Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Year in Review

As the end of 2008 draws near, I look back to previous years in review to compare; where have we been, what did we achieve, what did we learn. It seems as though this year we all grew in some way and so much more than the year before. I can't believe how different 2008 has been in every respect.

January began with the growth of our family. After trying for a few months, we got a positive pregnancy test. I suspected that I had been pregnant for a little while because I was starting to feel nauseous and knew the clear cut signs of the onset of HG for me. Regardless of the difficulties that would come from pregnancy, we were thrilled and the phone calls to everyone we knew started right after I called Bill at work with the good news. After I got my prescription for zofran, HG started at the end of the month and the "NO POOPING" sign went up on my bathroom door - where I would be camped out for hours in the evening (along with the couch). We began looking for a bigger home to move into and Logan had his HUGE 2nd birthday party with 17 kids and their parents crammed in our small house. Good times!

February was rough. HG was kicking my butt. I was on the highest dose of zofran I could take (8mg every 3-4 hours) and it wasn't enough. I still felt like I was dying. The silver lining that kept me going was that I was mostly sick in the evening, so I tired my damnedest to keep up with Logan's activities for him. He started preschool prep classes and LOVED it. We made it to every playgroup even if everyone thought I was going to die on their couch. I was so very thankful for our friends this month - massage friend who did our move-in and move-out cleaning and Bill's co-workers who helped pack and move us. I was incapacitated and Bill had the flu. We were a mess and were fortunate to have such great friends to help us out. The best part of the month was when our troubles with The Insurance Company ended and after a year of hard work we got all of our money back and then some. I was very proud of my effort and determination to fight against a multi-million dollar company and win. I still have our news story saved.

March started with Logan's 2 year check-up. He weighed 27 pounds (38%) and measured 36 inches tall (91%). I brought up concerns about his language development and we got a referral to see a speech pathologist where a few weeks later we found out that he was 3-5 months behind in vocabulary and expressive language skills (responding). We were given some homework and I had his teachers at school help him out too. I was still very sick, but photographer friend and I went to Cheesecake Factory because I was starving. I didn't care if my lunch didn't stay down, I just needed to eat. We still joke about how it saved my life. We also got to hear the baby's heart beat, which made me cry and made every sacrifice worth it. Both Bill and I celebrated our birthdays, Bill's being his 30th where he had a "surprise" party with all of his friends there. It was a lot of fun! Easter wrapped up the month with us painting wooden Easter eggs together - a tradition we will continue for as long as we can.

In April, the weather began to warm up and we played at the park often and Bill started playing Disc Golf regularly. The baby was growing bigger and I felt kicks for the first time and finally started to show. Logan's temper tantrums were driving me insane as he went through a very difficult time. He continued to stick random things in his nose - this month being an eraser head that was discovered at an IHOP dinner.

May was full of fun adventures with a trip to the Butterfly Pavilion and weekly belly picture taking. We had a lot of fun with these. I planted my Mother's Day garden with the family, was elected as our MOMS Club chapter's co-president and the most exciting part of the month - we found out that we were having another boy! We were quick to agree on the name Carter. We also started potty training (unsuccessfully), narrowly missed a tornado in town and I dealt with horrible pregnancy nightmares.

June began with me discovering that once again, Logan stuck something up his nose. After a trip to the Doctor, we all gasped when a Sponge Bob band aide was extracted. He never again got another band aide after this. Later in the month he stuck another pea up there that I had to dig out with a bamboo skewer and then at the end of the month, a rock. This only came out because I made him cry it out. We gave up on potty training and I thought Logan's cough was the beginning of asthma (thank god it wasn't). I went in for my gestational diabetes test and almost passed out in Target from the blood sugar drop. I was also getting very antsy about getting ready for Carter, with nesting kicking into high gear. I was getting bigger and more uncomfortable because I was carrying Carter so high, later to discover that he had popped out a few ribs. We took Logan our to play disc golf for Bill's Father's Day celebration where he impressed us with his throwing skills. Bill and I also celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary, which was bittersweet. We were going through a very difficult time and it was the year (the only year?) that I never gave him a card or even really cared. It was pretty bad.

In July we had Logan re-evaluated for his speech development and we were thrilled that he was all caught up. However, I've never laughed so hard in my life when I got video of him calling grasshoppers "assgrabbers". We watched the City fireworks with the in-laws and spent entirely too much time with them and minor drama ensued. I was quickly pulled out of my funk after their visit by a hilarious night out with my friends (one that I will never forget!). We went to the zoo, went to a viewing party at photographer friends house to watch the reality show that we were on together and had a 3D ultrasound where Carter hid the whole time. I caught Bill lying to me about smoking (again) and the stress sent me into preterm labor, complete with a trip to the hospital to stop the contractions. Not fun.

August started with another visit from the in-laws where Grandpa L thought it was a good idea to smoke around Logan. I had to have an extra ultrasound because I was measuring four weeks behind, which turned out to be fine. Logan got stung by yellow jackets and I was still sick. We cuddled on the couch talking about Carter who Logan insisted was a baby sister. Logan developed an intense dog phobia, completely freaking out around them and my OB and I talked about the possible development of postpartum depression since it happened after Logan was born and I was under a lot of stress. I went back to the hospital for preterm contractions and the next day I had my baby shower, which was so much fun. Photographer friend took my maternity pictures and at the end of the month, I got another ultrasound of Carter flexing his bicep. So fitting!

September brought us Carter with one of the most intense labor and delivery stories you could hear. He was almost born in the car, came out in three pushes with me not being able to get my epidural. He had the cord wrapped around his neck and swallowed muconium, leaving him in bad shape - so bad that he needed some help coming to. But, I never knew how bad it was because I was in total shock and the nurses were very reassuring that he would be OK. And he was, weighing 6 pounds, 10 ounces and 19 inches long. Recovery was easy and I was on cloud nine for a week. Breastfeeding was so natural again and Logan was the sweetest Big Brother. Things were going so great that we got right back into our schedule, attending playgroup four days after Carter was born. Logan did go through a difficult transition, throwing more tantrums and even smeared poop on his wall. Nasty.

October was a blur of sleepless nights. We went to the zoo with The Club and Logan was so good, we stayed for hours afterward just by ourselves. Very brave, I must say. The in-laws came back for another visit where they lied to us about Cousin B being sick when Carter was only 4 weeks old. This started massive issues that still continue today. Logan got so sick with a high fever that almost made him pass out at the kitchen table and it almost ruined his Halloween. Carter got sick where he had to sleep upright in his bouncer so he could breath. Everyone did recover in time to enjoy Gramps' and D's visit and all of our Halloween plans, carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating. Logan had so much fun! I had my 6 week postnatal check-up and began my post-baby body transformation.

In November we started potty training again and it worked! In a few short days, Logan was in his underwear, only wearing diapers at night. The in-laws continued their insanity and Carter was so fussy we thought he might have colic. Logan began sharpening his skills as a photographer when we let him have our old digital camera to play with. We went on a tour of the post office and I have a fabulous time with friends on our night's out. Carter continued to grow faster than I ever thought possible and we had a wonderful, delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

December was one of the most difficult months we've had. Our bank account was drained of every cent we had and we still had to pay rent. I tried everything I could with the help of MANY friends to get enough work to make up for it. It never happened. Bill went in for his vasectomy and recovered very easily. Bill and I were still going though a very difficult time in our marriage and I ended up starting medication for postpartum depression/anxiety. Bill and I worked very hard on getting our relationship back on track and the hard work was paying off. He helped push me to the gym every night when I wanted to sit at home and veg. He took over the stressful issues in our home, mostly some of the finances. During this, Logan had his first preschool prep Christmas performance, which was the cutest, most adorable morning ever. After much consideration, we decided to spend Christmas without the in-laws because of the stress and this started some insane emails calling me all sorts of horrible things. We did have a nice Christmas without them anyway and Logan was so excited about Santa and opening his presents. It was awesome.

2008 was a very challenging year with some fun and amazing times in between. There were so many highs and lows, I don't think the worlds best roller coaster has anything on us. In the end, we started to take our family in a new direction for a fabulous 2009. I have high hopes that it will be the best year for us yet.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Carter - 3 months old

I'm late in writing this since he's almost 4 months old. But, better late than never! At least I wrote this in the same month. Anyway...

Carter is huge now. I'm not sure what he weighs or how tall he is yet since we won't be going in for his check up in a few weeks, but he has outgrown his 0-3 month clothes, some of his 3-6 month clothes and fits perfectly in most 6 month sizes. He's a long kid and I think he might even be taller than Logan. We'll see how his stats stack up next month!

He's still eating every 2-3 hours like clockwork. It's a lot of work to feed this growing weed. There have been a few nights where he's technically slept through the night, but it's nothing consistent yet. He still wakes up to eat. He's pretty good about sleep too, going to bed at 7pm and starting his day between 7-8am (after waking up somewhere between 11-1 and again at 3am and 6am). His naps are getting more consistent at 10am and 3pm, but only lasting 30 minutes, sometimes if even that. He is a cat napper. I miss the 3 hour marathon naps that Logan used to take!

Carter is a super smiley kid and I've been trying to get him on video (unsuccessfully). He wakes up kicking and waving his arms with a HUGE grin on his face. He gets this excited when you pick him up anytime and when he takes his bath. Oh, man. Bath time is the most adorable part of the day. He loves it! And if I keep track of the time well enough, he's happy for his baby massage afterward, enjoying his legs getting massaged the most. But, if there's anyone who makes him smile the most, it's Logan. I'm sure Logan will be the first one to get a giggle or belly laugh out of him. Carter is also quite the talker, cooing and making adorable baby noises. I love hearing him and can't get enough of it!
Carter is interested in playing with his toys and rattles and is content to hang out in his bouncer to play while I get ready in the mornings. He loves his wubbaNubs (soothies sown onto stuffed animals) that we got for him for his first Christmas. He just sucks away and cuddles his duck, frog or dog. He's been sneaking a peek at the TV while Logan watches his cartoons, so I have to distract him when I catch him doing it. He's too young for that right now.

He has been getting stronger even though I've been a total slacker on tummy time with him. It's more of a safety issue since Logan is a wild child who runs around the house like his hair is on fire. The last thing I want is for Carter to get trampled, which I could easily see happening. However, I had him on the floor this morning and he's getting pretty close to rolling. Even though he hasn't been on his tummy much, he is sitting on my hip or upright in the Bjorn and getting stronger that way. He also discovered his hands, which are always in his mouth and he is beginning to notice his feet, which is super cute.

His "colic" comes and goes where there have been some great weeks and some terrible days. We've been using Hylands Colic tablets the last week and they've helped a lot, but the more you use them, the less effective they seem to be. It's almost as if Carter realizes he's supposed to calm down and resists it. At least he hasn't had any 6 hour crying episodes and it's only been for about an hour. Still. I can't wait until this stops, but then it will be something else, I'm sure. The two must frustrating parts are the times where I can't do anything to help him feel better and that I seem to be the only one who can calm him down. He just freaks out even harder when Bill tries to comfort him. It's exhausting.

Carter is so sweet is unbelievable and I love cuddling him, playing with his toes and smelling his hair. Having baby conversations and making him smile is an awesome part of my day. I love this little guy to pieces. I can't even remember what life was like before him.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Not the way I recommend going about it

It's been four weeks since my last fitness measurements, so I had Bill take them for me last night. With his help I've been able to make it to the gym frequently during the week when I would have otherwise sat on the couch vegging out. However, my nutrition has not been anywhere what I had planned. As in, I didn't eat very much all month long due to stress. Yeah, the starvation plan is not something I recommend at all, especially during the holidays.

But, regardless, the pants that I bought just before the first of the month are loose now, so I've dropped another pant size - now officially making me pre-pregnancy size and weight (still not pre-pregnancy shape) at 4 months postpartum. Here's how the stats are measuring up:

Weight = 136 lbs (from 140, starting 143)
Body fat percentage = 26.5% (from 27.5%, starting at 31%)

Neck = 12.25
Chest = 34.5
Arm = 10.5
Waist = 31 (from 32.5)
Hip = 40 (from 41)
Leg = 20.5
Calf = 13.5

I've lost 2.5 lbs of body fat as well as 1.5 lbs of muscle (NOT what I want to do, but that's what happens when you don't eat enough). The next three weeks should be a lot less stressful and I should be able to eat like a normal person again. I think working out is the easy part right now, so working on my nutrition will be my focus so I can gain that lost muscle back, plus some.

*pictures to come when I actually get out of my pajamas today*

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Christmas compromise catastrophe

After the very loving email that Uncle J sent on Sunday, Bill talked to both Grandma L and Aunt Ju-Ju on the phone about Grandpa L's birthday dinner plans for the next night. Both talked as though nothing had happened (surprise, surprise). The next day at work, Bill received a few text messages from Aunt Ju-Ju: "By the way, Cousin B has a cough. Dinner will be at 6:00". Obviously trying to piss Bill off who simply replied with "really?". Then she asked, "Did you read the email?". He ignored her. She sent another message. "DID YOU READ THE EMAIL". His response? "Maybe". Speaking from experience, Bill is pretty good at pissing people off and he knew that Aunt Ju-Ju was just acting like she usually does in these situations.

Bill came home from work and showed me the belated birthday card that he got for Grandma L, since he forgot her birthday last month and was giving it to her that night at the birthday dinner. "My mom always taught me to mail off birthday cards early so they get there on time." On the inside, "But I'm a grown man now and I play by my own rules". I ALMOST DIED!! I warned him that this would probably start something huge, but he said he was prepared for that anyway. We talked about a "time-out" with them if things get out of control - he was prepared to walk out and follow though.

On his way home from the dinner over at Aunt Ju-Ju's house, Bill called me to let me know what happened.

Nothing.

They all acted like nothing happened and nothing was wrong. Uncle J even gave Bill a big hug when he walked in the door as if he never sent us the email. Aunt Ju-Ju and Uncle J got a Wii for Christmas and had Bill hook it up for them. They bowled a game and he came home. That was it. Talk about a palming your forehead moment. When Bill came home I was upset. After receiving the email, I told him that I really needed him to defend me. He said he would. I was let down.

After a long emotional conversation, I told him that unless we address this, I'm done with all of them until something changes. Bill wrote out a heart felt email to his family that came just from him - telling them that the way they are treating me is unfair. He suggested that when Grandma L comes out in January when Cousin Q is born that we all go to family counseling. He also asked me to stay home with the kids while his parents came to open presents with Logan on the next night. This was not our original plan or compromise, but I told him I would be here. It was asking a whole lot from me, but all I could do was try.

Tuesday morning Grandma L replied to his email and it flipped some triggers for me. She wrote about some crap about how she wishes the whole family could have been at the birthday dinner the night before (meaning, the kids - because that's what had been requested) and that even with all of the stuff that was going on, it was reassuring that "we can treat each other with the love that I know we all have for one another". Right. I'm sure her telling everyone that I abused her is her way of showing me love. She also suggested that when it comes to family counseling, that it should just be the two of us - she and I that go. I almost fell off the couch when I read that. I'm not married to her and this is a family issue, plus, if it were the two of us she would continue to tell lies and deny all of her hurtful actions.

I stressed about the visit all day. Clearly this compromise was asking too much from me. I was not in any place to calmly deal with the issue at hand and I felt like climbing the walls from the anxiety. I knew what was going to happen. We would open presents and pretend like the world was grand. I couldn't do it like that. Ignoring everything makes me insane.

Bill got off work and called on his way home. I had the freak out of all freak outs. I told him that I was angry and hurt, that when his parents came over we were talking about this first and not opening presents pretending like everything was OK. I told him that unless Grandma L and I came to a resolve about her making fun of me on the phone, hanging up on me and then telling everyone that I abused her, then there was to be no "Christmas" with them that night. The whole reason why we weren't having Christmas Eve with them in the first place. I also told him that I was standing up for myself because he wouldn't do it for me. He called them and told them to go home and not come over. No explanation, no conversation.

He came home and we had a long discussion with me mostly crying and yelling about how I can't take it anymore - I'm at my breaking point and I needed him to defend me (which I told him after we got Uncle J's email). It wasn't really an argument, just me flipping out. That's PPD/PPA for you I guess. Who knows. But Bill knew weeks ahead of time that this visit would be too much for me to handle and we talked about it extensively. We should have stuck with our original plan.

Wednesday morning the in-laws were still left hanging as to what happened the night before. I knew Bill wasn't going to be able to tell them the truth when he went over for Christmas Eve so it was up to me. I (nicely) emailed Grandma L, Aunt Ju-Ju and Uncle J explaining my feelings and why things were going the way they were - without mention of PPD. I told them every bit of the truth of how we came to the decisions we did. I am so tired of the lies, glossing over the issues and everyone flat out ignoring major problems. It's time to face everything head on and get it over with. If it's not resolved, it's over. And I made that clear.

Bill went over to Aunt Ju-Ju's after we had dinner, opened presents and Logan and Carter went to bed. Again, not much happened. In fact, I think it was Bill who brought up that they need to talk and they decided to talk the next day when Bill brought them to the airport.

Christmas afternoon, Bill and Logan went over to Aunt Ju-Ju's house to hangout for a little bit before taking the grandparents to the airport. There wasn't much of a conversation other than Grandma L asking Bill if we should have a sit down conversation before going to counseling (too late, already did that and it obviously didn't work) and asking him if I could forgive. He told her that it's going to take a very long time because she's done some extremely hurtful things.

She comes back out in three weeks when Cousin Q is born and we'll see what happens from there in counseling. This is my last resort.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas at home was adorable, thanks to Logan's pure excitement about Santa and opening presents. On Christmas Eve he was too worked up to eat dinner before opening presents, so we changed our plans and let him have at it. He was so stinkin' cute! Thrilled with everything he got, after each present he exclaimed, "Thank You! Thank You!". The video we got of him opening his favorite present is priceless. He was very helpful and opened Carter's presents for him, telling him how "so cute" his new binkies were. 98% of Logan's presents were Cars paraphernalia, which he loved and he had plenty of time to play with his loot before bed. At bedtime, he loaded up his arms with all of the cars he could and made his way up the stairs, telling Bill that he didn't need help carrying them up because he was a big boy. We got a kick out of that.

Christmas morning was classic when Logan woke up and came into our room at 6:30am. Bill explained to him that Santa had been there and filled his stocking. After he got it, he ran into his room and was ecstatic to find more cars. He made his way down the stairs to find more presents. He was entertained and occupied all morning.

Christmas was adorable thanks to Logan's pure joy of it all. We loved it!


Christmas Morning 2008


Carter's first Christmas and quite possibly, Logan's favorite so far.


Monday, December 22, 2008

It wouldn't be the holidays without an email telling me I'm horrible

Bill broke the news to Grandma L this weekend that we wouldn't be spending the holidays with them. A decision proposed by Bill and supported by our counselor. It was nothing I demanded. I'm not exactly sure what he said - that the stress is too much? I told Bill that if he told his parents about me dealing with PPD, it wouldn't be without his life. This is information that they will UNDOUBTEDLY use against me, blame me for everything, etc. But at any rate, Grandma L and Grandpa L can come over on Tuesday night to open their presents with Logan and Bill while Carter and I go somewhere - coffee maybe. Or maybe not. I don't know. But, we won't be celebrating with them pretending that we're a happy family.

All that was said by Grandma L in the phone call (according to Bill) was a simple "OK". No discussion. No argument. I knew it was too good to be true. Nothing like this happens. There's always some kind of crap to deal with and it's never face to face or in verbal conversation, it's always via email. Que the flying monkeys...

It's usually Aunt Ju-Ju who flies off the handle acting as Grandma L's mouth piece. But this holiday we were surprised with a twist. Uncle J decided to take it upon himself to tell me how horrible I am. He doesn't even know the whole story and is only hearing the lies coming from Grandma L (like how she's going around saying I verbally abused her. This is NOT true and Bill listened to the entire conversation I had with her about her asking Bill to lie to me). So, yesterday I open my email to find this whopper:


"It is very sad for us to imagine the thought process that goes on when deciding that 2 wonderful grandparents, a wonderful aunt & uncle & most of all (Cousin B) will not be having the X-mas they anticipated, because of your Immaturity and Selfishness. It amazes us that you are able to take money from (Grandma L & Grandpa L) when you need it, but you can let Kristin dictate your children like they are pawns. I have never observed the amount of disrespect that has been given to (Grandma L & Grandpa L) in my life, especially from there own son!!!! In some twisted way I believe that Kristin enjoys this DRAMA you speak of since she is the only one that creates it from NOTHING. Maybe a couple of comments like the doctor comment. Wow! Once again someone looking for a way just to gain a little power ???

It is very interesting how much loyalty you give your counselor that is paid & only can hear your side. But when there is no logic to begin w/ you will believe anybody who sides w/ you!!!!!!! What the Fuck has anyone of us done to constitute these repetitive actions. Tell me one thing, Can You ? Can You ? I would love to hear of the horrible things that (Aunt Ju-Ju, Grandpa L, or Grandma L) have ever done, except love & care. I am shocked that they have not lined you out or lost it w/ you.

If (Aunt Ju-Ju) ever treated my mom like Kristen has treated (Grandma L) I would have been done w/ her along time ago.. I am just shocked while I am writing this that so much wasted energy has gone to the disrespect of your parents Bill....Over What ????Come On!! I would love to hear of the horrific events. Please tell me !!!! I am Blown away that your father has not taken you by the neck & shook some sense into you.

I wish it did not have to come to this jackass of an email. After the crazy email when (Cousin B) had his common cold, I am fucking lost. I really hoped we would be able to build a great relationship, but every time I am excited to do something w/ you I hear of more bullshit actions. I don't think they start w/ you, but you allow them to happen. Bill you are a wonderful guy!! I hope you can shed some light on this situation because I don't understand. I have witnessed numerous family situations that don't lead to this much anger, hostility, control that you & Kristin have created.

My gut feeling is there are many unresolved issues in Kristin's past that she carries and transfers to your parents. I hate that I have to be this direct. But I am at a loss. I spend the holidays w/ your sister, parents, and nephew watching them be upset every visit because of these crazy ideas............with no help from you !!!!!

If your wife does not like your parents or me or (Aunt Ju-Ju) then have her stay home...... Don't deny your family the right to see you & your boys. What goes on in you mind when your mom & sister are crying every visit because of Kristin. At least stand up to your wife & let life happen. We are only talking about 4 hours a year.

I know you would like to spend X-mas w/ your family. Or least I hope so.. It sounds like your compromise of having your parents over on Tuesday night is not logical, since we know that Kristen does not want see them. Bring the boys over here to avoid the drama. Isn't that logical? Or is this just another way of Kristin enjoying the power of control and you allowing it, stand up. Avoid conflict have a meeting place w/ just you & the boys w/ your parents. Then Kristen does not have to deal w/ it.!!!!!!!!!!!! Or will she not allow you to do that.

This Game Should Have Been Over a long time ago !!!!!!! Please be respectful enough to call your sister back & acknowledge w/ an email that you & Kristin have read my thoughts. Please don't push this under the rug. Ensure that Kristen reads this. Even an email saying fuck you from both of you would be sufficient."



And there you have it.

It was sent to both Bill and me, and I opened my email first and read it aloud. Bill just shrugged his shoulders. "So what. That's his opinion and it changes nothing here at home". We left the email unanswered. Shortly after that, Bill received a phone call from Grandma L like nothing had happened, nothing was wrong (knowing that she helped orchestrate the email along with Aunt Ju-Ju with some tell-tale details). Bill asked about Grandpa L's birthday dinner that is going on tonight and she passed the phone over to Aunt Ju-Ju who acted the same. Everything is peachy-keen. God damn are these people nuts. Then to top it all off, because we didn't engage Uncle J and respond to his email, he resent it to us this morning.

I have a lot to say about the email, but really, I'm so drained already I can't even begin to do it. I just want them out of my life forever.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Getting his learn on

Logan has been back in his preschool prep class since the beginning of the month (the next "grade" up from this summer). I've noticed how much he learns in the short time he's there. Everyday he comes out of class talking about something new and throughout the day comes up with the most random conversations.

They've been learning everything about winter the last few weeks and he constantly talks about snow and what it's made of. He describes every part of it: white, cold, wet and the articles of clothing he needs to wear while outside - scarf and "glubs" (gloves). He talks up a storm when he's in school and I've noticed that while on his fall break, we got a little lazy with making him respond to conversation. I might have to find a way to keep him going until he actually enrolls in preschool.

The other day we were driving home from dropping Bill off at work. There's a grassy field that we drive by and in the summer it's full of prairie dogs. He noticed that they weren't there and asked what had happened to them. "Well, they are in their beds", I told him. "Oh, in their beds in the holes?", he asked. "Yep. In their beds in the holes because it's cold outside", I replied. "Prairie dogs need jackets", he told me. It took everything I had not to laugh hysterically while driving and getting us in to a car accident.

He's also growing up every single week, I swear. Last week he had show & tell at school and Bill thought letting Logan take his camera was a great idea. It was! He came out of class telling me about taking pictures of his friends. He turned on the camera and gave it to me to look through. It looked like they had a great time taking pictures. It gave me the warm fuzzies that he had so much fun while learning.

This morning was his last day at school for this session. They ended it with a big holiday party complete with a little program that the kids put on. Logan's first assembly! It was so cute! They came out into the gym where the parents were seated shaking their bells while they all lined up. Logan wandered around looking for us at first and after Bill redirected him back "on stage" Logan smiled and smirked. I couldn't help but laugh. While they sang "Jingle Bells", Logan walked off to the side almost in the audience to participate. Hilarious! They sang a couple more songs - something about snowball fights and "Animal Actions" where they imitated elephants, birds, snakes, cats and monkeys. Again, Logan was so funny to watch.

After their program the parents and kids went back into the classrooms to do craft projects together. Bill was able to take the morning off from work, so he was the lucky guy to do the project with Logan since he doesn't get a chance to otherwise. They made pine cone ornaments, snowmen made out of socks and reindeer out of Popsicle sticks. There was a gift exchange and Logan received a pretty cool present - a couple of balls that light up when they hit the floor.

After the party, Logan and one of his favorite friends, Little A (I guess they aren't so little anymore!) ran around together in the gym throwing the balls that Logan got and wrestling. They had a great time and it was a really fun way to end school for winter break. I don't think we'll go back for January, but maybe in the spring (depending on how the whole preschool thing works out. God! Preschool!)

*I have video of the assembly uploading and it's taking FOREVER. It's also out of focus in some parts because we were in the back row and too far away. The video is like the ones people torture their friends with ("hey, look at my kid!") when the parents are the only people who find it interesting. So, there's a boring warning for you. The family reading this will get a kick out of it though.*

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The trainer needs a trainer

I have to laugh because it really is funny. My motivation to workout is zapped, but once I get there, I'm good to go. The 8:00pm workouts are a little rough to get started, especially after a long day of wrangling kids and whatnot. It helps that I'm training a client in the gym twice a week, so I have to be there regardless of how I feel and I have to workout with her at the same time, too. But the days that I don't want to go, Bill is cracking the whip pretty hard.

It seems as though almost every night, all I want to do is hang out on the couch and veg. Bill starts off by saying that I should go because I'll feel better. I ham and haw for a while and he pushes even harder. Then I get a little irritated and he tells me that he knows how much I really do want to go and that he's trying to help out. I'm pretty anxious about gaining weight on the medication and he knows how much it bothers me. I mope around getting my workout gear together and head out the door. It's funny because I do end up having a pretty good workout and come home feeling better. Hmmm, you'd think he was a personal trainer! It also makes me think that I need to be a little harder on some of my clients. I'm getting first hand experience of being pushed into working out. Sometimes, that's what it takes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Waiving the white flag

It's very hard for me to admit that things are "too much" and ask for help. It's one of my biggest downfalls, I suppose. I like to think that I can do it all, make anything happen and not even flinch. It's difficult to miss the mark that I set for myself. But over the last week, I've had to drop a lot of things. Bill has taken over calling on some of the important financial issues and continues to push me out the door at night so I can make it to the gym (which really does help and I really do need that push right now). Some of the things that I would normally make time for, like baking cookies for a cookie swap, don't really matter as much and I've had to take on the attitude of "whatever happens, happens".

I am SO THANKFUL for everyone's help in trying to spread the word about online training so we can pay the bills, but so far, it looks like the Christmas Miracle that I was hoping for isn't going to happen. We tried. And when I say "we", I mean all of my friends who sent out chain emails, Facebook notices, blog posts, and spoke to everyone they knew about it. We are not going to be homeless or be behind in rent since we made a deal with the devil and borrowed the money. Which I begged and pleaded not to do, cried and had panic attacks about. I did not want this to be a reality and tried everything other than street walking for a different outcome. I guess after the monumental futile effort, it had to be done.

Not only have I delegated the stress inducers, I've been relieved of the family obligations that cause the most anxiety. When everything was spiraling downward, Bill suggested that I stay home with the kids over the holiday week of in-law visits. This was also suggested by our counselor in the PPD session. After being on the medication for a week and thinking long and hard about it, I agree that it is the best thing to do for our family, regardless of the turmoil that will ensue.

So, I'm getting myself out of this stress storm with the help of Bill, who while contributed to a hell of a lot of it, has been trying to clean up the mess with me.

Friday, December 12, 2008

I don't want to believe it, but I guess it's so

Obviously, there has been a lot going on over here:
  1. Our bank account is drained of everything.
  2. I work harder than I ever have trying to make up the money for it (with a LOT of help from friends) in 2 weeks.
  3. I discover a lie.
  4. Our bank account is hit again but by a different company taking out 5 monthly payments.
  5. Trying to organize our bills during this whole fiasco.
  6. Try not to worry about the impending family visit during Christmas (unsuccessfully).
I think that about covers it. I also think that I'm justified in being super-stressed. However, all of this has seemingly landed my butt into postpartum depression.

I have been fighting this fact tooth and nail. I refused to believe it, asking who the hell wouldn't be freaked out with all of this going on at once. But, since the infamous Monday bankruptcy, I began to wake up with the breath sucked out of me realizing that I woke up to this reality. I lost my appetite and ate maybe a meal a day, if even that. "Stay Positive"? Yeah, right. For the first week after all of this, I felt like I had been hit by a truck and it wasn't from my workouts. Running wasn't really cutting it for me anymore, and our tree is still undecorated and half-lit.

We went to see our marriage counselor a couple of days ago and it came up that they (she and Bill) think I have postpartum depression and need to go on medication. I was pissed. Well, pissed wasn't even the word. Beyond pissed is more like it. It was just one more thing to deal with. Wasn't everything else enough?

It upset me on so many different levels. First, I felt like a failure. Like I couldn't handle my life during a stressful time when I should have been able to keep it together. I felt broken or defective. I was angry that after years of being able to handle a lifetime of insanity, that now I had to go on medication. I was angry that I had to suffer the side-effects of medication, ultimately making a difficult situation even more difficult (heart palpitations, weird feeling in my throat to start with), not to mention fears of other side effects (weight gain, "relationship" problems). The side effect that enraged me was nausea. I JUST lived nine months of my life with constant nausea and now I have to keep on with it for a different reason?! That alone would depress me more than anything else.

I begrudgingly called my OB to get the prescription filled. Last night on my drive home from the gym, I was deep in thought about all of this and my refusal to believe that I have postpartum depression, that this was all just life crap happening. Then I remembered what life was like with Logan in his babyhood. And that I thought the same thing - that it was all life crap. And how months (more than a year?) later after talking to a postpartum depression specialist who told me that life stress can cause you to go into postpartum depression I realized that I had lived undiagnosed and untreated.

I'm still angry, but a little less. I'm on day 3 of the medication.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Truth be told

First, let me preface this post by saying that I do love Bill, otherwise I wouldn't still be here after all of this crap (and after actually calling and speaking to divorce attorneys). I still believe that we are soul mates, which makes all of this that much more painful. We've been through a lot in our 10 years together and have always stuck it out, but it's come time that I get this off my chest because it's been eating at me for years. YEARS. I feel like I'm at the end of my rope already and not sure how much more of this I can take.

I decided to go ahead and write about this because it will help me - both in the short term and long term. I hope to overcome this with him and be able to look back at this post, proud of what we were able to achieve together. My intention is not to complain or bash. My intention is to be real. To acknowledge what I feel. Even though we are soul mates, that doesn't mean we are problem-free. I also took into consideration what Logan and Carter might get out of this if they read it in the future. I want them to know that marriage is very hard work and their parents are not perfect, but we try. I don't want them to think poorly of their Dad - quite the opposite. I want them to see the realities of marriage and relationships, of mistakes and hurt, to learn conflict resolution, to teach them the skills we never learned growing up, and that they can make changes before it's too late.

So here it goes...


I don't like being lied to. Who does, really? But me? I. Can. Not. Handle. Being lied to. I'm sure my past has a lot to do with how strongly I feel about this, but that's who I am. I need the truth more than most people. Truth equals security for me. Dishonesty and mistrust make my head spin. I often feel like I have a hard enough time trusting people to begin with, then when the person I love the most lies to me - it hurts more than anything. I don't even have the words to describe how it feels. For me, it's earth shattering.

There is a long history of dishonesty here that (unknowingly for me) started at the beginning. When Bill & I first met, he was a smoker. I told him that I wasn't going to date a smoker (for reasons listed in the linked post) and he quit. Or so I thought. Throughout the years he's lied to me about it, over and over again. Bill’s sacrifice of giving up smoking is so significant to me because it demonstrated that I was special enough to someone to give up something difficult for. Since living a life where I was often threatened to “give away”, not valued or respected, this sacrifice was monumental. After discovering that Bill picked up smoking time and time again, it devalues that significance for me. It feels like the ultimate betrayal by making me feel like that sacrifice was never real to begin with or that it wasn’t that big of a deal, so it’s easy to go back on his word. I understand the addiction and that it's difficult and that there are going to be slip-ups. But add dishonesty to the mix, where I ask him and I am lied to straight to my face, all of this becomes more than "just smoking".

The lies extended beyond smoking. There have been lies about our finances, lies about how involved his parents were in our business (more than I even knew about what was going on in our lives), lies upon lies. It's now to the point where I don't know what's real and what's not. For years, I developed the skills of a private investigator. I've seriously wondered if I should go into this field after the kids are in school, because I live it everyday. My gut tells me when something is not right and even though I might not find the truth right away, I always find it sooner or later. Always. I'm tired of being the suspicious wife.

I hate being lied to because it makes me feel like a sucker. It makes me feel weak and like I should have known better than to trust. With the years of lies about so many things, it makes me wonder why I'm not worthy of the truth. This should be a foundation of not only a marriage, but a friendship. Everyone deserves the truth. It's a common respect. The fact that I don't get this from our marriage cuts me to my core.

In the past few years, I've learned that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I've learned that the art of deception has been taught and lived for years before me. That this learned behavior is now a habit, just like smoking. The fear of dealing with the reality is extreme, so deception is the go-to coping skill. What boggles my mind is how hard it is to change this habit. When it's obvious how hurtful the dishonesty is, to me it seems like it would be easy to stop. Who would want to hurt their family so much? I know he doesn't want to, but I can't wrap my mind around it. I know it, but I can't understand it. Because every lie makes the reality worse. Every time there is more to deal with than just the issue at hand. It makes every situation more complicated, more stressful, more intense than it needed to be to begin with because I can't handle it. "The truth will set you free" rings so true for our family.

But, maybe I do understand more than I think I do. Maybe I tough it out not just out of love, but knowing how much our childhood carries over to our adulthood. He probably does the same because even though we both work on our "stuff", my history still haunts me regularly, even if it's not as much as years ago. Maybe knowing how hard it is for me to change helps to understand how hard it is for him. Maybe that's why we both keep on keepin' on.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sometimes you just have to write

I've got a lot to think about today. I've often mentioned how blogging has helped me personally in difficult situations. There's just something about writing that helps me to work through certain events. When I started blogging I kept those feelings and issues on the down low until I couldn't keep it inside any longer. Thus began the "non-deleted posts" entries that were primarily about the in-laws. I'm at that familiar place again but with a different topic.

Once I started those "non-deleted posts" entries, I felt better. There wasn't anything I wouldn't write about, with the exception of my marriage. That's where I'm at. I said that my marriage was an off-limits subject because it was something that I respected and wanted to keep between the two of us, but right now, I feel like I'm the only one who's respecting anything. I know writing about it will help me personally, but I really have to think long and hard if that's where I want to go. It would be a whole different ball of wax if this was an anonymous blog where friends and family didn't read (don't worry - there's not going to be any graphic information. I have more class than that).

Regardless if I write about us or not, there are probably going to be some Debbie Downer entries in the next few days. That's just what's going on. So, if you're looking for sunshine and rainbows, you're not going to find it here until maybe next week (or let's hope so anyway).

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Short and sweet

A few things...

I don't think this is postpartum depression, but whatever.

No word from the HOA, even though they have received two requests. The third will go in on Friday and then we'll see what happens from there. The fitness website supposedly returned the money they took, but it has yet to show up in our account.

And on a nice happy note, Lisa was awesome in having me write a guest post for Workout Mommy. I've had a couple of emails from it requesting info for online training and it was put up on Reuters, which is fantabulous. Thanks again Lisa!

Monday, December 08, 2008

WHAT THE?!

This afternoon while I was working - writing fitness posts, designing programs, paying bills and taking care of the kids all at the same time - I discovered that the fitness website where I have my membership to access my exercise library took out 5 monthly payments at once rather than the one that was scheduled for this month (which should have been put on hold until February in light of recent events as I had requested).

WHAT THE FUCK.

Now my membership is on hold while IT figures out what happened and until the money is returned to our bank account, I can't work.

Can it get any worse? Really?! I'm having a VERY hard time staying positive right now.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

A permanent decision

Last week before all of this chaos went down, Bill and I decided that we were happy with the size of our family and to make a permanent decision - a vasectomy for Bill. We had been talking about his for quite some time; not only were we happy with the size of our family, but there is no way I can go through another pregnancy again and we figured the end of the year was the best time to do this (for insurance purposes).

Bill had been talking to some of his co-workers about it for months. One of his friends had one done about 6 months ago and highly recommended the Doctor he went to. We set up a consultation with the Doctor last week to go over the procedure and apparently spouses have to be there so the Doctor knows it's a family decision (I thought that was pretty interesting).

On the way to the consultation, the reality of making a permanent decision ran though my mind. I knew this was the best option. We were absolutely finished having kids. There's no way we can have more; financially, physically, mentally - two is just right for us. But, still. The thought that this was the very last step, that there is no going back, that this is permanent, stuck with me for the whole drive there.

We got to the office and I was a little apprehensive after feeling like I was back in 1977. Not knowing the Doctor, I expected a decrepit, shaky man who could hardly see by the way the office looked. Bill and I had been joking about the office and the procedure and Bill was texting his co-worker who recommended the office, mentioning how he felt like he should be wearing a leisure track suit. There was a woman sitting next to me reading a magazine and shortly after we sat down next to her, the man she was waiting for came out from the back office. He had a dazed and confused look on his face with a huge spaced out grin. "Do you want to hang out for a minute or are you ready to go?", she asked him. He said he was ready to go and as he shuffled out the door, she looked at me with a knowing smile. After they left I couldn't help but laugh.

We were called back into the exam room and met with the Doctor. I was pleasantly surprised as he was a younger guy (or younger than I imagined) and very nice. He explained the technique he uses - removing a piece, cauterizing it and tying it in a knot. He asked us if we were sure we wanted to do this since his technique is one of the most permanent ones available and very difficult, if not impossible to reverse. We were sure. We scheduled the date for the surgery.

On Friday afternoon, Bill was nervous but ready. He had a prescription of Valium and pain meds to take before going in. It was a little hard for me to be sympathetic after having our kids. I had been through two labors, one unmedicated delivery and two recoveries that were in postpartum terms, easy, but compared to the recovery of a vasectomy, horribly painful. All Bill would get is a stitch, some swelling, some pain and he should be back to work in two days. Not only back to work in two days, but back to regular activity in a week. Postpartum recovery takes at least 6 weeks if not longer than that in some cases. This surgery was a snap, to put it lightly.

Bill went back for the procedure while Carter and I waited for about 45 minutes in the waiting room (Logan was playing at the drop-in childcare center). When all was said and done, Bill walked out feeling great and relieved that it was so easy and pretty painless. The Doctor came out with him to say that Bill did great and told him that he should have been screaming here and there to make me think he was actually going through something painful. While walking out to the car, Bill spoke highly of the Doctor and said that he would recommend him to anyone we knew going in for a vasectomy (which is actually a hot topic of discussion at a lot of the MOMS Club activities) and Bill told the Doctor that he was recommending him to the other guys at work, making him the official Doctor to go to for one (I guess there are a few other guys wanting to go in).

The recovery for him has been a little painful, but not too bad. Nothing a few ibuprofen can't take care of. In the Big Picture, a few days of being sore is nothing compared to 9 months of puking every cell of my body up and then being pulled half apart at delivery with more stitches than I can count.

Yeah. We made the right decision.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Bound and determined

I spent all day yesterday marketing for new clients. 16 new clients is quite a feat. I have never taken on that many online clients at one time - 5 or 6, but nothing more than that (one-on-one sessions is different - I think the most was 40 at one time). But, 16 really is a Christmas miracle if it comes to fruition. I've put it out there as much as I could think of yesterday and some MOMS Club friends are helping out by passing the word along. One friend signed up for a month, another posted a facebook note and sent a mass email to her contact list. A few moms at Logan's school offered to help, passing the word along to other Moms groups in town and another friend sending the info to her husbands office. There have been bloggers asking for info too and I have a couple other people I'm waiting to hear back from. So, it's a start!

I am bound and determined to do this in 2 weeks. I know I can do this if I keep at it and stay positive. Which I am. It's a challenge, but not impossible.

I am so thankful for all of the help that friends have been offering - email chains, asking around and helping to get the word out to everyone they know. I appreciate every single effort that's been made for our family in this insane situation.

And to repeat the mantra that got me through the last battle for our family: Stay positive.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

In need of a Christmas Miracle

I'm putting this out there because I am beyond desperate. Desperate times call for desperate measures. I need a Christmas miracle and I hope people out there in the blogosphere can help. I need 16 people to sign-up for one month online personal training programs to get us out of this mess in 2-2 1/2 weeks. Please, if you know anyone who wants to get in shape but can't afford one-on-one personal training sessions, PLEASE EMAIL ME!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

It should be under the mattress

Is it just us? I swear it is. We seem to be the only people who repeatedly have money taken directly from their bank accounts. First it was the hacker/identity theft from PayPal when Logan was brand new. Then it was the insurance company - that took an entire year to get back, complete with news coverage and all. Now it's our old HOA from before we moved to our small town.

Monday night we were decorating the Christmas tree, listening to Christmas music and being festive with holiday cheer. Bill was craving some burgers for dinner and for some reason checked the account before going out to pick it up (he had just been paid, so I'm not sure why he did this). BUT. When he checked, we had 77 cents. Both our checking account and savings account had been wiped out. Of course, panic ensued and breathing deeply, Bill tried to figure out what was going on. Needless to say, this killed the Christmas spirit and our tree is only half lit.

All day on Tuesday I made phone calls and sent emails to see what was happening. It turns out our old HOA decided to drain every cent we had without notice. After calling the HOA's attorney, it turns out that they even withdrew more than they intended (how freakin' awesome is that). So, just as we paid rent and bills, bought a Christmas tree and some presents - they took everything we had. The rent hadn't been deposited yet, so Bill had to tell our landlords to hold on to it so it wouldn't bounce. I got some of our money back, but not all. I'm still waiting to hear back from the HOA board.

I swear to God. I'm taking all of our money out of the bank and keeping it under the mattress. I don't understand why it's so easy for companies to go into people's accounts, take what they want without proof or notice. AND THIS ISN'T THE FIRST TIME. That's the kicker!

So, this is what I've been doing over the last few days. Merry Christmas, huh.

Monday, December 01, 2008

5 weeks later...

After I was given the all-clear to workout after having Carter, I thought getting back into shape would be relatively easy. I know what to do, I just have to do it. Well, that's where the problem started - doing it. Since Carter is too young to go to the gym childcare (he has to be 6 months old), I had to leave him home with Bill. I would try to workout after Bill got home from work and before the kids went to bed. That was not a good time. Carter would scream the entire time I was gone and a few times Bill had to call me to come back home since I'm the only one who can get him in this weird side laying snuggle position that gets him to calm down. If I wanted to workout, I had to do it after the kids were in bed - after 8:00pm.

So, I started to workout from about 8:30 to 10:00pm. Sometimes I would be so tired that I didn't want to go, but Bill insisted that I did. This often pissed me off because it felt like he was shoving me out the door so he could play online-poker. Sometimes I would be so irritated with how the day went that I couldn't wait to go and blow off some steam. But either way, I ended up going twice a week for the first week and worked up to almost every night the last couple of weeks.

The workouts sucked at first because I didn't have any music to workout to. Our iPod broke and good music is a key component to an effective cardio workout for me (lifting without music is easier). Then, my choice of cardio changed. I'm usually an elliptical kind of person, but after dealing with the in-laws and the aftermath that happened, I started running. The night they left I called photographer friend to see if she wanted to join me for some late night cardio. We walked on the treadmill for a little bit and I just felt like I needed to run. This is funny because I hate running. Not only do I hate running, but I've trained countless clients for marathons and running goals, yet I hate to run, never do it and have never run a race. I used to run when we lived in Portland because it was too beautiful not to. I would run along the water front and up to the Rose Garden, but that was the last time I ever did (4 years ago?). This time though, it felt incredible. It didn't even feel like I was running and I instantly got the runners high. I left the gym feeling like a million bucks.

After that night I would go back to the gym and jump on the elliptical. Soon I realized it was screwing up my hip (child birth does that to you, I suppose). After a bad day at home where Logan peed all over the floor because he wouldn't listen to us requesting that he use the potty because we could tell he needed to go, I started running. And I stuck to it. I got a new pair of running shoes and we got a nano as an early Christmas present. I loaded it up with some intense music (Foo Fighters and Rage Against The Machine are the best). I started running every night.

Running became more than just a different form of cardio for me. Running turned into an outlet for my anger and frustration. Dealing with Logan's defiant preschooler attitude, Carter's constant crying, Bill's family; it was all adding fuel to the fire within me. I would run hard and use the music to push me farther than I felt like I could go. I would pretty much run the rage right out of my body. After a few times I decided that I was crazy and that I was going to train for a race. A 5K because I'm not crazy enough for a marathon yet. I came home from the gym and told Bill. "I hate running, but I think I'm going to train for a race. For some reason I just have to run now". He laughed, "You hate running but you're going to run a race? Go for it", he smiled, "but you know you can't run away from us".

So, the next 5k in town is in March. If it's not too cold, I'll run it.

On that note, I had Bill take my measurements last night. His pushing me out the door has paid off and I'm not so pissed about it anymore. I've lost 3 pounds, dropped a pant size, lost 3.5% body fat - which means I lost 6 pounds of fat and gained 3 pounds of muscle. Not necessarily accelerated results, but results nonetheless. I'm shocked that I changed at all.

*stats*
Weight = 140 pounds (from 143 lbs)
Body fat percentage = 27.5% (from 31%)

Neck = 12.25 (from 13'')
Bicep = 10.5
Chest = 34.5 (from 35.5'')
Waist = 32.5
Hips = 41
Leg = 20.5
Calf = 13.5

*pictures to follow later*

Friday, November 28, 2008

So much food and family time

After hours of cooking and baking, with full stomachs we called our Thanksgiving dinner a success. Every dish was so good and nothing was a disaster (except for the pie because I didn't buy enough pudding, but it still tasted great - just not as firm as it should have been). We were going to eat early, but Bill put the turkey in the oven not realizing that it had automatically shut off after I made the muffins. It sat in there for hours before we knew it wasn't cooking. So, dinner was delayed and thankfully, we don't have salmonella poisoning.

It was really nice to have all of us sitting at the table eating Thanksgiving dinner together. Logan loved his cranberry sauce and talked about it all night. Carter was content to sit in his bouncer at the table with all of us (poor kid had to miss out on the deliciousness. Hopefully he got a second hand taste) and Bill and I inhaled our dinner like it was our last meal. I was really proud of our cooking skills and that everything was made from scratch (the stuffing was my favorite).

We had a nice time together as a family with leftovers to last us for a while. Yum!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful

There are so many things that I'm thankful for this year...
  • We found a nice house big enough for all of us
  • I was able to endure another pregnancy and was able to acquire the zofran that I needed
  • I have friends willing to lend a helping hand when I need one
  • Our marriage survived the challenges of the pregnancy complications and grew to be even closer in the end
  • We won our case against the insurance company and all of our money was returned back to us
  • Bill has a wonderful job that gave him a couple of promotions and it allows me to continue to stay at home
  • Logan's speech development caught up quickly
  • I belong to a great MOMS Club chapter where both Logan and I have found awesome friends
  • Carter was born healthy when it could have easily been a tragedy
  • Logan is potty trained
  • We never go hungry and we have the essentials we need
  • I've been able to barter for luxuries that we wouldn't be able to afford otherwise (photography, childcare, house cleaning)
  • We did fun things: trips to the zoo, preschool prep classes, Date Nights, etc.
  • We are all safe, healthy, well taken care of and happy.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The menu

This is definitely not the time to start a diet. I wrote up our menu for tomorrow and it's only for us - no guests. We're going to have leftovers for eternity, which isn't all that bad the more that I think about it. I start cooking tonight and continue with the rest tomorrow. Crazy! Two days of cooking! It better be the best Thanksgiving dinner we've ever had.

Tonight I start making the Cranberry Harvest muffins for our brunch. I'm making them differently than this recipe: egg-free, with pecans or almonds, no figs and a lower fat milk. We'll see how they turn out.

Then tomorrow Bill is making the turkey and gravy (he does an excellent job) and per his request, Stove Top stuffing. I'm making the mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mushrooms and spinach and the pumpkin pie (thanks for the recipe Catherine!). So, yeah. That's a lot of food and we're going to try and do it for under $20. We'll see how that goes!

I hope every one's meals turn out to be delicious!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hair today, gone tomorrow

It's been quite some time since Logan had a haircut. He was getting this fro-mop-shag style going on and it was driving me crazy. I wasn't too impressed with his last hair cut at the kids' salon and I wasn't thrilled with the $20 charge that goes along with it. However, Bill had been banned from giving our kids anymore haircuts since Logan's bald-boy cut (remember that one!?). Well, he had been trying to convince me that if we got a new set of clippers he would be able to do a better job. While shopping last week we found a color coded set that pretty much guaranteed a dummy-proof cut. So, we bought it.

Over the weekend Bill sat Logan in the kitchen chair and began testing out the different color/length guides. There was hair everywhere! Logan had a great time telling Bill what color guard to use next making it a family effort. Once we figured out the right lengths, Bill cleaned it up a bit. By this point Logan was getting restless and wiggling around. He was starting to whine and made the mistake of not keeping his mouth shut. "I need to go to the Doctor! I got hair in my mouth!", he screamed while spitting. That was seriously the funniest thing I've head in a while.

Bill did a pretty good job. Not exactly salon quality (from the good stylist, Bill's cut was much better than the crappy stylist), but it was pretty close and it worked. In that one cut, the clippers paid for themselves and now that Logan's hair is short, the next cut should be easier to style and maintain. This is one of the good things about having boys - home haircuts are easier to do and if all else fails, you can always shave their heads.

Fro-mop-shag a la' bed head

Bill's barbering skills

GQ cover pose

Monday, November 24, 2008

Equal but not the same

Parents with more than one child will often say how their love for each kid is the same. That is one of the biggest fallacies of parenthood. Anyone who tells you differently is lying not only to you, but themselves. The love a parent has for their children is not equal at all. Children have different personalities. They are different people. Thus, I love my children differently.

First, let me preface this by saying that "differently", "not the same" and "not equal" do not mean more or less. I do not have a favorite and I do not love one son more or less than the other. But, my love for Logan is completely different than my love for Carter. I'm positive that it's this way in every home with every parent, but it's an unspoken topic for fear that it may be interpreted in the wrong way. I think it's something that needs to be brought to the surface as many mothers expecting their second baby are uneasy about this transition and often worry about the possibility of having a different love. It's nothing to be afraid of. In fact, that different love is special and shared only with each child it's intended for.

I started to notice the difference in my love for my boys when Carter was only a few weeks old. I would often reflect on my newborn experience with Logan and felt like the second go around was completely different. It was different not just because I had more experience or more confidence, but there was a different feeling of love. It continued as the weeks went on until I realized that it wasn't going to change, that this is the difference in love.

My love for Logan can be described in many ways; Intense, fresh, new, fascinating, consuming, exciting, among many other descriptions. I liken the love of a first born child to that of a first boyfriend or girlfriend. You are almost obsessed with it. That love changes your life. I'm sure that the type of love that I share with Logan is reflective of his personality and the stage of motherhood I was in at his birth. If I had to choose a holiday that best describes my love for Logan, it would be Independence Day with it's fireworks, summer heat, picnics and it's intensity or New Years Day with it's parties, anticipation and hope for the future.

My love for Carter can be described differently; Mature, comforting, familiar, relaxed, snug and the like. My love for Carter feels like we've known each other before and we've been reunited. Or almost like he's an old soul. There is definitely a feeling of Deja vu, but on a deeper level. Again, it may be reflective of both his personality and the place I'm at in motherhood. For Carter, the holidays that best describe my love are Thanksgiving with it's warm fireplaces, delicious foods like mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, and it's familiar feeling or Valentine's Day with it's sweetness, adoration and celebration.

Is one holiday better than the other? No way. I don't want to think about how the joys of my life would be without fireworks or pumpkin pie. Each holiday brings with it something special that makes the year complete. Just like how both Logan and Carter add something special to our family that makes us feel full. I'm also at peace knowing that my love is in fact different. It makes each individual relationship special in it's own way. I love knowing that Logan and I share a bond different than the one I have with Carter and vise-versa. I'm happy that I love my boys differently.

Friday, November 21, 2008

So that's where our mail went

Another great aspect of being members of our MOMS club chapter is the educational activities that we schedule for our kids. We try to make sure we tour a local business every month. Last month was a pizza shop where the kids learned how to make a pizza. Then they all ate their own pizzas afterward. We had to skip out because of Logan's garlic allergy (how mean would that be to go & then tell him he couldn't eat it). Other tours that we've scheduled have been at a doughnut shop, the airport, a pet shop and this morning we went to the post office.

Logan is at the age where he is curious about how things work and he really understands the age appropriate explanation. He also really enjoys getting the mail from our mailbox every day or so, so I thought he would get a kick out of learning about how our mail actually gets there. And he did!

We started out in the lobby where the postal worker talked to the kids about PO Boxes. She was great because she explained every aspect and process in a way that preschoolers could easily understand. It was perfect. After touring the lobby and talking about stamps, parcels and how people drop off their mail, we went into the back to see the behind the scenes action of the post office. The kids saw first hand what happens to our mail after we drop it in the mailbox. They saw how they canceled out the stamp and watched the letters fly through the sorter to it's specific mail carrier (which was really kind of cool - especially when we were told that this machine often starts fires when the mail gets stuck in it). They saw the semi-trucks that transported mail to different areas and met a few mail men loading up their mail trucks to deliver the mail in town today.

Not only was I impressed with the postal worker and her ability to easily educate our small kids, I was equally as impressed with Logan and all of his friends. Everyone was well behaved and listened intently. There were no tantrums or screaming, no running off, no lectures about listening. They all followed directions and it was a very pleasant experience for everyone. I'm so glad we were able to go!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

2 months old and checked out just fine

This morning Carter had his 2 month check-up. My little baby isn't so little anymore! In fact, yesterday at playgroup, one of the moms who just had her second baby a couple of weeks ago made it out since being home from the hospital. We sat next to each other and I kept looking at her baby boy and then at Carter in absolute amazement. Her little baby (who was born at almost nine pounds and much bigger than Carter was at that age) looked so small next to my giant baby in my arms. Carter is no longer a newborn, but a full fledged growing infant.

He checked out just fine at his appointment. He is 23 1/2 inches long (55%), weighs 11 pounds, 3 ounces (25%) and his head is 15 inches around (8%). Just to compare in size, Logan's stats at 2 months: 11.1 lbs (24%), 23 in. (51%), 15 in. circumference (12%). So, they are pretty similar in size at this age -although Carter is already wearing a size bigger (3-6 months clothes) in shirts than Logan was for some odd reason, but he still is in newborn to 0-3 month pants (like Logan was too). Both boys are built exactly like Bill. It's weird.
We talked about his eating habits which are still every 2-3 hours. At night he does have one long stretch of 5-6 hours (usually from 7 or 8pm to 1 or 2am). He doesn't spit up much in volume, but it is pretty frequent (not abnormal). The Doctor ruled out reflux (yea!). He is definitely getting enough to eat since he's growing like a weed.

We talked about his sleeping habits, which are a little unpredictable. He wakes up at 6 or 7am to nurse and goes back to sleep for about an hour. It's a bit interrupted if we have to drive Bill to work. Once we are home, he sleeps some more before we head out the door to do our activities at 10am. He's in and out of consciousness after he nurses again, never really sleeping solidly. Sometimes he's wide awake at this time. We come home for lunch and after nursing again, I put him in his crib for a good afternoon nap. He sleeps for about 30-45 minutes. Only a handful of times have been longer stretches. He has another good stretch of awake time and I try to get him to sleep again before we pick up Bill from work. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. But he's almost always in bed between 7 and 8pm - never later. Once he's in bed, he sleeps well (usually) until he wakes up to eat. Getting him back to sleep in the middle of the night is a bit challenging though. I'm often up three or four more times to get him to relax back to sleep.

He is developing right on track, smiling, cooing, squealing, being social and lifting his head very well. He can track objects and turns his head towards sounds. He seems to be a really social and vocal baby who smiles a lot (so cute!). We have "conversations" together where he is very responsive, he recognizes me and smiles these huge, bright, eye-squinting smiles for me. It's freakin' adorable. he is just beginning to learn about his hands and arms and has started reaching out for some of his toys while in the bouncer (which at first was by accident, but the look on his face was hilarious when he got the connection).

We don't do tummy time nearly as much as we did with Logan, but it's more of a safety issue. With an energetic preschooler running around who tends to be disobedient, Carter is either in my lap or his his swing more than on the floor so he doesn't get trampled over. In the afternoon we do have playtime all together where Carter is on his blanket doing tummy time on the floor and Logan gets to choose what baby toys we play with. He also loves to line up all of his cars along the edge of the blanket so Carter can see them which really helps with Carter's head control. Carter loves this time and is completely infatuated with Logan, carefully watching him and smiling at him.

We also talked about a couple of minor health issues, like his night/morning congestion, which is apparently normal for our climate in Colorado. As long as he can breath while nursing, he's fine. His left tear duct is blocked again, but it's not bad and I may have to continually massage it to re-open it and maintain it for a few months. As long as his eye isn't completely crusted over or swollen red, he's fine. He has a moderate case of eczema, but we've got that under control considering that we've been doing this whole treatment routine with Logan since the beginning of his breakouts.

At the end we talked about vaccinations, which I declined. With Logan's adverse reaction history (that started at his 2 month check-up), I was very wary about them. I truly believe that there's a genetic component in our family that makes us super sensitive and reactive to substances and irritants. Since Carter has the same type of symptoms that Logan had at that age (skin sensitivities, eczema and nasal congestion) I fear that he may be in the same boat with vaccination reactions. I explained this to our pediatrician who understood where I was coming from, but still had to cover her bases and explain why it was important that Carter get vaccinated at an early age (meningitis) and that the adults in the house should get vaccinated for pertussis again (we're not going to). But it wasn't something that I felt pressured into doing and she knew that it wasn't an issue that I was going to change my mind on.

So, Carter is a healthy, happy, growing baby!