Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Happy First Birthday to My Little Miracle

Dear Little Sweet Pea,

I cannot believe how quickly the past year has flown. It has been an incredible blessing, and I have not taken one day for granted. You have been my little sunshine. I thank God every day for blessing our family with your sweet little personality. You were very wanted, and always will be. You have grown and filled my heart with endless joy.

Over the past year you went to Six Flags, Hurricane Harbor, and took your first plane trip and went to Disney World where we got to spend time with uncle Birdman. Grandma and grandpa came for the day you were born, and again when you were blessed. Grandma and your cousin K came for your first birthday party.

You learned how to crawl when you were about 8 months old and never looked back. You're not quite walking yet, but you are such a laid back, easy going baby, I never worry about you hitting milestones. You always seem to do things in your own time. What's the hurry? You'll get there when you're ready.

People comment all of the time about how happy and easy going you are. You love to smile, and you very rarely fuss. You have the most adorable little laugh, and the sweetest little smile. You LOVE to be held and to snuggle. Mama loves to kiss you endlessly, and you are definitely the apple of daddy's eye. It seems that no one in this world can hold a candle to your big sister as far as you're concerned. You have a smile and giggle that you reserve only for her. She can make you laugh and laugh. The two of you were as close from the day you were born as I dreamed you would be. I know that you two will be best friends forever.

You are definitely a people person. You love to be in your walker so you can follow mama around and run over my toes. You are also content to just hang out next to me in you walker, like the day we sat outside and put a new lawn mower together to surprise daddy. You follow me almost everywhere and tug on my pants to tell me you want to be held. I will hold you no matter how much my arms or back hurt. I savor each and every moment I have with you.

Right now you only have two little teeth on the bottom. As a result, you aren't much of a solid eater yet. I don't mind. I like to snuggle with you and feed you a bottle. It won't last forever, so I'm soaking it up. You do love your yogurt bites and rice crackers though. I love the way you squeal and get excited when you see the packages.

While you can say "mama" and "daddy", your first word was definitely "Hi!" You LOVE to say "Hi" to mommy and daddy over and over. Sometimes you wave when you say hi too. You love to clap and say "Yay!" as well. You can even give high fives!

Another thing you absolutely love is the bunny, Olaf. Oh boy do you love that bunny! You will crawl over to his cage, and mama has to try to keep your fingers out of there. You squeal with delight when mama pulls him out because you want to pet his soft little head.

Sweet Pea, this last year has been AMAZING. I am so beyond blessed that you were strong and beat the odds to make it here into our hearts and arms. I can't wait to see what the next year brings as you learn to walk and talk and travel the world with us. I can't wait to get your first passport! I promise life will never be dull in this family. Thank you for being so strong, amazing, and sweet.

I love you with all of my heart for ever and always.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Don't Judge Me

I am a working mother. I work 40 hours a week, and spend about an hour going to and from work, including picking up kids from school and daycare. I get an hour for lunch every day. My days start at 7:00 a.m. and end somewhere around 10:00, with me in bed by about 11:00 and maybe, if I'm lucky, asleep by midnight.

From Monday to Friday I am working, going to meetings, stressing, meeting deadlines, socializing with coworkers to keep my sanity, working, stressing, and so on. I usually don't make it home until an hour before our bedtime routine begins. I get one hour to feed Little Bean, play with the baby, do a little tidying, and whatever else demands immediate attention. Then its time to bathe the baby and get her ready for bed. After which, it is time to get everyone else ready for bed, including getting Little Bean bathed, into pajamas, spending some snuggle time with her, then putting her to bed; feeding the dogs, the fish, and the gerbils; getting myself showered and ready for bed; and then hopefully spending an hour or so snuggling with Hubs before its time to go to bed.

Do I make choices with my time? Absolutely. Do I feel like I always make those choices wisely? No, not always.

As a working mom, there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs to be. My house constantly look like a tornado named after Little Bean tore through it. Most days I choose to spend time with my hard-won babies instead of cleaning, putting the latter off until the weekend. My kitchen always has dishes in the sink. I constantly have dog fur tumble weeds hiding near baseboards and under furniture. There is a layer of dust on almost all surfaces. My carpets could stand to be vacuumed twice a week, instead of one. But I try to make my kids a priority. It doesn't always work that way because sometimes the mess stresses me out so much, I can't stand another minute looking at the chaos. So, some days I clean at the expense of being with my kids.

When my children need to go to the doctor, I have to take them during a workday. Same thing if I have to go to the doctor, or the dogs have to go to the vet. I have to schedule my home life around meetings and workloads. When my children are sick, I get to work from home.

On my weekends I get two days a week to play catchup. Two days to:
  • Clean the house (no small task)
  • Vacuum the entire house
  • Really good and clean the kitchen
  • Do 4+ loads of laundry, fold it, and put it away
  • Wash the fountain dog water dish
  • Clean the gerbil cage
  • Clean the fish tank (yes, this needs to be done weekly)
  • Grocery shop, which usually includes going to 3+ stores
  • Put gas in the car
Add to this mix any "extra-curricular" activities, such as shopping for clothes or fun, going to out for enjoyment, etc.

The problem is, by the time the weekend rolls around, I am so exhausted that when I wake up on Saturday mornings all I want to do is climb back into bed. I usually try to drag myself around the house to clean, or go out to the store to get some weekly shopping in. My thought process is usually wondering what I can push off to a night during the week, knowing full well that if I don't do it on the weekend, it won't get done. Most Saturdays I make the choice to take a much needed nap. My weeks are long, stressful, and draining. I just can't muster the energy to catch up around the house.

I was raised Christian, and as such, that Sundays were meant to be a day of rest. I try very hard to not go out on Sundays, but some weeks I am so behind I have to go out and do our weekly grocery shopping, or mow the lawn, or finish cleaning the house. As a working mom, I don't get much of a break. I have to do everything stay-at-moms do in a couple hours during the week, or on my weekends.

Is my working a choice? Yes and no. I enjoy working. I wish that I could work part time to find a better balance between work and family, but my job is full-time. I love what I do and where I work and the people I work with.

I do the best I can for my children. I try to give them everything I can to make sure they grow up well-adjusted, knowing they were loved, and that their mom did the best she could by them. We put them in the best schools and in the most loving, caring hands for daycare. They don't want for much.

All I ask for at the end of the day is to be appreciated and to have my efforts recognized. I am asking to be respected for what I do; everything that I do. I am not asking for a pity party, and I sure as hell am not asking to be judged. I always tell my family I am amazing, but I'm not so amazing that I can do everything all at once. Sometimes my house is a disaster. Sometimes I shop on Sunday. Sometimes I drink caffeine to keep me going. But dammit, I am doing the best I can.

I am a working mother.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Long Dry Spell

I think three months is officially the longest I have gone without blogging since I started back in 2007. To be honest, the only reason I'm doing it now is because I have to babysit a download to prevent it from failing, it is 10:30 p.m., and my kids are in bed.

Why has it been so long? Well, having two kids is more work than I realized it was going to be. That combined with the holidays left no time for blogging, and put it to the furthest thing from my mind. I don't have time to update or read, so I don't stress about it and just don't do it. I'm writing all of this so that Sweet Pea understands one day why I didn't blog about all of her babyhood. That being said, she has a better kept baby book than Baby Bean did. lol

Obviously a lot has gone on in the past three months. Little Bean got to go trick-or-treating four times at Halloween and dressed up as So.fia the F.irst or Rapun.zel, depending on how she felt that day. Sweet Pea dressed up as an adorable sheep. Apparently I don't have those pictures on my computer, so here is another one from that month instead. This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of the girls.

The biggest and best is that Sweet Pea went on her first vacation! We took the family to Disney World in November and met my little brother there for a week of good times. Little Bean LOVED Disney World. Sweet Pea didn't care a whole lot. She did get to go on a couple of rides, but she slept a lot. I bought her a new stroller for the trip so that it was compact enough to travel, yet would almost completely recline and had an awesome sunshade. That stroller was put through it paces and passed with flying colors.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from that trip.

Shortly after returning home from that trip, and the day before Thanksgiving, I had foot surgery. I'm still stuck in a boot for a few more days, and can't wait to get it off.

Next came Christmas, and it was a big one. Sadly, Sweet Pea got tired about half way through and had to go down for a nap before she could see all of her gifts. Luckily, Little Bean didn't mind helping unwrap all of them in her absence.

Little Bean got her first bike, complete with training wheels; a whole bunch of books, both beginning reader books for her and bedtime story books; tons of Disney princess stuff; lots of So.pia the F.irst toys; and other miscellaneous things.

Sweet Pea got a "Ro.ll Arou.nd Car" that doesn't actually move, a bunch of interactive baby toys, and some clothes.

Things going on with Sweet Pea:
  • She's still wearing her helmet, but her head looks so AWESOME. I can't believe the difference. Now we are just waiting for her to be able to pull herself into a sitting position, and its So Long Helmet!
  • At 8-months-old she still has yet to break through a tooth.
  • She loves to sit unassisted and play with her toys.
  • Her favorite mode of getting around is rolling.
  • She talks up a storm! Her favorite word is "mama" (YES!).
  • She LOVES her big sister and lights up whenever she walks in the room. Only sister can get her to giggle the way she does.
  • She cries when I leave the room.
  • She loves to be held and to snuggle. In fact, I think she prefers it most times. When all else fails to soothe her, snuggle.
Little Bean still loves being a big sister more than anything. It is the best thing in the world to sit and snuggle with my girls.

Well, I think that is it for me for now. Its bedtime, and I am one tired mama. Until next time!

P.S. Spelling mistakes are likely, as I hurried to write this and am not spell checking before posting. :D

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I Wanted to be a Teacher

Sometimes I wonder why I am so open about what goes on in my life. As I was thinking about it tonight, I realized its because I have always wanted to be a teacher. When I first went to college, my major was going to be secondary education. I wanted to be a high school English teacher. That dream was squashed when I transferred from a junior college to a university, and the university basically told me I was going to start my education over again and would be there for 5 more years.

Even though I didn't end up being an English teacher, I ended up in a profession where I essentially teach. I even create trainings on a regular basis because it is what I like doing, and I'm good at it.

To go from teaching and writing to educating the world about the other side isn't that much of a stretch. Sometimes I think about not writing about what is going on in my life, but at the end of the day, I like to provide prospective and education to others who have no idea what it is like to experience infertility, post partum anxiety, and now a baby with plagiocephaly.

Last Wednesday, Sweet Pea got her new helmet. Over the last few days, we have slowly been breaking her into wearing it 23 hours a day. The first day she wore it for an hour, and then was free from it for an hour all day. The second day was two hours on, one hour off. The third was four hours on, one hour off and napping in it. Today was 8 hours on, napping, and finally going to bed with it on. Tomorrow starts our first 23 hour day.

I have gone back and forth on how I feel about this helmet. I know Sweet Pea needs it because her head is so stinking flat. It looks like someone shaved off the back, right side of her head. Whenever I see it, I am all for this helmet. But then when I can't snuggle my cheek up against her head as I carry her around, I hate it. When I can't easily bestow her with my million kisses every day, I hate it. I know when it starts to stink and the rubbing alcohol won't get the smell out, I will hate it.

I won't lie, I can't wait until we can be rid of this thing. I can't wait until her head is perfectly round and beautiful. I know it will be worth it. I just wish we were closer to the end of treatment than at the very beginning. This is the only time in Sweet Pea's life that I will hope she grows quickly. The faster she grows, the faster we are done with this.

Friday night Little Bean's school had a family cookout. It was Sweet Pea's first helmet debut. What better way to show it off than to a bunch of children? It was a great way to get our feet wet with the questions, comments, and stares we will encounter over the next couple months. Everyone reacted as I expected: children asked questions, everyone stared, and most adults seemed to be just a little bit nicer than normal. One old lady even came up to me and told me her son had had to wear a helmet when he was a baby too.

Saturday was our town debut. I took the girls to Tar.get to do some grocery shopping. It went just as I thought it would. Lots of stares and kids asking questions. I won't lie, I was a bit rattled. I hated everyone staring at us. I tried to ignore everyone and just get my shopping done so we could go home. When I was putting the cart away in the parking lot, a lady came up and asked, "Is that one of those helmets?" I told her it was. She asked if Sweet Pea had to wear it because she hit her head a lot. It is so hard to not be snarky. I told her Sweet Pea just had a flat spot and we were rounding out her head. Again, I totally wanted to be snarky and say, "because my husband and I are vain like that."

I hope that at some point all of this becomes normal to me. Yes I knew it was going to be like this, and I know it is all a matter of how I handle it, but its a bit unnerving. I don't like people staring at me or my baby. I guess I will just have to make sure I do my hair everyday. If I'm going to be noticed more, they might as well think I'm put together. They already notice how adorable Sweet Pea is. I do have to give props, my baby rocks that helmet! It is cuter than I thought it would be, and she makes that helmet look downright adorable. It pushes her chubby little cheeks out and shows off her sweet little eyes. The shock of hair popping out of the top is pretty cute too.

I was going to post pictures, but they are all on my phone and I'm too lazy to go get it and plug it in right now, so it will just have to wait.

Until next time!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Latest and Greatest

This past weekend I realized how much of Little Bean's life I documented during her first couple of years. This also made me realize how much of my own life I documented, postpartum and otherwise. I often find myself needing to refer back to my blog to remember what events happened when. By not blogging lately, I have been doing Sweet Pea and I a major disservice. So on that note, let's get on with th latest and greatest.

Sweet Pea is officially going through the 4-month sleep regression, and it is hell. I'm not going to lie. The little girl will get so sleepy, she will start to cry... and cry... and cry. She gets herself so wound up, she can't go to sleep. Most of the time it doesn't matter what Hubs or I do. She gets herself into a little cycle and refuses her pacifier and all comfort that would have normally lulled her to sleep. In addition to this, she wakes up multiple times a night every night. I used to go in up to three times a night, sometimes staying in there for up to half an hour at a time, but the sleep deprivation has gotten so bad, I just can't do it anymore. Hubs handles sleep deprivation better than I do, and he seems to be able to get the baby back to sleep much better than I do, so he has been an absolute savior and gets up with her every night, sometimes 6-7 times a night and for as long as an hour and a half a night. Needless to say, we are both very tired  all of the time.

Besides the sleep regression, Sweet Pea is doing really well. She is rolling over from front to back. She is starting to giggle like crazy. Today she giggled every time I kissed her cheeks. Kissing her cheeks is no rarity. I often kiss her so much my lips are chapped. I can't kiss the baby enough.

Her baby sitter puts her in a walker during the day, and the other day, Sweet Pea walked across her front room to the window, and then sat there chatting to herself for half an hour. That night, Hubs and I went to the store and bought her a walker for home. She has already been enjoying the wonders of her Jumparoo, but a walker provides mobility! It is so hilarious to watch my 4.5-month-old walk across the room!

The only bummer news (besides the sleep regression) is Sweet Pea has plagiocephaly, which is basically when the baby's head is not symmetrical and has a flat spot. I have been working with her since she was 2-months-old, trying to get her head to round out, but it just won't. She has a giant flat spot on the back right of her head, and it is also pushing her head up. We took her to a cranial center after her last checkup, and sure enough, she needs a helmet. At first I was kind of upset. I don't want people staring at my baby. I wasn't going to tell anyone, and make sure we only took pictures when her helmet was off, or only take her out without her helmet. But I've gotten used to the idea, and I'm getting over caring if people stare or make comments. I would rather have them comment on her helmet than her noticeably flat head. I'm going to teach Little Bean how to tell people to stop staring. There's nothing like being put in your place by a 4-year-old!

As for me, well, I wish I could say I was doing awesome. This is another area of my life I thought I would keep secret, but I have decided to take the Brooke Shields approach. Just as I chose to be open about my infertility, I am going to choose to be open about my postpartum anxiety. Part of this is because I need to remember that this happened, just in case we do ever get pregnant again, I will know I went through this twice before and made it out just fine, so I can do it again.

Basically my biggest symptoms are feeling completely overwhelmed to the point on full-on panic attacks. Most days I don't care if the house is a giant mess. I would rather spend time enjoying my hard-won daughters. But every now and then, I start to freak out and everything has to be cleaned up NOW. Hubs has been amazing through all of this. I really could not have a better partner by my side. He has never once gotten upset or made me feel like he has been put out by any of this. He is so supportive and helps me out however he can, even if that is just to take the girls so I can take a nap.

Some days the sleep deprivation, combined with sensory overload from the anxiety, my body literally shuts down, and its like I'm a narcoleptic. I fall asleep no matter how hard I fight it. If I don't lay down, I won't have a choice. I remember this happening with Little Bean too.

One of the worst symptoms though is the memory loss. Some days I won't remember things that happened merely hours ago. My days run together sometimes. I forget a lot of things, and it is very bothersome. Some days I forget things only to forget I forgot them and remember later that I forgot them. Confusing, right? Tell me about it! I actually broke down yesterday and ordered a paper planner. I need to have things written down where I can see them.

Well, I need to end this post here. Hubs is waiting for me to snuggle with him and watch TV. After everything he has done for me, I can't deny him a little cuddle.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Long Overdue

Yes, I realize it has been over two months since I last posted. I think this is officially my longest blogging dry spell ever. I also realize this is probably the worst time to have a dry spell, but life just kind of got in the way, and blogging was the last thing on my mind. Since I last updated we have had all new windows put in our house, had a sprinkling system put in the yard, tore out a shower and ended up doing almost a full bathroom remodel, went back to work, and much, much more.

Over the last couple of months Sweet Pea has grown in leaps and bounds. She is rolling over, giggling, loves to stand up rather than sit, and going through the 4-month regression. She still loves to be swaddled and sleeps more soundly when she is wrapped up like a burrito. She has recently found the joy of the Jumperoo, which is one of the things I have been most looking forward to. One of the cutest things she has done so far was when she discovered her hands and looked at them endlessly for days.

Little Bean still LOVES being a big sister. It warms my heart when we pick up Sweet Pea from the babysitter and Little Bean yells her name, runs to her, and gives her hugs and kisses. She loves to hold Sweet Pea, even if Sweet Pea gets fussy. She is the best big sister ever.

Of course a million photos have been taken over the past couple months, and I will have to put together a little slide show, but until I do, here are a few good ones to wet your appetite.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

2 Months Old

Sweet Pea is already two months old. She is starting to smile up a storm and talk to us. I absolutely love hearing that little baby voice. There are times I swear she is even trying to giggle. She is finally going from newborn lump to fun infant. This is what I have been looking forward to since I found out she was on her way back in September.

Her 2-month stats are: 10.14 lbs (40th percentile) and 21 inches (39th percentile).

Currently, Sweet Pea sleeps an average of 6 hours at night, waking up around 4:00 am to eat. The other night she almost made it to 5:00 am. I go back to work in 3 weeks, so I'm hoping she can stretch out to 6:00 by then.

The best part of having a baby is starting!