Monday, October 19, 2009

It Went Off the Rails

I think maybe enough time has passed that I can write a bit about Penelope Blair's arrival. It took some time since nothing went the way I expected it to. Actually, the mere fact that I was expecting a third baby proves that sometimes life just does it's own thing with or WITHOUT your permission. Following that principle, Penny's birth was equally traumatic and, I can honestly say, took me completely by surprise.

When I found out about baby number three, I could not have been more shocked. Even though I had been through the process twice, it still floored me. The very idea that I could be pregnant (AGAIN!) never even occurred to me despite clear signs which pointed to the obvious conclusion. It was just that far out of my realm of possibilities. But, despite having no real desire to be pregnant (AGAIN!), I was Penny's mom from the moment it all sank in. I was instantly terrified that I would miscarry or that it would all turn out to be an ectopic pregnancy (which is a real possibility if you conceive with an IUD in place). All I wanted to hear was that the pregnancy was healthy. The sonogram showing a tiny beating heart was so gorgeous to me. There she was, despite my best efforts. And I loved her.

Coming to terms with having a new baby wasn't totally easy. I already had a baby to care for. Vivi was only 10 months old when I realized that Penny was on her way. Plus, there was Catie, my first baby love. How was I going to split my time between them all without short changing anyone, especially Vivi who would be forever in the middle? The one most likely to fall through the cracks. I felt guilty about ending her time as the "baby" so quickly.

There was one bright spot though that kept me excited and enthusiastic about the new baby. I couldn't wait for the "moment" when, amid all the chaos, time would stop and there she would be. All the effort and misery would instantly and forever be completely worth it. Waiting for that time fitted each moment until then with anticipation and impatience. So many times I played it over in my head and thought that I was actually lucky to have this chance one more time.

I should have known that counting on something renders it less likely to happen. In my case, I didn't get the moment that I had looked so forward to for so long since, as my title suggests, the whole thing went off the rails at the last minute. Despite having had a totally healthy pregnancy, it seems my body decided to go completely crazy during labor. I was a few hours into a normal labor when I suffered an abruption. This put both the baby and me in a precarious situation which called for an emergency c-section. While I wasn't really scared at that point (thanks to an incredibly competent and calm doctor), I was in enough pain to fell an elephant. So, when the doctor told me that she would have the anesthesiologist knock me out, I was totally on board with her recommendation.

With very little adieu, I was whisked away to the operating room. Blake wasn't allowed to go in with me since I was going to be completely anesthetized and, I assume, the emergency nature of the situation didn't allow for wasting time. In retrospect, I am glad that no one was in there with me. I was rolled onto the operating table, my arms were strapped to bars that folded out from the table and a drape was thrown up in front of my face all in about 20 seconds. I think anyone who loved me would have been scared completely s*!#less had they been in there. Luckily, after putting up a fairly pitiful fight against the oxygen mask (claustrophobia), I was out.

I don't know how long I was under, but it seemed as if I went out and came back instantly. The only difference between before and after was the literally gut wrenching pain from the operation. My first sight on coming out of anesthesia was my doctor telling me that "your baby is beautiful". My reaction was, "OK, go get my mama!". I was crying (my usual reaction to anesthesia is to wake up sobbing like the end of the world). She arrived so quickly, I figured that she must have been standing there the whole time. I was relieved when she said exactly what I needed to hear, "Charla Carole, you are fine. You are going to be just fine. Calm down, it's all over and you are fine". When your mama tells you that you are going to be fine, well then, you ARE going to be fine.

Blake was there with baby Penny and she was beautiful. She was just so, so beautiful and a balm to my soul since, once again, it had all been worth it and we were both totally fine. Well, I wasn't totally fine as I hurt like a sonofabitch, but still I would be fine. I did, after all, have a demerol pump to get acquainted with, so things were looking up at that point.

Since Penny arrived, I have for the most part been completely happy and at peace with having a third child. The only recurring bit of unhappiness for me has been dealing with the disappointment that I mentioned earlier. After having anticipated all of the joy and excitement of Penny's arrival, to have it turn into a bit of a mini nightmare has been difficult for me to deal with. In fact, as I write this, I see that I haven't totally dealt with it. It still upsets me. It hurts me that I missed all of her very "firsts": her first breath, her first cry, the first precious and irreplaceable moments that all mamas look forward to.

Going forward, I guess the only way I can look at the whole ordeal is that Penny is a real miracle. She wasn't even supposed to happen, but here she is all perfect, tiny and full of promise. So, I will take my miracle as it came and say thank you for it. Besides, at least I can plan on being there for all of her other firsts and, if I have anything to do with it, I will be.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I am not sure what started it, but for some reason I've expanded my cooking skills and have started canning. I fully acknowledge the low coolness factor of this new activity, but I started feeling bad about all of the summer produce that just gets passed by. Or worse, I buy fresh fruits and vegetables and they go bad before I use them. So, I thought, maybe I could go Old School and try canning. Turns out, it's pretty easy. Granny used to spend a fair number of hours preserving and "putting up" the summer vegetables from her TWO gardens. It seemed to me then to be such an ordeal. But, now I can see how putting hours into tending a garden might motivate you to store up all of your hard work for the winter.

Basically, you make whatever it is you desire (jam, jelly, whatever) and then you put it a Mason jar, slap a lid on it and boil the bejesus out of it in a canner. The tough part, which is crucial in each step, is dealing with all of the boiling hot equipment. You have to keep the jars, lids and rings in hot water while you prepare the food. This is so that when you pour hot veggies, food, etc, into the jar, it doesn't break. I suspect that there is a sterilization component here too. But, really, you should have done that already. I have scalded myself a couple of times.

So far, I have canned some apple butter and and some cherries. I love cherry cobbler, cherry crisp, cherry anything, so I thought I might get a kick out of baking this winter with my specially prepared cherries. I will let you know how that turns out. The apple butter, I am proud to say, has been a success. I am pretty sure that it won't make it to winter. But, that's OK. I will definitely make some more of that.

This cherry crisp is what resulted from my latest attempt at canning. After I pitted all the cherries, I decided that since no one is promised another day, maybe the cherries would be put to better use in a crisp. I was SO right. In fact, it was so good, I think I will just pass along the recipe. This is from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. If you don't have this cookbook, I would strongly encourage you to get it. It is not only a fantastic cookbook, but it's really a cooking reference. If I want to try cooking something new, I usually grab that book first and work from there. Love it!

To Prepare Fruit:
2 - 3 pounds fruit (blueberries, cherries, apples, whatever)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP Brown sugar
juice of 1/2 of a lemon
2 TBSP cornstarch or flour if you are using a watery fruit (like cherries)

5 TBSP Butter cut into small pieces
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
dash of salt

Toss the fruit with the cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch. Spread it lightly in a greased 8-inch square or 9-inch round pan.

Combine all other ingredients. You can either pulse them in the food processor or you can use a pastry blender to mix. I just use the pastry blender because it's easy and less to clean up. The mixture should look like crumbs when you are finished with this step. It does not need to look uniform. Spread this over the top of the fruit and bake 30-40 minutes. Serve hot with cream or vanilla ice cream. There is nothing better...

Friday, June 26, 2009

No! It's Mine!

I'm sorry to say that I finally fell behind in my attempt to post a new blog every Wednesday.  But, in my defense, I had a good reason.  I was in Norman being a good sister, sitting bedside while my sister had her gall bladder removed.  I am very happy to say that she is a tough bird and is recovering quite nicely.  But, sadly, I was in no mood to sit at my computer and write when I got home Wednesday evening.  I was really, really irritated about the sorry state of I-35, both north and south bound.  It took the rest of my evening to vent to Blake about how no one should be expected to drive on that crap piece of "road".  Blake's Bose noise canceling earphones should be here anyday...

So, family emergencies having been dealt with, it's back to the grind here on the farm.  With all due respect to my sister, I did thoroughly enjoy just hanging out with my family on surgery day while Blake dealt with the girls.  I haven't had a break from my not-so-benevolent dictators in several weeks and it was nice to just let it all go.  Plus, it was way fun to hang out with my sister, even though she was not having such a good time.  But, with my family, the crazier the situation, the better.  All the best jokes and one-liners get going when we all get nervous.

Anyway, I think I should start circling back around to what I really wanted to discuss in this post and that is the fact that my girls seem to think that anything that I have is much, much more desirable than anything they have.  This is especially true when it comes to drinks.  For some reason, a certain number of people in this house are obsessed with tea.  If I poured it in the toilet, they would grab a straw and go at it.  I don't know what it is.  I mean, I like tea as much as the next person, but really?  There are practically hair pulling fights over glasses of tea!

So, it goes without saying, if I should attempt to drink a glass of tea, a couple of short people who live here come running.  I don't know if they have some kind of tea sensor or what, but even if I pour some tea and hide my glass somewhere, they can find it and demand their share.  With Viv, it's especially irritating because she plants her feet, drops her pacifier, points and grunts until you are willing to just give her the tea jug and walk away.  Cayton is a little more stylish in her approach, opting to sidle up to the tea glass while I am not looking.  Later, when I reach for my glass, I find only an empty vessel with half melted ice.  

I am afraid that this behavior is going to bleed over into other areas.  For instance, they generally like to eat whatever is on MY plate.  If I sit down, suddenly that is the hottest property in the house.  My jewelry is irresistible and I won't even get started on my phone or my computer.

God knows, I love my babies to distraction, but I think I am going to have to put a stop to this constant claim staking of my property.  I don't have that much left that is mine and I know where this will eventually lead in the end.  They will take everything I have until they get to the very last and most precious of my possessions: my sanity (such as it is).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Five Wonderful Hours

Thanks to some cajoling from my brilliant husband, I enrolled the girlies in a summer preschool program.  Now, every Wednesday, I have five beautiful hours all to myself.  Initially, when B mentioned this idea, I was resistant.  It had something to do with my natural reluctance to agree with him on most topics and then I also thought it was a bit of a waste of money.  After all, didn't I quit my job to stay home and spend time with my girls?  Obviously, it had been a while since I had time to myself and I had forgotten the almost obscene luxury of being able to think only of myself.  Needless to say (but I will anyhow), time alone is worth the cost. 

Now, on Tuesday evenings, I start thinking about what I'm going to do with my time.  Should I call a friend and go to lunch?  Should I spend some time working on my hobbies?  What will I ever do with all the time???  See, when there is actual quiet time, my brain goes crazy.  It's almost like that feeling you get when you have a really big gift certificate to spend.  The sheer number of possibilities is overwhelming.  I often find that I get analysis paralysis since I feel as though anything I decide to do ought to be grand given that Wednesdays don't just happen everyday.

As you can guess, one thing I've decided to do is write a little on this blog.  I am hoping to contribute a little more regularly than I have in the past.  Considering the fact that I can actually think in such beautiful silence, maybe I won't have too much trouble sticking to my new routine.  But who knows?  Maybe I'll just take a nap instead.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Doerrs Go To the Beach - Days 2-7

This was pretty much it. We sat on the beach for a solid week and it was nice. I did learn however, that sitting for a whole week is a little much for me. While it sounds nice to have nothing else to do, it gets a bit tedious just holding down a beach chair. I think my next beach vacation will have to be somewhere near tourist attractions or other diversions. By day three, I have to get dressed and go see something. I'm just a crazy tourist and I MUST go tour something when I'm on vacation! But, it was a great relaxing week and we did actually go see Fort Morgan, which is a military installation that dates back to the 1830s and was used heavily during the Civil War. The fort was used off and on in other wars with it finally being abandoned after WWII. It was great to see it and the views were worth the work of climbing around on the old stairways.

After the tour of Fort Morgan, we took the ferry over to Dauphin Island. It was a beautiful place, but I was very glad that we didn't end up staying there. It seemed to me a place for locals to go to escape all of us tourists. It was extremely quiet and there weren't many restaurants or attractions. I think maybe the major pastime there would have been fishing. Don't get me wrong, I like to fish, but I don't know that the other Doerrs would have really enjoyed it too much (especially since they don't eat the stuff!).

Houses on Dauphin Island

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Doerrs Go To the Beach - Day One

Mapquest said that the one way trip from Tulsa to Gulf Shores, AL would take about 12.5 hours. I am thinking that it may take double that. Traveling with Miss Vivian is just not as simple as traveling with Catie. Miss V is not willing to just get along. In fact, she is completely committed to letting us know when she is NOT happy. Hopefully we will arrive at the beach before the end of the week...

The first day of the trip involved a drive from Hugo, OK (we spend the night there with my parents and traded our car for their land barge so that we could haul all of the kids' gear) to Vicksburg, MS. We thought, and it turns out to have been a wise decision, that breaking the drive up into two days would be a great idea. I am so glad that we did. The total trip from Hugo to VB would have been just five and a half hours, but took more like seven with stops to let the kids run around and to switch drivers. I don't think B or I would have wanted to press on from VB to Gulf Shores, since that's another five and a half hours without stops. Ugh!

We got to Vicksburg early enough to drive through the Vicksburg National Military Park. The park was established in 1899 to commemorate the campaign, siege, and defense of Vicksburg during the Civil War. According to Wikipedia, the park "includes 1,325 historic monuments and markers, 20 miles (32 km) of historic trenches and earthworks, a 16-mile (26 km) tour road, two antebellum homes, 144 emplaced cannons, restored gunboat USS Cairo (sunk on December 12, 1862, on the Yazoo River, recovered successfully in 1964), and the Grant's Canal site, where the Union army attempted to build a canal to let their ships bypass Confederate artillery fire." I know Wikipedia is not the most reliable source, but I went to the park and this sounds about the right.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from our trip to the park

This is the Illinois monument, dedicated to the soldiers and commanding officers from -wait for it- Illinois. This building had to be modeled after the Pantheon in Rome because that is the first thing I thought of when we stepped inside. It is really an impressive building. It sits up on a hill surrounded mostly by woodland. The kids were mostly impressed by the echos of their footfalls bouncing off of the marble walls.

Cayton is standing near one of the columns on the front of the Illinois monument.  It was really a nice view from the entrance looking out.

Viv loved running around inside the building.

Near the Illinois monument was the Shirley House. According to the park map, this is the only Civil War era building in the park. It looked really rundown and I was so disappointed that it seemed the house was being allowed to fall apart. But, as we came around to the front of the house, I saw a sign posted that detailed the Restabilization of the Shirley House. So, I am glad to know that something is being done to restore and preserve this historic house.

We finished up the day with a drive through the historic downtown. There are so many beautiful antebellum homes in Vicksburg. I remember visiting a few of these homes on vacations with my family when I was a kid. One particular home even had a cannonball from a civil war battle lodged in a wall in the parlor! That was obviously a big memory for me since I was only nine at the time that we toured that home!

For supper we found a great little catfish restaurant and it was just what you should eat if you are lucky enough to find yourself in Mississippi. You know that you are in the right place when your main question is "Should I go for the 1/2, 3/4 or full pound of catfish?" For the record, I chose the 1/2 pound and shared it, somewhat begrudgingly, with the kids. It goes without saying that the tasty fish was accompanied by hushpuppies and fries and, of course, sweet tea. Blake had the chicken and unsweet tea. Sigh...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Um, what?

Um, so, this past week really beat me down. I was coasting along, dealing with life pretty well. And then, wham! Out of the blue, about five different traumatic events leveled my sense of peace. So, now, I am spending my days kind of nervous and scared, waiting for whatever is next. Hopefully it will just be something nice and easy, like maybe a girls' night out or something. Although, with my recent luck, I doubt my friends want to hang out with me right now. Guilt by association...

Anyway, here is a quick day-by-day run down of the shite storm that hit last week.

* Thursday, February 26, 2009: I was talking to Blake at dinner, just sort of machine gunning the conversation since I had been with the kids all day. I know, as is his custom, that he was catching about every tenth word. But, he did perk up when he heard, "I really cannot stand the taste of sweet tea right now". I think he stopped his fork about chin level, looked right at me, and said, "Oh God.You are SO pregnant".

I was completely convinced that he was crazy, but when he pulled the car in at Walgreen's, I figured he was seriously in need of proof that he was indeed wrong. I thought that I would humor him sinceI was completely convinced that there was nothing to worry about. No problem. Fifteen minutes later, Blake was chasing me around the house trying to make sense of my hysterical gibberish. I think there was something in there about being a total hillbilly, delivering two babies in consecutive years, and how I was going to get my standard issue bubba teeth from the Hillbilly Association of America any day.

After I calmed down just a bit, I called my sister and totally freaked her husband out when he answered the phone. As an aside, I think men are universally afraid of a hysterical crying woman. Luckily for me,my sister calmed me down a bit and then started making fun of me. For some reason, being the butt of my sister's jokes really soothes me. Maybe that's just the kind of abuse I am used to.

* Friday, February 27, 2009: Since there were some potential issues with the pregnancy due to what was obviously a faulty pregnancy prevention method, I called the doctor. Over the next maybe five hours, I experienced what would normally unfold over several weeks at the beginning of a pregnancy. I visited the doctor, gave everyone a good laugh (and several "better you than me" moments), got an ultrasound, saw my new baby, and heard his/her heartbeat, fell in love with him/her and spent a fair amount of time in tears. To say the least, it was a little more drama than I am used to.

*Saturday, February 28, 2009: Left town for a week.

*Thursday, March 5, 2009: Returned to Tulsa. Noticed that Cayton was not quite right.

*Friday, March 6, 2009: Visited the pediatrician twice with both kids. Vivi had a double ear infection. Cayton had the rotovirus (rough stomach bug)which landed her in St. Francis' Children's Hospital due to dehydration. Poor little thing was so miserable. I could tell that she was getting so, so sick because she was incoherent. I tried asking her questions, and she couldn't even answer me. Even if she wanted to, her words came out in a thin, baby whisper.

In most cases, I wouldn't be able to talk about one of my babies going to the hospital. But, I actually was relieved when the doctor put her in because I knew that Catie girl would feel so much better. There is really nothing worse feeling than nauseous, so I welcomed the news that she would be getting some anti-nausea drugs.

The good news is that she responded to the IV fluid and meds really well and recovered quickly. She only had to stay in the hospital overnight and part of the next day. We were all so happy to gather up our stuff and head home. Cayton was pretty excited to be going home with a brand new Leapster 2.

So, if you are keeping track, in one week I found out that there will be a Doerr baby #3, I went on a mini-vacation, both my girls got sick and then Cayton ended up in the hospital. One week! Maybe this was the Good Lord's way of saying, "See? Being pregnant again is OK. You'll be fine." Of course, I did NOT receive an additional college fund, but I'm sure HE is working on that...

I would like to say a special thank you to my fabulous sister and my amazing mother for helping me out through the pestilence that befell our house last week. I love you both SO much.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Act II: Vivi Moves Out

It's quiet here tonight, both girls are tucked into their beds.  The cats and dogs are snoozing and I am, for once today, completely alone with my thoughts.  I try to avoid such situations because, invariably, I end up thinking about something that unsettles me.  Either the worries of the day demand my attention or I remember something that I decided to save for later.  I don't know why it's this way, since I am usually a fairly happy person.  But, even so, I find that I tend toward melancholy more often than not.

So, tonight, my issue is this.  Vivi is now ten months old.  Yeah, I know.  It's incredible that a pregnancy can drag on for "years" and then, once the baby arrives, time begins to speed all out of control.  I guess it has something to do with the fog that new parents are often in for about the first six months of a baby's life.  Or maybe, it's just that there is so much to do that days pass without much notice or analysis.  In any case, ten whole months have come and gone and I don't for the life of me have a clue how it happened.

For the last couple of weeks (for Blake, the past month or so), we've been considering putting Vivi in her bedroom.  She has been sleeping in a bassinet in our room since we brought her home.  It was really for convenience sake since I didn't want to have to climb two flights of stairs every time she needed me during the night.  But, given the length of time she's been in our room, I've gotten so used to her noises and habits; her little bald head peeking at us from the crib when she wakes and immediately stands up to survey the world.

I'm sure every mother can relate to the well of tears that is ever present and ready to breach the levy when a child takes a new step.  It doesn't really matter what that step it is, it's just that every step is a step away.  I remember when Cayton was little and I thought that no one explained to me that the hard part of parenting is not the physical work, but the emotional.  

I mentioned that to my mother, who incidentally has not gotten over me leaving home two years early, and she just laughed.  Then, she said, in her special Gwen way, "It's a real ass kicker, isn't it?"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Christmas at the Doerrs'

It's late and I find myself feeling a bit lazier than I had anticipated.  So, here are some truly random Christmas pics.  Hopefully I will feel a little more motivated tomorrow and I will put these and some other pics into some kind of order.  But, for now, here are a couple of cute ones.