Category Archives: relationships

Despicable You!


On the same day as my last post, the L.A. Times featured an article about Costa Mesa’s mayor and his “mission” to close down the city’s soup kitchen and other organizations that provide clothing, groceries, after school tutoring, health care and other services.  Comparing the charities to nightclubs, the mayor called them a nuisance to the surrounding neighborhoods.  I don’t often get political in my posts, but this really bothered me.  One of the things that I love about my city is its diversity.  We could close down the services that provide for the homeless and financially strapped in our cities who are in need and it will look liked we “fixed” the problem.  But the reality is that we will have just pushed the problem onto someone else, some other city who will take care of the needs of these individuals.  The director of Someone Cares Soup Kitchen here in Costa Mesa said that a survey last year found that 86% of the soup kitchen’s patrons are from Costa Mesa, and 40% were low-income seniors.  I thought the mayor was supposed to look after the well being of all of its residents.  When you represent the city, you represent the entire city, not just the wealthy, not just the working.  Mayor Bever represents Costa Mesa, a city that spans the poorest to the super wealthy, the employed and unemployed, and those with and without homes.  However, Mayor Bever wants to shut the doors on organizations that have been around for 25 years and whose mission is to serve those in need.  And yet, the mayor has never visited the soup kitchen.  I think it would be much more difficult to say if we managed to put this soup kitchen out of business it would solve some of our homeless issues in this city if he saw the faces of individuals, heard the stories of how they fell on hard times, and sat down and had a meal with neighbors from different walks of life.

To read the L.A. Times article click here:,0,5264684.story#tugs_story_display


Tune In


So, back to my book Seven.  I have been wanting to share.  I love it and I feel like if I were to summarize my heart and my convictions, than this book would be it.  I was reading a chapter on possessions and just how ridiculous it is how quickly we acquire and how we so easily can compare our lives to people who have more.  Why is it that we rarely look at the 95% of the population who has less?  If we did, I think we would be full of thanksgiving instead of want.  If I wanted to, I could pat myself on the back and say that I do pretty good in this area.  We live our lives on a tight budget and our house is small.  But I think that I still need to grow, why it is just really impossible to make big purchases frequently due to lack of space or money, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to.  I still buy stuff.  Unnecessary stuff sometimes because it’s cheap, sometimes because I am at the store and I just feel like it.  Not that it is totally bad, but what if, just what if I said no to myself?  What if I said, you know it’s cute, but you don’t really need it.  And what if I said that on a regular basis so much so that the checking account actually looked differently at the end of the month?  What if I stopped trying to fill the empty space in the drawer with stuff?  Maybe some of you are wondering what if I had empty space in my drawers?  And so I cleaned and I purged and am continuing to do so.

And then I prayed.

I prayed that I would be able to bless someone with my stuff.  I often feel like I can’t “help” because I don’t have the finances to sponsor a child, or give to a cause, but in so many ways I can help.  I didn’t want to give to the Goodwill.  I am not saying that the are not a worthy organization, but I wanted to bless someone directly.  I wanted to find a new home for my possessions without them needing to be purchased.  And guess what?  A couple of days later, I am at my friend Heidi’s house when a friend Lisa starts telling us about her niece who just moved out on her own.  She lived with her dad, her mom died and she has a 5 year old.  Her niece was right out of high school when she got pregnant, and just is trying to get on her feet.  Heidi happened to have a love seat in the garage, I had my stuff, and I sent out an email to a handful of friends to see what they had.  A few days later my sister, mom and I went over there with Lisa and her husband and we were able to turn her studio into a place her and her daughter could call home.  I was so grateful and so blessed to have had this opportunity.  My contribution was small.  Very, very small, seriously.  But I was excited nonetheless to have had the opportunity to pool the resources of those around us to make an impact on this person’s life.  I couldn’t have done it by myself, and had I not felt burdened to give to someone, I would have donated my stuff and would have never been blessed myself to see the impact that it had on someone else.  Oh!  And that’s not it!  I almost forgot!  That day we had swim lessons in the afternoon which is held at the city pool which also happens to be “homeless people central”.  That is just what I call it.  I have wanted to engage with these folks for awhile.  They are my “neighbors” without a roof over their head.  We call the same city home and they live less than a mile from me.  I can ignore them, I can avoid them, it wouldn’t be that difficult to do so.  Or I could engage them.  But how?  I don’t typically walk up to strangers and start talking, but on this day, I did.  I said, “Hey, would you guys be in need of a blanket?  I have a bunch of stuff in my car right now, and I was wondering if it could be useful to you.”  Double blessing!  Three of them came with me to the car, were super stoked on the blanket, Hello Kitty shaped pillow and travel sized toiletries.  Such a small effort on my part, again!  None of the things they took belonged to me, yet it gave me the opportunity to talk with these neighbors of mine.  To look them in the eyes and let them know that I see them as human beings, with stories just like me.  I go to that park twice a week for gymnastics (thankfully swim is over because it was 4x/wk) and now I can say, “how is it going Isaac?” and call these neighbors of mine by name.

Some new clothes

and a special basket with some new books. We put her lovey in there too so she would know that it is just for her!

A place for friends to sit, and a pull out bed too!

I am trying to be in tune.  I want to be connected, to know the ins and outs of the needs of those around me.  I want to be aware of needs and see what I can do to help.  I don’t want to continue on this path of possessing in abundance and then just giving away my “junk”.  While I am glad that it went to good use, I want to stop the excess at its root.  I want to stop the buying of the cute pair of jeans that are on sale for my daughter when she has 7 pairs in her drawer already.

Not too long ago I told Piper that it was time to get rid of the shirt she was wearing.  “Why?” she asked.  I replied, “Because you’ve had it a long time, and it’s a size 3T and it is just time to get rid of it because you have so many other clothes right now.  We just got bags of hand-me-downs and it is time to get rid of some of the old stuff.”  In a matter of fact way, and not being sarcastic she said, “Well, maybe you should just say no to hand-me-downs.”

Maybe she’s on to something.  I am not totally ready to say no, that is how I clothe my kids, that and garage sales.  But maybe when my friends tell me that they have clothes for me I should ask if there are any long sleeved shirts, or size 9 shoes.  Be specific about my needs and tell them that they can give the rest to another friend who could use them.  The trouble comes when I take a look in the bag, so maybe I should take Piper’s advice and not even look in!  Maybe I am preventing someone else from a blessing!

Be careful what you pray for.  God just might answer your prayers in bigger ways that you expected.  After we delivered the sofa and decorated the studio, and then passed out the stuff to our homeless neighbors, Brian and I found out that one of his students is going through a serious financial hardship.  The student’s father just lost his job and the boy told Brian that the went to this “church that was like a grocery store”.  Not able to let that go, with the help of others, we are now trying to supply the family with some necessities like food, toiletries, and gift cards to grocery stores.  If you feel like you would like to contribute in some way contact me.

Back to School Blues


In two more days I am going to be experiencing what many parents have already experienced.  I am going to have my first “school night”.  Piper is going to have to get to bed early because it’s a “school night”.  I have already been a big blubbering mess about this whole thing and won’t go into too much detail otherwise the tears will just start flowing again.  We got to visit her school yesterday and were able to meet the teacher.  We only were informed about this on Wednesday.  I was feeling a little uneasy not knowing all the logistics, so it eased all of our nerves to walk around the school and get to see the classroom and meet the teacher.  She rode around the playground on a tricycle and when we got home she said, “Ugh, I do not like those tricycles.  The are cheap and they just tip so easy!  I mean I don’t know if they really are cheap but they seem like it.”  Funny kid.  While we toured the grounds, we took some pictures and then I came home and made her this little book of what to expect as a kindergartener.  Years ago, I was a bit critical of homeschooling.  Maybe it was because I was a public school teacher, but now as a mother, my mind changed.  I have friends who homeschool, it seems like you can take the classroom on adventures where ever you go, and also, how cool would it be to teach kids who you think are so great!  I have taught some great kids, but I have also taught some not-so-great kids.  I dream about teaching again, but in my dreams my classroom would be much smaller, like my own children.  And then we decided on sending Piper to school.  We have a peace about it and nothing is forever.  We said we’ll give it a try.  We are not “stuck” with our decision on way or another.  I usually have a bad case of the blues in September, but this September is especially challenging with Brian and Piper going off to school.  I wanted to write her a letter and when I told Brian that I thought before she starts school seemed like a good time to do so, he wanted to partake as well.  So, I apologize for the letters I have enclosed.  They make me cry and possibly will make you cry too.  So don’t read on if you don’t want to.  Also, perhaps you will see us as “newbies”.  If you have older kids, you might think we are weird and that we should be celebrating the fact that I can get rid of her 5 hours a day.  Well, I’m not there.  Perhaps it’s because she entertains my crazy 2 year old and now that is going to be left only up to me.  She also translates for me sometimes too when I seem to be struggling with understanding toddler-talk.  Anyway, here it is.  Oh, notice the girls got hair cuts, cute huh?  Okay, sorry, here are our letters.

Dear Miss Piper Lee

Tuesday will be your first day of kindergarten.  It is hard to believe that the time has come already for you to start school.  It doesn’t seem like very long ago that we found out there was a baby in my tummy.  Wow!  That was a big surprise!  And now you are 5 ½ and ready for a new adventure.  You have such an adventurous spirit that I know you will look at kindergarten as just another adventure on your journey through life.

I want to tell you a few things that are so important for you to know that I wanted you to have it in writing in case you ever need to look back and be reminded. 

First of all, you are beautiful.  You are my child and you are made in the image of God.  You are beautiful on the outside of course, but on the inside too.  I love watching you play with Tatum and showing grace with her when she knocks down your Legos.  I love when you make me pictures and write i love u on them.  I love your ability to memorize Bible verses.  I love your excitement when we go on our family adventures.  These things show me how beautiful you are on the inside and I want you to always know that. 

 Secondly, I want you to know you are loved.  You are loved by me more than you could ever know, Daddy, and it is obvious how much Tatum adores you.  But most importantly, you are loved by God.  You are going off to school and though you won’t be around me, Daddy or Tatum, you know that you are never alone.  And the one who loves you the most, the one who placed you in my tummy is always with you.  Never forget that.

You are getting bigger and I love it!  I really do!  I love reading chapter books with you and look forward to when you will read them to me.  I love going and seeing movies with you and riding our bikes together too.  All these things you have to be big for.  But it also seems that the bigger you get the more independent you get.  The more you don’t need me.  And the funny thing is, the bigger you get, the more I need you!  I wanted to say thank you and let you know that I am grateful for your help.  Thank you for cleaning up messes that Tatum makes.  Thank you for helping me make dinner.  And thank you for putting your clothes away even though I know you hate doing it.

So, my child, go and “let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven”  And what was the verse again?  Oh yeah, you know it, and I always forget, Matthew 5:16.  I love you Piper and am so proud of the girl you have become in your first 5 ½ years of your life.  I can’t wait to see what is in store in the future!



Dear Piper

Summer is over and many great times have passed- like paddle boarding to the Newport Dunes and sleeping out in our fort.  But September will be different this year, we will both be going to school.  I’m so excited to see all of the students and do many great things.  And I’m so excited for you too.  Your mom and I have been praying and praying, asking God to put you in the perfect school, in the perfect class, with the perfect kids.  Not that everyday of school will be perfect- some days will be hard, some will be boring, some kids might not be friendly, and some kids might even be mean- but perfect meaning just what God wants for you.  Sometimes he might want you to be nice to kids who are mean and sometimes he wants you to be patient when it’s not your turn.  God is making you perfect, just like he’s perfect, one day at a time.  So even though Mommy and Daddy won’t be by your side, we’ll be praying for you each and every day, that you might remember your God bump, that special place where God lives within you, going everywhere with you.  I’m so thankful for the Bible verse you taught me recently: “God loves you where ever you are”.  Jesus is the best friend, the best teacher, and the best father you will ever have.  Thank you Piper for teaching me so much, I am so proud of you and always will be.  So to my special little girl, my schatzi, I wish you a wonderful first year of school- you’ll do great!

I love you- Te Amo


“Do not seek your own good, but what is good for others”  1 Corinthians 10:24

Cruising California


I just realized that I am more of a blogger than you might think.  I have so many half finished blogs in my drafts.  I often start things and do not finish.  So while I might be a blogger, I am apparently not a task finisher.  It seems wrong to finish one of my blogs right now and not share with you our family vacation this summer, and so I will postpone those awhile longer and tell you about our trip!  I tried to share my album on facebook and wondered why everyone was commenting on the one cheesy picture of me and the girls on the beach and then I realized the album never posted.  Not sure why, but here are some highlights from our 2 1/2 week-mostly-camping-trip, which by the way, has earned me some major points with some jealous husbands who would dream of having a wife that would camp that long.  But I must say, I wasn’t complaint-free.

First stop was Twin Lakes with our good friends the Coopmans!  Twin Lakes is awesome because it really is a chance to relax and rejuvenate.  There is no cell phone reception and the closest town is 30 minutes away.  So…

we hiked to the waterfalls,

played in the hot springs,

chilled out,

and got up close and personal with wild life.

From there we headed up to Fall River Mills.  You have probably never heard of it because I had never either.  It is somewhere not too far from Redding if that helps any.  A family friend invited my cousin and I up for a few days along with her and her granddaughter.  The kids had such a blast together.

  We got to watch the sunset behind Mount Shasta from the boat,

went swimming (which is always more fun when you’re wearing a yellow polka dot bikini, don’t you agree?),

explored nearby Burney Falls,

and perhaps most memorable was the entertainment by these future rockstars.  Hilarious.   Piper loved the long curly locks.

The best part of that leg of the trip were the four nights I got to sleep in a real bed.  From there we were back on the road to the Russian River.  This is when I actually used the word “hate” to describe my experience.  I got very, very ill.  I am not exactly sure if I was extremely sick or if the circumstances made it seem much worse than it was.  When you feel like you are going to throw up, being on the top of your van in a space not big enough to sit up straight is not very fun.  The worst of it was gone by morning, but the aches continued the rest of the trip.  Luckily, we were able to do lots of exploring beforehand.

We drove up the coast to a pristine beach and had a picnic at Stump Beach,

explored the Redwood forests and carved their names into a fallen tree (shhh, don’t tell anyone ;))

and played on some old trains in Duncans Mills.

And finally, we ended our trip in the city!  Piper and I were so excited to go to San Francisco!  Even though we were quite homesick (and I was still feeling sick), we couldn’t go home without a taste of the big city.  Julie, the American Girl, is one of Piper’s favorites and all of her books take place in San Fran.  So, we brought a book on our trip and were looking forward to visiting Chinatown, seeing Angel Island, go across the Golden Gate Bridge, and riding a cable car, and we got to do all of those things!

I love this picture because it just shows their personalities so much.  Piper is 5 going on 15 and Tatum does everything to get a reaction.  I say, “say cheese!” and she grabs her inner thighs.  I don’t ask questions.

another favorite

And we even got to play at Piper Park!  After that, Tatum kept saying, “there’s my park”, “we going to my park?”.  And so, naturally, I googled Tatum Park and there is one…in New Jersey and a Jackie Tatum Park in South Central LA.  I am not sure which one we are more likely to go to!  What did we do before google?  Seriously!

And that, my friends, is how we spent our summer vacation, cruising California.  So many beautiful places and lovely company as well.  But somehow of the 79 pictures I uploaded onto my facebook, this is the one that appeared.  Me and my kidders striking a pose.  Doesn’t quite have the same effect as Burney Falls or the Golden Gate Bridge now does it?  So I have tried to give my abbreviated version of 17 days on the road with a husband, 2 kids in carseats, dog and our eurovan.  Thankfully, we were able to leave our beta fish, Tum Booty Boy at home!

(sorry for the weird off centered pictures, I am not sure what’s going on, they look right on my editing page)

Mr. Just Right


I am married to the most wonderful man.  Really, I am.  He is totally  attractive on the inside and the outside (he still has a six pack even though I don’t think I’ve ever seen him do a sit-up. Makes you sick, doesn’t it? Sorry B, for embarrassing you ;)).  I remember when I first laid eyes on him (in the summer of 1998), I thought, that guy is really cute.  I came to think a lot of guys were cute in my first weeks of college.  Yeah, I even started my “Hot Guy List”.  Probably a bit boy crazy.  Anyway, Brian was on the list and made it to #1!  Some guys got less cute as I got to know them, but not Brian, he was on the list before I really knew him, but then he just seemed to get cuter and cuter so much so that I ditched the list!  I was going to call this entry “Mr. Perfect”.  It seemed fitting with the name of my blog and all, but he’s not perfect, he is, however, just right.  He tells me that I am the best mom and the best wife.  And yet, I know that other men out there think their wife is the best.  And I look around and think that I am the one who scored big time!  Yet my friends seem completely happy with their choices, so I have come to think that I am just right for him and he is just right for me.  We are big time nerds with splash of hippy mixed in there as well.  We love traveling in our VW van, no it is not from the 70’s.  I don’t think I would be able to handle a 30+ year old vehicle being that we only have one car.  I make my own deodorant, and am considering homeschooling.  That’s the hippy part.  As for the nerd part, we don’t have a T.V. (not sure if that is hippyish or nerdy), but anyway, when we want to sit and watch a show together, our go to program on our lap top is 60 Minutes.  We get excited about good deals, go to museums for fun and we sometimes pretend that our kitchen is a diner and we are the cook and waiter when we serve our kids a meal.  And that is why he is just right for me.

oh happy day

On Thursday, we will celebrate 9 years of marriage.  I really feel too young to say that, but it’s true.  And Brian has made the past 9 years fairly easy.  We haven’t had many rocky patches, but not to say that we won’t.  I really believe that a marriage is about giving your all to someone else without any expectation of what you want in return.  I have a hard time getting all the laundry put away at once, and I don’t wash dishes while dinner is still cooking like Brian does.  But Brian doesn’t hold that against me.  Instead, he usually offers to do dishes after dinner because he knows it is my least favorite chore.  He does it because he loves me, not because he loves washing dishes.  And I often find myself going to bed at 9:30, not because I am tired, but because Brian’s tired and doesn’t want to go to bed alone.  It’s what works for us.

We attended a marriage conference last year and this year and one thing that has been crucial in my relationships (not just marriage) is the idea that you can’t change someone.  Maybe I am going off topic now from praising my Mr. Just Right, but this little nugget of information has been so helpful to know and realize in our marriage.  This year, Gary Chapman (the author of The 5 Love Languages) said, “somethings cannot and will not change”.  I think that is so important to recognize because often times we want people to be more like us, to do things the way we do things, because they work for us.  You can get mad, you can get angry, you can even divorce, or you can just accept that that is who they are and remember why you married them.  Mostly likely, they have always had the same annoying quirks, but you were just so in love you were focused on all their good qualities.  Last year, the speaker, Roger Tirabossi, talked about personalities and basically Brian and I were similar in one area and totally opposite in another.  Roger said, “people who are outgoing tend to misplace things”.  Hello!  That’s me!  Over here!  I am looking for my keys, phone or wallet every time I leave the house.  But guess what?  People with outgoing personalities also have positive characteristics too.  He said, memorize at least 3 of their good qualities (he gave us a list of typical characteristics) and praise them on those things and also be aware of their weaknesses and don’t try to change them.  Why not?  Because “somethings cannot and will not change!”  I would start to become resentful if Brian told me every time I was looking for my house keys, “you know, if you just hung your keys on the hook every time you walked in the door like do we wouldn’t be doing this right now.”  But no he doesn’t do that.  He is calm and helps me look for them and doesn’t make a big deal out of it if I just grab his keys.  And I, (just to make things fair), I have accepted that I am a lucky woman because I have a husband who washes clothes.  I have to also accept, however, that if I am going to welcome the help of washing clothes, that I cannot get upset that multiple items of white clothing have turned pink and that towels may get washed with the girls’ new dresses.  That is how he has done it for the last 9 years, and I am sure that is how he will continue to do laundry for the next 9.

And so, Mi Amor, Goodies, Mr. Just Right, happy anniversary!  To the man who got equally excited as me about dumpster diving after seeing the movie Dive, who makes his own shin guards for his soccer game out of a yogurt container, cardboard, and string (see what I mean by nerdy), who takes the bus to work with some really interesting fellows sometimes.  And lastly, to the man who would rather spend time with me and our beautiful daughters more than anything else in the world.  I love you!

After getting kicked out of his soccer game for not having shin guards, Brian came home and made these. No money in the budget for shin guards, and so the next time the ref wants him to pull down his socks to see if he is wearing shin guards, Brian will get to flash him these bad boys!  This is why I think he’s pretty amazing, I mean, seriously, who does this?

soaking it up


Tonight we enjoyed a taste of summer before it has officially started.  Two more weeks of work for my hubby, but the free movies on the beach kicked off Memorial Day weekend at Newport Dunes, which is a reminder that summer is almost here!  And while the weather has been pretty awesome lately, and I have found myself soaking up some sun, tonight I was soaking up precious moments with my two year old.  I have currently been given two challenges in life, and they happen to be called Piper and Tatum.  I struggle with Piper’s attitude and I struggle with Tatum’s nonchalant attitude toward discipline and consequences.  I knew I wouldn’t be given perfect children, but I wasn’t fully aware that I would be given children who were designed to stretch and grow me.  I kind of thought it was just the other way around.

I am aware now more than ever about how quickly time flies.  I am sure that as I sit holding my grandchildren one day that I will be even more aware.  And while we know that, it is not always easy to recognize it in the moment, especially when your two year old is showing her “terrible” side.  But tonight I was laying on a sheet in the sand watching Rio with my head on Brian’s legs and snuggling with Piper when Tatum said, “my mommy”.  She came laid on me, belly to belly, looking absolutely precious with the campfire making her face glow and her cute little blonde hairs sticking out of her hoodie.  Her eyes looked so big and she gave me kisses of all kinds, Eskimo kisses, butterfly kisses and real kisses too.  I wished I could take a picture of her, but it was more than a moment that I wanted to capture.  I took a picture in my mind.  That is what Brian always says.  And the picture in my memory has so much emotion, so much love attached to the face that I saw smiling at me and I don’t think I could forget it.  And then she fell asleep.  She couldn’t have been that comfortable.  I wasn’t that comfortable, but I didn’t dare move, because it isn’t very often that I get to hold my sleeping baby.

It is moments like these that make it all worthwhile.

Terribly terrific Tatum Paloma turns two!


It is hard to celebrate Tatum’s birthday without recalling her grand entrance into this world.  I questioned posting my email to friends and family about her birth on here because now it is out there for all to see!  But I am going to do so.  It holds so many memories and while it may be a bit graphic at some parts, aren’t all childbirth experiences?  There are mistakes that I didn’t correct, what can I say, I wrote this from the hospital with a brand new baby.

sweet baby girl

Tatum Paloma Ristow arrived at 2:50 am April 14th and I will try to give you the scoop in a nutshell.

I had a gynie appointment on Monday and found out I was dilated 4 cm.  That was exciting, I thought, “wow, if only the next 6 cm could be this easy!”  I had no real signs of labor, but after that appointment I had a few contractions that afternoon.  Nothing serious, and then they went away.  Nothing Tuesday until bedtime and then I was having a few sporadic contractions.  I couldn’t fall asleep that night and Brian asked if I was okay. I said, “I am having some contractions, but that is not the problem.  I can’t sleep because I feel like she is dancing inside.”  Well, finally I fell asleep to be woken up by contractions at 1:20 in the morning.  I decided to grab my phone to start timing them as it was her due date and I knew that soon she had to be coming.  Maybe this time would be it.  My first contraction I timed, the was at 1:26, then 1:33, then 1:34.  “What?” I thought, “That was only 1 minute?”  They weren’t strong though, so I wasn’t that concerned.  I got up, got a bowl of muesli and figured I would just keep an eye on them and get up for a little while.  I ate my cereal, emailed back a friend and my sister, and then went on facebook.  At 1:51 I wrote, “I’m in labor!”  Still, very mild, just like cramps, but they were pretty regular.  So, at 2 I woke up Brian and I told him I think he should get up.  I said, the contractions weren’t that strong, but they were close together.  My midwife said I should go to the hospital when they were 10 min. apart because 2nd births are quicker.  So Brian got up and he said, “Do I have time to take a shower?”  I told him that was fine.  I was getting things together and calling my friend, Liza who was going to be coming over and staying the night.  Brian went to get Liza and I called my mom to tell her we were heading to the hospital.  At this point I was pretty nervous.  They were getting stronger and I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do this drug free.  I knew it would be fast, but even 2 or 3 hours would be fast, and I didn’t think I could handle the pain for that long.  I quickly explained things to Liza while Brian emailed his sub plans and at 2:34 we were on our way to the hospital.  I said, “I am weak!  As soon as we get there I am going to ask for an epidural.  I don’t want to do this.  I am so afraid.  I am so afraid they are going to tell me it is too late for an epidural and they I will have to feel this pain for a long time and I can’t do it.”  So as you can see things went from period cramps to pretty painful in a matter of minutes.  Our parking ticket showed that we arrived at 2:47 and we pulled into a spot in the garage.  We rushed out of the car and I climbed 4 steps to the main level when I got a super strong contraction.  I had to stop and hold onto the wall.  I said, “I feel like I need to push, but I can’t I can’t push!” (sorry if things get graphic, but I am just going to tell you the whole story, okay?)  I knew I couldn’t push, because we were in a stairwell first of all, and second of all, I was afraid that if I pushed, that I would be pushing a poo out and I didn’t want to poop in my paints.  Brian said, “do you want me to get a wheelchair, I see one right inside” “Yes!”  As the urge subsided briefly I began making my way to the entrance, but i only made it about 20 feet.  I felt the urge to push again.  At this point, I am freaking out and Brian is doing great, but he is running around like a mad man too.  He is telling me “sit, sit, sit”.  “I can’t sit!”  I put my hands down my pants and felt the bag of water.  I told Brian, “get that nurse inside, the baby is coming!”  He ran inside and got this nurse who was on break flirting with the security guard he said.  When he ran back out I was on my knees holding onto the wheelchair.  Brian pulled down my pants and the nurse said, “no no, she needs to sit!”  And Brian said, “no this baby is coming!  I see the head!”  And then he caught Tatum, I heard her little cry and Brian kept saying “she’s beautiful she’s beautiful”.  Meanwhile the nurse was yelling at this man delivering newspapers to get help.  Apparently, he was too busy and couldn’t help, so Brian handed the baby off and ran inside again to call for more help.  Some nurses from the labor and delivery came down and one took off her jacket to wrap the baby and then I guess they cut the cord.  They asked what her name was and Brian said, “Tatum”.  That was when I knew for sure what her name was going to be.  It was my first choice name, but Brian’s was always Paloma.  I then said, “what do I do?”  I mean I had bloody disgusting pants around my legs and didn’t want to pull them back up.  I am not sure what happened, but they put a papery blanket over me an wheeled me upstairs.  At 3 o’clock Brian took a picture of the clock and we are up in a room and Tatum is laying on me and we are all safe.  Who would have thought?  What a crazy 30 minutes that’s for sure.  After getting stitched up, yes unfortunately, I still tore, I said, maybe we should give her a name that will help her remember her grand entrance into this world.  Brian said, “Parker” for being born in a parking lot.  So, I told him he could decide the middle name, and finally, today before leaving the hospital he decided on Paloma.  He really liked Parker, but was afraid if he used it, he might never get to use Paloma.  So, Paloma it is.  She weighed just under 7 lbs. 12 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long.  She is just perfect, and we have fallen in love with her.  I was really counting on her being quite different from Piper, because I hear that it is common to have your first and second be so opposite.  I am not sure there is room for 2 Piper’s in this world, but she looks a lot like Piper as a baby, but her head is not as round.  She is also quite feisty like Piper was.  If she is not sleeping, which she is a good sleeper already, but when she is not sleeping she is usually crying.  We will see, maybe it is just the shock of this new world. 

The Ristow Bunch

Tatum taking a picture at the spot where she was born (so close, yet so far)

And now we have a two year old.  How time flies.  She is kind of a crazy little kiddo and she makes us laugh all the time.  She does goofy faces and talks in silly voices just to be funny.  She runs away and giggles when I’m trying to change her diaper.  She throws herself down onto the bed, floor whatever is close when she sees me approaching her with a hairbrush.  She’s started talking a TON in the last month or so and she copies everything she hears.  Last year Piper couldn’t wait until she could understand Tatum and now she can!  Tatum is Piper’s biggest fan.  If I leave to go anywhere, even just the store, and Piper is with me she will start crying and calling for Piper.  If I take Tatum somewhere without Piper, she starts crying.  She wants to be doing everything her big sister is doing.  Tatum loves dancing, swimming playing at the park, and attempting to stand on her head, oh and airplanes too.

We had a party for the girls last month, but we had to do a little celebrating on her actual birthday.  It actually started the night before when she spent her first night in a big girl bed!  The girls’ room is so tiny and I was anxious to get Tatum out of the crib and get a trundle so there would be one less piece of furniture in the room.  We got a beautiful trundle from some friends and prepared the girls for their first “sleepover”.  Tatum has never slept in the bed with us, and has gone to bed every night and every nap in her crib or possibly pack n play, but never a regular bed that didn’t have her trapped inside.  It went amazingly well.  Piper rubbed her back and sang to her a made up song about staying in her bed and not getting up and going to sleep (such a good big sister).  And off to sleep they went!


Then on Saturday, we woke up, picked up some breakfast burritos and headed to a parking lot that backs up to the airport to watch the airplanes take off and land.  It has become a Wednesday morning ritual for the me and the girls and Tatum loves it.  So, we thought we would take Daddy along, and Grandma too.  Tatum loved watching the airplanes and the noise but not as much as she loved her cupcake.  She has a serious sweet tooth.  She even has tried to pick gum off of the curb!

After that we came home for a nap and when she woke up her Nana and Papa were here.  We decorated our new fort with little flags and birthday signs and a candle in a special #2 vase and enjoyed another cupcake!  Some days call for two cupcakes, what can I say?

the "downstairs"

Tatum and Nana "upstairs"

And then it was time for bed.  But this time it didn’t go as smoothly.  Perhaps it had something to do with having two cupcakes, who knows?  Tatum figured out how to open the door and as she walked out with her sleepsack on looking like Maggie Simpson as her feet seemed to slide across the floor she didn’t want nothin’ to do with going to bed.  But she finally fell asleep and when we went to check on her we found her on the ground, face covered and her foot propped up on the wall.

And that’s how we celebrated the terribly terrific Tatum Paloma.  Okay, one more picture of her in her new itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini that she wants to wear all the time now.  I apologize for the poor quality pictures lately, I seem to have misplaced my camera charger, so I’ve been snapping away with the phone.

She always loves to put her glasses on upside-down