January 30th, 2017

At this time last year, 10:01am, I was having what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions. I had had them all pregnancy long (since 16 weeks) and they sometimes felt like the real deal. I decided not to pay too much attention to them and instead try to nap and rest. Throughout the whole day I had told the Milkman not to go too far because I wasn't sure what these were but they hurt while they were happening.

And it was so weird. I would have a contraction and then I would go about my daily routine in between. With Alexander, contractions had started and made it impossible for me to do anything else. So, I told the Milkman that these contractions were probably still Braxton Hicks and we would be at this for several more days. 

I had Alexander at 40+1 and we were on 40+2 so I wasn't getting my hopes up. Milkman decided he wanted to go to the hospital before rush hour hit so we wouldn't hit traffic. I told him I was doing well at home so why didn't we chill out and go after rush hour. He finally convinced me it was better to be safe than sorry. Through the whole drive into town and across the river I hung out in the passenger seat and only really had pain when a contraction was peaking. I would raise up and say, "If they send me home because I am only 4 cm I am going to kill you." I had been 4 cm for two weeks by this point.

We were checking in to L&D (jargon for Labor & Delivery department of the hospital) and the nurse kind of chuckled at me. And I AGREED with her. I wasn't doubled over like before, and Lordy knows I was still cutting up with people and laughing. Send me home, I told her. 

They put me in a room and a nurse came in. My birth plan was already on file and all I had to do was give her my insurance, etc. She also asked me if I wanted to be "checked." Which heads up, is super violent. Ask any woman who has given birth....that sh*t hurts. I told her I didn't come to have dinner so she mind as well. When she checked me she informed me I wasn't going anywhere. You are 8cm dilated. 

"What?! It took me 37 hours with the last one and you are trying to tell me this one happened in 8 hours of not real hard labor?!?! I got jipped last time!"

Ridiculous. I was going to have a talk with my oldest son when I got home. Explain to him how things were supposed to work and that I was very disappointed in him. (I don't think I ever actually did it....so tonight is as good as any to bring it back up.)

This whole scenerio happened around 5pm. I called my doula (read: Angel Among Us) and she said she was 5 minutes away. I had been annoying her for a solid week telling her to be ready and now, I wasn't giving her much time to actually do her job. I also started sobbing. It finally became real at that point I was leaving the hospital with another baby. We hadn't found out if it was a boy or a girl. From 5pm to 8pm the room was VERY reminiscent of my first labor. It started to HURT real bad and wouldn't let up. This is what professionals call "Transition" and I lovingly call it "HELL." By 8:30ish (I don't remember) I had a beautiful baby Anderson in my arms. I made the nurses check him over and over to make sure everything was in the spot it was supposed to be in (because last time Alexander AGAIN did not cooperate. I am seeing a trend with this child.)

IMG_6262.JPG

My mom attempted to get attitude with the nurses...ha. So my husband left and talked to her (cause that is all she wanted) and then they decided to get me up and out of bed. I decided to not cooperate (involuntarily) and pass out. I blame it on the lack of vanilla wafers and Gatorade throughout labor but who knows. When they finally were able to get me to come to I headed back to the bed and gorged on vanilla wafers and Gatorade. 

Next they wheeled me to the mommy/baby floor. I asked to walk but they said, "No way, hosea."

And today, is that sweet little baby boy's BIRTHDAY! Mommy worked so hard for you, not as hard as I worked for Alexander, but you are my chill baby and I love you for that. You are the balance our family needed and more laid-back like your daddy. Nothing ever seems to bother you (except during the phase where you wanted nothing to do with anyone except me...which is annoying.) And I hope you know how amazing you are and as long as you work hard in life you can do whatever your heart desires.

Love you to the moon and back baby boy.

A Simple Morning Workout

If you have been following me on Instagram you know I have started, "working on my fitness." I have always loved how I feel when I workout and lead a more healthy lifestyle. Those habits have taken a backseat as I became a mother. Well, No More. I joined a gym in our small town which has just enough equipment and room for me. I have always struggled around the gym, not because I am scared of weights as much as I don't ever walk in with a plan.

IMG_9640.JPG

 

That is where my college friend, Katie, comes in. I confessed on Facebook one day where I walked around the gym aimlessly knowing how to use the machines and free weights but talking myself out of using them because it made me bored. I am weird...I know.

Katie stepped right in and said, "This is what I do!" And guess what, I have been having great mornings that make my body feel like jello. Which to me is the best, "I accomplished something!" feeling.

Here is the circuit I did this morning.

Bent-over Row
Lateral Pull Down
Seated Row
Shrugs
Reverse Fly
Bicep Curl
Hammer Curl

I did 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise with a weight that was comfortable for me. I started with 15lb in each hand and decreased as my arms went to "jello"...ha.

The exercises mentioned above are easy to do, even if you use water bottles in your living room. After I completed this portion of the workout I did a core circuit that consisted of planks and crunches. 

Finished up my workout with some unweighted lunges and some unweighted squats. I tend to do 3 sets of 10 reps for each. 

The Backbone of Kentucky Agriculture: Alana & Mary Beth Baker

*The "Backbone of Kentucky Agriculture" photo essay series is a passion project I decided to do back in October. There always seems to be coverage of male farmers, and females as the farmer's wife but never just the female farmer. I wanted to change that. This year I will be traveling throughout Kentucky highlighting some of the most resilient, forward thinking, business-minded, and just down right boss ladies who happen to be farmers. I hope you come back monthly to see the next installment. If you have any women you would like to recommend please let me know. I am always looking for more amazing Kentucky women.

Alana and Mary Beth Baker are two very resilient women. Their story is a unique one, full of risk-taking, sorrow, and triumph, and one I will never forget.

riverbendedit.jpg

It was 60 degrees in January after a hard cold spell and the ground had gone from frozen to a sloppy mess. When I arrived at the farmhouse in Cadiz, Ky the day had already been in motion for sometime. "We meet every morning at 7:30 am, Monday through Friday. We talk about what needs to be done that day and then we each go on our way to get things done. I don't micromanage my guys. They know what needs to happen and they know how to do it. We are a team and we get things done."

riverbend.jpg

River Bend Farm originated with Alana's father's family in the 1930's. Through the years they have expanded from 1,000 acres to the over 4,500 they currently farm. They are a diversified operation with corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, and pasture ground for 300 momma cows.

In 1999, Mary Beth and her husband Stan took over the operation from his mother. Mary Beth "retired" from her town job and came home to manage all of the books for River Bend. "Times have been challenging. But you have to keep on pushing...and make every dollar scream. We simply decided this was what we were meant to do and took it a day at a time. You do this for the love, it isn't for the money."

Then in January 2013, Alana, awoken by a gut feeling in her Louisville apartment, decided to come home to the farm to learn the family business. The excitement of returning home quickly wore off when, at the end of January 2014, they found out her father had a become terminally ill. At that moment, Alana decided to take as much time as she had to learn everything she could.

Stan passed away in September of that year.

Now that the heavy lifting has become Alana's responsibility she made it her goal to continue her father's legacy and leave that legacy to her daughter, Adora and son, Aiden. It hasn't been an easy road. Even as she has had four years of farming under her belt she explained that she is still learning through,  "trial by fire." Literally.

In June of 2015, they had a hay barn burn down. They had used a variety of rye that takes longer than grass hay to cure. Looking back on it, they say it was a lesson for the future.

Through the last few years, things continue to change, including the way they manage their beef herd. Fences have been put up, barns have been rearranged, and they learn something new every day. 

And it couldn't have happened without the help of her community farmers, "I am also very blessed to have been taken under the wing of many successful farmers in the area after my father passed. I’ve never felt like I didn’t belong in the farming community. I haven’t received special treatment because I’m a woman nor have I been treated differently than any other farmer by my peers. To them, I am just another farmer. With the confidence that they instilled in me, there was never a doubt that we would carry on the River Bend legacy."

If the farm isn't enough Alana is passionate about her community of Trigg County, Ky. She was born and raised here and will never forget how the people invested in her and her growth. So much so she has decided to give back. A few weeks ago Alana decided to throw her hat in the ring for Magistrate. She wants to make this community better for the citizens of Trigg County and make it a place for Aiden and Adora to prosper and have the same kind of support she did as a child.

This Kentucky woman has accomplished so much in her last four years as a farmer, I can't wait to see what she does in the next future with Mary Beth standing right beside her being her biggest cheerleader.

alanamarybeth.jpg

I'll Be Home For Christmas

For me, I have always had two homes. My mom and dad were separated when I was 6 weeks old and I have never not known two separate places. In fact when I was little I saw a photo of my mom and dad's wedding and gave my mom the most disgusting look and said, "You were married to my dad....ewww, gross." Ha. I don't think it ever crossed my mind.

Good thing a few years later they both remarried to their soul mates. My step-mother and step-father are two of the most loving individuals. They definitely show it in different ways but I always know I am loved. 

When Christmas comes around we obviously spend Christmas Day at our house. Since we had kids it became very important to me for them to have a very chill Christmas not filled with traveling. My momma always says, "Santa doesn't come if you aren't home." 

After we spend the holidays in Louisville hanging out with my dad and the milkman's family we head to western Ky. The past two Christmases we have spent them at Barkley State Resort Park in two cabins. One is the "main" cabin where all meals are eaten, games are played, arguments are had. The other one is strictly for sleeping and additional showers...ha.

This year, the milkman and I decided we wanted to spend a little extra time with my family because we don't get to do it very often. While there we went to church on Saturday night. For people who aren't Catholic, we actually celebrate Christmas from Christmas Day to about the second Sunday of January, known as the Epiphany. In fact, we don't touch our Christmas decorations until after that day. We are in constant celebration mode. During the Christmas season at church St. Jerome (home of the Fancy Farm Picnic) is one of the most beautifully decorated places. It has ambiance lighting, trees, a nativity, and tons of greenery. 

IMG_9454.JPG