Tag Archives: family


The thing about having two kids is that I spend most of my day just gawking at them. How is it that God saw it fit to entrust me with these two little lives, these specific lives? Who am I to have the privilege of raising two men?

The craziest thing is that Brandon and I had sex one time and A HUMAN WAS CREATED. Then, another time we had sex, and ANOTHER HUMAN WAS CREATED. Think about that and try to tell me that God isn’t real.

I want to give them everything they ever want. And usually, I do. I want to say “yes, yes!” so that my “no” actually means something.

Sometimes I look at the 4,000 toys strewn across our living room floor and I like the mess. I let it linger, for days even, and I wish others could see it, the evidence of life being lived.

Other times, I catch Elliot reading books to Oscar and I’m glad that no one else can see what I see in that moment because I get to scoop it up and add it to  all the other little things that I hide in my heart.

I wonder how they’ll be different, how they’ll be alike. I wonder if they’ll have that typical older-brother-younger-brother relationship that you see in the movies. I wonder if they’ll grow up and apart like so many brothers do.

I hope Elliot teaches Oscar. I hope Oscar looks out for Elliot. I hope they have the kind of closeness shared not by blood but by choice.

I will always choose them.

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So, remember when I had a baby three weeks ago and sort of fell off the face of the internet?

This is my attempt to catch you up on my new life because you think I am so very interesting.

Elliot is a regular big brother. He has taken to Oscar as if there’s always been a baby in the house. Instead of outbursts of jealousy or violence, I catch them cuddling, which can sometimes be mistaken for suffocating, but it’s cute nonetheless.

Elliot is also quite proud of the fact that he has learned to count to two and will demonstrate this skill to strangers by poking and counting his eyes, his knees, and my boobs. Hey, whatever works.

We threw a Sip & See when we brought Oscar home. Our apartment was full and so was my heart. We are blessed to be surrounded by the most wonderful friends-turned-family.

Brandon took two weeks off of work to hold my hand and lead me around in my sleep deprivation. Oh, I guess he hung out with the kids, too. But now I’m back to getting a full night’s sleep all night every night.

Just joking! Ha! You should have seen your face!

This time really is so different from the first time in all the best ways. I think I’ll have 100 more kids.

Also, remember when I had nappy long hair?

That was silly.

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It was a dark and stormy night…

Just kidding.

I was sure that God had forgotten about me. Oscar was ten days late and my doctor would not let me go any longer than that without inducing labor. Induction was my biggest fear — I believed that my body and my baby would tell me when they were ready and I hated the idea of staging an intervention while the baby and I were still healthy. That being said, I also trusted my doctor with my life and respected her medical opinion. She was nothing but supportive throughout both my pregnancies, always complimenting my ankle bones (because she could see them) and telling me “you do this so well,” so I knew her recommendation to induce was for my safety and my benefit, not to fulfill her own agenda or cash another paycheck. We were put on the induction list for Thursday (9/13) and were told to wait for a call any time after midnight. Brandon came home Wednesday night (9/12) with a cough, so I put him and Elliot to bed at 8pm and moped around in despair for the next four hours watching Prison Break and eating my feelings (what empty ice cream carton?). I finally relented and went to bed, cursing the heavens for overlooking all the desires of my tender little extra pregnant heart.

What a dummy.

I woke up at 3:30am due to some painful ruckus in my uterus. I mean contractions, due to some contractions, but I didn’t yet believe that they were real contractions because, if you remember, God had forgotten about me. I got up (I’ll sleep when I’m dead) and paced my bedroom while timing the ruckus with a handy dandy iPhone app. It’s a modern world, folks. When I saw that I had had three what-I-was-still-calling-“fake” contractions in ten minutes, the sun started to part through the grey clouds of my despairing heart. When I had to hold onto the wall and moan through the next one, the angels started singing.

God hadn’t forgotten about me!

I packed up some last minute things for the hospital, woke Brandon, and called my mom. She came over to our apartment so Elliot could keep sleeping and would take him to her house for the rest of the time that we would be gone. On the way to the hospital, I played “He Leadeth Me” over and over and over. My gratitude for what was happening was already bubbling over.

At the hospital, I got dressed and strapped to the monitor, still having to make noise through each contraction but not quite to the Annoying Labor Lady stage, which I think is pretty impressive since I was seven centimeters dilated during my first check by the triage nurse. They started an IV and we were moved to the delivery room, where I got an epidural from the nicest anesthesiologist ever (bedside manner is sort of a big deal when someone is inserting a giant needle into your spine). I am a big fan of epidurals and I’ll stop to tell you why: I know that my body was made to birth babies and I know that I could do it naturally. BUT. I also know that I don’t handle pain well and that my memory shuts down during the times that I’ve been in mind-blowing pain (like contractions), and the birth of my children is something I want to not only remember but enjoy. With the absence of pain, I felt so completely present with each birth and was able to scoop each baby up and hold them for the first time without any sensation other than joy. My positive experiences might be the exception to the rule, but that’s what they are — my experiences, and I wouldn’t change a thing about them. Epidurals for the win.

I rested in bed until I was jolted by a firm “pop” and rush of fluid. My water had finally broken (on its own! Remember when God didn’t forget about me?). I called the delivery nurse, who was the reincarnation of Mother Earth and Mother Goose (and by that I mean AWESOME), she checked me, and I was fully dilated! Woot woot! My doctor arrived in record time and we proceeded to “get this show on the road,” as they say. Except it wasn’t much of a show because five minutes and four pushes later, our perfectly perfect little man was welcomed into the world and I clutched him to my chest in all of his glorious amniotic wetness. “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you. Thank you.”

Oscar Maxwell Piersol was born on September 13th, 2012 at 8:05am, after only four and a half hours of labor. He was 7 pounds 13 ounces and 20.5 inches long.

I loved my hospital birth. I never felt disempowered. Oscar was never taken from me without permission or explanation. I felt nothing but taken care of by every nurse we ever had. I felt safe and informed and understood.

I had worried this whole pregnancy that I couldn’t love another kid as much as I love my first kid, but then this kid looked me in the eyes and I fell completely in love. I’m in love, you guys. Three times over.

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1. Sunless sky

2. Toy Story 2

3. Doodling

4. Oscar watches Toy Story 2

5. Elementary fort building

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Remember when I was all “Husband is quitting his job to go to school and we’re going to take out loans and it’s going to be awesome”?

Yeah. That’s not happening.

We needed a cosigner for the private loan. What we thought would be one simple question for one simple person turned into one million questions for five different people over the course of forever. God was making it complicated. On purpose, probably, because He is so funny. Ha. Ha.

Forever story short, all of our attempts to obtain a cosigner were declined. It’s funny because we were convinced that this was what we were supposed to do and yet all the little doors were being closed even after the big one had been opened. Yeah, yeah, lesson learned. It’s also funny because two important things happened before we got the final “NO”: Husband got a massive-unprecedented-“are you sure that’s right?” raise at work AND God totally changed our hearts toward our original “plan.” Basically, by the time it was all over, we were both relieved. So we’ll wait another year, because if Brandon really is supposed to get this degree, God will make a way. He always does.

Besides, we have some great plans for this year. We will not be waiting in vain. We’ll have another squishy babe to squeeze and so many dinners together and people to enjoy. For whatever reason, we are supposed to have this year to ourselves and Husband is supposed to keep his really, really great job and what could be bad about that?

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We had an actual weekend this weekend which never happens. I felt like someone had given me a gift, a much-needed gift before Husband left to get paid to geek out in super secret Apple land until Thursday. I tried really hard not to marry anyone cool, like a rockstar, and I totally succeeded with my computer dweeb of a man.

I mean, I think you’re cool, babe. Really super cool.

Saturday was spent swimming in the pool (I have a tomato-red belly to show for it) and digging in the garden. It’s a little known fact that if you dig at the same rocks for 1+ hours magical (read: imaginary) plants will grow. Who knew?

The evening consisted of our BFFs, Settlers of Catan, slushees, and many, many brownies. Sugar hangover: 3, me: 0.

On Sunday, we saw the new Wes Anderson movie, Moonrise Kingdom. It was, as a good friend put it, nearly perfect.

And then Husband left for California yesterday and I loaded the dishwasher and this means that something is wrong because I always wash dishes by hand so Husband should probably come home now before I do something even more crazy like alphabetize the spices or go grocery shopping. Wait, that’s a real thing that people do.

Oh, dear.

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On having zero debt and then having all the debt.

We have been debt free our entire marriage — even before that, actually — save for some small personal loans from family that have been paid off / forgiven / are almost paid off. Now we’ve made the decision to enter into some serious, serious debt, and it is the best thing we could possibly do for our little family.

Husband has been in school for a, uh, really long time. It’s taken so long because he, of course, has to work full time, and with a family, that really only leaves room to take (online) classes part time without dying. Except he has been dying.

This is what our life has looked like:

Husband works 8 to 5, does homework from 5:30 to 10, goes to sleep (dead).

I single-parent from when E wakes up at 7 until he goes to bed at 8, then read books or blogs, then go to sleep (also dead).

The end. The WORST.

The fact is that if we continue with this life, Brandon will graduate in 200 years and miss every important moment in his sons’ lives and I’ll shrink to invisibility. He will have a degree but will not have a relationship with his family. Yes, Pell grants have covered all his tuition. But is it really financially responsible to remain debt free but want to kill yourself? I’m being dramatic but I’m also being serious.

We’ve prayed and thought and searched and then prayed harder for a solution to this. Brandon’s heart has always been to teach, and more recently it has been to teach the Bible, so we started looking into Arizona Christian University. It is the world’s smallest school (<– probably not an accurate fact) but almost 100% of their alumni are successfully doing what they went to school to do. Many of the professors also teach at Phoenix and Fuller Seminary or do important political, church, and activist stuff. Basically, it’s Brandon’s dream school. He wasn’t confident in applying because his GPA is less than lustrous (being dead will do that to you), but after meeting with an advisor there and praying endlessly, he couldn’t shake the duty he felt to try, at least. We also had no idea how we were going to afford it, and life, but God does crazy stuff. So we went for it.

He applied on a Monday and was accepted that Thursday.

Praise, praise, praise God.

We flirted with the idea of Brandon working part time while going to ACU full time, just to keep that door open and to keep some earned money coming in, but have felt sincerely convicted that that isn’t how we’re supposed to do this. It would be the same life, only flipped — school full time, work part time, sleep, death. So we, my friends, will be living entirely off of debt. And you know what? I look at the five, potentially six figures we will owe the government and the bank and I smile. I welcome it. My family will be whole. My marriage will be whole. I’ll have my best friend back and he’ll be pursuing his dream and then he’ll be living it, which means we’ll all be living it, and how could we not have joy at that? I’ll tie pretty ribbons and thank-you notes around the money we pay back. After all, it is impermanent, fleeting, gone in a second, but my people, my men, our families and our community — they are foreverso we choose to invest in them.

It will be worth it to have Brandon doing what he wants in two years instead of 200. It will be worth it to be making a real living instead of a retail living. It will be worth it to have dinner together again.

It will be worth it.

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