Liberty or Die! Day 2- Niagara Falls

Today we woke up in Toledo and landed in Canandaigua, New York. We are at the KOA. The staff is a little rude to my children, but the campground is AMAZING. You could totally spend a week here.

Holy smokes Niagra Falls. The park is way more touristy than I imagined, especially for a state park. I recommend just hanging on Goat Island. We had to park far away because we were in a RV. We rode the trolly to get to the park, which took way longer than expected. It was fun to see people from all over the world. And James put his arm around me which made me smile. The actual falls though- totally worth it. Blew my mind. Magical.

On the drive we had a great talk about people who have gone over the Falls, one way or another. And who made it.

Tomorrow we finally hit Salem. <swoon> I’ll need a supply stop. And I’m still looking for a NYC hotel.

(PS- watch for us outside the Today show August 27!)

The Road to Liberty – day 1

Today we drove from Wilton, Iowa to Toledo, Ohio! We had hoped to make it by 1:00, but y’all know my love of rest stops! Most of this video was filmed at the World’s Biggest Truck Stop just 30 minutes from our house. We arrived in Toledo around 7 pm. Putt putt and Stephen Universe it is. Tomorrow – Niagara Falls. Planning revolved around whether or not to take a boat to the Statue of Liberty and how to get a hotel for less than $500 in NYC. Please let me know what’s cool to see in Salem, Boston, and New York.

Liberty or death!

Lacey’s Birth

Lacey’s Birth

I had mentioned a home birth to my husband when we were maybe 12 weeks along and he laughed and told me I would be begging for an epidural. I never posted anything about our pregnancy on Facebook or talked about it much to anyone. I refused to be scared of childbirth. Something so natural and people try and tear you down and terrify you. Some on purpose, some not. I didn’t want to hear people’s opinions because I knew my pregnancy and labor would be nothing like theirs.

At about 24 weeks we had a Dr.s appointment and for the first time I had questions for my Doctor. I could hear her making small talk at the nurse’s station while we sat and waited and waited and waited. Then she came in and after about 10 minutes and was ready to leave. My husband and I started asking questions and she kept walking toward the door half ass answering everything. I told her I wanted to try a natural birth and she said “we’ll just see how it goes.” Chances were that she wouldn’t be catching our baby anyway, it’s whoever is on call. A total stranger.

After that appointment I knew that’s exactly what my birth would be like. My birth plan would be dismissed and I would end up being induced and having an epidural amongst other things. That night I started looking for midwives which was not an easy task. I didn’t care what it costs, I was having a home birth even if it meant I would pay more. I told my husband my intention and he was against it from the beginning. How appalling that someone would even consider to have a baby at home.

What if something happens?? In my mind, something was more likely to “happen” at a hospital. I didn’t want a million interventions. I saw them as unnecessary. I didn’t want an IV or to have to sit in a bed the entire time I labored. I didn’t want things strapped to me so the nurses to monitor me from another room and not have to even interact with me. I didn’t want some random doctor who doesn’t know me or I him. I didn’t want any strangers touching me at such a venerable time in my life.

Then when all home birth hope was lost, I finally found my midwives.  They weren’t your typical prenatal appointments. Our appointments were an hour to even 2 hours at times. They listened to my baby’s heart on their couch and wanted to get to know us and not just about the pregnancy. Melanie’s house was so cozy and welcoming. She offered us something to drink and eat. My husband thought I was crazy. Hell, he thought they were crazy too. On the way home from our first meeting them I said I like them. We can do this. And I am going to do this. Of course, he remain a skeptic until the day our baby was ready to come.

My husband assumed that because they didn’t wear a white coat and work in a hospital that they couldn’t possibly know anything about delivering babies. I finally told him I was done listening to it and I was having our baby at home with or without him.

My due date was March 26th 2019 and I started having contractions the day before but they were mild and irregular so I went to work and went about my day. Her due date came and I woke up at 4am with stronger contractions but nothing I couldn’t handle, however I wasn’t going to deal with people at work so I stayed home. I told my husband to go to work and I dealt with early labor at home and stayed in good spirits. I notified one of my midwives and she told me to take a nap so I did.

About 6pm my husband returned home and that’s when my contractions started getting quite a bit stronger. I asked midwife (Dawn) to come and help me a bit. I didn’t know what to expect but the contractions were getting stronger. I decided to get in the tub and by the time I got out it was hard for me to stand during contractions and my husband came in to help me and held me. I started to break down a little bit but I knew I had a long ways to go so I had to buck up. Then Dawn arrived.

My husband was so glad she was there. He didn’t know what to do. It was alright because neither did I. We were just dealing with it one step at a time. Labor was picking up fast and my other midwife (Melanie) showed up at about midnight. I would cry out and tell them I couldn’t do it and Melanie would tell me “But you are doing it!” God she was pissing me off. Pretty soon I realized I had run completely out of tears. I was on the floor the majority of the time. After a really rough contraction I looked up at my husband and he told me it was hard to watch someone you love in so much pain.

A little after 1am my water broke and I threw up. The contractions were about back to back after that. I was so tired my head would just fall after my contractions and I would doze off. Then boom, another contraction.

At about 2am everyone in the house was trying to rest. I was being vocal and trying moan through my contractions but ended up crying and becoming louder and louder. I did this for maybe an hour. Finally Dawn got up and suggested I try sitting on the toilet. Dear God, she trying to make it worse. I went into the bathroom and had the worst contraction yet. My whole body was affect by it. I asked Dawn to sit with me. We sat there through 3-4 contractions and I had enough. She told me let’s walk around the house a bit. So snail pace I went from room to room.

I finally ended up at the kitchen and felt a contraction coming in so I made a mad dash to the rug by our sink and continued my noise. Dawn brought me a chair to lean on and a ball but I couldn’t be pleased so she let me do what I felt was right. Finally my whole body started hurling like it does when you’re about to puke. I yelled “something’s happening!” Turns out it was my baby moving down. I was on my knees with my hands on my thighs and Dawn called for my husband who was attempting to rest and Melanie. The baby was moving down fast and soon I felt a burning sensation but it didn’t bother me because this part was a relief from the contractions. Dawn asked my husband if he wanted to see his baby’s head and he looked down and started to cry. Shortly after that, in about 2 minutes, my beautiful baby girl was born.  I honestly don’t remember pushing at all. My body guided her out like it’s supposed to.

My body knew exactly what to do. I didn’t do anything until I was ready and it made everything go so much more smoothly. I didn’t strain or rush the labor.  I knew my body was capable but I was thankful to have my midwives to remind me, even when it was hard and I said I couldn’t. I held my baby in my arms and I walked to the bedroom. I was shaking but not from being cold. It was so exciting and I couldn’t even believe we did it!

Lacey was born at 3:40am on March 27. Nobody in our families knew we were doing a home birth. I had sent my husband’s mother a message asking if she could come over at about 10am and help me with a few things and when she arrived she seen we had had our baby. I’ve never seen a look of more surprised and confusion in my life but it was wonderful. We told her we had the baby early that morning at home with 2 midwives and she was completely overjoyed that everyone was safe and happy to meet our newest addition.

I would like to mention since I didn’t rush or force my body to go against my labor progression, I had an incredible postpartum recovery as well. I had no tearing and the swelling went down within the first few days. My body wasn’t sore from having to bare down to push and I had no depression what so ever. My pregnancy was incredible. My labor was natural and my recovery was record breaking.

You do not have to settle during pregnancy and the birth of your baby. I had a birth plan and to a T it was followed. I wasn’t pushed to do anything I didn’t want to do or have unnecessary interventions. I wasn’t given drugs to augment my labor. I literally let my body do what it was MEANT to do. Nobody can ever take away this experience from me and I am so thankful for that. I wasn’t traumatized but empowered. I felt so strong and incredible. The high I felt after I had my daughter was irreplaceable. I didn’t have people I didn’t know watching the most important day of my life. I had friends and my loved one. Birth doesn’t have to be cold and impersonal. It truly was beautiful.

   

 

The Birth of Ophelia

 

July 18th, 2017, I became a mother. I began having mild contractions early in the morning but didn’t think much of it. Around 7:30/8am I decided that a bath sounded like a nice idea. Felix came in twenty minutes later and began to time my contractions. They lasted around 35/45 seconds and came every two to three minutes. I decided to message my midwives and let them know what was up. Melanie suggested I pretend as much as possible like I wasn’t in labor, so Felix and I decided to go run errands. We went to the grocery store, (and let me tell you, pretending like you aren’t having contractions in the middle of a public space is a tough one.) Then we stopped down at tech guys, and I made a visit to my chiro. We got home and I thought I would try to take a nap, but the contractions were getting more intense and sleep didn’t really look like an option. I decided that I should probably have my doula, Rebeca head over. She got to the house around 2:30 and at that point I was feeling the contractions getting stronger. I got into the birth tub shortly after her arrival. After a few waves of some serious contractions, I got out to use the restroom and she asked if I felt like I needed to push. I definitely was getting to that point, so she quickly messaged my midwives to let them know they should probably head over. They arrived around 3:30 and checked me at 4. I was dilated to 9 cm. I got back into the birth pool and let my contractions roll through me. I moaned and growled through them but didn’t feel like it was too terrible. All of the sudden the need to push became overwhelming and then the head was out. I had a firm grip on my doula and my midwives said I needed to let go so I could catch my baby. I reached down and my baby slid out and into my arms. I could not believe what had just happened. I felt so much pride and relief in the fact that I just had my first baby, unmedicated, in my bedroom on my own terms and didn’t even tear. I felt so powerful and happy and full of joy. My water never broke so my baby was still in the sac. Which is called en caul. It’s a rare occurrence, only one in every 80,000 births happen this way. Many cultures see it as a good omen and a sign that the baby is blessed with good luck. I cradled my baby in my arms and was so overjoyed. Felix ran to be next to me and was crying his eyes out. We both were so happy we forgot to see what the baby was. (Which I know everyone is dying to know.) My sweet baby girl, Ophelia Arcadia Colón was born at 5:28pm, weighing 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and was 20 inches long. She’s perfect in every way and I have never been more in love in my life.

Yule Garbanzo Loaf

It’s the time of year for Yule Loaf! This is adapted from Recipe for a Small Planet’s Garbanzo Bean Loaf.

As I have said before, when choosing your holiday traditions, choose carefully. Although we only make this once a year, we make it every year.

The recipe in the cookbook is vegetarian, here I veganize it.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup dried garbanzo beans (cook and drain) or use 1 1/2 cups canned

1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1 cup pineapple juice

1 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 cup chopped celery

3 tablespoons oil

1/4 cup fresh parsley

egg substitute equivalent to one egg

1 tablespoon miso (any-white/red/your choice)

1 teaspoon salt

dash of hot sauce

2 pinches cayenne pepper

1 cup vegan cheese (Swiss maybe or hot pepper)

Directions:

1. Combine bread crumbs with pineapple juice, let soak.

2. Mash the beans but leave a few whole!

3. Saute onions and celery in the oil.

4. Dissolve miso in a  very small amount of hot water, to make a thick slurry.

5. Combine rest of ingredients in order.

6. Turn into loaf pan and bake at 350 for 40 minutes until browned and firm.

I always quadruple this recipe for a large holiday meal so that we will have leftovers! I serve it on a bed of spinach leaves with Louisiana hot sauce along side of squash/pear soup. I hope this becomes a favorite in your home!

Serves: 3 to 4

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Ostara Soufflé 

Happy Ostara!


 Inspired by the book The Boy Who Ate Around, our Ostara supper was the Giant Cheese Soufflé from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone with a side of asparagus. It was a big hit, and all of the ingredients are available at Aldi.

  This grand looking soufflé is baked in a round casserole- 13 – 14 inches across and at least two inches high. I used a dutch oven and a soufflé dish. Serves 6 – 8 (My family ate a double recipe) 
5 + Tbsp Butter

2 Tbsp parmesan

6 Tbsp flour

2 cups warm milk

6 egg yolks

1 3/4 cup grated cheddar

Salt

1 tsp paprika

10 egg whites

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter your large dish and dust the sides with parmesan.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, whisk in the flour, and cook over low heat for several minutes. Whisk in the milk all at once, lower the heat, and cook for one minute, stirring. Remove from heat and beat in the yolks two at a time. Stir in the cheese. Season with 3/4 tsp. salt and the paprika.
Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold firm peaks. Fold them into the yolk mixture, then pour into the casserole. Put in the center of the oven and lower the heat to 375. Bake until the soufflé has risen and is golden brown all over the top, about 30 minutes. A slight quivering in the middle and firmness around the edges mean that the center will be loose enough to provide a creamy sauce. If you prefer a firmer center, bake 5 minutes longer. In either case, serve as soon as it’s ready.


Delicious!