2009 was a year of extremes. On the high end we had the birth of E. On the low and stressful end, we house hunted, tried unsuccessfully to buy one home and ended up buying another. We are still not moved in. We struggled to keep up with 2 under 2, work, school, health and all of the million little things that make up life. I feel like I haven't had time to catch my breath this year. About a week ago, I decided that there has to be a better way. I am a lucky person. I have two beautiful children, a house, a job and a lot to be thankful for. This point in my life will be stressful, but why is it this stressful? Is there any way I can improve the quality of my life? I decided that I needed a plan. These are not resolutions, mind you, but ways I can make myself more mindful of the three areas in my life that seem to need attention at the moment. In each category I have some general goals that I want to strive towards as the year progresses. Will I accomplish everything? Maybe not, but I will certainly try and I think the effort itself will have a positive outcome.
My question is, would you like to join me? Do you feel the need for a better plan in 2010? You can use my general categories with your own goals or make up a whole new system for yourself. It would be great to have others to check in with and encourage. All it takes is some thinking and one post per month. So, what do you say? My plan is listed below:
- lose and keep off the rest of the baby weight
- Take vitamins!
- Become more active
- Finish dental work that I've been putting off
- Follow-up with breast surgeon
Mental Well Being
- Ask for help when I need it (laundry, dishes, general tasks)
- Simplify (Throw things AWAY)
- Make more of an effort to connect with people
Self-Improvement - Save more, waste less
- Plan a weekend get-a-way with girlfriends
- Make an effort to spend more alone time with M
- Find a babysitter other than my parents
- Complain less
- Become a better friend
- Become a better writer
- Become a better photographer
Ah, Christmas. It was a really good Christmas this year. Interwoven with the family time and eating (ugh, so much eating) was our own little health drama. M stayed home with both kids Monday and Tuesday because daycare was closed for the week. This was fine since we were leaving for my home town on Wednesday. It was also a good thing because we discovered the week before that L had a terrible ear infection and pink eye. We found out by accident when M took him in to check to his never ending cough. So, with both kids on antibiotics along with my own visit to urgent care over the weekend for pink eye and an ear infection, I thought that we were finally on the mend. Then, M got sick and E's cough got worse. Poor M looked after L for a few hours while I took E in again. She was tested for RSV because of a little wheezing. Thankfully, the test was negative, but I was told that since she's already on antibiotics it was probably viral and there wasn't much that could be done. I could give benedryl and try to keep her upright. As a precaution, I was given scrips for some Xopenex, Pulmacourt and a nebulizer. (Those are actually the same things I take for my asthma).
We managed to get everyone well enough to travel a few hours west and made it to B-Town. I was glad to be home and L was thrilled to be able to run around after being cooped up all weekend. Poor E was miserable. The nights were full of coughing fits and crying when she would wake herself up. M sat with her for hours in the rocker since she hated sleeping in the car seat. Thank goodness we were with my parents. My mother took E in the morning so I could go back to sleep and M would nap in the afternoon. My brother and Dad did a great job making sure that L was looked after. I finally decided to break out the neb and started E on twice daily treatments. Her cough has gotten better, although I still have her in the car seat at night. We aren't often sick, and this is the first family wide sickness, so I found the whole experience very stressful. Despite all of that, though, Christmas was wonderful.
Everyone enjoyed the visit and helped out with the kids so much. L and E got a lot of toys and a lot of cuddle time with the family. We ate food, drank wine, and watched TV. The kids even napped at the same time!
Of course, M and I are both utterly exhausted, but I think (hope) that everyone is actually on the mend now.
I hope that your holiday was healthy, happy, and uplifting. As I prepare to say goodbye to 2009, I am working on a new plan for 2010. I hope you'll come back to read about it. I am very excited!
Six months ago you joined us in the "outside" world. I can hardly believe how much you have changed. I have to admit, when I found out I was pregnant, I was very surprised and a little afraid of the chaos that would ensue with two kids so close in age. I was right about the chaos, but I can't imagine our family being complete without you.
You love to smile and have started to make a lot of sounds. I think you're going to be very chatty! You are sitting up very well and love to see the world from this new perspective. You aren't quite crawling yet, but you can definitely move when you're on your tummy. I'm sure that crawling is just around the corner. You love to eat your cereal and you seem to be equally fond of fruits and vegetables.
You and your brother are best friends. You love to laugh at his antics and you already laugh at him when he falls down and bumps his head. (We'll talk about that one later). He tries to comfort you when you get fussy and you even hold hands on the way home from daycare.
You are a happy, beautiful, and smart girl. I can't wait to see what the future holds for you!
I love the holiday season, but I'm having hard time getting into the spirit of things this year. Last year, I was pregnant and just beginning to show. This year I'm still trying to suck in my stomach, but for different reasons. I can probably attribute my lack of Christmas enthusiasm to the upheaval that continues to rule our daily lives. We still haven't moved. Everything is taking longer than I thought it would. We thought we would be in the new house by Thanksgiving, but that didn't happen. Now I'm afraid that we won't even make Christmas. We still need flooring in the new place and I haven't even begun to pack in fear that boxes will make an already crowded house even worse. No space means no tree or decorations, which makes me kind of sad. It's probably a good idea with a 21 month old in the house, though. I know that L will have no memory of this, but I always like things to look like Christmas.
Despite the frustrations, I can't say that life is so terrible. Thanksgiving was good, despite the cramped quarters. L was in heaven with my brother around and I just love seeing him play with his uncle.
E has started eating cereal and I think we'll soon start vegetables. I can't believe how quickly she's growing.
Last year, I asked everyone if they were going to cut back for the holidays. It doesn't seem that the economy has gotten much better and cutting back has become a way of life. Is that true for you? Are you going to cut back even further? If so, I'd love to hear how. The tip I recently learned from Darcie is to start reading the Walgreensflyer. I got almost $30 worth of free stuff on Sunday and I can't wait to go back! Where is your favorite place to save?
We live by our routines. Some families have fluid bedtimes and love to go with the flow, but not us. We eat, sleep and play at the same time every weekday. There is comfort in a predictable routine. It's comforting for the kids and it gives the grow-ups something to look forward to: quiet time. When we get home from daycare the routine ends up being almost as hurried as the one in the morning. Dinner for L (whatever we can talk him into eating), family play time, baths and then both kids get milk/bottles and fall asleep. L hops off of his dad's lap, blows me a kiss and goes to his crib. For a few minutes I am alone with E.
As I was rocking E to sleep last night, I had one of those rare moments when you know, you just know, that this will be remembered. Perhaps I will be rocking my grandchild to sleep and I will look down, think of that moment, and say to myself, "It seems like just yesterday I was rocking E."
Already, I look back at photos of her as a newborn and feel a knot in my stomach. Perhaps because know she is my last child or maybe because after having one baby, you realize just how quickly they grow up. Whatever the reason, I wish I could somehow record all of it as a feeling. I would be a billionaire if I developed a pill that recreated the feeling you have when you rock your child to sleep. Since I'm not smart enough and far too tired to do that, I'll just try to appreciate L and E as they are every night. I will try to remember their clean little faces and chubby feet. I let thousands of moments pass me by every day. Life is too busy and too exhausting to remember or appreciate them all. I try to take bedtime and make it a designated time for appreciation. I'm not always successful, but when I am, those moments are more precious to me than anything in the world.
I consider myself a fortunate person. Sure, life is frustrating, sometimes. The mornings are insane and I am always exhausted, but when I look over and see two happy and healthy children I know that I am lucky. L and E were both born as healthy, full-term babies. I got to hold them less than an hour after they were born and they stayed with me while I was in the hospital. That may not seem like anything out of the ordinary, but to many parents it is.
Every year 20 million babies are born prematurely. In the U.S. we are lucky to have hospitals that can, for the most part, handle the special needs of preemies. In many places, this is not the case. In many places, being born too soon is a death sentence. Survival often means lifelong health problems and disabilities. I am not the mother of a preemie and I have never been inside a NICU, but I know many mothers who have gone through that agony. I decided to join this blog campaign because I want everyone to have the wonderful experiences I have. I want everyone to stress about getting to daycare on time and not about whether the next cold will put their child in the hospital. I have listed a few organizations that have worked tirelessly to educate and help families experiencing premature birth.
The March of Dimes raises awareness about premature birth and provides information to expecting mothers about ways to prevent preemie births.
November is prematurity awareness month and November 17th is the official Fight for Preemies. Did you/do you have a preemie? If you want to share your story, please leave a few lines or link to your own blog post and tell me about your baby. When people visit this blog as a part of the campaign, they will see your story. The more we can spread awareness, the better prevention and care we can demand for mothers and children.
I love to cook. Our current kitchen has become too full of toddler/baby items to make it work, but in the new house I will have plenty of room to indulge. As a child I was not a picky eater. The same things I hated as a kid (most fish, cilantro and liver) are things that I hate to this day. I think my mother is still waiting for me to develop a taste for fish. Sorry, Mom. When I met M he told me stories of his picky eating. I chuckled at tales of his lunches being the same for years and a diet that consisted of grilled cheese and hot dogs because he would not eat anything else. After all, we regularly enjoy sushi, Indian Food, Vietnamese food, etc.. He obviously grew out of it, right? I just assumed that my children would eat what was put in front of them. I was wrong. So very wrong.
Luke was a late teether (first tooth at 9 months, top teeth at 13 months) and I was paranoid about giving him certain foods because I was afraid he would choke. I don't know where this obsession with choking came from, but I have spent hours cutting things in to small bits and I didn't introduce a wide variety of foods to him at an early age. I used to blame his extreme finickiness on my paranoia and late teething. It made sense. No teeth + crazy mom = a toddler who won't eat ANYTHING. Well, maybe it isn't me, after all. I recently came across this article in The New York Times. So, along with L's stubborn Polish personality, I can also blame M for his picky eating, right?
In all seriousness, it is driving me crazy. I feel trapped by my lack of time to dedicate to this problem. I think about it and then time runs out and it's 5:30, we're just getting home and L is starving. I have tried putting cheese on everything, making it colder/hotter/lesslumpy/morelumpy......you name it, I've tried it. I have written about his before and I tried many of your suggestions. At the time, I thought that by the age of 2o months we would be in a better place with this. Unfortunately, the upheaval of E's birth and a move in the near future has distracted me. I have had more than one person suggest fast food, because who doesn't love fast food, right? That's totally cool for some people, but it isn't how we roll. I don't expect to keep him from fast food, but I'm not really willing to go there right now. So I am going to lay it out for you, because I need help, internets!
L will eat: grapes, bananas, spinach with Mozzarella cheese, rice&cheese, rice&beans, baked beans, roasted turkey, ravioli. The foods I just listed are subject to sudden rejection without warning. L has recently rejected the baked beans. He will not eat veggies, except for the spinach.
I have not really explored the veggie puree thing, but I think it has come to that point. I know that he isn't going to starve or be scarred for life by this. He takes his vitamins and is a healthy, active kid. My concern is partly nutritional but it's also a matter of convenience. We can't just go to a friends house for dinner or even out as a family without stress about bringing food that L will eat. So, should I just give up or should I try to fight genetics and make this kid eat some green things if it kills me??
I don't really remember when I started reading Heather's blog. She had a cute and hilarious baby who was three months older than Luke and her posts were both funny and touching. I had a post in mind today that ended up being a big fucking downer. Even though I don't know the Spohrs, I gather that they would like Maddie's life to be celebrated - especially today.
Maddie was a joy to read about. I loved watching the movies and reading the posts about her. It seems odd to look forward to seeing photos of a stranger's child, but I think that those of you that read Heather's blog understand. (If you've never read her blog, this is one of my favorite posts and I think it speaks to Mike, Heather and Maddie's strength as a family.)
Today I celebrate Maddie Spohr. She would have turned two in a blaze of glory, I'm sure. We miss you and your smiles, Maddie! To paraphrase (re-write) something that Matt once wrote:
It was nice day, a day Maddie would have loved. She's not here, so we loved it for her.
As E's refusal to sleep through the night enters it's fifth month, I am finding it harder and harder to power through the sleep deprivation. There have been mornings when the sound of the alarm clock actually brought tears to my eyes. When I finally drag myself out of bed it is a wild whirlwind of activity as M feeds L his oatmeal, I take care of the baby, M takes his shower and leaves for work and I turn on Curious George so that L is occupied while I slap on some make-up and try to put together an outfit that doesn't make it look like I just crawled out of bed. I have to write everything down at work or else I will forget. I have forgotten and, as a result, been late for two meetings this week. I am no longer fun to be around, not that I go out. If I did, I would be grumpy and probably have mascara on my cheeks from rubbing my eyes. Most evenings I make dinner, eat dinner, do laundry/dishes and then go to bed. M helps, he really does, but sometimes just doing it yourself is easier than telling someone how to do it. I had to ask myself this question: in my quest to be the modern, do-everything-working-mom, have I screwed myself out of getting help from others? Have I locked myself into such a tight schedule and routine that it's difficult to stop and let someone else lend a hand? Will it really, really matter if M picks out E's clothes instead of me???
I knew that I had gotten into a bad pattern when I caught myself stress eating. I never stress eat. I have been known to stress shop, although that has stopped since we're watching our pennies these days. I have been known to bite my nails or make irrational decisions about my hair style, but never stress eat. Without even thinking about it, I ate a box of chocolates that a co-worker was selling as a fundraiser for some little league team. I have been working so hard to lose my pregnancy weight and have made really good strides as I am now only 10 lbs away from my goal and this new hobby of mine could ruin everything. How did I let it get so bad?
Every time you open up a women's magazine you see all of these stress relief tips. You can meditate, count to 10, make a list, breathe a scent, etc.. I only know one person who actually practices meditation to ease stress. One. The rest of us are either ignoring the advice or reading the article while eating fundraising chocolates.
I know I'm not alone and I know that my problems are not special or real problems, for that matter, but I miss who I was. I want my brain back. I want my ability to form a coherent thought back. I need to figure out a way to rise above this and maintain at least a little bit of sanity so that my family won't disown me.
So, what do you do when you are stressed? I mean, what do you really do?
You know the kind of week where everything is taken over by sickness? We were there last week. After dropping off a seemingly healthy L at daycare, I got a call that he was running a temp of 102.5 I was bummed, not just because of the sickness, but because he was due to have his regular flu shot the next day. We took him in, anyway, in the hopes of talking Dr. I into a shot, but one look in his ears and it was a diagnosis of an ear infection. I hate it when the kids get sick because they so rarely do (knock on wood) and I feel like I'm out of my element. As any good 21st century parent would do, I turned to my Twitter friends to help me figure out such things as Tylenol dosage and Motrin use. What did I do before Twitter? I shudder to think.
Besides the stress of having a sick and cranky 20 month old to take care of, there was the stress of who would take off of work. Normally, we rotate or M, who always has more leave, takes the day off. When one day became almost all week, things started to get a little more complicated. What do working couples with habitually sick kids do? How do you avoid the "whose career is more important" showdown? Everything ended up being ok, but I admit that I felt self-conscience coming and going from work. Especially since I am the only one in my department with young kids. I realize that they can't penalize me for a sick child (I work in HR) but the Type-A achiever in me wants to be there 100% for everyone 100% of the time. If I didn't know it before, I certainly know now: that just isn't possible. The ear infection was viral and L finally went back on Friday.
It was a relief to sit at my desk this morning and know that L and E were both happy and healthy at daycare. E passed her 4 month exam with flying colors and weighed in at 17.5lbs and is 25inches long. Whoa. Thankfully, E never got sick (again with the wood knocking) and I am hoping that it will stay that way.
Welcome to my new home. It's weird being here after 2 1/2 years at my other blog, but I view this as a good move. Sometimes it's good to start anew with a fresh outlook. When I read the first entries at the other site it's like I'm reading about a completely different person. That Miss K probably would not relate to the Miss K who is typing very quickly before L wakes up from his Tylenol induced nap. (He's home with an ear infection). Through this blog I've come in contact with mothers and future mothers from all walks of life and in all stages of parenting. Since I started the other blog as a way to reach out when I couldn't get pregnant, I felt that maybe I could morph it into something else. Instead, I have found a new place to write about my day to day struggles/triumphs/neurosis. Thank you so much for coming over and for reading. I have grown very attached to my small group of readers and it means a lot that you would join me here.
If you are wondering about my awesome new header, it was done by my very talented friend, Teal. She is available to do blog headers and if you would like to hire her, you can click on the Blissful Body Yoga icon on the right. You won't be disappointed!