Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Belated Christmas Note

To our dearest friends and family,

How quickly 2013 has passed and what a year it has been! And although God has blessed us beyond measure, He did not bless me with the ability to get a Christmas card, photo, or tangible letter out in time for the holidays.  This Christmas I am thankful for blogs and social media.

2013 was a very busy and very musical year for our family! Michael and I spent January through March directing The Wiz at Junction City High School and then while Michael accompanied, I directed Into the Woods with Amy Rosine for the Junction City Little Theater.  Our darling Daphne was quite a trooper and went to all the rehearsals with us.  When I had the flu and missed a week of rehearsals for The Wiz, Daphne actually cried because we made her stay home! 

Daphne made her stage debut as Molly in Annie in September.  Turns out the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.  She was quite a hoot.  The girl seemed to add a new bit if stage business at each performance.  By the closing show, it's a miracle no one lost an eye the way she whipped those pigtails around!

Green dress, holey leggings and boots!
In May, Michael finished his first year as the Choral Director at Junction City High School.  He loved and is continuing to love every minute of it. He and his chamber choir will be taking a trip in April to New York City where they will see a couple of musicals, an opera, and sing at Carnegie Hall. He also was chosen for a scholarship that earned him a week at Harmony University, a week-long conference for barbershop music education.  He is looking forward to starting a men's chorus in the fall.  

Of course, the biggest news for the Browns in 2013 was this surprise...
We welcomed Shiloh Kimberli to our little family on Thursday, October 3rd.  After so many years of trying and that silly secondary infertility diagnosis, we can hardly believe she is here!  She has brought so much joy to our home and changed our lives so much already!  She is as sweet as can be. Our little wiggle worm loves watching her sister and falling asleep in her Daddy's arms. 
Because of our new addition, I decided to stay home and not return to work this fall.  It was hard to leave the job I always wanted, which happened to be at an amazing place with even more amazing people, but when I hold my little girl, I wouldn't have it any other way.   
The Browns hope and pray your 2014 is full of joy and blessings beyond measure!
With Love,
Michael, Jennifer, Daphne & Shiloh

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Things can get weird right before you have a baby. I suppose it's nesting, but unfortunately for me, none of it involves cleaning, so I hesitate to label it as such. I had really convinced myself that nesting and obsessively cleaning were synonymous.  So now I'm not sure what to think.  I have collected the following empirical evidence...

Two weeks ago, I started having these unusual and unpredictable 30 second episodes of mania.  You know those moments when you're overcome with joy, energy, and a general feeling of extraordinary jubilation? Lovely, but because they only lasted around 30 seconds, by the time I got out of bed or up from the couch the feeling had passed. Thus whatever trail of energy remaining was spent readjusting my altar of pillows before I sat back down to finish reading the Inheritance Series by Christopher Paolini, which is my vain attempt to keep myself from compulsively rereading the same breastfeeding book for the tenth time.  The Inheritance books make Lord of the Rings seem devoid of detailed descriptions of scenery and endless walking.  It has never taken me so long to get through a series.  This could also be because I'd read 20 pages and then fall asleep for three hours.   

Rousing myself from an Inheritance induced nap on Sunday afternoon, I headed to the baby shower some ladies at our church were throwing for me.  It was absolutely darling and I was blessed and spoiled beyond measure.  But I realized afterwards that there was still a lot of stuff I need to pick up before Baby B comes home.  Not the fun, cute stuff, but the stuff no one wants to buy...breast pads, hand sanitizer, lanolin, nursing bras, anti-bacterial numbing spray, and extra-long-super-absorbent-elephant-sized maxi pads. You know, the kind that run from your waist up to the back of your neck? You can also use them as snow boards, I hear.

With my due date growing closer, I got to thinking about those folks who cook once and eat for a month.  I found a great website and decided to take the $8 plunge.  Last Friday, Mr. B and I spent $275 on food for 25+ freezer meals to have on hand when no one is around to cook but  me.  Mr. B is not only a talented singer and piano player, but he can also read, turn on the oven and operate a microwave, which makes him highly qualified for this type of cooking.  (He's the complete package, I know.) Tuesday, on top of being up for 18 hours, I spent over 10 hours on my feet chopping, cooking, grabbing things out of the too-high cabinets with tongs, and rewashing the same pan 11 times.  Needless to say, I wound up with cankles of epic proportions and five meals left to fix.  Thank goodness my most wonderful friend, the Rogue Dietician, made a late night run to Dillons and picked up Epsom salts for me and my new sausage-like appendages.  I'm more of a shower girl, so the Epsom therapy bath was weird, especially at midnight. I'm hoping that I was delirious from sleepiness, but objects in the bath water seem to appear much, much larger when sitting than when standing.  I think I'll just stick with showers from now on and keep my eyes straight ahead.             

Then yesterday, my belly button started getting super sensitive.  Even the most gentle touch from my shirt hurt.  By the end of the night, I couldn't laugh, sneeze, or blow my nose without excruciating pain. Never have I imagined calling a doctor and uttering the following: "My belly button hurts. Can I speak to a nurse, please?" Diastasis recti. Turns out my abdominal muscles are separated about 5 inches.  I must attempt to splint my stomach muscles together with one hand while I blow my nose with the other. How's that for a mental picture?

And strangest of all, last night I dreamed that I gave birth to a one year old.  Dream Baby B wouldn't nurse, so I had to pump (so much for reading that nursing book five times). I was wearing on of those bustiers so you can double pump hands-free and very high-waisted pants. If William Shatner had shown up, it might have been a Star Trek episode or quite possibly the Seinfeld Bra episode a la Sue Ellen Mischke.  My milk came out chocolate. Baby B wouldn't take bottle either, so I stabbed a straw through a breast milk storage bag and she drank it like a Capri Sun.  Apparently, necessity is the mother of invention...even in our dreams. 

In all honesty, we are getting pretty excited here in the B household.  Little B even packed her bag last night, just in case she'd need to head to a friend's in the middle of the night.  The nursery is ready, the car seat is installed, and baskets of diapers and wipes are set up in each room. After six years of waiting and that rotten secondary infertility diagnosis, we're ready for our little miracle to make her appearance.  And of course, we can't wait to share our new little addition with the world either!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

28 Weeks: The Holy Crap Top 5

Pardon my Christian French, people, but HOLY CRAP.

1. Holy crap, I'm pregnant.
     I seem to have this revelation at least once a day. I'm going to have a baby in 12 weeks.  After four years of desperately trying followed by two years of resignation, it happened.  We bought a dog, sold every baby thing we owned, moved into a smaller house, and were content with our little family.  Aside from the morning sickness from February to May, I was too busy with THE WIZ and INTO THE WOODS to remember I was even growing another human inside me.  But now, with summer off and nothing constructive to occupy my mind (see number 2 below), I barely know what to do with myself besides stare at my expanding stomach and wonder how my thighs got pregnant, too.    

2. Holy crap, I quit the best job EVER.
     Last year, I took a job as a Library Media Specialist at a brand new elementary school. I'm not sure how I tricked those people into giving me that job, but it really was a dream. Awesome people, amazing kids, and books.  Books, talking about books, buying books, suggesting books.  I got paid for this. I resigned.  In my cushy, comfortable life, it was the hardest decision I've ever made.  Not to mention that we're losing half of our income. I wonder if they make vegan SPAM?

3. Holy crap, Mr. B has been practicing ONE Rachmaninoff song since June 1st.
     There were a few weeks in there where he was practicing the Legally Blonde score to fill in for a pianist who was going to be out of town.  For a while I thought the baby was going to be born singing, "OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, YOU GUYS!"  Now she's going to be born with the personality of a brooding Russian and gargantuan hands.

4. Holy crap, we're turning our garage in a bedroom.
     We did look around at houses, but nothing really caught our eye.  Plus, the thought of moving made me want to punch myself.   I never really wanted to be one of those people with a driveway that led into the house, but such is life.  I'd rather increase the square footage of our house than pay almost the same amount of money for an egress window in the basement bedroom only for Little B to refuse to sleep down there.  Plus, I'm we're getting a monster closet out of the deal, which means Mr. B and I don't have to share a linen closet anymore or store our shoes in random drawers around the house.  *This is not a joke*

5. Holy crap, we have no baby stuff.
     (See number 1 above.)  I sold/donated all our stuff two years ago when we moved in our little house. The only thing I kept was what Little B wore home from the hospital. Now lucky for me, my mother is addicted to shopping for baby clothes and my sweet, adorable niece will be exactly one year older than our little peanut, so Aunt Amelia and Uncle Kenny have hooked us up.  The problem remains that the stuff we need is big and expensive (see number 2 above). And although I'm not against gently used items, I don't want the death trap your grandchildren sleep in when they come to your house to visit or the car seat that was "good enough for your kid," who is now 19 years old.   

This list could go on forever, but I have to stop for now.  I have my glucola test this afternoon at 4pm and have to sketch out my food consumption for today so I can still abide by the rules I have to follow prior to the blood test while decreasing the odds that I will not physically harm an innocent bystander because I will not have eaten since 1pm.

Holy crap.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Another B: A Quick Update

I had no time to think of something more clever than posting this on facebook.

I'm pregnant. Or so they tell me.
So after six years unexplained infertility, we're counting down to an early October Baby B. 
This girl had taken so many dollar store pregnancy tests, I am sure I fed a third-world family for at least half of the last decade.  Big fat negatives wear on you after a while, but on the first Sunday in February, I didn't see what I was used to seeing. 
So here I am, 34 and pregnant. (Is there an after school special about that?)  And it's NOTHING like the first time.  I felt like a million bucks with Little B.  The extent of my pregnancy particulars was that I couldn't stand the smell of chicken or chocolate.  I napped, I worked out, I spoiled my kindergartners, I fed my husband lots of ground beef. It was perfect. 

Right now I just feel sick and fat. 

It's true for me that 2nd timers bust out a tad more quickly.  I think I've gone through an arsenal of rubber bands trying to keep my pants up.  This is because the ONLY thing I have remaining in my possession from the first time around IS WHAT LITTLE B WORE HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL. 

Apparently, I am not cold-hearted enough to get rid of that, but everything else is looooong gone.

Mr. B did a solid and bought me a boat-load of maternity clothes for my birthday.  I had forgotten what heavenly bliss maternity pants are.  Of course, this is trumped by the fact that although I am porking up, I don't look pregnant enough to be wearing these clothes (see 'sick and fat' above).  I can literally hear the acrid screams of my pant's fibers when I try to wear my regular clothes. 

I am so lucky that I'm in the library this year, and not on my feet in the classroom all day. Not that you can't sit down as a classroom teacher, but I am sure someone (or more likely, someones) would have been barfed on had I not had quick and easy access to a chair. 

Should I talk about constipation and body hair now, too? 

Unnecessary details aside, we are truly ecstatic to add a miracle Baby B to our family.  This time around, we know so many more people in our community and it has been wonderful to share the news with so many who knew of our diagnosis have been praying for us for so long.   

It's going to be an exciting 9 months. Be ready for too much information, lots of complaining, and random and intermittent blog posts.

Here's to Baby B!

Thursday, January 17, 2013


(I'm eating and typing again, seizing whatever free moments I've got!)

Well, the cookie jar is empty.

The last muffin exited yesterday morning for Little B's school snack.  I actually attempted to coerce her into taking cashews to prevent the emptying of the canister, but she asked so sweetly, I couldn't refuse. 

I'm not so sure I'll be able to get it filled tonight either.  I've got callbacks for Into the Woods and need to be there are 5:15-5:30 to make sure everything is ready. 

Last week I was in some sort of 'SUPER HERO MOM' zone and managed to make dinner AND bake a dozen muffins.  I'm not so sure she'll make another appearance tonight.  I've got a feeling that 'SUPER HERO MOM' may make an appearance as often as Haley's Comet. 

My days are busy. Then they bleed into busy nights.

Last night, which happened to be a night off from Into the Woods, I had rehearsal for The Wiz. There were several sick kids and ones that were sick, but showed up anyway.  I am pleased with their work ethic - they really are amazing kids, but I sent them home.  I  can't wait until this horrible wave of winter illnesses passes. It seems to be affecting everyone.

Even as I sit here, Mr. B called to let me know he is feeling worse.  I'm nursing a headache and achiness that I hope is stemming from too much coffee and not enough water. 

Well, my last few minutes of my lunch are coming to a close here. I need to mentally prepare myself for 55 kindergartners.

Hopefully, a 'SUPER HERO' shows up...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Axes and Idiocy

This is currently my favorite line from THE WIZ by William F. Brown:

" day a wicked old witch put a spell on my axe" (page 30).

This is mainly because I think someone put a spell on mine.  I think it was the Wicked Witch of Idiocy. 

Namely, ME.

It's not that I can't say no, or that I like to bite off more than I can chew.  I am typically a traveler of the easy route. It's just that I like to do the things I like to do, so I do them. Or attempt to, anyway.

I'm directing two plays this spring, The Wiz and Into the Woods

Rehearsals for The Wiz started last week and are going well so far.  Mr. B is the musical director.  This is a high school production and the talent pool was deep.  DEEP.  We could have easily cast the show 3 times - with all different people.  We cast 75 kids, the large majority in multiple roles.  Please pray for those kids who have to deal with me everyday.  I can be short on compliments and long on critisism, but it's only because they are so capable.  I really don't think the audience will believe their eyes or ears. I only hope I can do them justice. 

Tonight, I have auditions for Into the Woods.  Sondheim. *sigh*

I think Mr. B and I have been dreaming about doing a Sondheim show since 2002.  I cannot wait for this week's auditions.  Again, I hope I can do it justice. 

So as I sit here during my lunch break, attempting to stab chickpeas with fork without looking, of all things I write a post. 

I write because I haven't in a long time and I too many funny things I should have written about, but should have.  Vegan sausage. Murder mystery parties. Spanx. Working with teenagers.

So along with keeping my cookie jar filled in 2013, I am posting once a week as proof to my family that I am still living and breathing or at least housed in an asylum with wireless access.

Maybe by the end of May my favorite line from Into the Woods will be:

"Oh, if life were made of moments, even now and then a bad one, but if life were made of moments then you'd never know you'd had one."

Yeah, I can't give you an approptiate citation on that sucker cause I've got that bad boy MEMORIZED (see the *sigh* above).

Well, time to get this axe back to work!