Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"I know a place where the grass is really greener..."

I am not a huge Katy Perry fan, nor am I suggesting that I find any amount of musical significance to her song "California Girls", but I do work in a public high school and would have to be deaf not to have heard this song played on an errant ipod, a student sitting down to pluck out the melody composed of frighteningly few notes on my classroom's piano, or the clarinetist who insists if I can just find an arrangement of that song, all of his lifelong band dreams will come true.

Anyhow, I was in my kitchen this morning doing a final run with my 50 year old oven (YAY!). I had the radio on and was dancing with wild abandonment while making chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. (Laugh if you want- but the dance like no one is watching philosophy is wonderfully freeing and fun. Try it. I dare you.) While I was dancing and mixing the cookie dough, this particular Katie Perry song came on and that first phrase stopped me in my tracks.

"I know a place where the grass is really greener"

Now, I have been struggling with a bit of discontentment in my present circumstances- working and being just so busy with a job that I used to love, but am now sensing that it's time to move on to a more full time motherhood-pretty low energy and constantly sick with this pregnancy but finding my schedule is go go go no chance to just stop and baby myself for a minute...

A friend made a comment to me the other day that "the grass is always greener" when she was saying how wonderful it was to be free from her kids for an hour during church nursery and I said that I had a hard time leaving Addison because I have to be gone from her for a lot of the week.

I've been thinking a lot about that concept lately (mostly because that friend is so wise, I felt like she was making a legit point).

While I have been pondering, I have randomly heard interesting things from some friends:

Friend A: stay at home mom desperately longing for a hobby or job of her own that would give her a purpose outside of her kids and homemaking

Friend B: newly pregnant- feeling great and wishing like anything that she would be sick so that she would "feel" pregnant and not worry so much about miscarriage. (I was in the middle of telling her how much I hated her for her "feeling great" when she finished her sentence.)

All my life, I was always convinced that the grass would be greener on the other side things: working a real job instead of being in school, finally being married to the man of my dreams, at long last being done with grad school, buying a house instead of living in tiny apartments, having a baby...

Each time, I found that yes there were wonderful new things to each new circumstance, but there were also new challenges to face as well.

So I have decided to learn from my meager 26 years of life experiences, go out on a limb here and declare that the grass is greener now...whatever the "now" might be. I am so confident of this fact, that I'm going to show you a picture of the "green" grass that I see when I stand on my front porch. Are you ready? It's going to make you really jealous, just warning you:
and yes, that is still snow in the distance...and yes it is almost April. (-:

I have decided that my "green" is pretty great- I am the only person in the whole world who is blessed enough to be Addison's mother. Because I am still working, we can afford to buy my new oven/stove microwave and countertops that my kitchen desperately needs (pictures to follow), Because I have been so sick, my pregnancy so far has been very healthy and normal. Being so busy is allowing time to fly and I'll be done with this school year before I even realize it. That brown stuff disguised as grass in my front yard will be blossoming into the most glorious of green within the next few months on which I will place a kiddy pool and spend hours out in full sunlight with Addison splashing delightedly in the water (playdate, anyone?)

I still hope to stay home with Addison and little sibling come September, but I'm not going to let myself wish this time away any more. Every day is a gift that I don't deserve and for sure haven't been appreciating like I should.

I recently found a really great website blog called Small Notebook that focuses on simplifying your life- not allowing your life to get cluttered up with the "extras". I have loved being inspired in this way. Simplifying my life of extra stuff or activities that are there just for the sake of stuff and activities and focus on what's really important- spending time with my husband, my beautiful daughter and taking care of them and my house in a simple way. Sitting around thinking that more things or new circumstances will make my grass greener...total waste of time.

So Katy Perry, you may know a place where the grass is really greener...but so do I...and I refuse to be held captive by the wishing and longing for other people's "green" another minute longer...here's to enjoying the here and now...

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go sample some chocolate chip oatmeal cookies that just came out of the oven...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Letter from the Editor


Letter from the Editor: Miss Addison Smith
(Subtitled: Notes from the Milk Crate)

Dear Blog Readers,

Recently it has come to my attention that the writer of this blog has been majorly slacking off. Personally, I don't know what her deal is. I have seen her running around the house like a crazy woman attempting to clean things that I already have plans to destroy again, so I really don't see the point. She also has been muttering a lot about company coming, taking a bunch of high school students to Virginia Beach for some sort of band competition, redoing her kitchen in the next few days, and something dramatic about just "holding on until spring break."

Not to be spreading things around, but her stomach has also been ballooning out in the strangest fashion...not sure what the deal is there, but I'm positive it has something to do with how selfish she is when we share a Klondike bar. Pretty sure I have the most growing to do...so I should get the bigger half...

Anyway, I have so much more to say, but it takes me forever to type on this keyboard because these ginormous keys clearly weren't made for my tiny little hands, so being the hip baby that I am, I will conclude this letter with a music video. Oh yes, please excuse my videographer...clearly she never cleans her closet and couldn't she figure out a way to stay out of my video? Seriously....

video
(outfit courtesy of my good friend Anna and her mom Becky. Thank you!)

Yeah, it's just crazy around here right now...but don't be fooled, I am enjoying every cracker filled minute. I love having company...lazing around my house in anything cute+company= lots and lots of attention. (See, I'm good at math)

Anyhoo...I'm, late for an appointment with creating more trouble, so if I sign off now, maybe my presence here will never be noticed. Also, I'm pretty sure that I'm going be fed more of that awesome grownup food again soon, so I want my hands to be free to grab the spoon and fight with the crazy writer of this blog who expects the food to just go in my mouth. Seriously? Someone please talk some sense into her for me.

Sincerely,
The Editor...






(Addison Chubbs Smith)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Therapy Star

Warning: This post is going to include some blatant bragging...I would apologize, but am honestly too proud of my little girl to care that I am being one of those annoying moms....

This morning Addison was all kinds of cranky. I chalked it up to the fact that she was breaking in lots of new teeth and we recently discontinued her previously prescribed 1 aspirin a day because we had filled the required 6 months.

Anyway, right when her PT arrived, her whole mood changed. She became happy, energetic, ready to show off McPhee: (I tried not to be offended that she looked more enthusiastic about seeing her therapist than she did me)

She was seriously all over the place, crawling- going up on all fours, her latest skill- going from stomach to sitting up, and she tried to pull herself up to stand on pretty much everything! She kept getting those knees and legs under her and then pushing up...

From a child who absolutely refused to place any weight whatsoever on her little legs a few months ago- today's performance was astonishing.

She seemed to enjoy every minute.
I'm sure this is the way you all sit up. (-: She pulls herself up into the splits from her tummy

and then pushes herself up the rest of the way. (This is a new skill that she started this week. She now does it probably ten times an hour...what a showoff (-: )

Also- she seems to relish being on all fours. She won't crawl in this position yet, but she'll keep transitioning to it every couple of minutes and rock back and forth.

She seemed to especially enjoy crawling up onto her bear chair

and playing with her stacking rings...which she LOVES and will do ANYTHING for.

This child is motivated to move and go places!

Doesn't she look so big here?

I seriously was just so proud of the progress that she displayed even in just the short appointment.

The therapist used the word "determined" to describe Addison...I was pleased she chose that word over "stubborn" (since it's a trait she inherited from...ahem...Aaron?)

and Addison let us know when she was done working...
Anyway, after therapy she pretty much refused to nap all the way until we had to run across town for little sibling's appointment....so Addison cried the whole appointment (see above pic if you need a visual)...doubtless sensing that her thunder was momentarily being stolen....

But I forgive her because I was so proud of her today...and for little sibling with that strong, easily findable heartbeat. (1 pound of weight gain for this pregnancy so far....back from the 12 lost between those first few weeks...so still at -11...are second pregnancies kinder in the weight gain department? Totally OK with me.)

It was a good day...with not a lot done around the house...but good appointments. So why am I so tired?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Does Intelligence Determine Worth?

Is a person's worth determined by intelligence? beauty? athletic prowess? innate ability to excel?

Today's society is consumed by a certain image. Tall, slender, beautiful, successful, smart- movie starish.
This seems to the unspoken goal of so many. I think that subconsciously even if we aren't trying to copy somebody famous with our look and achievement status, many of us look to society's standard to set our worth or the worth of others around us. Am I skinny enough? Beautiful enough? Smart enough? Make enough money?

I used to think this way. Smart, beautiful people were useful to the world. They built things, they invented things, they created something out of nothing in an almost godlike fashion. If you weren't smart, beautiful and "useful to society", your life didn't really serve much of a purpose. You were a mere placeholder- a burden.

As I type those very words, my cheeks burn with shame as I realize how wrong my perspective had been. Not that I did anything hateful to act out towards my thoughts or even acknowledge them out loud. It's just the way society trained me to think towards the value and importance of intelligence.

Last year when I had a daughter with an extra chromosome that accompanied the label of mental retardation, my world was turned upside down. My original thought towards my daughter was colored by my previous suppositions. I feared that I could never love her- she would never accomplish anything real in life- she would be an embarrassment.

Looking back now, I am amazed at how incredibly wrong I was. So, so, so wrong.
Addison may have Down syndrome. She may have limitations, both physical and mental. But I have learned that those things don't mean that I love her any less, and they certainly don't make her worth less as a person. She is the most valuable thing in my life. No amount of money could convince me to change her for a daughter with a normal number of chromosomes. She is my perfect daughter, and I love her for exactly who she is.

You hear words thrown around such as "high functioning" and "low functioning"- these words have the ability on some days to really scare me. But today I look those words in the face and I say- it doesn't matter one bit. End of the day- she is my daughter, and I will help her be the very best version of herself no matter what end of the functioning spectrum she falls into.
Addison has brought our family more joy than we ever dreamed possible. We are just starting the journey with her and it could not be more amazing because we have the most amazing baby.

Would someone have the nerve to say that my daughter is worth less than another baby girl because she has limitations? I sincerely hope not. Because to me, my daughter is more important to me than even my own life.

Intelligence- beauty- society's perfect "normal" person- who cares? Why do we have to live by that stilted definition? To me, beauty is my daughter's almond shaped eyes and extreme intelligence is that she says "baby" when she looks at herself in the mirror.
All I know is that I love my daughter with a love so fierce that I would die protecting her.

Today is World Down syndrome awareness day. I want you to be aware that Down syndrome is merely a label. It is not what defines my daughter- it is not what decides what she will do with her life. Down syndrome is a part of her life, but more importantly, she is an individual with thoughts, emotions and love to give. Her life to me looks just as rich and promising as any other life. Parenting lends us no guarantees or promises.

Say you have a perfectly normal, typical child. You have no guarantee that your child will live another day- achieve anything in life- live free of health problems- be that perfect, successful adult that you're envisioning in your head. My child has Down syndrome- I am giving no guarantees about her life either. That label does not guarantee the rest of her life to lead a certain stereotypical path. Your child will have struggles- mine will have struggles...we both have to do our best and realize that the rest is out of our hands.Just like any other parent, I work hard every day to make sure that my daughter is equipped with what she needs to accomplish her very best in life. I expect great things out of her, but I acknowledge that her "great things" won't fall on anyone else's scale of greatness- she defines her own. If her very best includes getting an awesome job, walking gracefully, articulating clearly, perhaps getting involved in dancing or swimming. Great. I will love her so proudly for her every accomplishment.

If her very best includes slurred speech, awkward movements, a job that isn't deemed as awesome, the inability to achieve success in sports and such. Great. I will love her so proudly for every accomplishment because that will be her best. And that's all that matters. I will celebrate that she is talking, walking, working, and branching out to try new things. Her best is what I will cheer on and applaud her proudly for accomplishing.

My love for her her isn't dependent on what she will achieve or not. My love for her is unconditional and unfailing because she is the daughter that God entrusted me with. I am happy and content with the daughter he has sent me. I think she's amazing. She really is. I mean, have you met her? Have you seen her smile? Have you received a Chubbs hug or a sloppery kiss? Seriously, does life get better than being loved on by this little girl? I can't wait to celebrate life with her- through all the big and small milestones.
I want the best for her and I won't stop working with her and for her to help her achieve it. But I don't spend my days worrying about her functionality or her worth.

She is a person, an individual all her own. She receives and gives love- why isn't there a label for that? She isn't just like other people with Down syndrome. She is herself. She isn't a "they" or "them". She is just Addison- rocking out a life full of worth, love and joy unique to herself.I hope that I can help make a difference in this "skinny smart" world that we live in. I hope that Addison can walk around and be greeted with genuine smiles and kind expressions where ever she goes.
I hope that you realize that intelligence does not determine worth, beauty does not accelerate value and "useful to society" means nothing in the grand scheme of things.

God does not make mistakes, and if he chose to make a little girl for me with an extra chromosome and some limitations- so be it. I can live with my perfectly created baby...designed...just for me. How's that for incredible worth?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Blog jealousy sorted through...

It's way past my bedtime. Chubbs is soundly asleep, making small grunting noises as she dreams-undoubtedly of her traumatic bath experience with her cousin.

Outside the largest moon in twenty years shines beautifully overhead, and my soft bed beckons, yet still here I sit. Holding carefully my rice bag that is pinned up with safety pins because Addison ripped a hole in it with her teeth...all the while- contemplating this blog.

It's amazing how blog discontentment is a very real, very serious problem. A year ago I never would have dreamed that so much of my life would be thrown so recklessly into written form and hurled into the cyber world for anyone to read.

I've enjoyed this form of expression more than I can say. I feel that I have become a better writer, a better mom, a better wife, a better friend as I am able to really pick apart some tricky emotions and happenstance from the crazy year that we have led.

All that being said, I often look at other blogs- bigger, more spectacular- and the ugly head of blog jealously rears its ugly head.

But this week, the truth finally dawned on me.

1. I don't have the most original blog. Yes, I write about my one daughter- how many of hundreds of thousands of blogs do this exact same thing? And no, I don't offer parenting advice. Hello...I barely know what I'm doing here (you all saw the silver bullet picture...right?)

2. I don't have the best pictures or even great picture quality on my blog. Confession: I am still using the digital camera that I bought back in 2003(?) for the 10 week trip to Europe that I was able to take (and also met my husband on). I spend many wasted hours longing for a nice camera...especially when I see some of the amazing pictures that blogs all around me are sporting. Wow.

3. I'm not the funniest person in the world. My students remind me of this daily. My humor is sometimes a learned thing...(I'm convinced that masterful sarcasm is an art that should be appreciated way more than it actually is)

4. I don't have any housecleaning tips to offer, sending you to scrub your house from top to bottom as you finally realize that one secret that you were missing to make it all perfect. Yeah, if you could see my house you would thank me for not sharing my methods. (Although, I did let you in on the baby mopping secret...that should score me some points)

5. I don't have an amazing house that I share pictures of and inspire you with fantastic DIY projects and decorating ideas. I love my house, don't get me wrong- but change around here is slow, and if I posted only the progress on that- you would see a post once every couple of years...(Although new countertops are coming soon....long, long, long overdue. That would be this year's post.)

6. The latest and greatest recipes are not found here for the sharing, and I don't have a month's worth of menus that you can make in one day, throw in the freezer and magically feed a family of six. I do a lot of cooking/baking and I love trying new recipes, but oftentimes I just forget to post them, run out of time, or convince myself that my pregnancy taste buds interpret everything incorrectly these days.

7. I don't post inspirational thoughts or challenges that send you running to become the next Mother Therea. If my posts ended with a "Go thou and do likewise" I fear that my influence wouldn't always be the most positive thing in the world. (Perhaps this should be on my "need for improvement" list?)

8. I don't do fundraisers or giveaways that leave you drooling over desired prizes as you furiously click, shopping around with your intended winnings. (I could offer you the old, chipping and peeling countertops...anyone?)

9. I'm not the best writer out there. I mean, you've read the amazing blogs where you just walk away shaking your head in amazement, totally viewing the world differently after reading a couple of well crafted sentences. Sometimes I'm lucky to remember to include a subject and a verb. Honestly, I just don't have a lot of time to edit my posts very carefully for errors and such- let alone come up with spellbinding wording and descriptions.

10. I don't post the best coupon deals and where to find the most outrageously cheap items across town. Believe me, I spend a lot of time and energy consumed with this very thing, but once again, I lack the motivation or time to post that here. (Plus, those of you across the nation and world...what do you care what deals I found in my little town here in Vermont?)

As I truly contemplated my blog, it occurred to me....

Why does anyone actually read these random words that I string together with occasional pictures of my baby in every conceivable outfit?

This is just me, growing, learning and most importantly loving as I enjoy the journey titled "Motherhood" along with a baby girl who happens to be sporting something just a little extra.

This is truly my Everything and Nothing. It's like we are sitting down with a cup of coffee, with a one way conversation....me monopolizing the entire thing. (By the way, anyone else totally digging the new Baileys Irish Creamer???)

As I discovered this sad truth about my blog, and the value behind its existence, it came to mind that I was long overdue to thank you all.

Thank you for reading the words that overflow from my heart. Thank you for oohing and aahing over my amazing little girl's pictures and somehow refraining from commenting on their bad picture quality.

Thank you for encouraging me in more ways than you'll ever know. Thank you for helping me see that I'm not alone in this journey. Every comment, every note, every cyber hug- has been like salve to help heal the open wounds and sores that this last year and a half seemed to create in this new Mommy's heart.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I owe you all in a big way. If you would ever like to make this conversation two sided, I would love to hear from you- about your lives, about your struggles, about your everything and nothing. You already know that I can talk a lot...but I think I can listen as well. (Please no snarky comments from the hubby...)

I'm embarrassed to admit how much this blog means to me. How much this blogging time has created a safe little haven for me. How much I love so many wonderful people that I have "met" with fabulous blogs of their own. Yes, it's embarrassing....but I have a feeling that this is just the beginning. Here's to someday meeting in real life these wonderful people, continuing to learn and improve...and many, many more blog posts...large audience or not- that's not what this is about for me. I just have to keep reminding myself and the jealously slowly fades to a distant memory.

And now that I have gotten this off my chest...yes, definitely time for bed. It's way too late to be thinking this hard....

Friday, March 18, 2011

Can I really do this?

High expectations for yourself are all well and good, but what happens when you start to convince yourself that it is just too much?

I have put so much pressure on myself to write and get my book published this year. I have been working on it since last July- working, working to make it perfect- to make it mean something- to make it help make this world a better place for my daughter to grow up.

This goal that I have put on myself is out of my comfort zone and very scary.

I am at work...with only two students in my class because of various assemblies and field trips...so they are working independently while I stew in my office. I have been reading through my book, and it is still not good enough. I am convincing myself that it is horrible and useless and that I have been wasting my time.

I wonder if I am a talented enough writer to pull this off. I do know that I am persistent and stubborn, which I hear are good qualities when attempting to publish, but am I a writer? Am I a fool to think that I can go from music teacher to author in one short year? Am I crazy?

I saw on a TV show once where an author went insane while attempting to perfect his book, so he ate it to get rid of it for good. I'm staring at the white pages and thinking that if they were slathered with a bit of chocolate, that might not be a bad idea.

I know that my book has an amazing message- I know deep down that if I keep pushing and working hard enough I can get it published- but are my words quality enough to spread around the world?

Bottom line- I'm discouraged. I have worked so hard, but it is not yet perfect and I fear it never will be because I don't have the ability that such a project dictates.

I'm halfway contemplating posting a few pages of it here in a post so that I could get some feedback, but then I draw back in fear of the response. What if it is so horrible that you tell me to throw away this unrealistic goal and go bury my head in the sand somewhere...I would prefer someplace warm like Florida, California, or the Caribbean...

Anyway, I have a feeling that this is one of the posts that I will get no feedback on as everyone is scared to "poke the bear", but I feel better just having vented.

If you do feel like commenting, could you please help me?

What is your favorite book and why? What is it that pulls you into the pages with no desire to leave? What is that magical balance of a book between action and description that leaves the reader breathless with wonder and expectations fulfilled?

Can you tell I'm doing a bit of soul searching? ha. My book is in that critical stage between OK and great, and I'm struggling to take it there. I'm wishing for more hours in the day to work on this more...(or to drive myself even more crazy...whatever)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Profitable Day Off

Dear House, Laundry and Dishes,

I understand that you are feeling neglected and in need of some attention. But honestly, did you think that you could compete with this?




I'm sure spring fever has nothing to do with today's phenomenon of wanting to do absolutely nothing...or the long week that we're almost done with...or the fact that we spent most of the morning watch Addison do everything but backflips for the PT this morning. (We're so proud of her, aren't we?)

Hopefully soon...you will get some attention...Aaron owes me one or two and I plan on collecting...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

In need of a smile?

Just in case you have been having a bit of an off week...
I have unselfishly decided to share with you my favorite means of cheering up: adorable baby pictures of Chubbs McPhee...
Ahhhh, Chubbs...how I do love you
Even when you try to pull out your teeth,
chew on everything in sight
or just generally look guilty from the constant mischief you create
(Raise your hand if you are a trouble maker)
Seriously, after some chuddles and smiles from you the stress just floats away
it's like magic.

I hope you can feel a bit of the cheering up magic through these pics! Happy Tuesday!

The beautiful new bow that Chubbs is sporting is courtesy of Kelly Joy Boutique. Check out her Etsy shop full of adorable things!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Accident/Tardy/Cardiology/Work

I'm taking a short time out to type out my day so far. I feel that the soothing sounds of clicking keys might be therapeutic to my troubled soul

because it's been a crazy day and nothing like I'd anticipated, and I'm feeling faint and rebellious at the fact that it's not over yet.

This morning Addison had her big cardiology appointment at the hospital. I don't know about your Pediatric cardiology departments, but for us, appointments are hard to get, so they schedule them for us and send us a notice in the mail. We make it work, somehow.

Well, today's appointment coincided with a day of work. sigh. So, I canceled my first block class and had plans to be back at work at 11:30 after dropping Addison back off at home. Her appointment was at 8:30, so even though the hospital back to home was a good 20 minutes and home back to work was another half an hour, I felt pretty confident- relaxed even- about this plan.

Well, it all started this morning when we were about to walk out the door and I had a short vomiting episode. Addison waited for me patiently, but I was ticked that we were going to be a couple of minutes late. By the time my stomach was clear, I grabbed my one cup of coffee and hit the door. My stomach was still too unsettled for breakfast- I figured we would be back home by 10 at the latest and I could eat then.

Well, I called the hospital to let them know that we would be late, hung up and then got stuck in miles of completely stopped traffic from an accident that totally blocked the two lane road. I couldn't turn around- even if I did, the other way to the hospital would take so much longer by this point, so I was forced to wait it out.

Long story short- we sat there for 30 minutes not moving at all. I called the hospital to let them know and they got quite snippy with me and told me that they were going to go with the next patient so that when we finally got there we might not even have an appointment anymore. I got snippy right back and said yes we would because this extreme tardiness was not my fault and I canceled work for this. (Note: it wasn't my best moment)

Anywhoo, we finally got moving, got to the appointment and they fit us right in even with only a few minutes of waiting although we were 45 minutes late. (I figured our good history of being on time with the cardiologist had to lend us some credibility) Oh, and the receptionist who was so snippy over the phone apparently looked up the accident during the appointment (because she obviously didn't believe me) and apologized to me when we came back out. Apparently it was a three car accident- one of them had flipped over and rolled a ways.

Where was I- oh yes, the appointment. Yeah, it went great. We're weaning Addison off the last of her medicines and both of her heart devices look really wonderful, and they were super pleased with her progress. Her loud breathing is purely a respiratory issue- something to run by her Pediatrician.

After the echo, EKG and countless other things that make up a cardio appointment were finished, we were sent on our way with the instructions to come back in nine months.

I looked at my watch and realized that with the appointment time delay, I didn't have time to take Addison home and then make it to work on time. I tried to call our PCA to see if she could meet me at work or whatever, and I couldn't get a hold of her. (turns out, she gave me her number one digit off. oops)

So, I ended up taking Addison to high school...with none of my school stuff...with not even time to stop and find some lunch. (Yes, I was still running on just the one cup of coffee)

So, I taught an hour and a half class while soothing my child who wanted to play all over the dirty floor while at the same time imparting wisdom to my beginning piano class. It was exhausting. This was Chubbs' nap time, but she was so overstimulated, she wouldn't even shut those pretty blue eyes for a second.

Finally, during my break before my last class, who showed up in my office? My husband wearing work clothes, and pretty much a sight for sore eyes, but my knight in shining armor. The only thing that would have made his reception better would have been if he had brought me some food. Cup off coffee wasn't doing much for me and the baby anymore.

He took Addison home and I finished teaching, but by this point was pretty faint and cranky and wanted to just find a spot on the dirty floor that I had just prohibited my daughter from and take a nice long nap.

In 45 minutes, I teach another lesson and then run back to school for a band rehearsal. I just want to crawl up in a ball and sleep. But, on a positive note, while I was typing this, I consumed a large bowl of Life cereal with fresh strawberries, so I'm feeling much better...just tired.

After this whiny post, I feel that I must conclude on a positive note (no pun intended):

1. I am thankful that I threw up on my way out the door even though it made me late because that accident was just a few minutes in front of me. I would rather have had this miserable day than been in a car accident with Chubbs that involved a rolling car.

2. I am thankful that Aaron came and got Addison

3. I am thankful that I did not pass out while teaching my last class. (The stars were a constant haze in front of me)

4. I am thankful that when I got home, I curled up with Addison in bed and took a short nap.

5. I am thankful for Addison's good heart report.

6. I am thankful that even days like today can't last forever

7. I am thankful....for the rest of those Dove chocolates that I hid from Aaron and Addison. Yet again my sneakiness pays off...

OK, I feel much better after typing this....I will work on summoning the energy to finish my day...perhaps some more fresh strawberries with help with that...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

One Year Home

Remember the big post, the cake, the celebration weeks ago (five to be exact) for Chubbs' birthday?

Well, today marks one year since we were actually able to bring her home.
The night before our big departure, we slept with her on the Pediatric floor so that we could get the hang of her medications and operating her g-tube by ourselves and controlling the ever beeping oxygen equipment. (note, we have so many disaster g-tube stories that I am deliberately not sharing. Wow that was hard to get the hang of at first. Addison learned to use a bottle merely out of survival mentality) Also, they had given her first round of immunization shots right before bedtime, so she ran a slight fever and was extremely fussy all night. She didn't sleep well at all.

So, the morning of March 12th, I arose very bleary eyed after a night of pretty much no sleep to face a morning of constant meetings- setting up the O2 at our house, meeting with pretty much every one of her doctors, curious medical students with one last chance to poke at the sort of case that they rarely see- you name it- it was non stop people dropping by our room. There wasn't time to pump or eat or to clear the bleariness from my eyes. (Honestly, though? I was so excited to finally be taking my baby home- I didn't even care about all of the drama that proceeded it)

At 1:00 we had a care conference that had been arranged for weeks. We took our weary selves there while a nurse stayed with Addison in the room, and for an hour plus, ten doctors (with an eleventh on speaker phone) spoke about her different health needs and the different appointments that we would need to follow through each one of them. Right on the spot, they scheduled most of our appointments all the way through June (several a week).

I remember this care conference being incredibly overwhelming. I just really wanted to take my daughter home for the first time and all they could focus on was the horrible things that we still had to deal with on a daily basis. I was so over all of the medical jargon.

After the meeting was mercifully over, we headed back to the room where we packed up Addison and waited several hours for the pharmacy to finish filling her 5 medications. That is the only pharmacy in the entire state who was able to fill some of these particular compounds. We still go back, just for those medications.

Anyway, during those hours, I paced the floors and dolled Addison up in her going home outfit while Aaron raided the Peds fridge, made a root beer float, kicked back with his flip flops on the recliner and relaxed. I wanted to kill him. I told him quite sternly that we weren't on a cruise, but he just smiled and laughed at me. Looking back, I think I would have been better off to adopt more of his attitude towards the waiting.

Finally, we got our medications and discharge papers and we were off. We had some trouble getting all of her equipment adjusted just right. Something about the angle of the oximeter placement in the wagon made it not read correctly. So pretty much the minute we rolled our little bundle out of the Pediatric floor, it started to beep. We adjusted it (we thought) but as soon as we hit the elevator, it went off again. According to the way it was reading, her oxygen levels were in the 70s, but to look at her pink little face, we knew that she was fine, so we pressed on. By the time we reached the main lobby and were wheeling her to our car, the alarm was going crazy and people were giving us weird looks, so we started to run so that we could get her more comfortably positioned in the car. We were worried that her positioning was difficult for her to maintain her numbers- in the heat of the moment we had no idea what the issue was, so we hurried to get her in our car and home. We wanted to get her to a more reclining position to help her breathing. To all appearances, it honestly looked like we were stealing a baby.
The stolen goods:

To make matters worse, we had to stop by the pharmacy to pick up those medications and there was some problem with one of them, so we had to stand there and wait, beeping and beeping...and then Miss Chubbs started getting upset, simply adding more harmony to the bells and whistles of the baby stealing wagon.What was supposed to be a victorious moment of finally walking out of the hospital with our baby, turned into a super embarrassing, awkward run.
Here we are, in the room right before getting discharged. Seriously, my eyes look almost swollen shut. Addison looks so tiny in her carseat.
How much difference one year can make!
So yeah, it's pretty amazing to celebrate the one year home anniversary today. Last night I was getting quite weepy about it, reading through the first few months of my blog posts and just remembering. This last year has been a bit of a struggle, but I couldn't be more in love with Addison. I just can't say that strongly enough.

After my emotional visitation to last year, I started worrying about this new baby. My new fear? That I will never be able to love another baby as much as I love Chubbs.

Speaking of the new baby, I am posting a somewhere between 14 and 15 week belly bump pic, because I am starting to show a bit, but mostly to show to my sisters the weight I've lost with all of the vomiting these past months. That has to benefit for something, right? No, I will not be posting regular bump pics. I just wanted to get one in while I was still feeling somewhat skinny before the pregnancy takes over. (-:

Oh, and I'm sorry to end the post on this note, but check out the silver thing floating in water below.
Yeah, Addison pooped that out today. We are trying to figure it out what it is and how she ate it. Apparently she felt that she needed more iron.

The resulting feeling? Mommy guilt...and a scouring of the floors for anything else she could devour.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Crying Over Spilled Milk?

When you spill a large quantity of milk all over your jeans (in the worst area possible) while driving to work (I admit, it might be time to retire the eating breakfast while I drive to work tradition)

and when your husband determines that the appropriate amount of time to wait between the "Please bring me a different pair of jeans" phone call and actual arrival time is.....5 hours

and when you reek like a gallon on milk gone bad by the time he finally delivers

and when you find yourself so dizzy from the smell that you have a hard time actually teaching all day

and when you spend needless time during office hours worrying that people hate your posts when they never comment (so silly, but it did cross my mind while sitting in my soiled milk jeans, pouting...it came with the mood)

and when you stop by Walmart on the way home to use a $5 promotional gift card to get a great deal on diapers and discover that the gift card expired three months ago. (Really? I thought gifts cards no longer expire?)

and when you finally get home and your precious baby reaches out for a hug, grabs onto your favorite necklace, pulls viciously and breaks it....laughing at your shocked expression

and when your repenting husband attempts to make amends by picking up craved pizza from Dominos and they "lost" your order so it takes forever long to actually get it

and when said Dominos pizza finally gets here it tastes like sawdust to these pregnant taste buds...

When all of these things happen on the same day...

There is only one thing left to do.

(Note, this picture is so blurry because by the time I took it my hand was shaking a bit from dark chocolate hunger)

After a few dozen of these bad boys....things really start to look up. Medicinal, really.
Chubbs agrees.


It makes even the worst of days just seem like something to laugh at while you recline on the couch and enjoy the smooth, creamy taste of a Bliss dark chocolate

while you think of valuable ways to use the guilt that your husband feels to your advantage in the near future.

Eating this dark chocolate immediately transports me to my happy place.

Why cry over spilled milk? Milk is, after all, one of the ingredients in these dark chocolate bites of heaven. I highly recommend dark chocolate therapy. It is doing wonders for my spirit today.

Dear Hershey- if you would like to send me a box or ten of these bags, I would gladly do a promotional post for you...I know you would jump at the chance to be featured on this small but comfortable blog (a lot like your chocolates, you have to admit) I can be very persuasive when I need to be...

I think I'm going to have to stock up on these in my office at work...it could have saved today hours ago if I had only known...

gotta go- there's still some chocolate left in the bag that I need to get to before Chubbs discovers them...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Some "Climbing" Pics

So I've mentioned more than once Addison's latest obsession with climbing.

It's not up onto anything big, and we haven't attempted stairs yet (mostly because we live in a one level house with stairs leading only to the basement)

She likes to climb onto or over small objects such as toys...or my clarinet case. (-:
(notice the hole in her toe.lol. She grew right out of that onesie...)

The other night, she started wanting to climb up into her bathtub. Since I noticed that I can monitor the drowning aspect of this exercise and it causes her to play on her knees...this morning I filled it up just for play time.

She was suspicious

But had no idea that I was tricking her

To put those little legs under her

And push up with those legs (attempting to go face first into the bath...what can I say, she loves bathtime)
So she splashed and played and overall had no idea that she was actually working on new skills. Shhhh, it'll be our little secret. (-:

"Mommy, why do I have water on my face?"


Happy Wednesday, everyone!