December 26, 2012
Only Fall and Football season are as close to the top of my list of favorite times of the year.
And this Christmas we had a lot to celebrate...
Ryan's first Christmas, Jake finished up his classes and will be student teaching in the Spring, Rachel is growing up and turning into a little lady.
I made cookies (even more than last year); we put up additional decorations so the house looks extra special; Jake and I went on our annual Christmas shopping spree together; Rachel asked almost every single day if it was Christmas yet.
For some reason, this year my heart just wasn't into it.
Maybe it was because we missed church almost every Sunday during Advent due to sickness and schedule conflicts and didn't make it to the Christmas Eve service this year (again) because Ryan wasn't feeling well.
Or, maybe it was because we are all tired from months of sleep deprivation and the stress of raising a newborn and an extremely independent/willful two-year-old who refuses to eat or do anything that isn't her idea.
Perhaps it was because in the weeks leading up to Christmas I made a fairly sizable mistake at work- one that caused me to toss and turn and fret and stew for over two weeks before I finally picked up the phone and sobbed out an apology to one of my superiors. But not before being stabbed in the back by a co-worker/friend, which kind of ruined things at work for a few days.
I guess it could have been because I didn't send out Christmas cards or letters this year or because we missed more than one Christmas party that I was looking forward to attending.
The cherry on top of the disappointment was probably how we spent Christmas morning... while everyone else was opening presents and enjoying each other's company we were struggling with Rachel and her refusal to apologize to her daddy, which she had to do before presents could be opened (long story). So, instead of rushing downstairs to open presents in wondrous excitement, Rachel insisted on reading a book while Jake and I watched TV for almost an hour before she finally broke down and agreed to apologize. That kid...not even the prospect of opening presents is reward enough to do something that she does not want to do.
Whatever the reason(s)...I would like a do-over.
I would like another opportunity to teach my children about the real reason for Christmas.
I would like another opportunity to listen to quality Christmas music and feel the excitement of the season in my soul.
I would like another opportunity to take a family Christmas picture that doesn't involve crying or naked dolls.
I would like another opportunity to drive around and look at Christmas lights without getting lost and ending up on the other side of town.
I would like another opportunity to snuggle with my baby boy in his Christmas PJs instead of feeling anxious about guessing whether or not he will sleep for more than 60 minutes at a time.
I would like another opportunity to get my little girl to eat more than just a few bites of bread at both Christmas dinners (why, oh WHY, won't that child EAT?!).
Basically, I would just like to do this whole thing over so in the spirit of being a true Cubs fan (and, apparently a Hawks fan) I will quote my favorite motto....
There is always next year.
December 19, 2012
A few weeks ago I turned 33. It wasn't anything too exciting. You know, just another birthday. My co-workers had birthday signs hanging in my office when I arrived and I drank my birthday drink from Starbucks but the fun pretty much ended after that. Don't get me wrong, nothing terrible happened, but it was kind of a disappointing day.
When I started working at this institution I worked in a patient scheduling area and every few weeks we rotated desks so that we could each take a turn at the "busy" desk. In order to accommodate our personal items we each got a small wheeled filing cabinet that we could push around with us as we desk-hopped.
After five years of that I got a secretarial job with a desk. The desk stayed in one place but was located in a reception area. I had my own personal space but I also shared a lot of room with other items that belonged to the department.
My next job moved me from a reception area to my very own cubical in an administrative office. To have so much space was a dream come true. And it was quiet and personal and very nice.
Then, I got my current job. I took this job without seeing where I would be sitting and just about peed my pants in excitement when I saw my new office...with a door and a window! Wow.
But, never does life stand still. Never do things stay the same. Never does a progressive office keep the same number of staff members. And so, on my birthday I was given the news that I pretty much knew was coming....I am getting moved from my office to accommodate new staff members. My new area is a cubicle. It was kind of hard to hear the news, but I completely understand the situation. My supervisor hated to give me the news on my birthday, and not to anyone's surprise, the news made me cry (must I cry at everything?!). But, really I don't think it's going to be that bad (I keep trying to reassure myself of this). The new area will be fully renovated and I will still have access to windows. Plus, I will actually have more desk space than I do now, which will be very much appreciated.
It kind of stinks that I have to say good-bye to my own little personal space. I love my office. I have it decorated so nicely. And it has a door. I love my door. I use my door a lot. I'm going to miss my door.
In honor of my door I would like to make light of the situation by remembering some of my previous birthdays, which were way worse than this one.
16: When I was a kid, you could get a full-no-rules-completely-real license when one turned 16 (I'm pretty sure they come with strings attached now days, which is probably better anyway). However, when I turned 16 I didn't get my license. My twin brother got his but I did not. A few months before my birthday I drove (illegally, I might add) my boyfriend to his job and wrecked my car on the way back. I wasn't wearing a seat belt and when the car hit a culvert, went air born, and landed on it's side in the ditch I hit the passenger side window out...with my head. So, no, I was not allowed to get my license right away. I had to wait.
16 (again): Wow, in general this birthday probably takes the prize for worst birthday ever. I broke up with my boyfriend (same guy from above) about a week before my birthday, which was really stupid on my part. I wasn't allowed to go on dates that were not group dates until I turned 16 so, duh, I really didn't think that through very well. Even though we were no longer "together" (really, when you're 16 what does that mean?), we decided to go on my first "single date" anyway and it was a disaster.
18: In high school my friends and I made a big deal out of birthdays; some of the celebrations we had were quite elaborate. But, when I turned 18 my friends decided to think outside the box and try something completely different. They decided to pretend to forget my birthday and didn't say a word to me about it all day. It was devastating. That night I called a friend of mine from another school (I'm sure I was probably crying) and she immediately invited me up to her place to watch movies and celebrate my 18th birthday together. What I didn't know was that my friends were planning to surprise me a few days later by waking me up at the crack of dawn to take me out for breakfast. Those crazy ladies.
21: No joke. I got pulled over on my 21st birthday....for what the police officer thought was drunk driving. Nope...it was just me trying to reach into my purse and I moved the steering wheel a bit too much to the side when I leaned over. At first the officer was excited to see that he had caught someone in the act but as it became obvious that I was completely sober he shrugged, told me happy birthday, and sent me on my merry way.
28: When I turned 28 Jake happened to be, "Not in a fun birthday mood," as he put it. We went out for dinner but it was snowing really hard so we had to go somewhere close, which happened to be one of the worst restaurants I have ever been to. The food was awful. The company was awful. The ride home was awful. The day in general was just not fun.
30: When I turned 30 I was 8 months pregnant and still suffering from "morning" sickness. Enough said.
So, finding out that I'm going to have to move from my office really wasn't so bad. Plus, what girl wouldn't want to be given a fairly sizable budget and told they can design their new work area using professional-looking materials? Plus, I get to choose my desk first and I pick...the corner one, next to all of the windows!
November 30, 2012
I'm having one of those days.
Poor little Ryan; it has been one thing after another with that little guy (this must be payback for Rachel- the child who has only been to the doctor for routine exams).
A few weeks ago his little cheeks started to get red and bumps appeared, which we assumed to be your standard baby eczema. Rachel had this too and I didn't really do very much to treat it because it never got any worse, appeared only on her face, and went away after about a month.
So when those familiar red bumps began to show up on Ryan we felt bad that he would look a little red in holiday pictures and went on our merry way.
Enter the "horrible mother"
About a week ago we noticed a dry red patch on the back of Ryan's leg. Again, we felt bad for the guy and continued on with life as usual. By the next day the patch had gotten bigger. So, after his bath we put some baby oil on him, smeared a little extra lotion on his face and put the little guy to bed.
Within a few days it became obvious that we needed to be more diligent about putting lotion on him. And on Tuesday when we went to pick him up at the sitter we were shocked to discover that his face was covered in dry scaly patches. On Tuesday night we gave him a bath, scrubbed his face, slathered him up and put him to bed. We awoke on Wednesday to find that the patches had returned and within a few hours the spots were oozing something.
Every day he has been getting worse and last night it finally occurred to us, the worst parents ever, that perhaps we should take our little trooper in for a look-see with the doctor.
He is currently covered head to toe in dry itchy red patches. He is obviously terribly uncomfortable and doesn't want to be held because that just makes him feel worse. Yesterday afternoon I stripped him down to his diaper, covered him in lotion, gave him some Tylenol, and wrapped him in a soft warm blanket. He was able to sleep for about an hour, which is probably the most sleep he has gotten in a while.
Jake is taking Ryan to the doctor today and I just feel so bad because, why didn't we do something about this sooner?! What was I thinking? When we dropped him off at the sitter this morning he was able to muster a smile for us and my heart sank. He trusts us to take care of him. He even smiles for us when he is in pain, and this is the hand is gets dealt?
So, anyway, I'm praying that the doctor will take one look at him, diagnose him immediately, and send Jake on his way to the pharmacy for some ointment or medication that will have him feeling better by morning.
Hey, miracles can happen.
A quick note about some other news....
The other day I accidentally pulled Rachel off her little stool while I was trying to yank her socks off. Her bottom hit the floor and her back hit the stool and we both cried (see, worst parent ever I'm telling you). Yesterday I went to remove her socks and she said, "Mommy, this time don't pull me off the stool and hurt me."
Oh my aching heart.
November 19, 2012
I am almost 100% positive that I know exactly why God gave us the ability to have children when we are young and carefree rather than when are much older and wiser...
Because children age us.
And make us so TIRED.
I know that I was never this tired with Rachel. Ever.
When Rachel was a baby I don't believe that I would have ever thought of, much less condoned, setting up a picnic table in front of the TV. And then to do it for more than one meal in a row?! Gasp...No!
And I feel like I would have always found the energy to put laundry away every week. I have had a basket of clean, unfolded, children's clothes setting in the dining room for so long that Jake seemed almost shocked to learn that he had to go upstairs to get an outfit for Ryan this morning.
And poor Rachel. Three times this weekend (three times, I kid you not) she asked me if I have another baby in my tummy whenever she saw me slumped over on the couch. Apparently she remembers, quite vividly, how tired I was during my pregnancy and now associates my sheer exhaustion with having a baby in my tummy. I asked her once if I look like I have a baby in my tummy and was relieved when she said no.
She must know that it has been almost a year since full nights of sleep were the norm for her mother.
Every night before I go to bed I call out to God, sometimes in tears, asking him to please let us all sleep through the night. I beg him to miraculously keep Ryan's tummy full until at least 5:30 AM...and to keep the array of noises that both children make in their sleep to a dull roar so their racket cannot be heard over the baby monitor. I would turn the thing off except that I still wouldn't be able to sleep because I would just lie awake in fear...fear of missing something important.
Jake and I always kid with each other that we need a vacation but this past weekend we talked about it like it wasn't a joke anymore. I read a blog not to long ago about a woman who left her newborn home with a sitter to take a much needed vacation. The poor lady was attacked by other mothers and accused of being selfish and a bad mother. To that woman I say....
Who was your travel agent and how might I get in contact with her?
November 13, 2012
I returned to work on October 30th and as I walked back into my office I was struck by a very strange thought, how is it possible that time continued to march on at my office while I was gone?
And, how do I know that this happened?
It has taken me two weeks to get us back up and running...well, to my standards anyway.
In the meantime, our lives outside of my office also continue to move forward. I have pretty much given up trying to potty train Rachel for now. I bought her a toy from her most very favorite show (Jake and the Never Land Pirates), set it at her eye level so can she see it every single day, and told her she can't play with it until she goes poopy in the potty. That was over a month ago. Don't get me wrong, she sees it every day and she can even tell me why it's there, "I have to go poopy in the potty before I can play with my toy." but she has yet to feel compelled to do the deed that she speaks of.
Ryan is growing like a little weed. I'm not kidding. That little guy may not have rolls of chub but he still packs quite a punch and tipped the scales at just around 14 pounds last week. He is even wearing his 3-6 month clothes and has started to outgrow his bouncy seat. Dear God, no! Not the bouncy seat! What on earth will we do when he cannot fit into that thing anymore?!
Jake is less than a month away from his LAST FINAL. Can you believe that? We are just a few short weeks away from ending a journey that we have been on for almost 12 years. And when he finally graduates next May I might just do something crazy...go back to school myself and start the entire process over again. I know. Duh. Anyway, he will start his student teaching in January and we are just about to pee our pants with excitement as we wait to hear where he has been placed. A few weeks ago he was pleased to hear that he was the first person in his cohort to get placed (the only person to do so in the first round) and even though I couldn't be more proud of the guy I am really anxious about how this will change our lives (not to mention our morning routine).
And because I just cannot resist posting a few pictures of our two little
October 22, 2012
When I left for lunch on June 28 I let the receptionist know that I would most likely not be back before 1:00 because I was planning to have lunch with my cousin. And as I headed out the door I remember turning around and saying, "See you later." That was 12 weeks ago.
I have mixed emotions about returning to work. I'm really not cut out to be a stay at home mom and I'm looking forward to getting back to my office, my job, and conversations that don't include words like "diaper", "bottle", "pacifier" and "crying". However, on the other hand, I don't feel ready just yet to leave my son. My entire life has centered around him and his every move for three months and I'm not sure that I remember how to function without him. Ryan's arrival brought with it so many emotions- joy, frustration, fear, peace- that it seems almost impossible to suddenly change directions and go back to life as it was BR- "Before Ryan."
A few thoughts...
1. When I left for maternity leave the Summer Olympics was just beginning, it was still 100 degrees outside and had not rained in several weeks, and back-to-school shopping was in full swing.
2. We spent the majority of the month of August in the hospital so August was pretty much a blur. During almost the entire month of September Ryan was absolutely miserable and I spent most of my time feeding him and trying to find little things to make my day a bit more enjoyable. I really have no idea where October has gone.
3. I cannot wait for my hands to have the opportunity to go back to normal. Because I am forever washing my hands and making bottles they have become extremely dry and I have cracked and bleeding knuckles.
4. This maternity leave has taught me a lot of things but I would have to say that the most valuable lesson that I learned is to never give up, never accept an answer you do not agree with, and to always stay the course.
Before Ryan was even born we learned the importance of refusing to accept, "I don't know" for an answer. We had almost a dozen doctors following my case and almost every single one of them had a theory as to what was going on and what should be done. And through it all Ryan's heartbeat continued to be healthy and strong so I believe that he too was learning to fight for his need to be heard.
New, expecting, or not so new parents- Listen. To. These. Words.
If you think that something is wrong with you or your child do not let someone try to convince you that you are wrong and never allow someone, even a highly respected doctor, to encourage you to give up and accept your circumstances as normal or something that will just have to be weathered until it passes.
I spent the majority of my maternity leave fighting for Ryan's health and comfort and our family's sanity. I absolutely knew that something was wrong with him (not just colic) when he refused to eat more than 1-2 ounces at a time, cried during and after feedings, screamed through every bowel movement, and went only 60-90 minutes in between feedings (and for those of you who may have forgotten, that is 60-90 mintes from the start of one feeding until the start of the next). It took me countless visits to the doctor, numerous phone calls and emails, several trips to the store for new formula and bottles, and hours of research before I believed that my beautiful and perfect son was again the happy baby that I know I brought into this world.
He now takes medication twice daily for acid reflux, gets gas relief drops after every bottle, is on a mixture of regular and low iron formula (which can only be found online or special ordered through a grocery store), uses special bottles (Dr. Brown's) that help to reduce the amount of air he takes in while eating, sleeps either in his bouncy seat or is laid down in an elevated position to help control the acid reflux, and does bicycle kicks to help with bowel movements.
And it only took us 12 weeks to get all of this figured out.
I will be the first to admit that he certainly isn't happy every single day and things are not always flowers and rainbows and unicorns around our house but since we started this entire regimen two weeks ago we have had a completely different baby living at our house. Ryan now sleeps in his crib instead of next to the couch (we were taking turns sleeping downstairs with him because he woke up so many times during the night that it wasn't even worth trying to go to bed), wakes up 1-2 times per night (once he even slept through the night and didn't wake up until almost 5:00), eats about 3-5 ounces each feeding, and no longer screams in pain during or after feedings or while he is trying to have a BM.
I don't call that perfect but I do call that progress. And progress makes everyone a bit happier.
And so today, rather than taking my baby out into the rain to get groceries, I am going to stay home and enjoy the last few days that I get to be alone with my son. The grocery store will still be there tomorrow.
October 19, 2012
It was like Heaven to Rachel, who apparently watches way too much TV, and was thrilled to be trekking across the countryside with her map, in search of treasure. Does this scenario sound familiar to anyone else? Enter Dora and Jake and the Neverland Pirates...now does it sound familiar?
Anyway, lucky for us Rachel loves maps and the outdoors and pumpkins and was very excited to be at the pumpkin patch.
|First we had to stop here...|
|then it was off to the pumpkin patch.|
|The adventure begins...must find the perfect pumpkin.|
|Grandma Marcia showed Rachel just what to look for.|
|Daddy was along to carry the treasure back up the huge hill (not pictured, which is a shame because it really was a big hill to have to carry a pumpkin back up).|
|We told Rachel that she could pick any pumpkin that she wanted...|
|and she picked this one.|
While hiking back up the HUGE hill we noticed that another young family was also trying to carry their special find back. The father, who was carrying their prized position, was gasping for air and when I saw the size of the pumpkin he had I could tell why- it was probably one of the largest ones in the field. His young son, who was about Rachel's age, was skipping along beside him and grinning from ear to ear. I just couldn't resist the opportunity to chat with them and said, "We told our daughter that she could pick any pumpkin she wanted, and she got this one," which I then pointed to in Jake's hand. He replied, "(gasp) We told (gasp) our son he could (gasp) choose any pumpkin (gasp) that he wanted (gasp) and he picked (gasp) THIS one (gasp)." To that I responded with, "Yikes, shucks for you."
|Maybe next year Ryan will be able to help pick out a pumpkin.|
|A few days later it was time to learn how to carve a pumpkin. Rachel didn't want to cut into her's so we had to buy another one that was worthy of going under the knife.|
|A beautiful fall day in our backyard|
|The finished product. Perfection.|
October 12, 2012
And, to my surprise, it has actually been quite enjoyable (does that make me sound like a monster?)...right up to the moment that Rachel's excessive chatter during nap time woke up her little brother.
Honestly though, with all that we have been going through with Ryan I have to admit that sometimes it is hard to find joy in our daily activities. So when I noticed that I would be home with a crabby newborn and a defiant two-year-old all day by myself I could feel myself sinking into a puddle of despair.
Will I ever learn that God is always listening and watching and waiting to help me?
Yesterday we started Ryan on a low iron formula and early signs are pointing towards a positive change for the little guy. He has been sleeping better, eating less frequent but larger meals, and crying less when trying to create a stinky diaper. That alone would have made today a better day so it was made almost perfect when I combined that with the fact that Rachel kept her same pull-up on all morning (and is super excited about the toy she will get once she opts to go number two in the potty) and legitimately beat me in a game of Memory.
Actually, you know what? There was a cherry on top of it all. Rachel found our Bibles and insisted on "reading" through one while I read the other. And while doing so I came across a verse in Proverbs 31 (the "how to be a good wife and mother" chapter), and it made me smile... because it was just what I needed to hear today (and tomorrow and probably the next day and most likely the day after that and...).
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
And all of the tired mothers of newborns said, "Amen!"
October 2, 2012
Dear Lord please help us.
He doesn't cry all of the time but instead is forever grunting and screaming in what we can only guess to be a cry of pain, especially after he eats. Formula is expensive enough without having to purchase a million different kinds in hopes that we will find the right one for him.
And so we will continue our hunt for that magic formula, the one that finally makes him stop grunting and squirming and screeching, but until then....here are a few pictures of our little pumpkins.
Oh yeah...please pray for us and our sanity and our wallets.
|Here he is... our little pumpkin|
|My other little pumpkin, Rachel, with daddy and the pumpkin they carved together this past weekend.|
September 21, 2012
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
I first heard this verse when I was pregnant with Rachel and it now hangs in my childrens' bedroom as a reminder to our entire family of the promise that God has for us...that he is with us and will tend to our needs.
But, the part that almost always makes me cry is the last line...."He gently leads those that have young." Yep, I'm pretty sure that part was added in there just for me. Because the Lord knows that raising children is hard, taking care of newborns is even harder, and being a good parent takes the grace and guidance that only God can provide. Can you imagine how terrifying it would be to try to care for a child without His loving arms around you? The thought makes me shutter.
Last night I prayed a different prayer before I went to sleep. Instead of thanking God for all of the blessings that he has given us and blah blah blah I cut right to the point and said, "God, I can't do this without your support. If you think I'm going to survive another night of getting up every 60-90 minutes you're crazy. I need some sleep God! I need some rest! I need to know that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Please show me that eventually my child will sleep through the night."
And you know what? He did.
Ryan slept from midnight until 4:15 AM, which means that I did too. I woke up from a dream covered in drool and unable to determine my exact location. Now that is good sleep!
Thank you God!
I have no idea what Ryan's sleep schedule will be like tonight, but it's Jake's turn to be up with him so I suggest that he too pray like he has never prayed before.
I'll be upstairs....asleep in our bed.
September 19, 2012
September 13, 2012
August 30, 2012
I apologize to those of you who have already seen most of these on my facebook page. Oh well...I think he is perfect enough to justify another look (or two).
Our special little guy, Ryan Edward (named after his father and great-grandfather). This picture was taken the morning after he was born. I couldn't walk yet and had to carry a barf bucket with me to the NICU but I HAD to see my baby, even though the nurses had advised me to wait for a few more hours, until I felt better.
Here I am...seeing Ryan for the first time since his birth.
Jake with little Ryan. He had spent the previous night dividing his time between sitting with Ryan in the NICU and being with me in the recovery area. The poor guy was just as exhausted as I was.
Right after I was discharged from the hospital on Thursday afternoon I got to hold Ryan for the very first time (he was born on Sunday at 10:50 PM). Yes, those are tears on my shirt and more are falling from my eyes. I cry at everything you know.
And here is daddy, also holding Ryan for the first time.
Yea for clothes (finally)!
Ryan spent the second week of his NICU stay in an area that is set aside for babies that are close to going home. It was nice to finally have our own space (with a private bathroom and TV even!). During this time we had to learn how to take care of Ryan, including learning how to give him a bottle.
Day 13: Going home! Wow, we felt so very blessed to be leaving the hospital so soon (long story there).
Our first family picture.
Rachel and her baby brother (whom she adores....for now anyway).
Jerry, Rachel and baby Ryan (I wonder what toy he will have to drag around with him everywhere).
Our little pumpkin.
Kisses from the big sister.
And another close-up of the little guy.
What baby post would be complete without a bath picture? Ryan loves taking a bath. This was his first bath at home and he ended up falling asleep.
So sorry for taking so long to get these posted. This past month has been a blur and I can't believe that my first month of maternity leave is already over. Bummer.
Here's to another few great months at home! May I have lots of time to snuggle my baby Ryan, take him to fun places, and post pictures of it all!
August 17, 2012
August 15, 2012
August 10, 2012
And through it all we have been blessed.
And here he is.....
August 3, 2012
Today I hope to go home from the hospital.
Yep. I've been in here since Tuesday night.....when I started gushing blood (I'm sorry if that is tmi). Thankfully the heavy bleeding stopped fairly quickly. Unfortunately, the doctors cannot figure out where it came from.
And so, they decided to keep me here until the bleeding stopped and I really think that as of late last night it was done. So this morning I got up early, packed up my stuff, and am awaiting my discharge orders. Oh dear Lord please give me my discharge orders.
If I have my way I'll be back to work on Monday.
But when does that ever happen?
The reality of the situation is that I'll probably be on bedrest until this little guy gets here. And I'm really not sure I can handle that. Besides, I don't have time to sit around all day for a month. I've got things to do and places to go....
And I'm going to need all of your prayers. And in return for your prayers I promise to keep you all updated as much as I can.