Friday, May 29, 2009

Soon to be two chatter boxes

A couple of days ago I was feeding Carter his dinner. "Ma, ma, ma, ma!" he exclaimed while wildly waving his arms and swinging his legs in his high chair. I got excited and tried to encourage him to say it again. And he didn't. He's pretty sneaky about his skills - hiding them from us, rolling in the crib when we're not around, sitting up by himself when he wakes up. It's as if he wants to make sure he's got it down pat before showing off. His first words are the same way.

A day or so had gone by and he would sneak in another "ma, ma, ma!" every now and then. At dinner last night, I was talking to him and repeating "ma, ma" as he grinned from ear to ear, so much that his eyes squinted as he watched every motion of my mouth. He silently repeated the motions back.

Today though, it seems as though he is comfortable with this new skill and mixed right in with the shrieks, cries and yells along with Logan, there are bursts of "Ma, ma, ma!" Crawling around the house exploring new textures and spaces, playing with toys and his big brother, feeding himself peaches and Cheerios, this Baby Bean is quickly growing into a Little Sprout much too fast for my liking.

First smiles? Check.
First foods? Check.
First moves? Check.
First words? Check.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A barter way to do things

Some businesses and professions have been hurting during this economic down slide. Personal Training has been one of them. When money is tight, no one is going to run out and hire someone to get them in shape when it's hard enough as it is to put gas in the car. It's a luxury service, not a necessity. This is why I love online training; it's a fraction of the cost for one-on-one sessions, making it more affordable for everyone.

But, I digress...

I'm lucky to have chosen a service career that is easily traded. In the last year, I've bartered for so many things that we wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise:
  • Photography - family portraits, Christmas cards, birth announcements, maternity portraits, newborn portraits.
  • House Cleaning every week.
  • Drop-in childcare whenever we want.
  • Massages every week.
  • Bikes tuned-up and a brand new bike trailer for the kids.
I'm in the process of looking for someone to do some work on the car (fix our air conditioner) and lawn service.

These barters have been a win-win situation for everyone involved. I find that these people are pretty dedicated to their fitness programs because they really want to do them, knowing that they wouldn't have the chance otherwise. I'm excited for the same reason; I wouldn't be able to have these services done either. Not only has bartering been mutually beneficial, but relationships/friendships have grown from them. Our house cleaner has been cleaning for us since before Carter was born. She's been here every week and Logan loves it when she's over.

We were just smacked upside one way and down the other with some heavy medical bills that need to be paid now. It would be an awesome world if I could barter for those. However, I'm feeling a hell of a lot less stressed about this pinch than most people might because for one, we are experts at being poor and living on practically nothing, but I can also be creative here and think outside the box with ways to come up with the money we need.

I've got some brainstorming to do. But, I know this little bump in the road is just that. Little.

Monday, May 25, 2009

One foot in front of the other

All throughout my early-teen and adult life, I've been CPR and first-aid certified. I had to go through the certification as a teen so I could attend girls' camp. Here we learned how to do the Heimlich maneuver for choking, CPR, cast a broken arm or leg from random items we had in our backpacks and learn how to survive in the mountains if we were ever stranded.

As a Personal Trainer, I've had to keep my CPR certification up-to-date for those times where it's been needed in the gym; like the time a gym member had a diabetic seizure at the front desk, the time another trainers' client had a heart attack in the middle of their session and the time one of my clients had a hypoglycemic attack and almost passed out after doing triceps pull downs.

There have been moments in my life where I've been the first person on the scene of an accident who was qualified to assist. One of those times was when I was coming home from a Personal Training seminar where we just went over CPR and emergency protocols. In this moment, a car accident happened where one car flipped over and the passengers were fine, crawling out as I was running to assist. The other car, the man was not wearing a seat belt and did a face plant into his steering wheel. He was choking on himself and needed his airways to be cleared. As he gurgled and struggled to breath, people were just standing there watching, probably in shock themselves, doing nothing.

As I ran to the truck to help, people yelled at me to stop and not to touch him. The choice was to either tilt his head back and clear his airway so he could breath, taking the risk of paralyzing him or watch him suffocate to death as we stood there waiting for the ambulance and fire department to arrive. The side of his truck had been hit and the door was jammed, so there was no getting him out. I positioned him so he could breath waiting for the fire department to get there with the jaws of life. I have no idea what became of this man, if he fully recovered or if he was paralyzed, if he lived or if he died.

In all of these medical emergencies, I've known what to do and how to treat shock. It's actually pretty simple. Lay the trauma victim down, cover them with a blanket and elevate their legs. Easy as that. Sometimes the trick can be convincing the person that they need to do this since confusion is a major symptom of shock. It's not uncommon for a trauma victim to jump right up, dust themselves off saying that they're fine with blood pouring out of them then attempt to get back in the car to drive to Target to finish their errands.

But this is all for shock from physical trauma. What about emotional trauma? How do you treat that? It's not as simple as kicking your feet up with a blanket around you. After the darkness from the last few months, sometimes I wonder if I'm in emotional shock. I wonder if I'm one of those people who have collected all of the fallen pieces in an armful of disarray and stumbled onward with life, one foot in front of the other, assuring everyone that I'm just fine and going to finish my errands at Target.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Carter at 8 months old

Oh, Baby Bean...

This age with you is absolutely fantastic. I love every minute of it! There are some stages of childhood that dive me nuts, like when you were a newborn and never slept or the toddler years with Logan - Good Lord, were those difficult. But this age with you right now? Is heaven.

I love when you wake up in the morning, sitting up and anxiously waiting for me to come in with a bottle for breakfast. The look on your face when I open the door is priceless. You are so happy, you just light up with pure joy. Our morning snuggles are so tender and loving, melting my heart into a giant puddle of mush.

You are moving all around the house now; crawling, scooting, rolling and getting into everything you can. You try to follow me around the house if you aren't playing side-by-side with you Big Brother, the highlight of your day. The two of you hang out together on the floor playing with cars, which seems to be your favorite right now. You couldn't care less about your baby toys. You'd rather play with the big kid stuff. Watching you kids play is adorable. You play so well together, like you've been playing for years before. You really are best buds. I've yet to get a picture, and believe me - I'm trying, but it makes me smile more than I can describe when I look in the rear view mirror while driving to see the two of you holding hands and laughing.

You are beginning to find your voice and babbling so much more. While you eat your Cheerios in your high chair you talk to me and chat away in your secret baby language. Your conversations sound so interesting, I wish I knew what you were talking about. Even though I can't understand you, I feel like you understand everything that I say to you. I talk to you as if you've been talking from Day One, and the looks you give me are all the confirmation that I need. What's funny, sort of, is when I begin to tell you "No" or reprimand you (as much as one can do with a baby), you just laugh at me and think it's hysterical. So, hear I'm telling you to sit still while I change your diaper or to stop pulling my hair in a serious tone and you erupt in giggles and squeals.

Feeding you is quite a challenge because you are the pickiest eater already. There isn't much you like to eat other than fruit, carrots and sweet potatoes. Everything else you are totally grossed out by and even gag up stuff like avocado and banana. This is going to make for an interesting adventure trying to find food for you to eat. One good thing though is that you are getting pretty good at feeding yourself, picking up handfuls of Cheerios or Peach Puffs. Maybe you'll eat more when you are doing it all yourself. We'll see!

Your stranger anxiety seems to have calmed down a lot recently. I think you are recognizing the different places we go - the grocery store, the gym and friends houses. You are comfortable with the people we see regularly. And most importantly, you are loving your Dad more than ever now. When he comes home from work, you give him smiles just as big as you give me, which I know he's been waiting for. Soon enough, you'll most likely want nothing to do with me and will only want to do "man stuff" with your Dad and Logan.

I will be sad to see this stage go because I love it so much. My heart overflows with happiness watching you grow and learn, becoming your own person. You are incredibly sweet and fuss very little (which is so different from your newborn months). Little Carter kid, I love you more than you'll ever know.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's on like Donkey Kong

For the last week, I've had my body back all to myself. Carter is 100% bottle-feeding now and my body definitely shows it. I've still been eating (or not eating) like I don't care and since my body has adjusted, my metabolism has slowed down from not burning that extra 500 calories for milk production. It's no longer baby fat that I'm carrying around. It's chunk.

It's time to get crackin' on this. I can workout as hard and as much as I want to now, and since things have begun to calm down at home, I can focus more on getting myself put back together. I took some before pictures today and OH. MY. GOD. If anyone out there is having a hard time getting motivated, take a picture of yourself in a bikini. It's even better if the bikini doesn't fit. Take pictures all the way around, from the front, a side view and the best - a back shot so you can see how big your butt got. That right there is motivational GOLD. If you don't have visitors swing by the house often and you don't mind permanently scaring your family, print it out and tape one on the fridge and one on the pantry. Every time you want to munch on crap, you will see your flabby ass and will never eat a damn cracker again. It's celery from here on out and you will enjoy every last bite while you are shocked into fitness program compliance by your chub.

I'm taking measurements tonight. I am not posting pictures until I have an "after", either 4 weeks later or 8 weeks. Whatever is the least humiliating. I will be at my goal in 3 months. Just in time to really get working on the nutrition book.

It's time to get back into true personal training shape.

Monday, May 18, 2009

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink

The last month has been one hellacious mess. It was a battle of wills where nobody wins. We thought we had it all figured out, we thought we were on the same page, but we weren't. We once were on the same team only to find that we were playing a completely different sport.

It all started with the counseling session with the in-laws (of course).

After the session, I had all the confirmation that I needed that we weren't going to get anywhere with Grandma L and Aunt Ju-Ju. I knew this before even going in, but I said I would go and I did - even though I didn't want to. They still believe that they have no part in the family problems and continue to place all of the blame on me. Somehow, the "unresolved issues of my past" are to blame for everything and my "hidden rules" (like being honest, expecting conversation when addressing issues rather than being met with tantrums and nasty emails, and not snatching my children away from me) are too unpredictable for them. Continuing sessions with them is a complete waste of time and until they are ready to accept responsibility for their actions, then we are going to continue being at a stand-still. It takes effort from everyone, not just us, to make these changes effective.

This is where the problem started. I went and didn't want to go back. I was already at the end of my rope when we went into the session with them. It was too little too late. I fulfilled my obligation and we never agreed to a certain amount of sessions. Apparently everyone else had a different idea. I suppose everyone else thought we were going to do this long term. I was going to go insane from the stress. I was essentially being forced to have a relationship with someone I didn't want to speak to. It became a month of hell. Absolute HELL.

For weeks it was an intense tug of war, you have to put up with my family vs I can't deal with them anymore. I was being driven closer and closer to the edge of a nervous breakdown. I was not happy, Bill was not happy, the kids were not happy. Being in our house sucked. Our life sucked for longer than it should have. More tears were shed than there needed to be. The future of our family was in question. Can either one of us be satisfied with the others decision? We seemed to be hopelessly at odds. Trust had been breached. We were not in a good place.

After teetering on the edge of lunacy and pretty much at rock bottom, Bill seemed to finally hear and understand my pleas of getting us back to where we were before the session with the in-laws. Back to the best months of our lives. He canceled the session we were supposed to have with the counselor (without the in-laws), where we were supposed to figure out where we were going - which in reality was going to be another session into working me over to continue long-term sessions with them. After he canceled the session, he told me that Grandma L was in town now and that he didn't want to tell me until things had calmed down in our home. He was going to have lunch with her the next day and was going to tell her that continuing sessions with them isn't going to work for us.

So, he went and he told her. He told her that the direction we were going wasn't as we had hoped and that once she and Aunt Ju-Ju take an introspective look at their responsibility to the situation, we might re-visit the idea of sessions again. But until then, we're done. Not much was said and the conversation turned to "how about that weather!" The next day he met with her again for coffee and she asked if we were going to schedule another session. "Apparently you weren't listening", he told her and again, the conversation changed to superficial topics.

Now we are trying to re-group and get us back to where we were before this ridiculousness. Once we are on the right track - our life together is fabulous. 98% of the hell we go through is because of the in-laws and if we just cut out that cancer in our family, life is a whole lot happier and stress-free.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Preschool picnic pony rides

The preschool that Logan will be attending in the fall had their end of the year family barbecue and fundraiser last night. All of the families that are currently attending and those that will be were invited, as well as friends if you'd like them to tag along. There was food galore; hamburgers, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, pulled pork, potato chips, fresh pineapple, buttered rolls, orange drink (you know the stuff they have at McDonalds that is scarily similar to the drink you need for the gestational diabetes test), donuts, cupcakes, brownies - it was a great spread. There were fun things for the kids; balloon animals, face painting, a bounce house and pony rides.
Logan with his orange spider painted on his face. Orange is his favorite color.

We had a great time. It's kind of funny because we know so many people who currently attend and there are so many of our friends enrolled for the fall that the school had to open up a third schedule to accommodate everyone and still keep the classes small. The family barbecue was just like hanging out with our friends with a few strangers mixed in.

With Carter strapped to me in the Bjorn, I tried to make my way around to talk to everyone (and missed a lot of people) while Logan and Bill did the fun stuff. We sat down to eat at just the right time, where Logan ate more sugar in that one meal than he's ever had in his entire life. He was on a sugar/fun high afterward running around like a cracked out 3 year old with a smile from ear to ear. It was good that the picnic was outside where he could jump around and scream about how happy he was.

The school had a pony there for the kids to ride, this being Logan's first-time ride. He saw the horse and was thrilled that he could actually have a chance to sit on it. He waited patiently for the 35 other kids signed up before him to take their turn. Once he finally got his chance, he loved every minute of it. He was calm and relaxed and just elated. Carter loved it when the horse came back after every kids' turn, kicking and jumping in the carrier, squealing away. The two of them were freakin' cute.
After the ride, I chatted with friends some more while Bill took Logan to the bounce house again. I think I might have even picked up a new client while hanging out. By the end of the night, it was getting dark and cold, so everyone began to pack up and say their good-bye's. It was a fantastically fun picnic! I can't believe Logan is going to be in school in a few short months, but I know he will enjoy every last minute of it. I just hope he doesn't expect pony rides every day when he starts going.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Only missing a corner

A while ago Logan thought it was a good idea to slide down the slide on his stomach and end up face-first into the snow shovel, chipping his front tooth in the process. It was a small chip and not really a big deal. I didn't think it was serious enough to call the dentist to get it checked out.

Weeks went by and his tooth seemed fine. I had been meaning to get him scheduled for his first dental appointment anyway, but kept procrastinating because stress levels over here have been outrageously high and battling our insurance company was something I just couldn't do. Things have started to settle down over the last couple of days, just when I try to get Logan to drink his orange juice yesterday morning. "Mom, I can't. It hurts my teeth."

I begin finding a pediatric dental office, and call one that I had been eyeballing for a while. It's a large practice with one Dentist, huge play structures and fun perks for the kids. I called and got the insurance bomb dropped on me. "We don't think you have coverage here." Thus began the two hours of phone calls to figure out what the hell we were paying for if we didn't have coverage.

When I first called, I skipped the automated system and got on one-on-one with a representative asking them what our benefits were and if they could send me a list of preferred providers. After this person balked at me saying that we don't have dental coverage and that the company doesn't even provide dental insurance, I told them how much I hate insurance companies and hung on them (not one of my finer moments, but whatever). The dental office was calling the insurance company too and was able to find that we do in fact have coverage, we just needed to verify that it would cover visits to this particular office. We find this out at 5:00pm when everything closes for the day.

The next morning I have Bill talk to HR to figure out our benefits and I call our insurance company again, this time getting connected to a competent person who explains our benefits THAT WE DO HAVE and we have the go-ahead to visit the office we want. Awesome. Battle over (until we get the bill, I'm sure).

I had been telling Logan about the dentist ever since I made the call to get him scheduled, helping to prepare him for the visit. At times he seemed excited, and others he seemed unsure about it all. Once we got there, he was a bit timid until we were escorted back into the play area while I completed the new patient paperwork. Any concerns he had instantly vanished and he was running around excited to be there in awe of all of the cool things he could play with. The office was really nice and I was quite impressed myself.

We didn't wait long at all and were escorted back into an exam room. It was decorated in a fly-fishing, woodland theme that was really cute and Logan felt right at home playing with the toys and jumping up on the table to get his teeth looked at. The Dentist said everything was fine, his teeth looked great and the chip was no big deal (just what I had thought) and said that he wouldn't need to come back for anything other than a cleaning which we were told we could do when Carter turns 1 and can bring them both in together. That is music to a mom's ears!

I was really happy with this visit - both with Logan's dental health and the professionalism of a very cool office. And if Logan ever does something to knock out any of his teeth, we know who to call.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

And they walked and walked and walked...

The sun was shining bright, the weather was perfect and Carter's nap time worked out so that we could walk to the library for story time. The new library is just a short walk, about 20 minutes with Logan walking behind (or running in front). It's long enough that it wears him out and puts a kibosh on his spastic boy behavior but it's also short enough that it's not like I'm making him walk a mile uphill both ways in the snow without any shoes.

While we were walking, Logan kept complaining about how he was tired and hungry. We were no less than 1 minute away from the library and he starts talking about wanting to go home. I kept dragging him along in my personal trainer fashion telling him that once we got to the library, he could sit and rest while listening to story time. That was good enough for him and we got there, on time (this is a miracle).

We arrived just in the nick of time along with a HUGE group of other moms, grandparents and kids of all ages. It was the largest group I've ever seen for story time and the librarian made a comment to everyone that there are other story times during the day that are less crowded. I sat in the back with Carter to feed him a bottle while Logan sat quietly on the floor with the other kids, holding onto two of his cars from home.

In the past I had always skipped out on story time at the library with Logan because he just didn't have the ability to sit still and actually listen to a story. Now that he's a little older and can follow directions (better), he is able to enjoy it to the fullest. He was on his best behavior, not wiggling around or freaking out, but sitting nicely and paying attention the the story. He participated in all of the group activities (song actions) without any help from me. He had a great time and would look back at me and smile a big smile every once and a while. It was pretty cute. The librarian read two stories, sang some songs, did a little puppet show and at the end, brought out the library mascot - a giant raccoon, much like a character you'd see in Disney Land.

The look on Logan's face was priceless. He was so excited and waved to "Fisher" while all of the kids lined up (or rather, crowded in a large mass) to shake his hand and give him a hug. Logan was awesome while kids were pushing around him. He held his own not getting bullied, but he wasn't being impatient and cutting in line like most of the kids were. Once the crowd thinned out a bit, he was able to shake his hand and give him a high-five, the highlight of his day, I'm sure. He certainly had the perma-smile to prove it.

Afterward, we played in the discovery area for a while and I talked with a friend for a bit. Logan and I looked for some more dinosaur books to check out and then we were on our way to Target to look for a Disney Car that he didn't have yet (an obsessive hobby. Seriously. It's bad). We didn't find one, so we walked back home with Logan complaining some more. I thought of the pioneer songs I used to sing as a kid and in true old-person form, I thought to myself "Damn, if the pioneers can walk thousands of miles across the country, you can walk for 20 minutes, kid".

It's on days like this that I think we had done so much physical activity that Logan would positively pass out on the couch after lunch. Not so. He ate lunch and spent most of the day outside in the backyard, hanging out in the sandbox. Carter was pretty good and played with toys on the floor and worked his way around the entire living room rolling and almost crawling (he is so close). I was able to get some work done on the new blog too (I didn't think this would have happened). When Bill came home from leagues, Logan was still up, had not napped and talked non-stop about the giant raccoon. I suppose it was still a fun day for him even though he was forced to walk a bit.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Idle hands are the devil's tools

Last week was one hell of a week, let me tell you. I was busy. Busy crying, busy working, busy taking the kids to an ice cream store to learn how they make ice cream, busy working out, busy crying, oh, and busy crying.

The crying part? All about the stupid in-laws. More on that coming up on Friday. While dealing with that horrible part of our lives, I had been taking the kids around town doing our usual stuff. Walking around in the beautiful spring weather (finally!), making special trips and obsessively buying more Disney Cars.

I've been working a bit more this week too. Now that we are all healthy, it was time to hit the gym again and get clients back on track (or try to). Carter is still trying to get comfortable there, so our workouts are lasting about 30 minutes again. It will take some time to get him where he was before we got sick. Not only have I been busy training in the gym, but there was another wave of online training clients too, which was awesome.

AND then? Like I have nothing better to do with the five spare minutes I have a day, I started up another blog to help me with writing. I actually decided to start a food blog that's specific to our city. It's a different style of writing, a different network of writers and hopefully more doors open from giving this a shot. I'm pretty excited about it. Joanna did the header for me (which I love) and I hope something comes from it. Since it's about our city that I never mention on here and if you haven't found it from my facebook update, shoot me an email and I'll send you the link if you want to read it.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will be too busy to cry this week, at least until Friday.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Slipery slope

I think breast feeding is almost over. Ever since being sick, I haven't been able to take care of myself enough to rebound. I haven't been able to eat enough, stay hydrated well enough and nurse more often. I've noticed that the necessary supplementing is starting to increase in frequency, from twice a day to three or four and the nursing sessions are decreasing to only a few times a day.

At this moment in time, I feel alright about it only because I need to take care of me. I'm sure down the road in a bit, I will feel pretty damn guilty that I wasn't able to keep it going. But for now, my head hurts, my body is drained and my brain is fried. There are other things I need to do to take care of myself so I can take care of both kids, not just one.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Carter at 7 months old

Once again, he's almost 8 months and I'm a month behind. But, the last 4 weeks were pure craziness; dealing with Bill's family, then the 2 1/2 weeks of illnesses that were rampant around here. Finally back on track, I'm ready to show off Carter's cuteness in all it's glory.

First, sleeping. I think it's safe to say that he's sleeping through the night. He wakes up at 6am to nurse and has been good about going back down for at least an hour. His napping length has stretched out some - where he used to take little 30-45 minute cats naps, he's taking full-fledged 2-3 hour naps. It's awesome, but tricky. We end up missing a lot of activities due to this development.

We are back to nursing again, but since having the flu, I've needed to supplement a couple of times a day. It's not that bad, but I'm having a harder time getting the supply back up. We're lucky that we found a formula that sits well with him that he's not allergic to. Regarding solids, this kid is pickier than any one I've known. He hates avocado and throws it up. He only likes fruit and sweet vegetables. Forget about the greens. He also goes back and forth on whether he likes cereal or not. He's still getting the majority of his nutrition from milk, which at this point is a good thing or he would not be in a good place.

He loves to play with Logan and is actually playing side-by-side now. They share toys and play peek-a-boo together. It's adorable. And they love each other so much. It's fun to watch them and also just Carter on his own. He loves to explore his toy boxes on while sitting on the floor and pulling everything out.
He is mobile now, rolling around to get where he needs to go. He is so close to crawling, rocking back and forth on his knees and lunging forward. Any day now, any day...
He is one happy and smiling kid. He laughs and giggles and just has this sweet cuddly temperament that so many people are jealous of. I can't count how many times I've heard people tell me that they wish their kids were as snugly as Carter is. I used to say the same thing to others when Logan was a baby, while he was too busy being able to roll and crawl into everything. We haven't really hit too much stranger anxiety yet, but I don't think he's had enough of a chance to test it out. While at the gym, he was going for longer stretches and I was able to get my workouts done. Now I suspect we'll have to start all over again since being sick.
This age with Carter is so fun, cute and sweet. I'm trying to soak it all up while I can before he quickly grows into an independent toddler running amok around the house with his big brother.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Road to recovery

Knock on wood, but I think we're getting better and this weekend we will be back in action. Carter is no longer coughing and only has a runny nose. Logan threw up late last night, but is fine today, eating meals, even if they are small. I'm no longer nauseous every minute of the day and only feel gross for short periods of time. With a little more rest, we should be good.

It's been a long time - 2 full weeks of varied illnesses. I hope this is it for a long time.

Along with our appetites and energy, my milk supply has suffered. The first day I was sick, I was unable to nurse Carter for a solid 24 hours. We had no choice but to bottle-feed because I was throwing up every 15-30 minutes. I was also very dehydrated and it took a few days to get back on track. Building the supply back up again is more difficult this time because Carter is now a distracted nurser, unlatching to look around after only being on for a millisecond. Sometimes he gets frustrated and bites. So, we are supplementing for now and still working on building back up. I hope this doesn't mean bye-bye to breastfeeding forever.