Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pulling out the red recliner

When I stayed with my grandparents after Isabel was born and I was recovering. I slept in my grandpa's recliner that her graciously gave me when I moved back into my house. It even traveled with me to my sister's house when I stayed with her before I moved back. Awesome!

It was so sweet and also comfortable and familiar. It was also a well made recliner (of course because my grandpa buys quality) For the first few months of Isabel's life I slept in that recliner often, it was easier for me than getting up off the bed due to my c/s incision. I nursed Isabel often in that chair and her pack and play was right next to it so it was a good set up.

The recliner resides in our bedroom and I have stopped using it very much as Isabel tends to nurse laying down in bed.

What it is used for now is for comfort rocking when Isabel is sick. If she has an upper respiratory infection and coughing a lot sleeping against me helps her. I don't sleep but she does and I don't mind snuggling with her and just resting.

Last night, we pulled out the recliner at 1:30. Isabel was sleeping next to me and I woke up to her coughing. She was actually vomitting all over me and her.

****Turn away if you are squeamish about puke**********
I picked her up and she woke up and kept puking as I rushed her to the bathroom.

J came in and ran a bath and we cleaned her up. She was so tired poor thing but she continued to vomit.

Two pj changes later and a phone call to my mom. I decided to try to lay her down with me. I was pretty freaked out that she puked in her sleep but vowed to stay awake and watch her. It didn't take long for her to start puking again while lying down.

I scooped her up and she slept against me until 5am. She would slide off my lap and puke into a towel standing up and then I would pick her back up and lay her against me.

For some reason I turned the TV on and flipped to NOVA. It had a really depressing show on the melting of the polar ice caps due to global warming. But next was Botany of Desire. Of course I love botanical documentaries so I was thankful for something to keep me going while she was up on and off between 1:30 and 5am.

She wanted to lay down at 5am and we slept until 7am. She was surprisingly ok today. She didn't eat much but she napped, played and even snacked a bit.

I hate it when she is sick, its stressful and hard to see her suffering. Ugh.

She doesn't have a fever and didn't vomit today. I am not sure what to make of this virus. Not sure how it is going to play out and hoping tonight is better.

Today, was a daycare day and even though I could use the time to work on my dissertation, I relished the time we had together today. She's my world and my joy and even on sickie days we made the best of it. Including a little neighborhood stroll!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas moments




With all the anticipation of the holidays, the rush to buy gifts and prepare for the celebrations its easy to get caught up and well stressed. This year there is a little more heaped on with the move and finishing my dissertation.

But somehow, we managed to get a tree, gift shop and visit ALL, thats right ALL of our relatives over three days.

Not gonna lie, going into Christmas eve, I had my doubts that it was going to go smoothly with all the driving and Isabel transitioning to one nap.

We ended up showing up late almost to every stop to accommodate Isabel and prevented an overtired toddler (aka disaster).

Was it relaxing for me? Not really but there were some moments of down time I did appreciate greatly!

Here are the moments I will savor:
Our Christmas tree
Watching Isabel marvel at our Christmas tree, it was small, sweet and perfect. Picked out by my mom and me and decorated humbly with her toys but every morning when I would turn it on she would exclaim "oooooh"

Opening gifts
Isabel opened mine and J's gifts' first. It was so fun to see her actually get into opening them. She had more fun opening packages than what was in them most of the time. I loved seeing her opening her stocking handed to her by great-grandpa. Sweet!

Adorable outfits
We went through 2 Christmas pjs and 3 Christmas dresses. It was fun to see her dressed up and looking like a doll. Seriously though, she could've worn anything and looked adorable! It did inspire me to dress up a bit more for the holidays and I have to say, I enjoyed it!

Precious moments with family
Watching her play peekaboo with my IL's on Christmas morning, playing bag on the head with Auntie Jackie, dragging her grandma, aunts and uncle up and down stairs in search of her fur cousins (hiding smartly under the beds) poor kitties! Watching her color with crayon and hit my sister's couch without even seeing my sis flinch (she must LOVE Isabel ;), watching her get fed dinner by her Auntie Jolene. I just love how she singles family members out and snuggles, hugs, plays chase or leads around the house. She is such a loving little girl and I am overjoyed!

Watching her dance
Isabel has rhythym. If you just say 'lets dance' she does, we clap and she bogies. Its the sweetest to watch and so fun its hard not to join in.

During all these visits I got a chance to sit back albeit briefly and take it all in. Isabel is transforming our Christmas gatherings. She brought so much joy to everyone she visited. Sure, I was tired but it was so fun to see everyone enjoying her and doing so much for her. Love Love Love, thats all I can say.

I look back to what I wrote about last year here and I knew it was best to stay home but it was lonely and not the same. This is the Christmas I was hoping for. Carrying on traditions, complete with stockings from my mom complete with clementines in it and new ones we are starting thanks to Isabel.

J and I are definitely stretched thin these last few weeks and we rush to pack and get through the holidays but he still found a way to make me feel special. He surprised me with a Kindle! It went over the budget we chose for gifts but it made me so happy! He really is a sweet guy!

Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Its official

We are moving 1.3.12.

There I said it.

Does it seem real now?

Nope.

I keep oscillating between adrenaline rushes of panic about how much I have to pack and the holidays and my dissertation and being so sentimental and sad about moving.

It is quite the combination.

Let me illustrate.
Today, I raced off to Isabel's well baby 15 mo check up, btw she is doing awesome! 32 inches and 27lbs! No shots because she had a low grade fever but overall she's awesome. We had to break it to her pedi we are moving.

She was so sad because she was there at the delivery and really there for us through all the mess. She got up at the end and hugged J and said she could still remember his face as he waited with her outside the OR waiting for my c-section and the joy and worry and excitement he felt that day. He got misty and so did I. She saw her birth from a totally different perspective than I did. It was sweet that she remembered it so well. She said she still keeps her birth announcement on her desk.

Then, I have to send Isabel to school so I can work and have a meeting with one of my advisors before everyone leaves for the holidays. Ugh. I feel like all I did was rush and rush.

On the way to pick up Isabel my mind is racing and working to prioritize what needs to be done and in what order.

I am at that point where I have passed tired and am running on adrenaline. Its like finals week x a million!

I know we will get through it and I have awesome family that have offered to help pack (thank you thank you thank you).

I just feel rushed and its too many transitions at once.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Random bits

I have started like 80 million blog posts in my head this week but honestly, I am too tired to be coherent and so I will *borrow* the idea from my sister's blog and be random!

1. Through my sleep deprivation I have realized, I am able to function better than J does without a lot of sleep. But... I am not friendly. In fact, I am kind of snappy BUT I can still function, think clearly and make decisions. Good for taking care of baby, not great for the hubby! I am working on being nicer despite being sleep deprived. Sadly, its my new normal.dfdf

2. I hate scary movies or shows. They always find a way into my dreams. I have always hated them but since having PTSD it just makes it worse. Its funny, shows like, ER, Bones, Greys and Law and Order still bother me. I *know* these aren't supposed to be scary but they scare me!

3. I have a morning routine that I *need* to follow every morning. I get up with Isabel and make my coffee, toast or oatmeal, give her 1/2 of banana and drink my coffee. I need to eat and drink coffee before I can feel like myself. If I am feeling generous, I will make J breakfast too. I generally am not a chatty morning person. Isabel is changing this but pre-baby, J knew to stay out of my way. He used to make me breakfast but as grateful as I was, he made it slowly and I was so hungry I *may* not have seemed grateful!

4a. I have a messy car. I hate it. I am terrible about getting all the toys, cheerios, extra clothes, shoes, books and coffee cups out on a regular basis. I would like to do better but J kindly cleans my car at least once a month and I appreciate it. Sadly, it doesn't stay clean (which bugs him) but seriously, I can't help it. Maybe its because I grew up with a messy family car? hmmmmm.

4b.Part two of #4, I have a messy purse and diaper g. Ugh, I hate this too but clearly not enough to change it! I am very organized when it comes to my research. Hello, I am scientist but I am the total professor with the disorganized purse, car and desk! Ack. I need to work on that. However, when it comes to cleaning, I am good and keeping everything clean but I don't spend a lot of time cleaning if I can help it, I can live with *some* mess!

5. I don't forget anything if it pertains to my life (wish that worked for everything!). I am good with details, events, faces and context. I might forget your name after a while but I don't forget faces or how I know you. I remember what I ate on a place flying to Disney world when I was six years old, turkey sandwich with american cheese, chips and sprite (I got the whole can and felt so grown up!)

6. I have an obsession with coconut. Its funny because my mom didn't like coconut and I tend to not like things she didn't (side note, I am trying to expose Isabel to everything unbiased even if I don't like it) anyway, I heart coconut. Macaroons, coconut creme pie, cake, DD ice coconut coffee mmmm (ordered it my accidence once and was happily surprised). I even like almond joy and mounds! Hope J put something coconutty in my stocking!

7. Not lactose intolerant anymore. Like my sister Jolene, we both developed lactose intolerance in our adulthood. After having Isabel, its GONE! I mean, I can drink milk (not just in coffee) and ice cream, cheese and have no problem. Its amazing!!!

8. I keep Hallmark and the postal service in business. I love sending cards, especially Christmas cards. I love receiving them but I love sending them more, especially a card for no reason. Lately, my Christmas card list is getting a *bit* ridiculous its got almost 100 addresses on it ;)

9. I am terrible at keeping up with TV/movie series. I find a show I like but have the hardest time keeping up with it. Yes, I know DVR exists but we don't have it, sometimes I have time with On Demand.

10. After living with J for 5 years, I have learned that there are somethings that I do that are annoying to him but I never noticed I do. Like, when I wash my face, I leave water droplets on the sink, I tend to leave my PJ's behind the bathroom door, I have a bad habit of leaving my coffee mug on the window sill behind the couch (keeps it away from Isabel) and I leave my shoes in a pile by the kitchen door ha!

11. I like certain foods better when someone else makes them. Salads hands down taste better if someone else makes them. But other meals that are better if I don't make them are stir fries and anything mexican. I am a good baker though! ;)


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Moving the saga continues.....

Our house is now under agreement and we had the home inspection yesterday which seemed to go well and it looks like we will be moving right after the holidays (not my first choice but it'll do). I do not want to have to move before or right after the holidays but it seems better to just wait and do it once the holidays are over. Honestly, I am tired just thinking about it.

I was home for a the first few minutes of the home inspection and seeing the future buyer standing on my land, in my garden actually stung. Alright, tears welled up. This move is bittersweet. In my head, I know that once we move I will be able to see all the ways this move is right but I am going to miss our first little home, our friends, our vet and pedi and all the things that made it home for 5 1/2 years. Thats actually the longest I have lived in one place since high school!

Anyway, it got me thinking about the cascading effect the move is having on our lives and for a bit I have had some regretful thoughts, not REGRET but just some thoughts, what ifs actually.

What if I just stayed through the school year and TA'd in the spring to help pay for childcare so can write my dissertation and keep Isabel in school?

What if Isabel doesn't like being home with me all the time?

What if I she goes to my friend's for childcare a bit during the week and doesn't like it?

What if I can't finish my dissertation with her not going to daycare 3 days a week?

What if I don't find other moms to connect with once we move?

What if I don't like it once we move?

Ugh, I could go on but you get my gist. Change is hard sometimes, especially when not ALL of the change feels like good change. I will probably look back and read these what ifs later and laugh at myself. I hope I do. I hope that even though we are giving up our home and renting and I will be home with Isabel that all these plusses outweigh the sadness I feel about leaving.

I just didn't anticipate Isabel liking daycare, I almost cried when I talked to her teachers about leaving yesterday. It was such a hard won battle to get her used to daycare and hard for me to give her up and now just to move? Ugh.

I didn't think it would take me so long to right. Right there, you are probably saying 'duh, mama! Its not like when you didn't have a kid and had energy!"

Anyway, when I get down like this, I know prayer is the answer. I am just taking a leap and trusting that downsizing and will be better for our family and financially that in the end, I may not have it ALL but I will have what is most important.

Time with family.




Monday, December 12, 2011

Someone didn't like Santa


Ha, she arched her back and tried to jump off his lap. I don't mind her not liking Santa, how can I blame her, Santa can be creepy! I never grew up believing in Santa so I am not anxious for Isabel to 'know' him either. It is more important to me that Isabel develops a relationship with our Lord and Savior instead of believing in Santa.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

We overcame the Christmas party

Isabel at J's work Christmas Party 2010 (left) and Isabel at J's work Christmas Party 2011 (right)

I can't say that when I woke up yesterday I didn't have a little dread
.

It was 's company kid's Christmas party. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas and social gatherings and so does Isabel but I was having flashbacks to last year's party that was pretty much torture for me.

Recap of last year:
Isabel was 2.5 mo old nursing, pooping, crying machine despite her sunny disposition with strangers and new places getting it and about was a chore and a lesson in driving mommy style with a screaming infant in the back. The party was fine, though she wouldn't let anyone but ME hold her she was pleasant. The car ride to and from was dreadful. She pretty much cried the.whole.way. for 1h and 15m each way with maybe a catnap each way.

This year we did a few things differently:
We had a busy day, story time at the library, photo shoot at Sears and only a cat nap during the day (not planned but it just happened). We played a lot and she was a trooper at the photo shoot (it took FOOOOORRRREEEEVVVEEER!)

By 2:30 she was dragging so I plunked her into her holiday dress (1 of 4 I might add) and seriously as soon as I hit the main drag (1 mi.) from our house she was out...cold. She slept the whole way there and didn't make a peep. It was HEAVEN. I hate it when she cries.

Of course, I had butterflies about the way back but I knew if I kept her busy at the party she would at least be tired on the way back.

At J's work she was a darling. We took her to see J's office and it cracked me up how all the employees (mostly men) popped up out of their cubes to see this little girl toddle down the halls and explore with her little plaid dress and red bolero shrug *proud mama*

At the party she was mesmerized by the Christmas tree and all the people. She even let other folks hold her (not Santa though). She chomped on chicken fingers and cheese with her little friend "A" (J's coworker has a daughter that is 3 days younger than Isabel).

I did a fair bit of walking with her because she didn't want to sit so we looped the cafeteria and the halls quite a bit. It was fine since I didn't know anyone besides J's co-worker and wife/daughter.

I noticed how different Isabel is from "A". "A" was content to sit in her mom's lap and be fed food or sat in another chair next to her. Isabel wanted to feed herself chicken fingers and if I sat her in her own seat she was either trying to stand up or pull the table clothe off. "A" sat the whole time almost while Isabel literally ran around (with me or J holding her hand).

I try not to feel down that it seems like my daughter is not well behaved. I pick my battles and know that what makes her happy (not to be contained) is fine and normal for toddlers. I am fine with her running around within reason and if she is with one of us and not tearing the place apart while I sit about drinking coffee and socializing (those days are LONG gone).

I like that Isabel is so active, it keeps me active and she is so outgoing. She makes everyone she sees smile and that makes me proud.

On the ride home she was pretty good, a little figedy and cried a bit but mostly if i sang to her or played Yo Gabba Gabba on Pandora she was good.

She was wiped when we got home, didn't really even sit down in her bath and so it was PJs and bed and off to dreamland.

After she had been in a bed and I caught my breath I reflected on the day. It was busy, I think it was fun and way more successful than last year's experience. I marveled at how much she changed in a a year and how I have gotten better at anticipating her needs and 'knowing' her.

I miss her once she is bed. On one hand I *need* down time on the other I wanted to be snuggling with her. Instead, J and I had an hr of down time and it was nice. I was relaxed and relieved and happy we went to the party, feeling accomplished that we overcame it!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Parenting, not for the faint of heart

I had this thought last night as I *tried* to change the poopy diaper of a squirming toddler. Isabel 1: Mom 0. She managed to wriggle out of her diaper and there she was running around the room with a poopy naked bum. What does she decide to do?

Sit down. On the carpet.

Ewww.

I manage to wrangle her, wipe her bum and plop her into the tub that was filling in the next room. She wasn't happy at being carried (she'd rather walk) and most days I let her. However, the poopy bum episode mixed with a naked bum and the idea of walking through a cold corridor (increases the chance of peeing) I scooped her up and hastened the process.

She splashed in the tub, took turns throwing toys out of the tub and drinking the bath water with her stacking cup.

I started to think about how she is getting to the stage where I will need to make consistent effort to enforce rules and well, to be a parent in a way that I introduce boundaries and consequences.

Ugh. How did we get here so fast?

Its not that I don't parent now, I do.

Most of her 'discipline' is through re-direction (i.e. moving her away from the hot stove or from pulling the cats tail) and distraction (swapping my cell phone for a toy or singing while I put her in the car seat (i.e. seat of torture from Isabel's perspective(

Isabel has an excellent memory and loves her routines and that works in our favor most days. We can pretty much do the same things everyday and minimize tantrum-y meltdowns. Phew.

However, if I try to rush her it sometimes back fires.

Like this morning:
We all got up late ( I tried to get up earlier but every time I tried she stirred). Anyway, I had to make lunches, take a shower, feed her, change her diaper and clothes, pack the bags and get her in the car, all in 45m.

J does the dogs: feeds them, takes them to poop, showers, feeds Isabel and plays with her while I whirl around.

This morning, I was making good time on the preparations to leave. We headed out the door with minimal fuss. Until she started to squirm in my arms as I carried her to the car. I knew what that meant.

She wanted to walk/run up and down the driveway while the dogs poop. We do this every morning. Today, we just didn't have time and there were puddles every.where.

What happened?

She ran up and down the drive a few times and I tried 2x to put her in her car seat. Hysterics and back arching ensued so J took her for a longer walk up and down the street.

Not good enough.

So I let them play a bit more while I go in to finish up. I look outside a minute later and she is standing...STANDING in a puddle.

*really*?

Just what I didn't want to happen.

I rush out change her socks and sit her in the car. She's crying because she wants to play.

In my head I get her dismay. She's not getting its a school day and we need to go. She thinks, let's play mom and dad its a fun day.

I have to work harder at not being too strict when its just not worth it. Like why stick to a schedule if she isn't going with the flow sometimes?

Well, on 'school' days, I really need every minute to work so I feel pressure to get her out the door. I HATE that.

Finally, I was able to get her in her car seat after some snuggling and 'explaining' of what we were doing today.

She fought the car seat but I distracted her with a book and gave her a kiss. Off she went with J. *sigh. I hate the rush some days.I wonder if it will get easier when she can talk. I fear it will not and that she won't understand reason for a while so it will still be a battle. I love her little strong will, we knew she had it since the day she was born. Somedays, I wish it would calm a bit because these struggles are exhausting and I dread them!

But still in the end, I am mama and its my role to keep her in line and keep the wheels a turning' whether she likes it at the moment or not!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Shopping with a toddler

Some would say why bother? She's too young to remember it.

However, this weekend my sister and I took Isabel shopping for Christmas presents. Its kind of an undertaking but it was worth it. She just loved walking around and exploring every.single.thing. Its becoming sort of a tradition, its our 2nd year doing it and I think its a tradition thats going to stick. Of course last year was challenging because Isabel was cluster feeding while we shopped!

We had a plan for keeping her busy and active (no strollers for this busy girl). The bummer about this shopping outlet is that we have to drive from plaza to plaza and you know how she hates the car seat!

Well, she did well. She loved walking the sidewalk and making friends with passersby.

I gotta say it makes me proud when people comment on how cute she is or make conversation with her. *proud mama alert*

It helps that she is very outgoing and as long as I don't stifle her (let her take her time 'browsing' anything at eye level) then we are good, no tantrums or fights.

Highlights of the day included, getting to sit on a ride (we didn't have quarters but she pretended to ride it anyway) and getting to meet two sweet golden retriever basset hounds. They seriously looked like Liam (head anyway on a basset body). Cute and hilarious at the same time. They were 6 mo old but so well behaved! Isabel stole the show though with her patting and wanting to kiss them. Love! Also, Starbucks was surprisingly fun!

My sister Jolene is a natural at being an auntie, she just follows suit with whatever we are doing. She holds her hand when we walk and looks right into her face and talks to her. Isabel loves it. I see their bond strengthening and it makes my heart swell.

We made a stop for lunch at Starbucks, I was thinking McDonalds would be a safer bet for Isabel but Jolene was confident Startbucks would work. I was pleasantly surprised. She had a high chair, happily ate raisins and 'chatted' up the other folks in the cafe. It was so fun to see Jolene sharing a favorite spot with Isabel. I just know she will keep doing this with her and Isabel will cherish and feel like a big girl. Just like I did when my aunties took me out and made me feel special.

I should say that each of her aunties so special to Isabel and I just love watching their relationships grow. Its amazing and heart warming and its just the best feelings in the world.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

We made it more than 73 days



We made it 5 years actually, we were married December 2nd, 2006. Take that Kim Kardashian! ;)

I will recap the day a bit.
I got J a card (socks per his request and he got me some too) and had a little cake made like the one we had on our wedding day. He had been gone all week so I was so glad to see him and greet him with a surprise. We ate cake for breakfast and Isabel had a bite but that's it!

We took her to gym babies and went out to lunch with my mom friends and their kids (H is a trooper). We spent time together while Isabel napped and then we had dinner that I made which was a version of what we ate on our wedding day. Chicken cordon blue, roasted potatoes and asparagus. Isabel was so sweet, she kept getting up and down out of our laps eating bites of our dinner but not our own haha!

We put Isabel to bed early because she was wining and tired. She didn't stay down so I laid down and so did J so we ended up going to bed at like 8pm.

Romantic huh?

I never thought that on my 5th anniversary I would be nursing a toddler to sleep and that we wouldn't be going out to eat celebrating our marriage. I guess there are many things I assumed or didn't envision about where our marriage would be when we got married on that day.

Going back to the day, I remember it all so clearly. I remember the nerves, the excitement and the way I felt about marrying J. It was simple. It felt right. There we stood in front of God, our friends and family pledging vows that meant forever.

I loved him. I felt God blessed our relationship and I felt that we had what it took to stand the test of time.

Did I fully realize the gravity of these vows? Yes in a theoretical sense. Would these vows be tested? Yup.

We have had our ups and downs as a couple:

Do we have issues? yes.
Quirks? yes.
Differences? yes.

BUT

We have laughter
We have common interests
We have ambitious goals
We love our families
We can make our own fun on a shoe string budget

How have our vows been tested?
Well, first I can say how they haven't been challenged, the love, honor and cherish rings true and the faithfulness too.

Its the 'till death do us part' that kind of threw us. I remember when J was learning how to infuse my IV (hard for him and it was stressful) I remember saying to the nurse " and this is the and death do us part clause right?' I wasn't making light of the vow but just trying to lighten up the mood during a very dark and tough time following Isabel's birth.

I would say that combined all the 'little' issues/tests we had were nothing, even all added up as the experience of Isabel's birth and her first year and how that tested our marriage's strength more than anything.

I am proud we made it, with some battle scars and a deeper understanding of ourselves and each others.

I would say this year 'redefined' us as a married couple. It hasn't been an easy year this 4th year of marriage. But I can honestly say what doesn't break us made us stronger.

Sure we love each other, maybe we don't show it in the typical ways (fancy dinners, flowers on Fridays or all day dates) but we do find ways in between diaper changes, dinner and day to day activities.

Just writing this post has made me pause and think about our marriage for a moment. I do find I get so wrapped up in Isabel (hard not to) but I know J is just as important to me. He is my other half, the one that lightens me up, champions me and accepts me for me.

My card to him went something like this: Thank you for loving me and getting to know every part of me and marrying me anyway. Its true. I am not the easiest person to live with but he loves me day in and day out.

We don't take our relationship for granted and yet it take effort and time (which sometimes we have precious little).

We made it this far and we are stronger for all we've been through.

So here is to 5 years, and 5 more and 5 more after that.....and on and on!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mama love

I am sitting at my desk at 1:15pm working on my dissertation but my mind is wandering.

I made the mistake of watching a couple of Flip videos of Isabel from the summer and it makes realize just how much I love this little girl.

Lately, I have been feeling like maybe we are one and done. Isabel is the light of my life and my joy. I know love doesn't divide it multiplies but I am in the phase with Isabel that I am loving every moment of.

Is that selfish?

Well, maybe. But for now, I think it is ok.

I know giving Isabel a sibling will be good for her in the long run. And I do want to have another baby someday.

But I think its ok not to be ready right now.

Um, hello? Look where I am at right now, in the midst of finishing my PhD., about to move, I have a busy toddler and I think my life isn't full?!

Well, I do have a full and fulfilling life.

I guess I feel a little pressured. Maybe its my own internal timeline. Maybe its the 'when is Isabel going to have a bro/sis?' comments I keep hearing.

I usually can tune it out but lately and now that its the holidays and family is together I am hearing it more.

I still think its a big deal that I am considering more kids after what I dealt with postpartum.

But the love of this child conquers it all for me. Its like a magic eraser that just wipes the pain and fear and agony away. Well. most of it.

Feelings and flashbacks still come back.

Like last week, I had to get my incision checked by my OB because I was having some pain. Just the thought of going to the office brought me to tears. Once I was there I was ok. I was mildly disappointed my OB didn't remember many of the details about what happened. Hello?! I know you see a lot of patients but I HAVE to have stood out. c'mon! I am ok right now (might have some adhesions) but my cycles are more normal post Isabel (better than before actually), I have lost 18lbs since March and I am feeling better in general. But NOT ready to have another baby good. I am still healing. Its these little reminders that sneak up on me and remind me.

And, its the love I feel for my precious daughter that gives me pause and makes me think hard about doing it again. Do I really want to put my life in jeopardy again?

Maybe that sounds dramatic. But I don't think so, childbearing is risky business.

So until I am ready *IF* I am ready someday I will focus on being healthy and cherishing Isabel.

I am excited to change my eating habits (thanks to my awesome sisters) and encouraged that I did lose weight! I am motivated to do more.

Not just for me but for my daughter.

I thought I would do a big Thankful Thanksgiving post and though I am thankful, I can some up Thanksgiving in a few sentences. We spent it with family (IL's) for the day but Isabel got to see all her grandparents in the span of two days. It was easy to just truck her around because we were all in the same town (encourages me that this move will be great in the long run).

We did have an unfortunate incident with Isabel over the holiday though. Isabel and J collided while he was vacuuming and she hit her head HARD on the floor. We both felt terrible. She was ok and after 5h waiting the ER she has a bruised and puffy face to show for it but really is fine. Ugh! I hated seeing her in pain and seeing her swollen face. Mama wanted to trade places for sure!

Mama loves her little one and nothing will change it, not time, not distance, not even another sibling! Isabel is loved by her mama and it will always be that way <3

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Capturing the little moments

I miss Isabel the most after she has gone to bed, the house is quiet (well until she wakes up again, she is a frequent waker) but watching her peaceful little body resting and quiet I relish the moment.

Most days, she is a whirlwind, running around, making up little dances, babbling phrases and chasing after the dogs.

But there are sweet and tender moments too. Like this:

We were sitting on the floor in her room playing with a puzzle and she was eating Kix out of her snack cup. I reached over and picked one up of the floor that had dropped and ate it. A second later she turns to me and feeds me a Kix, one at a time. I give her one back, she opens up her mouth and it reminds me of the game "Hungry Hungry Hippo" (great game btw) and at the moment I start to laugh and so does she, and we go back and forth like a little game. In that moment I learned just how generous Isabel is.

Last night we took her to do an outlet mall and I let her walk down the sidewalk with me instead of using the stroller and she was as proud as a peacock. She held my hand and we walked by some women sitting on a park bench. She stopped, paused and waved at them, smiled and waved again until the women noticed. She did this for anyone we saw, she is such an outgoing and social girl, not mention a bit of a ham. I just love it, it made the women smile and it made me one proud mama.

This morning she was babbling mamamamamamama and I turned to her and pointed to myself and pointed to me and said mama and she smiled and said mama (emphatically), at least she knows I am her mama.

Today, we visited with my family and she was a so well behaved, even took a nap without me! I love sharing her with everyone that loves her so much but I relish the little moments where it just her and I the most.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sacrifice

So, I have been reflecting on what it means to sacrifice. Of course, we can look to Jesus Christ as an example of the ultimate sacrifice. Over the last few years I feel like I can say I have made several sacrifices and yet, I could sacrifice more. As a Christian I feel compelled and we are called to live a life pleasing to God and one of the ways is not to store up treasures on earth. Wow, that's hard when you look at our culture and our nation. I don't see myself as a materialistic person, however, I have made choices that do require sacrifice.

Just since we have been married (almost 5 years)a big one was me deciding to go for a PhD. It sounds all cool and exciting and maybe a little sexy to get a PhD. (it is the ultimate degree next to a MD, DD, VM etc.). It does NOT pay well. Like at.all. Well, I had a TA but that is just pennies compared the long hours and big responsibility.

During this time I sacrificed socializing with friends at bars and fancy dinners with J. I chose to buy the majority of my clothes from Target, Old Navy and sometimes Ann Taylor Loft. J and I have not been on an big travel vacation since our honeymoon. We don't buy big gifts for each other, spend tons on groceries, home furnishings etc.

BUT, I haven't sacrificed somethings (aka I want it all attitude), we purchased a home, adopted two dogs(along with lots of vet bills), purchased two new vehicles, and had a baby. We purchase new items for Isabel most of the time including clothes and gear and buy brand name diapers (they work the best for her). I also have a smartphone, a laptop and buy DD coffee a few times a week.

We do budget, we scrimp, we don't indulge in luxuries others do and YET we still have debt and are having trouble making ends meet.

Could we cut back more? Yes.

Will we? Yes

How?

We have started the ball rolling with selling our home. Once we do we will rent. It's hard to feel like we are going backwards from homeowners to renters but I like the freedom we will have and the ability to really make progress on becoming debt-free.

Yes, I said debt-free.

That's my goal.

There are other pros to moving like being near family but another huge one (which I put in both the sacrifice/not sacrifice category) and that is that I will be able to work just part time instead of full-time for now.

That is so important to me. I love being Isabel's mom and I am grateful that we can have a balance of her staying home and going to daycare.

Its a sacrifice (short-term) of my career so that I can stay home but at the same time its not a sacrifice to get the special opportunity to have more day to day time raising our daughter.

Other ways we have cut back are to buy mostly generic food items (exceptions would be for Isabel), I rarely buy clothes for me but if I do they are marked down or from Target/Walmart. J gave up his smartphone. We won't be buy Christmas/anniversary gifts for each other.

I am not mentioning all this to make myself seem better than anyone or to play the poor me card. I guess I am making choices that include sacrifice and though it feels hard sometimes (like when I walk the mall for fun with Isabel but don't buy anything) I think that the pros far exceed the cons.

I think its good to challenge ourselves to sacrifice. Even if we have money, does it mean we spend it on ourself? That's a toughie. Maybe its not the money but sacrificing other stuff like giving up time on the internet to spend more time with our family or making time for a phone call to Aunt Gertrude even if you know its going to last an hour and you will hear all about her latest medical ailments.

I don't know, I am just saying its worth a thought at least.

Since we started the ball rolling with the house, its been bittersweet and sure there are things I am not excited about with the move but isn't that what it means to sacrifice? Get a little uncomfortable for a while with a situation? Otherwise is it a sacrifice?

Probably not.

So, here we are. Ready to make some sacrificial decisions but embracing them knowing that in the end we will be able to provide Isabel with valuable time with family and a way for us to get out of debt.

Onward!

Monday, November 14, 2011

An extra hour of sleep

This morning, J and Isabel left earlier than normal for work and school and I indulged in an extra hour of sleep. It was heaven. I seriously would pass up most other leisure activities (massages, pedicures, fine dining) for an extra hour of morning sleep. It doesn't matter how late or early I go to bed at night its the morning sleep that rejuvenates me.

So now I am on a roll, my dissertation is rocking, I have coffee in hand and its a beautiful Monday morning *gasp* I am in a good mood and its a Monday really?! Who would have thought.

On the way into work I was thinking about my little Isabel and how she is just growing and changing and comprehending so much more. I want to capture it. I try to catch her little conversations and Isabel-isms on the Flip or my iPhone but she gets distracted if she can see the camera.

So here is what she's been up to lately:
1. She has a little phrase she says that sounds like 'lodydoddydoddy' and if we say it to her she says it back
2. She says mama, dada, balloon, apple, hi and no
3. If I tell her to go see daddy, Ladybug or Liam she runs over to them and usually hugs them
4. She will pat the cat (or pull her tail depending on her mood) if I tell her to
5. She points to her high chair if she is hungry
6. She waves hi and bye when I say hi/bye
7. When she wakes up in the morning she says Baaaaaaaaaa and if we copy her it becomes a hilarious game
8. She loves to play follow the leader up and down our street and will follow my lead pretty well (good bye stroller ;(
9. She shares her food (even half chewed) with me Lovely! Sharing is caring right?
10. She 'reads' books to me and that just reminds me of my memories of doing that as a kid.

Just today my friend who sends her son to the same school/class as Isabel told me just asked her son a question and Isabel came right over and answered 'no' for him and then hugged her. Ha, who says she's not listening. I know that when she is walking away and I say c'mere she knows what I am saying and ignores it. ha! She cracks me up.

Its amazing how she is only just about 14 months and her little personality is so clearly shining through. I can't wait until we can have 'real' conversations. She is so bright, outgoing, perceptive, full of energy, curious, a monkey and just plain fun 99% of the time (proud mama talking). The tantrums are beginning to kick in like getting into the car seat or when I take something away like the remote control but thats another story!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Opening up old wounds

This week I bumped into one of the nurses that cared for me during my long stay in the hospital. She happens to be associated with the nursing program here and her building is adjacent to mine (small world right?).

Anyway, we clicked right away and meet up as much as we can. She's only there 1 day a week and sometimes I bring Isabel to visit her (she really helped her learn to latch) so I am thankful to her.

She is expecting a little girl in the spring so its like the shoe is on the other foot. So that started the conversation about c/s and vbacs and all that. She has decided for now at least she will do a scheduled c/s.

I have always said I want to try a vbac if I can. Obviously, who wants to have to go through a c/s and infection. At the same time I know the risks and wouldn't want to jeopardize me or the baby (all hypothetical by the way).

Anyway, during our conversation she mentioned some stuff to me about the goings on behind the scenes while I was in the hospital. Its like a scary movie that you know you should look away from but can't help yourself when she tells me details like this.

1. She was in the delivery room and saw Isabel not cry or breathe at delivery (ugh I knew this but it made it scarier and more real having her say this)

2. She remembers my face during labor looking puffy, flushed, hot and the sweat on my brow (this all makes me sad, I tried so hard to deliver her even with a temp of 103)

After we went our separate ways that day, I literally walked back into my building wanting to cry. Not just a wimper or a tear but big fat crocodile tears and cry from the depth of my soul. Why?

Because as much as I have healed physically and emotionally, I am still a work in progress. This response tells me that. I also realized that I don't cry very much about anything anymore ( I used to be a crier). I think its because of Isabel. She is all encompassing and I don't get a lot of alone time to let down my guard.

Ugh.

I felt pretty crappy the rest of the day. As I walked to my car wanting to cry, I put on my iTunes and listened to some praise music. It centered and me and I said a quick prayer that I would be able to accept that I can't do anything about all that happened and that I would get through this. I started to feel better once I picked up Isabel.

Seeing her face light up when I walked into her classroom just took all my sadness away. She is my joy and all of what I went through was worth it to have her.

That said, I hate to still feel so raw about everything still. I thought it was getting better. Well, it is but things like this just bring it all back.

I hate more that there is an OB out there that I don't trust and makes poor decisions. It is slightly comforting that my nurse agrees but I feel mad that my life was put in jeopardy and that a year later I am still dealing with the consequences. I know that there is more to the story about how I got infected and what other steps were taken to correct it that I don't know about it.

It lead me to this conclusion

I want to have another child some day and I am hoping that my delivery is nothing like the first one and that I am still scared from what happened.

I appreciate having this terrific nurse friend but I hate that talking about it still brings me back sometimes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How a day can change your perspective

Sometimes I have it all planned out what I am going to say in my next blog and I *thought* I knew what I wanted to say but today changed all that.

I had planned to talk about our move and the misgivings I have been having about going through with it. Well, I am feeling ambivalent about it. Not gonna lie, I love our house. I will miss our house, our neighbors/hood, my vet, Isabel's pedi and my sense of independence (to put the cons in a nutshell).

Today the balance was tipped in the other direction and in the most unexpected way.

I went up to ME to visit my Grandparents (the ones that helped to take care of me when Isabel was first born and visited a lot when Isabel was an infant).

I have been seeing them less as its harder to travel 1h each way with a baby who sort of naps on a schedule etc. Plus she is in school and me in work 3 days.

Anyhoo, despite her crankiness this morning I forged ahead.

Best. Day. Ever.

I feel like God smiled on our visit and blessed it immensely.

What did we do? Nothing special.

Isabel napped half way there and woke up when we arrive (tired) but perked up right away. She ran all around their house exploring it on her own two feet (first visit while able to walk) . She remembered the ceiling fan and pointed up to it so Grampa ran it for her (she was mesmerized by it as a baby). She picked leaves off Gram's plant (naughty) and ate voraciously anything we would give her, especially honeydew melon from Grampa. Even a cheeto, Gram gave her.

Grandpa headed out for a Dr.'s apt and Isabel blew him kisses.

We took her outside for a walk. Today was 68 degrees out! Sunny and beautiful.

We just let Isabel run, no stroller, no sidewalk just freedom. It is a safe quiet cul-de-sac. Gram is a walker. Much of my time spent with my Gram has been spent walking, in the woods(looking for Indian pipes and Ladyslippers, at the lake, apple orchards, blueberry fields, looking for chickadees and burning off Thanksgiving dinner.

Today was no different.

Except instead of pushing Isabel in a stroller like we did a lot a year ago when I stayed with her, Isabel walked like a big girl.

Isabel has also discovered her shadow recently, so she had fun chasing it and chasing Grams. I caught little videos of the day and it warms my heart.

My perspective changed about moving in a big way today because it made me realize what is important.

Sure, I love our house and the house we are fortunate to move to, doesn't feel like ours. But you know what? I will get over it. Why? Because Isabel gets the chance of a lifetime. She will get to grow up down the street from her grandparents (both sides). How awesome is that? Well if you are me, well pretty awesome because that's what I got when I was a kid.

The sacrifice of moving and giving up some freedom is worth it. I cherish all my memories with my Nonna rolling meatballs on Sundays and walks with my Gram. It wasn't the big events and stuff like that that mattered it was the everyday routine stuff I got to have with them. Reading books, cooking, sledding, sleeping over all that.

I am so greatful to have lived close to all my grandparents and am very close to the ones still with us and I am 32.

I am NOT saying that if you grew up far from your grandparents its a bad thing, I am just grateful I did. I think its because I know what I would be missing and I don't want Isabel to miss it.

Today was bittersweet. My grandparents are strong and independent and amaze me at their age they have outlived mine and J's grandmothers. I want them to be with us forever. And as I feel the tears forming in my eyes. I know they won't be.

Ugh thats the crappy part about loving family so much. The thought of not having them is so sad. However, I am determined to cherish all the moments big and small with them. So today was awesome and I have the video to prove it!

So, we are leaping with two feet into this move and I excited to see how my parents and J's will rock Isabel's world. Teach her, be good role models and shape her.

It's worth it.

Here we go!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pulling it together and getting some perspective

I feel like I was pretty honest in my last post, I sometimes find myself editing myself in my posts but I am going to throw caution to the wind and say what I feel and so be it.

I hope it didn't sound like I was feeling sorry for myself, because I don't. Since I wrote that I got to thinking. I am not a superficial person and I am not going to let the fact that others judge me for my weight hold me back. Sure, I think twice when I get dressed in the morning and sometimes changes 3x but don't most women? Once I get out the door, I forget my weight and just am me. Of course in the back of my mind, I know I am being judged but at the same time I am not defined by my weight. I Thats the most important part right?

Certainly, I want to lose weight and get into better shape but I am not walking around as unhealthy person. I am working hard to accomplish many goals and though my weight is one of them its not the only one.

Currently I am:
1. An active mom to a busy toddler
2. Writing my dissertation for my PhD.
3. Loving wife to J (well, I try ;)
4. Preparing to move/pack
5. Mama to Ladybug and Liam, Chloe and Zoe (my fur kids)
6. Being healthy and making good food choices as yes ti can

So with that perspective, I am doing a lot and its hard to focus on any one of them solely but I am trying.

So onward!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Judged

Today, I came across a blog post about being judged based on your weight.

Someone asked an open ended question to the effect of 'as a heavier person are you judged for your appearance?'

It sparked a litany of responses all to the effect of 'yes' being heavier equated to being judged. It might have been a stare, glance or eye roll. A comment by a waitress about unhealthy food ordered or lighter fair ordered and 'will that be enough'. Or they got comments from family members. Some had been teased all their life. Some had recently noticed the changes in people's attitudes toward them having gained weight recently (pregnancy).

One common sentiment among most of them (many were women) was that they didn't want to be overweight. Most of the women had gained during pregnancy and not lost it all.

I fall into the fluffier now than before category. I am carrying around 5lb+ from my pregnancy but honestly, I have gained 30lbs since my wedding 5 years ago. *gulp*

Sometimes I can't see where it has accumulated. Other days (i.e. a glance to the mirror in the bathroom and I *know*).

I have tried loving myself despite my weight. I have tried to accept it. It beats loathing which for me leads to more eating.

I guess I can say as a person that has never been skinny (thinner but not skinny) that being overweight isn't fun. I know I am judged. Sometimes it inadvertent but other times I feel like my weight holds me back.

How? Well I work in a male dominated environment and teaching in front of a classroom takes guts and it helps to be attractive (yea, sucks that I am admitting this).

I feel judged by other moms, my doctor, but most harshly by me.

I am my worst critic. Aren't we all?

In the last couple of years, I have been able to hide under the guise of pregnancy and breastfeeding but no more. I stayed home and secluded with no one to compare to and its time to break free.

Even if I am not ready to transform and lose 100lbs I am going to make small strides in the right direction.

I hate that we judge in the world and moreso that we are such a superficial nation. Ugh.

Not me, I know God created each one of us and that we are made in his likeness. I also believe our body is our temple and we are to be good to it.

There is the rub for me. I need to take care of my body and in my head I know this but sometimes food/circumstances take over.

I would say my weight is my biggest struggle and I hate that it is so obvious. I mean you can't tell if a person struggles with mental health issues etc but weight is obvious and easy to judge.

Its not just thin people that judge heavier folk but vice versa. And why is that? Is it because we know the struggle and judge it more harshly? I don't know the answer but I struggle with this and do not judge others based on their weight.

One place I experienced feeling judged was both in my OB's office (post partum check up) where she told me I better lose some weight when I see her in December (that was back in March ugh, not motivating at all!) and when I was recently in the ER. I had a male nurse I just felt ignored by him all day. J said I wouldn't want the attention just because I was thin but actually I would at least in that case. I hate it when I feel like people only see my weight and not me.

I want to be seen as strong, healthy, fit and not instantly labeled 'heavy'. I don't want to be that overweight mom that my daughter is embarrassed of or the butt of her little friend's jokes.

I don't even want to be the 'hot' mom, I would like to be normal, average and me. That is all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Halloween!


Well we have power back hooray for that!

We did NOT however, have it for Halloween. Did that hinder us? Nope.

You know why? I have the BEST neighborhood EVER!

I picked Isabel up from school and rushed home to get her in costume (thankfully she cooperated) and was the cutest kitty I have ever seen! Biased?! No!

I snapped a few shots of her outside on the front steps as she tried to walk away from me ha! Nonetheless, I got some cute shots.

Despite not having power, our neighborhood ran their generators and lit Jack-o-lanterns. I took Isabel out in her umbrella stroller to tour the 'hood. Something I really wanted to do last year but was sick and staying with my sister so it couldn't happen. Looking back, I would have had a screaming baby at that time of night so it would have been fun anyway. Add doling out candy and keeping the dogs at bay and it would have been a drag.

I did not however, anticipate this year that I would be trick or treating without power with the ground covered in snow.

However, it was fun!

My neighbors LOVE Isabel and she is such a ham loving all the attenention.

Its funny how something as simple as trick or treating brings the neighbors together. I love it and will miss it.

Isabel does this thing now where if I am holding her and she wants to get going she just flaps her arm 'goodbye' to the people I am talking to and then tries to wriggle free.

She did some of that mixed with running down our street. It was cute but later on this will not be cute but rude. Thankfully a 13 mo old can get away with it!

J came home early with pizza and Isabel was very clingy to him. It was sweet and I love seeing them bond. I have felt sad that she has been such a mama's girl she hasn't gotten the full effect of all the love her daddy has for her. So am I happy to see this change!

We got like 6 trick or treaters instead of 60 like other years.

So here I am eating Halloween candy nom nom and working on my dissertation. Did I mention the rest of the candy is going to grad office tomorrow? Or that I worked out 2x this week?

Yea, having no water forced me to use my gym at school and *gasp* I liked it. I think I will go tomorrow on the way to work. Yea! Me time+ working out+ endorphins= happier me! Ya!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Peserverence in a power outage

Well its all over the news that we go tricked into a Halloween weekend snowstorm. I at least did the dishes and laundry ahead of the storm anticipating a power outage. We have been through many outages in storms and I have learned from my mistakes. The only thing I wish I did this time was fill the bathtub.

When we lose power we also lose water. Ugh. Imagine not flushing the toilet or even washing your hands yuck. Its tough with a toddler aka sticky fingers!

When we went to bed Saturday night the storm had already dropped several inches when it only really started at 3pm. On a side note J spent the afternoon mowing and leaf blowing....yea he's a die hard!

When I woke up to a screaming baby at 1am it was pitch black and it was howling outside.

I had a moment of panic with Isabel. She was inconsolable, wouldn't nurse and was writhing around in pain. I was scared she was having a migraine like me. We called the nurses line because she was coughing, wheezing and snotty. THe nurse was great and recommended switching to motrin and it might be an ear infection.

She thankfully fell back asleep in my arms until morning when we took her in to see the pedi. I had mixed feelings about trekking out in the morning but I wanted to get her treated if that was what she had. So J, the trooper snow blew the driveway and dug us out.

Not that I like to be right but as soon as the pedi looked in her ear he confirmed what I already knew. It was an ear infection. Ugh. Sometimes I hate to be right ;)

Thankfully with Motrin and antibiotics she got more chipper and slept better during the day. My IL's came up to help get the battery back up the sump pump going again and played with her. She was actually quite charming. I am loving this age for Isabel. She is becoming more independent but showing more affection.

I have to say I am thankful we have a better generator this year that power some lights, the fridge and the furnace. So its warm but the not having the water stinks. Its almost cozy and then there's the no hand washing/bathing issue that makes it suck again.

Last night I had to wash Isabel with bottled water and it was chilly. I went to the UNH gym to workout and shower and I feel like a new person. I forgot how much I love working out (feels like the old me) and love to feel clean again.

I am hoping that we have power back when I get home today!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

More than a headache

When I woke up Thursday morning, I felt off. More than I had since the start of the stupid stomach bug. Isabel was fine, she had puked the day before but was alright Thursday but had to stay home because she puked the day before.

J kept saying he would stay home if I wasn't feeling well and as much as I wanted him to (as I lay in a heap on Isabel's bedroom floor as they played). I wanted to tough it out and let him get to work because he had already missed Monday because of this bug.

By 10am I knew something was wrong, my head was aching life I hadn't had caffeine so I drank coffee as she napped and then layed down with her..2h later we both woke up (so unusual for us to nap that long). I was feeling way worse, my head was pounding and I felt hot, achey and had chills. I called J like a billion times but he was in a meeting. I called my mom, my sister and my dad hoping someone would come and help me because I wasn't sure I would be able to make it till 7pm when J comes home.

Thankfully my sister gave me some moral support and then J called back and came home mid afternoon. I tried to nap it off and by 4pm I was feeling terrible. My dr. got me to go see Urgent Care at 6:30. I didn't feel great about going so late because thats Isabel's bed time but I didn't think I would be able to make it through the night.

After 5 m with the NP she was sending me to the ER for pain meds and fluids. I was dehydrated, nursing a sick kid and my temp was 101.7. Ugh, with trepidation I trudged over to the ER. I didn't want to go. Hospitals are scary to me now, I know to much. Especially at this ER.

I was prepared for a long wait with snacks and distractions for Isabel but thankfully they took me right in. J took over Isabel's care and played with her. After I was settled I tried to nurse her to sleep on my lap but she wouldn't stay still so J walked the corridors with her in the stroller.

They started an IV in my hand....ouch! I hate that! The morphine brought the pain from a 10 to a 5 but soon it was back up to a 10 but I was feeling woozy from the medicine and able to doze. J had taken Isabel for a ride in the car and she was sleeping so I was thankfully able to focus on me for a bit.

My head was pounding, throbbing with painful jabs through my head and eye pain. I had to cover my eyes with a wash clothe and just breathe. Talking hurt and even lying down was painful so I sat up and just wimpered. Pathetic huh?

After midnight they sent me home with pain meds and nausea meds. We filled the Rx and I went straight to bed. Unfortunately, the pain did not subside.

By Saturday, I was desperate. I called my mom at 7am and asked her to come watch Isabel while J and I went to the ER again. It was big of my mom to come up and change her plans to help me. It was big I was leaving my baby for the day, hoping she would nap etc. for my mom.

Thankfully, Isabel and my mom were awesome together. Mom kept texting me pix and I was so relieved.

At the ER they tried enough pain meds to tranquilize a horse but NOTHING helped. I was so frustrated that at one point I cried. The Dr. threw around the possibility it was viral meningitis and he could do a spinal tap. I was all set. He said the treatment would be pain control either way so even though for a split second I thought I should just suck it up and do it, I decided to go home.

At home the pain was the same and I exhausted. It was just so disheartening to have a headache...a migraine go on and on. It doesn't have any outward physical symptoms but it is down right debilitating.

I have had migraines before but not like this one and not for 5 days. I am so thankful J and my mom stepped up and cared for Isabel, because I literally could barely do anything but nurse her. It felt oddly familiar like when I was sick last year. It was not the same and I knew it but it brought back a lot of feelings.

I was however, in so much pain I didn't have a lot of time to dwell and that was for the best.

Monday, Isabel went to school and J to work and I just slept. I woke up with the pain gone around noon and it was miraculous. I wish I could say that I feel great. Honestly, I feel worn out. My arms feel like jelly and I feel woozy. My head feels like I went to a rock concert for 5 days. I just feel out of it. I am glad its over but its left me feeling lost. I don't get why this migraine lasted so long when the others went away in hours. I think it was part of the bug and that I was dehydrated. I need to drink more and I know that. Ugh.

It got me really thinking about my health and being there for Isabel. This experience was scary. Being sick isn't really an option when you have a little one. When I get sick it really knocks me out. I hate this. I also hate not being there for Isabel. I really want to do better taking care of myself because I need to be my best for Isabel and our little family. Ugh boo Migraines!! Don't come back!

Monday, October 17, 2011

When the stomach bug hits

At midnight last night, I was woke up with hug stomach cramps and needed to go like NOW. TMI right? At that moment Isabel woke up crying so J comforted her and I rushed to the bathroom.

I could hear that Isabel was crying and starting to gag as she does sometimes. But then I heard puking so I came in and pick her up to comfort her. She sat on my lap and puked some more. I stripped her and J ran a bath. I threw her in the tub and took her out changed her and me and then of course she puked even more.

So I just jumped into the shower with her and cleaned us up and changed us again. I took her temperature and it was 101.5 so we sat in the rocker and she slept on me for a while. I laid her down with me and she slept for a while until I woke up a few hours later she was HOT like 103 hot.

I hate when she has fevers, she's so miserable.

J really blew me away during all this. He was so patient, sweet and even handled the puking pretty well! He just kept saying poor baby. And it was true.

You know when she is sick when she just clings to me and snuggles. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the snuggles but hate that she is sick. However, we made the best of it today. She and I stayed in our pjs and napped together while J worked from home and took care of us. We are actually a good team J and I ;)

I am thankful that Isabel doesn't get sick often with high fevers but when she does its just a bummer! I also am thankful for J being home. Because honestly, I feel pretty bad too and its hard to take care of a sickie when I am sick.

I am chocking this up to having a baby and we will all get sick sometimes but we are getting better at working as a team to take care of her.

Poor baby!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mom's night out

Its 9:30pm and the raining is tapping on the windows, Liam is snuggled next to me and Ladybug is sleeping at my feet. J and Isabel are asleep and I feel like a big fat FAIL.

My wonderful neighbor hosted a party, ya know one of those show parties where you can buy stuff, this one was called '31' and it was purses, organizers, lunch bags etc.

I told J I was going to go...big step because it started at 7pm which was after Isabel's bedtime. Normally, for most kids they can go to sleep and stay asleep, but not my precious lil one.

So, I had reservations about going and J taking over.

At 6pm she conked out with me and we snuggled until 7pm when J got home. Even though it was raining and dreary all I had to do was walk one door down to my neighbors' house so even though I was nervous I went.

Her parties are always fun even if I usually only know one or two other people, she always makes me feel welcome and at ease.

It was freeing to go out and know J was home with Isabel who was already asleep and I felt like 'me' again, ya know the one that doesn't get into her PJs at 7pm and work on her dissertation from the couch 7 days a week. Yea, that 'me' that was a social butterfly, sang in choir, visited friends, went out to dinner...basically anything at night that occurred past 7pm!

Some would say its a choice I make to stay home at night with Isabel. Yes, it is. However, I am her mom and where else would I want to be most nights? I am not the kind of mom that would rather be out on a Saturday night with friends than home with my family. However, a night out once in a while would be nice or even an activity I enjoy.

I find myself wanting a little 'me' time... after a year of putting almost everything on hold, I am surprised and feeling a little guilty for feeling this way.

So there's the rub.

I love my daughter and our little family but now that I and Isabel have gained a little independence from each other I find myself wanting to get back into have a little bit of social life.

I know that's not wrong but now, how do I go about doing it?

Isabel has been going to bed earlier like between 6:30-7pm so I could get her to sleep and then go out in theory. The problem is that she wakes up on and off until I come to bed, we still bedshare at night. Some nights she sleeps straight through until dawn others she is up every hour until I go to bed.

Ugh.

I have tried delaying my response to put her back to sleep to see if she will do it herself and that rarely works. I have sent J in to do it and thats not working either. She wants mama and she wants to nurse.

Double Ugh.

Don't get me wrong, I love the time with her and I HATE CIO, it doesn't work for her.

So what do I do? I end up doing what works but thats not helping when I need to go out at night.

So back to tonight, how did it turn out?

I lasted 1h and 15m.

I left at 7:15pm and J called (he promised to try everything) and then call. I hear Isabel wailing in the background and a tired J telling me she's been crying for 10m straight.

So, I wait 5 more minutes and gather my stuff and come home. I can hear her crying before I get in the house and I find her pacing the floor and crying. Ugh...just like the first two weeks at daycare.

I pick her up, she's instantly soothed, we rock and she asleep in minutes.

A mother's touch is nothing to fool with.

I had planned to go back over to my neighbors' but I am just drained. I feel defeated. Like I have failed and I am sitting here beating myself up because I can't get away for an hour at night.

This has nothing to do with J's parenting skills. He loves her and did his best to soothe her, she just wanted her momma and no one else and I know that's hard on J.

So, where do I go from here? How do I fix this? I feel like I don't like any or my options. I know she is going through the transition of daycare, teething molars and nursing less which all make her sleep like crap. Is this the time to force her to wean from nursing to sleep? Do I put her in her own room and say tough cookies? Do I revisit CIO?

It never feels like the right time to make a big change. If I have learned anything about Isabel is she does things when she is ready and forcing her is a loosing battle. Obviously, when it comes to somethings Mom wins like diaper changes, taking medicine and taking naps but I let other stuff slide, its not worth the battles!

I feel like this has become a 'woe is me' post and it isn't intentional. I also feel a little selfish for complaining about not being able to leave her for 'me' time.

I guess I am just needing to vent because I feel like a little balance is needed in my life and I am questioning how to make that happen!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

32

That's how old I am today.

I had hoped that when I woke up this year would just have to be better than last year's birthday. The only GOOD thing about last year was that Isabel was a beautiful and perfect 2.5 week old.

I was not in great shape and spent the evening in the ER because my pik line clogged and the power went out and I had to have my wound vac changed in the ER. After only being home for one day after 2 weeks in the hospital. J and I were sleep deprived, stressed and exhausted.

So this year had to be better right?!

Well, over all it was. Isabel did wake up at 5am but I got her back down and she slept until 7:45am and so did we all...oooops this was a school/work day. So, we got a late start, not a biggie.

I had been putting off getting a glass sliver removed from my foot but knew I needed to stop ignorning it because it hurt to walk. So today, I had it removed because I knew it would be easier to go today than go with Isabel in tow.

So, it was kind of a horrendous experience. My dr. had to numb my foot with lidocaine and the needle felt like a pin being pushed through my foot. Ugh. And I had a c-section, the pain rivaled! Then she used the equivolant of a whole puncher to my foot and pulled the glass and my skin.

It killed and of course I had to walk all over campus all day. I will survive though ;)

Add to that that I forgot my lunch in the car and didn't get to eat until I picked up Isabel at 2:30 and I was off to a good start ;)

I thankfully stopped and DD and got pumpkin donut and coffee and enjoyed my morning treat.

J came home and was supposed to bring dinner but I wasn't even hungry so we just ate some birthday cake and left overs. He got me a box of chocolates and caramel apple, such a sweet surprise and he is taking me shopping for some new clothes this weekend. Sweet guy.

Unfortunately, he has been hacking and coughing all day, all week really and despite my pleas he wouldn't go to the Dr. until tomorrow.

It figures, he was coughing so hard tonight that he puked all over the floor. So here I am cleaning the floor and put him to bed and am enjoying my favorite show Chopped with the fur kids.

Hey, it doesn't have to be a fancy dinner to please this girl. Its another year and I am greatful to be here with a fantastic little girl, sweet puppies and a husband that loves me.

Here is to 32.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thankful Tuesday

Today, I am making an effort to be greatful and thankful. Sometimes its hard to do but being positive and accepting the situation I find myself in is often all that God asks of us.

So here goes:
1. We got 2 offers on the house after showing it 3x on Saturday...amazing!

2. Isabel loves 'school' *gasp* who knew? She naps well and doesn't cry at pick up/drop off

3. Visiting Gram and Gramp was short and sweet on Saturday but Isabel was the life of the party. She even held Grampy's hand as she walked to the car. Such a priceless moment. She lights up for them and they light up for her. Love!

4. I decided to crockpot dinner over night because I wouldn't be home in time to turn it off when it was ready. The house smells of pot roast, which I am sure is torturing the dogs ;) and all I have to do is reheat it!

5. I am making progress on my dissertation. I have been praying for this alot and walking around repeating to myself (in my head)...'I am going to kick this PhD.'s butt"

6. Isabel's jabbering with intonation is adorable and hilarious, I can't help but laugh and follow along, did I mention how much joy this little girl brings me!!

7. My birthday is this week and I am looking forward to birthday cake...I feel justified and I am close to reaching my daily 10,000 steps on my pedometer...

8. I am accepting that I enjoy a little bit of work and alot of Isabel i.e. working 3 6h days is better than I thought and I am NOT going to feel guilty for enjoying the balance

9. J brought home chocolate just for me last night yum!

10. We are going to the Topsfield fair as a family this weekened wheeeeee!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Passing the one year mark

Nursing past 1 year

When breastfeeding was just an ideal in my mind that I dreamed about while pregnant or joked about long before she was born (didn’t want to lug these ‘girls’ around and not use ‘em) I would say. I somehow, magically thought that just like everything else about breastfeeding, it was natural so just like nursing would be easy, a baby would naturally just stop nursing at a year.

So, duh, breastfeeding was HARD at first, latching was a challenge, keeping up my supply, clusterfeedings, late night feedings, pumping, making sure she had enough all that was a challenge despite it being ‘natural’.

Thankfully, despite all that, I had a good experience with nursing. It never hurt to latch, I didn’t get mastitis and only got yeast 6 months in, not at the start like many moms. Oh, and I didn’t have to pump while working and my little one did latch well without nipple confusion.

However, no one ever told me that for some babies, nursing is not only nutritional but comforting. For my high needs precious babe, she nursed a lot. Way more than the every 3h and it was instantly calming, so why not if it stopped the wailing she would do? I mistakenly thought it was hunger and feared a low supply but if you look at her growth chart you can see she was at the 99% perectentile for a long time.

So, of course with the introduction of solids and with her becoming more active she doesn’t nurse as much. She’s cut back during the day and obviously doesn’t nurse at daycare.

However, her 1st birthday came and went and she is still nursing quite a bit. So many people have asked if she is all done and are surprised when I say no.

I know for some babies its like a light switch. One day they want to nurse, the next day they don’t and they just stop whether their mom is ready or not. Sometimes its mutual by the first year. And there are some moms that like nursing so they encourage it.

My situation is a little different. She doesn’t want to stop. I am ok with that but I am worried she uses nursing as a way to soothe that I am like a pacifier. Hey, I understand, being next to mom is nice  I know that at some point she will quit her day time nursing and then the night time. I am not rushing it. Because even though nursing at night is tiring even if she’s in bed with me, I like the closeness. Also, she doesn’t like to drink much else and won’t take milk out of sippy. I also know its healthy and good for her. Even the WHO recommends to nurse until two years.

At this point, I am not rushing it. I know she will stop in her own time and I have learned not to rush her. I am noticing my cycles are kind of funky and I am sure it’s the breastfeeding/hormones. For now, that’s not a big deal, we aren’t trying to have more kids but it may be an issue someday if she nurses say past two.

Yea, I know a two year old nursing seems weird right? I would have thought so too until I nursed. I have learned to throw my preconceived notions out the window because in the end, its what’s best for her and me and no on else’s business

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Witnessing to Witnesses

For the second time in two months, I was visited by Jehovah’s witnesses. At first I didn’t realize who this person was until he showed me a tract and started linking his faith to the end of times and eluded that our world was nearing the end of time. He even tried to get me going about evolution.

All while I was jouncing Isabel on my hip as she wailed and holding Liam and Ladybug’s collars at the door.

Now, I realize that this door to door business is part of their faith and just like evangelism is a part of my faith. However, anyone coming to my door, Jehovah’s witness or otherwise would not be what sells me on my faith. That’s just me I guess.

As a Christian, I struggle with many things but related to this are two main issues I have. First, should I have pulled out the doctrine I know and love related to Christianity to witness to these folk? Even if they wouldn’t likely be receptive, just as I was not receptive to what they were saying? Is that what I ‘should have’ done?

Secondly, I struggle with my own witness. I look at the extremes. On one end I could be a missionary witnessing to non-believers abroad or I could wear my faith on the ‘inside’. God calls us to shine like lights and not to hide our light under a rock. I totally agree.

Does He call all of us to be missionaries? No. But what does that mean for the rest of us? Do we do nothing and go about our lives? No. I think I fall into the middle where I openly share my faith (even with unbelievers) but I do not evangelize. I don’t feel super comfortable with getting into people’s faces about my faith. I guess its because I don’t think it would turn me on to any faith as I mentioned already. I think being a witness for Christ can take form in many ways. For me, its hopefully how I interact with others, speak in kindness and serve others. My passion for teaching and helping others learn is another way and keeping a pray list where I pray for others even if they don’t ask specifically for prayer. I hope that people can look at me and see Christ in my heart in my life. If not, I need to be more conscientious. To me, going to church doesn’t make anyone a Christian but it does help encourage me in my faith. It is so easy to get bogged down by the stress of life.

So, what happened that day? I accepted the tract and then ushered him away as Isabel’s wailing could not be jounced away.

But of course, they returned.

Yesterday.

What happened?
They were welcomed by a very loud bark by Ladybug and Liam and me with a groggy Isabel awoken from a nap and not happy about it I might add.

I was in a hurry to get her back down for a nap as she was sick. So I said hello and they tried to get me to talk about the tract they left for me to read and wanted to talk about the state of our society and that the tract would lead me back to my Christian Bible.

All I could say is that I wasn’t interested and I needed to go.

On the inside I felt like a coward. However, I felt like I wouldn’t even be able to challenge them with my faith as I was feeling hazy from sleep deprivation and a sick toddler.

Still, I feel like if this was a test of my faith, I FAILED. My solution was to pray for the folks I met that day and for strength and the ability to stand up for my faith at the next challenge. Felt like small potatoes compared to what I could have done but that is what I could do.

What would you say if someone stopped at your door and challenged your faith?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

For Sale... ready or not?

Its no secret living on one income is practically impossible in this day and age. With much of the responsibility of paying for college, weddings, first home and all, its just not easy to make ends meet. Add extra years of college for grad school for both of us and it really adds up.

Of course other generations could say that our generation is an instant gratification generation with our credit cards, loans for practically everything and the ease of buying a home on a very small down payment. Yea, we are live now, pay later generation.

Is that ok?

No, not for me and that is something I have struggled with a lot as a Christian. I feel like I am called to live responsibily and not stock up on material things just to keep up with society.

Ok, enough of the soap box on my view on our generations’ overspending. I could go on and on.

But here I am.
Faced with a huge decision that J and I have prayerfully considered over the last several months.

We put our house on the market.

(insert sigh)
Here is the good:
•We have a chance to move back home and makes us mobile for job changes/transfers
•We will literally be living in the same neighborhood as my parents and J’s for now
•We will be very near other relatives including Isabel’s aunts and uncle
•We have several daycare/childcare options so I can work part time and afford it
•We will be able to reconnect with our home church
•J’s commute will be cut by a 3rd
•We might even get a date night once in a while!
•We can rekindle some friendships and make new ones including new mom’s groups etc.

Here is the not so good:
•Our house could be on the market for months or even a year
•We will have to keep the house in shape for showings (hard to do with a toddler)
•I will miss our neighbors dearly and the friends I have made here
•I don’t want to but will probably have to change Isabel’s pediatrician (huge sigh) and our vet (another huge sigh) and my ob/gynecologist (probably not a bad thing)

Those are the major pros and cons at this point. So why do I feel so torn?

Home Sweet HomeThis is where J and I started our life together as a married couple. We adopted our dogs, brought Isabel home to this house and have made it our home. Well, I think I feel like this more than J. More so lately, but J literally just sleeps here during the week and we drive back and forth on the weekends a lot to see family so when can he enjoy it? We hardly entertain like we used to or spend time here on weekends. I, on the other hand spend a lot of time here, its near campus and stayed home with Isabel for a year. So maybe I feel a bit more attached?

Sure there are lots of times when I wished I lived closer to home, when we/I am sick, when J works late, when its winter, when its summer for that matter and when it’s the holidays….. so hmmmm when do I like living here?

Well, I love our house, the yard, my garden, my neighborhood.

I wished and have tried to be more involved in the community but where I am almost done at school, my friends are dwindling and moving too. Our involvement at church has changed too since having Isabel and its tough to stay connected.

Still, when the realtor nailed the sign into our yard yesterday, I felt a pang of sadness. Maybe it was because it was a beautiful fall day (I love summery fall days here its my favorite time of year). And maybe its because now the real work begins with putting it on the market. Either way it felt BIG. SAD and bittersweet.

J and I spend a long time coming to this decision and you know how at first its exciting but then you actually have to follow through and that’s the hard part? Well,when J and I finally agreed it was time to do this, we were just coming back from our vacation and both feeling overwhelmed by our house, my lack of job prospects, Isabel in daycare and just the stress of making this all work long term. My PTSD is another big factor, its still a big part of my life and it affects everything including working and sleeping and all that. So, we had some perspective having been away.

Now, we are in the trenches and its hard to see the end goal that we were so excited about it.

I do know that in a year or so I will look back and wonder why I worried so much and feel like we made a great decision and God blessed it. In the mean time I feel torn and am searching and praying for some reassurance as we go through it.

Here is what I do know, our home is where J and Isabel are (and Ladybug and Liam).

Saturday, September 24, 2011

If you want an uninterupted shower

take it at 10:45pm at night...bliss= long steamy shower, time to shave my legs, put on lotion and (ready for this?) put on toe nail polish...*gasp* I know right?!

Ugh too bad its this late and I am just getting a minute for me but hey, I will take it. Afterall, back in the day I was getting ready to 'go out' for the night... Wow, I feel old!

Anyway, here are a few more truths I didn't learn until I became a mother....
1. Sleep deprivation isn't just for the newborn phase: In fact I had pregnancy induced insomnia at 20 weeks on and still haven't had a solid 8 hours yet! Ok, some moms do have this by the time there darling is a year old but not me...yet. I think I am perpetually sleep deprived to the point where if I get 'extra' sleep, I am dead tired for the next day. Typically, I hit two lows in my day, 9:30am and 2pm where I would love to nap...hmmmm a certain Miss Isabel used to nap then but is now going to 1 nap at around 11:30. Then, I rev back up after she goes down at 6:30pm and then can't get to sleep until 11pm!

2. After a baby your periods change:
Two caveats, I am not haven't been on hormonal birth control since getting pregnant and I am still nursing so this affects it. However, I am finding that since my cycle returned at 10 months post-partum (yea if you are counting that was like 19 months without a period!) Anyway, Aunt Flo returned with a vengence and I have had the heaviest ones of my life. Not awesome when you are chasing a toddler.

3. Bathroom time is precious and hardly ever private anymore
As you might imagine being home with Isabel means I can hardly steal away to the bathroom for long. If I do get a chance its when she is napping or in her high chair. I can't put her in her PNP or crib because she gets hysterical. So she sits on a towel in there with me or now toddles around with a toy or two. This also applies to showering that if I don't get one while J is still home, I either take her in with me which she doesn't love or let her stand by the side of the tub in her diaper watching but not getting in the tub (she doesn't like the stream of water in her face.

Oh the joys of motherhood!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Its not that scary

I have been dreading the anniversary of this night for a long time. Why?

Tonight is the anniversary of the night that I was re-admitted back to the hospital with a c-section infection. I remember much of that day vividly. I remember the searing pain I felt in my incision at 5am when I woke up with on the couch after many hours of on and off being up with a crying baby. I remember my IL's coming over and my SIL helping me get changed, seeing blood and not thinking it was anything. I remember it was warm, humid and summery night and the brief joy I felt when I took a nice warm shower. However, a short time later, I remember the paralyzing fear I felt when I knew my incision was infected and waiting in the bathroom for J to call the Family Center. Ugh, it still feels like a terrible nightmare.

Tonight, I am snuggling with Liam and Ladybug is nearby. Rain is tapping on the window and I have a baby sleeping all snug for the last 3 hours. J is still at work. He would have been at work this time last year if I wasn't in the hospital as this is the end of quarter.

I thought the memories of this night would just haunt me and paralyze me tonight. But, they are not. It feels good to put it behind me. I am ok. I made it. I have an amazing baby girl, a husband that loves me and two very loyal pups.

I am so glad I am not lying on a gurney getting my blood cultures drawn. Man those hurt! Feels good to feel like me again, it feels like it took a long time to get her but here I am and I am happy dare I say.

I am hoping that the few more scary memory days that are coming up will not be as scary when I get to them. Does that make sense? I hope it does!

Tonight, even though I am home alone with my little one without J, I know that I am ok and that I can conquer these flashbacks because truly time heals all wounds!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

35 by 35

Eeek...I know I know I am only 31 going on 32 but hey I can start the list now right?

1. Have another baby and give Isabel a sibling...yea that's not an obvious one :)
2. Lose 30lbs. and maintain it
3. Go on a family vacation to Disney world
4. Do a service project in my community
5. Become fluent in Spanish or Italian
6. Run a 5K
7. Sing Kaoroke at a bar
8. Grow a prize pumpkin
9. Join a church choir
10. Go ice skating on a pond
11. Create my own recipe
12. Give blood
13. Learn to make good pastry creme, pie crust and cake from scratch
14. Spend a night out with J in a hotel without the kiddo...

Ok... thats not 35 but I will keep adding to it!