Monday, November 28, 2011

If I had my life to live over I would pick more daisies


I read this morning and had to share, just in case you all need as much of a pick-me-up as I did for the start of this post-Thanksgiving week:

If I Had My Life to Live Over

"I'd dare to make more mistakes next time. I'd relax, I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I'm one of those people who lives sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day after day. Oh I've had my moments, and if I had it to do over again, I'd have more of them. In fact, I'd try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I've been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies."

by Nadine Stair
If I had my life to live over I would pick more daisies
I'm off to eat more ice cream, pick more daisies and climb more mountains...AKA fold laundry, change/feed/burp, make dinner, finish that book...but along the way take time to enjoy moments like these:


(photos courtesy of Andrea Sanford)
Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Trot

Today is Thanksgiving. One of the biggest things that I am thankful for is this little girl:
She, along with brother, Daddy and Gwampa came out to support Mommy, Aunt Andi and Gwandma in our first endeavors to run a 5K. (it was mighty cold...thus the wintertime bundling)
I mentioned to you about 5-6 weeks ago that I was thinking of attempting to learn to run because Addison inspires me to try new things- things that are hard for me to do- things that previously I've avoided because they are HARD WORK.
Well, I started a Couch to 5K program after that post, and have very faithfully kept up with it- working very hard to learn my new thing. I totally surprised myself with how much I have enjoyed the process so far. I will probably do a post about my experiences with the program, but today? I just want to say that

I DID IT!!!! I ran a 5K!

My little sister Andria, visiting for the week from Wisconsin ran with me, and Aaron's mom decided to run as well.
Here I am crossing over the finish. My time? 35 minutes. Not the greatest in the world, but I'm pretty dang proud of it! I ran faster today than I've previously ever run before- meaning I had to walk briefly twice to keep up the fast tempo, but I still finished 2 minutes faster than all of my previous times! (and if there are snarky comments about my time...please remember that I am THE MOST unathletic person in the world...and I had a baby 12 weeks ago SO THERE...just let me think that 35 minutes is amazing) (-:

My in laws with Addison after the race
After the race. I totally wish I was the lady in the back doing the awesome stretch. 
Other than my music not working for the first 1/3 of the race, and a woman yelling behind me "what a huge-insert slang for bottom- " (at her friend, but it still made me jump guiltily), and my sister deciding that she had to go to the bathroom RIGHT as we were standing at the start line, and at one point me deciding it would be easier to hurtle myself down the snowy embankment to have an excuse why I couldn't finish rather than run another second, and mistaking an orange coated runner for the finish line and sprinting towards it with relief until I realized it was moving as well, and overall playing mind games with myself for 35 minutes to convince myself to FINISH STRONG...it was a piece of pie.

Speaking of pie, guess who celebrated his very first Thanksgiving? (NOTE: He is wearing a 9 month onesie...the same one that Addison wore last Thanksgiving)



and this Thanksgiving??? Addison signed eat before dinner. Such a big girl!!!
So to sum up:

I DID IT!!!
Cute baby's first Thanksgiving
Signing Chubbs

What a good day! I'm thankful for so many things that I can't even start to name them. HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of you! I am thankful for your support, comments and your graciousness in reading my humble words. THANK YOU!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Holiday Grocery Shopping Dilemma

What is it about grocery shopping two days before a holiday that brings out the absolute worst in people? We were headed to Costco today to pick up a few necessary items, and I guess I didn't think to anticipate the absolute disaster that would await us there.

On our trips to Costco, I like to leisurely take Addison from sample to sample seeing what she'll eat (and what she'll throw in disgust), and then we celebrate a successful shopping trip by splitting an all beef hot dog.

Today we were lucky to get out alive.

I guess I should have known what was coming when the roads were completely empty...

...and the parking lot was overflowing (so we had to park WAY far away..shuttle service, anyone?)

...and when I started walking towards an empty cart next to my parked car and an old lady came out of nowhere, sprouted wings and snatched it from my extended arm.

...and when I went to the main cart dispenser-THEY WERE ALL GONE.

...and when the line to checkout stretched the ENTIRE length of the store (each cart was overflowing with items).

...and when we had to literally dodge the mad crowd of people who were obviously running by us to grab all of those pre-made pumpkin pies, 50 pound bags of chocolate chips and gallons of Vermont apple cider.

I did what any self respecting woman with two volatile babies in the cart would do.

I asked my sister Andria to stand in line while I shopped. Such love, such such love. (she gladly did it)

After grabbing all of our items, I switched places with her in line so that she could go grab some samples (loudly explaining to all those around us in line that we were tag teaming it so they wouldn't think that I was just skipping the line.)

It was when we were FINALLY up to get in an actual checkout line, I became aware of a horrible, horrible thing that was happening (and totally explained the long line)

Since a picture is worth 1,000 words, I drew a sketch that at least has to be worth a couple hundred...(and oh yes, multiply the long line by 4 and that's much closer to the actual length...I ran out of space on my "paper")


Notice the people creeping in from the side? I caught one woman's expression, and her face was overcome by PURE GUILT. The rest of them would not look me in the eye as they carefully crept forward, completely SKIPPING the line. They knew exactly what they were doing...and yet they did it anyway (line of shame)

If they had just let the long line feed to the side cash registers, we all would have had a shorter wait, but because they felt that they were too good to wait in the line with the rest of us, we all had to wait twice as long while they cut up the side.

tsk. tsk. tsk.

For some reason that really got on my nerves, making the hot dog split with Addison completely unenjoyable...even when she signed "more" "food" "thank you" I had a hard time not being annoyed watching this gross injustice playing out in front of me.

Why do normally sweet, wonderful people (giving the benefit of the doubt here) turn into monsters in the grocery store right before a holiday?

I think I'm going to start carrying around an orange traffic vest. If I see this happen again, I'll whip it out and start directing traffic....blowing my whistle (yeah, I'm going to need to get a whistle) and waving frantically when I see those naughty line cutters...

This may be a little thing, but it's those small common courtesies that go right before holidays in the grocery store. Why oh why?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thankful?

baby SCREAMING

toddler whining

husband snoring

space heaters whirring

wind HOWLING

It's three am, and I sneak slowly out of bed hoping that the frantic screams will miraculously quiet themselves before I'm completely awake. As I stumble with eyes half closed to put on my warm robe, I distantly wonder how Aaron was born with the gift to somehow not hear the screaming...to magically be able to sleep through it all. The other day I jumped to go get Addison a bottle when I simply heard the slight noise of her sucking on an empty bottle at 1am. You can bet I'm immediately jolted to awake by the hungry choking gasps of my infant son.

Hurrying to retrieve a bottle of pre-pumped milk from the fridge, I gather my son from his crib and idly think that perhaps his crib is shrinking since he has been filling up so much more of it so quickly. I soothingly assure him that food is coming soon. He blinks his dark with hunger blue eyes towards my dark with exhaustion brown eyes and I carefully settle into the glider/recliner to feed him.

I begin humming softly, a song of desperation. Which, if this song were to inherit words, it would go something like this:  "Oh why won't you sleep....oh why do you need to eat every three hours...oh why can't you sleep 12 hours a night like your sister did at this age...oh why...oh why...oh why"

I didn't say it was a good song. Just a very heartfelt one, accompanied by equal parts of complaining and misery.

He smiles at me then. Chubby cheeks part, eyes twinkle, bottle is temporarily forgotten...it's as if he senses my distress...or he's laughing at me. Hard to tell.

A hand generously filled out with rolls of fat grabs my finger and holds on as if there is a a fear that I'll take the food away before the little belly is full.

I wonder when I'll ever sleep again.

The constantly hungry little boy seems to think that things are fine they way they are.
Sister has quieted down now that the screaming has stopped and is issuing forth snores to equal that of her father's...diligently stocking up on beauty rest for another day reigning as "Queen of the Pretties"
Pushing aside my lack of sleep resentment, I entertain myself by checking facebook on my phone, and see a sweet message from a fellow mom who closes with the sentence "So much to be thankful for this year"

Feeling properly put in my place, I thought of this:
and this:
and this:
and immediately stopped complaining that I was tired. and have been tired for 11 weeks with no end in sight.

I reluctantly gave voice to my inner thankfulness...which immediately brought up Addison's eyes now working so much more together:
and a very healthy baby (I tried to force a 3 month sleeper to fit him)
inner thankfulness totally defeated the song of desperation, complaining and misery in one simple sentence

"so much to be thankful for this year"

so true. so very, very true.

Excited about a week focusing on thankfulness...and my little sis coming to visit...and running my very first 5K

God is good.

(and I intend on sprinkling my thankfulness with a wee bit of Christmas music...because I'm thankful for that as well)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Parents.com Blog Award



So these past couple of week have been tough...I'm sure yucky mom hormones and a tremendous lack of sleep having absolutely NOTHING to do with it. 

I'll blame it on no longer blogging every day. Perhaps that kept me a bit more sane in the month of October. Who's to know?

Anyway, you can understand my excitement and huge boost to my dramatically slipping blog ego when I opened my email this morning and realized that this humble blog is a winner in this years Parents.com best blog awards.

If you can remember way back when I asked you to vote for me...

It turns out that I didn't get enough votes to win, but I did win the editor's pick for best Special Needs Blog (each category has two winners). My blog will be featured and have an excerpt published in the March 2012 Parents Magazine issue...

which means free book publicity and some HUGE encouragement needed for this bloggin' mommy whose attitude was starting to be "who cares about my little blog" -once again hormones of course NOT involved.

So a big THANK YOU to all of those who voted for me (even though that's not the part that I won) I appreciate all of you SO MUCH!

and a big THANK YOU for continuing to read and leave me sweet comments....

and to those with two kids under 2...when does this fog lift...when will I stop turning on the shower to warm up when I meant to start filling Addison's bath...when will I stop putting away refrigerator items in the pantry cupboard...when will I always remember my kids names...and when will I sleep again????

Monday, November 14, 2011

Addison's new hobby

Sometimes I swear that my kids read my blog.

First of all- after my last post on breastfeeding...there's Carter's response:

All of a sudden he seemed willing to give this whole breastfeeding thing another try. For certain nothing is solved, but all of a sudden he is INTERESTED which just came so out of the blue (the only reasonable explanation being that he, of course, reads my blog when I'm not looking and realizes how much I am struggling with it.)

Second- there's Addison. Oh my oh my Addison.

You have to understand that Addison was never breastfed. I always had to pump for her. She has NEVER shown interest in my- for lack of a better technical term- boobs before.

BUT as soon as I pushed PUBLISH POST, she has been doing something quite odd. At first I thought it was coincidence, but she has done it consistently over and over again ever since I posted about breastfeeding.  She'll stand or sit next to me (whatever it takes for her head to be equal with my shoulder) and then she pats my-technical term here again- boob, over and over again- much like she pats Carter when he's crying and she wants him to stop.

The first time I noticed it, we were in therapy. I was talking to her therapist and not paying attention to what Addison was doing until I glanced down and saw her patting away, soothing and comforting the jilted milk supplier (I couldn't bring myself to use the word boob again). Rather embarrassed, I waved her hand away and she moved on.

Then she did it AGAIN when we were in the grocery store. She was sitting in the front of the cart and I was talking to someone we knew and had run into. I felt the little hand going at it again and glanced down. Sure enough, with her brow furrowed and intently pursed lips, she was patting away.

Every chance she gets...she pats...with her most soothing and sympathetic expression directed its way.

And it's not like she's aiming for my shoulder and missing. Her attack is very deliberate, and she does it at the most inopportune times.

She was NEVER breastfed, so where is this coming from?

#SupremelyAwkward

The only thing I can think of is...I should disconnect the wi-fi in those cribs since my blog posts aren't necessarily written for my children's eyes....but, before I do

A MESSAGE FROM SANTA: Children on the nice list sleep through the night so that their Mommies can sleep.

*Thank you to all of those who commented on my last post. Your encouragement and support meant so much more to me than I could ever express. Thank you!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Breastfeeding Vent

*Addison is recovering very well from her surgery yesterday (the bloody tears have stopped)...thank you for continuing to pray for her!
*Feeling a bit restless today, so I'm afraid this is a bit of a vent...only read if you are feeling sympathetic...and don't mind breastfeeding discussions...

Once upon a time

there was a beautiful young woman who got married to the perfect man. When she became pregnant with their first child, her body gained the perfect amount of weight and remained a stranger to bloating. During delivery, everything happened naturally, quickly and easily for her. She, of course, walked away from the labor room wearing her pre-pregnancy jeans. Her baby immediately latched on to nurse which started an effortless nursing relationship which lasted the perfect amount of time. She did everything right with her perfectly healthy baby and smartness and genius abounded as she taught and nurtured just the right amount -not so much that she smothered, but not so little that she was negligent.

The words "bad mother" could never describe this beautiful young woman whose body never showed a mark of having birthed her baby. The best part of her life? She never ever felt "mommy guilt" because she did EVERYTHING right....never a slip up, never a hormonally charged moment full of regrettable tears.

This woman is fictional. A fairy tale. (did the "once upon a time" not give that away?)

Being a mom is hard work. The lack of sleep- not having time to take care of yourself-a constantly messy house- all of those things don't hold a candle to the guilt that comes with motherhood. No matter what you do, it seems like there is always someone out there telling you that your efforts aren't good enough, or that your take on motherhood is completely wrong and your kids will grow up needing lots of therapy just to cope with the emotional scars you no doubt are inflicting upon them.

It's as if an evil witch put a curse on all pregnancy tests- that as soon as you hold the urine soaked stick and see that positive, from here on out you will feel guilty about EVERYTHING. (that's not as much a fairy tale as the first story)

Why do I bring this unpleasant subject to light? (It is much preferred to just let it simmer under the surface...pretending that it doesn't exist)

I've been feeling a lot of guilt lately, and I spend most of my days reassuring myself that the guilt is ridiculous, I'm doing the best I can- but the guilt has a way of eating through most all assurances.

When Addison was born, I really, really, really wanted to breastfeed her. But she had so many physical problems she couldn't even take a bottle- she was g-tube fed and we worked up to a bottle. So, I pumped for 4-5 months to still give her breastmilk, but then I had to stop because I couldn't keep up with all of her appointments, working and pumping. I was sad, but I had done the best I could.

One of my big desires with Carter was to breastfeed and make up for that lost experience with Addison. When he was born healthy and strong, I knew that this was my chance.

The only problem was, he was SO healthy and strong that he wanted to eat ALL THE TIME (and no, a pacifier would not cut it) The kid is almost 14 pounds at 9 weeks, so yes, he is a BIG eater.

For about a week, he demanded to eat almost constantly (he ate so slowly...but still needed huge quantities) and Addison would be completely on her own, spending too much time in her crib, watching signing time...and wandering the house creating trouble. Finally, I told myself that this wasn't working, so I went back to pumping because it's what I knew.

After a couple of days of measuring out his food (NICU trained...I can't get it out of my mentality of "good mom") and figuring out that he needed 4-6 ounces every three hours (he would drink it much faster with a bottle as well), we were able to get on a schedule and I was able to split my attention between the two again.

Now, I'm pumping almost exclusively (managing to keep up with Carter, no problem...but how long will that last) and.....

IT MAKES ME FEEL GUILTY.

So many women seem to effortlessly breastfeed and make it work, but it wasn't working for us, so I did what I could to keep some sanity.

Whenever someone sees me giving Carter a bottle (of breastmilk-but they don't know that), I get comments like

"Oh breastfeeding my babies was my favorite thing to do"

or

"I just loved the connection that breastfeeding gave me and my baby"

or

"Breastfeeding is so amazing, I'm aiming to keep it up for 3 years"

and my guilt multiplies.

I do want the best for my baby, and I do want to breastfeed. But not having done it successfully for my first baby really put me at a disadvantage and I was on my own from day one with 2, so I never was able to just sit all day with Carter and make it work for us.

Right now the pumping is working great...he gets breastmilk and Addison still gets a mommy too.

But I wonder how long I can keep that up, and I feel like I missed my chance to figure out breastfeeding.

I'm just now starting to overcome the guilt a bit and feel happy that I am able to still supply him with breastmilk even if it's not conventional...and that I remember to feed both children....and that they both are happy babies. Isn't that the ultimate goal? I am doing the best I can.

So why do I still feel guilty? Curse that pregnancy stick witch....and the fictitional woman in the first story that makes me feel inferior..

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

eye surgery

This morning we headed in bright and early for Addison's Strabismus (misaligned eyes) surgery. As this was Addison's fourth surgery, I was relatively calm about it. But it always makes me a little sick inside knowing how miserable she'll be waking up from general anesthesia- not to mention I had no idea what the recovery would be like having eye muscle cut and restitched.

Addison was in such good spirits and didn't complain once about the fact that she hadn't had anything to eat since her last bottle the night before.
They told me to put her in their hospital gown (which made no sense to me since they were operating on her eyes...why couldn't she just keep her comfy sleeper on?) But obediently, we put on their smallest sized gown...
Addison quickly worked both legs into one leg hole.
I went in with her to the OR (first time I've done this) and held her while they put her to sleep. She was squirming and it took 4 people to hold her down. In one sense it broke my heart...in another, I was PROUD of my little fighter. The gas was bubblegum flavored and she kept exuberantly licking the mask. (After she woke up and was fully concious, the first thing she did was sign "more" LOL)

The surgery was very quick (she was in the OR for maybe an hour) compared to her past surgeries, and literally she was in her recovery room five minutes when they were unhooking her and saying we could take her home. There were no complications in the surgery- it was textbook. We'll know over the next few weeks how well it worked to straighten her eyes, but the surgeon seemed very hopeful.

She did get quite upset waking up from the general anesthesia. I was holding her tightly trying to calm her, but her breath smelled quite strongly of the bubblegum anesthesia and it made me very sick to my stomach...and then when I looked down at the tears she was wiping on my shirt and saw that it was blood, I almost lost it. But mommyhood makes you strong...strong enough to keep comforting through the nausea.

When I was driving her home, I looked back to see this:
Poor baby. As the morning progressed, there was a LOT more blood and crusties around her eyes, but I'll spare you the more graphic pictures (you are welcome)

Addison is NOT a cuddler- she never has let me snuggle with her (it usually results in a black eye or almost loss of a tooth when I try). But when we got home, after a short stint in her crib, all she wanted to do was to be held (but not if I was going to sit down....I had to be walking and moving...WOW she gets heavy after a while) I enjoyed holding her close to me and soothing her best I could....just the fact that she would let me hold her like this for an extended period of time tells you just how poorly she was feeling...
She's now been asleep for over three hours...last I checked on her she had put her head under her pillow to make it darker for herself.

I hate to see her hurting, but I know that this surgery was important so that she can start using her eyes together and hopefully save her from vision loss further on. Thankfully we were able to have it done before she turned 2 as her doctor said that the surgery success rate is then higher.

I have stocked up on m&ms and cheetos (her two favorite things) to continue the healing process after she wakes up...although the m&m stash is taking quite the hit the longer she sleeps (I tried to sleep and couldn't get over the smell of her bubblegum flavored anesthesia breathe that was still haunting me...the m&ms are helping)

Please feel better soon, Addison!!!!

Thank you all so much for your prayers and kind comments. The surgery went as well as it possible could. We are thankful!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I feel like I stole from Shutterfly

I realize this isn't a coupon blog, but I wanted to share with you a "cheating the system" method I discovered last Christmas.

I wanted to do personalized Chubbs calendars from Shutterfly, but was daunted at the price of $21.99 a calendar.

Then, I discovered that I could add up gifts to grow points from Pampers diapers to get a free calendar. (800 points) I don't always use Pampers diapers, but I had some gracious friends give me points they weren't using to get to 800 points (that takes A LOT of diapers, but between several moms wasn't too bad)

This year, I've been saving points all year and had enough for TWO calendars.

So, I went online and designed a personalized calendar (takes FOREVER when you have thousands of pictures to sort through) and ordered 5 copies, which should equal $109.95.

All of Shutterfly's calendars are 20% off right now.
I got an additional 20% off of my entire order using the code MMVU-2T1X-MRW7-AJHPT3 (this ends tomorrow)
I got free shipping using the code SHIP30
I got 2 free calendars using my Pampers points
I got an additional $15 off my entire order with a coupon they sent me in the mail (because of my order last year)

Total price for 5 personalized calendars (including shipping)=$27.22

That comes to $5.44 a calendar.

In my humble opinion, not too bad.

(Last year, they had a BOGO on the calendars. I haven't seen one yet this year, and that's why I went ahead and ordered mine while I could get in the additional 20%. If they do post the BOGO, you can bet that I'll be back on to buy more calendars!)

And if you are one of the recipients of these calendars (you know who you are) look away. But if you want ideas for your calendar, this is what I did for mine. (keep in mind my time was limited this year and it took me THREE DAYS just to upload all of the pictures...so no judgement please...ha.)

share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0Abtmbhq4ZNWLm4


(Please be praying for Addison's eye surgery tomorrow. Call time is 6:30am. yikes.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

well hello there

I hope you can forgive me for my recent silence. I found that after posting every day for a month, I needed to take a step back from my blog.

I honestly can't even remember what I did with all my new found "free time" last week.

I've just been enjoying this girl,
this boy,
trying to get my act together for the upcoming Christmas season,

and praying that both of my kids stay healthy at least through Wednesday (for Addison's eye surgery)

This afternoon's activities? Taking the kids to the library (anyone want to meet me there and carry one of them for me???), making homemade pizza for dinner, putting in some laundry, ordering some more Christmas gifts online, designing a bit more on Shutterfly...just the boring afternoon of a stay at home mom. This morning was full of therapies...so boring is good!

I hope you all are doing well! More posts to come soon...I promise. (-:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Troublesome Twosome


 (yes, that's what I've been doing this week instead of posting...soaking up the baby drama...lucky me.)