Saturday, April 30, 2011

What Chubbs wore for the Royal Wedding

I meant to post this yesterday, but got a touch distracted...

Two weeks ago when every detail of William and Kate's wedding started overtaking the news (and Entertainment Tonight) I was more than a little annoyed. Why oh why did they want us to care so much? I found myself hoping Charlie Sheen would do something outrageous so that we could hear about something-anything else.

But then as the day approached-I found my curiousity growing. After seeing Kate's face up on my TV screen so many times, I wanted to know how it would end. I wondered what it would be like to have such a public engagement and wedding, and yes, I wanted to see the dress.

So, I watched the wedding-not at 4am, but late last night when I still couldn't sleep because I was a bit wound up. It was beautiful, romantic, and history in the making. I'm glad I took the time to overcome my cynicism.

I was asked if Chubbs wore a tiara for the special day.

No, but so she would fit in with the royal wedding crowd, she did wear:


and she definitely didn't try to throw it across the room, eat it, tear it to pieces, or have a diva like attitude that such a thing was on her head (ok, yes, she did all of those things)

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed the royal wedding. Beautiful bride, handsome groom-millions of dollars...(I wonder if a multi million dollar wedding makes up for the fact that you can't have it exactly how you want it-so many rigid traditions to follow. (I kept imagining them breaking into the wedding dance as they came down the aisle...you never know-that could have been Kate's dream.)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Evil Dominos/Hysterical Pregnant Melt Down

I am a calm person.

I do not irrationally yell at customer service people-ever since my stint as a bank teller and I saw the other side.

I just wanted to start this story with that fact about myself- hold on to it, you'll need to recall it in a minute.

Let's start this story with me in Kohl's with a cute baby happily strapped up in her pink stroller...standing at the cash register, buying $230 worth of maternity clothes for $44 (OK, that has nothing to do with the story, just wanted to do a brag shout out to bargain shopping prowess taught to me by my mother-in-law)

The actual story begins the second I left Kohls. I decided to call in dinner. I had taken my string orchestra to lunch and to watch the Vermont Symphony rehearse all afternoon, had a chiropractor appointment, did the unsettling task of trying on new maternity clothes (all on my day off) and I was pretty wiped.

Pizza sounded good-so I called our latest fav-Dominos (it's cheap and it's right by our house). Now, maybe I'm the worst mother in the world, but today when I picked up pizza naive little me decided to leave Addison buckled in and locked in the car as the weather was pleasant, she wouldn't freeze or get overheated, I would take the time they gave me-add five minutes to make sure, park right in front of the store front, be in and out with the pizza.

(Please don't tell me that I'm the only person who's ever tried this. I couldn't physically carry her and the pizza at the same time)

They told me it would be 25 minutes, so I got to the parking lot with a little time to spare, climbed in the backseat with Addison and fed her dinner while we waited. When she had swallowed the last carrot soaked cracker, I made sure there were no crackers within her reach and went in, thinking that surely by now they had finished the order I had called in over a half an hour ago.

I went in and stood waiting to be helped for 10 minutes. Note: There were three employees all standing in front of me...all answering phone call after phone call...all ignoring me. And yes, this store has a glass front, and I could see my car from where I stood, but still...that was not cool to this overprotective mommy.

I told myself to be calm. I am a calm person.

Finally, I was assisted. I paid for my order and asked him specifically how much longer it would be because I had a baby in the car and couldn't wait inside. He assured me it would only be 2 minutes.

No problem. I sweetly told him I was going to run out and wait with her and would be back.

I ran out, Addison was fine. Not so patiently waiting for me-she was reaching her cranky stage.

Hurrying back inside, giving them five minutes, I was sure it would be finished by then.

Once again going inside, I stood there for 10 whole minutes before the three employees finally put down the phones to ask if I had been helped. I told them my name, they checked on my order and said it would just be a second more.

By this point I was starting to get super ticked. I don't mind waiting-just tell me it's going to be a long wait so that I can time things right with Addison. I'm for sure not going to stand waiting in the store being told it's just "one more second" while my baby's waiting in the car.

Right when I was reminding myself that I am a calm person (another 5 minutes in), a guy sailed in right up to the cash register asked for his called in order which was conveniently sitting and waiting for him, paid and sailed back out. All while I was still patiently waiting (I admit, I shot this guy a glare..he looked at me so smugly, I couldn't help it).

That's when this calm person lost it.

I ran up to the counter and out of nowhere came a hysterical pregnant lady. (OK, yes we're still talking about me)

"Wait a second, I called my order in too-almost an hour ago and you said it would be 25 minutes. Why was his order ready when mine wasn't? I told you that I have a baby waiting in the car. I can't wait in here and yet I have been waiting for almost an additional half an hour what you said would be 2 minutes."

The guy then had the nerve to calmly tell me that my pizza was halfway done baking. It would just be "another couple of minutes"

When I realized that they hadn't started baking my pizza until I had arrived at the store, I irrationally let my ticked/angry side over rule my calm personality. Even if they had just admitted when I arrived that they messed up my order and that it would be another half hour-no problem, I would have gone back out and waited with Addison instead of being strung along, them making me feel like I couldn't leave while Addison sat alone in the car.

I'm sorry, but to me that's just not OK. Especially when I asked specifically for a time estimate because of the baby in the car issue, and they kept telling me "two minutes" for a half an hour.

I informed the Dominos employee that I could not wait another minute. "My baby is in the car, I told you that, and I need to leave right now. Please refund my purchase, I am just going to leave because I can't wait another minute." (for all I knew, "two more minutes" equalled another hour)

The manager came over all in a huff and I repeated my frustrations (imagine a sweet, calm voice and then imagine the opposite of that..yep, got it). He said that they were busy, surely I could understand that.

I said that it's fine if I need to wait an hour for my order-just tell me upfront how long it's going to be and stop stringing me along saying it's going to be any second while my baby is out in the car. I just want accurate info, so that I can be a responsible parent. (I didn't say that last sentence, but it's what I was thinking. Totally couldn't have pulled that line off with my hysterical tone of voice)

Note: by this point, there was a line forming behind me, pointing and judging (judge all you want, but good luck getting your order on time). Also, the employees all stood gawking at me (no wonder my pizza wasn't ready)..and the phone magically stopped ringing during my tirade. This calm person got front and center stage for her out of character mini break down. excellent.

The manager slowly fished cash out of the drawer to repay me (I paid with CC) and just as he handed it to the huffing, puffing pregnant lady, two boxes magically appeared with my order. The manger said (at this point completely avoiding eye contact with me), "Just give it to her."

I left with the cash, the boxes of pizza and a 2 liter of chilled orange soda...feeling guilty. I just wanted my money back, I didn't want a free meal. But in the same breath, I was still super ticked that they weren't just honest with me about how long the wait would be (and forgetting to put in my order when I called)

So, that's my biff with Dominos. After several glasses of chilled orange soda and a satisfying, but will remain unknown pieces of pizza, I am feeling much calmer than I was. Perhaps my pregnancy hormones overacted a touch...I had one of those pregnant meltdowns that "other women have" (anybody else watch Better with You?)

Pretty sure I'm never, ever leaving Addison for another 30 sec run in. This experience taught me to never rely on quick service...assume the worst because leaving my baby alone for more than a second like that just doesn't sit well with me.(full of mom guilt)

I have a feeling that I'm going to have to call under an alias, and send Aaron to pick up our pizza from now on....It's quite tragic, really...

I don't care how fabulous the pizza sauce it or how delectable the garlic crust tastes. Dominos-you have made my list.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

This face cheers me up

Baby slung over one hip, coffee not yet a reality, and sleep still heavy in my eyes, I went down into the basement to fetch a fresh box of Cheerios.

You can imagine my surprise that instead of stepping onto the nice dry carpet I'm accustomed to in our laundry room, my socked foot sank into several inches of standing water...on the carpet.

Ugh. We've never gotten water in the laundry room before, but new plumbing job in the basement+big storm last night=Deanna rearranging her morning to dry out the basement.

I moved everything out of the water, threw away wet boxes, ignored the smug sing songy voice of my husband in my head saying "I told you so" as I regretted not organizing the basement better, pulled up the carpet, started the fan and dehumidifier (all the while Miss Addison was hanging out in her walker, dangerously eyeing the water with a will to play and then crying when such desire was not granted), and prepared the shop vac to handle water. After mere seconds of running the vacuum...it was full, and this pregnant mama realized that there was no physical way to lift the vac into the sink to empty it...

Good time for a break, another cup of coffee, and snuggle with with Chubbs (who had been feeling wildly ignored during basement cleanup project...she told me so)

While cuddling on the couch, she was seriously making me laugh with her hysterical faces...followed by laughter. (-: I totally forgot about the basement drama. What was the deal with that again? Her new stage is that of a toddler-HUGE personality and getting into absolutely everything (this morning I saw her cruising along furniture when she thought that I wasn't watching...stinker)

Being the considerate person that I am, I decided to share some of these faces with you. I warn you, looking at these pictures puts you at risk to become extremely jealous that you can't cuddle up on the couch with this laughing bundle of goodness...(-:

Chubbs McPhee, possessor of a HUGE personality

Exhibit A:

...and attempting to help unload the dishwasher? Nope, just trying to crawl over it.

And in conclusion, I would just like to announce that we are finally off all medications. After coming home from the NICU with 5 separate medications to give every 8 or 12 hours..we are now done! Yay! (I can no longer shock people by saying that my daughter is on Viagra...it was fun while it lasted. lol)

I hope the faces of Chubbs-the toddler diva in training- cheered you up as much as it did me this morning. Love that little girl!

Happy Wednesday!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Addison's Easter

This weekend we celebrate the rising of our Lord from the dead. Not only does this weekend hold momentous spiritual significance (as well as a huge boost to the careers for those bunnies who just couldn't stop growing and the candy industry)

but the Easter weekend is a wonderful time to break out those white shoes for the first time, don your prettiest apparel and celebrate the fact that spring has sprung by daring to wear short sleeves for the first time (with perhaps a light button up sweater...remember, I live in Vermont)

As the mother of a 14 month old daughter, I took very seriously my job of making sure she was properly clothed for this Easter Sunday.

Grandma Smith (my absolutely wonderful mother-in-law) bought her those little shoes...aren't they fabulous?

The flower was made by my very talented friend Kelly (check out her Etsy shop), and the elastic headband was the result of my friend Lydia's last minute creativity when I realized that the black one I had just wasn't going to work with the color scheme.


The dress was the result of a blow out clearance sale at Sears....practically giving it away (in exchange for just a very little money)


The final result? My beautiful Easter princess:

with of course a matching coat...(remember, Vermont?)

Addison loves dressing up like a princess.

And going to church to hang out with those other cool babies in the nursery (anyone else feel that an Easter Sunday nursery could be a lineup from a children's clothing line magazine?)

And eating a delicious lunch at Gwampa and Grandma's house (which included so many of her favorite foods)

And her very first Easter Egg Hunt




The princess finally fell into a blissful Easter nap (a couple hours later than usual...Easter only happens once a year, right?)

It's really quite amazing how every holiday/special occasion is just that much better when children are added to the mix...

In conclusion, if you care in the slightest: Here are the creme filled cupcakes that I've been tantalizing you with lately (just to warn you, I'm still working on just the right amount of creme per cupcake...so I would suggest doubling the cupcake recipe so that you don't have a lot of creme left over)



Cupcakes:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 larges eggs
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together flour, coca powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl, with electric mixer on high, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the melted chocolate. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating just until blended. Stir in vanilla.

Pour into muffin cup paper liners until each one is 2/3 full. Bake at 350F until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool

Filling:
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup shortening
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter
5 oz evaporated milk

Beat together all ingredients for 12 minutes. Once a creme has formed, using a cake decorating bag and tip, pipe creme down into the middle of each cooled cupcake.

Frosting:
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
4 oz melted semi sweet chocolate
aprox 4 cups powdered sugar (add more for desired stiffness)
2 tablespoons milk

A bit labor intensive, and definitely not the healthiest thing on the menu...but very, very yummy-guaranteed to be a huge hit at practically any party.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Maker of Oatmeal Rolls

Easter weekend.

This weekend is bittersweet to me because I'm excited to celebrate Addison's second Easter, but it also means that my Spring Break is over. Boohoo.


(Bought my first little outfit for the little guy today...momentous occasion, worth sharing)

Addison, Easter 2010. It's amazing how much one year can change.


Tomorrow, in preparation for Easter, I will be making for the second time in two weeks, my creme chocolate cupcakes (yes, I promise I will post a recipe. I'm still perfecting it..my own concoction if you will) and oatmeal rolls which is my assignment for family Easter dinner.


A short sidenote about oatmeal rolls. The oatmeal rolls recipe is a recipe passed down to me from my mother. It is one of those recipes that is ridiculous easy to make but leaves you looking like a roll making goddess. The very first in-law family gathering that Aaron and I went to when we moved back to Vermont (3 years ago), I was assigned to bring rolls. No problem. I made, of course, oatmeal rolls.


The only problem is, they were so amazing and so delicious, I have rarely been asked to deviate from roll bringing for pretty much every family gatherings. Every time, "what should I bring?" is answered by "rolls, of course."


Now, I follow a lot of cooking blogs, and I love to experiment and try new things. And for THREE YEARS now, mostly all I have been trusted to make for family gatherings...is the rolls (and an occasional decorated cake or cupcake since it's a hobby...but that's beside the point)


So, my evil plan is to mess them up so badly this Easter, that the next gathering I might be asked to bring something else. I'm excited about the possibility of planning to make a mistake. How should I do it- too much salt? Forget the oatmeal? gasp. Then it would just be a roll roll. If I let them rise only once, then they'll be small and rather hard. hmmmm. If you have any suggestions for me, much appreciated. Anybody else always asked to bring the same thing to family gatherings?


(and yes, I know my mother-in-law reads this and that I will probably receive more than a few snarky comments...probably be uninvited for Sunday ("Just drop off Addison and leave" type of scenario)..but it felt good to get that out of my system. lol. Yes, I will gladly and sweetly bring the rolls on Sunday. (and yes, I realize this drops me from favorite daughter-in-law to only daughter-in-law. I get demoted frequently for bad behavior)


In conclusion, here's a sneak peek at part of Addison's ensemble for this Sunday:

Happy Easter weekend, everyone

-from the roll maker


*******
Oatmeal Roll Recipe

Ingredients:
2 cups boiling water
1 cup quick oats
2/3 c brown sugar
1 T white sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 T margarine or butter
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/2 tsp yeast
5-6 cups flour

Directions:
Stir first 6 ingredients together. Let sit until cooled to warm. Dissolve yeast into warm water and then add to first mixture.
Mix, then knead-adding enough flour to make a soft dough.
Let rise, punch down. Let rest 10-15 minutes.
Make rolls and put onto greased pans. Let rise.
Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes.
Brush with margarine or butter

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

awesome steps



All right, since I love you all so much, I'm going to share with you the most awesome thing I have ever posted.






No, not those shoes...but they are pretty awesome as well.


The word awesome totally doesn't do this video justice. This video is the cherry on top of the sundae of awesomeness.

Before you watch it, a couple of things:

1. Sorry for the blatant bragging. This Mama is pretty proud right now.

2. Some of you might not find this video very exciting. But for those of you who know how hard this is for Addison to do...and remember the post that I wrote not that too long ago about how she refused to put any weight on her legs AT ALL...and for those of you who notice her lifting up onto her toes, flexing her knees, and kneeling on her knees before standing...I know some of you will appreciate this video almost as much as I do. (-:

Without further ago..I present Chubbs McPhee's latest emerging skill:







(Note: this is a minute and a half of what she spent doing an ENTIRE 45 min therapy session... **********-that is the computer equivilent of me beaming with pride)



I'm not sure if my tears have anything to do with the fact that I'm 20 weeks pregnant, that I'm working too many hours a day on editing my book, that my house is messier than when I'm not on spring break...OR that I have such extreme pride in my little girl who works so hard.

Lately she's really taken a turn from baby to toddler. I'm doing my best to adjust to the change. Guess she's just prepping to be the big sister...such a smart child. (-:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

choking scare



It's ironic, really. I just posted the other day how I was so pleased that I had managed to keep my daughter alive 14 months...and I did a guest post for Patti talking about how I celebrate Addison's miracle life every day...

And apparently little Miss Chubbs logged on in her secretly wired crib, read what I wrote and decided to give me a run for my money (since this mommy gig is such a high paying job)

It all started yesterday right before her nap. She had been super cuddly and whiny all morning-wanting to be held. I thought maybe her teeth were bothering her or perhaps some painful gas as she ate a fair share of black beans for the first time the day before. SO I cuddled and hugged as much as I could. But then I carried her into her room for naptime, set her down on the floor so that I could change her crib sheet and within seconds she started just wailing. I thought she was just crying for attention-again, so I ignored her for a few minutes while I finished the job of changing her sheet. I turned around, saw two of the largest alligator tears rolling down her cheeks and her mouth was just overflowing with blood. What?! My back was turned for literally 2-maybe 3 minutes and she hadn't moved. What did she do? After cleaning up the blood and discovering the source, I figured out that she must have tried to take a bite out of the tupperware container holding her summer clothes that was on the floor next to her...and it cut her lip (that was a LOT of blood for such a little lip)

But that display of blood was nothing compared to what happened next-after her nap. We always do a snack right after naptime...and it's usually some sort of fruit. She's beeen doing great with solid foods and has almost 6 teeth that she knows how to use to get the job done.

Yesterday's snack of choice was cantaloupe. Addison absolutely LOVES cantaloupe. She's been successfully eating it for months-it's the number one thing that helps her teething woes.

After a few carefully chewed cantalope pieces, little miss Addison decided that she wanted to try the next one without chewing-so she swallowed it whole. It wasn't a big piece, but needed to be broken up a bit before being swallowed.

She started making choking noises-which I had to look very closely to discern if they were real because she enjoys making fake choking noises for attention. Her face turning red, yes this was real.

I flipped her over as quickly as possible over my knee and gave her back a couple of firm pats. I turned her around-still choking. The look in her eyes was the scariest thing I've ever seen. I could see her pleading with me to please help her breathe again.

I flipped her over a second time-even firmer pats-and more of them. Turned her back over...still nothing, and then (scariest thing EVER) she went completely limp in my arms.

Freaking out inside, but wanting to stay calm to help my daughter-I flipped her over a third time, patted very aggressively on her back and made strong upward pushing motions on her back to encourage the food to travel upward out into her mouth.

Not sure what did the trick, but when I flipped her back over after that third attempt, she was breathing and had a whole lot of spit falling out of her mouth...with a limp piece of cantaloupe sitting innocently on the floor.

I'm still shaking even as I write this-a day later because that scared me so much. I can still feel her little body going limp in my arms with that panicked look in her eyes silently screaming "Please help me!" Pretty sure this is going to create some pretty significant paranoia on my part-and nightmares.

She normally eats solid food really great, she loves the texture of solids more than the texture of pureed baby food- but for the rest of the day, she wouldn't touch anything, not even stage 2 baby food. She only wanted her bottle. Can you blame the poor girl?

In a few minutes our OT is coming for her weekly appointment. Normally I'm not a huge fan, but I'm thankful to be able to talk this over with her and ask advice for keeping Addison from choking herself on small bites of food in the future.

There were other small suicidal attempts yesterday-coming very close to pulling the laptop on top of her head, attempting to drown herself in the bathtub by sticking her face right into the water for a "drink", crawling as fast as possible on the bed to jump off the end before I could catch her...sigh. That little girl really kept me on my toes yesterday.

Not sure what Addison's deal was-testing me no doubt. I hope she still sees me fit to be her mother. I am so incredibly glad that it's a new, fresh day.

And I'm glad to have another day to celebrate my daughter's life. Thankful.God is good.






She chose to begin this morning by pulling up in her crib and looking out the window until I came to get her...




Monday, April 18, 2011

Guest Post/some pics

Well, after chasing around a somewhat temperamental baby/toddler all morning, I am just now getting the chance to say- check out A Perfect Lily today, one of my all time favorite blogs. I have the distinct privilege of being a guest poster there today. Patti is a huge inspiration to me...(she just won Circle of Mom's most inspiration blog...I know, you should be impressed.)

And even though Patti lives on the other side of the country, I feel like she is a friend-a close friend and I am more than honored that Addison and I were asked to make a brief presence on her blog. (-:

Before you head over to check out her amazing blog (and you'll notice another plea for the Baby sent from the Stars giveaway that I discussed earlier this week...that is for her son and daughter-in-law)

Here are a few pictures for this beautiful spring morning....

This is the face that Addison made when I explained to her this morning that I had discovered her secret bottle stash and cleaned it up...

she got over it


Lately she's been falling asleep in the funkiest positions:

Exhibit A...so dramatic (showing off her teeth) Exhibit B...apparently she needed more than just a pick me up bottle
And Exhibit C...after working ALL day to try to get her on her knees...she falls asleep in this position...stubborn child. (-:
Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kissing Goodbye "Mother of the Year" Award

I'm sure that your first thought when you read today's title was that I was a bit presumptuous for assuming that I would even be up for such a lofty title. Let me assure you, I in no way consider myself Mother of the Year. My daily confessions are so numerous and embarrassing with both my small and quite large shortfalls, that I found it was easier to share them on my other blog...you know, the one that is actually just a Word document on my computer, saved under three passwords only accessible to myself...and whoever happens to be hacking my computer...

That being said, as a new mom, I do have to confess that occasionally I look down at my adorable baby and I am unbelievably proud- that I have managed to keep her alive for 14 whole months. From someone who struggles to keep alive even the most resilient of house plant..that is quite the feat. (Note to self, after finishing this blog post, go water the spider plant in the bathroom...it's been a few months...time to water up)

Anyhoo, while I was pregnant, that was one of my fears. How could I manage to keep a tiny infant alive (let alone one with special health needs....whole other ball game). So yes, I am proud of myself for my 14 month accomplishment (and yes, I do realize that 14 months is just the very very beginning...and if I get a snarky comment about how 14 months of survival means nothing in the 18 year plan...I will set my unwatered spider plant on you...they bite, right?)

What I'm trying to say is, let me enjoy the one moment of pride because it is a fleeting thought. The minute I think that I'm doing an OK job as a mother, something happens to cause my little pie in the sky self to come crashing down to the reality that on the best of days I am just plain mediocre. (If you disagree at this point, keep reading and you will understand)

Before I reveal the cold harsh reality to you, let me preface this story with one thing. This has been a very busy week, running here, running there. For the last few days, every time I stepped in my front door in from the fresh air, I felt that I smelled something slightly amiss. At first I chalked it up to the amazing spring air smelling better than the staleness of my house. Then as the smell got progressively worse, I decided to investigate. I was sure that the kitchen was the culprit. (Isn't it always?) I cleaned out this, threw away that...and thought that my problem was gone.

Until today. I walked in my house and the stench was completely overwhelming. Gaggifying so (if that's not a word, it totally should be) As soon as the rotting aroma hit this pregnant lady's nostrils, I immediately knew what the problem was (it had baked to the perfect point of identification)....something in Addison's room. As I neared the pink haven...the stench worsened. I felt my breath catch in my throat....my heart started to race. The gagging sensation intensified as I walked inside my daughter's room.

I followed my sensitive nose...it led me down on the floor...looking under the crib...where I found 6, Ok fine, 7 bottles....full of who knows how old formula milk...several of them looked like they were full of cottage cheese...several more of them were full of green cottage cheese...and they were all upside down and leaking onto the floor. All seven bottles lay in a pile of souring milk.

Now I know exactly what happened, because I caught her doing it once. Addison gets her last bottle of the day right before bedtime. She likes to feed it to herself. A few months back, I saw her drink until she was full and then fling the remainder of the bottle over the back of the crib, settling into the dust. After hearing the loud thunk she cuddled down contentedly and went right to sleep. (she was housecleaning her crib...what can I say)

At the time I retrieved her bottle and thought nothing of it (I was distracted by her dazzling smile and her batting blue eyes)...until today...when I found seven rotting bottles full of old milk lying under her crib, perfuming my entire house with an unpleasant odor.

Bad Mommy. You would think I would miss all of those bottles...and honestly, I did. But I have been so busy I convinced myself that I would investigate their disappearance this week. (truth be told, I thought maybe Aaron lost them somewhere while I was out of town last weekend)

I don't have a photo of the seven bottles lying in the greenish pool...I was so horrified, I cleaned it up as quickly as possible. One bottle over in the corner remains because I couldn't reach it with my little baby bump and I'm waiting for Aaron to get home and take care of it...This one looks like a new add to the collection...nothing was growing in the formula pool quite yet, and there's not a lot of leakage on this one...but it gives you an idea of what I found. So there you have it. No nomination for "Mother of the Year" here....also I'm guessing that I'm out for "Housekeeper of the Year" (and most likely "Plant Waterer of the Year"-no surprises there). Big fat bummer. I guess I'll have to set my sights on something far less prestigious...The "Mom Who confesses the Most of the Year". Is that a thing? All of this honesty should be worth something...you would think...

Note to self: Add checking under the crib to my daily list of cleaning chores...right after watering that spider plant...and oh yes...keeping that 14 month old alive...Dearest Addison, not sure what you were trying to collect...but could we move from the moldy to something a trifle more sanitary and less odorous?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen

Pregnant, check, barefoot, check, in the kitchen, check. (I was making delicious cream filled chocolate cupcakes...lest you think I am too fuddy duddy)

When I was younger, I was the one laughing the loudest at the description of those poor women who were seemingly good for nothing else.

Now I find myself a 26 year old with enough advanced degrees to make a pretty decent career for myself, a lot of time and materials spent on being the best musician possible, and a pile of expensive instruments in my front closet. (for those of you who actually know where I live...totally kidding. I only buy the cheap ebay instruments...of course) and yet I spent my day, pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen.

All this to say, after a rough day at work on Friday, I found myself wondering not for the first time, what in the world am I doing. (at work...in the kitchen those cream filled cupcakes were shaping up quite nicely)

While at work and heating up my left over peanut chicken noodles in the microwave, I observed a pat little saying on the wall that I had never noticed before:

Sometimes on your way to a dream, you get lost and discover a new dream.

I considered my muddled state of mind and found myself wondering if I was lost in the new dream, lost from the old dream, just lost, just dreaming, or trying to figure out what the original dream was in the first place. Confused yet?

There are so many different possibilities of what to become when you grow up, so many different paths to choose. It's simultaneously exhilirating and exhausting. Almost ten years ago, I made the choice that I wanted to study music-first education, then a masters in performance and I was determined that was supposed to be my path in life.

I know I have written about this before, but it really is strange. Lately, I haven't felt as much as a pull towards the musical field as I may have in the past. I have enjoyed advocating for Addison this past year through all of her health drama. I have enjoyed writing about it. I have enjoyed being a mom. And all of that led to me writing another mom's story-my book. I have discovered a me that hadn't previously existed. One that likes, no loves the written word and allowing that word to continue to advocate for my daughter long after I have hit the Publish button.

I work on my writing style-some blog posts get much more attention than others, but this blog has really been a great way for me to develop my own writing style. I have had discouragements over this past year, but have faithfully kept at my book.

It still needs more work....a lot more editing, which I'm excited to have some time this week to spend on it, but I have never been more thrilled about this work of fiction that I'm creating. (thank you, Melinda for the recent help in reading my book and offering excellent suggestions!)

Anyway, I say all that to say- maybe my dream of music teacher/performer got sidetracked by a dream of writing? Maybe my dream of perfecting those orchestral excerpts got trumped by the dream of giving Addison the best of my attention?

I know there are some of you who read my blog who work and mother, and I admire you so, so much. I am struggling to make it work. Not the physical part of going to work every other day- but the part where I give Addison so much of my energy, there is nothing really left over for my job-which makes me feel like I am doing a horrible job at work, which makes me not want to be there. Does that make sense at all? I wish I could be as amazing as all of you who do make it work. Seriously, how do you do it?

Well, my consolation prize is that mid June, I am finished teaching for a while. I can figure out my life a bit...all the while being pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen. Honestly, laugh at me if you want to. That's where I'm the happiest these days (most likely because Addison is trailing behind me holding tight to my apron strings...yes she literally did that today)

And, my new dream is to be a published author. Who knows if that will actually happen. But I know it for sure won't if I just let my flash drive sit idle...work, work, work and be patient, not expecting this to happen over night.

Meanwhile....I sit and eat those cream filled chocolate cupcakes, pondering these deep thoughts and wondering if this post will make sense to anyone else but myself (I post diverse thoughts with the crazy reasoning that perhaps someone else is going through the same struggle)....and also wondering...how much damage the caloric intake of those cupcakes is doing (I blame the sugar excess from today for my muddled thoughts...seriously, where did this craving come from...so out of the blue)...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

the littlest Mr.

My dearest Addison,

Today we had a Level 2 ultrasound to check on your little sibling. I told you how nervous I was about it because of how badly your ultrasound went at this same point in your pregnancy. I just got the strangest sense of deja vu, and I was terrified of what we were going to hear and find.

Until.

We learned that you are going to have a little brother....and all of a sudden I felt like I was doing this for the very first time. You probably wondered why I was crying....which explains why you were trying to escape.


Your brother took his cue from you and had a hard time holding still for a good picture...and that's over the course of a very long, detailed ultrasound. This little boy likes to move. I'm afraid this is the best we could get...but he very unashamedly made SURE that we knew that he was a boy (hard to catch that little dance with the camera...but hard to miss on the video):


And then as if hearing that you were going to have a brother playmate-protector-friend wasn't enough, we learned that everything with him looks really great. There are no soft markers for anything. For the first time in an ultrasound, my baby was called "normal". Of course that doesn't guarantee anything, but it is still worth celebrating.


But sweet Addison, you know what the best part is? Imagining you with your little brother-playing-laughing-wrestling. You'd better bulk up because I have a feeling he's going to catch up to you in no time. I can feel his strong kicks and did you see him keep making fists in the ultrasound and practicing his boxing techniques? Don't worry, once he stops seeing you as the annoying older sister, he'll use those same fists to protect you...we'll work on it. (-:


Anyway, just wanted to let you know why your clothing budget is being cut in half. Afraid a little brother would look rather silly in your pink and yellow tutu collection. Time to buy some more manly clothes....a blue tutu perhaps??? But I promise...it will be worth it...to have a little brother to love and grow up with. I love you both more than I can say...now kindly stop kicking my stomach at every available opportunity so that he can grow undisturbed (you got ultrasound gel all over your new shoes today as a result). It's not a competition....yet...well, at least let him be born first. (-:


Much love,


Mama

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's About Time for Summer

Dear Summer,

Please feel free to come early this year.

We're ready for you.
It's been a long winter, and now that we've had a touch of slightly warm weather and the snow appears to be leaving...we are more than ready for more.

Don't get me wrong- we have kept ourselves busy this long winter:

But enough is enough. I'm tired of wasting this bathing suit just hanging around the house.

Sincerely,
Ready for the Pool Chubbs McPhee

Also, if you get a chance, go check out the giveaway going on at A Baby Sent from the Stars.
From someone who is feeling more pregnant by the day, it really breaks my heart when I hear of other women who long for the same thing and have such difficulty achieving it. Read Naomi and Jason's story and if you can, help with their adoption costs as they want nothing more than to become parents. It's such a beautiful story of love!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pregnancy Update

Before I begin my long ranting diatribe, here are some pictures of Addison. Isn't she looking like such a big girl?




I've wanted to post this for a while, but have been afraid how it would come across. Today, I find myself needing to write, post and get this latest worry out of my system.

I have my big half way pregnancy ultrasound Thursday morning. I am excited, don't get me wrong. I have felt this little baby doing backflips, kicks and who knows what else for weeks now-being twice as active as Addison ever was. I also felt this baby's movements a lot sooner. With Addison, I really didn't feel her move until I was mid 20 something week.

Boy or girl? Yes, we are going to find out if possible and yes, we are going to share. I am not one for surprises...and I have a hard time keeping awesome secrets like that.

So, yes, I am excited and overjoyed. But I am also very scared and nervous about this appointment. It's not that I'm upset or anxious about the possibility of another special needs child- it's just that I've only had one half way appointment before...with Addison. And it was at that appointment that we discovered that something was wrong.

The words "Congratulations, it's a girl" were quickly followed by a doctor quickly ending the exam, signing us up at the high risk pregnancy center to finish the ultrasound and a little speech about the concerns presented by all of the cysts that were on the back of our baby's neck. I love Addison so much, but when I think back to that appointment, I still feel just as wretchedly upset as I did in the moment. That appointment holds a lot of horrible memories. It was a time where dreams were crushed and expectations became unrealistic. It was time of many tears and questioning the goodness of God. It was a time that made me prefer a miscarriage to continuing the pregnancy.

Since that point, I have come a long way. Of course I love my daughter more than life itself. I wouldn't trade her for anything. But when I think about going in for another appointment when that's all that I know, my heart starts to race and I feel a little dizzy.

It doesn't help that my doctor scheduled 20 week appointment directly at the high risk center instead of meeting at her office first.

When I expressed some fear at my last appointment, my doctor looked me calmly in the eye and said

"You have nothing to worry about. Lightning doesn't strike twice."

I wasn't sure how to respond to that. I don't like having Addison being compared to being struck with lightning because that puts such a negative connotation on her life. But in the same breath it was comforting to hear her attempt to assure me in that way.

I'm not afraid of having another child with special needs. I will love this baby no matter what. But, it has crossed my mind on more than one occasion how wonderful it would be to have a perfectly, normal, typical baby to challenge Addison's competitive spirit-to be another advocate for Addison-to just have an "easier" parenting path with one baby that doesn't include constant therapy and so many health problems-to be Addison's best friend and help bring awareness to his/her typical peers.

A lot of my Ds mom friends deal with the Down syndrome just like I do- but then they also have all of the normal mom stuff that I don't get to experience.

I feel like I'm really selfish to even think these thoughts, and you can see why I hesitated to write this post, but also why I need to.

Also, I hate, hate, hate when I see people go in for this type of appointment and boldly state that "the most important thing is that this baby is healthy" which is code for "a normal baby". To say that is the most important thing is to label Addison's life as a failure. I would like to think I have grown enough through my experiences with Addison to be able to say that it doesn't matter- and I honestly don't think it does. But I still hold some fear about this appointment. See why I'm confused?

I have a struggle going on within myself. A struggle to trust the almighty God who blessed us with Addison to know exactly what we need the second time around. A struggle to enjoy our 20 week appointment and be excited about the girl/boy revelation news without having constant flashbacks to the last appointment. And- the struggle of feeling as connected to this baby as I do Addison.

Addison and I have been through so much together. So, so much. It's hard to then think of having a typical baby who wouldn't have heart surgery, a g tube and an oxygen tank and be afraid that I'll be able to love that baby as much because we weren't put through the emotional ringer together. Addison takes up my whole heart. Am I supposed to grow a second heart for the second baby?
19 weeks
Sorry for the rambling, ranting post, but I feel better even after just having written this. I'll let you know how our appointment on Thursday goes. Oh, and yes, no more contractions. I think my body was just yelling at me to slow down and get some sleep. I finally listened. (-:

Monday, April 11, 2011

what i have been doing

I was unconscious.

I felt somebody kick my foot and then loudly call my name.
"Mrs. Smith"

I shifted uncomfortably, idly wondering why I had lost the feeling on one half of my body, but ignored the voice.

Another kick, another voice, another call, all slightly more urgent than the first. "Mrs. Smith"

I peeked open one bleary eye and saw one of my students standing in the bus aisle watching me with a scared look on his face. Another student reached out a hand to shake my foot again and yet another student wondered aloud if I'm still breathing.

I am aware they are standing there, I am aware that I have fallen asleep into the shape of a pretzel on the bus seat, but I don't feel capable of responding back or moving. My body was finished. done.

When I finally did raise my head enough to acknowledge that, yes, I was still alive, one tactless student dramatically gasped as the paleness of my face apparently registered a gasp worthy moment. (how rude)

What happened to cause me to find the pretzel like sleeping position preferable to actually walking off the bus, collecting my suitcase, climbing into comfy pajamas and falling blissfully asleep on the Hilton hotel bed?

Nothing overly dramatic. Just a 12 hour stretch at Bush Garden Amusement Park, chasing around 44 very active teenagers all the while growing a 19 week old fetus and surviving on very poorly nutritioned amusement park food.

Oh yes, and a two hour ride to the hotel. I turn into a pumpkin at 9:30pm. I warned my coworker about that, but he did not listen. No. That's why my students are still talking about poor Mrs. Smith who couldn't manage to get off the bus. Sigh. There's a reason why pregnant people don't go on trips like these.

For those of you who are completely confused- On Thursday morning, bright and early, my fellow band director and I along with two parent chaperones departed school with a 44 member band, heading to Virginia Beach for a band festival.

I am not going to outline every detail of the trip here...I'm sure it would bore you, but I will give you a condensed, bulleted form of the trip (and for those of you grammar geeks, it will not be parallel or necessarily "correct". If you read the whole list, I'm sure you'll understand why I'm operating on only half of a brain today)...here goes

-13 hr bus drive with the band...all the while watching teenager chick flicks on the DVD system and, vomiting unobtrusively into a ziploc bag, and attempting to save my energy for what I knew had to be coming

-Having to stay up until 11pm every night to do room checks on the teens before being able to head to bed (this was a hard one for me)

-My roommate got sick and was throwing up all night and then informed me in the morning that she now also had diarrhea. (such a comforting thing to hear)

-I got many frantic calls from Aaron...Addison got her first ear infection that first day I was away. I hated that I wasn't there to comfort and take care of her (or find the thermometer for Aaron)

-One of the seniors from our school was in a horrible car accident back home and died that first night that we were away. A lot of my students knew him really well, and they took it quite hard. The first full day included me circling through all of the students, talking to them one on one to make sure that they were OK

-The coach bus backed up into a parked car while we stopped for a lunch break (apparently those buses are pretty hard to park)

-Our actual performance went really well...the only bad part was when one of the saxophonists mouthpiece apparently fell off and got replaced in such a way that caused him to be a half step off for a soli saxophone section. Wow it sounded bad...for about 30 seconds.

-Our sailboat cruise dinner got changed to a motor boat cruise dinner

-On that cruise dinner...I got tired of watching teenagers dance on the top of the boat to Brittney Spears and such...so I headed down and joined a poker game with m&ms, totally wiping up the competition. The students now think that I have a gambling problem. (for the record...I don't)

-The day at Bush Gardens. Seriously people, would it kill you to offer a veggie sanwhich???And what is the deal with every tiny little food item costing SO MUCH. My simple lunch cost me $20...and furthermore made me sick AND gave me heartburn.

-Ride home back to Vermont...more teen flicks....and more sleeping attempts. Couldn't quite find that comfy pretzel position again, so unfortunately I did no sleeping.

Late last night at 10pm I was reunited with my beautiful little girl... who was feeling better after a few rounds of antibiotic treatments. Wow I missed her.

The kicker is- technically right now I'm supposed to be at work. And I DID drag my sorry little self into work to teach the first block class. But, I almost fainted...and had several contractions...and developed a slight fever. So, I am home....typing out these thoughts before I forget and have a blog mutiny.

There it is. That is what I have been doing. So sorry to neglect you. I am back.

Now for that nap....

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Jailbreak attempt

After a day of successful packing procrastination, I was finally throwing some carefully selected items into my suitcase which was parked in the doorway facing Addison's room. When I glanced up, I saw a blond sticking up over the top of the crib, tiny hands gripping the railing, and a little girl with a triumphant smile on her face.

So even though I said I wasn't going to post a new post today, I had to share her big accomplishment. Chubbs pulled herself up in her crib for the very first time. By the time I had got there, she had gracefully descended into the splits.

By the time I got the camera and returned, this is what I saw:

She has discovered that she can access the world outside of her crib by using the skills that we practice in therapy, and she's quite happy with her new knowledge...
ecstatic, really.

She wouldn't pull up to stand again while I was watching her (because I turned up the top extension so she physically couldn't), but she did keep flipping up onto all fours and rocking back and forth.

And pulling up onto her knees (which if you look at all of the blankets she was wading through, is quite impressive)

and laughing about her new discovery.
Every night for a week now she's been falling asleep in funky, uncomfortable positions that looked as through she was mid-flight when slumber struck. It makes sense now....little Chubbs was attempting a jail break.
unsuccessfully.... (thank goodness)
So proud of my little girl. It is seriously all about motivation for her. She was breaking out skills that she's refused to do all day...no doubt trying to earn a get out of jail free card....I will carry those smiles and looks of proud success with me as I leave her tomorrow. What an amazing little girl Chubbs is!

When it takes longer to reach the normal milestones....it just feels that much better when we finally get there. I think when she finally starts to walk, I just might have a stroke from the excitement.