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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


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


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.


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.


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


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!