Wednesday, December 2, 2009

November Recap

I'm not even going to call it an update because I kind of suck. I took next to NO pictures during the month of November and I paid very little attention to remember anything of note. Hmmm... maybe if I would post more often that wouldn't be an issue. Go figure.
But there are some big things about this month. Like, how on the first day of this month I got really, really brave and put her to bed in her own bed in her own room thinking it was useless. Turns out it totally wasn't. How cool is that? She's been in her own room, in her own bed all month. And it's usually fairly easy. It's been crazy. As in CRAZY COOL! Sure, I still end up in there with her and she's not sleeping through the night yet but I have my room and my nights back! Well, mostly. There is that sister of hers...
She's very attentive and has to be looking around all the time. She's not too thrilled about sitting still and doesn't really like you to sit down while you hold her. So that's fun. There's just too much to see in her world I guess. She still smiles all the time and has started to giggle hysterically at times. It's a riot to play with her. Diaper changes and clothes changes that should take only 1 or 2 minutes take at least 10 because she's too much fun to play with. And forget about hurrying to get ready in the mornings if she's awake. She should not be so cute and happy and fun to play with. Really. It would sure save me a whole lot of time.
I've been a lot more daring to venture out with this one. She has a lot more pleasant and mellow a temperament than Madeleine did so my anxiety is a little lessened this time around. Though the idea of taking them both somewhere - alone - still sends me into a panic. And yet I braved Disney on Ice with the two of them to go with my sister and her daughter. They were both surprisingly well behaved. I guess I don't really mind taking them out to things like that, it's the idea of shopping that makes me want to poke my eyes out. Shopping has become a thing of the past. Seriously - I haven't been grocery shopping since my mother-in-law was here. It's pathetic. But other things - like Disney on Ice, the occasional movie, activity-type things, are actually quite enjoyable with the two of them. But tasks. Oh, tasks. I'll pass.

Obviously she had her first Thanksgiving this year but really, can you count it as the "first Thanksgiving" if they can't even eat anything? She spent most of the long weekend crying and not sleeping. Maybe she really likes her routines and what she's familiar and comfortable with. She really did like hanging out with my dad in his big comfy chair though. She'd get situated just right and pass right out. Just in time for her to have to be moved for some reason which would wake her up and piss her off all over again.
I think the saddest part about this month has been that I have had to start seriously supplementing with formula for her. That's been really hard. I beat myself up for a really long time and tried so hard to put it off but then it just became not an option any longer. And, of course, she's still tiny but I swear she is gaining weight much more quickly now that she's actually get some actual food in to her on a regular basis. I'm still breastfeeding when I am with her but I have accepted the fact that I cannot supply nearly enough for her demand. It's extremely frustrating, sad and defeating for me.
She and Madeleine are already awesome buddies. The only time Elena takes steps is when she's going toward Madeleine, otherwise she's content just standing around. And she grins and jabbers to her big sister like she's the coolest thing on earth. And I KNOW that's not going to last so I will eat that up for as long as I possibly can. Well, that part of it may last but the big sister LETTING the little sister do it is another story. (Yeah, I'm a big sister. I know all about that.) I have started having some issues with Madeleine and the "new baby" that I really had expected to see at the beginning that would go away over time. It seems for us though they had to build up. She'll try to push her away from me, or take her off my lap or try to do mean things (thank heavens I've always caught her and they haven't been TOO mean so far). But we've been having all sorts of issues with Madeleine lately. Which breaks my heart. She used to be such a GOOD little girl, so happy and friendly and sweet. Now she's just mean. And can throw a fit like you wouldn't believe. And does! I'm trying really hard to give her some of her very own attention every day but I'm not the greatest mom (some days I wouldn't even say I'm a good mom) and I still get so frustrated and impatient with her, yelling at her and snapping at her and just getting plain angry. It's hard to be patient and consistent when she's throwing such a fit and I've got the baby crying in one arm while trying to deal with the screaming, unreasonable, flailing demon she too often is anymore. I was terrified of the first year with the baby because of the baby, not because of the other child. I had no idea it would be THIS hard. But at the same time, when they're both smiling and we're laughing and playing and being silly, I had no idea it could be THIS rewarding and simply awesome.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Third Month - or - October

Have I mentioned how much I absolutely love this baby?
I slacked for too long and have forgotten most of the things I had wanted to include in this update. It'll be heavy on the pictures.
She started day care this month. She loves it. They love her. I love that they've somehow helped in creating this angel of a child that has replaced the little monster who couldn't be put down without screaming. She is such a happy baby now. Day care has a bouncy seat that moves with her movements, as opposed to the vibrating seats we've had. She loves it. I had decided we needed to just give in and get her one. In some crazy twist of luck, a friend of mine was getting rid of all her baby stuff and happened to have two of the bouncy seats (among many other useful things). I grabbed those right up and life hasn't been the same since. She loves them. She kicks and sets off the lights and music and grins as big as can be, so very proud of herself. It's adorable.
Another part of creating this happy little thing is the fact that she's found her thumb. She can quiet herself down on occasion and that just rocks. I'm not sure how I feel about the thumb-sucking. Sure, it's really stinking cute and serves a great purpose right now but when she's 3 and still sucking her thumb, I don't think it'll be quite as cute. In other words, I'm terrified of how to get her to stop when the time comes.

She had her first Halloween. Madeleine ate Halloween up this year. It was the first year she really "got it" and boy, did she GET IT. She was so excited for it, talked about it for weeks. They did all sorts of Halloween related activities and projects and school and the kid just couldn't get enough of it. She was excited to be Tinkerbell but only after I showed her the costume (I had already bought). She kept talking about being a witch and wanting to be a scary witch. It sounds like the time of me getting to choose what she is is just about up. Hmph.
A side story on that: She kept asking me what I was going to dress up as so one night I told her I would dress up as a bad mom. That stuck in her head for weeks. She was playing with her cousins one day and I was unaware of the conversation they were having at the time but they asked her what she was going to be, she told them, they asked what her mom was going to be, this was when I heard Madeleine mutter something but since I hadn't been paying attention, it meant nothing to me. Then she came up to me and said something else and I wasn't sure what it was she was saying. One of her cousins said, "What are you going to be for Halloween?" I laughed because I then realized what it was Madeleine had said, so I said, "A bad mom." And Madeleine turned around with the biggest nanner-nanner look on her face and said, "SEE! I TOLD YOU!" It was hilarious and adorable. Needless to say, after this Halloween's costume fiasco, I will be dressing up for that kid next year.

The month came and went and was fairly uneventful. We're getting into a bit of a routine, a small bit of a schedule. I still feel like we're drowning in stuff though. Since I have no real time to clean and nowhere to put anything anyway, things end up everywhere since there are two tiny kids with way too much stuff living in a very small space. So once I can get the space we do have cleaned up and un-cluttered, I think life will be great. The girls are awesome, the baby just blows my mind with her complete cuteness and insane smiles. While the three-year old tantrums are nothing I look forward to every day (and we have at least one every day), they're made up for with the adorableness and sweetness she exudes during her good moments.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Holiday Wishes

Mama's Holiday Wish List Meme
 TodaysMama and Provo Craft are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I'm sharing this meme with you.

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year?
·  A treadmill - so I can someday maybe fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes.
·  A Canon Powershot D10 - I've pretty much all but killed the little camera I have
·  A rocking chair for Madeleine's room - I had to steal hers to put in the baby's room and Little Miss Monster is not so happy about that.
·  A huge gift card for groceries and someone else to go buy them for me - I suddenly hate shopping more than anything in the world
·  A peaceful, guilt-free, stress-free holiday season - I know, I'm really funny

2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received?
Most recently, the scarf from my friend in Virginia. It was completely unexpected and is so soft and comfy. I have received a lot of handmade gifts so it's hard to pick an all-time favorite, but the scarf is my favorite of late. Especially now that I have snow at my house already. Ugh!

3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle?
I have an idea for coordinating quilts for the girls. I don't know how to quilt. I barely know how to sew. But I really want to attempt it someday. And someday soon before they both grow out of the interests.

4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child?
I don't remember Christmases as a child very well. I remember the year I got a Cabbage Patch doll - I was so excited. Also, my first CD player when I was a teenager (what? I'm old.). It was beyond unexpected and it was AWESOME!

5. What items are on your kid's wish list this year?
Madeleine and I just had this conversation last night. She wants Santa to bring her a bunny, a bear, and a girl dollie. And "that's all. Just three, Mommy. Nothing else." Wow.

6. What is your favorite holiday food?
Sweet potatoes.

7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays?
I can't answer that here. The people I am hand-crafting for read this :)

8. What is your favorite holiday movie?
I am really emotional about holiday stuff so I actually tend to try to avoid it. Maybe It's a Wonderful Life though. I really like that one.

9. Favorite holiday song?
O Holy Night.

10. Favorite holiday pastime?
I love all the time I get to spend with family at the holidays. I think my very favorite is going to Santa's Workshop the day after Thanksgiving with my sister. That was the hardest part about staying in Virginia for Thanksgiving, I didn't get to go do that with her.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Flower Girl

About a month ago, my brother got married down in Moab. A few of weeks before the wedding, he text messaged me and asked if Madeleine would want to be a flower girl. I responded that if he really wanted a demonic 3-year old who doesn't know how to listen in his wedding, I'm sure she'd love it, but I'd take no responsibility for her demon-ness. Which I wasn't at all worried about, she's an angel for everyone in the world BUT her mother.

We set out on a mission to find a black and white dress. Black and white. The most simple, common color combination IN THE WORLD. Except during September apparently. I looked everywhere, I didn't want something so fancy she couldn't wear it again, I didn't want to spend a fortune, and I didn't want it solid half and half (the top black and the bottom white, or vice versa) - those are boring. After checking every store possible and finding nothing that fit the bill, I hit the internet. Of course. I found a few dresses that met all of my expectations. And none of them were available in the size I needed. So I ordered a size up in the only dress that had one available and figured she could just wear a sweater over it. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a dressy-ish black sweater in September? Harder than finding a black and white dress, I'll tell you!

Turns out, the dress worked perfectly. It was a touch big, but not noticeably. She was so excited to get to be a flower girl in her "fancy dress." We talked endlessly about the job of a flower girl, "drop flowers down a walk way and LISTEN. Listen to what you're told. Do what you're told. Oh - and drop some flowers as you walk down between people. BUT LISTEN!!!" I tried to set her up with some expectation of what she would be doing and she got it pretty well. I was just afraid she'd see all the strange people and freak out a bit. Not at all. She ate it up. I should have figured that. Little diva.

The bride's niece was the other flower girl and they hit it off instantly. All the little kids ran around playing with the flowers and baskets after the ceremony. It was my kid that went around and picked up every flower petal that they dropped. Every single one. That was when they all realized it could be a game, put em in, throw em out. All night long. So it worked out well. She got to wear her fancy dress, throw some flowers on the ground and best of all - she listened to what she was told. Yeah, I'm a little crazy about that...

On a side note, the wedding was wonderful and the reception was perfect. They did a really great job putting everything together. It was outside and the weather was perfect for an evening wedding, perfect time of year. And in all of it, we got an awesome new sister-in-law whom we all adore and look very forward to having in our family. Congratulations Chad and BJ - we love you!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Difference a Year Makes

A year ago today we packed our entire 3,000 square foot house
Put all of our things in boxes
Packed it all in a car trailer, a truck bed, a CUV and a sports car 
And we headed west 
This pretty much sums up how Madeleine and I felt about leaving our home and our friends: 
She adjusted significantly better than I. I'm getting there. A year later.
Just yesterday, a life time ago, maybe just a vivid dream.
Virginia, and our people there, we miss you.
New jobs. New home. New friends. New baby. New life. New dreams. New goals. New perspective. Whole different world.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Second Month - or - September

A monthly update on just one child is a bit more difficult than I had expected. So at the risk of throwing the universe out of alignment, I'm going to change things up a bit. Conveniently for me, (you know she planned it this way) the itty bitty baby chose to be born on the first of the month. So I'll keep doing the "monthly updates" but they will be for the actual month and for both kids, if not the whole family.
The second month, September, was a bit easier than the first. I could finally put her down on occasion without the screaming. She sleeps big chunks of the night - sometimes - and someday she'll do it in her own room! She's at 9 lbs, 8 oz. but seems so much bigger. I spent the month working from home with her, going in to the office for a bit here and there. I would take her in with me, put her in her sling and wear her at my desk and around the office. It worked out very well. She would sleep and I would feel like I was being productive. Everyone in the office thought it was absolutely adorable that she would just curl up and snore-hum while I worked. She was the novelty of the month. Working while at home was not quite as easy. I didn't leave her in the sling so she didn't do a whole lot of sleeping since she would only sleep while held. But I mastered the art of balancing her on my lap, in my arm or on a pillow on my lap while I worked. I also found a new addiction while I was working at home. Our house is so quiet that I would turn the TV on for background noise. My family is always watching NCIS while I am there and there were a few marathons on while I was at home so I'd turn it to that station - turns out it's not so bad. Needless to say, I'm now an NCIS junkie.  
Madeleine was still going to day care those days (hey, if we have to pay for it, she's going!), so it was just the two of us. It was nice. But I was excited to get back to work so that the real world would have some consistency and routine. I loved the time I had at home with her. I could do it for real if that's what was going to be our lives but given that I knew it was temporary and work was back and forth with having to go in at random times, it kind of took its toll. So at the end of the month, I went back to work for real and her Nana came to visit for a couple of weeks to watch her before we put her in day care.
It was amazing how fast the time went. The four weeks of maternity leave flew by in the blink of an eye and then, in one breath, it was like September was over and it had been eight weeks and life had to start again. While it was a little chaotic and annoying running up and down the mountain at random times, it was a nice transition back into the real world. And like I mentioned earlier, the month was easier. She mellowed out a bit and we got the knack of things a little more. Like a semi-predictable feeding and eating schedule, the best way to hold her, how to play with her, how to survive through the night when neither one of us sleeps, how to help the big one get dressed while the little one is eating or being held those kinds of things.
We also discovered a solution to the ear-plugging Madeleine tries to do to drown out her screaming baby sister. In the car, anyway. Our car DVD player came with headphones (she calls them her speakers), so Dan dragged them out and gave them to Madeleine. Now, every time we get in the car, Miss Monster "demands" her speakers be on her head. Hey, it works. One screaming kid is bad enough. Now we just need to figure out a fix for when we're in the house.
I had expected a little more drama from Madeleine in the beginning. It didn't start until the end of this second month. When her Nana got here and started doing things for her that Mommy usually does, I think it occurred to her that Mommy was already not doing nearly as much as she used to and now even less since Nana is helping, so she's been quite the dramatic three-year old with the "I want my Mommy." It may be what I had expected but it certainly is difficult. The feelings of guilt, of frustration, of impatience, of inadequacy, it's hard to cope knowing you're indirectly disappointing your child. And the idea that I am rewarding her with my attention when she just whines and whines drives me absolutely crazy. So I've made a very intentional effort to redirect and try to focus on the positives and the happies and give lots of attention for that before she has the meltdowns. I don't want her learning that misbehaving is the only way to get attention, or the best way. Ha. Good luck, right?
This month has given us lots of firsts - with the baby and as a family. We had her first smile. Which I am putting down for the record books as the weekend we were in Vernal and she was totally flirting with her Uncle Chad. She would grin from ear to ear while he would play with her. He would walk away and she would stop. He would come back and so would the grin. I would say that's pretty deliberate and official. So that was September 12 (yes, that's more for me to be able to remember than for you to care about). And she's been smiling like a crazy person ever since. Seriously, the kid smiles ALL the time. It's adorable. Especially with the dimples.
She went to her first wedding. Stayed in her first hotel room. Took her first "trip" (that wasn't to Vernal). And went to her first National Park. All at the same time. My brother got married in Moab (more on that later - Miss Monster was a flower girl!) so we drove down for the weekend for that. Not only were some of those the first for the baby, they were firsts for Madeleine and I as well. We'd never been to Moab before, we'd never seen any of the arches or anything. That was great to do with my entire family. Madeleine loved it and I had a pretty great time as well. (Not sure about Dan, but he didn't seem completely miserable at any point.) I will post more about that in its own post but I just wanted to note that for Elena, she did pretty stinking awesome on her first trip. I don't count the trips to Vernal because those are just a fact of life, and well, she screams the whole way there every time.
That was another thing we "figured" out - if we want to travel, we have to do it during the day. When we leave for Vernal, it's usually after work on a Friday. Well - that's the time of night she's up and awake and wants interaction and to NOT be stuck in her car seat for three straight hours. So she screams and screams the whole way. We worked it out, traveled to and from Moab during the day and it worked perfectly.
The only other "first" I think is worth mentioning is that she had her first day without Mom during this month. And she was a champ. Much more so than I apparently. I did just fine Madeleine's first day of day care, I went back to work with no problem whatsoever. This time was a little harder. I don't think it helped that in dropping off Madeleine that day, she absolutely melted down and wanted her Mommy worse than ever. That was heart-wrenching given I'd just left the other one for the first time too. But it got better. Kind of. I miss both kids this time around a lot more than I would have imagined. I was always completely comfortable that I worked and Madeleine was in day care all day - she was LEARNING. But now, for some unknown reason, it's harder. I just want the day to end so I can get home to my kids. Even though once I'm home with them, I spend the entire night just trying to get them to quiet down and chill out. I guess you just can't win. That's the story of parenthood. Right?

Monday, October 5, 2009

August 1, 2009

I saw the doctor on Tuesday and he scheduled an induction date for August 6. It was three days before my due date and the way he talked, he expected to see me Thursday morning - not sooner.

I left the doctor's office reading over the information about induction and started to cry. I didn't want to be induced. It was the pitocin. I was scared to death of the pitocin. Why would I want to voluntarily start contractions - and from everything I've heard, pitocin made them stronger and closer together but doesn't always really help labor go any faster. So I was terrified. I went back and forth for a few days about whether or not I would keep the scheduled induction. Friday afternoon I tried to call his office to cancel but they had already closed for the day so it would have to wait until Monday.

Or not.

Our plan for Saturday was that I would take Madeleine up to my sister's house so we could take the kids to the park for a festival. I had promised Madeleine we would get her face painted again after we had to wash her face so quickly after her last painting. We would hang out up there and then Dan would come up later and we would go to a friend's house for a party that night. But there was a glitch. My sister's kids had caught a nasty bout of the flu a couple days prior. I called that morning to see how everyone was feeling and turns out, she caught it and felt like crap. Being nine months pregnant, she could keep her plague to herself. Her oldest step-daughter had caught it the night before. Her oldest step-daughter is the daughter of the friend whose party we were supposed to go to that night. So both pieces of our plan that day were infected with the plague. We chose to stay home. I knew of another festival much closer to home that we could take Madeleine to for her face-painting. Since we had nothing else going on that day now, it would be a perfect, lazy afternoon.

Around 11:00 I started feeling a little... um... ouch? It didn't last long and then went away. But I paid attention. And about every 20 minutes, I'd have about a minute of ouch. They weren't getting worse, everything about them was completely consistent. So I just ignored it. I took it easy for the day, laid on the couch, played with Madeleine, made some lunch - lazy, easy day. I knew if I said anything, Dan wouldn't let us take Madeleine to the park. So I kept my mouth shut and just paid attention. Just in case. Besides, the doctor's instructions were "Head to the hospital when your contractions are 15 minutes apart and last for a minute each." I was at 20 minutes. I had plenty of time - IF they were even the real thing.

Around 2:00 or so, we took Madeleine over to the park for her face painting. We had to park a little ways from the park and walk over. That was fun. But I still said nothing. We made it to the park and found the face painting booth and got in line. Conveniently, two parties after us in line got to hold the "Closing Now" sign for the booth. We'd made it just in time. There were about 5 parties in front of us so we waited in line, taking turns holding Madeleine because she was being a clingy little monster. Contractions and holding a three-year old monster was not a good combination. Especially since my temperature would go up like a million degrees with each one. I think it was then I finally said something. In passing. Like oh no big deal.

Madeleine got her face painted - you guessed it, like a butterfly. And we headed back to the car. Maybe I would have pushed to wander around a bit more any other day. I think maybe that should have been the first clue. But we headed straight for the car. The tightening and pain level were getting a little worse. But they were still 20 minutes apart. So we headed home.
Madeleine fell asleep on the ride home so we had to carry her upstairs and lay a towel on her bed so she wouldn't get face paint everywhere. Once we laid her down though, she woke right up and naptime was gone. That was around 4:30. She and I hung out and played and just took it easy since I was kinda feeling like crap and I finally came clean that these buggers kinda hurt. But that it wasn't time yet. But maybe I should start paying attention and writing them down to keep track. But I didn't.
Between 6:30 and 7 I gave in. I knew I'd be going to the hospital that night - whether I ended up having a baby or not, who knew? I went downstairs and told Dan that if he wanted to have dinner, we'd better have dinner NOW. We'd planned a steak dinner that night and I had been waiting for it for days so there was no way I was going to skip it. So we made dinner. And I started officially timing and writing down. And there was no consistency whatsoever. A 30 second contraction here followed by a 45 second one 5 minutes later followed by a minute one 20 minutes later followed by a 20 second one 2 minutes later followed by 50 second one 15 minutes later. They were all over the place. But I could still talk and I could still walk. Knowing we'd be heading to the hospital and Madeleine's face butterfly being all smeary, I threw her in the bath tub to wash her off. I changed my clothes. I finished grabbing the few last things for my bag. I took a picture. I changed my clothes again. I started a load of laundry. I went and yelled at Madeleine to "Get out of the tub, we don't have time for this!" At which point I went and yelled at Dan that it was time to go NOW. RIGHT NOW! Poor guy. Wasn't ready at all. So while he took a few minutes (a few damn too many minutes, mind you!) getting ready, I took Madeleine out to the car to try to get her in her seat. She of course refused to listen as I'm doubled-over leaning against the car begging her to JUST GET IN. One of our neighbors a few houses down was outside working on his bike - he's an older teenager - and he noticed me and asked if I was okay. "Yeah, just in labor." Given Dan wasn't out there yet and I was still trying to get Madeleine in her seat, he asked if I needed someone to drive me. So nice! But I responded that no, my husband was just being really slow.
Dan gets outside and starts to get in the car at which point I realize we don't have enough gas to get to the hospital. So I mention that - to which he says, "That's not very responsible of you. Something something something" To which I say, (as I walk around the car having a contraction) - and under any other circumstances would never have said - "Now is NOT the time for a lecture!" I just have to take a second and say go me. That took a lot of balls for me to be that blunt and well - honest - for me and I did it. So yae.
As we were getting in the car, I still wasn't sure if I'd get to the hospital and they'd not send me home. I knew there was a possibility we might get there and it not be time (boy, am I a MORON). I just wanted to be sure I made it in time for the epidural at this point already. After I had spent a few weeks telling myself maybe I want to try without, I'll wait until the last possible second before it's too late again, maybe I can go without (again, I'm a MORON).
We head down the mountain, the gas station about 5 minutes down. I very specifically tell Dan to NOT fill the car, just put in enough gas to get us to the hospital. Yes, that's how bad they were. That's how quickly they were coming. So he does. By the time we reach the bottom of the mountain there is no doubt in my mind I would NOT be coming home tonight. I would grab the hand bar and breathe like hell just trying not to scream bloody murder with each contraction. That were no harder and more painful than hell and really close together. To the point that I was not only sure if I'd make it in time for the epidural but that I'd make it to the hospital at all. I was terrified. And poor Madeleine is in the backseat having no idea what was going on. I tried to stay as calm as possible, didn't really work but I think I did a decent job. I was able to calmly tell her that mommy was okay just hurt a lot because baby sister was coming and we're going to the hospital now. I had talked with her quite a bit about it beforehand - so that at least helped me feel better anyway. The hospital drive is about 20 minutes, though it felt like an hour with every light being red, getting stuck behind the slowest, stupidest drivers in the world, and the 8 trillion bumps in the road.
Dan pulled up to the doors (I had NO idea why he wasn't just parking - just get me IN THERE! then realized, less far for me to try to walk, duh) and stopped so I could just get out and go in and he could park the car and get Madeleine. I wasn't even sure if I could walk let alone stand on my own. But I did. I walked in the doors, that were locked because it's after hours and managed to reach the button. As soon as the nurse said, "Can I help you?" a major contraction hit, I doubled over and all I could mutter out was "Labor!" The doors opened and not two seconds later, a nurse flung the doors open from the stair way and grabbed me to help me to the elevator. The questions started immediately, "Which baby is this?" "TWO!" "How far apart?" "I HAVE NO IDEA! NOT FAR!" And the rest are a blur. We got to the second floor and they sat me in a wheelchair and wheeled me to a room that was way too damn far away (three doors down, maybe!) asking questions the whole way.
We got in to the room and that was it. I'd had it. They were too hard. I couldn't keep any remote piece of composure anymore and I would just scream with each contraction. They had to undress me and put the robe on me, I don't even remember getting on the bed. When I had Madeleine, the contractions were nowhere near this bad or close together when they told me if I didn't do the epidural NOW, it would be too late. So I was panicked. I wanted the damn epidural NOW! Pretty sure it took the anesthesiologist 8 hours to get there. All the while me screaming with each one. They'd tried putting an oxygen mask on me but that sent me panicking and I had to make them take it off so I could even think of trying to breathe at all. Finally we figured out that if I just held it in front of my face, it was much better. All I wanted to know was where the hell the epidural was. Dan and Madeleine got in the room and I only lasted a few seconds before I begged someone to please take her out. I couldn't let her see the fear and pain and HOLY TERROR I was in. She cried, wanted to stay with Mommy, and I lost it (as I am even doing now just as I type it) - the tears came. I knew that was it. She wasn't the only one anymore. I was never going to be just hers again and I would never be able to dote on only her. She very hesitantly went out with the nurse, not upset, not screaming but just little, quiet tears as she walked away watching me. Thank God the physical pain was so bad. I could focus on it instead. And it was bad.
FINALLY the drugman showed up. After what seemed like another 800 years (seriously, my last epidural took a matter of seconds, this guy took his time!), I had the drugs and it was just a matter of time before I could survive again. The contractions had been unbelievable. I didn't remember them being so bad the first time around. But then again, I had a little more time to gradually work my way in to the hard ones last time around. These just hit me out of nowhere.
Once the epidural took effect, I was able to let them bring Madeleine back in. So she came in and asked all sorts of questions and talked to me and was so very timid. She was calm and very friendly with the nurses. She was only in there a couple of minutes before they needed to check me again. So I had them send her back out with Dan. I was at a 9 and pretty much ready to go. Just as they were finishing up, Dan brought Madeleine back in to say goodbye because my brother-in-law was there to take her home.
The doctor kept talking to me about breaking my water and having a baby and I kept begging "no!" because the last time my water was broken it hurt like hell AND that meant the pushing part was right around the corner. I had the epidural, life had just gotten tolerable again and now they want to rush me along to the worst part ever??? So the doctor's response was, "Well I can just go home for a while and come back later if you want to wait. Or we can just get it over with already." Oh sure. Put it like that. So they broke my water - which didn't hurt even one bit this time. Wish I would have known that, I wouldn't have wasted the minutes arguing and whining about it! About ten minutes later, it was time to push. He'd asked if I needed the crash course on pushing again and I said yes because "I'm not so good at the pushing part. Well, the not screaming part. I'm really, really bad with the not screaming part." He and the nurse put the fear of God in me about screaming. And after last time, having screamed way too much and taking forever to get that baby out, I think I had it figured out.
After about twenty minutes of pushing, and no screaming!!!!!, a slimy, covered, nasty little beautiful, gorgeous baby girl was placed on my chest, screaming her little lungs out. I wasn't expecting that part. Nobody told me about that part. Last time, they immediately took the baby away, I didn't know that in normal circumstances, that's not what they do. I would have liked to have expected that because it kind of freaked me out. Yes, I quickly got over it and then they wrapped her up and whisked her away. It was 11:11 PM and I had barely been at the hospital for two hours. I was dilated to a 5 when I got there, by the time Dan and Madeleine had come in from parking the car, I was to a 7. It all happened so very quickly that it was a complete blur (which is exactly why I should have written this two months ago!).
I was very worried for the longest time that I wouldn't take to this baby as easily, that it would just be another baby to go the rounds with. I was completely taken aback by how quickly I fell in love with her. I was pretty sure the guilt from adding a sibling for Madeleine was going to make me distant and just go through the motions, I am sure every parent feels that way. I was so relieved that it wasn't that way at all. She was beautiful and adorable and mine and I didn't feel one bit guilty for it at all. (No, that would all come later.)
And since I have waited two months to finally write this up, I can add that Madeleine STILL talks about how "Mommy went to the hospital and breathed (she'll do the breathing here) and had a thing on her face and the doctor and baby sister" .... And it's the cutest story ever told. Maybe I should have just let her tell it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

First Haircut

Little Miss Monster didn't start growing "real" amounts of hair until she was about two. When we left Virginia, she had barely any hair at all. In the year we've been here, it has grown out as if she's Rapunzel's little sister.
But - given that the hair is three years old, you can imagine it's not in top shape. The fussing and screaming over the tangles just got to be too much. She was going to be a flower girl in her uncle's wedding so I figured what better time to get her very first haircut?
I picked her up from day care a little early and took her and the baby to a little salon for kids. We talked about what was going to happen, that a lady would put her in a seat, put a sheet on her and cut just a tiny bit of hair off her hair with scissors. (But that she was never, ever, ever to try to do that herself!!) She was cool with it. She's easy-going like that. We got in and the stylist let her pick her chair. Cute little pink fancy car at the front, red fire engine in the middle or black police car at the back. The pink freak went straight for the police car. (Crossing my fingers it's the only one she's ever in!) 
She wasn't so sure about the drape that was put around her. She was very hesitant when the stylist came over with it. She immediately went from chatty, nosey, overly-friendly to very quiet and reserved. I don't think she said three words while she sat in that chair with the drape around her. 
She sat very still and was very good for the stylist. She - oh wait - she DID talk. They let the kids pick a movie to watch while their hair gets cut and she chose The Incredibles. She spent the whole time asking what the character names were. I don't remember that because I tend to block that out since that's all she ever does when watching anything anymore. "What's his name?" "What's her name?" "What's happening?" But if her stylist - Miss Gina - asked her anything directly, she suddenly forgot how to use her voice. She would very timidly try to nod her head or whisper an answer. Very unlike her. Very cute.  
So anyway - the kid had a lot of hair and was very nice while Miss Gina was cutting it. While she sat perfectly still for her hair cut, I checked out the salon. It was a really cute kid's salon. It offered a lot of hair care products for kids and bows and headbands and whatnots. It had a huge play yard in it and cute seats for the kids to sit in with TVs at each station (what better way to get a kid to hold still, right?). They do "Shirley Temple" manicures and every lady was so very friendly and happy to be there. It was great. They offered First Haircut certificates and each kid got a balloon and sucker on their way out the door.  
We only had her hair trimmed so there really isn't much of a difference in the before and after - especially since it's always pulled up one way or another. But it's much easier to get a comb through it now and that is what really matters!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The First Month

So is it bad that the one month update comes before the birth story? Yeah, probably. But what can yah do?

We've all survived the first month. That's something. It's been a bit different this time around in both good ways and bad. It's not as hard as I remember it, and yet in ways, it's harder. 
On a side note, a few weeks ago, I went back and read my archives from when Madeleine was a baby. I don't keep a journal. I don't scrapbook anymore. All I have is what I've put up on this site. I really need to start posting more. I have forgotten/lost way too much from having not noted it here. I need to work on that. Fix it.

In reading the things I learned last time around, I have realized that a- I forgot a whole damn lot and b- each kid may be different but the experience is incredibly similar. Which, I know, is why so many bits become cliche.
Miss M loves being a big sister and is actually really good at it. She adores her baby sister, is a really good helper, and we've only had the ocassional "please ignore her and pay attention to me" moments. I honeslty expected a lot more of those moments given how spoiled she's been the last three years. But she's awesome with it. So far. My moments of guilt have been no fewer than I had expected though. Every time I have to tell her "No," or "Not right now," or "In a minute," my heart breaks a little bit. She's been a real trooper though and actually seems to understand. That doesn't mean she's fit-free, come on, she's three. But she really is a great big sister. It's quite cute to watch her interact with the baby and say the same things we say to her. Nothing is more adorable than watching a three-year old say, "It's okay, baby sister. It's okay, Mommy will take care of you. Hold on a minute," or while rolling her eyes, saying, "That kid!" She's not a fan of the crying, though. She spends a lot of time with her hands over her ears. There are countless times she has fallen asleep like this:

And now for the baby...finally... She's awesome. If she'd sleep she'd be perfect. Actually, let me correct that - if she'd sleep semi-quietly and on her own. This kid is the noisiest baby ever and not in the cute, cooing, baby way. She sounds like a dying baby goat. And it's not just when she's awake. It's when she's fast asleep too. Makes for really long nights. She has a bad case of acid reflux so that doesn't make things very fun either. She spits up a ton and often but is on medication to make it not hurt her when she does. She also gains weight like mad. She's a little piglet. And with as much that comes back up, I really have no idea how she gains weight but she sure does. She gained over a pound in barely more than a week. She's already over 8 pounds and growing quickly.
I expected this time around to be easier, given we've done it before. It's not, not really. I think the frustrating part is that it's the same things that made last time hard. So when it's the same thing both times, it makes me wonder what I am doing wrong. And it also makes it seem harder given that I've had a shot and I'm blowing it again. But it's also significantly easier in the sense that I KNOW this too shall pass. The screaming, the sleepless nights, the inability to put her down and remain sane, the inability to leave the house in any decent amount of time for any decent length of time - it will all end soon. And since I don't think we'll be doing this again, it makes it seem not all so bad. Which is a good, saving thing. It's much more enjoyable this time around knowing that.
Oh, and I almost forgot, when she smiles really big she has the cutest dimples the world has ever seen. I cannot wait until she can smile for real. The cuteness will kill you.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

8-1-09 Part 1

This picture was taken about 10-15 minutes before I caved and decided to go to the hospital to see if it really was time to have a baby yet:
This picture was taken exactly 3 hours and 1 minute after the first picture (13 minutes after she was born):
And this picture was taken the next day. My two baby girls:

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Glimpse of What's to Come

Ten years from now, I am sure this is about all I will ever see of my kid...
Always gabbin' on one phone or another. At least, for now, they're all fake.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Weekend Fun

Mostly because I really need to bump that last entry down but also because I think this is an adorable picture...
Dan was racing all weekend so we had a girls only weekend and had a ball. Saturday afternoon I took her to a festival in one of the area parks and we got her face painted. She loves that. She was so proud of her butterfly all day. After the park, we went to my sister's house to hang out there for a while and then came back down for a temple open house. Yes, sadly, she had to lose her butterfly much earlier than I am sure she expected. But I promised to find her another festival in a weekend or two and we'd get it done again. After the open house, we went back to the park and watched a fireworks display. She had a very eventful, fun day. To get up Sunday, head out to the race track and have all sorts more fun out in the sun.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


There are not words for what this post should say. I can't talk about it. I can't think about it. I simply can't deal with it. I am an emotional pansy and the first to admit it.

Jordan, our twelve-year old chihuahua, passed away last week. It was completely out of the blue for me and there are so many emotions to go along with it. The worst being guilt. When we put our house on the market in VA, two and a half years ago, they recommended we didn't have animals in the house during showings. Since we worked over an hour away from home, there was no way to run home and get the dogs for each house showing. So we "loaned" them out. And then life just kind of got out from under us. My biggest fear was that something would happen with one of the dogs while we didn't have them and I would never be able to forgive myself for "pawning them off."

While that fear was realized, I have nothing to forgive myself for, she was in a great place with a great person. But that does not eliminate the guilt. *I* should have been with my dog. I will never be okay with the fact that I wasn't. Sure, she was just a dog and it's part of life that they come and go, but she was like our first child - spoiled rotten, always there, she was the first thing - responsibility, life, pet - we had "together" - and from the time she was a puppy.

So it was/is awful.

And then there's the piece of trying to explain it to a 3-year old. How much does she really need to understand, really? She spent the entire day telling anyone with ears that her dog had died. She had questions. I didn't really have answers.

The week before, she was outside playing with a small ball. A ball she's had forever and loved. She lost her grip on it, it rolled down the street and fell into a storm drain. There was no way to get it out so we had to spend the week explaining to her that her ball was gone and she couldn't ever get it back every time she asked and it was often. So that's what I used. That's how I explained the loss of her dog to her. Which isn't going to stick for the same reason I am not still a blubbering mess. It's not 100% present in our lives. We didn't have her when it happened so, really, it's like nothing has changed. Whereas, if we had her, oh man. Life would be upside down for a while and explaining it to a 3-year old would probably be a whole lot harder. She loved that dog and always has nothing but excitement in her when she talks about them or sees them.

I miss my dog. I miss my daughter's dog for my daughter who can't possibly understand and who I'm glad can't really understand. Because I think that would make it even harder than it already is.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Here Be Monsters

I am entering into uncharted territory.
In 30 minutes from now - or, from when I started typing this - I will be pregnant for longer than I was with Miss Monster. 35.5 weeks. And no signs of any kid yet. I'm a little torn about this. Good that I apparently still have a little time to get a little more ready and get things together. But bad because I am so very tired of playing Host and just really want my body back - to be able to breathe, to move, to lay down, to bend over, to SLEEP - hahahaha, I know - who sleeps with a newborn? But that's not the point, to be physically capable of sleep is what I am talking about.

I think I got spoiled not having to do that last month with Madeleine and given she was so early, we've (including my doctors) have been pretty sure this one would be early as well. Not so much. A million other worries came along with this one, but now I'm sure I'm stuck going through this entire, miserable, HOT, awful summer big, fat and pregnant. There have been a few scares along the way - the time in March when I was pretty sure I'd lose the baby. The time at 30 weeks we were pretty worried she was just going to show up out of the blue right then. But after getting through all of that, and getting as ready as I actually am for this one, I think it has kind of jinxed it and I'll, with my luck, end up OVER due. (I know, "there's always something to complain about." And I should just feel lucky there haven't been worse complications and there are so many stories so sad and scary that I should just be grateful. But this is my space and I feel like complaining about how miserable this one has been.) I could have stayed pregnant forever last time around and she came early. This one, I wanted to be done pretty much immediately. And yet...

Time has flown by, really. It was the worst possible timing ever for us to get pregnant but I think it helped us shift focus from a lot of other things going badly because this was just the icing on the cake. And with Madeleine, I never had the chance to actually get "excited." I was too worried about getting ready and making sure everything was perfect that by the time I was getting around to relaxing about it and enjoying it, it was too late - she was here. With this one, I said forget it - I have no control. And now that I am a bit more ready than last time around, there are moments, slight twinges, of excitement. And then complete and total fear that somehow, between week 17 and delivery, she will change to a boy and we will be SCREWED! Not that we wouldn't want a boy (DUH) but uhhh... he'd have a whole lot of pink.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Madeleine was 4 months old her first Halloween. So, of course, I bought her a costume that fit - a 0-6 month costume. It was big and bulky and adorable. See:
Last night, we were working on the baby's room, dragging things out, sorting, organizing, putting things away, you know, the "fun" part of preparing for a baby (ha). One of the things I had in the pile to put back in storage was her lady bug costume. But I didn't get to it before she did. She's three. And it all but fit. Granted, only one of the snaps did up, but hey - it was ON.  
So not a whole lot has changed in three years, right?
If only.
For you, Miss Moo,
This year you left the only place you knew as home, and all of your friends, and drove across the country with Mom to a new life in a completely different world from what you were used to. You've been in love with princesses and dinosaurs and puppies. You lived away from your Dad for four months and spent five months with Mom actually getting to be a mom. You spent weekend after weekend going back and forth from one city to the other, spending just about as much time in the car as in our past life. You've watched more movies than probably most 10-year olds (in and out of the theater) and you've learned to sing and dance and love music. You've gotten to know your families and you adore them all. You've lived in more houses, with more different people than most people ever will in a lifetime. And you got a new house, your "own house," after not having one or any of your things for five months. You've also gained the sass and attitude to outdo most 14-year olds. And you've turned into one of those kids that has tantrums. After the first two years, I admit, I wasn't really expecting that. But you're three now and I am sure there are still plenty more to come.
I hope this past year is the hardest one you have for a very long time. You went through so much change and so much lack of consistency and routine. And yet, you are still such a good little kid. There were times you were my rock and got me through the insanity of it. And really, quite probably the only reason I did make it through the last year. The five months I got to spend being just your mom were, while difficult, the best five months ever. You have such a strong personality and are such a strong-willed, independent little monster that I often have to remind myself to just chill, you're only three.
There are days I feel really guilty we changed your life the way we did. We have such a different lifestyle here, I can't really say we can compare the two. You have so much family here and you have had the chance to spend so much time with them and I tell myself all the time that makes it worth it. To see you interact with your cousins and your grandparents, for a few split seconds, I really believe it. And, I am convinced, it's what we make of that life, for you, that matters. No matter where we are. And no matter where we are, or where we've been, watching it through you and seeing you take everything in and learn so much from it, makes anything worth it.
Welcome to your fourth year of life and may it be much easier - but just as fun and exciting - as the last three.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

And She's Three

Little Miss Monster turned 3 on Sunday. We went to Vernal and had a little party at the park for her on Saturday evening. Given how her last party at the park went (or didn't!), I didn't plan much, I didn't go overboard and I really didn't care nearly as much as I normally would. But why stress when she's not gonna care about anything but getting to run around the park with her cousins all night? And it's a good thing I didn't because that was all she cared about. She didn't even eat her cupcake. She opened her presents and then just wanted to PLAY PLAY PLAY. So that's what we let her do.
We did a "purple flower" theme this year to keep it simple and small. The cake and the favors looked just like the invitations. We had grape koolaid drinks to match. I think I'm really kind of sick of purple for a while now.
I made the cake thinking it was one thing and then when I turned the pan over to get the cake out, realized it wasn't at all the pan I had thought it was. So I had to improvise as there was no way I was going to attempt what I had originally planned. I'm too lazy. But I think it turned out cute (and just fine!) anyway.
Kind of a crap picture of the spread, but there you have it. The swimming pool made a nice wind blocker given I couldn't take the cupcakes out of the container because they would have made a very purple, sticky mess everywhere by being blown around by the stinking wind. At least I expected the wind this year and bowing to it makes it a much less stressful experience. Not one cuss word this time. Really. Just not so great looking presentations. But that's okay! She's three - what does she care?
Can I just mention I HATE when people don't RSVP? When planning a party, it helps to have a small idea of how many you need to plan for. Especially when making individual items. So to make sure there is enough you always end up with WAY too many. People! When you're invited to a party, give some indication if you'll be attending or not! Save the party planner a little stress, would yah? I guess what I am saying is we had WAY too many suckers and that's after throwing multiples at people as they left. But... if everyone would have shown up, then we would have had it just right or maybe not enough. RSVPs aren't hard. Now to step off the soapbox...
She didn't really get why everyone around her was singing. It took her a few seconds to decide she actually kind of enjoyed being the center of attention (I know! *My* kid - what's wrong with her??) and then she ate it all up with a big grin. When she went to blow out the candle there was a convenient burst of wind that did it for her but it was such perfect timing she didn't have a clue. She couldn't have cared less about the cake and was only interested in the cupcake for about a bite and a half. So knowing we were on a limited attention span with the big, fancy park just a few feet away, we jumped into opening gifts.
Here she is supposed to be showing off one of her gifts but she doesn't hold still or pose or cooperate much at all with cameras.
I just have to say I think I have one of the most gracious, grateful 3-year olds (children, quite possibly, at this point - it's so rare anymore) in the world. Once she started opening gifts from other people (Mom doesn't count, don't need to tell her thanks! geeze!), without any prompting whatsoever, she ran around to each person after opening his/her gift and gave them hugs. And she insisted on it. It was adorable and actually made me very proud that she is so kind and thoughtful to realize people are giving her things.
Gifts kept her attention for a few minutes but not for long. I was worried she'd want to get right into a few of the things the whole "open NOW!" child experience. She didn't care at all. She looked at what she got, put it in a pile and moved on to the next gift. And then? It was off to the park not to be seen again for HOURS.

And this picture I just had to throw in there because I think it's absolutely adorable. It only took these two almost two years to become friends but now they are best buddies. And they couldn't be any cuter.
Happy birthday, little monster. You've made the last three years fly by, thanks for helping me to love every minute of it no matter how good or bad it was!
(Thanks to "Uncle Marker" for getting some really great pictures!)