Gannon’s Birth Story

February 19th, 2019. My dad was recovering in the hospital from a failed attempt to remove a tumor from his right lung. Craig and I came up to see him in the hospital. The next morning we had an ultrasound to check on Baby #2 who was much much larger than expected. I was measuring 44 weeks pregnant and was told to expect a 10+ pound baby. They told me I needed a c-section as I had a shoulder dystocia with Carver at 8lbs 6oz. There was “no way” I could attempt a vaginal delivery with Gannon.

The C-section was schedule for my 39 week mark. March 4th. I was devastated. I had planned my entire life around having the baby the week of February 25th. I had work off, it worked out with my Dad’s surgery schedule, I was so uncomfortable, I begged them to take me early. Keep in mind, I was measuring 44 WEEKS PREGNANT at 38 weeks pregnant while balancing 2 jobs and a 2 year old at home. They wouldn’t budge.

That weekend we had a horrible blizzard. Roads were shut down for days. We spent the entire day Sunday nestled in on the couch listening to the -20 below winds howl. Roads were not passable. Tow ban in effect. Northeast Iowa was SHUT. DOWN.

I couldn’t sleep for anything Sunday night. This giant baby kept kicking my bladder and as the night went on I knew something was up. I started bleeding.

I was covering childcare for mom so she could stay in the hospital with Dad. I was already awake when my alarm went off. I went to the bathroom one more time and as I stood to pull my pants up, my water broke.

YES! I was going to have a baby. BUT THE ROADS WERE STILL SHUT DOWN!

I called my mom frantically. Who was going to watch childcare kids? We can’t even get out of our driveway! What do we do with Carver? How’s Dad? Is he coming home today? Oh my God this is such a mess. I’m leaking all over. Where’s Craig? No mom I’m NOT calling 911…

Oh boy…That was a contraction…

“CRAIG! MY WATER BROKE!”

Well we did get out of our driveway. We found someone to cover childcare. I did call 911 to ask someone to plow out our road. Contractions did pick up. No maxi pad made on this earth could contain my amniotic fluid. Craig rolled his eyes when I made him go get me a wheelchair once we got the hospital – not because I couldn’t walk but every time I took a step I leaked even more and I had new boots I didn’t want to ruin.

On our way to the hospital

They actually had to test me to make sure it was amniotic fluid. I remember laughing and laughing because DUH! OBVIOUSLY! No one in this world has enough pee in their bladder to get those two confused. Those contractions were getting harder and harder as we waited. I remember telling my nurse, “Yeah these are kind of starting to suck a lot.” She reassured me we were soon on our way to the OR.

3 hours after my water broke, in an OR suite my 8 POUND 12 OUNCE boy was born. Gannon was no where near the 10+ pounds they told us he would be.

At 38 weeks gestation, Gannon Joseph Friedman was born via cesarean section at 10:34 am in Decorah, Iowa weighing 8 lbs and 12 ounces measuring 22 inches long.

They placed him in the crook of my neck. I will never forget those moments with him. The warmth of his body against mine. His little tiny hands on my cheek. Maybe it was the morphine in my spine but it was pure euphoria.

I kept asking him “What’s your name?” We had a few ideas before we came into the hospital but nothing concrete. I could not shake the feeling that his name needed to start with a G. I kept saying the G sound over and over.

G G G G G. Craig agreed. “Grant? Graham? Gavin? I really like Grant!” We had Jennings, Gentry, Brannon, and Graham all in mind before we came to the hospital but there was only one name that clicked:

“Gannon.” I had only heard that name once before. Makinzey McKee on Teen Mom 3 named her baby Gannon and I’ve always liked the name. Plus I love first names that sound like last names. Craig agreed. Now we needed a middle name. It was pretty easy – my mom’s nickname is Jo and I want a baby named after her somehow and I don’t know if we will ever get a girl so Joseph (my mom’s name is Jo) it is!

Our WONDERFUL OB nurse showing me Gannon

In recovery we sat with our OB nurse who we just loved. (You’re so great Steph!) She helped us go through names, helped me breastfeed, checked on me and Gannon, wrote his name out on the board so we could see how it looked or if we liked it. She took care of us the next few days too. She always made sure to include Craig in the process which we both appreciated.

Breastfeeding Gannon was such a wonderful experience and I hope if/when we have a third that I will be able to do so again. I breastfed all the way to 4 months! Breastfeeding Carver was MISERABLE and I would NEVER wish that experience on anyone. I only lasted 8 weeks.

Mom and Dad were our first visitors. They stopped in on the way home from Lacrosse after being discharged after dad’s surgery. Dad wasn’t feeling well AT ALL and the visit was cut short.

Craig and I soaked up baby snuggles the entire afternoon until we had a very special visitor come…

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1 Year of Gannon

Yesterday was a blog post all about Gannon and Georgia. Today it’s all about Gannon because IT IS HIS BIRTHDAY TOMORROW! That’s right, we will have a one year old!

As a part of his Keystone Early Access assessment we had to talk about all the things we love about Gannon which is so so easy.

Gannon is the easiest baby ever. He is so content. Gannon is so observant. Gannon is kind and CUTE. Gannon is our empath and knows exactly when a snuggle is needed. Speaking of snuggles, he is so loving and truly sweet. He is resilient and slow to anger. He is everything I could have hoped for in a son. The very best part about Gannon is he is SUCH a Mama’s BOY! 🙂

I now present to you, one year of Gannon Joseph Friedman.

2 minutes
4 days
1 week
3 weeks
6 weeks
2 months
2.5 months
3 months
3.5 months
4 months
4.5 months
5 months
5.5 months
6 months
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Gannon and Georgia

Gannon and Georgia have their birthday party today! We aren’t planning anything elaborate – we will take lots of pictures to share later in the week!

Gannon is my one year old son, his birthday is Tuesday. Georgia is my sister Kelli’s daughter (named after me, Kalissa Georgia Friedman) and she turns one year old on March fourth. They are exactly one week apart.

In such a dark year for our family, these two have been such a light for us. They made us laugh, they distracted us, they reminded us just how precious life can be.

Born one week apart, I present to you Gannon and Georgia aka G1 and G2, the cousin twins, Gorgeous Georgeous and Ganjo, Pie Girl and Ganny:

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My name is Kalissa and I’m a workaholic.

I work too much.

I. Work. Way. Too. Much.

I’m at the tail end of a 21 day stretch. That means I have not had a day off since February 2nd. I’ve worked every single day including overnights and early mornings, anywhere between 6 hours/day to 12 hours/day. As you’re reading this, I am getting off a 12 hour shift and I have 48 hours of time off.

I’ve learned a lot about myself and my stretch-ability in the past 21 days. I want to share this with you not only because it will make a good blog post but as a good reminder when I’m ready to jump feet first into two jobs again next fall why I might need to reconsider.

  1. I can DO anything. I can physically make my body arrive on time and make myself do the things I need to do. I can stay awake a full 12 hours after working an overnight. THAT DOESN’T MEAN I SHOULD. That doesn’t mean that I should. That doesn’t mean that I should. That also doesn’t mean I’m doing a good job or that I’m pleasant to be around or that I’m truly present. It means that when the going gets tough, so do I. That doesn’t mean I should.
  2. If you don’t prepare, you won’t be prepared. Remember my blog post about productive days? It is still one of my most popular posts – I’ll link it below. How can one possibly prepare for 21 straight days of work? The answer is: you can’t. So you’re not prepared. The laundry is never ending, fast food is so much easier than meal prep at 4 am before work, heck I didn’t even have enough time to leave Craig a to do list.
  3. Time home is time spent wishing you were sleeping. I have no energy to give my family when I get home. We sit on the couch and watch TV together and go to bed by 8 pm at the latest. That’s not living. That’s not fair to the boys.
  4. Marriages need maintenance. When I’m always gone and running and swinging between one job and another, Craig and I barely have enough time for hello and goodbye and handing off the boys. There is no room for a date night or real conversation beyond the “need to know” like “HI! has Gannon pooped? Was Carver good at daycare? Can you empty the pop cans? Supper is in the fridge. BYE!” That’s not fun for anyone.
  5. That’s not fair to the boys. Period. It just isn’t.
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Family night at the Kramer house!

I had the best night last week.

Craig hadn’t met our new nephew JASPER yet. Kayla brought him up north to my mom’s house to visit! My sister Kelli was there with my niece Georgia. Craig and I brought the boys, Karl was there too! It was so much fun!

Comparing forehead wrinkles

We all just hung out, had a few drinks, made some pizza and played with the kiddos! We all get along pretty good and even more so now after having kids. We were missing our brother Buck, his girlfriend Lora and their kids Scotty and Lucy.

Kelli let Carver “write” all of the birthdays in her planner. This is so cringey. NO ONE writes in my planner but me! Kelli is so brave and Carver had so much fun he stopped a few times mid-writing to give Kelli a hug and tell her he loved her.

Here is Auntie Kelli with the cousin twins Gannon and Georgia! They are having a joint birthday party next weekend when they turn one! Kelli is so good with kids. She’s so naturally maternal. We all made pizza/supper and she kept the kids occupied.

I got to do one of my favorite things: take pictures. I told you last week that I invested in my new Macbook Pro. Well, now my eyes are set on a DSLR camera so I can launch into photography. As for now, I have a lot of fun with my iPhone 11. I love catching candid photos. Check these out:

Then it was time to meet cousin Carver. He did SO WELL with him. Jasper on the other hand Jasper did not do so well with Carver until he got his passy. Carver did so well and was even rubbing his head. He just loves babies, he always has.

While we had good lighting we thought we would try and get a few cousin pictures. You can see how well that went:

We love family nights and this one was especially fun!I can’t wait to watch all these cousins grow up together! What a fun bunch!

Thanks for tuning in! See you all again tomorrow!


Also – let’s stay in touch! If I came out with a newsletter – would you subscribe? Let’s be more than friends… and by that I mean can I slide into your inbox once in awhile? No spam, I promise! Your email is safe with me.

Dad’s Real Plate

My Dad HATED paper plates. In hindsight, I don’t really know why. Mom would dish out paper plates to all of us kids, especially on pizza night. Dad would always say, “I want a REAL plate not a paper plate!”

One day I found a plastic plate that looked just like a paper plate. It was his father’s day present one year when I was still in high school. The plate was moved to my parent’s new house in town and just the other day, (remember how I said our favorite pizza place has $13 supreme pizzas this month? Yeah – we’ve been using that coupon to the full extent) we brought mom some pizza.

Craig told me to just use paper plates to save on dishes. I went in the cupboard and found this. Roger’s “real” plate. It made me smile.

The past two weeks have just been really heavy. I’ve really been missing Dad and so has Carver. Craig mentioned how he misses talking to him about woodworking and having someone to talk farming with. I think we are all in a bit of a slump. Carver has been talking about Papa Moo non-stop which is great but makes a hard day a little harder. There are little reminders are everywhere. Some days they make me laugh, some days they bring me to my knees.

Thanks for reading. See you all again tomorrow morning bright and early at 0530.

For more content on grieving and the loss of my father, check out more posts from my “Fatherless Daughter” category or see these posts:

This may be awkward..

I once had ringworm on my butt cheek.

Yup. That’s how this blog post is going to start.

I was about 8 or 9 years old and my mom took me to the doctor. I was so nervous to show someone my actual butt. Turns out, the treatment for ring worm is over the counter Lotrimin.

Every day, my mom would take me into our teeny tiny bathroom that all 7 of us shared in the farm house and spray Lotrimin cream on my butt cheek.

This was all very private. None of my siblings knew about my “issue” until one day, we were all sitting around the kitchen table and my mom said “Come on Kalissa, let’s go spray your butt!”

I. Was. Mortified.

I started just bawling and was so embarrassed that everyone now knew about my personal problem. I didn’t think I’d ever live it down.

Well I did.

Why am I telling you this story? Well first of all, I’m an over sharer. Second of all, my sweet sweet Gannon.

He just loves cottage cheese!

Gannon cries when he poops.

Gannon has to have a rectal catheter to relieve gas from his bowels.

Gannon may end up with a colostomy bag some day.

Gannon’s anus may be deformed.

Gannon’s testicles never descended.

Honestly, there are things we have to do with Gannon to help him poop that make me blush that I haven’t shared.

If Gannon has what we think he has, we are forever going to be talking about Gannon’s bowels. Does he want that? Will he be embarrassed? Would you want your mom discussing your poop with the world? Will he be mad that I’ve been so open about his medical issues? Will his classmate’s mom read my blog and tell her kid about Gannon’s issues and tease him about it?

On the other hand, the less we talk about it and the more we keep it a secret, shame festers. I don’t ever want Gannon to be embarrassed or ashamed about his body. I don’t ever want him to feel like his medical problems are a secret. I want him to feel as comfortable talking about his bowel issues with me as comfortable as he is telling me he hurt his elbow. If we are going to be talking about his bowels every day for the rest of his life, we had better start with a pretty open honest conversation.

Not only that, but the more I talk about Gannon’s issues, the more awareness is brought to his condition. Maybe someone else is struggling with similar issues. Maybe some else is bouncing around between specialists desperate for answers. How can I advocate for my son if I’m embarrassed to discuss his medical issues?

I don’t know what the answer is. I imagine this is something we will decide as a family as Gannon gets older and can speak for himself. For now, I’m choosing to share. That may change. It may be limited. It’s a tough spot to be in but the support I receive by being open and honest with our struggles has proven to be worth the risk of over sharing.

Oh my sweet sweet Gannon. If you’re reading this someday, please know my intentions are pure. I would never intentionally do anything to embarrass you. Every decision we make is our best possible option at the time with the information we have. There is no manual on how to raise a sick child. I just hope I’m being the best advocate I can for you.

Thyroid Cancer Strikes Again…

My mom has thyroid cancer. If you are loyal readers on her blog or my blog, you probably already know that.

Mom was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2016. She had her thyroid completely removed and underwent radioactive iodine treatment to kill the remaining cancerous cells. They were able to measure the efficacy of the radioactive iodine by measuring a blood level called thyroglobulin tumor marker.

Mom’s number used to be 0.0 after her radioactive iodine.

Then it went up to 0.04.

Then up to 0.3.

1.2

2.3

4.6

6.9

17

27

and most recently 32.

Anything over 10 they would suspect a tumor to be visible. We’ve been looking and looking and testing and scanning and retesting and scanning and biopsy after biopsy we could never find the cause of her rising tumor marker.

Until last week. A lymph node behind mom’s trachea doubled in size since last October. It is now 13 mm up from 7 mm. That sounds bad right? No, that’s good.

We’ve been watching and waiting and hoping and praying we can find SOMETHING to explain her rising result. We found it.

The placement of the lymph node sucks. Your neck literally connects your brain to your body. Think of the blood flow that goes through the neck. Think of the nerves that pass through the neck. Now imagine having to remove something BEHIND your adams apple. Easier said than done.

Mom needs surgery to have it removed. The surgery is honestly risky. The lymph node is right next to the nerve that controls her voice. Not only that but when they make an incision on her neck, it is so vascular the amount of blood can make it so hard to see. Once they clear that out, now imagine finding a lymph node a little bigger than the size of a pea right next to an extremely important nerve.

Needless to say, we wanted to find the cancer but would have preferred it be more accessible. Because it is considered a “risky” surgery, we aren’t rushing to get it out. We want to make absolutely CERTAIN that this lymph node is the absolute culprit which means one more needle biopsy guided by a CT scan. Now whether that can be done at Gundersen or if mom has to go to Mayo is up in the air.

Even though I worked overnight the night before, Kelli and I rode along for mom’s appointment last week.

We missed our turn again which we always seem to do. The last time we missed our turn we were on our way to Dad’s last day of radiation. Mom and I knew things weren’t good. We were talking a lot about what the future looked like and how we might have to live without Dad. We laughed and cried and laughed some more that when we actually paid attention to the road we were an hour off course. Luckily, we caught ourselves earlier this time but it did take us on the same beautiful road it did last May. The frost was beautiful.

It’s sometimes haunting to go to Gundersen. There are memories of the weeks Dad spent in the hospital everywhere. Kelli and I were so so pregnant when Dad had his big lung surgery. Here we are in the same hallway by the same parking ramp. I had just finished up my last day of work before I had Gannon.

I remember mom forgot some of her medications when she was staying in the hospital with Dad. Mom didn’t want Dad to worry about her or know she wasn’t taking her medications so we arranged to have her prescriptions sent to this pharmacy in the hospital.

The carts whizzing by carrying patients around the hospital reminded me of when I was one week post c-section with Gannon and Dad had a pleural effusion and I took them both up to Lacrosse. Dad wasn’t up to par yet from his surgery and I was still sore but we made it. Mom wanted us to ride on one of those carts but we decided we could get by without one. I had Gannon in the wagon in his infant car seat just like we had Georgia tagging along in the wagon this time. Just being at Gundersen brought back so many memories of last Spring when we spent so much time at the hospital.

We’ve had a lot of talk about Papa Moo lately. Carver carries his picture around all the time. He had lots of questions the other night.

“Is Papa Moo alive?”

“Where did him go?”

“Is he living at the cemetary?”

“Where does Jesus live?”

“Why Papa have that on him neck?”

“I miss him SOOO much.”

“Can we go see him?”

“Me want him to come to ours house.”

“I want to ride in the combine with him.”

Oh Carver John. I wish I had the answers for you. I just don’t.

Papa Moo has been heavy on my mind too. Especially heading up again for mom’s cancer appointments. Not to mention the anniversary of his diagnosis and surgeries. The memories and medical updates keep popping up in my memories on Facebook. Carver begged to go see his “rock” at the cemetery. They hadn’t plowed the driveway yet so we looked from the road.

One day at a time, friends. One day at a time.

That’s all I have for today. Check back tomorrow at 0530 for another post.


Also – let’s stay in touch! If I came out with a newsletter – would you subscribe? Let’s be more than friends… and by that I mean can I slide into your inbox once in awhile? No spam, I promise! Your email is safe with me.

Let’s Summarize! A Week with the Friedman Fam!


My little Johnny Jumper Boy (that’s my nickname for Carver) is getting too big for 3T pajamas! I feel like I JUST switched him to 3T and now we are on to 4T! Oh my little boy, don’t grow up too fast! Look how short those jammies are! What do you call pajamas at your house? Jammies? PJs? Pajamas? My nephew Scotty calls them “Night wear”


My new favorite go to freezer meal! I found these in the “healthy” freezer section at WalMart – I had a little bit of sticker shock at $3.69 per meal but they are delicious, they are ready in 4.5 minutes, AND it is better than spending $12 on food delivery at work! These are great for days when I haven’t packed my lunch. I just keep a few in the freezer at work!


My mom made Craig his favorite: fruit brownies. Here’s the thing, if I make a pan of brownies, I literally have 0 self control. I will eat the pan of brownies. Therefore, I rely on my mom to make sweets. If I want rice pudding (my favorite) I send her a text and WAH-LAH! RICE PUDDING! She’s amazing! So when Craig begged for fruit brownies, she obliged. Here’s the recipe if you’re interested! A word of advice, these are best consumed in the first 48 hours after they are made. Here’s the recipe:


Carver took a pretty hard hit! He was racing his combine, the combine hit the lip between the kitchen and dining room at just the wrong angle and he went head over combine face first and got a bloody nose. We always use “wet washcloths” to solve any and all boo boos at our house (a trick my mom used on me so many times) and he was all better.


I found a delicious veggie roasting seasoning for my meal prep for the week! I found this by the seasoning at Walmart and of course. I’m obsessed with frozen veggies so it was a no brainer! I highly recommend! I tried to be stingy and only use one packet to cover two pans of veggies, I would recommend one packet per pan of veggies!


BRRRR!!! Northeast Iowa has been hit hard with COLD air this week! As you can see (I need to fill up with gas) -22 in my car on Friday morning on my way to clinicals! Craig has still been working on the farm but mostly stays in the shop/garage doing maintenance work when it gets this cold.


I didn’t realize how much FOOD content I have in this blog post but WOWZA! I needed a quick meal and I had fresh smoked chops from the New Albin meat market so I made veggie omelets with spinach, mushrooms, onions, and peppers to go along with hash browns in my air fryer! YUM! Carver even ate some of his pork chop! (He doesn’t like to try anything new)


We got plenty of snow last weekend. I worked overnights Friday Saturday and Sunday. One of my favorite co workers scraped all that snow off for me! Thanks Jen! I know you’re a loyal reader 🙂 While we got probably 6 inches it was on the weekend so there weren’t many delays or cancellations – nothing like last year! UGH that was awful! We got HORRIBLE snow storms, blizzards, and even a polar vortex. Needless to say, this winter has been pretty mild in comparison.


I’ve got a sleepy little Gannon here who fell asleep in his supper! Don’t mind the red cheeks – Gannon is usually a little rosy.


This just hit me right in the feels having not worn makeup for about the past MONTH straight. YOLO!


We bought Frozen II. We totally could have waited for it to come out on Disney Plus but it is honestly probably one of my favorite movies right now(along with the Wolfe of Wallstreet – what a combo). We all watched it yesterday. Craig hasn’t seen it yet and he loved it too!


Don’t miss out on a single post! Here are the past 5 posts – check them out!


That’s all I have for today folks! Check back tomorrow at 0530 for a new blog post!

Also – let’s stay in touch! If I came out with a newsletter – would you subscribe? Let’s be more than friends… and by that I mean can I slide into your inbox once in awhile? No spam, I promise! Your email is safe with me.

I TREATED MYSELF!

I remember my first Apple product – a purple iPod nano. I had saved my babysitting money and when I finally had the $240 to spend, and even though I wanted an ipod touch, I got my iPod nano. As soon as I held it in my hands, I knew it was such a higher quality than all my other mP3 players I had gone through in the past.

A few years later, my music library outgrew my iPod nano and I upgraded to an iPod classic. I still have it to this day, I’ll bet if I found a charger and plugged her in she would be ready to go. I remember it had 256 GB which was an insane amount of storage space in 2011.

When it was time to get a phone, iPhones weren’t really a thing yet. My first phone was a banter and it even had a green case on it like the one pictured here. I remember it well. It was my phone when I had my first real boyfriend and I would text him incessantly. When it was time to get a smart phone, I gravitated towards androids. I had every version of the S series up until my S5.

Flash forward a few years and I was running my LuLaRoe business when I purchased an iPad to complete sales transactions. It was okay but I honestly didn’t use it as much as I thought I would and I still don’t.

BUT I could definitely tell a quality difference in the processing system. Everything was smoother and more sophisticated compared to the androids and windows I had grown up with. It convinced me to take a leap into the Apple world once and for all. I bought an iPhone.

I. Will. Never. Go. Back.

As I’m sitting at my desk typing this blog post, I have an iPhone 11 setting next to me as I’m wearing my Apple watch, listening to Netflix through my Apple air pods and typing on my NEW MAC BOOK PRO! That’s right, I fully committed to Apple and invested in a Mac Book Pro.

I’m in love you guys. I’ve been researching MacBooks and I’ve almost bought one several times since I started my blog.

I’ve had a 15 inch lap top and I thought it was too bulky. I wanted something compact so I settled on a 13 inch.

I felt like the Macbook Air wasn’t sophisticated enough for my needs so I settled on the Macbook Pro.

I knew I needed GHz to process video if I ever decide to run a Vlog (would you watch it??) so I picked the 2.4 GHz vs. the 1.8 GHz.

A friend recommended getting more than the 128 GBs so I went with the 256 GBs.

  • Then with Best Buy ad match, my total went from $1,799 to $1,599.
  • 3 years of Apple Care (which would essentially replace my laptop) was $256.
  • Plus taxes.

BAM! I did it! I bought it guys! I treated myself and invested in my blog! My favorite thing about this laptop is that I paid for it in CASH! I worked like crazy, saved my money, learned about the product, waited for the right time and it is all mine. I feel like I’m so much more appreciative of it now that I waited so long for it.

I can see myself working on blog posts on the go, editing videos in my bed, laying on the couch watching a movie with the fam, and enjoying my 10+ hours of battery life where as I was tethered to an outlet with my HP laptop.

I have yet to regret investing in an Apple product and I know I’ll be satisfied with my new Macbook as well. Needless to say, I’m an Apple lover through and through!

I just ordered a carrying sleeve and hard case to protect it from certain curious three year olds. I jokingly sent a snap chat of my new lap top to Craig with the caption “Baby #3!” because I really am that excited about it!

Thanks for reading today guys! Check back tomorrow at 0530 for more content! I hope you have a wonderful day!