Friday, February 27, 2009

Moving in

We've lived in this house for about a year. We moved in when I was pregnant with Carter, sick as sick could be and needed to be rehydrated at the time. Bill had the flu, too. We were a mess. Our wonderful friends helped us move all of our stuff in while also doing the move-in and move-out cleaning. It was a time that we really needed friends and they were there for us.

All during the pregnancy I didn't have it in me to "move in". We unpacked and had many discussions about room functions (months of trying to decide if we wanted a guest room or an office), but our walls are bare and the front room (formal room?) is empty without anything to sit on. We've finally decided that this is the house we want to stay in, so I'm itching to finally make it a home.

This weekend we are hoping to buy furniture for the front room, and then some little things, like plants, picture frames and the "finishing touches". We're a little pressed for time because I'd like to have this all finished now, or at least before Monday when I host photographer friend's baby shower. With 15 people plus kids, we need more than one couch and four chairs to sit in. I also host playgroup often, open our home up for board meetings and am dying to host a bunch of parties this summer. It's time to make this a comfortable place to hang out.

I can't wait to finally get it all put together!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

From scratch

I've been slowly getting my cooking mojo back again and have been making our family dinners for a few weeks. I've had to make a lot of things from scratch all the way down to the spice mixes to cut out garlic. With a little bit of tinkering, I've been pretty impressed with some of the meals (Bill, not so much).

I've made chili using our own chili seasoning mix, tomato/meat sauce for pasta - making lasagna with that yesterday (garlic and egg-free, and I liked it, Bill did not), chicken noodle soup (although I did not make my own broth - yet). Next on the list is cream of chicken soup so I can use that to make chicken and dumpling stew.

While cooking from scratch sounds like a lot of work, it's actually a lot of fun. I wish there were more flavor combinations that I could work with, but that will take some time (like finding a replacement for garlic other than onion). The bad thing is that I keep finding a ton of different dessert recipes that I'm dying to try (grilled pineapple milkshakes!). I think this summer I might get back into food competitions again. I'm not holding my breath that I'll win anything, but it's still fun.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The week of constantly nursing on the hour, holding off on my workout, eating like a horse (losing 2 pounds in the process) and all of the HARD WORK it took to increase my milk supply - WE DID IT! I am so relieved! Carter is back on track and we don't have to supplement.

We went in for his follow-up weight check and I had held off his last nursing session so he would be hungry enough to eat (not like he hasn't turned down a meal or snack anyway). His pre-nursing weight was 12.14 pounds, gaining 5.5 ounces in the last week (yea!). After nursing, he weighed in at 13.2 pounds, gaining 3.5 ounces.

The average 5 month old needs to gain 4-5 ounces in a week and needs about 2.4 - 3.7 ounces per nursing session (eating an average or 8 times a day).

WE SAVED THE SUPPLY!!! Now we move from hourly nursing to on-demand. We won't need to go in to see the Doctor again until Carter's 6 month check up (which is in a few weeks anyway). Last time I left the office holding back tears, deeply saddened by the possibility of having to stop nursing. This time I left the office with tears in my eyes from absolute relief. Relief that Carter isn't starving, he's back on track and growing fine and that all of that hard work wasn't all for naught. YEA!!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Decisions, decisions

A few months ago our desktop took a dirt nap and we've been using our laptop as the primary computer. At first, it was kind of a pain in the butt to share. We had been spoiled with two computers and when I needed to work, I would hang out in the computer room (office, I suppose) and Bill would do his thing in the living room on the laptop. Over the months of being with one computer, we've developed a natural sharing rhythm, much like the synchronized flip we do while sleeping. It's not that big of a deal anymore. Until Bill told me about his upcoming business trip.

The possibility of a business trip has been looming for quite some time. For a while, he thought he would have to travel to Europe; London, Turkey, Spain, just to name a few places (which totally freaked me out and made me jealous at the same time). For now, he's just going to the east coast, but he has to take the laptop with him. Which means, I would be without a computer for days. Yeah, that is NOT an option. I would insane without a computer and being alone with the kids for days. So, Bill started looking at building a new CPU for the desktop.

While he was looking for parts, we started talking about the budget and what we could afford. Since getting our tax return back, we have a nice cushion and we don't want to whittle that down too much. Then the conversation turned to the major purchases we need (or want) to make in the next few weeks/months; the computer, furniture for the front room and our family vacation. The reality hit me that we probably won't be able to go to Portland for our summer vacation this year. It's come to the decision of paying off our debt with our tax return or use that money for the vacation. Sometimes, being a responsible adult sucks.

So, Bill has ordered our computer and we will be looking at furniture this weekend in hopes to have our front room furnished before I host photographer friend's baby shower next week. We will still be able to take a family vacation this summer, it will just have to be in Colorado and we will still be able to do something special for our 10 year anniversary. I'm just really bummed that we won't be able to make it to Portland. I'm not surprised though. This kind of stuff always happens. To add salt to the wound, one of my sisters is graduating summa cum laude the weekend that we were going to be there. Now we're going to miss that too.

Ugh. Maybe next year.

Friday, February 20, 2009

You're in my bubble

This non-stop nursing business is HARD WORK. It's difficult to get out of the house to really do anything, the run-on pajama days are enough to drive anyone insane with boredom and all I feel like I do is nurse, eat, drink, nurse, mess around on facebook, drink, change the channel for Logan, nurse, drink...You get the idea. The funny thing (or not so funny) is that it hasn't even been a week yet. It's been three days! We even ventured out of the house for a baby shower (that we were really late to thanks to Carter's morning nap time) where I spent a chunk of time nursing and talking while Logan ran around with his friends.

I finally got a call back from our Pediatrician this afternoon about Carter's weight loss, three days later. It turns out that he's been slowing dropping weight and in my opinion, getting him to sleep through the night was the downward spiral. At his 2 month check-up his weight was 25% and by 4 months he dropped to 15% (I think this is what she said. It could be 50% to 25%). Apparently this weight loss (or lack of growth) wasn't that big of a deal because this is when our pediatrician suggested that I stop nursing him at night to get him to sleep through the night - which did work after a couple of weeks.

His weight at 4 months was 12.9 pounds. His weight a week later at his foot appointment was the same. His weight the next 2 weeks later at his weight-check was the same. If it had not been for his Raynaud's disease appointment, we would have never caught this until his 6 month check-up at which he probably would have been classified as failure to thrive.

So, I'm continuing to nurse every hour (about), taking fenugreek pills, eating like a horse and choking down as much water as I can. I haven't worked out all week, but when I go back to the gym next week, I'll be on the why in the hell are you even here program, dropping my intensity WAY down.

One thing I'm starting to miss is my personal space. With Carter latched onto me so often and Logan trying to snuggle up at every opportunity, I long for the times they are in bed and I can breath, stretch out and increase the space of my "bubble". I never thought I would feel like this, but I guess you can get to a point of being touched too much. Or maybe I'm just weird. Which is very possible.

We keep this up until next Tuesday or Wednesday when Carter gets another weight check to see how he's growing. I HOPE everything is back on track at that point.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The well is running dry

A few weeks ago when I took Carter to see his pediatrician about his purple feet, just as usual, the visit started out with a weigh-in. He had just been there the week before for his 4 month check up and weighed in at 13 pounds, 3 ounces (10%). The Doctor was pleased with his weight gain at that appointment, but at the following weigh-in, he was down to 12 pounds (and something ounces - I don't have those records). Surprised by a pound of weight loss in a week, she thought that maybe the weigh-in the week before was incorrect, that possibly he was full of poop (which I guess makes a big difference). Not too worried at the time, she had us come back for a weight check. If Carter was still not gaining, then we would weigh him again after he nursed to see how much he was getting.

For the months that Carter has been alive, I've never really worried that he wasn't getting enough or that my supply was dwindling. He always had a good amount of wet diapers and the kid poops like no other (well, like Logan. These kids are very regular) and I never felt like I was loosing milk - I leaked and felt a good letdown at each nursing. Even during his colic episodes, I never thought he was hungry because I would set him up to nurse and he wasn't interested. I can also tell the difference between eating and comfort nursing and knew when he was latched on after a crying spell, 90% of the time it was for comfort. On top of that he's a pretty frequent eater, at every 2-3 hours. So, without this weight check, I would have always thought he was getting enough to eat. Everything else added up.

Yesterday afternoon we went in for his weight check. He weighed in at 12 pounds 9 ounces. Not really a great weight gain in a week and a half. So, we nursed. Our timing was a little off as he last ate an hour and a half prior, so he wasn't too hungry. But he did eat. It was more like a snack. After 7-10 minutes of nursing, we weighed him again. 12 pounds 10 and a half ounces. He only got an ounce and a half.

Of course I had a million questions and the nurse couldn't answer any one of them. She said that our Doctor would call me in the morning to discuss the next steps. I left the office feeling deeply sad. Sad that this could possibly be the end of nursing.

Holding back tears all afternoon, I spent the rest of the day on the Le Leche League website and on KellyMom both of which gave the same advice for increasing supply: More frequent nursing. So, if I was going to try and save my milk, I would have to nurse Carter every hour. Also, start taking fenugreek to increase the volume a bit. Both of which I am starting today.

I am now waiting for the Doctor to call back so we can figure out what to do. I hate waiting...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's hard to explain

Clearly, Bill and I are going through a lot of stuff right now. Not only right now, but we've been through a lot of stuff over the last 10 years of our relationship. I'm still here even though many times before I've looked for divorce attorneys in town, figured out how much that would all cost, spoke to a few on the phone for a brief consultation and gone as far as scheduling an in office consultation only to call and cancel. And I'm still here.

When life is good for us, it's not just good -it's amazing. The simple things we do are fun, like making Sunday breakfast and hanging out in our pajamas or going grocery shopping together as a family. The really fun things are a blast, like going to the zoo or teaching Logan how to play Disc Golf. They are memories that I cherish and try my best to remember them in our moments of crisis. On the flip side, when things are bad, they are horrible and because we share so many good things in life, the bad times are just heart breaking.

Sometimes love makes you do stupid things. It's even worse when you are in love with your soul mate. Some people don't believe in this concept, but it's undeniable for me since I've found him. Soul mates are not perfect people, but you end up tolerating so much more from them because you can't imagine what life would be like without them. That's how it is for me, anyway. When I think about all of the problems we've dealt with or worse, put them to paper, it's insane that I'm still around. I think any other person in their right mind would have hit the road about 3 years ago. I also think the majority of people divorce over issues much smaller than the one's we've gone through.

I stay not to keep our family together for the kids, or because divorce is expensive and the road afterward would be long and difficult; I stay because I still love him. I still love him too much to stop trying, even after the lies, the insanity from his family and the seemingly never ending moments of disappointment. And then again, maybe I stay because he tries and hasn't given up. When I'm ready to throw in the towel, he suggests going to marriage counseling and is the one who calls and makes the appointment. We both do the work and when thinking about where we have come from, there have been changes and much improvement (and amazement from our counselor who thinks we work pretty hard compared to most of her clients).

When thinking about where we need to go, I don't see a brick wall, just an enormous mountain that will take a lot of energy and skill to climb. Take the in-law issue for example; we are this close to a complete cut-off (that he agrees with) and he is starting to see the situation for what it is. So there is light at the end of the tunnel that this massive problem will be over with at some point (soon). The dishonesty will most likely take years to overcome. But, as long as there is effort on both our parts, the tears and heartache along the way are worth it. The good parts are just too good to give up on.

It's hard to explain, but I gave it my best shot.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bowling with buddies

It's been a long time since Logan has been bowling. I think it's actually been close to a year. I'm not sure why we haven't gone because it's always so much fun, but at least we went this morning!

Now that Logan is a little bit older, bowling is even more fun. He understands the concept that the ball knocking down the pins is a good thing and of course, this is so exciting to a boy. Logan was strong enough to pick up a 7 pound bowling ball and carry it up to the ramp and push it down the lane. He was thrilled when the pins dropped. "I did it mom! I did it! I won!", he would yell while jumping up and down. It was so cute!
Logan was great at taking turns and doing his thing with his friends while I stood back talking to my friends and holding Carter on my hip, who really got a kick out of watching everyone. He's beginning to become social and smiling at other kids (not that he doesn't smile at other people - it's just happening more often with less effort).
The only bummer of the morning was someone bringing cupcakes to share. Logan saw them and a few people eating them and wanted one, naturally. I explained to him that these cupcakes had egg in them and they would make him itchy, an explanation that I give him often and he understands (and repeats when he tries a new food, thinking that everything has egg in it). Usually he doesn't care and runs off to do something else. This time he was very upset that he couldn't have a cupcake, even though I told him we were going to the store afterward and that I would get him some candy. He pouted and sulked and refused to take his turn bowling. It was a bit sad, really, but he didn't stay this way for long (thankfully).

We had a great morning; I can always tell when Logan passes out on the way home. And he did.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Because these boys are cute

It was matching pajama day today. They were too cute and I just had to get some more pictures of the kids together. I think they enjoyed it as much as I did!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Valentine's tale from the mouth of a sailor

Be forewarned; this post will contain explicit language. F-bombs, S-words, and many other 4-letter words. As many as I can think of. Some say that swearing shows a lack of vocabulary. I disagree. Sometimes, a cuss word can convey the exact feeling you are experiencing and nothing else will suffice. This is one of those times.

The other day Bill excitedly told me that he got my Valentine's Day gift. I was a little surprised since we had talked about getting a spendy gift that would benefit us both. I didn't expect anymore gifts and I certainly didn't think about getting him one. "Are you actually going to wait until Valentine's Day?", I asked him since it's usually par for the course that he gets too excited and spills the beans a few days before. "Yes, well, it will be the day before", he smirked. Intrigued, I tried to extract more information from him unsuccessfully.

Yesterday afternoon I checked the mailbox and looked through the bills. I had been waiting for the phone bill because for weeks I've known that Bill has been lying to me. So, much like years before, and lies before this, I trusted my gut and followed the paper trail. It was back on Logan's birthday when the red flags caught my attention...

My sisters and my Dad had called Logan to wish him a happy birthday. Logan talked to them, thanking them for his gifts and rambling on and on about random preschooler stuff. Everyone got a kick out of it. This was during the drama from Aunt Ju-Ju who was flipping out because we were still enforcing the time out until there is a resolution to our family conflict. After my family had talked to Logan and after Bill had dealt with Aunt Ju-Ju, he got up from the couch to retrieve his phone from his pocket. Begrudgingly, he says, "Well, I better get this call over with".

"What are you talking about?", I asked him. "I'm going to call my parents so they can wish Logan a happy birthday", he said as seriously as a heart attack. I reminded him what a time out means with him interrupting me "do this for me". I wanted to smack the guilt out of him. I then asked him what was the difference between Christmas and Logan's birthday? What was so different now that it warranted a time-out from the time-out? The answer? Nothing. This was all happening because of the decisions his family had made and I told him that if Grandma L was going to wish Logan a happy birthday, then she could talk to me first to work on a resolution. That put an end to the conversation right there.

Soon after that I was getting ready to take a shower. Now, when I shower, I bring Carter in the bathroom to hang out in in his bouncer and Logan tags along to race his cars along the tub and entertain his little brother. However, even though Bill was there and available to watch the kids, I urged Logan to come with me. After the conversation with Bill about the phone call, the vehemence in his voice caused me to pay close attention to what was going on. I didn't trust him at all and figured he would call his parents while I was occupied. He called me out on my suspicions and assured me that he wouldn't go behind my back. I left Logan with him, but I still didn't trust him.

As the day ended, I asked if he had talked to his parents at all. He said he hadn't. I knew he was lying. The week continued and I asked a few more times. Every time he said no. I knew he was lying now. No doubt about it. So, I waited for the phone bill to bust him on the dumbest lie ever. I don't care if he talks to his parents; if he wants to have a relationship with people like that, who treat his family like shit, fabulous. That's his choice, however, they will not have a relationship with the rest of us. And for Christ's sake, don't lie to me about it. That is about the most ridiculous thing to lie about. Seriously.

The phone bill finally arrives and what do you know. He lied. Again. For the one millionth and one time. I sent an email to him letting him know that I'm tired of his lies. Again. I am PISSED beyond belief. That he would lie to me over something so trivial. Here we are, trying to rebuild trust and what does he do? Lies over a fucking pointless phone call.

But wait, it gets better.

When he emailed me back, he acted as though he was doing me a favor by "keeping me out of the loop". Forget that I smelled bull shit and looked for it like a bloodhound on the scent and once I discovered the truth, all hell would break loose. He just thought it would be better to lie to me.

But wait. It gets even better than that.

After my ranting email ripping him a new asshole, he called me, in which I think I yelled so loud at him it could have been possible to break the receiver in my phone. He sheepishly apologies, surprised that I would fucking absolutely lose my shit over discovering the truth about yet another lie. "Do you want to know what your Valentine's Day present is?", he asks me. "I don't give a fuck about Valentine's Day right now. In fact, you should probably return everything", I bark back. "My mom's in town right now. I'm going out for lunch with her on Friday. I wasn't going to tell you about it until after she left".

Thus began the Apocalypse in my kitchen, complete with the four horsemen riding past me. "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! MY VALENTINE'S DAY PRESENT IS A LIE??!! WHAT KIND OF ASSHOLE ARE YOU!?". Once again surprised that this would cause my God damn brain to hemorrhage, he apologises because he thought it was a good thing. The rest of the phone call was pure rage ending with a hang up. A few apologetic emails followed while I tried to collect myself, which was next to impossible, but accomplished.

Later that night Bill came home from work. He left to run a quick errand for me and the kids and I ate dinner. I got Carter to bed and by the time Bill came home, Logan was ready for his bath and bed. After the kids are down, I'm usually out the door and headed to the gym. Not this time. I just wasn't feeling it. Bill and I sat on the couch watching TV in silence. I was waiting for him to say something; to work on fixing this whole mess. But, in the end all he said was "I'm going to check my email and head to bed".

Enter another level of hell.

The cherry on top of this little sundae was Bill trying to say that I needed to go back on the medication because it makes our family happy. Granted, this was an all out, drag down, freak out - but he always does this. Whenever I am angry or upset at something (usually he does or his family does - something that warrants a world ending meltdown), the answer is always medication. Let's forget about how the last two weeks of being off the medication have been absolutely fan-fucking-tastic for me; the days are better, Logan and I are getting along and the frustration level has been drastically lower than the previous weeks (while on the medication, no less). But yeah, he doesn't see that because he's at work. So it doesn't count, I guess.

The aspect that sticks with me the most (other than the constant lies), is that here we are - another family visit where we had agreed to do something to resolve our issues. Yet, nothing is planned, no action has been taken, no resolution at all. This speaks volumes about how much Grandma L wants to end this time out. As of now, I'm moving towards an actual cut-off. And Bill? I have not a Fucking clue what to do about him.

This morning I am drained - physically, emotionally, mentally. It was good that we had a fun playgroup to go to; it got us out of the house and moving on to better moods. Another day. One foot in front of the other.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lazy legs

The difference between Logan and Carter is showing more and more everyday. Logan was born independent and super active, as in, wouldn't stop moving, rolling, crawling, running, climbing, and getting into trouble. Carter is a lot more chill. He would rather be held and carried around & have everything done for him. Forget about him learning to grab a toy that is clearly within reach, as his servant, it's my duty to get it for him (little prince, indeed).

He is sneaky about his activity, making sure we don't know about his ability to roll over until I go in to get him in the morning to find him on his stomach. Because God forbid we find out and his cover as the dependent boy is blown. For him to be happy, he must always be touching me, whereas Logan didn't care as much.

After his check-up the other week, our pediatrician suggested that we get an exersaucer for Carter so that he can start using his torso muscles more and he is forced to put some weight on his legs, because right now when you try to stand him up, he tucks them up high refusing to use them. W never had to use one with Logan, so this was one of the only pieces of baby equipment that we were lacking. Bill found a great deal through a friend that he plays Disc Golf with who's kid hated it and they were ready to get rid of it. Score!

So, little lazy legs over here has been having a blast in his exersaucer. He loves all of the jungle toys, but mostly loves the red animals on the fabric print on the seat. He does use his legs every now and then, but still gets tired and just hangs in the seat for a bit. What's great is that he likes it enough that I can cook dinner and he'll be happily entertained.

It's been an overcast, busy day - but as soon as the lighting is good, you better believe I'll get a picture!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Damn you, cupcakes!!

After working out another month, it was time to take my measurements again at the end of last week. I had been feeling pretty good about them; my arms felt more firm, on good days - my abs did too. I also noticed that my butt had started to lift and regain somewhat of it's pre-pregnancy shape. Bill had continued to crack the whip and not letting my whiny excuses weasel my out of my workouts, where I had been doing super set circuits, a very intense type of training. So, I thought there would be some decent results.

But, I forgot about Logan's birthday party with his friends and the 100 cupcakes with butter cream frosting I baked. In which I ate a hefty amount - I would say 2 dozen in the span of 4 weeks. According to my very scientific calculations, eating sticks of butter covered in sugar isn't on the "Six Pack Abs" diet plan and won't get anyone close to their goal. You know, it takes a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

So here's what 2 dozen cupcakes will do to your waistline:

Weight = 138 lbs (up from 136)
Body Fat Percentage = 27% (up from 26.5%)

Neck = 12.75 (up from 12.25)
Chest 34.5
Arm = 10.75 (up from 10.5)
Waist = 32 (up from 31)
Hip = 40.5 (up from 40)
Leg = 20.5
Calf = 13.5

Yeah, not so good. At least I was working out otherwise it could have been a whole lot worse. So, I have one more week of super sets - Very strict nutrition and then I move on to some heavy lifting and start training for a 5k. I think that will get me back in no time. But, I'm never making that many cupcakes ever again!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Debt Free in 2009!

Sometimes Bill and I are cut from the same cloth. We are both procrastinators, especially when it comes to unpleasant issues. Doing our taxes is always one of those painful tasks because over the years we've been filing, we've owed more than we get back. We did get a return last year for the first time in YEARS and figured the same would happen now that we can add Carter as a dependent.

So, the minute Bill was able to, he filed our taxes and sent them in. We are getting a nice return that we are going to use to pay off all of our debt (except for the car). This will also help us save more money for our hopeful summer vacation to Portland. Yesterday our tax return was deposited in our account and on Monday we will be ready to pay everything off.

I can't even begin to describe how much of a relief it is to finally be debt free after years of being in continual debt. Sometimes I hold my breath because these moments don't last very long, either something will happen to the car or there will be a medical expense (usually the case). But for now, it's all over with and we can breath for a minute or two.

I really hope this is a sign of how 2009 is going to go for us!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Thriving Three Year Old

On Thursday morning, we went back to see our pediatrician but this time it was for Logan's 3 year check up. That morning before going in we had performed all of the tasks on the "Ages and Stages" questionnaire. We made a game of it and Logan had a lot of fun. He was able to do most things and aced gross motor skills (jumping, climbing, throwing), communication skills (forming four word sentences, naming at least seven body parts, following direction), problem solving (imitating tasks I did, using tools around the house like a step stool, repeating number sequences) and personal/social skills (using utensils, recognizing himself in the mirror, taking turns, recognizing his gender). He did not do so well with fine motor skills (threading shoelaces, using scissors, properly holding a pencil).

We went in and the nurse measured his standing height and weight for the first time. He is 38 3/4 inches (90%), weighed 32 pounds, 12 ounces (55%), his BMI was 15.33 (25%) and his blood pressure was 90/60. Soon our Doctor came in, asked a few questions about Carter since we had been there the day before and looked over Logan's forms. She looked him over, asked him questions and said he was growing wonderfully. She had no concerns and was impressed that he was pretty much potty trained at night now. She asked if I had any questions.

I asked her to check his nose to make sure there wasn't anything forgotten in there from his nose-obsession days. All clear. I asked her about his communication skills because I know exactly what he's talking about 90% of the time, other's? Not so much. She thought he was OK, but went ahead and wrote up a script to see the speech pathologist again. I also was concerned that he has been so picky about food, he's refused to eat dinner for weeks. She said his weight was fine and that my refusal to make him special dinners was spot on. Bottom line - he won't starve. Other than seeing the dentist, our next appointment will be with his allergist to do the food challenges to see if he's outgrown the egg and garlic allergies (he hasn't. I know).

With a bill of clean health, we left and because Logan was exceptionally good that day, we went out for cupcakes. One of the cupcakery's here in town has a vegan cupcake day (which happened to be the same day as his appointment), so they are egg-free and safe for him to eat. He ate a french toast cupcake with maple frosting and chocolate milk and I had a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting and coffee. While enjoying each other's company, Carter slept peacefully in his car seat. We had a great time. It was one of our better days, if not one of the best. We were all in good moods, there was no conflict and the more I think about it, the more warm fuzzies I feel. It was great!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

This bubble better have a heater in it

So, you know how I always talk about our kids being screwed with genetics? That Logan is sensitive to everything and could be bubble boy? And how I thought Carter might have escaped some kind of funky, rare, allergy, reaction or disorder? Yeah, I was wrong. He's now just as much of a bubble boy as Logan is. Poor kids.

Over the last few days Carter's feet have been extraordinarily cold and discolored. Like bluish-purple your-feet-are-going-to-fall-off kind of discolored and as cold as little ice cubes. At first I told myself to calm down, that he was probably just cold since babies have poor circulation anyway. Right? So, I keep him warmer, giving him a warmer blanket at night, keeping him in footie sleepers with socks underneath so there was no way his skin could be exposed & his socks never had a chance to come off. Yesterday he woke up from his afternoon nap and his feet were the color of plums. They were getting worse, not better. I called our pediatrician to get him seen that afternoon. We were scheduled ASAP, as in get there in 10 minutes.

We get there and of course his feet return to somewhat normal. They are cool, but now a normal pinkish red color. After talking to our Doctor about it, she cocked her head to the side and surprisingly said, "He has Raynaud's", as if I was supposed to know what that was. She explained what it was and said that it was no big deal. I just have to keep him warmer than other kids, socks always on, warmers in his gloves when he's old enough to play in the snow, put a heated rice sock in his blanket sleeper and crank up the space heater in his room. Relieved that he didn't have a heart issue (he was eating well, his cheeks were flushed, sleeping fine and everything else was normal), I walked out of the office like this whole thing wasn't too abnormal even if she said she saw about one kid a year with it.

Then I got on the internet to learn more about it.

OH. MY. GOD. He has a rare disorder that effects about 3% of the population. So, basically he's more sensitive to colder temperatures and emotional stress than most people. One general description equated it to someone being allergic to the cold. Carter is allergic to being COLD AND STRESSED!! The blood vessels narrow and restrict the blood flow to the tissue, which in severe cases causes tissue death. Sometimes this can make the hands and feet (his feet are worse than his hands) numb and tingle and sometimes painful. We won't even go into all that can happen with the severe form of this disease. It's not good. Most people who deal with this feel that it is just a nuisance and have to make lifestyle changes to manage it for the rest of their life. One of which is moving to a warmer climate as most attacks happen in temperatures of 60 degrees or less. We live in Colorado where the daytime temperature has dipped to -4 on some winter days. Here's a list of all of the other self-help measures he should take:

  • Take action during an attack. You can decrease both its length and severity by a few simple actions. The first and most important one is avoid the cold. Warming the body and the hands or feet is also helpful. If you’re outside and the weather is cold, go indoors. Run warm water over your fingers or toes or soak them in a bowl of warm water to warm them. If a stressful situation triggers the attack, get out of the stressful situation, if possible, and relax. While biofeedback and similar nondrug methods are used, formal studies have suggested they are not helpful.
  • Keep warm. It is important not only to keep the extremities warm but also to avoid chilling any part of the body. Remember, a drop in the body’s core temperature triggers the attack. Shifting temperature (for example, rapidly moving from 90 degrees outside to a 70 degree air-conditioned room) and damp rainy weather are to be avoided. In cold weather, pay particular attention to dressing. Several layers of loose clothing, socks, hats, and gloves or mittens are recommended. A hat is important because a great deal of body heat is lost through the scalp. Keep feet warm and dry. Some people find it helpful to wear mittens and socks to bed during the winter. Chemical warmers, such as small heating pouches that can be placed in pockets, mittens, boots, or shoes, can give added protection during long periods outdoors.

    People who have secondary Raynaud’s phenomenon should talk to their doctors before exercising outdoors in cold weather.

    In warm weather, be aware that air conditioning also can trigger attacks. Setting the thermostat for a higher temperature or wearing a sweater indoors can help prevent an attack. Some people find it helpful to use insulated drinking glasses and to put on gloves before handling frozen or refrigerated foods.

  • Do not smoke. The nicotine in cigarettes causes the skin temperature to drop, which may lead to an attack.
  • Avoid aggravating medications such as vasconstrictors, which cause the blood vessels to narrow. Vasoconstrictors include beta-blockers, many cold preparations, caffeine, narcotics, some migraine headache medications, some chemotherapeutic drugs, and clonidine, a blood pressure medication. Some studies also associate the use of estrogen with Raynaud’s phenomenon.
  • Control stress. Because stress and emotional upsets may trigger an attack, particularly for people who have primary Raynaud’s phenomenon, learning to recognize and avoid stressful situations may help control the number of attacks. Many people have found that relaxation can help decrease the number and severity of attacks. Local hospitals and other community organizations, such as schools, often offer programs in stress management.
  • Exercise regularly. Many doctors encourage patients who have Raynaud’s phenomenon—particularly the primary form—to exercise regularly. Most people find that exercise promotes overall well-being, increases energy level, helps control weight, and promotes cardiovascular fitness and restful sleep. Patients with Raynaud’s phenomenon should talk to their doctors before starting an exercise program.
  • See a doctor. People with Raynaud’s phenomenon should see their doctors if they are worried or frightened about attacks or if they have questions about caring for themselves. They should always see their doctors if episodes occur only on one side of the body (one hand or one foot) and any time one results in sores or ulcers on the fingers or toes.

I'm a little perturbed that our pediatrician was so lax about the whole deal and neglected to educate me to the fullest. Thankfully we live in the age of information where it's readily available and I'm the type of person who will look for the details. And believe me - I've been reading everything about it every day since his diagnosis. With Logan's allergies and reactions, we are downright pro's at making lifestyle changes for our kids, so making sure that Carter stays extra warm (which instinctively feels just wrong - like he's going to overheat) won't be that difficult.

I've tried to find pictures online of what it looks like, but haven't found anything that looks like Carter's feet. I carried the camera with me at every moment and got some good pictures of a mild attack. Mind you, this is not the worst - they've been much more discolored than this:

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A brighter shade of life

As of today, I am medication-free. After my OB appointment I got the results of my blood work to check on my thyroid, which was just fine. The plan was to wean off of Lexapro and start Wellbutrin the next week. I dropped my dose in half for that week and was supposed to start the new medication on Wednesday. I hesitated. There were other side effects that scared me a little (like how the risk of having a seizure increased when you drink). So, while some side effects decreased (the "personal" ones) others increased. I am just really tired of sacrificing the things in life that are fun for all of this, especially when I don't think I need it. I like to have a glass of wine (or two) after a hard day or for fun on the weekend. I like having a margarita with dinner while out with my friends. I also like having things back to normal in the bedroom. I decided to play it by ear and see what happened without being medicated.

The first few days were kind of bad. I was irritable, impatient and a little hostile (well, more like a lot hostile). At first I thought, Umm, yeah. Maybe I do need to go back on. Friday was the kicker as it was THE DAY FROM HELL, both kids screaming and crying ALL DAY LONG. It took everything I had not to go running out of the house and straight into the insane asylum. Bill was out with friends playing poker that night, so I was alone and crying in my wine after I felt like I had just been sucker punched by motherhood. Thankfully I have great friends who once read my "Please put me out of my misery" status updates on Facebook, sent emails & comments of support.

And then the clouds parted and the sun shone brightly again.

The next day was Logan's birthday and a totally different day. We had fun, despite the drama coming from the in-laws. Aunt Ju-Ju had another typical flip out over Logan's birthday and us continuing the time out until there is a resolve. Bill ignored Grandma L all weekend and as far as I know, still has not talked to her. But, regardless, we still had a fun day. The next day I really started to notice the difference. I felt Life again.

I am an emotional person, no doubt. I feel intense emotion, get choked up and teary over little things or am moved by life experiences. I am also an extremist, often a complaint from Bill that there is no middle ground or in between with me - it's one way or the other. This isn't PPD, it's who I am. I didn't realize that those feelings had been dulled until I was medication-free. It was like I felt real again, fully experiencing both the highs and lows of our days. I felt like my old self again; my imperfect, impatient, often frustrated, passionate, emotional, self. And this was not bad. At all. Well, to me anyway.

In addition to feeling strong emotion again, I've noticed how my brain has been effected. After reading up on other's experiences with Lexapro, many have had "brain zaps", or lack of function. For me, the whole left side of my brain seems to be dead and more like I need to zap it back to life with an AED. It's the strangest feeling ever to notice that your brain is pretty much broken. I don't even want to say how long it took me to calculate 17.5 lbs + 17.5 lbs to know how much I was lifting in the gym. It was THAT bad. I would try to problem solve and literally feel the lack of neuron connection, like the brain power had been flowing along and then all of a sudden stops at a kink in the line. I am feeling like the biggest moron ever with this major malfunction and I hope it comes back quickly - without me having to do some stupid puzzles or join the mathletes or something like that.

It was another life lesson for me that I am who am I and I need to continually work on being a more patient person - really, this is my life long struggle and I don't think medication will help that, quite possibly the opposite. While December was an extraordinarily horrible month that kicked me on my keister and medication was probably a good answer at the time, I have high hopes that I will be able to endure the hardships of the upcoming months with the in-laws, because really, I'm not taking it anymore. I'm pretty sure everyone is clear on that.

So now? I'm living my life the way I want to live it.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Three years old!

Logan's birthday was on Saturday and it was a fabulous 3rd birthday, if I do say so myself. We woke up and spent the morning in our pajamas, eating home made hash browns for breakfast. Logan got a big bike with training wheels, an array of CARS cars and a Plex Yo Gabba, Gabba truck. He loved them all, but mostly the cars.

After our chill out morning, we went out for lunch at a play cafe where Bill and Logan slid down slides, pretended to cook food in the kitchen and jumped around like crazy people. Carter and I hung out in the infant area where he loved kicking and exploring all of the toys around him.

After lunch we did a birthday present shopping spree with the money he received from family members. He got more cars, a CARS puzzle, an art easel, clothes and a bunch of other stuff I can't think of at the moment. He was certainly spoiled.

It's incredible to see how much he's grown in the last three years and to remember that on that very day, we were in the hospital meeting Logan for the first time. Amazing. And life has never been the same since...