Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: Year in Pictures

For the past few years, on New Year's Eve, I've recapped the year via photos here on this blog. This year, it's 10:30pm on the 30th, and I'd love nothing more than to fall into bed and immediately fall to sleep for an hour or two before the baby is ready to eat again. But I won't--not yet. Because it's been an incredible, blessed year, and I will not...cannot...let the temporary exhaustion trump the importance of looking back and seeing what an incredible year it was, and how everything worked together in ways that we could not have ever imagined.

In January, Justin and I took our first (and only) overnight "vacation" together since having kids. Unfortunately, it was not so much a vacation as a trip to have an aggressive form of skin cancer removed. Honestly, I've kind of blocked January from my memory--it's still hard for me to even think about, and I cannot watch Parenthood as of late because the cancer storyline is still to fresh. BUT, once we got back from Portland, we celebrated Lizzy's second birthday! It's crazy to see photos of her from January and think that it was less than a year ago--she seems so little!
February brought crazy weather that included both snow, and then just weeks later, sunshine that made it feel like spring. Lizzy's cousin Logan stayed with us in the mornings before he went to afternoon pre-K three days a week--the two loved and played like brother and sister, and it was a great confidence boost to me to know that I *could* handle two kids! I also painted the living room a happier shade of blue--well, mostly. One wall still remains unpainted. 
It's behind me, I just pretend it doesn't exist.
March: In March, I made a crazy-nerdy shirt to go see Hunger Games in the theater. We bought a cow for the first time, and I found out I was pregnant with baby #2, so we spent lots of cozy mornings, afternoons, and evenings relaxing and reading on the couch. 

In April, we celebrated Easter, and crazily took the FIRST family photo of 2012! We also made it blog official that I was pregnant, and hauled in a TON of dirt to finally re-do our backyard after four years of living with star thistle and red mud.
In May, we started to really see the beauty of spring, and also were blessed qith one little example of how God not only provides abundantly for our needs, but also occasionally blesses us beyond what we could ever expect with the desires of our hearts in terms of an amazing Third Day and Matt Maher concert that my friend Emily treated us to after winning tickets.
In June, we found out that baby #2 was another girl, much to our surprise! We also spent a lot of time outdoors running around, as well as watching Justin play baseball.
July was a busy, busy month for us! We continued the tradition of spending the 4th with amazing friends. My dermatologist decided to remove another spot from my stomach, which majorly stressed me out. We spent the most relaxing day at the lake where Justin and I met, which Lizzy proclaimed the BEST DAY EVER!!! Lizzy got to try the waterslides for the first time, which she loved, and we welcomed another sweet niece Lyla into the family (and I got to practice some more newborn photography)!

In August, my parents gave me a new Android phone for my birthday, complete with Instagram...which basically ensured that nearly every photo I have on my computer for the rest of the year is square ;)  We also spent some time picking blueberries, and spent a LOT of time at the baseball field. All the time away from home coupled with the OB telling me that I needed to slow down to try and avoid pre-term labor made me stressed because I felt like our house was ALWAYS a disaster that we couldn't seem to catch up on (still haven't).

In September, we spent more time at the lake, Lizzy and I somehow picked almost 70 pounds of peaches just the two of us, and we remembered to appreciate the little things in life and occasionally say YES.
I remember October as being SUPER unseasonally hot. I think it was in the 90's when we went to the pumpkin patch with Kaitlin, Jess, and Jaxon. I was hugely pregnant, so that probably didn't help! Lizzy was thrilled to ride a pony, and I remember looking at the photo of her on one, and being shocked at the fact that she looked like a KID instead of a toddler. We were also blessed to experience the hands and feet of Christ in our lives.
Eight days into November, Rebecca Allison rushed into our lives (literally). Looking back, I remember November as being such a sweet time of marked slowness in our lives. We're the type of people who are always going, going, going, and being forced to slow down and spend time in bed, on the couch, and just HOME for once was actually kind of a blessing!
In December, Rebecca started smiling at us, cooing, and laughing. I caught the first smile on camera just days before Christmas. I was also reminded of the unspeakable JOY of snow from a child's perspective. Lizzy and Rebecca began to settle in to the world of sisters, and we celebrated our first Christmas as a family of four!
At the end of last year's year in pictures re-cap, I wrote the following: 
Overall, it was a great year. There was definitely more good than bad, and blessings abounded! Still, with all that's happened in December with the skin cancer, I'm a little nervous to think about all that 2012 could and will bring--here's hoping that this time next year, we'll be looking back and smiling at the fact that we couldn't have even imagined all the blessings that were in store!
Well, it's next year, and I can confidently say that I am smiling. Oh Lord, I am smiling. I had no idea what all was in store, or how it would all work together so perfectly to God's purpose. I had no idea that 2012 wouldn't be remembered as the year that I was terrified that I might die from skin cancer, but as the year that brought an incredible new LIFE into our family. What an incredible blessing to have the year redeemed in that way! I am so thankful, and I cannot wait to see what 2013 will bring!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Remembering the 27th

This morning in Newton, CT, twenty six bells rang at the town hall in remembrance of those who lost their lives one week ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This is a good thing. The right thing.

But in my humble opinion, not a complete thing--because one week ago, there were twenty seven people who lost their lives in Newton, CT.  I'm not entirely sure why, but in most of the lists of victims that I've seen floating around the internet, Nancy Lanza is often omitted. As I'm sure we're all aware, Adam Lanza's mother was actually the first victim that day...and yet, she isn't remembered as the others.

In the comments on a post from BlogHer this morning, one blogger stated that they left her off their list because they feel that she is complicit in the crime due to the fact that she kept guns in her house with her son who was mentally ill. I think that whether vocalized or not, this viewpoint probably explains why we largely talk about the 26 victims instead of the 27. Why it seems uncomfortable, perhaps, to group Mrs. Lanza's name with the others. On some level, I think we blame Mrs. Lanza. We may privately wonder how she could have raised a son who would do something so horrible, and wonder if she was at least partially to blame. We wonder, privately, who would be dumb enough to keep so many guns in a home with someone who was mentally ill. I think that as a society, we think she's partially responsible. Personally,  I disagree with this viewpoint wholeheartedly--because with as much press about Adam Lanza as we've been bombarded with in the past week, there is really very little that we actually know for certain.

We know that "sources" and "friends of the family" have speculated that he may have had Asperger's. We know that others have said he had a personality disorder, but not which one. We know that someone "close to the family" said that Mrs. Lanza had taken her son to a psychiatrist, but we don't know that for certain, nor do we know why. We don't know whether he was currently on medicine or receiving any sort of mental health treatment.

We don't know whether the guns in Mrs. Lanza's home were kept in a gun safe. We don't know whether it was locked. We don't know how much ammo was in the house or where it was kept. We don't know how much gun safety training Adam and his brother had received. We don't know how guns were talked about in the home, or whether they were treated with the level of respect that a gun deserves.

We do know that Mrs. Lanza was killed by her son, likely while she slept. We do know that she had family too, who no doubt love and miss her...I'd venture to go so far as to even say that they miss her just as much as the families of all 26 other victims miss their loved ones.

I know this is maybe an uncomfortable idea for some--that Mrs. Lanza be remembered along with the other victims at Sandy Hook Elementary that day. I understand. But I also respectfully ask you to consider this--if Adam Lanza had killed his mother while she slept, and not gone on to kill anyone else, would we consider her a victim? Or would we still think she was implicitly responsible? I'd venture to guess the former. And for that reason, today I remember all 27 victims from Newtown, CT who lost their lives one week ago:
  • Daniel Barden, 7
  • Olivia Engel, 6
  • Josephine Gay, 7
  • Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6
  • Dylan Hockley, 6
  • Madeleine F. Hsu, 6
  • Catherine V. Hubbard, 6
  • Chase Kowalski, 7
  • Jesse Lewis, 6
  • James Mattioli, 6 
  • Grace McDonnell, 7
  • Emilie Parker, 6
  • Jack Pinto, 6
  • Noah Pozner, 6
  • Caroline Previdi, 6
  • Jessica Rekos, 6
  • Avielle Richman, 6
  • Benjamin Wheeler, 6
  • Allison N. Wyatt, 6
  • Mary Sherlach, 56
  • Victoria Soto, 27
  • Anne Marie Murphy, 52
  • Lauren Rousseau, 30
  • Dawn Hochsprung, 47
  • Rachel Davino, 29
  • Nancy Lanza, 54
 We remember.


Justin: Lizzy, wait inside please. I'm just going to warm up the car real quick.
Lizzy: Why?
Justin: Because it's been sitting all day.
Lizzy: DAD! NOOOOOOOOO!!!! The car does NOT have a bottom!

Lizzy: Mom, my foot tastes itchy.
Aunt Court: Can you tell me what itchy tastes like?
Lizzy: Like this, (high pitched voice) "ITCHY! ITCHY! ITCHY!"

Me: Lizzy, I need you to go to your room until you can stop screaming.
Lizzy: I cannot mother. Leah is sleeping.
Me: Who is Leah?
Lizzy: A friend. I cannot wake up people who are sleeping, you said.

(In the car, at a stoplight. The instant the light turned green.)

Lizzy: What's a president?
Me: He's the person who is the boss of everything in this country.
Lizzy: But you are the boss of everything, Mom!

(Listening to the radio)
Lizzy: Mom, I don't like this song.
Me: Why not? I think it's a nice song.
Lizzy: But I sing it better. I want to listen to me sing instead.

Lizzy: I want to pray my special prayer.
Us: Okay, what's your special prayer?
Lizzy: Dear God, thank you for mating us and so much good girls. We love you Jesus, in Jesus' name, Amen.

(In church, Becca started to cry)

{And yes, I know that like half of this post is capitalized. It is the volume at which my child speaks.}

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Deals from P&G eStore

Are you all done with your Christmas shopping yet? I'm close, but I have a bit more to do...and I don't know about you, but the people who are still on my list are also the ones that I'm having the hardest time shopping for.

So, to get those gift-giving wheels turning, here's a few gift ideas from the P&G eStore...and if you're not familiar with the P&G eStore, it's an online store that sells many of Proctor & Gamble's popular products, often for much less than you'd find them at your local store--which is great, because brands like Olay, Swiffer, Pampers, Crest...all P&G brands! The eStore also offers some pretty cool "bundles" that I think would make great gifts. I really love ordering gifts online for friends and family that live out of state, and these bundles are an especially neat idea because they contain a great variety of things, just like a gift basket that I'd put together myself.

I am totally eyeing this Vidal Sassoon Pre-Sale Bundle that includes a bunch of Vidal Sassoon Hair Products. The photo also includes what looks like a Venus razor and magazine subscription, but those aren't listed in the actual product description, so I'm not sure whether or not they actually come in this bundle...but for $12.99, it's a great price even if it is just the hair product.

Or this Home for the Holidays bundle, which includes a TON of great home stuff, and for $29.99, it would be a great housewarming gift. I've made similar baskets myself at the dollar store, and usually end up spending nearly the same amount for non-name brand products that aren't even full sized.

I also like the idea of the Simply Beautiful Bundle, which includes all sorts of Olay Products...but I'm most intrigued by the idea of the Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Tone Correcting Moisturizer. I've actually almost purchased that product the last two times I was at Target, and it retails for about $23 there (and online)...and this whole stinking bundle, which includes that product AND mascara, AND body lotion, AND body wash, AND only $39.99 on the P&G eStore.

Plus, they also offer free shipping on orders over $25, and 15% off of your first order at the store with the code A9Z-MN5-KY3-ISA. And? Free samples in every order. Gotta love free samples! So, if you haven't finished your holiday shopping, check out the P&G eStore, and see what they have to offer! 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Unspeakable JOY

Few things are filled with as much JOY as the first sprinkle of snow each year for a child. It is the sort of thing that calls for throwing on ridiculous fur coats and pink cowgirl boots over pajamas and running outside before breakfast, so as not to miss it.

I am so thankful for that JOY this morning.

When None of It Makes Sense.

It's 4am and I just finished feeding Becca. She won't go back to sleep, but today I'm content to just lay here with her on my chest in the quiet as I read the news.

The news about yesterday's shooting in
Conneticut has changed since last night. Different information has surfaced, even down to the identity of the shooter, but my grief and emotions are largely the same--there is not a parent in the world who does not feel the weight of this.

The shooter has now been identified as a 20 year old man. Still a boy, really. And I just keep wondering--did he know?

I don't at all mean to absolve  him of blame. The fact that he wore a bullet-proof vest as he walked into that school means to me that he knew. But did he know?

Did he know what it would mean to clean up little shoes strewn about the living room? Did he know what it would mean to the mom who dropped her kiddo off to school with relief for a few quiet hours after a rough morning that day? Did he know what it would mean for the parents who have Christmas gifts under the tree that will never be opened? Did he have nieces or nephews that age? Had he talked with a 1st grader and gotten to see how smart and funny they are? Did he think about all the lost teeth and first kisses and driver's licenses that these children would never have? Did he know how much it would hurt, and do it anyway, specifically for that reason?

It makes me want to throw up, all of it. The gaping hole of "why" that so many parents will never have answered. Seeing this be used to further political agendas on both sides of the coin--already, I've seen Facebook postings to the effect of "believe in gun control yet?" and "people want to know where God was--oh yeah, he isn't allowed in schools anymore" to which I just want to scream SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR POLITICAL AGENDA FOR ONE DAY.

There are real people dealing with a hurt so enormous...parents, siblings, first responders, reporters, teachers, friends. Relatives--of the victims, the survivors, AND the shooter. So much pain, and for what purpose?

Today, I'll hug my girls and my husband a little closer. I'll pray, because that's really all that I can do, and that's the only place peace comes for me now. I'll try to be more patient and kind. To soak up every blessing. And I won't forget--not yet. Even in the hustle and bustle of the next few weeks, as I go about errands and the daily grind, I will remember...even as none of it makes sense.

I doubt it ever will.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Letter to Becca: One Month


This morning, as you were sleeping on my chest, I was looking back at the letter than I wrote your sister when she was a month old, and I think if there's one thing I was struck by, it was how much of Lizzy's personality was already on display at only one month old! 

 {LOVE how the quilt my mom made for Becca turned out!}

So, that brought me to think of you, and speculate what you'll be like in a few years based on your personality now--and I think that for the most part, you'll be a quiet observer. You're a pretty calm baby for the most part. You're very alert, just like Lizzy was, but while she would kick her legs like crazy and let out these little baby shrieks, you prefer just to quietly study everything. That said, you also aren't afraid to let us know if there's something that you really don't like...for example, if I try to put a knit hat on you? You are ticked, and you let me know!

Just like Lizzy, you're constantly lifting your head up and pushing up on your arms to see what's going on. You still love to eat, and are a champion nurser. We took you to the pediatrician this past weekend for the terrible baby acne you've got going on (poor thing!), and you already weigh 10 pounds 2 ounces! Lizzy was only 12 pounds at seven months, so this is a bit of uncharted territory for me, but happily so! It's so nice to have a baby who will actually breastfeed without fighting every single session.
We all love you more than we could say, but your big sister is still especially enamored with you, and basically wants to be touching you 24 hours a day. Lizzy is a great big sister to you, always reading you books and giving you kisses. While taking some photos of you this past weekend, I snapped two that aren't technically "good" photos, but I couldn't bear to delete them because I felt like they probably perfectly captured what life is like for you at this point!

 On Sunday, you were baptized, which your sister was absolutely thrilled about--she has been asking us when you were going to be baptized for weeks. After church, we took our first photo as a family of four--I can't believe we hadn't taken one sooner! In some ways, I can hardly believe you're a month old already...and in other ways, it feels like you've been with us forever! Can't imagine life without you sweet girl!

Love you forever and for always,

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pregnancy #2: One Month Postpartum

1 month PP 
 Compared to one-month postpartum with Lizzy: 

It's 8pm as I'm writing this. Justin is still at work, and I just put Lizzy to bed with much drama due to her refusing to eat the chicken noodle soup that she requested for dinner. Becca is currently sleeping in her bouncer, and other than while driving, it's the first time I've not been holding someone all day. I'd guess I probably have 10 minutes before Lizzy either tries to sneak out of her bedroom or Becca is ready to nurse again...and that basically sums up the first month postpartum! Ha!

Seriously though, here's the scoop for real:
-I have about 7-10 pounds to lose in order to be back at the pre-pregnancy weight from this time around. I definitely feel that extra in my hips and belly, but not as much as I did with Lizzy. Of course, as most moms will tell you, even if you lose all the pregnancy weight right away, that still doesn't mean that your pre-pregnancy jeans are going to fit! I'm currently about one pants size larger than I was pre-pregnancy, which is a happy treat--although you can't really tell in the two photos, my hips were SIGNIFICANTLY wider after Lizzy, and at that time I was wearing jeans that were two sizes larger than I'm wearing now (three sizes larger than pre-pregnancy, in total). Still, I'm looking forward to being able to wear my "normal" clothes again, and hope that happens sooner rather than later!

-I'm getting a little antsy to start working out, and am looking forward to starting Insanity with Justin at the end of this month or beginning of next. I'm also hoping to be getting a little more sleep than I'm getting now by then though, or I will die.

-Just like with Lizzy, I think I have an overactive letdown--Rebecca often pulls off the boob choking and coughing. But unlike Lizzy, she actually seems to like to eat, and rarely will even go 3 hours between feeding sessions. For at least a couple of weeks there, she was seriously nursing like 20 hours a day (which I think probably had to do with the staph infection). Breastfeeding still hurts a bit as she latches on, but the pain goes away once I feel the letdown. Becca seems to chomp down at the beginning to control the flow, and I'm sure that doesn't help. Also? I don't really remember feeling engorged with Lizzy, but man alive do I feel it this time around! I think you could probably set a clock by my boobs :)

-For the first three weeks, I was super emotional...especially once it started to get dark. By the time Justin got home, I was generally about to burst into tears every day. And also, when I left the hospital, they'd told me that it was normal to be emotional for two weeks, but not longer than that, and that past that point if I was weepy, I should talk to someone about PPD/PPA. So then I'd cry more because I was worried that I was crying. Well. Although the advice was well-intentioned and probably good advice in general, I think that I was actually super-emotional because I was only sleeping 1 or 2 hours a day...which also explained why it only tended to happen in the evening--I was just exhausted! Now that I'm getting 4 or 5 hours of sleep a day (combined, not in one stretch), I'm feeling a TON better. There are still hard and exhausting days, but I don't think I've cried this week!

-Just like last time, I'm still feeling a little overwhelmed with trying to balance the needs of the kiddos and everything else. When I'm not feeding, changing a diaper, or cleaning up poop/puke/Lizzy's spilled lunch...basically all I want to be doing is sleeping or just vegging out with a book or the TV. It's hard to motivate myself to do darn near anything else at this point! This is going to sound super bratty (and I hope y'all can see through that to the heart of what I'm about to say)...but the other day I found myself wishing that people would just stop bringing baby gifts already because on the off chance that I have a spare moment, the very last thing I want to do is write a thank you note, and I'm constantly stressing out about how far behind I am with them already!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Mother Rage

Justin's side of the family is loud. They just are. They're loud when they're happy, with guitars and singing, and children running through the house in a noisy ball of energy. They're loud when they're in disagreement or talking about politics--voices raising loudly to be heard, and everyone talking all at once. I have no doubt that things have always been this way, and that when Justin and his siblings were growing up, the default setting for fights between kids and parents, or even kids and kids was LOUD. Consequently, any time Justin and I disagree (even about small things), I usually find myself saying, "Why are you yelling?!" to which he yells back, "I'M NOT YELLING!"

I'm different. I don't tend to get loud. I tend to be a bit introverted in real life. I don't like conflict in my personal life, and will go to great lengths to avoid it. If such an occasion arises that conflict is inevitable, I don't love "hashing it out" verbally, and would much rather craft a letter laying out my case bullet point by bullet point. I'm not kidding. I literally lay out my case as if I were in a debate with points and anticipatory counter-points. If there's conflict or disagreement, I aim to win, which I can usually best accomplish if I'm calm, cool, and collected in painstakingly making my case. I say all this in order to convey that in general, I'm a pretty mild mannered person, who very rarely (if ever) is just looking for a fight. It takes a lot to get me riled up.

At least, until I became a mom. After which, I became semi-regularly afflicted with something that I like to call "The Mother Rage".

The Mother Rage is something that I wake up with....or in the case of having a newborn, it's something that begins brewing at about 3am. It's Justin going to the store to get beer last night and forgetting my Cherry Coke. It's Lizzy crawling into bed with me at 6am, just as I've finally gotten the baby to sleep. It's the dishes from last night's dinner still sitting on the counter. It's the fact that it is inevitable that as soon as I've prepared a plate of food, the baby suddenly wants to eat again (even if she last ate literally five minutes ago). It's Lizzy dumping out every single one of her markers on the floor any time she wants to color, or her turning on the music on Becca's bouncer and waking her up, even though she has literally been told at least 25 times today NOT TO TURN ON THE MUSIC WHEN THE BABY IS SLEEPING, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. And then, it's Lizzy doing it again, literally minutes later. It's Justin having band practice, and Bible Study, and school...chances to actually converse with other adults, when I've not left the house in days. It's feeling like I can't add an activity that's just for me without our family reaching critical mass. It's the floor needing to be mopped, again. It's toothpaste in the sink, or juice on the floor that I've just mopped. It's Justin walking in the door and innocently asking "What's for dinner?" when all I've eaten all day is a spoonful of Trader Joe's Cookie Butter, which I snuck while pretending to go to the bathroom, with Lizzy banging on the door the entire time saying, "Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom?"

Like so many parts of motherhood, The Mother Rage is one of those things that no one tells you about, but that I'm convinced we all experience.

What's more, The Mother Rage is relentless, starting small and growing into bitter resentment if left unchecked. She takes hold of small things and multiples. Such small things. But when combined, they are enough to drive me to adding chocolate chips to my yogurt at 6:00am. Or to contemplate packing up both children before noon and driving to the liquor store to replenish that tequila that we're out of. Or to send passive aggressive text messages to Justin about leaving the pear cider that I just bought out on the counter, unrefrigerated, and now undrinkable. They are enough to make me write off a day as "bad" at 9am, and to keep looking for reasons that the day sucks until I lay my head down at...well....until I think about laying my head down at 2am.

The Mother Rage is in full force today, but she can be battled. By counting blessings, by trips to Target just because, by recognizing the beauty in the mundane, and by talking about The Mother Rage in the third person.

You're officially on notice, Mother Rage. It's you against me. And I don't like to lose.

{Just a quick postscript--this was mostly meant to be a (sort of) funny post about something that I think most moms small things can just multiply to create a full on RAGE out of nowhere! Although I was definitely feeling rage-y this morning, I promise I'm okay, and laughing about it now :) }

Monday, December 3, 2012

Thanks, that was fun.

-It is currently 2:55am as I type this out on my phone. I haven't gotten to sleep yet at all because I'm feeding Rebecca...again. She won't sleep--not while nursing,  not in my arms, not laying next to me, not in her swing/bouncer/bassinet. I am so tired. Beyond tired...and I kind of want to punch Justin,  who is sleeping peacefully next to me, in the face. Justin helps a good amount at night, but there's really only so much he can do, and so that leaves me awake by myself quite often.

And being awake while the whole house is sleeping and you haven't really slept in weeks is a little maddening.

-That blood blister looking thing that Rebecca had? It was staph. Awesome. She seems to be fine now, but I'm a little shaken. Now, every time a little baby zit pops up, my first reaction is OH MY GOD...IS THAT STAPH?!

-On Saturday I had a fun family day planned with all sorts of holiday activities. We felt like Lizzy needed some extra attention and a fun family day where we weren't correcting and disciplining her constantly. We stopped at Costco on our way into town and ate pizza. As we finished eating,  Lizzy said, "I ate my pizza! And I ate my penny!"

Um,  what?

We called her pediatrician, who ordered xrays because apparently pennies made after 1982 are coated with zinc, which can erode the esophogus. And sometimes, kids don't start hurting/fussing until a few hours later if it is lodged in their throat 

So yeah. I was nursing Becca (shocker!) so Justin took her back for the xray, but he said you could see the penny clear as day. So now, she just has to wait for the penny to pass....YAY!

When we asked Lizzy about why she swallowed the penny, she said, "I wanted to be naughty."  So basically, she wanted extra attention...which being 2, she didn't understand was already PLANNED for the day. Oye.

I still don't know how she managed to swallow it without us noticing...

It was a hell of a week. But really, what can you do but laugh? Well...drinking margaritas would be a good option, but I'm out of tequila, so laughing will just have to do!

PS- Bonus points if you know where the title to this post comes from!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness: Days 15-21

Day 15: I'm thankful for the sweet moments, though few and far between, with just Lizzy and me.

Day 16: I'm SO thankful for a coffee date with my best friend from high school. Even though it has literally been YEARS since we've seen each other and months since we've really talked, it was like not even a day had passed. Friendship like that is a gift.

Day 17: I'm thankful for getting to sit next to Justin at a family dinner while both our kids were at the other end of the table. It was almost like a date! Almost.

Day 18: I'm thankful for my sister, who also claims November as her birthday month.

Day 19: I'm so thankful for the slowed pace of our weekends lately, which have allowed for plenty of snuggle time, and the option to stay in pajamas until noon.

Day 20: I'm thankful that Becca is gaining weight well! At the pediatrician on Monday, she weighed 8lbs 14oz--she's gained over a pound already! Woo! Also? So thankful for snuggles with a sleeping baby.

Day 21: I'm thankful for the unassuming brown envelope that arrived in the mail this week. No note, nothing else. Just this. It was a tremendous blessing, I'm so thankful, and I cannot wait to be able to pay it forward some day.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Goings On

Becca has a pediatrician appointment this morning. I'm nervous, because I'm always nervous, but also because I remember having to constantly take Lizzy in for weight checks...and I just hope she's gaining weight more quickly than Lizzy did! Also, last night during bath time, Justin found what looks almost like a little blood blister in Becca's armpit. I have no idea whether it really is some kind of a blood blister (or how she would have gotten it), or something like a strawberry hemagioma...but either way, it stresses me out. After my skin cancer thing, anything purpleish on skin freaks me the freak out. 

Justin stayed home sick from work today to sleep. I'm totally jealous that he gets to sleep. Because Lord knows that if I get whatever bug it is that he has, I will not get to sleep! Really though, I know how crazy it is to be jealous of a sick person, and I do NOT want to get sick... I'm just a little jealous because I've been averaging like 1 or 2 hours of sleep a night and I feel like a total zombie!

I need some good book recommendations! Please don't say Fifty Shades of Grey.

After looking at Instagram, I feel behind on the whole decorating for Christmas thing. Our tree isn't up yet, and I haven't even started to think about it, honestly! I would like to start decorating, but I have a feeling that if I just get our 25 Christmas books wrapped before December 1st to start opening one a night, I'll be in good shape, ha!

Lizzy is currently throwing the temper tantrum of all temper tantrums because she dumped her breakfast in the garbage and now she's hungry. She keeps yelling, "I'm frustrated with you mama! I do not like your choice!" Pray for naps y'all. Pray for naps.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


It is a super cold, rainy morning. I'm *so* thankful for wool knee socks, lots of knit blankets, and plenty of movies. It's one of those days where you just feel like burrowing in for the winter, and I'm thankful that we don't have any place to go! Also, I feel bad just thinking about Justin working outdoors, probably digging, in this mess. I've gotta try to remember to have a warm pot of coffee going when he gets home!

 On Sunday, I set up to do newborn photos of Rebecca at our house. You know, because I love newborn photos, and since I didn't start doing them until after Lizzy was born, I was excited about having some "real" newborn photos of one of my own kids for once! I figured it would be no problem because Rebecca really didn't sleep at all the night before, so surely she'd be out most of the day, right? Wrong. She slept for 5 minutes...which means I got all of 10 photos. Oh well...she's cute, so she gets a pass.


I know this won't apply to 99% of people who read this blog, but it may apply to one or two people and save them some $, so I'll post about it anyway. So, we have DirecTV and an old-as-the-hills Tivo DVR. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the DVR receiver would power off and re-set itself a couple of times a day. I thought our DVR was just old and figured we should start thinking about buying a new one. I happened to do a Google search about our model to see if there were any fixes I should try first, and discovered that this is something that has suddenly happened to HUNDREDS of people across all sorts of older DVR models. Now, our DVR re-sets itself 3+ times an hour, and has totally made watching or recording any sort of TV pointless--Bones last night? Three re-sets. We'll end up watching online in a I'm not really sure what we're paying DirecTv for at this point. I just wanted to post something in case it applied to anyone else, because about half the people who call DirecTv seem to be told that their DVR has failed and that they need to buy a new one...which is clearly not the case.

I haven't even begun to think about Christmas yet. Heck, I haven't even begun to think about Thanksgiving! 

I totally forgot all the crazy little noises that newborns make while they are sleeping. Am I right? I spent a good 15 minutes freaking out about all the crazy noises and irregular breathing patterns that Becca was making the other night before I remembered that Lizzy did the same thing and that I was just as freaked out when she did it. 

Do you all do Black Friday shopping? Where are y'all going and what are you planning to buy? I usually go because I find that it does save us money when buying for Christmas and the crazy number of December birthdays in our family, but this month it's just out of the question between having a newborn and sort of being on a total spending freeze trying to make the house refinance happen in December. And honestly? It's kind of a blessing to just have it be completely out of the question. And also? It'll prevent me from buying all sorts of clothes in this crazy-in-between postpartum size, which is probably a good thing, heh!

Friday, November 16, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness: Days 8-14

Day Eight: I'm thankful for the safe birth of sweet Rebecca, and making us a family of four!

Day Nine: I'm thankful for how much they love each other already.

Day Ten: For my sister-in-law Renee, who organized two weeks of meals to be dropped off for us! Also so thankful for all our friends and family who have fed us so well! 

Day Eleven: For when both girls nap at once, even if it's only five minutes of overlap.

Day Twelve: For discovering awesome new (to me) TV shows on Netflix to watch during marathon feeding sessions.

Day Thirteen: For great friends.

Day Fourteen: I'm *so* thankful that breastfeeding has gone well this time around,
 and isn't an hourly battle!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

One Week Postpartum

*Note: This post is about all the gory postpartum details via survey stolen and (slightly modified) from Kristal. Fair warning. Just saying. 

How far along were you when you had your baby? 39 weeks

How long was labor? About an hour and a half from the "pop" that I thought was my water breaking until delivery. And of that, probably 15-20 minutes was the nurses telling me not to push. So...yeah. I am totally terrified about what this means for any future kiddos.

Total weight gain: About 27 pounds

Total weight loss so far: About 12 pounds. I'm about 15 pounds away from pre-pregnancy weight. Even though the weight loss isn't as much as I would like, I have been surprised at how quickly my belly is shrinking back down this time. Here's a photo from this morning: 

Which I think is similar to where I was about one month postpartum with Lizzy (at which point I was about 18 pounds above pre-pregnancy weight)

I didn't start talking about weight loss and such until I was about a month postpartum with Lizzy, so I don't know whether I lost all the weight initially and then just didn't lose any more until I started working out, or whether it was a steady loss up until that month will be interesting to see how things go this time around

How is physical recovery going? Pretty well. I'm starting to get a little itchy and sore around the areas where I have stitches, which is uncomfortable, but not terrible. On Monday night, I was REALLY achy and sore all over, and then started to get the chills, and eventually a low-grade fever of about 100 degrees. I was pretty sure I was dying of sepsis, and was ready to call my OB at like 1am. Justin convinced me to take some ibuprofen and wait a couple hours to see what happened. The fever broke about 3am, and I'm still alive (obviously). Since then, I've learned from Dr. Google that a low-grade fever is normal for some women when their milk comes in...which it did on Monday. So, I'm guessing that was that. 

What do you miss about being pregnant? Not a darn thing. I tolerate pregnancy in order to get the baby out of it, but I don't really enjoy it at all. 


How is nursing going?  It's going well.  Rebecca latched on almost immediately after being born, and nursing has been easier with her than it ever was with Lizzy, who sucked her tongue in utero. Rebecca pretty much nurses all the time, which is also a lot different than Lizzy. With Lizzy, I'd be lucky to get her to nurse for 15 minutes every three hours. With Rebecca, on Monday we watched 3 or 4 episodes of a TV show on Netflix, and I nursed her at least once per 42 minute episode. So overall, it's going well...that's not to say that it isn't toe-curlingly painful when she first latches on, but it is much, much better than it was with Lizzy. 
Have you taken her out yet?  Yes. We all went to the pediatrician on Monday. Justin went back to work on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I took both girls to the drive-thru at the bank and the Dollar Store. And then I felt like I needed a five hour nap. I wish I had a Moby wrap right about now, 'cause I think that would make taking her out to places like church easier.

How/where does she sleep?  I'm beginning to think that Rebecca is a vampire. Seriously, she does not sleep at night, AT ALL, unless she is being held. I'm not talking sleeping through the night...I'm talking sleeping at ALL during the night. This is bad news, because I am not comfortable co-sleeping at all because of how heavily Justin sleeps. So the last few nights, I've sat down to nurse her, and then woken up in a terror-stricken panic about 15 minutes later. It is not a good situation. 

During the day? She has no problem sleeping. But a lot of good that does me, because it's significantly harder to sleep when the baby sleeps when you also have a toddler. For example, the other morning, I put Rebecca in the swing right next to the couch, put on a movie for Lizzy, and gave Lizzy strict instructions not to get off the couch unless it was to go to the bathroom (in which case, she was to come right back to the couch). I laid down, and cat napped on the couch...and was woken up by Lizzy yelling delightedly, "Mom! I gave baby sister an underdog!!!" 

So yeah. The sleep situation sucks. Lizzy is going to my sister-in-law's house for a couple of hours today, during which time I plan to sleep, sleep, and sleep some more. Hopefully without simultaneously holding a newborn. 

How's the big sister doing? We are in a definite period of adjustment with Lizzy. Most of the time, she is so incredibly sweet with her sister, and it is a joy and a blessing to watch. Lizzy wants to hold her and kiss her all the time, and just loves her to pieces. But on the other hand, I can tell that she's also pushing limits and boundaries big time--like, nearly every time I'm nursing Rebecca, she will get into something that she knows she's not supposed to do, and straight-up ignores me if I tell her to stop, all with this big grin on her face because she knows I'm indisposed. And now if she's mad? Lizzy will let out this absolutely blood curdling scream--something that she never did before, and I have no doubt that she's totally doing it on purpose in order to try and wake up her sister. And that totally makes my blood boil.

I'm trying to be intentional about spending time doing something one-on-one with Lizzy at least once per day while Rebecca is sleeping--painting our nails, coloring, reading books, etc. I try to let Lizzy direct the activity. I know that this is just an adjustment period, so I'm trying not to stress about it too much, even though it has been a little difficult. We've also noticed that Lizzy has really started becoming a lot more attached to Justin--when she's hurt, she wants him. When she wants to snuggle, she wants him. From the minute he walks in the door at night, she is climbing all over him wanting to play and wrestle. Which I don't honestly mind. Sometimes they can totally antagonize each other, so it's nice to watch them bond a little! Justin is doing a great job giving Lizzy extra attention when he is home.

What are you looking forward to? I'm hoping to do some newborn pictures this weekend! It's just been so rainy and dreary lately that I haven't bothered. But we may go to my parents' house for a bit this weekend, and they have a ton of windows, which might actually make it possible.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rebecca Allison--A Birth Story

So, as most of you already know, I had been in "pre-labor" for a few weeks, and was dilated to a 5-6 and about 80% effaced at my OB appointment last Wednesday (the 7th). Thursday morning (the 8th),  I woke up feeling pretty blah. A little off, but not really having contractions like I was before either. Lizzy and I went for a walk, and then Bekah reminded me about the "labor cookies" recipe floating around online...I had most of the ingredients on hand, and so I made them with just a few modifications, figuring why NOT? 

That night, Justin's work class got out early, so we were hanging on the couch watching Big Bang Theory, when I heard and felt a little pop and wondered if it was my water breaking...but there wasn't a big gush of fluid like with Lizzy. That said, I immediately noticed a contraction that was a bit more intense...but I still wasn't sure that my water had actually broken and that things wouldn't just slow down again like before. 

I waited for 2 or 3 more contractions,  and then decided we needed to go in, and Justin called Renee to come stay with Lizzy. I think we were on our way within 10 minutes of the "pop." In the car, contractions were about 4 mins apart. I went back and forth between saying "I'm not sure this is it" (in between contractions) and "We need to make it to the hospital! Are we going to make it?!" (during contractions). We got to the hospital at maybe 9:10pm, a nurse checked me, and I was dilated to 7cm but said my water hadn't broken yet but looked like it would soon. The nurse asked about pain management and I asked for the epidural. The nurse said she'd be back in about 5 mins.

I went to the bathroom and walked through maybe three contractions. The contractions were painful, but at that point, I know I was managing them (with Justin's help) much better than I ever did with Lizzy. About 7 minutes after that, the nurse came back in right as the "game changer" contraction happened. Justin said that I went super pale and almost crumbled to the ground. The instant difference in the level of pain was indescribable and I think that I screamed, "I AM FEELING SO MUCH PRESSURE!" at the nurse, who was still across the room. The nurse responded that she needed me to get on the bed right then and I think I screamed "I can't move anywhere right now!!" That contraction didn't end for several minutes, but eventually the pain lessened a bit, and I managed to get onto the bed and was swinging my leg up when my water definitely broke, and full on projectile shot across the room and totally soaked my nurse, who was several feet away. It was nuts.

My nurse was a total bad ass, and without missing a beat or saying anything about it, she just said "I need to check you again RIGHT NOW." She did, and informed me that I was complete and that there wasn't time for an epidural, and ran to get some other nurses. I was absolutely terrified and in an incredible amount of pain...I think I just started crying and saying, "No no no! I don't want to do this!" Justin got right in close and started giving me a pep talk that I could do it and he'd talk me through them and that I just needed to breathe.

So, this is where things turned sucky--my doctor was apparently out of town, and there was some miscommunication with the hospital about who was on call in his place, and they could not get a hold of the doctor that the hospital thought was on call. And then,  they couldn't get  ahold of ANY OB's at all, except for one guy who happened to be doing rounds at another hospital across town, and they asked him to come ASAP. 

Meanwhile, the nurses were simultaneously preparing for a nurse-delivery (they also called in a non-OB doctor, respiratory therapists and a bunch of other people), and also telling me not to push. For the record, trying not to push when your body WANTS TO PUSH is absolutely agonizing. I really don't think I can even describe how absolutely terrible it was. It was also really bizarre that no one besides Justin was touching me, and that the bed wasn't broken down at all, and was really uncomfortable--I remember hoping they'd put up the feet stirrups soon, because it seemed like that would be more comfortable to push. 

Justin did an absolutely amazing job coaching me through the contractions.  He was totally my rock through not being allowed to push and did a great job of reminding me to breathe through the contractions, even though that felt next to impossible at the time. It was terrible and absolutely excruciating. It felt like I was being ripped in two, and I felt like I was screaming so loud the whole hospital must've been able to hear me! It felt like hours, but it was probably only 15 or 20 minutes.
Finally, the doctor from across town ran into the room, literally running into a gown they had waiting for him. I remember one of the nurses telling him that I was at a +3 station, and feeling relieved because I knew that meant that it was almost over. I also remember them asking if I wanted to feel the baby's head and saying, "No! I want her OUT!"

They still hadn't broken down the bed or anything, and my feet still werent in stirrups or being held up by anyone, but the doctor gave me the okay to push (I think? Maybe I just started?), and I pushed two times before the doctor asked me to stop pushing to stretch me a bit and then he turned to Justin and said, "Looks like you've done most of the work so far--do you want to deliver her too?" Justin was THRILLED and said absolutely. With one more push, her head was out, and then Justin delivered her the rest of the way--she was born at 10:11pm, just about an hour after we got to the hospital! She weighed 7lbs 12 oz and was 21 inches long.

Let me just say that pushing felt SO MUCH BETTER than trying not to push! Had I been allowed to really push right away, I don't think the delivery would have felt so terrible. Anyway, they put her on my chest right away, and I just remember feeling relief that it was over and thinking that I was never ever doing that again. They delivered the placenta, and I had a 2nd degree tear as well as another tear, so the doctor stitched me up. At that point, they were having some concerns about bleeding--the doc said that about 500 ml of blood loss was at the high end of normal, and that I'd already lost 900 ml at that point. They gave me shots of pitocin and something else, and then also started an IV of pitocin (prior to that point, they hadn't had time to do an IV or hep-lock at all). Meanwhile, I heard them talking about a possible blood transfusion and/or d&c. At that point, I asked to try breastfeeding, and Rebecca latched on right away like a champ. The doctor came back in to check on me, and spent quite a bit of time massaging my uterus trying to get the bleeding to stop. He said that sometimes with such fast deliveries, it takes awhile for the body to catch up that it's all over, and said that for now, he was going to have the nurse come in every 15 mins to massage my uterus, and they would reevaluate the bleeding from there. 

Around this time, my parents and Justin's parents arrived--I'm sure they were all pretty surprised to see a text from Justin that wasn't a "she's in labor" text, but a photo of the baby! The nurses let everyone come in and visit for a little while. I don't remember a lot of that, except still being in a lot of pain, and being starving. I was totally starving the whole time I was in the hospital!

After a little while, they left, and I was able to get up out of bed. Justin and I both commented about how even with a larger tear and the blood loss, the recovery part of things was much, much better and easier this time around. As awful as the delivery felt in the moment, by the time we were leaving the hospital, it didn't stick out in my mind as being awful, and I was almost willing to say that I'd really seriously consider going without an epidural again for any future kids. The nurses kept coming in through the night to massage my stomach and evaluate the bleeding, and around 5:30am, it was determined to be okay, and they transferred us to the postpartum wing.

The only weird thing I'm dealing with is a few episodes of the "seeing stars" vision stuff I had all throughout the pregnancy, so I may end up touching base with my OB today--my blood pressure was like 110/50 the whole time in the hospital, so I'm not too worried about pre-ecclampsia or anything like that. I think it's probably just a weird thing that happens to me...or possibly related to low blood sugar, as both episodes happened yesterday, when Rebecca literally nursed all day long.

We had to stay in the hospital a bit longer this time around--I'd assume due to the blood loss--so we weren't able to come home until Saturday, but now we're home and seem to all be doing pretty well. Lizzy is completely and totally smitten with her little sis :) It's been a whirlwind few days, but a blessed few days. God is so good.
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