Thursday, October 30, 2008

The end of a chapter but the story goes on

My six week postnatal check-up was the very last step to closing the book on pregnancy for me. I'm back to my normal self after surviving the toll of pregnancy and delivery and as I look back, I have mixed emotions. On one hand, I'm grateful that I will never have to live so uncomfortably for so long ever again, but on the other hand, I'm sad that I will never again experience the feeling of a growing baby sharing my body or the miracle of birth.

After months and months of deep thought about whether or not to have another baby, I ultimately couldn't ignore that there was another somebody waiting to join our family - our little Carter. I had been talking to Bill about it constantly, telling him that we couldn't be finished and that there was one more baby we needed to have. He was very unsure, always thinking of the concrete issues; job security and financial stability. After much discussion, he said that once he had a good job, he would consider it. He did find that job and after more conversation, it took an unexpected pregnancy scare to kick us in the rear to get going.

I will never forget that day where I took the pregnancy test at playgroup. I was so scared because we were just getting settled into Bill's new job and we were without health insurance at the time. I was terrified that we could be expecting because it could have either ruined us financially with the cost of medication or I would have to suffer terribly while we waited for our coverage to kick in. I remember shaking while waiting for the results with tears streaming down my face. Finally, a negative. And my heart sank. Sometimes, a negative can be a sad occurrence when you know you want to eventually get a positive. Bill felt the same way. This was the moment we found ourselves on the same page. Now we were ready to start planning.

We made sure we had enough in our savings account to cover the medical costs, had our ducks in a row with our insurance coverage and I began preparing for another round of hyperemesis by gaining 10 extra pounds and making sure I had zofran readily available when I needed it. When we tried for Logan, it only took once, so naturally I thought Carter would be just as easy. He wasn't. It took a couple of months to finally get the positive test we were waiting for. But once I was pregnant, I didn't even really need a test. The nausea started at about 3 weeks into the pregnancy. The test was more of a formality. Regardless of how I was going to feel physically, we were thrilled to be expecting again.

I had hoped for the best and prepared for the worst and just as I had suspected, I would be living through another pregnancy with HG again. In the beginning I wasn't as sick as I had remembered being with Logan and I worried that something might have been wrong. That all changed soon enough. By 5 or 6 weeks into the pregnancy, I was very ill and beginning to lose weight. Overall, I ended up losing 20 pounds - again. I had been so sick, Logan asked me "sick?" all day long and eventually began to imitate me being sick while eating his dinner at the table. I had been spending so much time in the bathroom, that I declared one as my "sick bathroom" complete with a "NO POOPING" sign on the door to ensure it's cleanliness. My zofran prescription was at the highest recommended dosage of 32 mg a day (8mg every 3-4 hours) and unlike my pregnancy with Logan, this wasn't enough. I still needed an additional anti-emetic (compazine) at night, as well as unisom, to keep me alive. It's hard to believe that I've already forgotten how miserable I was.

Being sick like that for so long takes a toll on the whole family. I was a horrible person to be around (understandably). I felt awful for not being able to take care of Logan like I wanted and hated the fact that I relied heavily on Bill to pick up the slack. I don't like feeling helpless. I was so thankful for my friends who offered play dates, meals and support, as hard as it was to accept. As the pregnancy went on, I began to feel better but still needed the daily zofran to keep me from relapsing. When I could eat I was taking advantage of the situation, craving nothing but junk foods or fast foods. I lived on milkshakes and hot fudge sundaes. Thankfully, it didn't show in my hips too much.

The first two trimesters were an odd time for me. Not only was I feeling like I was on death's door, but I didn't have a baby belly to appreciate. It sometimes felt like I was suffering for no apparent reason. Not knowing if we were expecting a boy or a girl only made it worse, as I couldn't connect with an "it". At 15 weeks I felt the fist of many flutters that would become full on kicks and punches. At the 20 week ultrasound we easily discovered (before the technician declared the sex) that we were having another boy. Both Bill and I were so excited that Logan would have a little brother to play with. I began to feel more connected to Carter now that he wasn't just "the baby". I was getting sick for something, for him, not for an alien that seemed to have taken over my body. And by 22-24 weeks, I began to actually look a "little bit pregnant".

As Carter grew stronger, he kicked and punched and stretched me beyond belief. He actually spread my ribs out so much that a few of them had come out of socket and needed to be put back in place. Now that HG was in check, the regular pregnancy discomforts took over - severe rib and sternum burning sensations, heart burn, back aches, nightmares, the list went on. Then the contractions started.

At first they were just regular Braxton Hicks, but they were relentless. After a while and as my stress levels increased, the intensity and regularity of the contractions increased as well. Before I knew it, I was being admitted to Labor & Delivery for pre-term contractions. More than once. The first time was the worst, having to need a shot of terbutaline to stop them from progressing. The side effects were horrible, causing me to have almost full body convulsions - when they said I could expect to shake like I had too much caffeine. Right. This was more like I had hypothermia or severe Parkinson's. From there on out, I had to decrease my activity level and stress levels (as much as I could with Logan running around and Bill being a jerk). The second time I was admitted wasn't nearly as bad, but the information given to me by the OB on call would later result in Carter almost being born at home.

The final weeks of the pregnancy were uneventful as I waited on pins and needles for Carter's arrival. While I was sad that I wouldn't be able to feel him punch me from the inside, I was ready to get my body back. It was time to move on. When Carter finally decided to make his way out, it was an adventure that I will never forget, full of drama and excitement. It was a movie-like labor and delivery. It was so surreal.

Our life as a family of four has been incredible. The first week home were the best days of my entire life, even while being sleep deprived. I had never been so happy. Ever. All of my fears about not remembering how to take care of a newborn, how Logan would feel about Carter, how our family would adjust - they all were forgotten as life proved otherwise. It's been an amazing beginning and I cherish every memory, every high and low, every triumph and challenge. So far, our life story has been a good read and it will be interesting to see what the next chapters will have in store for us.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The witching hour
There really is one, isn't there! I swear, the 5-6pm hour is absolute hellish around here. Both kids screaming, if not just Carter. It's enough to drive anyone batty. I'm still working on those posts in draft, but with nights like this, I have no idea when I'll actually get to publish them. Hopefully soon!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Double the pleasure, double the fun
I am exhausted. With Logan having some MASSIVE attitude issues this afternoon & Carter not sleeping at all until now & everything else on top of it, I feel like I've been run over by a truck. I have some good posts waiting in draft to finish up, but there's no way I'm going to be able to get to brain cells to cooperate let alone my entire brain.

Timing is everything, right? Well, last week two great bloggers passed on awards over my way. Awww, thanks guys! This is something I can write about at the moment & possibly even make sense. Fancy that!

Erin gave me The Brilliant Blog Award:

Here are the rules:

1. Place the logo on your blog.
2. Link to the person who awarded you.
3. You can nominate up to 5 blogs.
4. You can then add their links to your blog.
5. Leave a message in the comment section to each nominee on their blog.

This is going to Baby and Tot Tales, a newer blog that I really enjoy reading. I love the variety of topics that she posts, from adventures with her adorable 2 year old & baby on the way, to recipes that I am dying to make (strawberry soup!).

Then Catherine gave me the Kreativ Blogger Award:

I just found Catherine's blog just weeks ago. I love finding good blogs when they are brand new 7 just beginning. Plus, she writes about so many things we have in common; the love of cooking, being a one car family & we live in the same town (I've yet to find another good parenting blog from our town). I look forward to procrastinating on housework even more to enjoy what she writes!

With this award I need to share six things I love and then share this award with Six blogs I love. Easy enough.
  1. My morning coffee
  2. The gym
  3. Hiking/mountain biking (which we haven't done in a very long time & I miss it).
  4. Baking (more than cooking)
  5. Showers (the bathing kind, not baby)
  6. Getting a good picture of my kids to share with others
  1. Ty Family Adventures
  2. Mom Around the Clock
  3. It's All About Davis
  4. And Then There Were Four!
  5. Mindseye
  6. Afterthoughts

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A week of Halloween
While we missed out on going to a pumpkin patch this year because we were all sick, Logan finally recovered & was well enough to go to The Farm for the safe trick or treating festivities they have there. Gramps (my dad) & D drove down to visit for the day to see Logan & meet Carter & we thought it would be a good idea to have them come with this afternoon. They haven't seen Logan since he was just learning to walk & what better way to spend some time with him other than begging people for candy.

Logan was dressed as Candy Corn, which was easier than the Mac n' Cheese costume he wanted me to make (yes, he wanted to be a bowl of Mac n' Cheese). Carter was a little pumpkin. He was warm & passed out in the wrap the whole time. Logan had so much fun knocking on the doors & saying "trick or treat" & he was very good at saying "thank you", too. He was so cute & it made for a great afternoon. He got a good amount of candy, looked at the farm animals, went on a hayride & smiled for pictures (a miracle!). It was a little cold out & we were lucky we decided to go in the afternoon rather than at night (like we did last year).

Gramps & D had to leave after we were finished at The Farm because they had to work tomorrow morning & it was a five hour drive back for them. Logan was just warming up to them as they were leaving. Short visits with them are perfect because D is a little odd. Funny odd, slightly crazy odd, but not malicious odd. She's easy to be with in small doses. Just to give you an idea of how weird she is, while on the hayride she exclaimed, "Look! Walnuts! Oh wait, those aren't walnuts" as we rode passed the horses. I don't think horse poop looks like walnuts, but I guess she did. So, she's crazy in the way where you tilt your head to one side with a what the hell? look on your face every time she says something.

So, trick or treating at The Farm kicks off our week of Halloween. We'll go to our playgroup dressed up in costumes, carve pumpkins a day before Halloween, then we will go to the Halloween parade & trick or treating in our neighborhood Halloween night. It's one of my favorite holidays, so I love that we get to experience it all week long!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Que the Rocky music
I'm now officially six weeks postpartum & have the all clear to exercise again. I can't even begin to express how happy I am about this milestone. Working out is my sanity saver & let me tell you - I need it right now. It beats a beer every night or so. I can't wait until Bill comes home so I can go to the gym (which is literally 3 minutes away from the house) & hit up some serious cardio. I need to get the blood pumping & get an adrenaline rush (it sucks that I'm kind of sick & won't get the best workout ever). I just have to make sure that Carter is asleep since he freaks out for the entire time I'm gone & I don't want to think about him crying while I'm away.

This post is also the beginning of my post-baby body transformation. Bill & I agree that Carter is our last baby, so now it makes sense to start working on my six-pack abs again (well, as close as I'm going to get after having two kids). I'm posting pictures & stats every month to chart my progress. This also means that I have to start eating better & follow my own nutritional recommendations that I give my clients (which means, no sugar or beer on a regular basis). I hope to have met my goal in three months - by the end of January. Let's see how I do during the holidays!

Weight = 143 pounds
Body fat percentage = 31% (YIKES)

Neck = 13 inches
Bicep = 10.5 inches
Chest = 35.5 inches
Waist = 32.5 inches (GROSS)
Hips = 41 inches (EVEN WORSE)
Leg = 20 inches
Calf = 13 inches

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The email
Last night's dinner with friends was SO needed & so fun. It felt great to relax, eat some pasta & have a couple of beers while all of us complained about our wacky families. Of course, Grandma L wins the "Worst Mother-In-Law" title & every time I tell my friends what's going on, their mouths drop to the floor in disbelief. But they all have their own crazy to deal with too, so it's refreshing to know that I'm not the only one. Last night after everyone told their own horror stories (one actually picked up & moved across the country because of her mother-in-law), we all decided that it must be a generational thing to have so many nutty grandmas.

So, to recap the events from yesterday since HOPEFULLY things calm down some & tomorrow I can post about my 6 week postnatal check-up complete with post-pregnancy pictures for a workout reference...

This was the email I got yesterday morning:

Yes!! Had so much fun with (Cousin B). Didn't get to spend as much time with Logan as we would have wanted to. Kristin 'allowed' us to hold Carter one time!! So sad.

After Bill chewed her out while taking Logan to the Doctor, she emailed this to me:

First of all, I have no idea how your name was attached to an email I sent to (friend). In the email I stated that we got to hold Carter only one time. I did not place fault with anyone - it was just a statement. I DO understand your protectiveness of your children. Do you honestly think that we would want any harm to come to any of our children or grandchildren? As for (Cousin B) being sick when you came over, Bill was told that (Cousin B) was taken to the Dr. Did he covey that information to you? Did you think of leaving when you came and found out he was sick? I think there needs to be some shared responsibility here.

That's when I sent her the "Definition of Bad Apologies" article I posted the other day. She hasn't responded since & I'm positive that she & Bill are talking again like nothing happened.

Hopefully, I'm not the only one who can smell her BS from a mile away. It was mentioned in the comments from yesterday that this was her passive aggressive behavior rearing it's ugly head (you hit it spot on, Erica). She denies any fault for lying to Bill saying that Cousin B was fine & then after pretending she didn't lie, then points the finger at me. After denying that she sent the email, she's trying to turn it around by saying I hacked into her email & sent it. Right. What a whack job. So, she never did any of the horrible things she's said & done & this is just another thing she didn't do. Maybe if she actually took responsibility for something rather than nothing, she might have a little more credibility but after three (or ten) years of saying that she hasn't done anything, who can believe her now?

Anyway, I wanted to send her a long email telling her exactly how I felt, specifically addressing whether she has our kids best interest in mind. Here's just a taste, a small paragraph:

To answer your question: "Do you honestly think that we would want any harm to come to any of our children or grandchildren?" I think you don't have the best judgment to make sure they are safe. We've had to talk to Grandpa L many times about exposing our kids to second hand smoke (that's harmful, isn't it?). Then you continue to make family dinners that exclude Logan because of his allergies when you can easily make safe dinners that he can be a part of or just not invite us over for dinner period if it's too difficult (hives & allergic reactions are harmful, aren't they?). Then this last visit is just the cherry on top of what kind of harm can come from your poor judgment. You would rather purposely expose our family to a virus & risk getting us sick instead of cancel to keep us healthy just so we would all be there for your turkey dinner (that's very harmful).

The email never got sent, it's still in my draft folder & probably won't ever go out. Bill doesn't want me to say how I feel. That irritates me because I feel like she's just getting away with being horrible & behaving any way she wants. Then I had a little moment of realization.

Bill & I had been watching TV where one of the characters was the victim of a horrible crime that resulted in post-traumatic stress & panic attacks. He was miserable & couldn't get past what had happened to him. The perpetrator had been cough & arrested & this character thought that confronting the criminal to let him know how he feels would help him get past his anger & anxiety. He goes to the prison & meets the criminal only to find out that the criminal doesn't care how this character feels & continues to play head games with him.

That's exactly where I am. I keep thinking that if I have the chance to say how I feel, things will change. That somehow, Grandma L will realize how much trouble she causes our family & she'll stop. But, she knows exactly what she's doing & doesn't care one bit. She especially doesn't care about how her actions make me feel & the truth is, she never will. Sending my email might make me feel a little better momentarily, but I won't get what I really want out of it, which is acknowledgment of hurt.

I'm still stuck in a conundrum, though. Since it's clear that she will never change, I can always expect a certain level of disrespect at every single visit. Then, the more I override her judgement, the more disrespect I can expect to receive. The easy answer is to not let it get to me. But how can you tell someone not to flinch when ripping out their toenails? Not letting this get to me seems almost impossible. I am human. I have feelings. I don't deserve to have every single holiday ruined by subjecting myself to Grandma L's behavior. It's not fair to my kids to have a super stressed out mom during all of the family visits.

So, since she won't change, then I need to decrease my exposure to her. Really, I want a cut-off. I don't want her in our lives at all. We are much happier without her & I don't think that my kids will benefit from having a relationship with her. They don't deserve to watch their mom get treated the way I do, they don't deserve to have an unhappy home for days after the visit while I try to recover from the stress.

It's just not worth it to have her in our lives anymore.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It's an all out war
Logan is really sick, throwing up in his sleep from coughing. He spiked a fever of 103.4 at home. Bill took him to the Doctor & he's on steroids to help him breath. Grandma L made another email mistake complaining that she only was "allowed" (written just like that) to hold Carter once to a friend of hers & I got it too. It makes me believe that they aren't mistakes since I didn't say anything to her about the last one & here it's happening again.

I'm tired - emotionally & physically & I don't want to post anymore today. More later...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Definition of Bad Apologies
I've had this bookmarked for a very long time. Too bad we won't get anything remotely close to a sincere apology & I really want to send this to the family like you wouldn't believe. But, I don't & it stays tucked away amongst the other many bookmarks in our toolbar. It's very relevant to our sick day/pajama day that we're having & after having to cancel our attendance at our activities for the week while Logan recovers (& hopefully Carter remains healthy). It's also a good article for me when I find myself in a situation that requires a sincere apology, because I know I could be better at saying I'm sorry as well.

definition of apology / definition of apologize
by J. E. Brown

To make an apology.

In interpersonal manners, an acceptance of responsibility for a wrong, plus a pledge to change one's ways. The wrong may be either intentional or accidental; an apology is fitting in either case. The apology is usually made to the person or persons wronged, but may also be made to any third party to whom the wrongful act was evidence of untrustworthiness. The purpose of an apology is to put the listener at ease regarding the trustworthiness of the apologizing party.

An apology is not complete if it does not reflect all four of these:
• regret,
• understanding of the problem,
• acceptance of responsibility, and
• willingness to do better.

These are the necessary ingredients of a strong and reliable behavioral curb, a self-imposed restriction which the offender agrees to live by. It's your best guarantee and assurance that the behavior will not happen again (in fact, that's the whole purpose of an apology). If you don't hear all of the above elements in the apology, ask for them. If the offender resists, be skeptical.

Apologies to Watch Out For

• Backpedaling: Beware of people who apologize sincerely, but later back away from their apologies, bringing up the disagreement over and over in statements like "You hurt me when you corrected me," as though your correction of them was not deserved or was some kind of original offense against them. Be suspicious of people whose annoyance (at being corrected) outlasts their remorse.

• The "Iffy" Apology: "I'm sorry if I hurt you." Beware that word "if," which means "Your pain is still hypothetical to me, not something I'm convinced of." It's sometimes meant to call your perceptions into question, and to suggest that maybe you're overreacting. If there's no "if" about it, say so.

• "I Don't Know What I Did": Beware the ones who apologize but claim not to understand what they've done wrong (even though you've explained it perfectly well). Their remorse is probably sincere, but they have no idea what to avoid doing in the future, and so, your trust in such people would be misplaced.

• The Attitude Apology and The "But" Apology: Any apology of the form "I'm sorry, but ____."

o "I'm sorry, but you have to understand....";
o "I'm sorry, but I was right to do that";
o "I'm sorry, but you ____";
o "I'm very sorry I did that, but I've moved on."

One thing I've learned about "I'm sorry, but" is that nothing before the "but" can safely be taken literally.

Remember that forgiveness only happens when someone regains your trust. And not until. Remind the offender of this, if necessary. People who value your trust (as the favor it is) are called friends, and will show concern for your happiness.

Fake Apologies and How to Recognize Them

While a true apology shows concern for the receiver, many fake apologies begin with "I'm sorry" but end with a point that is completely incompatible with remorse:

• Standing by what you did is not remorse, therefore not an apology.
• Demanding to be forgiven is self-serving. A good general formula to help you recognize non-apologies is "If it's self-serving, it's not an apology."
• Changing the subject is not an apology: "Well, what about what you did?" Changing the subject indicates an unwillingness to apologize.
• Verbal abusers often show resistance to apologizing. Continuing to insist that what you've done was not verbal abuse somehow, or that verbal abuse is somehow not wrong, or that Wrong is somehow relative -- that's not an apology. The point of apologizing is not to say that the crime still feels reasonable to you.
• "I'm sorry but ____" is not an apology, because it does not communicate an understanding that you did wrong.
• Any blaming of the receiver's perceptions: "I'm sorry you perceived that I ____." Calling someone delusional is a tactic, not an apology. See Gaslighting, Definition of.
• "You misunderstood." Pretending that your words didn't mean what they mean, i.e. pretending that your words don't have literal meaning, is not an apology.
• "I'm sorry you misunderstood" is a more blatant, in-your-face form.
• Calling the receiver "ungrateful" for not instantly forgiving. In general, calling the receiver ethically defective, perceptually defective, etc., are not apologies, but are forms of gaslighting.
• "But I didn't do it on purpose!" The universal excuse of good intentions isn't an apology; it's an excuse for doing more of the same, for continuing to offend. It's a childish belief that one can continue acting in a hurtful way as long as there is some nebulous "good intention" involved. Hitler apologists like to make use of this one, often in the form "He was only doing what he thought was best for his country, and that's not so evil, is it?" Yes, in fact, it is. Don't be taken in by excuses that look at the problem through the wrong end of the binoculars. Any offense can be described from such a high level that the problematic details conveniently disappear. But the motive behind the search for such a viewpoint isn't really remorse, is it?
• Saying "I don't see the connection between my actions and your reaction" is not an apology. It's a denial of responsibility. It's a suggestion that the hearer overreacted.
• "I'm sorry you ____" is not an apology. It's a blame-shift.
• "I'm sorry you got all offended" is not an apology. It's a slap. It's a technique for adding insult to injury.
• "I'm sorry you feel that way" is not an apology.
• "I want to apologize" is no more an apology than "I want to lose weight" is a diet.
• "I'm sorry about what happened" is not an apology, any more than saying "I hate when that happens." ;^) When someone says "I'm sorry about what happened," consider answering, "And...what was that, exactly? I'd just like to be sure we're on the same page." People have been known to completely miss the point and apologize for the wrong thing.
• Variant: "I regret that it happened." Referring to one's actions as "what happened" is not an apology because the speaker is not taking responsibility. There are two kinds of phenomena: those which "just happen" (earthquakes, tornadoes, old trees falling down in the wind) and things which are caused by deliberate, chosen actions (like the house damaged by a tree which falls when a drunk driver collides with it). Of course, the drunk driver will usually claim "It was an accident," as if to say "I wasn't the cause." This is merely propaganda, designed to trick the gullible.
• "I'm sorry for what I did" is an improvement. Still, it leaves things unsaid; it doesn't specify what the speaker did, perhaps even conceals it on purpose, perhaps because the speaker doesn't understand or agree that what he/she did was wrong. What a pronoun is to a noun, this statement is to an apology. A complete apology is not vague; it doesn't say "I'm sorry about...that thing I did." If the parties don't agree as to the nature of the error, they don't agree as to the meaning of the apology. The promise inherent in the apology has been left blurry.
One sometimes sees this method used between nations. The thought process seems to be, "How small an apology can I offer while still causing the receiver to think I feel remorse?" ;^)
• There are other ways of distancing oneself from responsibility. "That's in the past" is an assertion that the passage of time is a substitute for an apology. It's a suggestion that one is entitled to hurt others as long as no one notices for a very long time.
• "We've both said unfortunate things" is not an apology. It's an accusation. It's inflammatory. It's an attempt to shift the spotlight.
• "I'm sorry about that. And now, isn't there something you'd like to say to me?" An apology is not a quid pro quo -- reciprocation is not required, unless wrongdoing occurred in both directions. But if not, only an uncivilized person would apologize to you as a way of forcing an apology out of you.
• Deathbed apologies are not necessarily real. Real apologies are not triggered by intense emotions or deadlines or expediency. True apologies are motivated by "I'm sorry for what I did," not "I'm sorry we weren't close, I wish I could figure out why we weren't."
• "Of course I'm sorry" contains just a hint of annoyance. It's a bit like saying "Am I sorry? What a silly question. What are you, stupid?"

Lectures Are Not Apologies.

Lecturing the victim/receiver is a particularly aggressive and defiant form of blame-shifting. Examples:

• "Everybody makes mistakes" is not an apology. It's an assertion that apologies shouldn't be necessary. It's roughly equivalent to saying "Get over it" and "Grow up" and "Start learning how the world works." It's a form of talking down to people.
• "People make mistakes." Lectures aren't apologies. Basic pabulums accuse the listener of being simple-minded.
• "You know, relationships are based on trust. If you won't forgive me and start trusting me again, then I don't know how we can have a relationship." Beware of people who refuse to prove themselves trustworthy. Beware of people who think forgiving them means you are the one who has to do all the work and all the changing.
• "My religious Book says you have to forgive me." Again, self-serving remarks are not apologies.
• Any suggestion that the victim needs to learn something, like a lesson or a skill (for example, not to overreact) is not an apology. An apology would be "I'm sorry I hurt you; *I* will learn from this."
• "Get over it" and "Get past it" are not apologies; they're attempts to trivialize the offense and to display unconcern for the hearer, to tell him or her "You are alone in this and nobody gets you."
• "You need to learn to let go" is a lecture, is mildly pathologizing, is patronizing (a form of talking down) and is a kind of gaslighting.
• Saying "Forgiveness is a choice!" is not an apology. Repentance is a choice too, and so is the lack of it.

The less remorse you see, the more likely you are dealing with someone who doesn't value your friendship, doesn't fear losing it, and wouldn't be sorry to see you go. You may wish to adjust your own efforts at reconciliation accordingly.

This advice holds true no matter who was at fault. Normal people, even blameless ones, will feel some guilt or dread at the thought of losing your friendship; but persons who show you defiance and attitude are feeling neither of those. Dread and guilt show you that there is a bond; that bond is the "glue" necessary to hold the friendship together until it mends.

Sadness, grief and mourning are the normal reactions to the anticipated loss of a valued friendship. Annoyance, on the other hand, is what people feel when a computer crashes, or a pen runs out of ink, or a car fails to start; in general, whenever something that is there to be used doesn't do its job.

4th edition. 03 Jul 2006

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Damn it!
Logan is sick. He's had a runny nose developing this week since the Sick Visit. He's been going through a lot of tissues over the last couple of days. This morning he woke up sounding terrible, stuffy & just "sick". I went to workout with massage friend for an hour, came back & Logan went down for a nap - having a hard time doing so because he was coughing something fierce.

I've been crying intermittently listening to him. I feel like such a jackass because I knew we should have left, but I was too chicken to pack everyone up & go. I haven't cried at all since Carter has been born & now the tears just well up & won't stop. I would feel somewhat better if I were able to confront the situation & let the grandparents know exactly how I feel, but Bill won't let me. No, I have to play the stupid denial game & keep my thoughts & feelings to myself. He said he would talk to them & take care of it.

Now I'm really hoping Carter doesn't get sick. I'm really, really, really hoping he doesn't.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Because I'm their Mom
This visit from the in-laws has gone from annoying to horrible. It's utterly astounding how little concern they have for the health & well-being of our kids. And they call themselves good grandparents? Really!? I beg to differ.

After our surprise virus ambush on Wednesday night, Bill called his mom yesterday to tell her how irresponsible & dangerous that was to do to us. I had been thinking about it on Thursday, about how if Carter had gotten sick he would have had to go to the ER & all of the invasive diagnostic procedures they would have done if he developed a fever over 100 (remember Cousin B's was 104 & he's 2 years old). It just blew my mind that family could be so inconsiderate & reckless with Carter's health. Bill said that Grandma L gave little response & certainly didn't apologize for putting Carter's health at risk.

So, the grandparent's came over last night to visit for a little bit. I didn't even want them to come over because they've been staying in The Sick House & are probably carrying the virus, but Bill & I compromised with not letting them hold Carter. We're not even going to talk about how Logan is probably sick from being around them (he's had a boogery nose since the virus visit) & how he's most likely going to get Carter sick.

The grandparents come in & make their way towards me & Carter. I gave them the look of death & they kept their distance - about 10 feet - for the entire night. They went about conversation like nothing was wrong. Just like they normally do. I can laugh at them & their denial when it's over something ridiculous, like how they tried to be sneaky & take back a 3 year old mattress, but it's not so funny when they ignore the fact that they made a poor decision that could have had some serious consequences for our family. I was fed up with it when they started making plans for all of us to go to a pumpkin patch this morning. "I hope Cousin B isn't still sick", I piped up.

They hammed & hawed like his virus was no big deal. They said he only had a cough at night now. I made it a point to let them know how serious it is if Carter were to get that sick. It's one thing for a 2 year old to just "get a virus", it's another thing if a 4 week old newborn catches it. They just nodded their head agreeing, mostly trying to pacify me. They quickly left after that without saying much of a good-bye. Actually, I think they said good-bye while running out of the door.

After they left Bill & I had a discussion about it. I was upset that I seemed to be the only one concerned about Carter getting sick. Bill replied with, "It's OK, everything will be alright, but..." like saying the words is going to somehow prevent anyone from catching a bug. I felt alone in my stance. "Everything was fine until you brought up Cousin B being sick", he said. Then he went on about my tone. As if my tone is going to be nice after someone blatantly ignores the fact that they could have really made my baby sick. We went to bed & I tossed & turned for hours. That's when it hit me - it's starting to happen. Insomnia.

I was angry that everything was fine before this visit & now I couldn't sleep because I was stressed out. I hate the way they make me out to be the crazy, over-protective party pooper out to spoil everyone's fun plans, when I'm only looking out for the best interest of my kids. I'm trying to be a good Mom & make sure they are safe & healthy. You know, not let my brand new baby hang out around someone coughing uncontrollably with a dangerously high fever. I don't understand why I'm the only one in the family who feels this way. Yes, I'm the Mom, but shouldn't the rest of the family be just slightly thoughtful of the situation? Do they think that ignoring Cousin B's cough will make it not real & therefore won't make anyone else sick? What kind of planet are they living on?!

This morning Bill had a moment of clarity & realized that we can't take the risk & I can't be the only one putting my foot down, otherwise we would be headed down an all too familiar road. He called Aunt Ju-Ju to see how Cousin B was feeling. Apparently, they took him back to the Doctor this morning because of his cough. I almost lost it! This was after the grandparents tried to ignore my very valid concerns & outright lied to us saying that Cousin B was getting better & only coughing at night!! Bill & I decided that we weren't doing anything with them if Cousin B was there until he didn't show any symptoms (coughing, fever, nasal congestion) for 24 hours. We absolutely were not going to the pumpkin patch with them at all.

The grandparents ended up coming over tonight for about an hour. Of course, the same thing happens, pretend like nothing is wrong. This way of dealing with things (or not dealing with things) causes me to feel an intense amount of anxiety. Carter & I hung out on the couch while Bill, Logan & the grandparents played a few hands of poker.

During the game, they were talking about a tournament that Bill played in this afternoon & Grandma L corrected herself in the conversation, "Oh, Mommy was confused". I whipped my head around right after Logan referred to her as Mommy. "That's not Mommy, that's Grandma", I quickly corrected her. An uneasy silence filled the room. They continued with their game & moments later she did it again, but this time using Mom rather than Mommy. I didn't say anything because I was already about to jump out of my skin. Not too much later they left, taking a glance at Carter, knowing full well that I wasn't handing him over. They said good-bye to everyone talking about how they will be back for Christmas (God help me).

They left & all I wanted to do was cry from feeling the anxiety & stress wash over me. I usually can chill out, kick back & drink a beer to relax after their visits, but my anxiety was well passed a beer. We're talking about xanax kind of anxiety, which I haven't felt in a very long time. I took a deep breath & Bill & I talked for a little bit. We briefly talked about the "Mommy" comment that she made, where he didn't think anything was wrong with it. I didn't go into it, but he's a 30 year old married father of 2 boys - when was the last time he or his mom referred to her as "Mommy". It was a dig at me in my own home.

But, the good news is that it's all over with. Hours later, I'm feeling better & I have plans to workout with massage friend tomorrow to get some endorphins pumping (rather than xanax, which I've never had). I get a three month break before we have to see them again. And more importantly, there is peace in our home after they are gone & Bill & I aren't at eachother's throats. This is major improvement & even though this week was hell, I won't have to worry about another round of postpartum depression.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What I don't like about breastfeeding
First & foremost, let me reiterate the fact that I'm a huge proponent for breastfeeding. If it didn't come easy for us, I would still do anything & everything I could to make it work out. I wouldn't quit very easily. With that being said & in the spirit of keeping it real, there are things about breastfeeding that I don't like:

I don't like that I have a fast letdown & have practically drowned my children when they eat. Carter is able to keep up a little more, but still. He's had to pull off a few times to catch his breath, choke or let his stomach settle a bit before going back for more. When he comes off, there is a spray of milk everywhere & if I'm not carefully paying attention with the burp cloth, it ends up all over his head, all over me, the couch or bed or wherever we are sitting. It's gross. Which leads me to my next point...

I don't like that I leak so much. There are times that I go through two or three shirts a day, even when I'm wearing the super absorbent overnight protection nursing pads that I change frequently throughout the day (which are often full). If Carter ends up sleeping in a longer stretch missing a two to three hour nursing session, I end up drenched in milk, so much that I have to change my pajama's & sleep in a wet spot on the bed. Yuck.

I don't like that I get so sore from the constant nursing sessions. It would be great if my nipples could get a break every now & then. But that means I would have to pump, which means...

I don't like that if I want a break from nursing, I have to pump. I will not pump. I hate it. It's stressful & time consuming & very annoying. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I had a super-duper industrial strength pump, but I don't. I don't like that if I had to pump, I would have to spend an ungodly amount of money on a decent pump to make it worth my while.

I don't like that there is still a stigma with ignorant people regarding breastfeeding & it's either suggested that I hide away from everyone to nurse Carter (this happened with Logan too) or implicated that I should be ashamed of it. It's a societal stress that's certainly unnecessary. Fortunately, this doesn't happen often, but it's irritating that it happens at all.

There are many, many more reasons why I love nursing but in life, there are good & bad parts to everything. These complaints are just "annoyances" more than anything.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sometimes sharing isn't nice
You know, there's a very good reason it's recommended that families practice fire drills or emergency situations before they're faced with the real deal. The more you practice your actions, the less stressful the situation will be, the more prepared you will feel & the less thought it will take. It's too bad that there aren't family drama drills that can be practiced. There's so much that can happen, so many things that can go wrong, it's almost impossible to prepare for what may happen. I hate that we have to experience a situation & learn from it so that it won't happen again. I wish we could prepare for every situation that may come our way.

Last night we went over to Aunt Ju-Ju's for a turkey dinner that Grandma L made. Logan was pretty excited to play with Cousin B & his new birthday toys & we were looking forward to a "thanksgiving" dinner. We got there & got settled in. Carter was asleep, so I left him in the car seat all snug & tucked away. I was talking with Aunt Ju-Ju while Cousin B played with his toys & everyone else was upstairs. She began talking about how Cousin B had been fighting a fever ever since Sunday at his birthday party & they took him to the doctor that day because he had spiked a fever with a temperature of 104 at 1:30 earlier that morning. The doctor told them it was some kind of virus & that there wasn't much they could do. They were also told that fevers were treatable at home if they were less than 105. She shrugged her shoulders & said that she was pretty sure his fever was from teething & that he was getting a cold on top of it. She's telling me this with my NEWBORN BABY SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO ME JUST FEET AWAY FROM HER SICK KID.

I don't know if it's common knowledge (common courtesy, maybe?) with other parents in the world, but with my friends, playgroups, day cares, or any place that my kids play or stay at - if anyone is sick, they stay home & plans are canceled. Being sick means anything coming out from their noses, coughing & especially fevers (puking goes without saying. Well, at least for those with common sense). Fevers are something serious enough to rearrange plans for because a kid is CONTAGIOUS when they have a fever. Also, fevers happen as a natural response to the body fighting infection - not from teething!

After hearing this delayed important information from Aunt Ju-Ju who obviously didn't seem to care that my kids, & most importantly, my BABY could get sick, the rest of the family came down to play with the kids with us. As Cousin B was coughing up a lung & Grandma L & Aunt Ju-Ju were talking about the last time he had some medicine, I gave Bill the Oh My God, I have to talk to you but everyone is right here & I'm not leaving our baby alone, look. Grandma L asked me if Logan had a hard time getting his second year molars. I told her that he didn't, I didn't even know when he got them & he certainly never got a fever from teething. My kids only get fevers when they are sick. She didn't look too happy with that answer. The minute everyone left to go set the table, Bill & I hung back & I told him what was up.

Now, what we should have done was pack up the kids & left. But, because we've never discussed this scenario before, or practiced our family drama drill, we stayed. We really were put between a rock & a hard place because leaving right away would have caused a massive meltdown from Logan, but staying increased the risk of someone in our family getting sick & we all know how illness spreads like wildfire in a household. I did the next best thing & kept Carter in his car seat, pulled the "bundle me" cover up around him & pulled down the canopy so he was pretty much out of sight & quarantined. Cousin B kept trying to go look at him & poke at him, so I kept the car seat by my feet or at my side the entire night to ward off potential germ infestations. I made Logan wash his hands too.

We stayed for dinner & a little bit afterward. While the kids ran around & the adults watched the debates, I nursed Carter under a blanket so we could get ready to go. I put him back in the car seat & Bill wrangled Logan. The grandparents came over to longingly look at Carter, to which I replied, "Yeah, he's quarantined in there. Too bad we're in a sick house, otherwise he would have come out". I was met without response & blank stares. It's the typical family response - pretend that nothing is wrong.

We left & on the drive home Bill & I talked about what happened. I told him how selfish it was for the family to do that. He agreed. I told him that if that situation should ever happen again, we're leaving. He thought that was a good idea too. So, at least we feel the same way & with two more babies in the family, I'm sure were bound to come across this situation again. Unfortunately.

Now let's hope that nobody in our family gets sick. Especially Carter. Heads are going to roll if he does.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Do you see what I see?

Logan at 8 weeks old

Carter at 4 weeks old

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

4 weeks old

Carter is a month old now. Wow. I felt like I blinked & missed the entire month. I know time flies when you have kids, but this is just ridiculous. The newborn days seem to pass by much quicker than the toddler years & with us & our busy life, I feel like I only got a taste of Carter's first days.

He still is not a great sleeper, but he's getting better. He is finally sleeping in his bassinet for most of the night. Just like with Logan, he comes to sleep in bed with us in the early morning hours (5-6am) if he has a hard time getting back to sleep. The only reason he has a difficult time relaxing is if he is gassy or needs to poop. Then he's up grunting for a while. Which seems to be the case often. Last week, I noticed that he's starting to get on a regular sleep schedule - of sorts. He wakes up for the day around 8ish, morning nap around 10:00, sleeps for most of the afternoon & bed time around 8:00. Bed time is still the most difficult part of our day with him as he fights it tooth & nail. It takes him at least an hour or so to finally get into a deep sleep.

Carter is an awesome nurser. He has been eating more often - every 2 hours for a while. Some days I can get him to eat every 3 hours, but not always. He went through a growth spurt last week & gained a bit of weight. How much? I couldn't say, but he's filled out & is outgrowing all of his newborn clothes already. I still have a fast letdown, but he's been able to keep up with it. We've only had one day with a projectile vomit, compared to Logan who puked every time. I'm beginning to wonder if Carter is going to be bigger than Logan. Time will only tell!

This boy is one noisy kid. He grunts & grunts & grunts - much more than crying. He only really cries if I wait too long to get him what he needs. He's been starting to coo & make other very cute baby noises, which just melts my heart every time I hear them. He's also very alert & checking things out for longer periods of time. It's fun to watch him discover his world so early.

The best part of this last week - he's starting to really smile. I can see his eyes light up when I come to pick him up or a few times when he was in his bouncer while I got out of the shower, he seemed very happy to see me. At night when all he wants is to be held, I prop him sitting up in my lap facing me & we watch each other. He tries his best to smile & I can tell he's really working on it. I love seeing some big adorable grins.

It's a little freaky to see how much Logan & Carter look alike. It's becoming more apparent as Carter gets older. Not that this is a bad thing, because Logan is seriously cute, but it's kind a funny. Some of these pictures could easily be confused for Logan. I can still see a little of me in him though. The poor kid has my nose.

So, as much as I want to get more sleep, get all of my body back & have a little more freedom - I'm sad to see these days pass by so soon. Carter is my last baby & I want to soak up all of this little newborn sweetness as much as I can.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lessons learned
The visits with the in-laws are over for the weekend & we won't be spending time with them again until the middle of the week. The last few days have been interesting. It's been a manageable visit so far thanks to many lessons learned: stick to your guns, stand up for your family (the one you created) & don't let things slide.

Friday night was the first visit. You would think by now other people in our family have learned some lessons, but it's not so. The original plan was to have the grandparents over to our house after dinner. Aunt Ju-Ju wanted to change it so that we had a pizza dinner at their house. A dinner that Logan couldn't eat because he's allergic to the garlic in the pizza sauce. They should know this by now since we go over this EVERY SINGLE VISIT. Bill had to stand up for Logan, telling Aunt Ju-Ju that he would feel bad eating different food than everyone else, especially since he knows exactly what pizza is (I make him garlic-free pizza at home). So, the plans would stay the same.

The grandparents ended up coming over for about an hour or so. They played with Logan in the playroom downstairs while I nursed Carter in the living room upstairs (I wasn't taking him down there because I haven't made it allergy-free for Carter since that's the cat's hang out). They spent the majority of the time down there. Once they were ready to leave, they came up, held Carter for about a minute (seriously, not much longer than that at all) & went on their way. Grandpa L didn't smoke at all while he was here, a miracle in itself, so I think his lesson finally clicked & Grandma L didn't even attempt to grab at Carter, which I was almost sure would happen. So, lesson learned there.

Saturday we went over to Aunt Ju-Ju's house for dinner - again, a dinner that Logan couldn't have, but he didn't care since he was eating Mac n' Cheese & we were eating meat (he's still pretty much a vegetarian). The kids played together & ran around for hours. I held onto Carter for the night because Logan & Cousin B were running around & would occasionally come over to poke at him. I felt better keeping him safe from a clumsy accident than having someone else try that.

Sunday was Cousin B's 2nd birthday party. We packed a dinner for Logan because once again, a dinner that he couldn't eat was made - but it was a birthday party with 25 other people there, so I figured we were going to have to anyway. I had Carter wrapped up snugly in the Mei Tai wrap before going in. Smartest decision I ever made that night. Uncle J's family is just as bad about respecting boundaries & there were at least five grabby-grandma's that were dying to snatch Carter away to hold all night long. I wasn't keen on the idea of playing "pass the baby" with my 4 week old baby (with people I've met maybe three to five times in the last three years) & the wrap was the best way to get the point across. So, if you don't want to keep hearing "can I hold the baby?" 5o million times & don't want to keep repeating "no" (or risk people just simply taking the baby from your arms without asking) - wraps & slings are where it's at.

So, other than the "mattress incident" (which is just ridiculous now) everything has been relatively easy to deal with, only because we've learned some good lessons.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Right now
Right now I have two sleeping kids cuddled up on my chest & I'm typing with one hand. I wish I had go-go-gadget arms to reach the camera & snap a picture. This is just too sweet for words.

The house cleaning can wait.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Let the craziness begin
Time has flown by since Carter has been born & before we knew it, the impending visit with the in-laws seems to have sprung out of nowhere. They are coming into town tomorrow afternoon & will be here for about 10 days. The insanity has already started.

First, I will always be on edge during the days before their visits. If I could choose to have my toenails ripped out or spend any amount of time with them, I would go for the toenails in an instant, no question. The anxiety prior to their visits is much, much better thanks to Bill & I being on the same page & knowing that whatever crap we have to deal with won't affect our home or our relationship anymore. At least now, I'm not having full blown panic attacks about them. However, I know that we will always have to deal with some issue while they are here & it's usually about boundaries, respecting our parenting choices or following "the rules" (like Grandpa L not smoking around the kids).

I'm especially edgy before this visit because it's the first time that they are meeting Carter. Even though things are different than when Logan was a newborn, I still feel uneasy. It's because things are different in our home, but the relationship (or lack thereof) with the in-laws is the same, if not worse. I don't trust them at all. So, Bill & I have talked about everything & we'll see what happens. I told him that when we all meet up, I'm not automatically handing Carter over. I have to warm up & be comfortable first. I'm also not going to be clapped at like a trained monkey while Grandma L exclaims "Come to Grandma!" every time she wants to hold him. There's going to be a little more respect given to me.

The smoking rule with Grandpa L is going to be in full force as well as some allergy-related precautions. Carter has been breaking out in hives almost daily & after speaking with his pediatrician yesterday, we have to go back to the things we did when Logan was a newborn - no wearing perfume while holding him, wash all clothes in Free & Clear & if someone is holding him & hasn't done this, then he has to be held in his blanket so his skin isn't exposed (more on this allergy stuff later). So, I know what Grandma L washes her clothes in & I question whether or not she'll be truthful just so she can get her way. I know that all of this will be met with exasperated sighs & the rolling of eyes.

Our first taste of what to expect came last night before dinner. Aunt Ju-Ju & Uncle J moved into a bigger temporary house while they get ready to build a new house. So, now they have room for the Grandparents, but they don't have any furniture. We have an extra mattress & offered to let them borrow it. They came by last night to pick it up. Everything was fine while they were here, but after they left Bill got a phone call from Aunt Ju-Ju. Apparently, they got the mattress they didn't want. When we moved into our old house right before Logan was born, the Grandparents bought a mattress for the guest room & practically moved in, pretty much claiming the guest room as theirs. When they left after buying the bed as a gift, Grandma L gave me "permission" to let my sisters use the bed if they came to visit & also instructed me as to not let the cat in the room & how to store the comforter. Needless to say, Bill & I did the opposite since it was our house & our gift.

Now almost three years later, we moved into the house we're in now. We decided to use that mattress as ours since Bill's back was geting messed up from our other mattress, we have guests over only a few times a year & the Grandparents were staying elsewhere due to the falling out. This was the mattress they wanted.

Grandma L attempted to take back a gift that was given to us almost three years ago.

She told Aunt Ju-Ju to bring the other mattress back, that they picked up the wrong one. Fortunatley, they didn't have the gall to tell us to switch. Bill & I just looked at eachother in disbelief while we waited for Aunt Ju-Ju to bring the other matress back - which she didn't do because they had to return the truck that they borrowed from a friend (but what really happened I'm sure, is that after another call from Grandma L they realised they wouldn't have anything to sleep on unless it was an air mattress & decided they would make due until purchasing another mattress for Aunt Ju-Ju's house). Bill & I had the "Oh no, they didn't!" conversation & since we felt the same way, laughed at the craziness that I'm sure is to continue for the next week.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Not happy tears
Today was the first day I've been brought to tears from the overwhelming feeling of trying to make everyone happy. Carter did not sleep well at all last night & I was up for two or three hours at the crack of dawn with him. By the time he got to sleep, it was time to get up & get ready for the day. All I could think about was how we're only three weeks into this not sleeping through the night business & I would do anything for a solid five or six hours of sleep. We got up & drove Bill to work then came home to get ready for playgroup.

If Logan had not known it was playgroup day, I probably would have stayed home to rest, but he was excited about playing with his friends & talked about it all morning. I couldn't tell him that we were going to stay home because he would have flipped out & it would have made the day even worse. So, I tried to get everyone fed, changed, cleaned up & ready to go. Sometimes this feels like a never ending cycle. Then, I noticed that Carter is getting onto somewhat of a schedule & beginning to take a regular morning nap (for 30 minutes) & I tried to make room for that as well. On our dive to our friend's house, Carter started to get hungry again (thanks to his growth spurt that I think is just ending) & screamed & cried the whole way there, even though he just ate before we left.

Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought about how hard it was to make everyone happy all of the time. To take care of Carter's basic needs, to make sure Logan gets to do his fun things at the same time, to try & manage the house, the bills - just everything. I was able to take a few deep breaths & get myself in check as we were driving up the driveway & ready to walk in the door.

Even though we were late, playgroup was fun. Logan played with his friends & some cool toys & I was thankful to have friends to talk to who understood exactly how I was feeling. Having this kind of support definitely helps curb Mom Stress before it gets out of control. On our drive back home, I was feeling a little bit better from the small break & conversation. I've never been great a multi-tasking & tend to get overwhelmed when I don't feel like I have everything under control. I thought back to some times in my life when multi-tasking brought me to practical nervous breakdowns (working in the Chiropractic office) & it kind of sunk in that the challenges we go through in life prepare us for events that we will deal with in the future. Without living through that, the extreme anxiety brought on by the in-laws after Logan was born & other stressful situations, I would never have been able to just take a deep breath & move on this morning. Sometimes I feel like I'm growing up just as fast as my kids are.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Brave or stupid, I'm not quite sure
This morning the zoo had a free day & a few of the playgroup moms & I decided that we were going to haul all of our kids to go & enjoy the weather & animals. Logan was especially excited about it & on the hour & some odd minutes drive down there, he talked non-stop about seeing elephants, monkeys & dolphins (even though I told him we wouldn't be seeing any dolphins). It was pretty cute to see him this excited. He even got worried when I made a pit stop to Starbucks to grab a morning coffee, noticing that we weren't at the zoo & got huge puppy dog eyes "I wanna go to the zoo", with tears almost forming in the corners. I assured him that we were going & he had to be on his best behavior.

When we got there the parking lot was completely full since every school, daycare, special needs home, nursing home, Asian tour bus & pretty much everyone in the State of Colorado were there, too. We had to park at the museum & walk a few blocks to the zoo. It was a mad house. When I saw how many people were there on a Tuesday morning, my first thought was maybe we shouldn't have come because Logan could easily get lost if he ran off. I looked him straight in the eye & as seriously as I could, I told him that it was especially important that he listen to me today because there were so many people there & I didn't want him to get lost or hurt. "OK, Mommy", he said with a smile.

We met our friends there & with Carter snug in the wrap, Logan followed all of the rules & listened to me all day. He had the choice to ride in the stroller or walk & hold my hand. He did a little of both, but never ran off & I never had to raise my voice or chase after him. He was on the best behavior I've ever seen from him. Actually, he was a perfect kid. He was thrilled to see all of the animals & had such a good time. He shared snacks with his friends & let them take turns riding in his stroller (because it has a steering wheel & all of the kids think his stroller is the coolest thing ever). I think this day was pretty special because we could enjoy it together without stress or frustration. It was great!!

At about 2:00pm all of our friends decided to head on home so their kids could nap on the way back. Logan was being so good I decided that we could stay all day until we had to drive back home to pick up Bill from work. It was easy to nurse Carter on the go & Logan was a super trooper. So, we said our good-byes to our friends & spent another two hours hanging out on our own. Walking with Logan hand in hand & Carter still cuddled up in the wrap, I was so impressed with our day & how happy we all were. It was a shame that Bill had to work & didn't get to share this rarity with us. In fact, the last time we were at the zoo earlier this summer, it was hot, I was pregnant & tired & Logan threw a lot of fits. It was fun, but there were still some stressful, unpleasant moments. Not like today. Today was a freakin' miracle of a day & I felt not only happy but pretty brave that we were able to go on this adventure on our own.

When it was time to go home, Logan was very cooperative & excited to tell Daddy about all of the animals that he saw. Because I had my hands full I didn't get a chance to take any pictures, which I'm really sad about since this was one day I wanted to remember forever since it was so awesome.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Carter's First Montage
I've been working on this for a while. I don't think it's as finished as much as I would like -I have some of my maternity pictures that photographer friend took that I would like to add, but I haven't seen the proofs yet & I'm not sold on the song because it's a nine minute song fit to a three minute montage (I'm picky like that). But other than that, it's as finished as it's going to get.

It's another one of those montages that require a handy box of Kleenex (at least for me, anyway). So, without further ado...Carter's First Montage. Enjoy!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Clearing out the cobwebs
I'm getting some things cleaned up, in more ways than one. At home, our house cleaner canceled her appointment on Tuesday & also let me know that she wouldn't be able to continue cleaning for us due to a schedule conflict. I was alright with that since I wasn't thrilled with her work. She was getting lazy & lacked attention to detail, but then again, she wasn't a professional either. I was just happy to have any help while I needed it when I couldn't do it myself.

Yesterday I interviewed a replacement, who happens to own her own cleaning company. She seems nice enough & it sounds like she will do everything the last girl did & more. She starts on Monday. I'm so excited to continue to have help around the house. My original intention for needing a house cleaner was having help during the pregnancy since I couldn't do any of it at all. Now that I'm no longer sick & completely capable of cleaning the house, it is overwhelming with Logan & Carter to take care of at the same time. I was able to clean the kitchen & living room yesterday while getting the rest of the house picked up & I was pretty stressed - I knew I needed help & was thankful that I had already placed an ad once we got canceled on. I seriously don't know how moms with kids & no help do it all on their own.

On the flip side, I'm home with the kids all day while Bill has the car at work. So, this gives me some time to clean up the blog a bit. I'm going to work on the sidebar, update details & work on the blogroll a little. So, if you have our blog linked on yours, let me know & I'll get you added on mine.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Coming to a mailbox near you

The talented & wonderful photographer friend made our birth announcements for us & I can't wait to mail them out next week. I love them! And even though we didn't get a picture of the four of us together, the way the announcement is designed, it doesn't matter. When she showed me the drafts on Monday night, I almost cried in her studio, they were so sweet. She always does that to me with her pictures & cards!