Monday, December 17, 2012


I've been haunted and distraught over the Connecticut shootings that happened on Friday, along with every other parent in America. Once I became a parent, there is a certain chord in my body that is struck, whenever I hear about kids who have been done wrong. Tragedy strikes me differently and its as unexplainable. I think anyone who is a parent would agree.

The end of the school day on Friday couldn't come soon enough for me. I went a bit early just to watch the kids play their final few minutes outside before the bell. I realized, I was not alone. It was a fence lined with moms wearing sunglasses in the rain, probably to hide their tears as I was. So grateful to see my son yet mournful and a bit guilty, for those parents that day, who didn't. And won't.

The following night, my girlfriend and I sat on my couch, talked and cried about it as our kids happily played in the room next to us. Just devastating.

I haven't said anything about this tragedy to Hudson because I'm not sure it's comprehendible to a 5 year old, or that he would get out of the conversation, what I was trying to convey. When E was first injured with the brain injury, I asked our psychologist "What do I tell our son?" She said something that has stuck with me "At this age, it is not about what you SAY to them, it's how you make them FEEL."

So ever since that moment, I've tried to make my son (and now our daughter) FEEL safe, loved, heard, protected, admired, hopeful.....
Because the reality is, there are no guarantees in this life. We cannot ensure that nothing bad will ever happen to our kids. Even when our kids are adults, they will still be our kids.

As Christmas is upon us, something horrible like this puts all of the "hustle and bustle" in perspective and makes me want to say fuck the presents and wish lists.
Because by next year, your kids won't remember what you gave them, but they will remember how you made them feel.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A birthday letter: Quinn Estelle Arterburn

Dear Quinn,
Happy birthday! 11/24/12. Today you are 1 week old and I already can't imagine life without you. Maybe it's because I know you are my last baby (E, that reminds me, we need to make you that appointment), maybe it's because you are my first and only daughter, or maybe it's because I knew you were a destined part of our family, despite all that we have been through in the past few years. Whatever it is, you are so loved and I am honored to be your mom.

The birth story (trust me, it's short):
The morning of 11/24/12, 1 day past your due date, Hudson and I woke up around 4:45 am. We had all been going to bed very early and therefore getting up very early. I had a bit of cramping but thought it might be false labor. At 5:30am I got I the shower and the cramping was getting worse so I decided we would go to the hospital to check it out. I text our friends, Courtney and Brady at 6:30am and asked if we could drop Hudson off on the way to the hospital. On the way, I asked Eric to drop me off first so I could check in as the car ride was pretty uncomfortable. He dropped me off at the front, as he drove off, I realized the front doors were closed until 8am on weekends and I would need to check in at the ER, halfway around the hospital. I slowly walked around to the ER, stopping for contractions, feeling dumb as people drove past me. At this point I knew I was probably in labor.
I walked into the ER, checked in at 7:17am.

They wheeled me over to labor and delivery, I changed into my robe, laid on the bed, Eric walked in, and my water broke. At that point I had to push, the nurses frantically called for back up, pulled the on-call doctor out of the hallway, I pushed 3 times and you were in my arms at 7:31 am. Bam.

Bringing a new baby into the world makes you think about all the things you want to do right for your kids. It's a lot of pressure, raising little people into big people. You want to be proud, you want to set an example and you want your kids to be the good parts of yourselves. Coming into the world at a time where thankfulness and wish lists sort of intertwine, this article ( captured so well, all the things I want for you. So I will repost below.

"Here’s my wish list.
I hope I raise a child who says “thank you” to the bus driver when he gets off the bus, “please” to the waiter taking his order at the restaurant, and holds the elevator doors when someone’s rushing to get in.

I hope I raise a child who loses graciously and wins without bragging. I hope he learns that disappointments are fleeting and so are triumphs, and if he comes home at night to people who love him, neither one matter. Nobody is keeping score, except sometimes on Facebook.

I hope I raise a child who is kind to old people.

I hope I raise a child who realizes that life is unfair: Some people are born rich or gorgeous. Some people really are handed things that they don’t deserve. Some people luck into jobs or wealth that they don’t earn. Tough.

I hope I raise a child who gets what he wants just often enough to keep him optimistic but not enough to make him spoiled.

I hope I raise a child who knows that he’s loved and special but that he’s not the center of the universe and never, ever will be.

I hope I raise a child who will stick up for a kid who’s being bullied on the playground. I also hope I raise a child who, if he’s the one being bullied, fights back. Hard. Oh, and if he’s the bully? I hope he realizes that his mother, who once wore brown plastic glasses and read the phonebook on the school bus, will cause him more pain than a bully ever could.

I hope I raise a child who relishes life’s tiny pleasures—whether it’s a piece of music, or the color of a gorgeous flower, or Chinese takeout on a rainy Sunday night.

I hope I raise a child who is open-minded and curious about the world without being reckless.

I hope I raise a child who doesn’t need to affirm his self-worth through bigotry, snobbery, materialism, or violence.

I hope I raise a child who likes to read.

I hope I raise a child who is courageous when sick and grateful when healthy.

I hope I raise a child who begins and ends all relationships straightforwardly and honorably.

I hope I raise a child who can spot superficiality and artifice from a mile away and spends his time with people and things that feel authentic to him.

I hope I raise a child who makes quality friends and keeps them.

I hope I raise a child who realizes that his parents are flawed but loves them anyway.

I hope for all of these things, but I know this: None of these wishes has a thing to do with how I feed him or sleep-train him or god-knows-what-else him. Which is how I know that these fabricated “wars” are phony every step of the way. I do not need the expensive stroller. I do not need to go into mourning if my "sleep-training method" is actually a "prayer ritual" that involves tiptoeing around the house in the dark. This is not a test. It’s a game called Extreme Parenting, and you can’t lose if you don’t play. And, really, why would you play? You have children to raise."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Things I will miss about being pregnant: Nothing

First of all, I want say how incredibly grateful I am that I have been able to get pregnant and carry on 2 healthy pregnancies. In the big spectrum, I've had it pretty easy. That being said, I don't love being pregnant. Some women do. I don't.

So as this final pregnancy comes to end...a few reasons why I am going to be very happy to get this baby out in the next 2 weeks:

1. I will be able to tie my shoes straight on with having to cross over my legs
2. I will be able to see more than my toes when I look down
3. I can eat my beloved hot sauce again.
4. I wont be Waking up with puke in my mouth from heartburn. (It happened to me last night.)
5. I can ditch "E"normous bras I've been wearing.
6. I will hopefully be able to sleep without having to build Fort Knox around my body.
7. Total strangers assessing me every single day-- "You look great." "You look tired." "Are you feeding your baby enough?" "You must be due any day?"
"Your stretch pants look amazing!" (..... Said no one ever)

Bring on the Turkey! We are ready for you little momma (preferably after my hair appointment at noon tomorrow.)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cribs, turkeys and toilet paper.

Still a woman of few words (although E will tell you different) and much to do. Hudson has been off from school for the last 2 weeks and he's so demanding. Oh, right, he's 5. Anyway, 3 weeks or less to go until we meet baby.

I placed our order today for a pre-made Thanksgiving dinner from our favorite local market. I figured, one turkey in and out of the oven was enough on my plate.

Ps. Thanks for all your help "Grandma Julie" we have enough toilet paper and paper towels (amongst everything else) to last us until 2013!


Boots antiqued from Montana. Numbered bins for my #1 helper, Mr. Hudson.

Dolls made with love.

Creepy baby art.

Who wants to stay overnight with a newborn? We've got an extra bed. You're invited.

Photo credit: Hudson (hence the blur)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Life in the fast lane.

The last month and a half has been unbelievably crazy, humbling, mind boggling, challenging and just a box full of chocolates. (I hate those chocolate boxes filled with so many unknowns.)

This is not due to one specific thing but many things that have compounded all at once. I'm not going to get into it all and quite frankly, none of it matters now.

So, I'll just say Hudson (and Us) have finally gotten our kindergarten groove down. E continues to improve and I continue to grow with this babe coming in less than 7 weeks.

As I have started to slow down, I feel like life has sped up in the last month and a half. As of today, just today, I finally caught my breath and would love to cap it off with a large glass (bottle) of wine, but instead, I will eat creme brûlée, a chocolate chip cookie and mashed potatoes.

Here's my little month long recap. In a few words.....

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Full moon

Happy full moon.
I've been busy spending quality time with the family, enjoying old and new friends, working, growing, waiting, being super tired, being wide awake, baking pumpkin recipes, eating pumpkin recipes, preparing for the beginning of a new chapter, Gracefully finishing old ones.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The beginning of the end of the new beginning.

Well, Monday marks a day that we haven’t been waiting for but knew was coming. The first day, of the criminal trial for the person who hit E from behind, which lead to his traumatic brain injury. The criminal trial was not pursued by us. It is pursued by the District Attorney due to the extent of injury caused to E.
E and I have both been summoned to testify at some point during the trial. Neither of us have an interest in going other than to fulfill our obligation to the court.

I posted a little something to the “bad guy” who did this to E about 1 year ago and I feel exactly the same now (with a small update) as I did then so I will say it again.

Dear Bad Guy,
I just want you to know that my husband is a good guy and so am I and our 5 year old who were peacefully sleeping in bed, when you changed our lives forever.

We forgive you. (You can thank our son Hudson for that, as forgiveness is a hard but important lesson to teach.) Justice to me, would not be sending you to jail. What I would do is fly to Montana where you have been living your "normal" life and I would serve you with a 1 year sentence. You would need to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 360 days at a brain injury rehabilitation center. No pay. You would have to figure out another way to get by that year as we did. Its part of the journey. And you better give it your all every single day or the days will start over. And at the end of the year, you would bring me flowers (hey, its my vision) and have dinner with E and I. You would apologize and we would accept.

Forget arguing in court over what happened, why it happened, how it happened. It happened and we all get what we give in this life.
So you, bad guy, give someone else, who is deserving, a year (plus) of your life that you stole from ours and we will call it good. If you have any kind of a soul at all, which I believe you probably do, it will change your life just like it has changed ours.

Hey bad guy, you're welcome. At the end of the day, a lot of great things have come out of this (no thanks to you) and E and I are both different people from this experience. I don't regret what we have gone through to get here, I do regret the way that it happened. Nonetheless, we forgive you.

UPDATE: I am now pregnant and less tolerable of “bullshit.” As a result, if before dinner, I could have just 5 minutes, alone with you in a room so I can give you the verbal ass-hole ripping, tongue lashing, and maybe some finger pointing, that quite frankly, you have coming to you from the wife of the guy whom you attacked, that would be great. I think a big guy like you would be impressed by the number of F-bombs a small person like me can fit into a 5 minute verbal assault. Just ask my husband.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The days AFTER Labor day.

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the year. The day AFTER Labor Day. All kids and teachers are back in school (you know, because I get jealous when they are at the beach and I am working), the Horse Track ends, which means traffic improves around our house, and tourists go home, which means we get our sleepy little beach town back.

In addition, it means "fall" weather is near, football season aka. Crock-potting season, leather boots, dark nail polish, pumpkin spice lattes and cool nights. All of my favorite things, not to mention the holidays are near, and oh yeah, we're having a baby.

That being said, it's busy as hell around here! We are ALL getting acclimated to kindergarten and all that in entails. We are busy making new friends, figuring out exactly (to the minute) what time to leave in the morning to get to kinder just before the bell, packing lunches, learning Spanish, going to bed early, growing a baby in the belly (just started 3rd trimester), dealing with brain injury “stuff” and sweating, because its still bloody hot around here.

But, unfortunately, there is always time for crazy pregnant behavior......

Random guy in the grocery store parking lot: “You must be pregnant?”

Me: “Yes”

Him: “I figured because you're too young and too skinny to be that fat.”

Me: “Oh, well, thank you? And while we’re jumping to conclusions, may I guess that you sir, must be having a mid-life crisis? You’re too bald and too old to be driving that sports car.”

Dear Random dudes,
Unless you have a testicle that is swollen to the size of a watermelon, you don’t get to judge, comment or even try to compliment a pregnant lady. It usually just backfires and then it is awkward for both of us.

Grumpy pregnant chick.

A "Star chart" that Hudson made for me. Stars if I'm good, an "X" if I'm bad. I've been good so far, at least in his eyes.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The next step

Well... we made it through the first day of kindergarten. It feels like a dream as it came and went in such a blur. Before you know it, he will be driving, going to prom and getting drunk on Boones Farm (I hope not.)

I never understood what the big fricken deal was about starting kindergarten until.....I happened to my kid. None of us had tears, we were all mentally ready but I still felt the magnitude and the velocity of what what happening from about 6am-8:15am this morning.

So, the other kicker about today was that Hudson got in to the Dual Language Immersion Program. A BIG deal for E and I as we really wanted this for him. (lottery winners!)
100% Espanol from day one people. The kindergarten DLI teachers are not allowed to speak any English to the students or the parents (at least in front of the students.)

Right out of the gate, Hudson's teacher asks him (and all of her students as they walk up):

"Como te llama?" (What is your name?)

I watched him struggle and then I translated for him in his ear. Shortly after, she managed to form them all in a line and had them quieted and following her into the classroom like little ducklings....all done in Spanish.

((The DLI curriculum slowly integrates English back in, so that by 6th grade (the final year of the DLI program) they are reading, writing, and speaking in English and Spanish. That's sort of the deal, in a small nut shell.))

When he came home today, I asked him how it went and he said "It went great mom."

Then later he said, "Mom, do you know what 'Grande' means?" I didn't want to burst his bubble with my Spanish skills, "Un mas grande cervesa por favor?" (One more large beer please.)

So I said "No?"

"It means 'Large' mom."

A great day indeed.

On another note.......
One major difference between 1st and 2nd pregnancy.
1st pregnancy: "How am I ever going to push a baby out of this?"
2nd pregnancy: "Holy shit, I just sneezed, is the baby on the floor?" How am I going to keep this kid in there for another 3 months? I'm seriously afraid to laugh too hard or I may crown.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pregnancy Rant: Bumbo seat recall

I attended my girlfriends baby shower just this past Sunday, and bought her something that I loved and used when Hudson was a babe. A Bumbo seat. You know those colorful chairs made of foam that you can set babies in. Well, they were recalled today due to a large amount of infant skull fractures while using the Bumbo seat.

So, I let my girlfriend know that I had just bought her a baby skull crushing item, but I kept mine and was still intending to use it, you know, the way it was intended. She agreed and mentioned she wasn't an idiot.

First of all, these are chairs for babies, not full time nannies. It says right on the box that they are not to be used on high surfaces and you are not to leave your baby basically don't set your baby on top of the bar, in the seat, while you go do Jagger bombs, you dip shits. The Bumbo seats are merely a way to hold your baby up while your are on the floor playing with them or trying to shove peas into their mouth, not as an excuse to prop them up on the dinner table so you can see them while you mow the lawn.

What is wrong with people? No wonder these chairs made of nothing but foam, cost an arm and a leg, complete boneheads purchase them, misuse them and then sue the company. You don't need straps in the god damned chair to protect your baby, just pay attention to your kid and use your head.

I'm going to write a parenting manual called "Common Sense" and it's going to be 1 page long with one sentence "Use common sense and your kids will be fine."

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A birthday letter: Five

Dear Hudson,
Happy 5th birthday! This year was big, as your dad continues to recover, you adjust so well. You have a huge heart, you're a rule follower, and you still punch your dad in the "peanuts" which isn't that cool. You are neurotic about your hair, obsessed with collecting keys and still aspire to be a real ninja.

Your preschool teachers described you as loyal, a good friend and creative. Not to shabby.

This year you learned how to snap your fingers (getting blisters from practicing), you learned how to ride a 2 wheel bike, you love art, and you started Karate to work toward your ninja dreams.

You watched me pee on a stick and after explaining what to look for, your response was "Oh my gosh mom, WE are having a baby!" It was the response that every woman wants from their husband. Because at 4, you are not doing the math, running the numbers or re-working the house plans for a new baby. You are just genuinely excited. I wish this as something you could hold on to when you go through this with your own family one day, if that's what you choose.

You tell me repeatedly that you are going to marry the baby, your sister, and have more babies that I can take care of. I don't have the heart to tell you that's highly inappropriate (in this state at least.) Of course I asked you the question most (warped) mothers would "What if she's ugly?" you responded with "Well then I will make her pretty, I will get her earrings, some bracelets and maybe a necklace or something." Brilliant.

To top off the year, you graduated preschool and in one week you will be starting kindergarten. Immersion kindergarten. Which means you will be taking on a whole new school, all new friends and a new language. You are excited and open minded. I know that this experience will shape your life and I can't wait to see what you do with it.

Again, all that being said, you have taught ME so much this year. Patience, unconditional love, and how not to hold a grudge for more than 60 seconds, being the top 3. Although we've had a trying last year and a half, you still have so much love for your dad and I. You look past all the stress and the bullshit and always remember what's most important. Your simple mind in a complicated world keeps me a (fairly) sane and extraordinarily happy person.

Thank YOU, Hudson, for the best year yet. I can't wait to see what this year will bring.

Love, your momma.

P.s. You have convinced me to go to Disneyland twice in one year. I hate Disneyland but I love you, so, your welcome and don't expect to go again this year.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The name game.

When you get pregnant, there are 3 things that everyone wants to know.

1. When are you due?
2. Are you going to find out the sex or wait for the surprise?
3. Do you have any names picked out?

The due date is easy. The second response was always "The surprise is if this baby is going to be a Harvard graduate or a serial killer. I need to know if
I’m going to be working with a penis or a vagina for the next 20+

As for my third response, now that we are 100% sure (unless the ultrasound was wrong) we are having a girl, the big question is “Do you have any names picked out and what are they?”

This topic is a little dicey for me and here is why. For some reason,
people ask you, you tell them, and then they feel the need to give you
their opinion. Which I think is weird. But, we all do it, myself included.

This is why, I am generally not a name sharer before the baby is born because once your baby is born and you decide to name them after your favorite Power Ranger - people are not going to give you their opinion on what a dumb name it is to your face. They will do it behind your back and in this one particular instance, that’s how I prefer.

So, do we have a name picked out? Yes, we have a few, but we probably
wont decide until we see her (or him…you never know.) Am I going to
share what the names are? No. But if you REALLY want to know, you can
ask E or Hudson and I am sure they would be more than happy to tell
you the name of the day.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Confession

Confession : I've been having a hard time transitioning into "girl" mode. Don't get me wrong, I am beyond excited we are having a girl. There is only so much penis punching and floor wrestling a person can take. And....I always knew that eventually, I would have a girl, however, I'm still not pooping glitter with excitement.

First off, the color pink is my least favorite color. On a deeper level, I am not exactly sure what to do with a girl. I grew up with a brother and have lived with dudes (mostly male friends) for a large part of my adult life. The girls I did live with, were like dudes. Thank goodness I am a girl or I wouldn't even know how to properly wipe her bottom clean. (Front to back, right?)

I do love make-up, shoes and nail polish just as much as the next female. However, I prefer maroon colored nail polish and have 20 pairs of black boots. So I guess its a darkened version of feminine. You definitely won't see me with bedazzled jeans or a "DIVA" license plate holder. Thats just not my gig.

So, the nursery/guest bedroom is pretty much done, which will be another post, but E told me its not "girly" enough. I guess, I am easing into this at my own pace. My OWN version of girly. One lighter shade of black, at a time.

UPDATE: I wrote this blog last week and didn't get around to posting it. Over the weekend, something changed. Something happened. Maybe because I washed a few of the girl clothes I've been collecting over the years, maybe because my stomach grew and she is becoming more real, whatever it was, I am now excited. If you're confused by this entire post, welcome to the mind of a crazy pregnant lady.

The art work we put up in baby's room. E said its a little scary and in the same breath said it reminds him of me. We don't sugar coat around here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Things no one tells you about being pregnant #56949300: Paranoia

Brought to my attention by my girlfriend, who is also pregnant.
Let me first say, how saddened I am about yet another senseless, tragic, killing "spree" that happened in Colorado. I've been listening to and reading about the intense debates of how to "solve" this "problem." Is it gun control? Is it a broken mental health system? Is it too much violence in the media?

If you ask me, which no one did, my answer would be yes to all of the above. Unfortunately, it's all a part of our culture and it will take a whole culture to change it. Our society over indulges in everything and if we want to see change its starts with us. It starts with you. It starts with me. I certainly don't pretend to know all the answers but I do know a little about the power of supply and demand.

That being said, being pregnant I (and my girlfriend apparently) have constant PARANOIA.

A text exchange sent between us yesterday.....

Her: I think everyone wearing a backpack has a gun.

Me: I took the stairs today instead of riding in an elevator, alone, with a suspicious looking man.

Her: I left See's Candies for my one free truffle because some dude had a backpack and wasn't standing in line.

It goes on but you get the point. I'm not sure why this is a " symptom" of pregnancy, but the shit that just happened in Colorado only compounds the crazy scenarios playing out in my head as I stand in line at the grocery store to buy milk and bread, and the person in front of me is inappropriately wearing sunglasses.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hair Thursday

I cut his hair, gave him a sucker and then we had a dance party.....all before 8am.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Things I miss....

It's official, baby girl is a girl. AND she is healthy. We had our Friday the 13th anatomy appointment yesterday were able to thoroughly check her out. It's a relief to say the least.

So now that I know she's a she, and she's healthy, I can officially complain.

I saw a list on this week on "Things I miss during my pregnancy." I could relate to a few things but most of it was rather vanilla. Since I am a list making machine (especially these days) I made my own top 5.

1. Wine- I miss the taste, the color, the smell. I miss wanting wine because quite frankly, being pregnant is like taking the drug they give to alcoholics that makes you want to vomit instantly. If not at the very sight of alcohol, then the very taste.

2. I miss not feeling GUILTY about eating a god damned turkey sandwich with cheese. Yes, apparently even deli meat and certain cheeses are off limits these days and don't even think about opting for fish instead because most of the fish I like is off limits as well. I eat it all anyway, but I do have a sense of guilt with a side of Lame sauce with every bite.

3. I miss NOT peeing myself every time I sneeze. It is getting ridiculous so if I sneeze and excuse myself, you know why.

4. I miss running. Not because of my growing belly but because there are not enough sports bras that I could pile on in order to keep my upper half in tact.

5. Hudson told me my butt was big. In fact, his exact words were "Your butt is huge, it's true mom." I like how he added the "it's true" part, just in case I thought he was bullshitting me. I guess I miss having an acceptable sized least in a 4 year olds eyes.

Of course, when you put it all into perspective, turkey sandwiches and big butts are dream "problems" compared to where we were last time at this year. Trust me, I haven't forgotten and am reminded of how lucky we are every day when I wake up and E brings me my one cup of coffee in bed (@6am...on a Saturday)

That being said, turkey + giving thanks = Thanksgiving; which is also our due date. So let's do this.