a confession.

I finally did what I’ve needed to do for the past five weeks, and hadn’t done it: I turned off my email. You see, I left for maternity leave at the end of June, but as my personal and work email share an account [boundaries mistake #1…], I continued to be “on.” I somehow justified that I wasn’t working because I wasn’t – usually – reading Young Life emails. But still, I’d glance at the title …and think about work. I’d see one from a work contact …and begin thinking about work. I’d convinced myself that as long as I didn’t check said emails on my laptop, that I was fine – but still suffering from what our sad technological generation prides itself on, I was “on” all the time. I told myself that it’d be okay to check them on my phone and on the iPad, thinking that there just might be an email so important (about Canon, not YL, of course), that I couldn’t miss it.

But how is that worth it?

So two days ago I finally officially uninstalled my email account on anything and everything that might tempt me. ‘Bout time, self.

Recently there have been a slew of articles bouncing around Huffington Post and the greater internet alike encouraging mothers (in particular) to stop making the w-w-w more important than their kin. I couldn’t agree more. Much of today’s news was filled with accounts of the world’s reaction to NBC still living in the 20th century, so to speak: what do you mean you expect us to wait until prime evening hours to find out whether or not Phelps won a 19th medal? Tweet that!

I don’t want to miss his sweet little sleepy smiles because I’m browsing Facebook status updates. (I mean, seriously now – status updates. Are they exciting? Not really. But are they addicting? Yes).

I don’t want his little fingers wrapping around my one because I’m playing Words with Friends.

I don’t want to miss noticing how he’s grown already – little man is almost up to 9 (whole!) pounds, finding himself in the 50th percentile for weight and 60th for height. I hear how the first few months are just a blur, and I suppose that’s true given the fact that sleep now doesn’t come in more than two-hour increments; but truthfully, I do feel pretty alert, and therefore pretty good, so in that way, it seems like it’s no fault but my own if I find technology more interesting than this perfect little creation.

I don’t even want to miss those poop stories, like today [insert poop story now…] when he was working so hard to poo and nurse at the same time that when he finally finished (both feats), it was his greatest work-out to date. He was fully out of breath, huffing and puffing, the greatest of Olympic contenders.

You get the picture. I get the picture. I desire not to take this little campfire for granted, and instead get to know him by making him my priority.

I mean, how can you refuse this little bundle of goodness? (And the accompanying HBH).

hey good lookin’s…

So, how do you remain present in this technological world of instant gratification we’ve bought into? If you’re a nursing mama in particular, how do you combat being present with your little one?



Our little campfire is a week and a half old now – and Mr. Canon, how you’ve captured our hearts!  Lately, I’ve found encouragement in the littlest of things, and wanted to share some of these nuggets passed on from friends.  [I think it’s one of those things that oftentimes we forget the impact of our words, both positively and negatively; gratefully, this post finds itself on the former, but regardless, might we be mindful of the way in which we speak and write to each other – lasting impressions are made!]


In preparation for induction almost two weeks ago: “Cara, let go of expectations of having the perfect natural birth – and give yourself permission to get an epidural if you need one.”  Done.  Since giving birth naturally was pretty much thrown out the window the minute we entered the hospital, I appreciated that little pep talk.  

“It’s the baby – not the birth – that counts.”  This reminded me of our wedding – granted, we wanted and desired for the day to be special and memorable, but we were committed to not spending our life saving’s on the “big day”.  Hence, it was more about marriage than the wedding day of that counted, and it’s the same with baby boy.  


“[insert baby name…], you don’t make life easier, but you sure do make it better…”  I LOVE this.  Little Campfire, sure, life was most certainly easier before you arrived, but it’s a whole HECK of a lot better now!  

“As you feel sleep deprived and maybe even irritable at times (at least I did), know it gets better!  It’s hard having a newborn, it’s wonderful and precious but definitely hard.  Praying joy is your resounding emotion!”  Indeed, might joy be our resounding emotion in the midst of sleep deprivation, poopy diapers and blow-outs alike, exhaustive baby cries at 2.33 in the morning and the like.  Might we find and experience joy.  

On that joy-filled note, I started dying of laughter the other day after the change of one poo-filled diaper led to him filling it up within 30 seconds of the new one, not just one time after that but three more times over the course of 11 minutes.  Not only have I entered the club of my child’s bowel movements being the main topic of conversation, but I’ve entered the arena of  joy being the resounding emotion. 

At least that’s the hope.  


The Lil’ Caramel is HERE Update.

As Madea would say, HALLEJU-YER! Our little caramel (who’s deemed to “caramelize” as time goes on) is now celebrating day 6 of life outside the womb, and what a precious little bugger he is. The stats:

Name: Canon James Meredith
Born: Saturday, July 14th, 3:02 pm
Length: 20 inches
Weight: 8 lbs, 1 oz
Cuteness factor: 1 billion on a scale of 1-10
In love factor: 1 zillion ka-trillion on an immeasurable scale.

Put me back in! What is this place?!

And now, a little Q & A until the little campfire wakes up:

Q: Cara, you’ve called him Little Caramel, Little Pumpkin, Little Man, and now Little Campfire – why is he now a fire pit?

A: My favorite part of camping is sitting in my little sittee-chair, bundled up in fleece and Uggs, with the campfire burning before me. They’re mesmerizing. The best of conversations and thinking and relaxing and just savoring the moment happen in front of campfires. And he’s pretty much the same way. We stare at our little campfire for hours, taking him in, “patting the puppy,” as Annie Dillard would say of the present, fully alive to the moment.

Q: So the name Canon – is that like the camera?

A: No. I mean, yes, but that’s not where we got it. Last summer when I was speaking at camp, there was a most memorable camper there (who did, incidentally, come to know how much the God of the universe loves him and chases after him), named Kanon with a K. I was intrigued, and fell in love with the name as soon as I heard it. At that point, we knew that we were going to start trying soon, so we started the fun game of throwing around names, and it stuck! We went with Canon with a C, though for a variety of reasons:

The Biblical Canon: the books of the bible are often called The Canon; we liked that it had theological meaning, even if it wasn’t directly from the Bible.

Often times, works of literature by the same author are called a canon, as is a certain type of music, which I played (on piano) growing up. Of course, the baby name definitions would deem his name of the “BOOM!” 4th of July celebration (hence why we thought it’d be a fun little correlation if he decided to enter the world that day).

Q: I need to see another pic of Canon; please show me one.

A: But of course! Here you go!

I think because of the filter on this picture, his hair appears lighter than it really is – it’s definitely jet black.

Q: How’s your heartburn? Was he hairy, as the old wives predicted?

A: I haven’t had heartburn since he emerged into the outside world, no joke. And yes, he’s hairy as hairy gets. We’re a little perplexed as to where all that hair came from, but we’re obviously LOVING it.

Q: Without going into all the gory details, what’s the story of you being in the hospital for two days before he was born?

A: Long story short is 45 hours after being admitted to the hospital [that included 2 rounds of pergacyl, pitocin, a constant IV, oxygen, and an eventual (admittedly hated, believe it or not) epidural], I never got past 3 cm, and little boy kept going into distress because the cord was wrapped around his neck twice causing him to “bungee,” as they called it, with every contraction. Hence, I had a c-section, and couldn’t have been happier for it all to be DONE.

So even though we didn’t get the natural, hippy-esque birth we had hoped for, we did get our little boy, whom we had dreamed of and wondered about and who is finally here. I can’t put into words what it’s like to see this little creation for the first time, and to realize that he’s yours to fall deeply in love with for the very first time! Our little campfire is a gift straight from heaven above, and we are so grateful for this time of rest to both get to know him and learn how to be parents as well. So will the Lil’ Caramel updates continue? I’d think, eventually, but the priority is most obviously staring at the campfire, so to his bassinet I shall go.

Hello, campfire.

xo, mama.

The Monday Caramel Update – #28

Week: 41 weeks, 3 days, 10 hours, 4 minutes…. Otherwise known as C’MON, LC, we want to meet you already!

Size: I’m not even looking at Baby Center this week, but am instead estimating the little bugger to be about the size of a FREAKING HUGE WATERMELON that I’ll be pushing out of my nether regions.

Name: Lil’ Caramel

Gender: Boy!

Maternity Clothes: I’m living in my work out clothes because I’m trying to walk this kid out. Apparently he has other ideas for our time together.

Food Cravings: Ice, ice baby! And it makes him super kicky and squirmy, which I like.

Currently reading: Secrets of the Baby Whisperer; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close; The Redemption of Love, all of which I’m – finally – close to finishing.

Most interesting fact: Did you know that if you go to bed with both you and your hubs thoroughly convinced that LC’s going to kick that bag o’ waters to smithereens, and therefore come out and greet the world, that, well, it ain’t gonna happen? And you’re going to be SO excited about the prospect that you won’t sleep (and according to my friend Holly from our friend-who’s-a-doctor, the hormones produced in sleep are exactly what’s needed to induce labor). Doh!

Feeling: Um, ready? [Note: if you’re the praying type, pray that the little one would still come naturally, on his own; my last appointment is at 4 o’clock this afternoon, and they’ll set an induction date. Come on, baby!]

Missing: the ability to do everything and be everything to everyone – I know, this is a lesson we learn automatically in parenthood and in life, but how I miss being able to cheer people on at birthday parties and going-away parties alike because I’m too tired to rally.

Anticipating: More episodes of Arrested Development, reading, and scrapbooking from 2005-2006! [I must say, it’s pretty handy to scrapbook seven years after the fact, for I end up only needing to put in one picture of the boy I crushed on – who’s not admittedly the hubs – instead of the 15 I printed up. Also, in case you didn’t peg me for the scrapbooking type, you’re right: it was enjoyable about, oh, 10 years ago, but seeing as I still printed up all those pics through ’08 or so, I’ve still got some work to do – at least until LC arrives.]

One last thought: Did you know that when the nurses at the hospital are on strike, you go there for a little non-stress test (i.e.: extended fetal heart rate monitoring and ultrasound), they might just mistake you for another woman, introduce you to your doctor, and ask you if you’re ready to be induced? “But my hospital bag’s at home!” (True story: Saturday, July 7th – otherwise known as the night we thought LC was coming).

Getting my non-stress test fetal heart rate monitoring on this past Saturday.

The crossing of the fingers in letter form

Dear Lil’ Caramel,

Now here’s the deal, little one: I’m really excited to meet you. That’s the truth and the heart of this letter, and although I’d love for that big day to be tomorrow (for reasons that I’ll get to in just one second), I’ll continue to keep you warm and snuggly if you want to stay inside. I’m really not that uncomfortable – yet – and even if I am getting a little bored, I’m trying my hardest to practice being in the present before your presence changes everything (in a really, really good way).

So, short, sweet and to the point, here’s why I want you to enter the big, wide world tomorrow: first, you’ll be living up to your name in a most fashionable sort of way. Although we’re keeping said name secret to much of the world, can I just say that it’d be quite fun if you came out with a boom tomorrow? And the second reason goes along with it: BOOM! It’s going to be the 4th of July in about 3 hours and 41 minutes. Wouldn’t it be be awesome to celebrate YOU every time Independence Day rolls around? It’d be like the entire country’s celebrating you, every single year (and I’m sure that we could lead you to believe just that until you’re at least 5 or 6 years old. Shhh). I just hope your favorite color combination is red, white and blue.

So, little one, are you ready? We sure are! Bring it!

Love, mama.

The Monday Caramel Update – #27

Week: 40 weeks, 3 days, 11 hours…. (Just a little bit of “get this baby out of me” humor!)

Size: He’s a little pumpkin, weighing in (supposedly) at around 7 1/2 pounds, and over 20 inches in length.

Name: Lil’ Caramel

Gender: Boy!

Maternity Clothes: This week’s motto is “a jersey dress a day keeps the doctor away!” Wait…I think I want the doctor on this one.

Food Cravings: True story: I did just have my first “send James to get Cara her craving STAT” order on Saturday night. The end result? An In-n-Out cheeseburger, no onions, with fries. Demolished.

Currently reading: Secrets of the Baby Whisperer; Baby 411; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close + a few others, along with the zillions of magazines I finally read/weeded through this weekend.

Most interesting fact: Although people say there are many different ways to get a baby out, let’s be honest: the little bugger’s going to come when he darn well pleases. And he’s happily cooking inside, so despite our best efforts, we haven’t met him yet!

Feeling: Bored! Who knew that one would come? I’m on day 4 of maternity leave (day 6, if you count the weekend), and although I’ve refrained from having a check-off list of things to do, I’ve obviously done things here and there to bide the time. But with seasons 1 and 2 of Downton Abbey complete, although I know I just need to relish in this quiet time, I’m just terribly bored. [This, interestingly enough, is combined with what my friend Mindy and I equated to the week before one’s wedding: no one wants to step on your toes, just in case the baby’s arrived or you’re in labor (or in the case of a wedding, because you’re too busy…), so they check Facebook to see if he’s come, but don’t necessarily call or stop by. I get that – to an extent. But I’m telling you, people, call! Stop by!] Nuff said. I shall now get back to relishing in the quiet rest of the NOW, knowing that it won’t be present for about, oh, 18 years.

Missing: sunshine. Summer finally hit San Francisco (i.e.: in rolls the fog…)

Anticipating: Le bebe – I have an appointment this afternoon, so we’ll see what the OB says about the due date.

One last thought: the really, really good news is that we know he’s coming THIS month, in fact in the next week and a half even. Booyah!