December 31, 2013

A New Year

Today is New Years Eve. I actually started working on this post well before Christmas, because I've been thinking heavily about what our new year will bring to both me & my family as well as the things that I want to accomplish. My list isn't actually very long & I suck at keeping any sort of resolution so I am avoiding that this year all together.

In reality, it's more of a reflection of where I want to be & what I want to do. Plans for what kind of person I want to be, things I want to improve on personally, and things I want to leave behind. I took 2013 pretty seriously in some personal goals -- some I achieved, some I failed -- but I want to do the same in 2014. Like I said, not as much of a list as just a general sense of feeling like I accomplished something or became a better person when this coming year ends.

Obviously, a new baby for our family will start the year off with a bang. As I am typing this, he is moving & shifting inside me, and I already find myself growing nostalgic for those moments. This is it. No more babies for us. Ending the year pregnant & hopefully starting the new year with a little one in our arms again. So there's that. I don't need to discuss the magnitude that this holds over our heads and hearts. This is, without a doubt, the largest change that will come my way this coming year, and while I am excited about what will happen, I'm also completely terrified of the same thing. I know we will make the best of it.

I also want to grow a thicker skin. I have a tendency to care too much what other people think about me. It's a HORRIBLE self-esteem issue that I have always carried with me, but this year (finally, at 33 years old!) I'm working on letting it go. I've made some cuts this past year of those who were not supportive in any aspect of my life, or who were just there, getting glimpses of what was happening without truly caring. It's frustrating to spend so much time worrying about the well-being of others when they don't share the same sentiment, and I am tired of getting my feelings hurt because those that I was reaching out to were instead being just plain awful in return. And you know what? Getting rid of them feels good. A weight off my shoulders. Knowing that there is only good in my life now is a great feeling, and I'm happy to carry that into 2014.

Along with that, I'm working to surround myself with more positive people. I can only handle the Debbie Downer attitudes for so long. I've met some wonderful people this second half of the year and built some great relationships. I need positivity and happiness in my life, especially with all the changes coming our way. I want to surround myself with good, not negative. It doesn't mean I care any less about what is happening in close friends lives, and lord knows we all have our bad days, but as someone who is working to be a more positive person overall, I need to surround myself with the same. Most of the people cut from my life this past year were some of the most negative people I have ever met, who seemed unable to find the good in their lives, even though everybody else could see it. People who couldn't appreciate even the smallest GOOD thing happening to them. 

Aside from personal feelings & such (I know, I know), we have a very big move happening this year. I haven't mentioned where yet because I don't want to jinx it, but I have mentioned it in small doses here or there in other places. It's big. Huge. Monumental. A move that is going to provide our family with adventures that most people only dream of. As soon as thing are a little more official (hopefully in the next week or two), I will be shouting it from the rooftops, but there is so much excitement in our family about the opportunities that will be provided to us in our new location. All I can say is that the trade off for not going to Georgia has been very, very good. I cannot WAIT to share all the new adventures that we will be taking part of. I promise you won't want to miss it.

Allllll of that aside, personal feelings and positivity and all the zen feelings in the world, there are of course other things I want to focus on.  More drawing. More photography. Better myself at both. More time with me and my husband alone, without kids in tow. Decluttering of our house and living a more minimalist lifestyle. Better financial budgeting for our family. More time for MYSELF so that I don't lose who I am and what I want to do. And overall, being HAPPIER with the choices that I have made in my life.

There definitely isn't a manual on how to achieve all of these, but lord knows I'm going to try my hardest. All in all, I just want to be a better, happier person who surrounds herself with happier people, who challenge me, push me, love life and appreciate the things that have been given and provided for them. Less negativity. More awesomness.

Happy New Year, friends!

December 30, 2013

38 + 4

The home stretch. That is where we are at. As of today, we are at 38 weeks, 4 days.

Truth be told, I'm nervous & slightly terrified. Excited, yes, but also just a whole bundle of nerves. Braxton Hicks contractions have been regular and pretty frequent, and things seem to progressing on their own which never really  happened with Lucas. So I know this is going to be difference. I HOPE it's different. But with that comes that unknowing.

I'm officially ready for this sweet baby to come. I am uncomfortable in pretty much all positions, not really sleeping, peeing 10 times a night and generally just ready to get this show on the road. I don't know how much more preparing we can do (although I keep finding things) and when the time comes, it's going to be a frantic dash regardless.  Unless I go two weeks late, which good lord, I hope is not the case.

My mental state has gotten a little chaotic. Essentially, all I do is clean. If one thing is out of place, I freak out. I don't want to come home to a messy house, already being behind on household chores, so I've gotten a little crazy about being organized. I wouldn't call it nesting ... just a general sense of crazy. I can admit that!

With all of that said, I don't really have much more to report. We just wait, and every day wonder if today will be the day that this sweet baby comes. Friends are lined up & on standby. Bags are packed. Hospital registration is taken care of. It's just a matter of time.

Hopefully sooner rather than later.

December 18, 2013

Salt Dough Ornaments

In an effort to do more things with the kiddo in the coming weeks, I snagged an idea from another friend & decided to make some salt dough ornaments for Lucas to paint. And, because one batch of dough makes more ornaments than he would have needed, we decided to invite some friends over!

Because nothing is more fun than watching toddlers try to paint, amiright? (Insert sarcasm here!)

The recipe was pretty simple:
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 (ish -- give or take) cup of water 
Combine the salt and the flour together, and add water little by little until the dough is well mixed but not sticky. If you feel like it's too sticky, or you added too much water, add a little more flour. The consistency doesn't have to be equally half & half but don't go crazy!

Then, roll it out, bust out your favorite holiday cookie cutters, and go to town! Because we are making ornaments, I used a straw to make a hole for ribbon when all was said and done. You want to bake these on a LOW temperature for a long amount of time; I cooked mine on 200 degrees for 3 1/2 hours. At three hours I pulled them out to check, and the back sides were just a tad soft in the middle so I flipped & cooked for another 30 minutes. When they were done, I put them on some cooling racks & they were perfect!


My girlfriends came over & we busted out the paints for the three little ones to have some fun with. I have to say, it was a blast. The kids enjoyed themselves & played well together after they were finished. For me, it was one of the best mornings I've had in a long time. With so many of our friends having moved away this past year, my inner circle has shrunk significantly, and with not working my adult interaction is typically limited to my husband and my husband alone. I love the guy, but sometimes you just need some time with the girls. It was nice to chat with some other moms about absolutely nothing and just enjoy the company.

And the kids truly did have a great time, which was the whole purpose of the morning! Lucas loves to finger paint, but had never used paint brushes before. As a wannabe artist, I have to say I was proud at how quick he took to it. Like a fish in water! We painted quite a few, and  may have to send one or two off to grandparents for their trees next year. But it was truly a great morning. A super easy craft that took no time at all to prepare for paired with great company -- what more can you ask for?!


December 16, 2013

Last Moments

A couple of nights ago, Lucas woke up around 1:30/2:00 in the morning with a seriously wet diaper. Well, he never fully woke up, but after about 45 minutes of random fussing, I finally went in to check on him. I reached under him to do a quick feel & he was soaked. At first I thought from sweat, because we had him some fleece footie pajamas, but nope -- wet diaper. Something that hasn't happened in over a year.

Cue quick diaper change, pajama change and some rocking in the glider to get him back to sleep. New pajamas, a blanket, his head resting on my arm & his arms tucked into all the right places, in an instant I was completely overwhelmed with just how BIG my baby had gotten. Where did the time go? As I was rocking him, I could feel new baby kicking away, awake and alert, and I thought to myself, this is all going to change so quick.

I love rocking Lucas to sleep. We don't do it so much anymore, because it's not as needed. Nor does he really want it at night before bed like he used to. Our nighttime routine has gone from rocking for a while to straight into the bedroom & into the crib, otherwise he thinks it's playtime. To say that I miss that chance to be close to him every night is a huge understatement, so while I dread the nights where wake-up's are involved, I love every moment that I get to snuggle him a little tighter than I normally would get to. My boy is a rough and tumble kind of kid, and when he is awake, it is go go go throughout most of the day. So I cherish any chance -- even at 2am -- to just sit there and hold his sleepy little body.

As we have prepared for the arrival of number two, it's becoming more important to me to spend quality time with Lucas. I have to admit, it's getting harder and harder as we near the end, as there are days where getting off the couch proves to be more difficult than you would think. We are also changing up some routines a little bit, involving dad more in things that usually I only do, so that when baby arrives, it's not a sudden change in every time (for example, I put Lucas to bed every night. It's always been our thing because of M's schedule in the past, and something we just continued. But now we alternate nights, because there will be times when I just can't do it because of the newborn). I'm planning more activities in these last weeks, and doing my best to just BE PRESENT as much as I can. I admit that it's hard, when all I want to do is sleep, but it's also important so I'm trying my best.

It's an emotional roller coaster, to say the least. Our hearts are so full with so much love, and it's incredibly hard to believe that there is room for one more in that space. Lucas changed my life in so many wonderful ways, and despite normal challenges in raising a newborn/baby/toddler, he's a truly wonderful, smart, well-behaved kid. We are proud of what he is becoming already, the strides he makes every day, and we cannot wait to see what comes in the future. M & I have been discussing quite frequently how this is all going to change & while quite honestly, nothing will really prepare us for it, we do find some peace in how sweet our child is. True, we have our bad days just like the good days, & most of this frustration just comes with being a parent and being a toddler. It's a balancing act we are constantly working on. But man, I cannot tell you enough how lucky we feel. I don't worry one bit about how Lucas will transition with a new baby in the house. We will have our moments, and our days, as we figure out a new routine, & maybe I'm a little naive for thinking that we might have an easier time than others. But he is pretty awesome, and I am loving our time together in these last weeks.

I have had this crazy urge the past few days to just get as many things done as possible, because I don't want to miss out on moments with M & Lucas, ESPECIALLY with Christmas being next week. I have been a woman on a mission to get everything in order for baby's arrival, bags packed for me & Lucas, car seat ready, bassinet good to go, and as many other random things organized around the house as possible. I'll be 37 weeks this week, and while I may be pregnant another five weeks (god I hope not), the reality is that this kid could come at any time. I'm feeling nostalgic for things that haven't even happened yet, and I want this Christmas to be one to remember. I don't want to be stressed out these last weeks with all the things that need to be done. So, I'm just doing them. My husband probably thinks I'm crazy, but when I check the last couple of boxes off  my list this week, I'll be happy to just sit back, relax & snuggle with the guys as much as possible.

December 12, 2013

36 Weeks

Thirty-six weeks, y'all!

Whoa. I don't even know where to begin. I can't believe that we are in the final stretch.

Overall, I feel pretty good. It's crazy to think back to this point with Lucas & remember how miserable I was. I was in so much pain, depressed & overall just ready to be done. This time around, aside from a brief run with some sciatica & muscle/joint issues on my left hip (THANK YOU, Chiropractor!) I feel good. I have FELT good. No pain. No massive swelling of everything (not even a little.) I'm sleeping better (although pregnancy insomnia sucks.) Overall, this has just been easier, which for that I am grateful.

One would think that since I'm not working this time around, things would have been a little more rough when it came to it all. Working was easy. Sit at a desk all day, come home, sleep. This time I'm chasing a toddler around, running errands, cleaning the house, planning play dates, and overall being much more active than I was while I was pregnant with Lucas. But maybe all the extra activity (plus the ability to go to the gym on occasion, which I couldn't do with Lucas because of the extreme pelvic pain) is what makes this all easier. Who knows.

With that said, I'm still ready to be done, although we are now in that waiting game of not really knowing when we will get this show on the road. This kid could be here next week, or it could be here six weeks from now. When all was said and done with Lucas, I was two weeks late.

This time around, I'm hoping things go a little smoother, even earlier than planned for multiple reasons. For the most part, we are ready to go. Clothes have been washed & put away through three months & things that were borrowed out to friends have all been returned. The bassinet MAY be temporarily holding some laundry that needs to be put away (I'll get there!) & some amazing real life & twitter friends gave us some amazing gifts because I didn't have a baby shower. My cousin loaded us up with some extra clothes, another cousin is sending newborn cloth diapers and the car seat is being dusted off this weekend ... all in all, I think we are ready. Or as ready as we will ever be.

Because of our move next summer, we didn't do a nursery. It didn't really make sense to decorate a room when we would just be leaving it behind, so this one sort of doesn't get his own space until we get to where we are going, but that's fine.

So there we have it. I can't wait to meet this sweet little baby.

December 3, 2013

Holiday Giveaway!

I've  mentioned before on here, but don't talk about it often -- I am a Consultant for Jamberry Nails. I LOVE the company and what it is doing for me & my family, and we have some great new products available from Jamberry that I am absolutely in love with (aside from the nail wraps). So, in the spirit of the holidays, I want to do a giveaway!

What is Jamberry?
Jamberry Nails are vinyl adhesives you can apply in your own home in fifteen minutes for less than $4 an application. Lasting up to two weeks on your fingernails and up to six weeks on your toenails, these heat activated beauties are sure to become a staple in your wardrobe. Jamberry is made in the United States (Utah!), does not test on animals, is Vegan friendly & Gluten-free and all around a GREAT product.


What else does Jamberry offer?
Jamberry also offers a line of high quality Nail Lacquer for those not necessarily loving the idea of nail wraps (I admit, I was a nail polish fanatic before Jamberry!) They are "5-FREE" which means there is not a trace of any of the following toxic chemicals in them: DBP, Formaldehyde, Toulene, Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor!

Better than regular nail polish & longer lasting, these nail lacquers are perfect for the ever trendy statement nail, pesky pinky toes, or under any of our clear nail designs. Check out all the available colors here: http://goo.gl/oXrm4x

The Indulgence Jamberry Hand Care (which is what I am giving away!) is a 3 piece biotin infused hand care system that will help you Buff, Nourish, and Quench your way to a state of serenity, all while keeping your hands looking and feeling beautiful. It comes with an exfoliating Sugar Scrub, Moisturizing Hand Créme & a Hydrating Balm!
 
BONUS: Cleanse Daily Use Hand Soap included.

I have tried this product and it is FANTASTIC! What a great gift for yourself or a loved one! 

SO! What do you think?? There are a few ways to enter, all below in the rafflecopter, so do what you need to do! This is a fabulous product and I am so happy to give it to someone for the holidays! Tweets can be sent daily! The contest will run until December 11th & the product will be delivered in time for the holidays. 

Good luck!!

*NOTE* The third option should say "like my Jamberry page on Facebook" ... it says that when I edit it, but not sure why it shows up so weird on the rafflecopter. But that's what it's for!  

*NOTE #2* This giveaway is coming out of my own pocket! Jamberry is not supplying the product for me. Just so ya know. Logistics and all! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

November 27, 2013

Thankful


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving & I just want to say, very quickly, Happy Thanksgiving to anyone reading this. I have been given so much in my life, and I am always, always thankful for what I have. I have a tendency to dwell on the negative, but the fact of the matter is, I have a pretty awesome life. The level of gratitude I have cannot be expressed in words.

Enjoy the day. Be with your loved ones if you can. Have a fantastic day. 

Love to you all.

November 26, 2013

The Closing of Chapters

With the impending arrival of this second little bean of ours, there has been a lot on my mind about what comes next for me & my husband. Closing one chapter of our lives and opening a giant new one sits at the forefront, with a lot of other chapters mixed in.This one in particular, our TTC journey, comes with a lot of emotion. I've written and re-written this post probably ten times over the past month or so, never really feeling like I can find the right words to express the emotion that I feel. I most likely won't ever fully be able to convey what's in my heart, but with some encouragement from others, I'm putting this out there anyways, the best that I can.

We decided long ago that this it for us. No more trying for future babies.  In fact, this was sort of a decision that we made prior to even OFFICIALLY trying for baby number two. We had always decided that once Lucas hit one year, we would discuss the possibility of a second. At the time, we were on orders to move to Georgia by the summer, and with M's training schedule prior to our move, we had an extremely limited number of chances IF we chose to go down the IUI route again with our current RE. Two, MAYBE three. So we decided to take the plunge with the mindset that if it worked, it worked, and if didn't, well, that was it for us. We didn't want to continue treatment after we moved, and we had been blessed with such an amazing kid with Lucas. If fate worked out differently in the future, so be it, but after those couple of tries, we wouldn't push it any further. 

Cue IUI 2.0 working the first time. You all know how grateful I am for that, and you can easily skim back through my blog to read about it. But here we are -- 34 weeks pregnant with baby number two and growing closer and closer to the official end of THIS particular chapter.  I'm not going to lie. It's weird. No more stressing over whether or not it will happen on it's own, or if calling the RE is the next logical step. No more mass bulk purchases of pregnancy tests or tears because things aren't going the way I want them to. There is a lot of emotion in these last six weeks, so much that I can't convey it all in one post. But we are still here. 

Finished, after six years. But at peace.

I'm not naive enough to think that something couldn't happen in the next six weeks, or post-delivery, or even five or ten years down the road. I've seen enough from friends, and from the infertility community, to know that it's not always bliss and happiness. Bad things happen to really, really good people. Amazing people. People who deserve nothing but the best but end up in the worst possible situations. I hope to god that we are not those people, but I know it happens. Naive, I am most definitely not.

But with the end of this chapter comes, for me, a big sigh of relief, so to speak. Part of the "weird" in my emotion is that it's not necessarily all bad. It took a lot to get here, and part of me is sort of glad to leave it all behind. There are many in the infertility community who are angry -- rightfully so, and for so many reasons. Even after giving birth, or adopting, or becoming a parent in whatever way it happens, there is a level of anger that doesn't go away. And why should it? Their journeys have been long & painful. That's not something that you forget in an instant, or for some, ever. But their journeys are just that, THEIRS. Mine is mine. Similar or not, we all handle things differently. I have seen women who have had the same treatment as me, or very close to, end with babies in their arms & they are still angry. I've seen others who have gone through SO MUCH MORE walk away with a smile on their face & peace with what life dealt them. We are all different, and react differently. I made the choice a long time ago to not let the resentment rule me, no matter what happened. Don't get me wrong -- there was a time when it absolutely did. That resentment hurt me in a lot of ways. It's the same resentment & anger that made me cry for two days when my best friend of 20 years told me she was pregnant. Or what made me dread any pregnancy announcement from ANYONE, regardless of their journey. It's what sent me into an awful depression after my miscarriage. But eventually, it just wasn't worth it to me.

So the other part of this chapter is sort of saying goodbye to the infertility community. There was a time when it was so, so good to me, but the past couple of years hasn't been all rainbows and flowers. I am forever grateful for the amazing friendship that this journey has brought me, and while I don't understand not being able to move forward (same as I am sure they cannot understand why I don't hold onto the resentment), or why they hold onto that anger, I try to remain as positive and supportive as I can to those who want it. Not everybody does, and that's fine. I've reached out as long as I could, and pulled away when I realized it was needed, when support wasn't wanted. Sadly, this has meant being abandoned by most of the IF community, but there are a small few who welcome me & support me & in return, I will gladly give all the love & support that I can to them as well. These people have become AMAZING friends, whether I have met them in real life or not, and are people that I will cherish forever. I am walking away from all of this with some really great people beside me, and if that's how I leave the infertility community (or how the infertility community leaves me), then I am happy & content with that. Because I mean what I say -- these people, they know who they are, may be a small few, but have large hearts & I will forever be grateful to them for what they have given me.

I am ok with this. It has taken some time to put the hurt behind me -- the unfollows, blocks, deletions, being talked about behind my back by people that I thought were friends, the flat out being ignored when offering support -- it stung. And sometimes still does. But like I said, the GOOD that is following me is worth so much more than all the crap that came my way. I look forward to the post-IF life, and am so full of love for the ones who have stuck by me.

Closing these chapters, whatever the end result may be, is just what we need to do. I can't be angry. I don't want to be angry. Or bitter. Or resentful. Even if Lucas was our ONLY child, I am confident this would still be my course because even after Lucas, even before the talk of number two, I still felt this way. Maybe that's why this decision comes with so much peace & ease for both me & M. I'm grateful for what my journey taught me, the people it introduced me to, the ones who became friends, and I will admit, even for the ugly. In fact, even through the ugly M & I were able to strengthen our marriage. We were able to travel & meet new people. We lived, despite not necessarily wanting to. There was good inside all of the bad.

I want to move forward. I want to be happy. I am happy. I won't ever forget, but I don't want to dwell, either.There are still so many thoughts running through my head, but I think this is the best I can do at getting them all down. I hope this makes sense.

I can't wait for the things to come. I don't know what the future will hold, but I'm excited for this next chapter of our lives regardless.

November 12, 2013

Moving On

First off, big thanks to those who commented, emailed, tweeted, texted & called me in regards to my last post (some of you, I still owe messages back to. I am a jerk. I know this.) It's not very often, I have found, that moms in the blog world are HONEST about what goes on behind closed doors. But seeing as this is my space, and I really have no true POINT to the blog other than to just write to get my feelings out, that's exactly what I did. For all the positive responses, those who reached out to me, I truly appreciate it. Honestly.

Right now is just a tough time. That week, in particular, was especially bad. Just ... BAD. I have no doubt in my mind that my hormones are working overtime right now, and I'm a little more sensitive to what's going on around me. On top of that, I'm still trying to figure everything out, so with that comes lots of ebbs and flows in my life. I hate this, but it is what it is. Acceptance is something I am continually working on.

With that said, things are still a struggle, but we are working on it. Every week it's something different it seems, but there's not a lot that I can do, personally, to fix any of it. Lucas is still waking up at night, and as of last night, we are back on the CIO bandwagon. I'm also removing all pacifiers from the house. This was a long time coming, but something I wasn't quite ready to do yet. However, he is chewing through all of them, rendering them useless, and I refuse to buy more. So, today is the day. They are getting cut out. The wakeups aren't always bad. If they happen early in the night, between midnight and 3:00 a.m. I can usually get him back to sleep. But anything after that and we are up for the day. This makes for a very, very long day, for both of us, with a schedule completely out of whack. Part of the reason, I think, are the stupid pacifiers. So, we are done.

I warned the husband that it's going to be a rough few nights, and seeing as he actually has to go to work in the mornings with an alarm set for 5am, I feel awful about this. But I need my sanity, and my sleep. I can't deal with a toddler who won't sleep while also dealing with a newborn in two months (TWO MONTHS. EEK.) So this week is it. There will be tears on all ends, and LOTS of coffee consumed, but this has to happen. Sorry kid.

Along with the battle of the sleepless child, my OB told me I had sciatic nerve pain at my last appointment. Can we take a minute to talk about HOW TRULY AWFUL THIS IS? I had some pretty wicked pain when I was pregnant with Lucas, mostly centered in my pelvic region. I thought that was bad, but I would gladly trade this for that. Sciatic nerve pain and pretty much rendered me useless, and if any pressure is applied to my left side (shifting wrong, sitting wrong, WALKING) it feels like someone is stabbing my hip and lower back region with a knife. It's intense, and daily activities have become hard to do. If I could sit all day and relax? No problem. But chasing a toddler around, doing errands as simple as going to the grocery store, trying to walk from one room to the other, it's tough. My friends who have seen me since it flared up have seen me hobble around. I feel (and look) like a fool but man, the pain is intense. I'm currently waiting for my referrel to go through with my OB and the chiropractic clinic, and hopefully tomorrow will have an appointment all set up. I have heard this will help, but we will see. Nothing has yet. I'm not sure I can handle eight more weeks of this (and I don't even know if this is something that goes away immediately after giving birth, like the pelvic pain did).

All in all, it's been a rough time. Not all bad, and we are definitely having good days inbetween the tough ones. If I can get my kid to sleep through the night again, we will be good. That alone will be a huge weight off my shoulders & maybe the extra hour or two of sleep a night will keep me a little more sane. The scaitic nerve pain? Well, it's here. It sucks balls, and it's hard, but it is what it is. Just don't laugh at me when you see me hobbling through the grocery store or Target.

November 4, 2013

All the Feelings

The past couple of months, since I have started staying home, have been an adjustment. There's no doubt about that; I haven't exactly been quiet about it, either here or elsewhere on the interwebs. It's been tough, especially in the beginning when I was figuring out what the hell I was supposed to do with my life, how I was supposed to manage it and everything involved with it (kid, husband, household) while still figuring out what I needed to do for myself. 

For a while there, it got better. We got into a routine, although not nearly a perfect one. I felt like I had a good grasp on things, and was accepting the new direction my life was taking. It's still hard, some days, for a lot of reasons (friendship, finances, etc), but MOST DAYS I can accept that it is what it is. 

However, today (and in recent days) I am just feeling like a failure. I can't seem to keep up, with anything, and I have no excuse for it other than "I can't." My house is a mess. The laundry is piling up. I am feeling like a HUGE failure as a mother because most days, Lucas & I just SURVIVE and nothing else. I'm not teaching him anything. We rarely get out of the house. Cartoons are on far more often & longer than they should be during the day. While swim lessons last month seemed like a great idea at the time, they became more of a burden that neither Lucas or myself seemed to fully enjoy. I see other parents with children his age talking about "lesson plans" and activities, while I consider it a success if I can make it to naptime without a major meltdown. 

A big part of this, at least what I'm telling myself, is this pregnancy. Especially these past few days. At 31 weeks, I am getting closer & closer to being over it completely (who am I kidding? I'm already there.) The pain that I thought I would escape from the last pregnancy has shown up, but in a very different way, making it hard to get through the day without tears. This make doing ANYTHING ten times harder than it would normally be this far along. Everything is a struggle right now & while my husband does what he can to help, it's not quite enough to feel back on track. While we have very little to do to prep for this new baby, at the same time there feels like there is SO MUCH to do. With two months left, the clock is ticking & I don't know where to even begin. 

I am exhausted from Lucas's decision to avoid sleep. I am sore from this pregnancy. I am lonely because I feel like aside from my husband, I'm in this all by myself with no close friends in the vicinity like I used to have. I feel tested because my kid is in a hitting & throwing phase (always directed at me, nobody else, which hurts my heart), while still avoiding food for the most part & deciding that 4am is a normal time to wake up for the day. Or earlier. and oh good lord, THE TANTRUMS! I feel like a failure for not doing better by my time as a stay-at-home-mom/wife. And I am overwhelmed at the thought of managing all of this with a newborn on the way, with very few friends and zero family in the area to help out when needed.

I still have yet to figure out that balance of taking care of the things I need to do while also taking care of me. I wish I could stay up until midnight every night -- it would give me the time to focus on the things I WANT to focus on -- but I'm lucky these days if I make it past 9pm. That's barely enough time to spend kid free with my husband, time we have been sorely lacking on lately, let alone do anything for myself. I can't even shower without hearing my kid screaming MOMMY! MOMMY! among tears, outside our bedroom door. I'm jealous of the other moms who can manage to sew or knit or craft or draw or WHATEVER with multiple kids and jobs and newborns, because the fact of the matter is, I HAVE NO IDEA how they do it, without staying up until the wee hours of the morning. I just don't. I wish I did. 

I love my kid, I love the one on the way, and I love my husband. But all of this lately just makes me feel sad. Hopeless. Like this is the best its going to be. I know this isn't the case, at least I really hope it's not. I hope that this is all just a phase. That things will get better. But I feel completely alone in this phase of my life, and it's frustrating. Maybe I'm selfish for wanting to do some things for me every once in a while. In all honesty, I would kill for 24 hours, alone, to sleep and draw and clean. But it is what it is -- this is something that is important to me. I just don't know how to fit it into my life right now, a frustrating battle. 

October 23, 2013

The Third Trimester

The third trimester.

Whoa.

Eleven weeks. You know, give or take. That's all I have left of this pregnancy.

There have been so many emotions over the course of this whole thing. We are, of course, absolutely joyed at the thought of another little addition to our family, but there have been so many thoughts that have run through my head, and even more so as we get closer to the end of this chapter. Every day, those complex emotions change & evolve as well. Tomorrow, I may feel completely different about all of it. Who knows how I will be feeling in two months as we are preparing for the arrival of baby boy.

One of the greatest decisions that I have made recently was staying home. Spending time with Lucas has been so important to me, and even on the days that we do nothing, it is such a joy and so special to have that time with him, especially now. As we move closer and closer to my due date, we are preparing more for what's to come. But at the same time, it's hard to imagine how there could possibly be room in our hearts and our lives for more!

I know that this is all normal and I most definitely know that once this little one arrives, there will be room. We will adjust and adapt, the same way we adjusted and adapted when Lucas came into our world. There will be more on that later -- it's not quite a post I'm ready to share yet.


It's crazy to me just how quick this pregnancy has gone by. Most of that is due to the giant shift in my life, between no longer working and staying home, mixed with the constant chasing of a very busy toddler. Lucas keeps me constantly on my toes and our days fly by before I even know what's going on half the time. Getting to this point is surreal, because I truly don't know where the time has gone. This pregnancy has also been so different than it was with Lucas. I know this is normal, that every pregnancy can be different, and I am beyond grateful it has been as easy as it has been. Things are starting to get rough, with a lot of pain in the pelvic & hip area, but not nearly as bad as it was last time. I'm also just NOW dealing with it, which is loads better than dealing with it the entire time. I've been able to workout semi-regularly (something I wasn't abe to do at all last pregnancy) and my sleep is better (although not nearly as perfect as I want it to be!)

Baby is doing well as far as we know! Lots of movement, which was always my favorite part. I love pushing baby and having baby push back. This one is hanging out on the right side a lot like Lucas did. Rarely does he make his way over to the left. It cracks me up. He's a mover & a shaker, though, at all hours of the day. I know if I wake up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break, baby will wake up with me. This does make things a little difficult in the going back to sleep department, but at the same time, I love having those moments -- even if it's at 3am.

There's also a lot of emotion as we near closer to the end. This is it for us, as far as kids go. It's the closing of a very large chapter of our lives. Again, there will be more on this later in another post but it's a lot of ups & downs as we move onto another chapter of our lives, one no longer filled with TTC or RE's, IUI's or medicated cycles. It's complicated. Good. But complicated (in my head at least).

For now, I'm enjoying my time with the kidlet as much as I can. We have some fun weekends planned as a family. The countdown is on. And we can't wait.

October 22, 2013

Fall!

I love the Fall. LOVE IT. It's my absolute favorite time of year (except for the couple of weeks surrounding Christmas) & living in the South for as long as we have, I look forward to it even more every year. The cool weather. The changing leaves. Pumpkins. Good coffee. Sweaters & boots! All the things I love wrapped up into one perfect season.


Living here in North Carolina it's HOT most of the year. I mean, just plain stupid hot to the point that being outdoors is pointless and just not FUN. I am an outdoor girl. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, we practically lived outdoors year 'round! So being here is just cruel most of the time because there is nothing enjoyable about sweating your ass off in 100 degree weather with crazy high humidity.

So when that temperature drops, we make the best of it.

Lucas was obviously around last fall, but with him being so little, there wasn't much he could do. Sure, we would strap him in the stroller and go for walks, but this year, at 19 months, he's so much more active and interested in learning. It's been such a joy taking him places and letting him explore on his own, finding new things he enjoys and generally just being the crazy little boy that he is.

I really wish this weather would last all year. I love being able to open the windows early in the morning, curled up on the couch under a blanket, with a giant mug of coffee. I just -- love this weather. I love all that it entails and everything we get to do because of it. It just makes me ... happy.


We went to a pumpkin patch a couple of weeks ago. M had the day off, so we loaded into the car and headed out. It was a Friday afternoon, so not exactly a busy time to go, but that made things nice as well. It wasn't crowded, so we essentially had the whole place to ourselves. Lucas LOVED the animals, and we had fun walking from area to area. He had a blast, and we enjoyed watching him figure things out. No pumpkin was decided on but maybe we will pick one up this weekend. I love being able to do these types of activities with him, and I am glad that we are able to do things like this now, before baby arrives.

This coming weekend, Lucas & I head up to Charlottesville again for a couple of days to see my dear dear friend, Lauren. I cannot wait! I know she has lots planned for us & I am looking forward to the beautiful scenery this time of year (and all the amazing food!)


October 8, 2013

Food. Or Lack There Of.

One of the toughest things that we have yet to battle with this wonderful kiddo of ours is food.

Food. It seems so simple, really. Give baby food. Baby eats. Everybody is happy. 

Except any parent of a toddler knows (and is probably laughing at me having already gone through all of this) is that it doesn't really work out that way, does it? Not now. Not for a long time it seems. 

Lucas used to be a great eater. LOVED FOOD. I mean, loved it, as evident by the chunkiness this kid has always been. But somewhere along the line -- maybe three months ago or so? -- he started getting picky. First it was simple things, where saying ok, no big deal, let's add in something else was the solution. But we are successfully at the point where throwing his entire plate of food onto the floor without touching a bite is a regular thing. 


Our go tos? Mac & cheese (or just cheese in general). Chicken nuggets. Peanut butter & jelly sandwhiches. The main staples in any kids life -- he won't touch it. And vegetables?? Hahahahaha! No freaking way. I mean, it's probably been a month since he has willingly touched a vegetable and even then it was one lonely green bean. One. Lonely. Green bean. 

But what can you do? I would be lying if I said there weren't many meals where I ended up in tears out of sheer frustration. I know my kid is on the heavier side (28 lbs at his 18 month checkup), and there are lots of parents out there who DO worry about their kids weight (we are not one of them), but you also want to make sure your kid is eating, and eating well. What kind of example are we setting if all we feed him is things that aren't the most nutritionally satisfying? While at the same time, how many times can I put things in front of my kid that he SHOULD be eating, only to have him dump it all on the floor without touching it. It's a really hard balance of wanting to make sure he is getting fed while also being fed well. 

I seem to be failing at the feeding him WELL area right now.



We did bring it up at our last appointment with our pediatrician and yes, she reassured us that this was all normal (which, we knew after having talked to many people) and that it all balances out. We came to the conclusion that my kid is not a "meal" kid, i.e. he won't sit for three meals a day. Instead, we've decided he's a grazer, and once I accepted this, things have been much better. There is still some frustration even with this concept, and the amount of food that he takes in completely varies from day to day. He can have a nothing but a banana and some goldfish one day, and the next I can't seem to give him enough food. So we just keep offering, throughout the day, and when he gives us the sign for food, we feed him. Some days are better than others, and I wish he wasn't such a picky eater, but when it comes down to it, as long as he is putting food in his mouth of any kind, that's what I have to go with. 

It's frustrating, and we want to set good examples as parents to get him off to the right start, but he rarely will eat what we eat (no matter HOW HARD I hide the "good" stuff), so I have to give him what he will. Some days that's loads of fruit. Other days it's nothing but cheerios and goldfish. But it's food. That's what counts, right? 

October 7, 2013

Eighteen Months

You guys, my kiddo is eighteen months old (and some change. I'm late on this post, as always). Eighteen months!

I don't know how we got here. My baby is not a baby. He's a toddler. A full-fledged little boy with personality & spunk & fire. He is growing like a week & continues to be the absolute joy of our lives. Being home with him these past couple of months has been such a great experience (although, not without it's hard days), a decision that not for one second do I regret. Seeing him thrive day in and day out has been a blessing.


To say that Lucas keeps us on our toes is a giant understatement. He is so curious & adventurous, completely without fear! This is something that worries me because if I take my eyes off him for two seconds, he is plunging himself off of couches or chairs with no worry to the consequences if one of us is not there to catch him. He is not afraid of taking chances, something that he gets purely from his father & not even a little ounce from me. At the same time, I love this quality in him and I hope it is one that he carries with him though life, never fearing anything & never afraid to take a chance or try something new. It's fantastic.


He is picking up words left & right, and we are up to about twenty words in his vocabulary as of right now. I still worry about his speech, mostly because words aren't always full. While I know what he is attempting to say, and we correct it every time so he constantly hears the correct pronunciation, there is still a part of me that wants to make sure he is on track. I have been reassured constantly that he is normal and as of right now, there is no delay, however the mama part of me just wants to keep at it. But whether or not he is speaking actual words, this kid babbles like nobody's buisness. He is a talker, thats' for sure, and sounds flow from his mouth from sun up to sun down. It's hilarious & amazing all at the same time. Recently, out of NOWHERE, he also decided he wanted to learn sign language. I tried when he was smaller but he had no interest in it whatsoever, so we quit. Seven months later with no practice, he started using "more" at meal times and in the past month has picked up five more signs, using them all correctly. I can definitey see some frustration in him when he doesn't know how to communicate what he wants; this is a rough time for parenting & for him, because he wants to communicate so badly but isn't totally sure how to do it. We are getting there and I am trying to pay attention to cues from him, while also trying to teach him patience (the kid has none!) when he can't do or get what he wants right away. He is growing so quick and picking up so much, but there is still such a barrier. We do our best, but it's not to say there aren't some frustrating days.


All in all, this kid is happy. More so now that we are home together than he was when he was in daycare. I think he enjoys being around mom & dad more (and oh boy, does he love his daddy!) while also on a regular routine. We sleep in. We have breakfast. We are out of the house and doing things together. It's been amazing to see a change that I wasn't really expecting. But this kid is happy. And awesome. Like I said, I am loving watching him thrive & grow. I truly cannot believe how fast it all is happening, especially with number two coming up so quickly. I'm taking in as many of these moments as I possibly can while it's just the three of us (and mostly just the two of us during the day).

September 27, 2013

Being an Introvert

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately as to what my issue is. The thing with the whole staying at home and being unhappy. How can I fix all of this, make myself happy and OK with my the cards dealt to me, taking care of what I need to take care of, but also taking care of me.   

A friend of mine wrote a great post about being an introvert AND a stay at home mom, and it clicked. YES. To everything she said! THIS IS WHAT MY ISSUE IS. 

I used to be an extrovert. I want to be out all the time. I loved having of a ton of friends and always having plans. But somewhere along the lines -- well before having kids -- that changed. Being home was much better and being around people was just tedious. The extrovert in me became an introvert. Maybe not QUICKLY, but it happened, slowly over time. And here I am. 

I thought that if I got out and met some new people, other moms who were at home, it would make this whole transition easier. Everybody tells me to get out of the house. Join mommy groups. Meet new people. Make friends! But you know what? I don't want to make new friends. Seriously. I wish I had more of my CLOSE friends here with me, but man, I'm 33. Making new friends at this age is tedious, and I am not one to let people into my life very easily anymore (hello, introvert side effect!) I have a couple stay at home moms who are there if I need adult interaction and I think, honestly, that I am good with that. I don't need more people. 

What I NEED, and what Lauren reminded me of, is time to myself. Alone. No husband. No kid. Just me, alone, doing nothing or doing something but SOLO. What I miss about working isn't necessarily the people or the job (although I do miss having a job, for a different reason), it was the office. The office with the door. The door that I could shut and be left alone to FOCUS on a task at hand without fear of interruption. I can't get that focus here. Maybe an hour or two during nap time, but even then it's a mad dash to do what I can while the little one sleeps OR I'm trying to relax but staring at the pile of clothes that should be put away or the floors that need to be mopped. It's not true alone time. 

M has been home a lot lately. He doesn't really have much a job right now, not one that takes up a lot of time at least, so he's always at the house. I love my husband dearly, but I don't do well being around ANYONE 24/7. I thought the adult interaction was something I needed, but the truth of the matter is that I don't even want to talk to HIM when he is home. (I mean, obviously I do. Just not all the time!) As I have gotten older, my alone time has become more valuable. I need it to function and more than just an hour here or there. I need the occasional chunk of time to myself, to refuel and re-energize. Without it, I am a mess. A crabby, cranky, irritable mess who hates the world & everyone around me. I am not a good person when my alone-time bank is empty & these days, my alone-time bank is in the red. 

I know staying at home is tough, and I know so many people would kill to have the opportunity to do this. But every once in a while, I just need a break, as do MOST SAHM's I am sure. M has offered multiple times in the evening to watch Lucas while I leave. The problem is that I never really have anywhere to go, or anything to do. We are on such a tight budget, too, that I can't justify going somewhere & spending money just for the sake of getting out of the house. Our house is so small, that there isn't really an escape here, either. The bedroom is pretty much it, and even then I can hear all the cries and the noise, or he knows where I am so there is constant banging on the door. It's not relaxing. 

So maybe I just need to suck it up and leave the house. Take my drawing books & pens with me and LEAVE. Hit the coffee shop for an hour or so and just draw, knowing that people will leave me alone and just let me do my thing. M is more than capable of handling our routine -- I know this! So it's not a matter of not trusting him to take care of things; it's more a matter of me not wanting to take the time for myself because there is always something else that needs to be done instead. 

Right now, it's 6:38 am. We had a rough night/early morning. I have, essentially, been up since 3:30, more or less. At 5:00 I finally just got out of bed and made some coffee. While I know I will sorely regret this later today, it's been nice, just sitting here the past hour and a half collecting my thoughts. M is gone for at least a couple of hours and hopefully Lucas sleeps for another hour or so. It's so QUIET here right now. The dogs are snuggled up with me and I'm just here. Alone. It's nice. This definitely needs to happen more often, whether here at the house, or out somewhere. 

Now to make it happen. No more excuses. 

September 25, 2013

Transition

I will admit, there was a part of me that thought staying home would be easy. Well, not necessarily easy, but not this. I know that I'm still in the adjustment period -- it's only been about a month and a half since I left my job -- but I keep waiting for it to get better.

I feel lost. Like my only purpose is to be pregnant, entertain a toddler & keep the house clean. I know this isn't true, and today is just an exceptionally bad day. But when it comes down to it, I feel useless.

Being pushed out of my job the way that I was has taken it's toll & I will admit that there remains some level of bitterness for the way things went down. I want to work. I enjoy working. I SHOULD still have a job, and it's been difficult adjusting to a different sort of productivity during the day. What can I say -- laundry & diapers don't really do it for me ;) While at the same time, the things that I WANT to do for myself while being home, there seems to be little time for in between staying afloat and taking care of an eighteen month old. I wonder, daily, if I will ever figure this out and be totally happy with the turn my life has taken.

How do I balance everything? I feel like at this moment in my life -- staring down my third trimester, preparing for a second child while trying to spend time with my current child -- taking care of MYSELF is equally important. Doing things for ME needs to happen. Let's face it. My life is about to become a million times more complicated, and if I can't find time for ME now, then I'm going to have even more troubles in the coming months. I am enjoying being home with the kid and spending this time with him before #2 comes along, but it's definitely not without it's own set of challenges, and some days I just don't know how to tackle those. I get frustrated, and then I get mad at myself for being frustrated. Then I get sad because I'm lonely & I miss human interaction aside from my husband and a toddler. I've been a career gal for so long that all of my friends are also in that category. At the same time, finding stay at home moms who I even anything remotely close to similarities is tough. I'm picky when it it comes to people in my life, and I don't let people in easily. This is a downfall to living this lifestyle.

I feel like I am sounding so ungrateful. As always, that is not the case. I know many would kill for this opportunity, to stay home with their kiddos. But being Susie Q. Homemaker was never a dream of mine and I just can't seem to get past the fact that this is the way things are going to be for a while. I know that sounds selfish, and I promise that I am trying my best to make the best of this situation. Like I said before, today is just an exceptionally bad day. I can blame the hormones, right? Either way, I need to find a way to make this work. I know there will still be bad days (and I promise, they aren't ALL bad days) and there will be plenty of good days in there as well. I just need ... something. And I don't quite know what that something is.

We have signed up for swim lessons, which I am pretty excited about. Twice a week, we will get out of the house in the afternoon, and hopefully meet some other parents. I need to work on getting out of my comfort zone if I want any additional conversation. I will get there ... hopefully. I'm also looking into some drop off day care facilities, somewhere that I can put Lucas for a couple of hours on a rare occasion when I just need to collect my sanity. I am having a hard time justifying doing that, but I think my sanity needs it, at least once every so often.

So that's that. It will get better because it HAS to get better. But this adjustment is tougher than I ever thought it would be.


September 13, 2013

What Preparation?

A couple of weeks ago, we surpassed the 20 week mark in this pregnancy. Can we talk about how crazy that is for just a moment?

Yeah. Crazy.

Officially, I'm 23 weeks & some change. I am not quite sure where the time has gone, AT ALL. But here we are, plugging along like everything is normal & not about to change in a big, huge, insane way. No planning. No reading. No stressing. It just .... is.

My best friend of forever is also pregnant with her second child and is due the first of November, so being back in Seattle for a couple of weeks and spending so much time with her was great. It was nice to have someone so close to me that I could relate to with this one particular thing & bounce emotions and feelings off of without sounding like I hadn't already gone through this process once. We related on some things, talked about differences between one and two, discussed the epic levels of tiredness that comes with working full time while being pregnant WHILE chasing a crazy toddler around day in and day out.

It was good.

One of the feelings that I have had recently is GUILT in the fact that we HAVEN'T done anything to prepare for this kiddo. I am not necessarily concerned that we will not be ready when baby decides to come -- we have all the essentials from the first one, so on that front we have things taken care of. There really isn't anything that we NEED for this kid. Just things we want & even THAT list is extremely short -- but the mental preperation just really isn't there, either. Again, no books. No planning. No stressing.

K said it best when she said "you feel like you're already neglecting number two and they aren't even here yet."

Yes. This exactly. Obviously, I am aware that I am pregnant, and I know that clock is ticking awfully quick as we inch closer to my due date. I think a large part of why I feel this guilt is because this pregnancy has been epic proportions of different than it was with Lucas. No sickness. No depression. No unberable physical pain. It has been smooth sailing since day one. I haven't HAD to think about it (aside from the usual no booze, take your prenatal, etc) because this kid hasn't given me the physical reminders that Lucas did. It's just been ... EASY. Now that we are further into the second trimester and the movement has increased, I do get those daily reminders (and I look forward to them!) but it's not quite the same. Maybe it's hard to explain but ... I don't know. It's all just so different.

Baby #2 comes up every day but both M & I are just ... ready. I am sure that statement will come back to bite us in the ass come January, as we (ok, I) figure out how to juggle a newborn and a toddler at the same time (from what I hear ... NOT EASY!) but for now, I am enjoying the easy breezy way of life this one has given me this time around. Post baby is a whole different story, but until then? It's kind of a nice change of pace not worrying about what needs to get done.

Maybe my appreciation for the ease of it all outweights the feeling of neglect for not doing any major planning for his arrival? We will go with that.

September 12, 2013

Boring Days & Plans for Fun

So, I had all these grand plans of writing more often now that I was home, but I am finding that our days -- at least for now -- are a little mundane. 

We get up. We eat some breakfast. We go to the park or visit friends that are also home. Snack time. Nap time. Then trying to fill the afternoon with activities indoors because it's still too freaking hot to go outside late in the day (seriously. 90 degrees still. WHERE IS FALL?) There really isn't much to talk about just yet. 

During nap time, I try my best to get some things done around the house. My goal this first week was to get my house as clean as possible, and we seem to be moving on a one room a day plan. My toddler, he keeps me busy and as much as I wish accomplishing more during the day was possible, it's just not with him in tow. i love this kid, but man -- he is always on the move. And blogging? Forget about it. At least on a regular basis until I get more on a schedule. 

I am sure there are more things to do around town that wouldn't involve the blazing heat. In fact, I KNOW there are. But I'm a recluse. If it was up to me, we would never leave the house. Ever! With us moving next year, I don't really want to make new friends. I'm happy with the couple that I have that are at home during the day (hi ladies!) and I have found that if we go to the park early enough, nobody else is there. The process that is involved with making new friends at this age is long and tedious & I am just not interested (hi, can we say lone wolf?) 

But, that is not what is best for Lucas. He needs to be around other kids, at least a couple times a week so that he knows he's not the only one. Eighteen months, I'm finding, is a difficult age. There are things we need to work on, like sharing and how to play with other children, that we can't do by ourselves. 

So, I'm trying to find a way to get out of my shell. To not be such an introverted recluse. To find a balance of making myself comfortable (hello couch & yoga pants!) while also making sure that Lucas benefits from my time at home with him. 

Monday I am signing him up for swim lessons. This is something that I have wanted to do with him for a very long time, but there is only one place here in town (a town of 100,000 people) that offered weekends classes. ONE weekend class, to be exact, and it always filled up before I got a chance to sign him up when I was working. But now that I am home, I can take advantage, hopefully, of the week day classes. This will be twice a week & will tucker him out plenty during the day, while also providing him with some outside of the home activities! We are also looking into Story Time at the local library, as well as POSSIBLY some little gym type classes (which are apparently ridiculously expensive. We will see if we can swing it on one budget). Of course there is the playground as well as the occasional play date. 

I know that once this baby arrives around New Year, our time will be a little more limited as we adjust to the new arrival as well as preparing for our impending move. (I REALLY wish I could tell you where we are going! If I have told you ... Shhhh! In time, people. In time!) So it's important to me to take full advantage of this time with Lucas while I have it, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me in the process. 

September 5, 2013

Staying at Home: Day One

I have been home approximately 12 hours from a two week trip to Seattle. I have so many things to write about & talk about & discuss & photos to share ... my head is spinning with things to write about. 

But today also marks kind of a big day for me, personally. 

It's kind of, technically (or so I'm counting it) my first day with the Stay At Home Mom title. 

Whoa. 

I had one day post-work before we flew to Seattle, but it was so jam packed with getting ready for our trip & running errands that it didn't really set in. Our two week trip was a vacation -- one that would have been taken had I had a job or not. So today, now that we are home, is just sort of unreal. Twelve hours in and I already feel lazy, like I should be cleaning & cooking & maintaining a home instaed of doing exactly what I have been doing -- sitting on the couch watching Project Runway episodes sitting in my DVR while Lucas plays contently by himself. 

Granted, I am exhausted. It was well after midnight by the time I got myself to bed, and the battle of being over-tired beat me making sleep very shitty. If I could drink coffee all day right now, today would be that day. But instead I'm sitting here in yoga pants & a tshirt with my hair thrown up while Lucas naps instead of being productive. 

Days won't always be like this -- I know this. But there is this desire/need/drive to be productive. I feel like I am cheating by not being at work. It's only been a couple of weeks since I left my job but I don't really FEEL like I left. Maybe it was the terms I left on, or maybe it's the simple fact that a large part of me wants to work. But either way, it's odd. 

I did flat out tell the husband that this week was a gimme week, full of lazy days with the kiddo and hanging out on the couch. Next week? I'll kick it into stay at home drive chalk full of meal planning, play ground adventures (ok but seriously, where is a good play ground around here?!) and days at the gym. But this week? LAZY. Even though that little voice inside my head tells me to get my butt moving. 

This is a challenge for me, and will continue to be a challenge while I find my place in this new lifestyle. I need to find a balance of "earning my keep" (not that my husband cares AT ALL what I do during the day!) while also taking care of myself. Two things that are equally important. 

So. Moms. Any tips for someone new to the stay at home lifestyle?

August 12, 2013

I Haven't Forgotten.

My name is Brittany.

I am an egg donor. I helped a couple bring two gorgeous twin girls into this world. All those extra embryos? (Seventeen to be exact) They were donated to science, and I hope that they helped figure out better ways to help infertility patients and couples trying to have children.

I am an infertile myself. Unexplained infertility. On paper, everything should work, but it doesn't, and I know many of you understand why this is beyond frustrating. It was almost four years of trying, tears & heartache before we welcome baby Lucas into our arms.

I am a miscarriage survivor. I went to the hospital one Friday night because of some bleeding, even though the nurses told me everything was fine. At 3am that Friday night/Saturday morning, all alone, with nobody with me (my husband was deployed) I found out I had lost the baby. I drove myself home. It took two days before I could get a hold of my husband to inform him. I also drove myself to the hospital for my D&C. My boss picked me up afterwards.

I have fought depression because of my infertility. My miscarriage threw me into a nasty downward spiral. One that I will never forget & one that I never want to see again.

A couple of Christmases ago, I drank a bottle & a half of wine because my best friend -- MY BEST FRIEND -- called me and told me that she was pregnant after her first month of trying. I cried -- sobbed -- for two days straight afterwards because I was incapable of being happy for her at that moment. To this day, I get angry when it is so easy for some, and yet still so hard for others. Life is not fair.

After all of this, and ONLY after this? I am a mother. Every day that I look at my son & think about the one on the way, I remember the road it took to get here. It may not have been as lengthy or as complicated, but it was messy and painful. I don't talk about it as often, because it brings back extremely bad memories, especially the year following my miscarriage. That time was one of the darkest times of my life, and not one that I like to bring to the surface.

But it doesn't mean I don't remember. Every day, I think about our struggle. Just because I have a child, doesn't mean I have forgotten. It doesn't mean that my heart doesn't hurt for those still trying, or that I don't feel the pain that others feel when bad things happen in their journey. I do my best to reach out to as many as I can, but sometimes I miss things.

So if you are in need of an ear, or feeling lost, lonely & without support, please know I am here. Whether I know you or not.

Because I promise. I may not talk about it every single day, but the memories are still very much alive.


August 9, 2013

Vocalizing Frustrations

Earlier this week, I stumbled upon this post over at the Renegade Mothering blog, titled "You Blissed Out Moms are Ruining Futures" by way of PAIL Bloggers. It was a post that struck a deep chord with me. I thought it was truthful, well-written and well, funny! I like funny. (Side note: I WILL be going back to her blog frequently because seriously. I love her writing!)

(Another side note: I had never seen this blog before, but a quick search through her site determined that she suffered from postpartum depression. Another connection, having been through it myself.)

The issue that she discusses in this blog post is harsh; the idea that talking about the struggles of motherhood, issues with your children, the BAD days, should be in fact discussed. Instead, many women out there are blissfully going about their ways, pretending that life is perfect while hiding the struggles that many of us -- MOST of us -- most likely are going through.

This was me after Lucas was born. Feeling alone. Far away from friends & family. Not knowing what the hell I was doing and wondering, constantly, how I was going to make this work. So I kept all my fears and my worries to myself because I didn't want to be deemed "ungrateful" for what I had. I WASN'T. Not even close. But all that bottling up did was make me feel even MORE alone and sent me into an awful bout with PPD. To this day, even with the hard days and nights -- the ones that make me want to crawl up into a ball in the corner of the room and burst into tears; the days where I want to run away and just have 24 hours alone, with my own thoughts, a shower and a fresh comfortable bed; the days where I think twice about leaving work on time because I know my toddler didn't sleep last night and I know that he's been fighting eating, which means tonight is going to be another frustrating struggle -- I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. ANYTHING. I love my kid more than life itself, and most days that love completely overwhelms me to a point of knocking me off my feet.

He is amazing. And awesome. And man, we tell ourselves every day, out loud, how blessed we are to have such an amazing kid in our life. How LUCKY we are to have this experience. This is not a lie. This conversation actually happens between me & my husband every. single. day.

But it doesn't change the fact that sometimes it's just really fucking hard. But for many, they are shamed into keeping these struggles to themselves. Talking about it is not OK. Renegade Mothering says otherwise, and this is why I was drawn to this post so much. That we should talk about these things, out loud, even if it means that someday our children might know how much of a pain in the ass they were at times:

I’m doing my kids a FAVOR by telling them the truth. That way, when my girl has her first baby and feels that death of self, maybe she won’t suffer quite like I did. Maybe she’ll know she can call her mom and talk to her about the real, the grit, the nasty, raw ugly truth.

And maybe I can help her with the truth of my own life.

Maybe my son will give me a call in 15 years and say “Mom, I think my wife is going through what you did. She won’t get out of bed and it’s scaring me. She says she doesn’t want the baby. Mom, what should I do? How did you get through this? I want to help her.”

And he’ll have the power and courage and knowledge to face the nasty, raw, ugly, life-saving gorgeous truth. That’s what I want to give.

My mom didn't talk to me about her struggles raising four kids practically solo. My dad worked -- a lot -- and was rarely around. It was just my mom for most of the time, and to be honest, I don't really have many memories of my dad around when I was little. It was college before they were divorced, but growing up there would be weeks before I would see him because he was always at work. Home after I went to bed. Back to work before I woke up. I KNOW this was not easy on my mom. How could it have been? But she never talked about it.

And not talking about it is what makes you feel alone. Lost. Depressed. Angry because you don't know what you are doing. I didn't feel like I could talk to my mom and because so many of my friends were going through infertility treatment, I didn't feel like I could talk to them, either. But I don't think that bottling anything up makes anything go away. Like RM said:

It may be harder, but it’s right. And it’s the only way to become free. Why waste our time devoted to a fantasy? Why waste our lives perpetuating lies, even though we have daily evidence of reality, of the truth? Why do we justify a constant disconnect between what we’re experiencing and what we portray to the world?

Is there a faster track to insanity?

I don't think that this necessarily related to just letting your children know how hard it is. I think it's important for other mom's as well, whether you are a foster mom, adopted mom, gave birth to your own or are actively trying to be a mother in many forms. Nobody writes honest books about the ups and down. Nobody tells you how hard this can truly be. BUT WE SHOULD. It's why I'm quick to offer my experiences when I see a friend struggling. It's why I don't feel bad complaining about the lack of sleep that I have gotten because my toddler wakes up screaming in the middle of the night (thank you, molars). It's why I vocalize my frustrations with Lucas throwing entire meals onto the floor without taking a bite. It's why I wrote about how sad & angry I was after having a baby. It's all so that maybe someone out there will feel less alone. Maybe they will feel like they have someone to relate to. Somebody who understands EXACTLY what they are going through at that moment. Shaming somebody for being vocal is the quickest way to make them push their feelings & sadness farther down, closer to the brink of crazy.

That's wrong.

Everybody is different. We all are at very different parts in our journey. But if I can find closeness with a few people who are in the same boat as myself every once in a while, then I'll continue to do it. A friend on facebook said it best the other day; I shouldn't need to qualify how much I love my child and how grateful I am for this experience every time we have a bad day. Bad day's happen.

You don't have to like it, or understand it. You can unfollow, or stop reading without hurting my feelings, or most likely anyone else in that situation. But if you're going stick around, then let's all be understanding. If someone is going to speak out, don't make them feel bad for doing so. Sure, there are those out there that ARE ungrateful. But think twice about if that is really the case before telling a mother who hasn't slept in three days to be thankful for what she has. Most likely, deep down, you know that she really is. You may not know how she is feeling, however, or if she is on the brink of something dangerous to herself.

Let's just lift each other up and leave the shaming elsewhere, mmkay?

August 7, 2013

July Adventures

It wasn't until I was going through some photos I recently uploaded for friends & family that I realized how jam packed our month of July was! It seemed that every weekend we were off doing something, and most of the time as a family! These past few months have just been so awful, so it's nice to look back at these past few weeks & see that even amidst the shit storm, we still made time together as a family (most of the time) to do something.

It's been great and so much fun. Part of me is sort of glad we aren't moving in a few weeks, so we can enjoy the weather here a little longer and do a few more things. There are a couple of places we still want to visit, and the beach is perfect this time of year.

The first weekend of July, Lucas and I headed North to Charlottesville, VA, to visit one of my dearest and greatest friends, Lauren. It was a weekend filled with orchards, vineyards (including Dave Matthew's personal vineyard ... Swoon!), a fantastic farmer's market, gorgeous scenery, too much humidity and hanging out and just enjoying time with a friend that I miss dearly! Lucas and I both had a blast, and while it was the farthest I had traveled with Lucas by car by myself (five hours total with stops) we had a blast. I LOVE that area. I had been once before when my best friend came out and we made the trek to see a Dave Matthews Band concert (die hards, I tell you), so I was happy to get back. Simply gorgeous & hopefully we as a family can make it up there again to see Lauren and her husband before we move/they take off to their next location!


The husband and I also decided one Saturday that we needed to get out of town, so we made the drive up to Raleigh (about an hour and a half drive for us) to visit the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science. We didn't really know what to expect but were pleasantly surprised by how wonderful this museum was! Completely kid friendly and Lucas LOVED every bit of it. It was so fun to see him run around and get excited about fish in tanks, live butterflies and all the other things he could get his hands on! We will definitely be heading back there soon.

Then, of course, since it's blistering hot here (well, not as bad as it COULD be. It's been a pretty mild summer in our neck of the woods) we've spent lots of time in various friends' pools as well as visiting the beach. Lucas loves the water and loved digging in the sand last weekend when we headed out to the Wilmington area. If I can convince the husband to do so, I want to go back out there this weekend! It's a bit of a drive, and parking is a bitch, but it was worth it for the time we were able to spend out there.


What about you? What have you done this summer? What are your favorite things to do in your area? I can't wait for August and September, and all the things we have planned!

August 5, 2013

Taking Advantage of an Opportunity

I just wanted to say thanks to those who reached out after my last blog post! Dang. It's honestly nice to not feel so alone -- I wish I could find more of you!

It seriously sucks balls when you don't really know where you belong. I had been trying to explain this to a couple of friends this week, but unless you're HERE, feeling lost and alone, words can't really explain it. The Infertility community is an amazing community, and when I needed it in the beginning, when we started our journey damn near six years ago, it was a life saver for me. I have met some amazing women who are working hard every day to fight for infertility rights & I applaud the efforts that they continue to do. But I get that feeling that I'm not wanted (or welcome?) anymore, and that's fine. I will always support when I can but I also need support, not radio silence. As I have mentioned before, it's a two way street. I have given a lot, and right now when my life is a huge clusterfuck of who knows what, I need a little in return. So onwards I move & new friends to be found, as well as clinging a little tighter to the good ones I have now.

It's been great talking to a few of you through comments, messages, emails, etc. And I hope those of you who feel the way I do know that there is a place for us, somewhere. But this is the last I'm going to mention of this, because, well, it just makes me sad. Being left out is a shitty feeling, and that's very much how I feel right now. But it is what it is, and I'm over it, focusing on new things. New people. New projects.

Speaking of new projects, I've kind of got one of my own. I mentioned previously (and am mentioning here!) that with my newfound unemployment (nine working days left, people. I am kind of freaking out!) I have to sort of figure out what I want to do. I feel like I am not quite in a mid-life crisis but close. While I am sad to be leaving the workforce, there is a lot of positives to this new abundance of time that I will have.

First and foremost is extra time with Lucas. This kid is a sponge & is growing/changing daily. I cannot keep up with how fast he is growing and I feel like I have missed so much working the past year. I cannot wait to spend some more time with him, especially before baby #2 comes in January. I know he won't remember it, the extra time together these next six months, but I most definitely will. I am looking forward to all the great things that we will get to do together (as well as the frustrating times that come as well!)

But I'm also going to take some time to focus on me. Figure out what I want out of life. Find a new passion or reignite an old one. I will be writing about it, but not here. If you would LIKE to follow along, please feel free (although don't feel obligated!). You can find the new blog here:

http://thisthirtylifecrisis.wordpress.com/

There isn't much there right now. Four posts to be exact, and nothing in the past couple of weeks. My timeline is sort of this; I've got less than two weeks of work left, followed immediately by two weeks in Seattle to visit family & a few friends. I fully plan on taking that time to recharge & reenergize myself. Man, I really need this trip. Unfortunately my husband won't be able to come with me (boo Army!) but it was important that Lucas & I got home for a little while before I can't fly anymore.

When we get back, then it's game on. We don't know where we will be, or what we are doing just yet, but hopefully by then we will have some answers and some new orders for a new duty station. I don't plan on being a stay at home mom forever. I like working. But until then, I am going to take full advantage of this opportunity. Spend more time with the kiddo, but also figure out what the hell I want out of my own life. And I plan on documenting all of it over there. Art projects. Cooking classes. Hiking adventures. Graphic design mishaps. ALL OF IT. So please feel free to join me.

Love you all. Happy Monday!

August 1, 2013

Now What?

So there we were. Waiting on orders for a military move that apparently are never going to come. Not for this assignment at least. It's nearly official, save for some paperwork from a Colonel up the chain. Fort Gordon & Georgia are not happening. Not for this assignment.

This whole process, the MONTHS it has taken us to get here, is beyond frustrating. If it wouldn't take me an entire day to sit here and detail the chain of events, I would. But trust me when I say it is ridiculous.

I could cry.

Instead I try to do the normal military spouse thing and be strong for my husband. This is his career, not mine, and I know his frustration levels are much higher than mine. While we wait, we need to also figure out our next move. Hopefully, once things are finalized, we can find a new job. Bottom line is we can't stay here at Bragg, so a move is inevitable. But will that be two months from now or next year? We don't know. All the meanwhile, I sit here wondering what's next for our life. Where will we go? What will we do? What will *I* do? I don't have a job as of two weeks from now, due to unfortunate circumstances with my current employer. A trip to Seattle will be happening a couple of weeks but once I'm back, then ... ??? I don't know.

I need ... something. Most of our close friends have moved away. The twitter community (where I have gone in the past for support when needed) I feel has turned into this high school clique where once again, I'm not cool enough to hang with the in-crowd. Instead, I just use it to bitch about my daily frustrations, while shared successes & happy moments are rarely celebrated with me. It's a place where I end up apologizing more often than I should or feeling bad for sharing what's happening/how I'm feeling when that should not at all the case. Regardless, I miss having friends nearby and with our always changing army situation, I'm just feeling a little lost as to where exactly I fit in these days. It seems to really be nowhere.

I know this all sounds entirely childish. My insecurities are running rampant these days, if you could not tell. Maybe it's the extra hormones that are making me more sensitive than usual, but there is just this feeling of "what next?" Aside from a small, tiny handful of individuals, it's hard to talk about all of this with anybody due to the complicated nature of how we got where we are. But it's really only those few individuals who are asking. I will admit that I am jealous of some of the friendships I have seen develop & wishful that I could find more people that understand. This bubble that I'm in is a complicated one. I relied on the infertility world for so long, but with sort of getting the boot from that group (with no blame on anyone) but not really fitting into a normal "mommy group" I sort of feel myself wandering, reaching out to people, testing the waters and so desperately wanting to ask "will you be my friend?" It's dumb. I realize this. My nonsensical fear of people not liking me, you would think, would be long gone by 32 years old. But alas, here it sits.

Lack of support seems to be a common theme with me. So maybe it's my fault? I think I need to step back for a while and stop putting what I need on others and just tackling the issue on my own. Point of all of this being (sorry it took so long to get there) that I need to stop expecting sympathy, and instead realize that with my upcoming unemployment, take the opportunity to figure my life out; find a new passion and run with it, whatever that passion might be. Be more selective about who I open my heart to because nine times out of ten, I don't really get anything back and that's not fair. I'll probably be stepping back from social media because really, what good is it? (don't answer that. I know there is lots of good to it!) But for me, it's not serving as the outlet that I need it to, that it once was. Those that care, they know where to find me. Those that don't care, well, that's fine, too.

So yeah. Mission. To better my life. To not feel like a wanderer who doesn't really get to wander. To cut out some more negative and find some more positive. We will see what happens.