Thursday, April 19, 2018


We've been enjoying the spring, not-spring, spring weather and getting our yard in order for the year. We basically create something new each season or so, one day the whole thing will be done and lovely and just what we want. 

Today, there are pockets of magic. 
Like my roses 
From eye level 
And from above! 

I finally planted blueberries - and forsythia as our yard somehow had none. Harris spent an entire afternoon re-setting these curbstones that had sunk over decades. 

Little Pebble Creek is filling in nicely. That's one pretty drainage ditch! 

The front yard bench near the roses. 

Otherside of the front yard

And PLUM TREES to compliment the peach trees! Our Orchard is starting to take shape. 

it's all pieces here and there because we do have this whole set of girls who need... quite a lot of our attention. We're happy to oblige most days. 

Easter egg hunts are hard!  Marianne at her 2nd easter egg hunt. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Bill's new smile

Before reading this, know I have Bill's full permission to share.

Most of my friends know Dollar Bill is my daughters' self-proclaimed godfather. The girls run in delight when they hear him approaching calling their names. For our youngest, he's decided she goes by her middle name, asking for little Hillary.

What you might not know is that this summer he's experienced some hardships that require surgery. His remaining upper teeth have suddenly failed, making eating, talking, chewing difficult for him. He also doesn't smile as much anymore.

Bill had some dental work done when he joined the Navy in the 80s. They pulled teeth and left him with partials that have now failed. The VA won't fix this for him and he doesn't have dental insurance. While you can't see his teeth, his roots are intact - necessitating surgery before he can get dentures.

A reputable local dentist  has examined Bill and come up with a plan of treatment to remove his roots and create dentures and partials for him. The cost right now is $6,450. The dentist will give us a discount for paying in cash. We've got $2,000 on it and are trying to raise another $2,000 at least from donations from friends and neighbors.

Harris and I are collecting all of the donations for Bill and will pay directly to the dentist for his treatment.

If you would like to contribute to this or would like more information to make an informed decision, please contact me so I can provide further details.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Baby pictures.

That's what happens when you start working on houses right? You start having babies who delight you and get in the way of finishing projects.

We hired Merritt-who-has-moved-to-charlotte to photograph the family.

Marianne Hillary Spring

And her adoring sisters

Related - the adults are now on diets

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Our littlest creature is such a delight. Some pictures of her first three months in our family.
Sometimes we call her the maymaybaybay, little Hillary, mayYann, but we haven't yet settled on the just right family pet name.
She'll help us figure one out soon enough.

Margot loved the cream filled croissant muffin. Apartments being built in Central Park in the background. 

Laying on my big squishy tummy 

Laying on the coffee bar at the coop

My favorite infant picture so far 

Selfie I took while nursing and cooking dinner.

Ok, I love sleeping babies. 


We've been very slowly attempting to convert the South Lawn into more than a grass pit and parking lot.

We started earlier in the year by having TROSA come and remove all of the leaves, ivy, and debris from the yard. We then fixed the fence at the back property line so none of us would fall over the 8ft drop into the church parking lot behind our house. Fun times. One day, the tree that is on their property that leans over their church is going to fall.  We've talked to them so many times, offering to let them use our yard to trim or remove the tree... their response was that they have insurance if anything happens. 

OK then. 

Then, we finally got started building the swingset.

Hard to believe, but when Harris and our friend/neighbor Rob went to disassemble and bring the parts back from Raleigh, the dolphin swing was for Margot. She got her ride in it, was joyful, then moved on to the big girl swings. 

Madeline taking pictures of me and Marianne. 

Madeline climbs on her own, Margot needs a little boost. The fairy skirt trees aren't covered in ants yet this season so are still fun to daydream in. 

Margot got first slide. Madeline first twirl on the disk swing thing.

We bought the swingset on Craigslist for $300, disassembled and transported it, left it sitting in our yard in pieces for a year, then after buying $300 worth of parts (it is a 20 yr old wooden swingset afterall) Harris spent a leisurely two afternoons reassembling everything and building a platform where the sandbox used to be.  New these are several thousand. Our girls are delighted with their $700 20 year old swingset. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Marianne Hillary arrived!

Our happy ttle surprise girl arrived mid February. I've spent the past month with her cuddled in my arms, nursing, sleeping, and enjoying her random hour of wakefulness here ave there. This is the last little infant I'll spend so much time with and I'm revelling in the experience. 

Also, I'm ecstatic to not be pregnant anymore. 

Marianne, the icon of Liberty, the dreaming middle sister of Austen, a song and poem.

Hillary, the woman who should have been President.

Spring, because we're alternating last names

In reverse time lapse order, after the last picture, the story of her birth.

Like her sisters, she was born at the women's birth and wellness center in chapel hill. She was born at 41 weeks, 6 days. We resorted to castor oil after every other thing that worked previously did not work and I was approaching the point of transfer to a hospital setting that I very much wanted to avoid. Marty came down for the weekend to stay with the girls and because we were going castor oil and had no idea how long everything would last Madeline did not get to join us for her birth. 

We went to the birth center and were a little lost as to what to do. Do we put our bag in the closet? I guess we unpack a bit? Get settled in? Harris mixed 4 ounces with chocolate ice cream and whole milk and I couldn't taste it. From 10:30 until 12:00 nothing really, playing on Twitter, texting folks, taking walks. My mood dropped to the basement because it seemed like this wasn't going to work either. I started crying a little, mostly scared I'd end up at the hospital after all. I only had about 36 hours left until I had to go to the hospital for her birth and it was weighing on me. 

Then the castor oil kicked in. My stomach was upset for 2 hours, not horrendously, just like...too much heavy food? It was totally weird to see my undigested breakfast again and also reinforced my belief that I eat fast and very slowly digest my food. 

Then contractions started around 1:45 like her sisters at first I was like, hrm, was that? And then within 10 minutes was humming through them. I knew she would be born fast so I tried to stay calm, listen to the midwife, feel what I was feeling and no more. I spent about an hour cuddled with my weight on a birth ball sort of holding Harris by the arms and shoulder. Unfortunately, I moved out of that position too soon. I started having pushing contractions, so moved to a pushing position, unfortunately, my cervix wasn't finished, so labor sort of stalled out for 20 minutes or so while my cervix caught up to my uterus. That was uncomfortable. I wanted to push, asked to push, but midwife made very good point to breathe through them so my cervix could finish because she couldn't get her head out to push yet. Here I was not as good at feeling my feels and no more, my anxiety went up a bit and I started getting frazzled. I don't remember who said what, but I made it through and calmed down. So I breathed through and tried to relax until I felt another change and couldn't not push. More pushing with this girl, she did the come down, go back up movement that was not perceptible with my older girls. Pushing lasted maybe 30 minutes? 

She was born at 4:10, perfectly formed, so clean with perfect skin, I've never seen a white baby so clean and peachy rosey from the beginning. She was massive, 9lbs 14 ounces, but looked bigger because of her massive torso/body. She just looked dense. She was perfect color, started breathing easy, cuddled and nursed

Once she was born the midwife Lydia was able to get the placenta to deliver, but then I started hemorrhaging like with Margot. There was some stringy elements to the placenta and clots and lots of blood. I didn't hemorrhage as badly as when Margot was born but it was still pretty intense. Another very experienced midwife came in and assisted and within about half an hour all of the placenta was delivered and the bleeding was more controlled. The midwives and nurse worked together beautifully, administering herbs, giving me instructions on what to do, all while taking care of this beautiful little newborn. It was truly beautiful. I felt so supported and cared for by everyone in the room. Fear did not enter when Marianne was born. 

 I started shaking uncontrollably because I was so cold or at least felt so cold so they layered me up with blankets. I snuggled up and tried to pull myself together after all of it. I had to tell myself that my body was not cold and thermometer proved it and that I could stop shivering and shaking. It took a few hours for that to fully materialize. 

We ate left over gyro and pita and pot roast. Harris gave me chocolates and goat chese and crackers. We napped. They checked on me repeatedly to make sure the hemorrhage was over so we could go home. 

It takes a little while to leave, over the course of 90 minutes we filled out paperwork, I took a shower, we packed up our bag, they checked Marianne again, we dressed our little girl,  and got everything to the car. It was a very unseasonably warm day in February, but the night was cool again.  Around 11:30 that night we left, I'm not sure why we stayed so long it didn't feel like we were lingering or dragging it out while there, but in reflection we spent more time there that day than with either other daughter. 

We drove home slowly too, stopping to get me some gatorade that I weirdly wanted. Marty was awake when we got home but both girls asleep. We left them asleep until the morning when they got to meet their sister. 

And now my cuddle buddy stirs, so I'm going back to cuddles nursing, and sleeping.