Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Plan 2010

Well, 2010 is almost over. One of the things I did at this time last year was set some goals and things that I wanted to do.  Overall, I have to say that this year was not as full of kids being sick and not as many feelings of being overwhelmed.  However, it was still very stressful and hectic.  I'm not sure that there are any goals other than "teach kids to feed, bathe, and dress themselves" that would help with the craziness.

One of the biggest changes was the health of the kids.  Last year they were both so sick.  This picture pretty much says it all:

This year, they were both healthier and enjoyed the holiday much more, I think.


Part of The Plan is to look at your goals throughout the year and see how far you've come OR decide whether your goals were even realistic.  Some of mine were not, I think.

Physical Health
I only really did one thing which was lose the weight. The rest were either never done or I started and didn't keep up.
 - lose and keep off the rest of the baby weight

 - Take vitamins!
 - Become more active
 - Yoga
 - Finish dental work that I've been putting off
 - Follow-up with breast surgeon

Mental Well Being
To a degree I did all of these things. The one I found to be the hardest was connecting with people. I have come to think that maybe my alone time has become more precious to me.
 - Ask for help when I need it (laundry, dishes, general tasks)
 - Simplify (Throw things AWAY)
 - Read
 - Make more of an effort to connect with people

The weekend never happened because of money and vacation time. I would really like to do something like that, someday, but I think that it will have to wait until I finish grad school I don't have a good grasp of this category. I would like to say I was a better friend, but a big part of me feels like this was a year where I hunkered down and went into self-preservation mode. M and I did get out more that we had previously and we did find a babysitter, although we never actually used her.  So, I think this category was sort of a draw.

 - 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

 I'm doing this again in 2011 and will post about it soon.  I would love it if you joined me.  It has been a great source of reflection for me and I point to which I could return if I needed to revisit some of my goals for the year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Little Humbug


I don't know what it is, but I just can't get into Christmas this year.  It's not like anything is really wrong.  I still have my job, the kids are fine, and M still has his job.  Compared to a lot of families in the space community, we're doing pretty good.  Still, I just don't have that happiness that I usually do during Christmas.  My shopping has been non-existent and I'm not even sure we're going to do cards this year, which has been a real sore point between me and M.

I really thought that 2010 was going to be the best year yet, and in many ways it's been one of the hardest.  I feel like I struggle to balance everything going on much more than I did at this time last year.  Many of the things that are stressful are temporary, namely school, but my job is always on my mind, as are money and time.  How did I let it get away from me?  I know I need to make some changes and, despite my resolutions to share some responsibilities, I have taken on most of the household chores and child rearing responsibilities again.  So, I am going to fix that.

I only have to work two days next week and then we leave for my hometown on Wednesday.  I think I just need a damn break, but Christmas isn;t always the best time for that.  I'm still worried about my mom, but it will be nice to have everyone together.  I hope something kicks in because this humbug feeling isn't fun.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

18 Months

 Eighteen months ago E joined our family, and I can hardly believe the little baby has turned into the smart ball of energy we know today.  She loves to run, laugh, sing, and play.  Luckily, she still loves snuggling, too.  She's big (93% height and 94% for weight) and that makes for some interesting wrestling matches with L.  He's so gentle with her, but we often hear "Mom, help!" when E pins him to the ground. They are great friends and play together a lot.  Seeing them interact has made that first difficult year worth it.  They will always be friends and they will always have each other.  I am very grateful for that.

She says more words every day.  Just this morning she pointed to her space place mat and was trying to say astronaut.  It's wonderful that she will never know a world without female astronauts.  She likes eating dinner at her little table with a big girl cup and uses all of her utensils.  It's like my baby has been replaced with a little girl.  I love seeing her grow up, but there is a bittersweetness to it, for sure. 

With the good news that E is thriving, we also welcomed news that my mom's heart condition was not critical.  She has a slight narrowing of the valve, but it doesn't need to be replaced, yet.  She is tired and will need to be monitored, but I think that maybe this was the wake up call that we all needed.  Life is too crazy and this time of year can make it even worse.  My mom opted not to make her annual pecan brittle and I was really glad that she chose her health instead of the idea that she has to "do it all".  I should probably take a lesson from that. 

We have each other and a lot of love.  It's good to remember to relax and enjoy it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


My dad very rarely calls me, so when I saw his number on my cell phone at 2pm, I had this really bad feeling.  He called to tell me that my mom was in the hospital.  Apparently, she has had a heart murmur that she never told my brother and I about and after feeling faint this morning, she went to the doctor.  The doctor sent her straight to the hospital.  I was able t get very little information from my dad and he was already at home. When I asked him if he was planning on going back to sit with my mom, he said "No, she doesn't want o be fussed over."  So what???  Ignore her!  I do it all the time.  Go anyway.  He's a practical Midwesterner to the core and if you tell him not to come back, he won't.  I called my brother and gave him some instructions.  Seeing as I have spent the most time in hospitals of all of my family, I told him to bring her a bathrobe, comfy socks and a pillow.  He said he would.  I hung up with my brother and called M.  We agreed that we would skip the company Christmas party this weekend and go to my hometown to stay with my parents.  They were scheduled to come to Houston and babysit so we could attend the party, but I am not comfortable with that.  I think my mom is more likely to rest in her own home (she is always trying to clean and do laundry at ours) and seeing the kids will cheer her up a lot. 

When I spoke with my mom she sounded good and apologized, of course, because moms are not supposed to get sick, right?  I asked her questions and got a lot more information from her.  She said that she was going to tell us about the murmur, but just hadn't yet (grrrr) and had been seeing a cardiologist about it.  They told her to come in with any symptoms, so I am really glad that she listened and went in this morning.  They think she has Aortic Stenosis and will be doing a dye test to see if there is any blockage.  Her EKG and Echo came back ok, and they know her general heart function is good.

This is all very scary.  Being 3 hours away makes it worse.  I am so glad that my brother is in town and can help and be my eyes and ears.  My fear is that they won't ask questions, or, if they do, they won't ask the right questions.  I am a big believer in making the doctor interact and tell you what is going on.  My experience with specialists is that they would rather throw a bunch of medical terms at you and leave out the explanation.  As of right now, I am going to stay put unless they find something they don't like in the tests.  Otherwise, we are taking off on Friday afternoon and visiting for the weekend.  My mom sounded really happy about that. 

I've seen others go through this, but watching your own parents get older and dealing with the reality that they won't be around forever is hard.  Intellectually, you know that they can't live forever, but facing the reality of that is much harder than I imagined. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Flashback Friday

I started thinking about my old blog yesterday, and I realized that it is a good way to look back and see what was happening this time two or three years ago.  It's a little strange reading the old posts, especially the ones written before L arrived.  I was a totally different, better rested person back then.

Three years ago I talked about the surreal feeling of going from wishing I was pregnant to being in my last trimester:

It dawned on me when we walked into our first prenatal class on Wednesday that I am just days away from being in my last trimester. This morning when I was putting on my make-up I found the first pregnancy test I took with the + in the little window. I don't think it's something I will put in the baby book, but I just can't bear to throw it away. On that morning when I first stared in disbelief at that piece of plastic, nine months seemed so far away. I couldn't even imagine what I would look like with a large belly or how it would feel walking through the park with a stroller. It was beyond my imagination. Now, we're pricing cribs and registering for shower gifts and I'm wondering if I can come back to work part-time for a while.

I don't want to loose touch with the scared person that I was. I don't want to forget what it felt like have that outside looking in feeling. If I forget, then I might not appreciate what I have, and I do appreciate it. More than anything. As plans become more concrete and the realness of this situation sinks in, I have a lot of fears. I am not afraid of labor or delivery, I am afraid of what happens after that. I could tell you every hormone that is running through my veins right now and what is going on with the baby's development, but what's next? When the baby is finally here, will I measure up?

Is it ok to be afraid of something that you have wanted so badly for so long?

Two years ago I was pregnant with E and feeling really sick.  Then there was this little incident:

Yesterday, I got a call from daycare telling me that L fell and bumped his head. "It's a pretty big lump - maybe you should come and look at it." Being obsessive, first-time parents, M and I both went (we work very close to daycare) and it was a pretty big lump with a little scratch. He was standing on the other side of the exer-saucer and fell and bumped his head on the room divider. He has much more strength than coordination these days, so I wasn't surprised. It was the afternoon and he was so happy to see us that we took him home and played with him for the rest of the day for "observation".

Ha!  You can tell he was our first because it would have to be pretty serious before we would rush over to daycare nowadays.

One year ago I was frustrated because we didn't know when we were going to move and there were too many boxes and no room for a tree.  Well, this year we definitely have a tree and things are much more cheery.   It's fun to look back and I think it serves as a good reminder that things really do progress and move on.  It's hard when you are mired in the struggle of everyday to remember that, for better or for worse, things change and so do you.  I like to think that the change is for the better.