specifically thought, "i do not want to go through labor smelling like camp-fire!" so i took a shower and then soaked in the tub for a while. before we went to bed, we called my mom to give her a heads up that she may be getting a mid-night phone call. i drank a glass of wine*** and was able to sleep for a couple hours before waking up to intense contractions around 1 a.m.

i really wanted to do most of my laboring at home because i knew once we got to the hospital, i would have a lot less freedom to labor how i wanted. i got in the tub to soak for a while. i had back labor with both girls so the hot water felt amazing and really helped me relax and focus.  after about a half an hour i called for mr.a to wake up and bring me some makeup. he teased me for being mid-contraction, in the tub, trying to make myself look "presentable."
eventually i felt like she was getting so low, i got out of the tub to get ready for the hospital and told mr.a to call my mom. i made it through another contraction and had barely put on some underwear and a big t-shirt before another contraction hit. this time it was taking all i had to manage the pain. i remember kneeling on all fours in front of the air vent in our room, just letting the cool air blow on me. i told mr.a if my mom wasn't here by the time this contraction was over, we were leaving. piper was asleep in her crib but in my crazed state i'd decided she'd be fine until my mom arrived.
sure enough, when that contraction was over, i headed for the door in my big t-shirt and slippers. my mom pulled up as we walked outside (apparently there was no convincing me to wait) and mr.a followed behind, loaded down with a mug of coffee and our bags. i remember my mom asking, "how are you?!" which i totally ignored, making a beeline for the car.
the drive to the hospital was awful. i sat on the edge of the seat, gripping the dashboard. mr.a is a notoriously safe driver, and i remember each red light we came to, he'd look over at me, look at the light, look back at me, debating whether to run it. i won't tell you what he decided.
we pulled in to the hospital and he asked if i wanted him to park or drop me off at the door. i told him to drop me off. i waddled inside in my slippers and t-shirt, obviously not caring who saw my granny panties. there was a security guard at the front desk who took one look at me & said, "third floor." i got in the elevator and headed upstairs, leaving mr.a behind.

anyone who knows me won't be surprised that we hadn't yet filled out any of the paperwork necessary to check into the hospital. so i get to the front desk, empty-handed with no pants on and the nurses there just stare at me. "i'm in labor," i say. of course they don't believe me (why don't they ever believe you?!) and they start asking me all sorts of questions as i'm hit with another major contraction. i'm buckled over and they continue to ask if i'm there alone ("no, my husband is coming"), if i've registered ("no, but he has the paperwork"), if i'm having contractions ("uhhh, duh.") if my water has broken ("no, but it didn't last time either.") and all sorts of other questions that just served to annoy me. finally mr.a made it upstairs. when i told them i'd been dilated to 4 for a few days they started taking me seriously so they got me a wheelchair and we made our way to a room. one of the nurses asked me to try & go to the bathroom. as soon as i sat down my water broke and gushed all over the place. they got me into bed to see how far along i was and i was dilated to 8.5! that snapped everyone into action and they alerted my doctor, who just happened to be finishing up a delivery down the hall! i was so relieved that the majority of the labor was over & i'd been able to do it at home on my own. the next hour or so is sort of a blur. i remember my nurses were wonderful and encouraging and even as i was in so much pain, i remember thinking, "this is so much better this time!" i knew i didn't have much longer.
at one point they brought my doctor in because apparently the bag of waters had sort of divided into two. (early on i had placenta previa and when it moved, it sort of caused the bag to be smushed in a way that there was one large portion and then a smaller part...or something like that.) so basically, there was still a small part of my water that hadn't totally broken so the doctor came in to break it. she told me that on my next contraction, she'd give me the go-ahead to push and would break that smaller bag. when she said "go" i pushed as hard as i could and, no lie, it shot all the way across the room. totally sprayed the doctor and splattered the floor behind her. gross. and totally embarassing had i not been completely consumed with pain. luckily everyone laughed.
finally they told me it was time to push. i was so ready. on the first contraction i pushed 3 or 4 times. they said they could already see her head! it's so amazing when everyone is cheering you on, you know they're seeing your baby and all you want is to see her too. with piper, i labored very quietly. it wasn't until i pushed that i made much noise at all. i was very inwardly focused. with quinn, i was much more vocal and loud. on the next contraction i remember the doctor saying she hardly had any hair. i remember thinking i couldn't do this for much longer. or, at least i didn't want to. on the third contraction i screamed, "get her outta me!!!" and pushed as intensely as i could. the doctor said her head was out and if i wanted to i could do one more push on this contraction or i could wait until the next one. i hesitated for a second which made everyone think i was going to wait. but then i pushed. one last push. mr.a says that no one was watching or ready for it and she basically shot into the doctor's arms!

mr.a describing the doctor "catching" quinn!

i knew she was out and it was over. it was so fast and intense and wild compared with piper's slow & steady delivery. quinn was born just two hours after we arrived at the hospital. the sun was just coming up over the city and we had a beautiful view of the sunrise as they cleaned her up and checked us both over.
i had forgotten how painful the delivery of the placenta is. i had some complications there and mr.a said it was a little scary for some time while they tried to get the entire placenta out and also get me to stop bleeding. but the doctor and nurses did a great job of keeping me in the dark until everything was okay. (which...i think was for the best.) 

from the beginning, quin was quiet and peaceful. i remember people often saying, "it's like she has this inner calm about her." and it was true. she and piper were different from the very beginning. she was happiest when she was close to my body whereas piper was independent from the start, content to lay on her own. i can picture wearing quinn in the sling as i leaned over a steaming sink of dishes, just so i could get something done. but she has truly been a joy and a blessing since that first day she entered the world. she makes us smile all the time. even when she's naughty. she still loves to snuggle and touch. since she was old enough to walk, throughout the day she will just come up and stand next to me with her arm around my leg. she has the sweetest little voice and is incredibly talkative for her age. (yes, i'm bragging.) she is so sensitive and she idolizes her big sister. she also has a surprising amount of spunk for as sweet as she is.

it's hard to believe two years have gone by.
a year ago i wrote
this on her birthday.
and two years ago i wrote
this on her birthday.

happy birthday to you, quinn margaret.

*no judgment here. she loves it and i don't care. it's not like i'm putting grape soda in it.
**my mind flashed to molly shannon here:"i'm two yeeaz old. i like to walk, throw tantrums and walk! i'm TWO!"

***we can talk about this if you want to, but i promise you're not gonna make me feel bad about it. my friend (who has delivered three times without any medical intervention) said her midwife recommended it. pretty sure a glass of wine is no worse for your baby than narcotics.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


i kind of fell off the workout bandwagon since mr.a returned. it happens every time he comes home. but this time i refuse to put on my five "happy" pounds that i normally gain when he's around. i'm forcing myself to the Y today and right now i'm sitting in my running clothes, putting it off. i promised myself i would leave by 10:00, so that gives me 5 minutes to write this post.
prepare yourself, this one's gonna be a winner.

on to the clothes....
this outfit was perfect for another stinkin'-hot day. these shorts are so breezy, and safer than a skirt when it's hot and windy. 
i just got my first haircut/color in 5 months!
(i cut 3 inches off, jill!) it desperately needed it.

sadly, i lost a bracelet that day.
it was a great little black & gold beaded bracelet from j.crew that i wore all the time. (like here.) i'm still not quite over it yet. RIP little one.

this summer i've become a nail polish girl. i've never worn nail polish on my fingers, but i'm loving how sorta-neutral, sorta-flashy this gold is.

yes, i wore brown sandals with black shorts. deal.
(for you fashion-rule-followers: take a deep breath. there's brown and black on the belt.)

later that night we went out with friends and i wore this exact outfit with some brown wedges. i felt tall. and sassy.
remind me to wear heels more often. and to get photographic evidence of it.

t-shirt: j.crew, $10
belt: j.crew outlet, $12
shorts: fossil, $10
flip flops: j.crew, $10
necklace: stella & dot, umm....let's just say it cost at least the equivalent of the entire rest of this outfit. insert sheepish grin.
bracelets L-R:  j.crew, $9/ goodwill, $1/ j.crew, $5/ garage sale, .50/ j.crew, $3

do you even care how much stuff costs? i know a lot of bloggers include those details and i have sporadically. i often don't because, either i can't remember exactly what i paid or i've purchased things with an employeed discount so it's not really an accurate price for you to compare with. does it even matter to you? is it helpful for any reason or just a curiosity thing? i know it's fun to brag about major steals, but there are also times i've spent more on "investment" pieces and it's not as cool to "brag" about spending a lot on something. i rarely purchase anything at full-price, but i'm also trying to be a smarter shopper. (ie: spending more money on fewer, better quality clothes) anyway, i'm just curious what you think. 

Friday, July 22, 2011


i want to take some time to let all the homecoming stuff sink in before i try to write about it. so, here's a little break in deployment news...

swelter song.
last weekend, friends of ours hosted an album release party for a local musician. ryne doughty recently moved back to iowa from colorado and has a really great, soulful sound. the night was sweltering (i'd soaked through my shirt within minutes of being outside), but once the sun ducked behind the trees and ryne began his first set, we had a great time relaxing in the shade, drinking ice cold beer, and listening to him croon.
ryne is accompanied by the gorgeous and talented amanda drish.

here's what i wore that night...

please excuse my deer-in-headlights expression. i was listening intently as joseph tried to help me not look lame in my photos.
that's gonna take some practice.

this tank is business in front, party in back... 

tank: jack by b.b. dakota (backcountry outfitters)
jeans: paige (via gilt)
sandals: tj maxx
bracelets: j.crew
watch: la mer collections
necklace: stella & dot

Thursday, July 21, 2011


since i don't yet have words for you, here's a video...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


it's over.

Friday, July 15, 2011


for my sis.

this is my older sister's favorite shirt. which is great's mine.
months ago she requested i do an outfit post dedicated to this blouse and, finally, here it is. the pictures don't quite do it justice. it truly may be the prettiest blouse in the whole world. every little detail is so delicate and pretty. i would feel odd talking about my own blouse with such high esteem if it didn't actually deserve every last bit of it.
but i must say, it's a little unnerving wearing clothes that are prettier than you are.

blouse: j.crew
shorts: fossil
flats: tory burch
bracelets: f21

Thursday, July 14, 2011


just a quickie.
there's a lot going on 'round here these days.
some awesome stuff and some tough stuff.
as a bonus, i'm pms'ing.
so the awesome stuff is extra awesome and the tough stuff is extra tough.
let's just say i've been crying like, 7 times a day.

dress: gap
belt: target
sandals: sam edelman
bracelet: aerie
glasses & purse: fossil

btw: i'm totally emotionally eating as i type this. but...since i did the cleanse, my junk food consists of organic crackers and a chocolate/coconut luna bar. wild side, baby.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


hey locals, listen up!
if you're a local reader, i'd love to see you out at jordan creek town center,
this saturday for the 
3rd annual walk for military marriage.
this is a fundraising event and all the proceeds go directly to help resource military marriages and families. deployments, relocations, and other stressors (ie: WAR) can put incredible strain on military families. in fact, the divorce rate among military families is now higher than the national average.
dr. gary and barb rosberg (and their team) work tirelessly to provide support and encouragment for these families. they have helped thousands of couples strengthen and renew their marriages, and they now have a heart for military families in particular. especially in iowa.
as a lot of you know, there are about 2,800 iowa soldiers returning home very soon (including mr.a!), and these families will all be going through major adjustments to reintegrate into society and reunite their family unit. there are some fantastic events coming up to specifically help with this transition and saturday's walk will help fund these events.
if you are a military family, or know a military family, or even just give a lick about military families--come join us for this walk! i know it's short notice, but the more the merrier. participants are encouraged to raise $100 each, but please don't let that stop you from coming out! do what you can and know it will be "paid forward" to thousands of american families who have been serving our country.
there will be food and fun for the whole family. and i'll be signing autographs. (ha. uhhh, just kidding. i thought i was dooce there for a minute.) but seriously, if you come out and spot me--please say hi! plus, the members of my family who actually have real talent (my two sisters) will be singing the national anthem! whoop! should be a great morning.
if you're not local, you can still show your support by making a donation here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


brunch + shopping.
bropping? shunching? i don't think either one is going to make a webster's debut anytime soon. but, these are two of my favorite things and last week i got to do them with one of my favorite people, e.e.
we started with a fantastic meal at la mie, one of our favorite places in des moines. i had an egg white/smoked salmon omelette with the house salad. it was delicious. so delicious that it was gone before i even thought to take a picture.
we treated the girls (ok, and ourselves) to a macaron. the girls had strawberry, we had coffee. quinn was adorable, she kept squeezing herself back between the pastry case and the window. little nugget.
after la mie, we walked next door to worn. i've mentioned worn before, it's a great little higher-end consignment shop. i've sold a lot of things there and have also purchased several. on this particular trip e.e. found a fantastic j.crew mini  for me that was in mint condition. (i wore it on friday night but forgot to photgraph it! grrr. oh well... i'll just have to wear it again soon!) 

i snuck in some poor-quality outfit pics while i was in the dressing room!
i got these great little swingy shorts for $10 from fossil. they are so comfy, like wearing pajamas! and i think they look just as cute dressed down as they do dressed up with heels. 
i wore them with a beaded t-shirt and embellished flats.

it was kind of nice to wear some things (belt, flats) that don't usually see much action in the summer. 
t-shirt: j.crew
shorts: fossil
belt: j.crew
flats: banana republic

Monday, July 11, 2011


an ephemeral evening.
last week, my friend phil (who's basically like a concierge for all things cool in dsm), posted about a listener show at local stationary shop, ephemera. (which, by the way, is the cutest store ever.)

 i'd never heard of this duo, but i watched a few of their videos on youtube and thought it'd be a really unique experience.

and it was.

the evening actually started with a great performance by a local guy, zach harper, who has a great bluesy, southern-rock sound. when i asked him about his music later on, he said he had really just begun to write and play. incredible, considering the depth of his sound and writing.
this is joseph. and zack the musician.
after a brief break, listener began their show.
i'm not sure how they would describe their art, but i think i would call it musical poetry. and, honestly, it was a pretty intense performance. the lyrics are beautifully written and powerfully spoken. the instrumentals complement perfectly.
as you can see, it was a really intimate group. maybe that's what made their performance so intense. several of the songs actually brought tears to my eyes. this was a favorite...

Wooden Heart (sea of mist called skaidan)

We’re all born to broken people on their most honest day of living
and since that first breath... We’ll need grace that we’ve never given
I've been haunted by standard red devils and white ghosts
and it's not only when these eyes are closed
these lies are ropes that I tie down in my stomach,
but they hold this ship together tossed like leaves in this weather
and my dreams are sails that I point towards my true north,
stretched thin over my rib bones, and pray that it gets better
but it won’t won’t, at least I don’t believe it will...
so I've built a wooden heart inside this iron ship,
to sail these blood red seas and find your coasts.
don’t let these waves wash away your hopes
this war-ship is sinking, and I still believe in anchors
pulling fist fulls of rotten wood from my heart, I still believe in saviors
but I know that we are all made out of shipwrecks, every single board
washed and bound like crooked teeth on these rocky shores
so come on and let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief
and fold our lives like crashing waves and run up on this beach
come on and sew us together, tattered rags stained forever
we only have what we remember
I am the barely living son of a woman and man who barely made it
but we’re making it taped together on borrowed crutches and new starts
we all have the same holes in our hearts...
everything falls apart at the exact same time
that it all comes together perfectly for the next step
but my fear is this prison... that I keep locked below the main deck
I keep a key under my pillow, it’s quiet and it’s hidden
and my hopes are weapons that I’m still learning how to use right
but they’re heavy and I’m awkward...always running out of fight
so I’ve carved a wooden heart, put it in this sinking ship
hoping it would help me float for just a few more weeks
because I am made out of shipwrecks, every twisted beam
lost and found like you and me scattered out on the sea
so come on let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief
and fold our lives like crashing waves and run up on this beach
come on and sew us together, just some tattered rags stained forever
we only have what we remember

My throat it still tastes like house fire and salt water
I wear this tide like loose skin, rock me to sea
if we hold on tight we’ll hold each other together
and not just be some fools rushing to die in our sleep
all these machines will rust I promise, but we'll still be electric
shocking each other back to life
Your hand in mine, my fingers in your veins connected
our bones grown together inside
our hands entwined, your fingers in my veins braided
our spines grown stronger in time
because are church is made out of shipwrecks
from every hull these rocks have claimed
but we pick ourselves up, and try and grow better through the change
so come on yall and let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief
and fold our lives like crashing waves and run up on this beach
come on and sew us together, were just tattered rags stained forever
we only have what we remember

it was a really cool experience and i'm really glad i went. if you ever come across the opportunity to see listener live, i'd definitely recommend it.

and in case you're wondering...
this is what i wore:

 shirt: banana republic
skirt: j.crew
belt: j.crew
shoes: tj maxx

the end.