About Me

I am an insane human being. I have been a wife for 15 plus years, and a mom for almost as long. I had 3 children early on...then struggled with life and IF and loss for 8 years. Thought our family was complete, so I compensated by adopting all the shelter pets. Then we were surprised that our luck changed. Our running total is Parents: 2, Kids: 5, Pets:4. My life is far from perfect, and much of our happiness was hard fought and won, from the death of a parent, job loss and marriage troubles, miscarriage and IF, we have been through it all, and dare I say we made it, with a lot of love and laughter, and not taking ourselves too seriously.

Monday, December 28, 2015

MicroBlog Monday:The Great Divide

There is one major issue that my husband and I do not see eye to eye on. It involves the safety and well being of our children. I thought that we had long since buried this issue nearly a decade and a half ago, but some circumstances have brought this issue into the fold again.

Totally minimizing this here, but there is a friend of someone in his family who I believe is unsafe for my children to be around. When this issue came up all those years ago, it caused great strife between us and our families (my family became involved because no one was listening to me and extending invitations to this person) and I almost got fired from my job because I was going to work so distracted and sick to my stomach about what might happen/who was coming around when I was not there.

I am by no means an alarmist or an indiscriminate hateful asshole, as many people chose to believe. I had legitimate fears that were being swept under the rug and deemed not real issues. My Dad finally listened to me one night when I was a hysterical mess over the situation and my family's inability to have my back here. He told me to always trust my gut and stay strong. Which I did, and somehow prevailed, although I can't even begin to imagine what his family truly thinks of me. But I have long since stop caring about that.

So the issue came back up because my husband told me he was taking the kids somewhere that involved this person, without ever talking to me about it first. All I wanted to do was have a discussion about this and it turned into a terrible fight, the likes of which we have not had in many years. Nothing about this person has changed over the course of the years that would need reevaluating. I wanted to give my children a choice in going (as it is not a child-friendly affair to begin with) and lay down some ground rules regarding the contact with this person moving forward. Neither of which happened, as my husband can be very "all or nothing" and thus just shouted "you win" and walked away.

What is so frustrating is that this person has no blood relation or any close relationship with my husband, so I struggle to understand why this is so important to him. His family is full of dysfunction and there have been actual blood relatives or relatives through marriage that they themselves have barred from holidays and other family functions, but I am made out to be a hateful bitch. Which I am not. If you witnessed some stranger at the playground acting creepy and touchy-feely towards children that had no connection to him, you would keep your children away, no? It's the same situation here. But no one believes me, or rather just dismisses what I saw/what I say. And no, there are no other children on my husband's side of the family other than ours.

Lots of hurtful things have been said to me about this situation. Things that should make me question myself and my position. All I keep coming back to is what if I let my guard down on this, and my gut instinct is proven right?? Then I have failed my kids, amoung other horrible things I can't even let my mind think about. If I am wrong?? Well, that would be the best case senario of course, but at the expense of my sanity over someone who has no familia connection to begin with?? That's dice I am not willing to roll.

If I "win" ( and really, there are no winners here) it's likely I will have ruined my, our kids, and my husband's relationship with his family over this. Which is insane to me. Past situations have proven that they won't react until something happens to them. I am not a reactive thinker when it comes to my children if I can help it.

There is much left to be sorted out. I have to put some pieces of my heart back together, because things that were said really were daggers and cheap shots meant to make me question myself. At least I can recognize that. It doesn't make it hurt any less. The worst was probably the threat to throw all the blame on me and hang me out to dry, instead of presenting a united front. So much I don't understand and likely never will. What I do know is that this has been the most divisive issue we have ever encountered. It was back then and it is now. I know we will survive this, but the cost will be tremendous.

Monday, December 21, 2015

MicroBlog Monday-What's in a Name

When we left to go to the hospital to have Bonus Baby, we did not have a boy's name picked out, only a girls name, so of course he turned out to be a boy. My husband and I just could not agree on a boys name we both liked, and to be honest we didn't try very hard. I had been sending emails to myself with names I heard or read in the baby names book and liked, and a couple days before he was born we read through them again but didn't really discuss any one name in great length.

When Bonus Baby came out, he definitely had more of my genes with the very dark, olive Italian skin and full head of dark hair.(My husband's background is the pale British, so most of my kids are a good mix, but not this one!) I spent the first hours pretty drugged up so I wasn't really in a position to talk names or name a baby. At some point I sobered up a bit, and I remember telling my mom "Dad wouldn't have sent me this Italian-looking little baby from heaven without having a really good Italian name picked out for him."

When I was first writing down names I liked there was one name that really stood out to me that I loved, but my husband did not like it and shot it down months before. The only other time I had said the name other than that one time was a couple days before when I read it again in the lists of names I had picked out, but we didn't sit and talk or debate the name. So imagine my surprise when my husband comes back to the hospital with all the kids and they are calling the baby by the nickname of that name I loved. When I told them we hadn't named him yet and asked where they got that name from they said "you know, for (insert full name here), Daddy told us some names and this is what we like." So I looked at my husband and said "I thought you hated that name, you shot it down months ago...???" And he was just all nonchalant and said the name grew on him!?!? And in my drugged up state I wasn't comprehending and thinking there was a catch or some kind of set up, so I said we would talk about it when we could have a minute without all the kids and when I was less high.

Every time I looked at Bonus Baby from then on that was the only name I could see;he just looked like that name. It took us until the next night to firmly settle on his name, but we needed a middle name. My husband suggested my dad's name for his middle name, and it was settled. I filled out the paperwork pretty soon after.

A few weeks later my sister said "so you know mom found your dad's birth certificate and his name was actually -insert Bonus Baby's nickname here." And so begins a crazy story that I had never in my life heard before. The gist of it was my grandfather was drunk and when asked what he was naming my father he said after his buddies who were waiting, and drinking, at the hospital with him, the first of which is my baby's nickname. The nickname is an actual portion of the full name. So my dad has a legal completely different name. But somehow that name came around to me without ever knowing this story. I have a copy of the birth certificate now. It turns out way back then, you didn't need the birth certificate for school or drivers licenses or anything. So I guess my grandparents started calling him the actual name and never changed anything legally. So my dad had two legal names, because the name I always knew him as was on his license and college degrees and passport, and government ID and federal shield. And that name is the name Bonus Baby has for his middle name.

I truly believe my dad sent me this Italian baby and his most perfect name, there was no coincidence here. My dad is still with me every single day, and even though he isn't here on earth to know Bonus baby, I know in my heart they have already met. And his name is perfect and meant to be.

~In the interest of keeping this blog Anonymous I won't publish the name here. But if anyone would like to know, send me an email and I will gladly share! :) muchadoaboutnothingblogger@gmail.com

Friday, December 11, 2015

Getting Real- an M.I.A. Update

Oh boy, Guys. Has it ever been crazy around here! Not just the run of the mill holiday stuff, but seriously my life has felt so out of control with nearly everything. Where do I even start?? I guess at the beginning...which is about a few days after bringing Bonus Baby home.

I wasn't even out of the hospital a week before I came down with a nasty head cold. So on top of trying to recover from major surgery and take care of 5 kids, I felt like absolute crap. Everything I could take had the potential of drying up breastmilk, and at 2ish weeks postpartum I didn't want to take the chance of messing up my supply. It took me nearly 2 weeks to totally kick that crap...only to be well for a couple days and catch yet another cold. This one started out horrible but got better by day 5. A couple days after that was over, I picked up a GI bug...no vomiting but I couldn't eat anything without spending the next hour in the bathroom. I guess my body was just over-stressed and unable to fight off anything, because no one else in my family was really getting sick. Except the toddler, but I will get to that.

In the middle of all my illnesses, my life felt completely out of control. Between all the breastfeeding, housework, my toddler, and older kids I couldn't get a handle on anything. Bonus Baby...oh he is easy compared to everything else. I can do babies all day long. But man!! I felt like crap, so I was pretty cranky from that. Hubby and I were bickering more than normal because everything was stressing me out. The 2 kids in the middle, especially my sweet 9 year old boy, started taking advantage of the situation and doing things he knew was wrong...like not turning in his iPod on Sunday nights and then sneaking and staying up late playing on it all night. I figured it out when he was falling asleep on the way home from school. Stealing and hiding then binging on the Halloween Candy. And lying about it when asked or caught. Oh, my boy. It's been things like that. My teenager has decided she doesn't want to be here much, to which I take no offense because she's 15 and it's sort of like Romper Room around here. But she also has been making wildly concocted plans and then telling us about it and needing us to chauffeur her all around town at ridiculous hours. And my toddler. Well, he is 22 months.

21 month age gap is awful. 15 months was so much easier. He is just old enough to truly notice and be affected by the change in the household. And to really be vocal when things don't go his way. Someone is always losing out, it seems. I either have to put the baby down to cry and deal with the toddler, or the toddler is screaming because I can't get to whatever he wants/needs fast enough because I am nursing a baby, or I have to leave his side to go get the baby. He is a later talker so he doesn't have a ton of words yet, and he has regressed some since the baby came along so the words he does have he refuses to use. So there has been a LOT of whining and crying and screaming and fit-throwing. And a huge test of patience. And I admit I haven't always been at my best during this. I am working on it.

My older kids have been frustrated with the toddler, too. And so it has served as a good reminder to me, too when I have had to stop them from getting mad at him to say "Guys, be gentle. Remember that he is not even 2 yet". Toddler Baby is also used to playing with older kids, and he's a boy. So he is a roughneck. Everything in his hands has to be banged against something or thrown across the room or down the stairs. We have lost a lot of Christmas ornaments that way this year. We are working on it. But like my other kids at this age, he finds the 3 stooges type routines funny. He also occasionally get so wound up rough housing that he bites. It almost comical to see older kids come running crying that the toddler bit them.

Laundry. It is just never ending. Combine the usual with the fact that my 9 year old (who has never been dry all night on a consistent basis and who doctors reassure me it will eventually stop) has peed his bed every single night this week...I am just done with that. He stopped wearing night time pull-ups or whatever long ago because he would just take them off. He goes for stretches where he is dry, but this week it's been bad. I try not to make a big deal about it cause it already bothers him. Another test of patience.

My animals have been driving me crazy. You can't say the word "outside" without them running around the house like mad and scratching on the sliding glass door. If I even walk in that direction they start going nuts that they are going outside. But then they bark and act stupid so it's a constant in and out all damn day. And my cat!! She started peeing all over the carpet downstairs, which is the playroom. Cat pee is so strong. Nothing is wrong with her other than she is "stressed out". My God. My new baby has stressed out my CAT. Are you kidding me?!?! After spending a small fortune on enzyme cleaners and spray to create a "no marking" zone, I got fed up. One morning I found 5 spots of pee. I caught her and put her out of the house. At night. In the cold. Not for more than a couple hours. She didn't even go far. But she has not done it since. I was ready to take her to the shelter because I do not have time to deal with this every single day. And we tried every trick we could find to stop her from peeing. But my husband who claims he can't stand all the pets just couldn't bring himself to take her. I am obviously not a cat person, but the dogs are my furry children.

For the past week my toddler has had Hand,Foot,Mouth virus and his mouth is full of sores from it. My other kids never got this particular symptom when they had it, so this was all new. He ran a terrible fever for several days, so that in and of itself made him miserable. But he was also hungry on top of it and everything he tried hurt and he didn't understand why. So for 3 straight days it was all day long crying. Toddler because he was hurt and hungry and feeling bad, baby because he kept having to be put down in between everything, and me because days of nonstop crying when you are 5 weeks postpartum is hard! And I felt so helpless. Nothing I could do was making Toddler Boy feel any better. Not even ice cream and milkshakes and cold milk and Popsicles. Finally mashed potatoes last night worked. Yesterday he was feeing a little better. The kids got out of school early so we stopped at Subway. Toddler Guy loves subway. He was so hungry and excited when he saw the bag in the car, climbed right up at the table to eat, and started crying from the first bite. He was so mad he crumbled his chocolate chip cookie and threw it on the floor. And he has been banging his head on things a lot because it helps him deal with the pain in his mouth. It was the saddest thing ever. Just broke my heart.

My days have otherwise just been insane. They almost never nap at the same time. So once I get one settled, I move on to the next one. I feel accomplished if I can manage to empty the dishwasher and get it reloaded. Showers between the hours of 7am and 3pm are an optional luxury. If I am going somewhere and need to shower, I usually swaddle the baby and jump in. Toddler Boy stands crying at the bathroom door for the 10ish minutes it takes me. I haven't shaved my legs since before I had the baby. I figure it's winter and I am still off and on bleeding so what's the point? Things are slowly getting more manageable, but it's a process. I think if I hadn't been dealing with so many illnesses, mainly my own, I would be further along than I am. I have a stack of weekly magazines I read that go back about 8 weeks by now. I haven't touched them. It took me over a year to get caught up after the last baby. I will eventually read them in order. I don't ever get to talk to anyone. If I was a bad friend before...I may as well not exist now.

I have been simultaneously planning my son's 10th birthday party and the class Christmas party. Both should be easy, right? Well...haha. Not only does my son need a snack for school to share to celebrate, he needs a cake or something for his friend party and then one for the family dinner on his actual birthday. And I am the queen of homemade. So there's that. And the fact that the class party we use the class money, which is supposed to be easy to access. But someone new is handling that this year, and I have jumped through I don't even know how many hoops and still don't have the money. So that's super annoying. Especially because I have done this before and know it doesn't have to be such a production and made to be so difficult. The original point of the class money was to make it easy for parents who volunteer to plan the parties. I have the ideas down I just have to finish shopping for both parties and carve out time to do some baking of treats.

Speaking of baking...so every Christmas I am the cookie maker. For our families and for my husband to take to work. They also fill in as gifts. I usually make the dough and freeze it and then spend one day just baking. I finally managed to get 2 kinds of dough made. One more to go for this year, I am cutting back how many kinds I make. It doesn't take long to actually make the dough, it's just getting the time when I have an extra hand if someone starts crying or needs to eat or whatever. So it means that during the day is usually out because I never have any stretch of time where someone isn't needing something. On top of the baking there is the 2-3 batches of homemade jam I need to make for gifts for my husband's office. If I left it up to him he would do exactly nothing. But his is a small company with a semi-close office staff who insist on exchanging gifts. Hell, even his holiday party is deemed mandatory, and it is not even during work hours! Each batch take about an hour. But that is something you have to stand right by, there is no walking away from it. So again, that is an evening thing. Or weekend. So my time is already limited. And yes, I have tried to find ways to cut corners but these are 2 things I can't not do.

As for Bonus Baby...he is so soft and squishy and cuddly. I call him my little toaster because he's so warm and snuggly. I am getting a good amount of sleep because I co-sleep. Well...because of having a C-section it was more comfortable to sleep propped up. So I have been sleeping in the over-sized rocking recliner in my room with the baby and my breast friend nursing pillow. It's a fabulous set up, and I probably get more sleep this way than I would otherwise. He mostly sleeps in my arms and roots around every few hours for some milk. It's pretty fabulous.

My recovery is going as to be expected. I have been living on Motrin and was still just a little sore until a few days ago. I must have overdone it or it all caught up with me because I am way more sore now than I had been. I am supposed to go back to work in a few weeks but I have my 6-week check up next week so I am going to try and finagle a few more weeks of leave if I can get it approved to be paid. We will see. Physically I feel like I could use it.

So in order to gain a feeling of control over my life now that I am feeling better from all the illnesses I had, I was really upset with myself that I had been living just to survive the day. I wasn't miserable or ungrateful for this life, but I was in survival mode. Here it is my very favorite time of year, and I couldn't wait for each day to end. So I made a huge mental note to change that thinking. I started praying more for grace and patience and strength to do this. I took a deep breath...or 10. And I woke up feeling better. I sat down with the kids and went over what was expected and wouldn't be tolerated. I highlighted all the fun festive things we could do as a family if everyone cooperated and helped each other more. My biggest complainer, the teenager, has been vocal about us not doing the holiday stuff like watching movies together, but is the first one trying to never be at home. I addressed that. I laid out a game plan of things we were going to do.

I have also been trying to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and get outside more. It was hard those first couple weeks home because it got so cold and that sucks with a newborn. But now that it's warmed up, it's been good to get out and get fresh air and just move. Yesterday I scoped out a great hill for sledding that is in walking distance when it's time. I also realized that I feel better when I have somewhere to go, no matter where it is or what it's for. When I don't have to leave the house all day, like last week when my husband was able to pick up the kids from school, I just felt more moody and out of sorts. I feel much better about life when I feel I am being productive, even if it's just stopping at the grocery store. Which I try not to do with my toddler. He is definitely not my easiest child by a long stretch.

I have been trying to write this blog all day. I have stopped and picked it back up a million times. So I apologize if this is all over the place. I have also been reading all of your blogs, even though I haven't managed to comment...Mel, Misty, Amanda, Jess, and all the rest of you. I'm still here reading and silently supporting you!

One last thing for now...I just want to say that I am happy. My life is crazy by design. And yes, it's been hard. And I haven't been the best me all of the time these past 5 weeks. But I wouldn't trade it for the world. I never expected it to be easy. This post isn't to complain...it's just to be real about how my life has been.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thanksgiving and Black Friday

This is my favorite time of year...the fall leading into Thanksgiving and Christmas. I thought after my Dad passed away that I would dread the holidays, but because it's the one time of year I get spend with my sister and her family, I long for Thanksgiving week to come. She is usually in town by Tuesday the week of Thanksgiving and I soak up as much togetherness as possible during those days, even if we are all just lounging around watching the endless stream of bad lifetime Christmas movies that start playing. We also get out Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. We always get a real tree, but this year I am super excited this year because we are actually getting a tree you can replant. I want to fill the perimeter of my yard with Christmas trees.

in between the days of awesome food we somehow started a new tradition of Black Friday Shopping. I was never into it at all, but my sister always went out in the madness. Usually on a few separate trips spaced out through the day. One year I took all the younger kids to the movies, which was just insane. Sometimes I would going her later in the day but I never actually bought anything. Except the one year I managed to completely run out of diapers and laundry detergent and found my dumb self at Target.

The past few years we have gone out and I actually shopped for things, although it was all very specific. The one store I like to buy my jeans from had a ridiculously awesome sale, and then as I have previously written about the pay 2 years we have gone and gotten TVs. I was joking with my sister this year about who needed a new TV when we decided no one and we weren't doing that again. And then the sale paper came out, and one of the major gifts Santa is bringing my kids for Christmas is on major sale, like half price. Normally I would weigh the hassle vs how much I would actually save, but this is the one big thing, so it's not like I would be saving $20...it's much more than that. God Bless my sister because she agreed to go with me after Thanksgiving dinner. In all I found 5 things on my shopping list that I am going to try and pick up, and then I am out the door. If it were any other year and I wasn't on a reduced pay leave it wouldn't be such a big deal, but if successful this will make my holiday shopping less tight. Normally I would have done my shopping early, and intended to when I was still working, but I had a feeling I would be able to save some money if I waited until Black Friday. One thing I hate is buying something I could wait to get and then having it go on sale.

There is a chance I might be able to order everything online;the ad mentions the deals will also be online. But sometimes the in-store prices are lower, so I will just have to wait and see. If I an order online it will be so helpful, I much prefer online shopping anyway.

And let me just say that I am not completely crazy..I would NEVER in a million years go to a mall for Black Friday. I don't do the mall anyway ever. There are about 4 specific stores I have ever gone to. Because one particular store is close by and we have enough people where someone can drop us off/pick us up and we can go after we eat Thanksgiving dinner is the only reason this is even somewhat doable for me. Otherwise I would never attempt this at all.

So is anyone else planning to go out shopping? What are you shopping for or what have you found that's a really great price?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hoop-Jumping

So I wrote several posts back about how I ended up getting sick and needing to use my PTO when I had been saving it for my maternity leave, and how I was going to come up short for the week I had to cover before my paid leave kicked in. Well...the best laid plans, indeed.

Let me start by saying I work for a major hospital in a busy city, one complete with an entire Women's Health building and countless awards and Top of The lists and all that jazz. So imagine my surprise when I researched the maternity leave policy, which isn't even maternity leave as it falls under short term disability, and find that it's rather...lacking. 6 weeks for a vaginal delivery, 8 weeks for a C-section, both at 66 2/3% pay, and you have to cover your first 7 days and benefits kick in on day 8. Go America. Anyway...

I started researching this early so I would know exactly what I was getting, as the policy is a blanket one and has a lot of nonsense that doesn't apply if you are pregnant vs. injured or otherwise unable to work. Plus a coworker had warned me that due to the unclear policy, she got paid for far less time than she thought she would and advised me to look into it. I filled out the forms in August, my doctor filled out his part (which wrote me out for 12 weeks due to it being my 5th C-section, which they promptly rejected/neglected to take into account) and I spoke on the phone with the 3rd party who handles the paperwork and approvals of claims. I went over my plan of my last date of work, date of delivery, ect and had them confirm the first date I would start being paid, and that yes I could use my PTO time to cover those first 7 days no problem. As long as I didn't try and use PTO to make up the 33% difference to receive full pay stating on day 8 I was fine. I asked about the 12 weeks my doctor wrote me out for but was told that was not something they would approve ahead of time and that closer to 8 weeks post-pardum my doctor would have to submit a statement and medical records to back up this request and it would still need approval.

So back to me getting sick a few weeks before baby...I thought I was going to be short on PTO time, but due to our ridiculous system it is super hard to decipher how much time you actual have in the middle of a pay period. What you have earned isn't updated and any time off-either requested or used- may or may not be deducted from your shown available balance. The projection calculator is useless as well for the for the same reasons. I was able to figure out that I did in fact just have enough PTO left to cover those first 7 days after all, even after being sick. Plus, it looked like I would still get my Thanksgiving holiday time and could use that as well. Before I worked my last shift, I filled out the paperwork you have to do when you are off work for any reason, even though it's all done through the computer as well. But my supervisors won't actually manually put in your vacation hours if you don't fill out the forms.

The day I had the baby my mom called and reported it to Short Term Disability, since I was too drugged up to do so. Even though my last day of work was the week before and all my claims paperwork stated that date, she answered that my first day out was delivery day. So the following week I get a letter with my approval...only everything is approved for a week later, so now I was going to need another entire week of PTO to cover myself, which I didn't have. I was able to log in look at my time card and it was all sorts of wrong. Despite filling out the forms and following up with my supervisors via email the night before I went in to have the baby, they still didn't have my time card correct. I emailed them and was told because I was on leave now, HR fixes my time card not them. Okay, fine. So I spend 2 days leaving messages but never get a hold of the lady. Which is funny because 3 days before this-exactly ONE WEEK-after I gave birth, I was getting emailed asking about my return date to work my these same 2 people.

I ended up calling every branch of HR trying to figure out who can help me, as it's now Friday and the pay period closes Saturday and time cards are sent first thing Monday morning. Someone calls me back and tells me the 3 people who work in the department I need to help me and that I can talk to any of them. I leave more messages and 4 hours later call back. I talk to one pretty unhelpful person who advises me to call the Short Term Disability company to get them to adjust my date back (pregnant employees can take up to 2 weeks off before delivery/due date) and my pay would be retroactive on the following pay cycle. But I would still be short/screwed for this one. I asked about my holiday leave, and was given a stupid non-answer that didn't apply to me and made no sense.

I called Disability and they put in a request for an adjusted date, but advised that it was still subject to investigation/approval, but since my employer has a policy stating I could be out 2 weeks before delivery it should be fine. So I call HR back to let them know this but also to see if they can do anything about my screwed up time card, as I should have some PTO I can put in to cover missing days. I finally talk to someone smart, who researched everything and not only put my holiday PTO in, but also put my short term disability pay in so I wouldn't miss any paid time. And before all of that when she was getting all the info about dates taken off/date baby was born, ect she asked how everything went and how everything was going, which was a first in all this mess! I was so thankful she fixed everything for me like it wasn't an issue when the lady before her acted like she couldn't help me at all. I told her Disability was working on getting the date updated so they would have correct paperwork at some point.

So today, disability calls to ask me about the dates. The woman gave me the third degree about why I didn't work my 20 hours before going to the hospital at 6am Monday morning to have a C-Section. I basically had to justify/defend why I didn't work. That is wasn't official like my doctor said I couldn't work, but that it was common sense as there is no light duty at my job and I am on my feet and lifting patients, and it being my 5th C-section going into labor isn't an option for me, and in fact very dangerous. I also told her I had already worked it out with my HR department, and that my original claim paperwork clearly laid all this out. But no one is looking at that. I don't get it...why have a policy stating you can do X, then make it so hard for someone to actually utilize it??

It's really annoying to have done so much legwork beforehand when I sort of had the time, and to still be dealing with and straightening this out now while I am taking care of a newborn and don't really have the time, just so I am properly paid my reduced disability pay. I am really jealous of you friends in Canada who I know get an entire year!

Monday, November 16, 2015

MicroBlog Monday-Reflecting

Mel wrote a post a couple weeks ago about searching the Internet for something she read years prior. It reminded me of something I had recently found after years of periodically searching google. It was a poem (I guess you would call it a poem) about growing up in the 1980's. I first came across it 20 years ago and it became this neat reflection we used in our senior year of highschool. I don't even know how I first came across it, as it was in the early days of the Internet back then, and I didn't yet have an email address or even a computer that could access the Internet at home. But it was light and nostalgic and a feel-good piece. Although I wasn't born in the 80's, all of my childhood memories happened then, and this piece touched on that. In an effort to keep this blog Micro, here is the link to read this annomyous poem

Finding this and reading it again, coupled with the news coming out of Paris this weekend made me think: what is this generation going to have to remember fondly? It seems like there is more violence than ever. Maybe it is the instant access we have now; every news website has more horrific stories and headlines than any one person needs to read in a day. Maybe these awful things happened but we didn't hear about them with the frequency that we do now, when war is reported in real time. Maybe the 1980's really were as idealistic as people remember them to be. And sure there is a lot of good in the world still today, that I would like to believe overshadows the bad. But when the news out of Paris and shootings on school campuses around the US become more commonplace vs. a rare occurrence, it really makes me wonder. What poem about the 20-10s are going to be written? What are the children of this generation...my kids, my nieces and nephews, my friend's children-what are they going to remember?

Monday, November 9, 2015

HE's Here!!

Bonus Baby Boy is one week old already! Everything regarding his delivery and hospital stay was completely flawless. He's perfect and thriving, breast feeding is going smoothly, although he started out as a lazy nurser and I worked hard in the hospital to make sure we came home with no feeding issues, and he is proving to be a pretty chill and easy baby so far. I feel so beyond lucky. There is so much I want to say but I really have no brain power to write a post that does any of this justice.

Transitioning home after 4.5 days away has been a challenge. Toddler Baby Boy had a super hard time with my absence, as he had grandmothers caring for him and it's just not the same. So I have some mommy guilt going on. The first day home was really hard on my heart, but it's getting better. Today is the first day it's just me and the little guys, and it is nice to get back to some semblance of normal. It is definitely helping toddler baby boy, for sure, to realize mommy is back and everything is ok in his little world. He is very unsure of the baby and cries when baby cries as if it scares him. I am not pushing and letting him slowly warm up to him. He is just old enough at 21 months to make this a harder transition then when I had a 15 month old and a new baby a decade ago.

So we are all adjusting. Physically I am doing ok but I am pushing myself, but I really have no choice. I haven't had anything stronger than Motrin since I left the hospital. Not that I couldn't use it, but I can't afford to be doped up, either. I go for my post-op visit later today and I am sure I will hear about it from my doctor but he also knows me well enough to expect this.

Then there is that whole business of "are we done" having kids people have been asking me for months. After going through 8 years of IF, I am not so inclined to want to prevent anything and to rather let nature take its course. I still feel like I have it in me to have another child, as crazy as that may seem. I know how blessed and lucky I am. And I don't take for granted the fact that I got to do this as many times as I have, despite not being able to for so many years in between. I prayed on it before, and I will continue to pray and let God lead me. There was a reason He made me wait 8 years. I am going to continue to trust in Him.

On another note, I can't wait for my hormones to regulate some. I alternate between freezing cold and breaking out sweating all day long, and all night, too. Right now I am ice cold but my house is holding steady at 70 degrees.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween-A Love-Hate Relationship

Growing up I loved Halloween. Everything about it, from deciding on a costume, to getting dressed and the anticipation of waiting until it was just dark enough to leave the house, to the frantic running from house to house yelling "trick or treat" and breathless "thank yous" to sitting and sorting and trading all the candy with other neighborhood kids or my siblings. My parents walked with us every year until about middle school, when we were allowed to go out into the neighborhood by ourselves. Sometimes it was my siblings and I, sometimes there were a few friends. I remember going to a couple parties over the years, but they were never actually on Halloween, and they were always completely kid parties and they were always pretty low key, nothing outrageous. As I got older we still went out just for the heck of it to be silly and see if we could get away with getting candy. I usually could due to my super short stature I sort of blended right in with the kids. It was always a night to be running about in costume being goofy kids. One year my older brother filled a backpack with eggs, toilet paper, and shaving cream for me but I think we ended up using it to have a battle with each other rather than cause any destruction. There were always tons of kids all running around, and parents with the younger kids, but I remember it more as a kids holiday, as in everything was for and about the kids.

The first few years with my own kids, Halloween followed pretty much the same as it had when I was a kid. My husband loves Halloween also, so we would sometimes dress up with the kids and trick or treat together, and we always had our house done up with tons of cool decorations and jack o lanterns we carved. When we moved into one really busy neighborhood, we took turns taking the kids and handing out candy, and it was a busy neighborhood but the kids were also mostly polite and everyone was nice and festive. There were several houses that went all out with decorating and people would congregate along the sidewalk oohing and aaahing over the display. My kids were still pretty young then.

Over the last few years, though, there has been some shift in the whole idea of Halloween it seems. I don't know if this is typical of everywhere, if anyone else is noticing this, or if maybe it is just the area or people I know. But it has become a day where the parents are using it as an excuse to have a party and the kids sort of become secondary.

Where we had previously lived the past few Halloweens was on a dead-end street with very little foot traffic, so we would go around the corner to a big town-house neighborhood that is just huge, it is like its own little community. It is a highly sought after place to live in that city, and while there are tons of families and kids, it is also one where everyone knows your name and what you are up to, and it's also very social, with mini block parties gathering on any random day, because there is no escaping when you just want to sit alone outside. Many people live there for that social aspect, to me it's a turn-off. I need my space and privacy. Anyway. The past few years trick or treating there nearly every adult you pass is carrying a red solo cup of some type of alcohol and the atmosphere is one of a giant outdoor party. There are literally thousands of kids running around in costume and parents just hanging out partying.

Last year I ran into parents from my kids school who were absolutely trashed drunk, some by the time it was just getting dark were already slurring words and smelling of alcohol. I love a cocktail as much as the next person, but there is a time and a place for it and I just don't agree with trick or treating with your kids being one of them. It was like an excuse for the parents to just party because it was a Friday night. Here we are trick or treating with our brood of kids, one who was a baby, and people are inviting us in to party after party, right in front of my kids who don't really understand that it's not a party for them. More than a couple people told us when we made it to their street to just go in and help ourselves, door was open. It was all just very crazy and completely ridiculous to me.

This year we had already decided to stay in our new neighborhood this year. We want to see how it is trick or treating up here, we have family plans in the morning, we have a toddler who may or may not cooperate with the entire evening, my teen and her friends want to use our house to hang out and be in and out all evening, and I will be having a baby 2 days later. I just want to be able to relax. So of course the invites to these "all-invited, family parties" start coming, and the classmates are all talking about the parties and trick or treating together. The first one was from a former classmate of my son. We still see them, but the mom is homeschooling this year. She texted me and I was able to keep it under wraps and not say anything to my kid, I explained to her everything from above and it was all good. Until my son heard about it this week and first got upset when he thought he wasn't invited, and then when I said no we weren't going to be able to do that this year.

Then my middle girl brings home an invitation to a party. That is for the entire family, but starts at 1pm. First of all, if parents are starting to party that early, who the hell is going to be sober enough to take the kids out to trick or treat?? Because these people party hard. There are far too many people out in this neighborhood to keep track of your kids, and I wouldn't send my 9 and 11 years olds out alone, not there. It's so busy you can't even use the sidewalk. Plus, over that many hours, what am I doing with my toddler with no home base of my own when he has had enough? I am certainly not driving 30 minutes back and forth just to appease my older kids. The whole thing is just a mess. And neither of these parties are in the same neighborhood, either. There's also that. And the fact that when you are not drinking and everyone else is, everyone else is really not tolerable or funny or anything else.

My 2 middle kids got together and tried to plot together that they could both get to do these parties, and everyone (read THEY) would be happy. I have been hearing about this for days now. Last night I was just done with it so I sat them down and explained that it wasn't a kids party really. That is was an adult party with kids there, and that it was an excuse for parents to get together and act stupid. I explained about how we were going to have our own plans in the morning as a family with going back to the farm to do our hayride and actually pick apples this time after we have our big family breakfast. That we will be living here for a long long time and we should try and see what things were like on Halloween in our new neighborhood. That we decorated and so kids would be expecting us to be here handing out candy. I was still getting a lot of mean faces and pouting, so I got mean. I told them if what we had planned wasn't going to be good enough then they could make the choice to bring me their costumes and they could skip trick or treating this year completely. And how they were being selfish and ungrateful, and how lucky they were to actually even know what Halloween is. They are probably still a little mad at me, but I won't hear about it again I guarantee that.

I am just so annoyed that the past few years this is what Halloween has turned into. Drunk parents and parties and kids mad because I won't let them go to these things. Why can't it just be trick or treating and be about the kids for 2 hours and everyone go home and gorge on candy? That's the very best part. People I am friendly with I couldn't even look at because they were so obviously inebriated. It's just ridiculous and uncalled for.

Ok, this turned out way more ranty than I started it out to be. Has anyone else noticed this or experienced this? I am really curious!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

That Life Changing Moment

Life is made up of a series of life-changing moments, really. Everything that happens in our lives has the ability to alter us in some way. There are a million things I could say that changed my life. Meeting my husband changed the course of my life, for sure. Each child I had changed my life. Every job I have had and friend I have made has changed my life in some way. Most of these things are all more of a look-back realization. As in, I knew when I was holding my first baby that my life would change, but the impacts of that change I probably didn't acknowledge until much later.

There is one particular moment in my life that changed my life in a profound way. It was such a huge moment that while it was happening I physically felt the change happen, and I mentally acknowledged it at the same time. It wasn't the birth of any of my children, or the day I got married, or even the day my father died.

It was when I held my father in my arms.

My Dad had been sick with cancer that had spread to his brain and bones. Toward the end my mom and I were his hospice care at home. We watched him get sicker and weaker before our eyes. I am not trying to gloss over the details, but they would be horrible to read, and even more horrific for me to try and write and relive. But suffice it to say it was awful and worse than you could dare to imagine. He gradually went from being in bed most of the time to being in bed all of the time, his body crippling up and wasting away. Because he had cancer in his bones, he was particularly sore in his left hip and leg. One day at work my mom called and asked if I could come over to help clean him up and change him when I got off, because she knew he was in so much pain she didn't want to try and do it herself and jostle him and hurt him.

When I got there and went into their bedroom she was just pulling the sheets back and I stopped in the doorway and was struck by the site. My first thought was that my dad laying there crippled up and wasted away from the disease and not eating looked like Jesus on the cross, all skin and bones. I went right over and knelt on the bed, one arm under his neck and shoulders, the other arm at his side to support the sore hip and turned him towards me all the while apologizing to my dad because I knew it hurt. With that movement my big strong father was cradled in my arms like a child. My world literally stopped in that moment, as the weight of the situation washed over me. It was like lightning struck and the clarity about what was happening just hit me. I actually felt my world change in that moment. A seismic shift occurred and I knew that my view of the world was always going to be darker, that I was always going to be darker, for the rest of my life. My father, the first person on earth who held me in his arms when I was born, my first human protector in my life who had held me this way so many times, was now cradled in my arms and I was protecting him. I remember looking down at my arms and then looking up at my mom and she asked "what?" Because of the look on my face and I couldn't even speak. I was completely overwhelmed by the realization of what was happening.

From that day forward, my life has not ever been the same. My view of the world is a little darker than before. I am more cynical than before, and I don't have as much hope as I once had. Where I might have seen situations with rose-colored glasses and been slightly more positive...I am definitely jaded and it is harder for me to see the light in things. When I hear about cancer diagnosis, my mind immediately goes to the worst case scenario, knowing cancer and the havoc it causes and the inevitable outcome.

I don't remember the timeline of that day, but I know it wasn't too far away when he actually died. I just know that even more so than the day he died, that day changed my life forever.

Monday, October 26, 2015

MicroBlog Mondays-We Have Shark Teeth

I can't remember how old I was exactly, but somewhere between the ages of 5-10, I noticed a weird bump on the roof of my mouth. It was sore, like I scraped it on some food, so I didn't say anything. But one day I felt a pointy object protruding from the roof of my mouth with my tongue and told my mom. A trip to the dentist and subsequent x-rays revealed I had a tooth growing straight down from the roof of my mouth that they wanted to take out. There was also one growing in the same spot but straight upward that they were going to leave in. They put me to sleep and had to cut the tooth from my palate. I remember having stitches but little else. (I had tons of teeth pulled when I was little, and put to sleep quite a few times for the procedures, so it was no big deal to me.)

When my oldest child was in first grade her teeth started growing in crooked. Unlike when I was little, they don't pull teeth to make room anymore, rather they start orthodontia treatment. On our first consult (with the same guy who out braces on my teeth way back when) he pointed out an extra tooth on her x-ray. Hers is located above all the other teeth and isn't in the way at all, and won't ever break through, so it's just a quirky finding on her, although he was fascinated that I also had this strange extra tooth thing, too.

We just all went to the dentist a couple weeks ago, and my 9 year-old son has been discovered to also have one extra tooth above his front adult teeth. We have to go for a consult to be sure, but it is likely another benign finding that makes us all a little quirky. The technical term is supernumerary teeth or hyperdontia. Otherwise known in my family as shark teeth.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Closing a Chapter You Didn't Realize Was Ending

I have to write about this. I need a place to put all these conflicted feelings. This will be the last time I write about this topic, so please bear with me. I welcome any insight or shared experiences in the comments.

My best friend has ended our friendship completely. It feels like one of those things where you have an argument with someone that escalates so quickly and turns into a huge blow up, where everyone is left at the end totally hurt and you have no idea how you even got to this point or what even started the fight to begin with. Only in this situation, there was no argument and no big blow up. Someone just decided to walk away. And it wasn't me.

I wrote earlier today a small blurb about how my friend completely lashed out at me when she asked the night before about doing something and I stated I already had plans. I did not want to say the wrong thing and make things worse, although I kept having this nagging feeling that no matter what I said it was going to be the wrong thing or it wouldn't even matter. And I was right. I actually consulted with an older (in age) friend of mine who tends to have much better perspective on these types of situations. She has a way of looking at things from both sides and generally gives pretty good advice on how to handle things and not make a situation worse.

Without rehashing every single thing that was said, there were a few key things that sort of came up/ came to light:

My friend is going through some issues of her own in regards to her situation in life right now. Single with no kids, and over the past few months her last 2 other single friends have settled down and gotten married. The last girl in our "group" from high school is having her first baby. She mentioned being the only one who has none of those things. This is all her issue though because neither I nor none of our other friends would ever make her feel less or not include her or anything like that simply because she isn't a parent. No one has ever even made an issue out of this, so I don't know where this is coming from.

She is unhappy about her own life and instead of trying to make changes to make herself happy, she is choosing to make it everyone else's fault and responsibility to make her happy and give her life fulfillment. Which no one can do for you.

She thinks that I talk to and see everyone else I know but her. This couldn't be further from the truth. The last time I went out in the evening anywhere it was with her and another high school friend of ours. I simply don't have the time or the bank account to be a social butterfly.

Every single thing that she is upset about is completely my fault. She has not done anything at all to contribute to the state of things. I did not play the tit for tat game and took the high road and never said any of the things I could have about her behaviors or anything else. I did not want to make things worse. It wouldn't have mattered if I had.

That I am a terrible friend for not responding to texts in a timely enough manner, especially when I am at work. Well. Besides the fact that I am, ya know, at WORK, I don't actually have a desk job where my phone sits right next to me. I don't carry my phone with me, and I run all over the hospital. In my main area, we have spotty to no cell reception and texts lag behind or get lost a lot of the time. My own husband has to email me because I have a better shot at seeing that at some point than a text. The exception is iPhone to iPhone since they can use the wifi. Which is also super spotty in my main area.

That I hurt her by mentioning texting any of our other friends because I don't talk to her enough, so naturally I shouldn't talk to anyone else, either. I don't even know what to say about that. Other than I barely text with anyone else to begin with, and in the specific situation she was referring to, it was in regards to a shower evite where hers and my email addresses used were our old ones, I figured all this out, corrected the sender, and let her know what happened to keep her in the loop so she didn't get left out.

I tried being sympathetic and empathize with her and acknowledge that I knew our relationship was different now, but by nature it had to be. I tried to let her in to where I was coming from, that my "time" isn't really my time and that it takes a lot to balance the family I have. I apologized for the way she felt and said that I was doing the best I could. I tried explaining that of course at some point the paths we chose for our lives were not always going to be able to match up. I tried being reasonable and respond to each thing she told me that I "did" that hurt her and give the side that she missed or didn't see. I apologized over again and said it was never my intention to make her feel less than when she said she felt that I didn't want to be bothered with her because she doesn't have kids. I tried being rational when she said it hurt her I had plans with another friend today...plans in the middle of a weekday when she would normally be working, when I didn't even know she would be off of work on a random Thursday.

She told me to "not break her heart anymore" and keep my teen, her god daughter away from her. I gently reminded her that I was not the one who promised a birthday dinner and cancelled at the last minute, and never tried to reschedule with her. She claims to be in an understanding with my teen, but my teen still feels slighted and confused about things. And I would not ever put my child in the middle, to insinuate that is just beyond hurtful and ridiculous, but again I didn't say anything.

I did not fight with her. I did not say anything mean or nasty or hurtful. I left any old or extraneous things out of it. And she ended the friendship anyway, saying "good luck with the new baby" and that she was honest and doesn't feel bad for anything, and that I spoke my piece too and we could just move on.

I never truly thought ending the friendship was an option or possibility. I only ever said I knew right now I couldn't be the same kind of friend. I guess what I can offer right now isn't good enough and she would rather just end the friendship than settle for less. It is interesting to me that she has taken this stance with me but yet lets guys walk all over her and use her and still keeps them around, but yet I am expendable.

I have never ended a friendship or had one ended intentionally. What I have experienced is a natural progression of friendships that evolve and change over time. There are people who I used to know well at some point in my life, but as we move through life they fall away or we lose touch and it's no one's fault really it is just life. I have never gotten so upset about my place in someone's life where I was so inclined to just say screw it and actually end a friendship. I generally understand that this is how life goes, and I am busy enough in my own life to not have any one friendship define me or be the be all end all. I have never felt the need to be so extreme. I guess I just don't see the point or the sense in just cutting off a friendship completely because it can't be exactly the same as it once was, or it can't be exactly what you want it to be. There is a difference between accepting that that's life and that these things happen and it's not anyone's fault. I guess for me the people in my life I would rather have in my life the way they can give me versus an ultimatum that it has to be a certain way or else. I would rather have my friends knowing I can send a quick text and get some support anytime I need it versus not having them in my life at all because they can't be available every Wednesday and Saturday night to hang out with me, you know?

I didn't make the choice to end this friendship. It isn't a choice I would have ever made. I feel very sad that this was the choice she felt she had to make, that if I couldn't offer her a full committed best friend relationship then she didn't want any relationship at all. I feel upset that I wasn't good enough, or enough. I don't really understand why she felt she needed to end our friendship. I also am confused as to why it is okay for our other friends to get a pass because they have crazy lives, but I don't. That I am held to some other unattainable standard but no one else is, and it's okay for everyone else but I just cause her hurt and heartbreak so I can't be her friend. I truly think at the end of the day it has more to do with her than it has to do with me or anything I may have done or not done. I just wish it didn't play out this way.

A Whole lot of Rambling Going On

Please excuse the rambling nature of the post. I have had very little sleep the past couple of days. Everything is fine...but yeah.

Tuesday I had my OB appointment. All was good, it was the Norma 36 week check-up. Sometime later that evening, the baby shifted to my right side and I had the worst Sciatic pain radiating down my leg. I didn't sleep much that night at all. As usual, when I don't sleep hardly at all, the baby was very sluggish most of yesterday but still moving so I wasn't worried. But definitely a decrease from the day before. By the time I went to try and sleep, the baby wouldn't move. And the baby ALWAYS moves when I lay down for bed. So I spent 2 hours doing everything under the sun to convince baby to move, to no avail. I guzzled tons of water. I finally headed to L&D at midnight. To be put on the monitor and the baby immediately started rolling around and kicking me like crazy. Little brat. So cue another night of not much sleep. This morning the baby is making up for it and going crazy in there. A sign of things to come from this one, perhaps?

Last time I wrote, I talked about how sick I had been with a stomach flu. Well, turns out it actually is my gallbladder, which is full of stones. So much makes sense now. When I went to work Sunday I asked got the ultrasound tech to scan me really quickly to check my gallbladder, and boom there they were. I haven't been sick since, so for now I am just getting the name of a good doctor to have handy and pray that it doesn't become an issue until I can at least recover from the C-section. There is a small chance it will resolve on its own after pregnancy, and I am hoping that is the case. Or at least that I can be someone who can live with the stones with little problems, which is possible when the stones are small, which they are. Thinking back, I think I have likey had issues since my last pregnancy, because I had several similar episodes where I have been the only one in the house that got sick. So maybe I will get lucky.

Baby boy is officially in the toddler tantrum phase. It is really interesting to see the other kids reactions to it. I am teaching them how to ignore it and how to keep him safe when he starts flailing about. The biggest trigger for him is the word "no". When he hears it he gets so angry. So we are working on diversion tactics when he wants to get into things that could get him hurt or aren't for him. I forgot just how frustrating this time could be!

I feel like I have wrote about this ad naseum but that friendship of mine that was struggling...well, I pulled back a bit in order to let things sort of cool down while emotions are high. And I thought it was actually helping. Although for all of the things that I apparently "do wrong" such as not responding to text messages as in depth as I could and my lack of availability (things she has said to me) she is quite guilty of them as well. At any rate, I was making more of an effort to text and talk and ask how things are and we have talked as recently as Sunday. But then last night I get an out of the blue text asking if I am free today, which I am not. I told her about plans I previously had, and put the phone down to handle a kid issue. I was about to text back that I only had one weekend left of work and that after that we could plan to do something, but before I had a chance a nasty text pops up and it is her lashing out and saying "I deserve better after all these years". So yeah. I was at a loss. Because I didn't expect her to get mad I had plans the night before she apparently had a vacation day I didn't even know about. There were a million things I wanted to say back, but I didn't. I just said "I am sorry you fee that way." I guess what I am able to offer right now isn't enough for her. It makes me sad, but what can I really do??

I have been working on mending my relationship with my mom, as much as I can. Having some breathing space between the incident and concentrating on my family has helped. It doesn't mean I have forgotten what happened, but I have let it go some, enough to allow us to have an unspoken truce. I still feel incredibly guarded, because I am sure the same issues will come up again. It is almost inevitable that will happen. But I can't focus on that because it just drags me into a big dark hole I don't have time to be in. She is the only mom I have got, so I have to find a way to have a relationship with her we can both live with.

So glad to have my last 2 shifts at work coming up. I feel like once I am done with those, I can breathe a bit easier and really try and relax and finish up the last couple lingering things I have around the house. Today I am feeling very anxious. Probably from the lack of sleep.

Last weekend we did our local farm trips. The pumpkin patch was on Saturday and it was FREEZING!! Seriously the elevation at that farm combined with the cloudy sky and wind, it was crazy cold. No one who came out expected it to feel like that, you could tell because no one was dressed for the cold. It was a little comical actually. We decided to go back in 2 weeks to do our hayride and get our annual family picture when hopefully it is sunny and a tad bit warmer!


Monday, October 12, 2015

The Best Laid Plans...

I had the worst night's sleep ever Friday night, as in I didn't really ever fall asleep all night. I finally got up when my alarm went off at 5am to get ready for work. Despite having no sleep, I managed to have a pretty productive day at work and didn't really feel as bad as I thought I should have. The drive home made me a little sleepy and I knew if I wanted to participate in the homecoming-dance prep later than evening I would need to rest. So I came home and laid down for a little bit. When my husband woke me up, I felt worse than when I laid down; I was headachey and had a sour stomach. I had my husband get run out and grab me a soda to sip over ice, and I went on with the evening. Less than 2 hours later I realized I was going to be sick, and by 1am I realized I was going to need to call out of work. I had another stomach bug, but I was in so much pain I almost thought it might be my gallbladder. It was pretty bad. I spent most of Sunday in bed. I was worried about the baby, as I was way sicker than I had been earlier in the week, but baby was moving plenty. I was getting dehydrated but thanks to all the excess swelling I had been having, my body had plenty of fluid to draw from. My ankles haven't been so small this entire pregnancy. I am on the upswing today thank goodness. No idea how I got this twice in a week unless I re-infected myself. Knock wood, so far no one else has gotten it. I pray it is contained to just me.

I seriously never call out. My phone was blowing up with texts asking if I was okay because I never miss work. My last call out was years ago, I can't even remember when or why. I think everyone thought I must have had the baby. Anyway...I am only part time, so I earn PTO but not that much, and I have only been a benefited employee for a short time, so it's not like I have even ever had the chance to rack up any major accrued bank or anything. I work 12 hour shifts so missing 12 hours is a big chunk of time for me to use to cover my day off; we don't have separate sick time. Leading up to my Maternity leave, I had calculated my PTO hours right down to it, so I would know when I could start my paid leave, and cover the exempt period before benefits kick in. Needless to say, having to use 12 hours 3 weeks before my leave starts leaves me short. Not by much, but I had figured everything including my budget, based on still getting 2 full checks before my 66.67% leave pay kicks in. Even if I back my leave up and work right up until I deliver, I won't have earned enough PTO in that short amount of time to make up for it, because I still have a waiting period until benefits kick in. I would still end up short eventually. Le Sigh. I thought maybe I would be saved in that the holiday hours I would earn for Thanksgiving would show up, but it's 30 days before the holiday when you can use them...and I will already be on leave which makes me not eligible to even accrue them in the first place. So crap. I have never actually had a paid maternity leave, so it's doable, but so frustrating when I actually have the paid time this time and I planned so hard. Blah!!!

Friday, October 9, 2015

All Kids Really Are Different-An Unofficial Case Study

We all know every baby is different, every kid is different and not one approach works for every kid, even in the same family. I am here to provide proof, as it took me having my fourth kid who through me for a loop to figure all this out, once and for all.

My Firstborn:

She was impatient from the get go. Refused to settle down and nurse right away, would turn it into a screaming match until you have her a few sips of a fast-flowing bottle, and only then would decide to latch on and nurse. This went on for the first month of her life. Refused to be put down to sleep in any position besides her tummy...so she was a tummy sleeper from the start. Bad mom, I know. As soon as she could pull herself up the first thing she learned to do at 9 months-ish was climb onto a tiered corner table and throw pictures off and break them. I knew I was in trouble then. Around this time she started fighting sleep in a major way. No rocking, swinging, cuddling, or reading could settle her down. She would thrash around and scream. So she cried it out for about 40 minutes every night before she finally gave up and would go to sleep. At just over a year she figured out how to push a chair against anything high up she wanted to reach, including the front door chain. By 18 months, she refused to nap. Period. I could spend the entire day trying to get her to sleep and she wouldn't ever. She also hated if you changed her room around or added anything extra into it. I will never forget the terrified screams when I thought she might like some quiet music to sleep to. The evil CD player on her dresser just had to go. She was a terror from ages 2-4. Her sleep was atrocious...she went through a 2 year plus period thinking 4-5am was time to wake up no matter what. I would spend half the early morning hours trying to convince her she needed to be asleep. I thought I was losing my mind, until my sweet understanding pediatrician assured me it was only a phase she would eventually grow out of and told me of his own parenting sleep issues and how he made them tolerable. About a year later she did eventually get better and sleep all night long. But she is still at 15 on a totally different schedule them the rest of the house. She was also the kid, and still sort of is, that you can't show anything to. She refused to learn to write her name with me so she learned at school. She will only want you to show her after she has butchered whatever it was she was working on.

My second child...she took to nursing like a champ and stayed that way for about 10 months. Her infant sleep quirk was that she would get so over-stimulated that she would scream until you put her down...then scream hard for 30 seconds before falling to sleep. She has been the most easygoing of all my kids, even now. As a toddler she wasn't too terrible, could easily be talked out of a tantrum, and loved her naps. As a baby you could put her down and she would sleep on her own. Once in a regular bed, if you laid with her for 1.5 minutes and cuddled she would be sound asleep. She never had any issues waking at night or up at the crack of dawn. She is also pretty easy to figure out. When she was 3 or 4 we started noticing she was stealing cans of soda and drinking them and was getting into trouble but wouldn't stop the behavior. Finally I asked her why and she honestly told me could I just move the sodas where she couldn't find them because she tried but couldn't resist them, that she didn't know how to not drink them. It was the funniest thing, but at least we understood and could help her!

My third child, my first boy. From birth, literally in the hospital this started, he would only nurse every 5 hours and sleep the rest of the time. I never thought it would last but it did. If I tried to nurse him sonnet than 5 hours, like if we were going out somewhere, he would eat them throw up everything all over the place. When I pumped at 6 weeks for the first time I got 8 ounces from each side, he was eating that much. By 6 months he gave up nursing completely in favor of real food, anything and everything that we ate just squished up. He also continued sleeping like a champ. He had no desire to try and stay up late, and needs his 12 hours of sleep, even now. He isn't a party animal who can hang and stay up. If we are watching a family movie and it's 8:30, he will ask to go to bed. He was an easy toddler to handle for the most part, and is still a pretty easy kid despite being hardheaded at times and doing dumb thing, like stealing my stash of candy and thinking I won't notice.

All of these guys started sleeping through the night by 8-9 weeks old. I did nothing at all to help with this. I would just feed them and put the to bed at a normal, reasonable hour.

Baby Number Four has taken everything I knew as a parent about baby sleep habits and thrown it all out the window. From the start, he has wanted to sleep no where else except in my arms. He has never gone to sleep easily for any stretch of time. If you got 2 good/easy days of naps and nighttime sleep with little hassle, the third night would change that. There has never been a consistent way he has ever gone to sleep and stayed that way. Nursing to sleep was the most consistent, but he would likely wake up within the hour and not be able to settle down. Drowsy but awake? Forget it. That might have worked 2 nights out of 200. My pediatrician would ask at every appointment "sleeping through the night?" "NO." And I would get the same lecture about how he could do it and I knew how to get him to do it. Yeah, no I didn't. I did nothing different with him than I did with my other children. But he would never make the leap. He finally slept though the night at 14 months. Right after I totally weaned him. And only in a room by himself. (He slept in our room still at that point because we had not yet moved and were not going to put a baby who was up all through the night in with other kids who had to go to school). Could this have been the problem, that he was still in our room? I doubt it. because we wouldn't even go upstairs to bed until he woke up the first time, even if it meant sleeping on the couches until them, ever hopefull each night would be THE night he slept. Also, my third child slept in our room until he was 8 months old and I was sure he wouldn't be waking up other kids. I never had to worry there, though. We moved, and he started sleeping well in his new space. We could start putting him down drowsy and he would fall asleep in his own. Until he decided he had enough of that and needed someone to stay until he was almost asleep. And then until he was completely out cold asleep. And now lately he has decided he wants to protest even that. So lots of nighttime sleep fighting. It doesn't matter if he is just tired enough or overtired. I have tried adjusting so many things I just give up. Last night in a tired exhausted state, I decided since he wanted to fight so much that he could cry it out. I did the whole comfort after X amount of time, go back reassure, space time out, go back reassure...for 2 hours. And he wasn't giving up. He would settle just enough to seem almost asleep, and then the utter screaming and wailing would come envy and be louder and last longer than the time before. I finally called it and resigned myself to the fact that bedtime is going to be a nightmare with him...until he changes things up yet again. How this is going to work with a new baby, God only knows. Other than the sleep thing, he is an awesomely sweet little baby who loves to cuddle and give kisses more than any of my other kids. He also is so smart but refuses to truly talk, but he has so many people doing things for him he doesn't have to. I bet when Bonus Baby comes around he finds his voice.

So yes, despite being the same people we have always been, and parenting all of our kids in pretty similar ways...it is obvious that not all things work for all kids. I truly wasn't so aware of this until my fourth baby came along and I was first hand seeing just how different one baby could be in ways I had not seen previously.

Pet Owners-Advice Needed

So. I need some advice here. I am going to try and document everything as objectively as I can in hopes someone might be able to see what I can't seem to figure out.

Since we have moved here, we have gotten two complaints annomyously through the county regarding barking dogs. The first time I will totally admit was probably our fault. We were new here, the dogs were adjusting and in overdrive with all the new stimuli, and we didn't have a fence that could keep them in, so they were tethered and they hate that. They would get tangled and stuck and bark out of frustration. Within a few weeks of being here, though, we had invisible fence put in and combined with them getting settled in to the new environment, things have settled down considerably.

My husband got a call yesterday informing us of a second recent complaint. The biggest issue I have with an anonymous complaint is that there is no frame of reference as to when the barking issue is happening, or if there is anything that might cause it happening in the area. So I have no idea how to begin to address it. Also, I am not sure how someone can determine it is one of my dogs, when surrounding neighbors all have larger dogs that bark. If someone is coming close to my fence to look into my yard, my dogs will bark to alert to intruders. Especially the German Shepard, that's what she was bred to do. Because it isn't a formal complaint which requires leaving a name and contact info, all the county can do is give us a verbal warning. I don't know what exactly happens if they do get a formal complaint. Investigate us I guess? Park outside the house for a day and listen for barking?? I just don't know.

For the purpose of trying to figure this out, I can tell you that the dogs are never left outside if we are not at home. They go outside a million times a day at 10-20 minute intervals, hardly ever longer than that unless someone is outside with them. If the kids are playing outside, then the dogs are with them. My two beagles do not like to be out for any extended period of time, so they park/whine/howl when they are done. I don't ever let them just bark outside because it drives me crazy to hear them. Sure there have been times when I haven't been able to go open the door right away, but it is never for longer than maybe 10 minutes if I am in another part of the house. My German Shepard is usually happy to be outside longer and is pretty quiet outside unless she is barking at someone. We also share a fence with a neighbor who has large dogs and the dogs will bark at each other and run up and down the length of the fence. Again, when I hear it getting too noisy I bring her in.

Inside the house the dogs are quiet. The only time they bark indoors is if someone is at the door, or they can see someone through the window near our house, or if they are wrestling around playing. Otherwise they are pretty quiet and lazy.

Here is what I know triggers their barking:

-when they are at the door to go outside and when they first go down the porch steps. They are like kids who are racing and have to be first in the yard. Once they are in the yard they run around and don't right away.

-when they are playing/fighting over something in the yard...a smelly spot to dig, something they caught in the yard, a bone, or a stick. They will bark at each other and try and steal it.

-other dogs/people. They are getting better with the dogs next to us, I think a lot of the barking they do now is more friendly dog playing/taunting than vicious and territorial. They also will bark at people walking by our house, but again they are getting better at ignoring things.

-the change of seasons makes them a little extra vocal and wound up but after the first week or so they tarted to settle down.

-wanting to come back inside. Especially if it is raining.

Seriously, these dogs do not ever get left alone. The kids even know to let them in as soon as they start to bark. I could see if I left them out for hours at a time or if they were outside when we were not at home, but we don't do either of those things. If they are outside for 30 minutes at a time alone that is a long time.

So I don't know what to do. Do I just shrug it off and not stress and worry about it? Am I maybe missing something here? Do I just wait it out until there is a formal complaint? I don't want to get in trouble with the county or have issues with any neighbors, since we plan to be here for a long time. Getting rid of my dogs isn't even an option. I don't know many neighbors here yet. The ones directly next door with 2 big dogs seem to be fine. In fact, before we ever moved in we met them and I said how we had dogs too and we're going to be sharing a fence so it was probably going to be loud while they adjusted and they shrugged it off and were totally cool and said "it's ok they will get used to each other".

Should we talk to them and see if they notice any issues/triggers? I would hate to put them on the spot like that, we don't know them that well. I looked up anti-barking collars but I don't know how helpful they are when you have multiple dogs. I can't very well add a shock collar since they wear one for the fence they wouldn't understand. It doesn't really help when I don't know when this is happening. Or if maybe whomever complained just caught them on a rare noisy day before I could bring them in.

Uggghh. If anyone has anything to contribute here, I am totally open to anything. Unless you tell me to get rid of my dogs or clip their vocal cords. I am not okay with either of those options!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Another Week Down, More Friendship Woes, and Gratitude

I wish I could say that my lack of blogging and being productive was due to so many exciting things going on. But sadly, nope. I somehow managed to simultaneously come down with a cold and stomach flu at the same damn time. Better now than in a couple weeks, I suppose. But still. It has really been no fun. My tummy is still kind of wonky, and I feel just generally icky. And I have z.e.r.o. energy. Meanwhile time is just trucking along and I am falling behind and running out of time to do all the things I would like to have finished and in order. Oh well??

On the home front, everyone is doing really well. I managed to pull myself together enough on Tuesday to take Baby Boy to his dental check-up and have a meeting with the other room moms and the kids teachers to go over things for the year. I am helping with 4th and 5th grades so I can be involved with both my kids classes. Plus, those grades pair up for field trips and parties because one of the classes is super small, like 10 kids I think. We only have to send in a snack for Halloween, and then there is nothing until Christmas, which is a big party. They have a set place for the spring field trip but we are going to try and change it up to something more hands on and fun. I am hoping I can get a little bit of time at work this weekend to do some research for that, as I am still without a laptop at home.

I know this next part isn't super popular to write about, but it has been on my mind a lot lately and I need a place to put my thoughts on this so bear with me for a minute here. Things with the best friend have gotten worse. I am not sure what to think anymore, only that she is stuck where she is in her life and everyone else keeps moving forward. She can project her feeling onto me and blame me and be mad at me, fine I can handle it. But when you use my kid to "get back" at me or get to me, that is where I totally draw the line. Here's what happened:

Over a month ago when she ran into my husband and was complaining about me to him, she had also been talking to my teen, who is her Goddaughter. She had mentioned that on my teens actual birthday how she had longstanding plans and wanted to take her out to dinner the following weekend. She texted me about it, and I said that was fine, whatever she wanted to do. She initially wanted to go on a Friday, but my daughter asked if they could do a Saturday as Friday is football at her highschool and it's a huge deal to go to all the home games. I guess they agreed on a date, but I wasn't entirely sure when it was going to happen. Last week my friend texts me staying the day and time to pick her up (in a group text that included my husband, which annoyed me as he was at work and he doesn't have a desk job, but that is a whole other grievance.) Anyway, it was an early time for dinner, but she doesn't like to wait to eat so I was like whatever. But then I remembered to check our server schedule for Church and realized my daughter had a commitment to be at the 5pm service. That is another long story, but I couldn't get her out of it without causing trouble because they had recently adjusted the schedules for us in a huge way and we agreed to be available for this particular time slot. I texted my friend to tell her about this, just thinking they could go a little later but not specifically stating that. I got back a pretty crappy text that she "hope teen would have considered this before making plans"....Ummmm What?! First of all, my teen doesn't get or make the scheduled. She isn't driving and doesn't know what are plans might be, so I handle this and plan around anything else that might be going on. I actually haven't been on top of keeping track and had not written anything on the calendar so my teen wouldn't have known regardless. I took a beat and then communicated all of this through text, and also said that she could just meet us and get her after church at 6 if she wanted. She sent back a snarky response of "well if she can wait that long to eat" which meant that she was annoyed to have to wait, because with our 30 minute drive back home and getting food on the table, we wouldn't eat until later anyway. My friend is really not flexible...whenever we meet with a group of people, she won't wait until everyone is there she will just sit and order her food, while the rest of us snack on chips and salsa waiting on everyone else. That is just how she is. Anyway, later in the week she sent some confusing text about where she was picking up my teen and where she was going to take her to eat. I asked my daughter to clarify with her what the plans were.

On Saturday when I had a second at work I checked in with my daughter to see if everything was straight. She said yes, but she was a little bummed because she was told they weren't going to the place she picked because it was too far from where church was and didn't make sense to go to. (She had been asked to pick the place as it was for her birthday.) I reminded her that there was a location in between church and home and that she could tell her godmother that if she wanted. At 4pm she talked to her and that was all agreed on and everyone was happy. She would see her in 2 hours. After Church I hit the restroom and headed out to the car, where I found my husband standing looking angry and waving his phone. Apparently she waiting until we were in church, and 30 minutes before she was supposed to pick up my daughter, to completely back out saying her back hurt. I had come fraught to church from work and was too tired to say much, but my husband was really upset.

In the end, at least so far, she has not explained or offered a make-up date. She did call my daughter but it was to ask her when she leaves for homecoming so she can "see her off" and is totally skipping over everything else. I feel so bad for my daughter because she is 15 and isn't jaded and still sees the best in everyone. I know she is hurt and disappointed but she would never say anything. My husband seems to think she just didn't want to eat later and have to pay for a more expensive place than a local diner, and that is was too suspicious that she waited until we were in church and couldn't respond back to back out. I guess my daughter is handling it in her own way because she told her she was meeting friends and didn't want a whole big to-do over everything. I wish I could feel differently, but the truth is that I have seen her do this before to her other godchildren when she is upset with their parents. I don't know what to do about any of it. I also know that the end of a pregnancy is a really bad time for me to handle anything emotional and upsetting like this. I don't tend to make the wisest choicest with my words.

If you are still reading thanks for letting me vent that out!

Tomorrow is the homecoming parade and football game. The parade goes right in front of our house so we have a prime seat. A bunch of the highschool kids are going to hang out and watch the parade, I have an easy one dish oven dinner planned, then they are going to walk to the football game. Smaller-town living is really, really awesome! This totally wouldn't be possible where we used to live. Saturday when I get home from work, we are going to try and new Chinese place I have heard great reviews about, and just have a quiet family dinner before the dance. We haven't had Chinese since we moved because I am wary of trying new places I don't know about. I have asked several people who all point me in the same direction so here is hoping it's as good as it's supposed to be.

In Church on Saturday the hymns really got to me. Music has a way of moving me and gives me goosebumps and can bring me to tears. It always has. Especially after losing my father, Church music is general I sometimes have a hard time sitting through. Anyway, when I knelt down to pray I realized how so many times I knelt in those same pews over the past 8 years and have prayed and begged God for things...help when my marriage was in trouble and I was lost, a baby after I had miscarried...strength when I felt weak...approvals when we were trying to move...to name a few of the bigger things. When I knelt down on Saturday for the first time in a very long time the only thing I felt was absolute pure gratitude for the life I am living and for everything in it. Despite some difficult relationships in my life, the only thing I felt was blessed and thankful and wanting for nothing. So I gave thanks and let my soul be at peace. I am choosing to stay focused on that feeling that washed over me in Church and let it carry me through.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Counting Down, Sickness, and Other Happenings

Man, where does the time go?? I keep meaning to sit down and finish one of my many posts in draft, and have ideas for a few more but I just can't seem to get it together. Part of the problem is that my laptop decided to stop working a couple weeks ago, so that really leaves just my phone, which sucks to do any major typing on, so apologizes in advance for the multiple typos that will probably occur. At work, I can't seem to get any down time to myself with which to blog. The rest is just pure laziness!

I lost all of last week due to Baby Boy being sick. He was running a pretty high fever most of the week and just miserable. I am pretty sure he had hand, foot, mouth based on his symptoms. All he wanted me to do was hold him or sit with him. If I left his side to even go to the bathroom he had a meltdown of epic proportions. I also couldn't get him to take a longer nap, and he was up a lot at night with a fever, which made for an even harder week to say the least. That is probably the sickest he has been to date.

We made it through the family cookout and get together a couple weeks ago. I know I wasn't super social and not much fun, and a lot of crap pissed me off about the entire ordeal. I had gotten stuck a little later at work and hit traffic coming home, had enough time to change and start grilling. It was hot that day, and I was already miserable, and like half the prep and set up that was supposed to happen before I got home didn't, so I was stuck looking like a harping cranky bitch. Oh well. I have since said that no more of these get together are going to happen unless someone else is doing all the work for it. My usually on the ball and helpful husband was mostly to blame for all the nonsense. The entire evening for me pretty much sucked. I could write an entire post on just how pissed off I was.

I have 4 and a half weeks to go until Bonus Baby arrives. People keep asking me if I am excited, and I am, but it still seems so far away, even though it's really not. But I guess that is because I have so much keeping me busy, so I am not just sitting around waiting. I think once I work my last shift before my leave starts it may really start to hit me. We still have no set names picked out. We are sort of in the ballpark for a girls name, but no where close to having a boys name. Besides feeling tired and huge, I am doing pretty good. I do have some sciatica and my right thigh gets numb sometimes, but last time I had a ton of pubic pain and pressure that I am not getting this time, so I will take it. I set my Amazon prime up for the diaper subscription, and got the budget all in order. I really don't think there is much more for me to do on that front to be ready.

I took my teen shopping for a homecoming dress. She is just going with a group of girls, which will be a fun first dance experience for her. It was a good opportunity to talk about style and being individual and not having to wear or do what everyone else does. She is trying to figure out her own style and what she is most comfortable in. She is definitely more cool and rocker vs. all pink and girlie but I can see her sort of question it when she hears other girls taking and seeing how they dress. Some of the girls where heels every day to school, which is ridiculous to me. Anyway, the outfit she choose looks really awesome on her and I think she will be comfortable in it and also look really cool. I should also note here that her school has really struck dress codes and rules to begin with, and the principal just sent out a personal email yesterday explaining that no suggestive dancing is going to be allowed and chaperones would enforce the rules. I don't even know what all the terms are or even mean exactly, but basically no dancing that looks like dry humping is my understanding of it. Which is nice for a parent to hear.

My cat has been acting like a jerk lately and not peeing in her litter box. I am not a cat person, I think they are a little too pissy for my taste. And she is a Tortie Shell and from what I understand they are really obnoxious and more pains than most other cats. She isn't sick and her box is where it has always been and it is clean, so I am pretty sure it's just her being a jerk. She gets like this every so often. I might go out and buy her a few new toys and see if that helps. She is definitely not ignored, that's for sure.

I don't know if I wrote about this before but the one major thing we wanted to be able to do for this winter was convert our fireplace back to its original state. The people we bought from had placed a wood stove insert into the fireplace, likely for added warmth. Which is odd because the HVAC system is new and the house is super well insulated with new windows as well. Anyway, with kids it just isn't the safest because it isn't flush with the wall by design, so there is a huge portion that would be accessible and get hot. Even a large gate around it would still leave room to reach over and touch the top and get burned. Plus, the chimney isn't rated for that kind of heat and if we damage the lining, that is a several thousand dollar repair. The whole insert easily slides out, it is just super heavy. But we needed the fireplace doors and screen, wood grate, tools, and mantle. Easily a $500 project, as the cheapest new doors and screen set is $250. I tried craigslist but people wanted $250 for their beat up looking, used doors. Finally I found a salvage shop nearby, and it turns out my husband has a relative who works there. So he went down yesterday and found the doors, grate, and tool set and only paid $50 for all of it, which was 1/3 of what they were marked as. The most expensive piece we need to get is the mantle, but a $500 project just turned into something that will cost under $200! Probably less if he keeps checking and can find the mantle piece we need second hand. I was worried we wouldn't be able to do it at all with my leave coming up and the reduced pay that comes with it. So glad we researched this.

I am really excited it is October. Fall is a lead in to my favorite time of year. We have a couple of trips to local farms planned. One is a petting zoo with pony rides, a cow train, and other neat fall things. The other is the bigger farm where we pick apples and pumpkins and go on a hayride. They also have a hay maze and hot apple cider and apple fritters. It has been our tradition for 15 years now, and it never gets old. The cool fall weather is always a lead in to the winter season, and Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. I look forward to it all year long. We even start decorating in November! This year we have the added bonus of welcoming a new baby in between the seasons so it is going to be extra special. And also fly by pretty fast, I am sure.

Hopefully I can get my laptop working again. Typing on my phone is a real pain!

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Day in The Life-School Year Edition

During the school year my days feel a whole lot longer than in the summer, even though the daylight hours actually get shorter.

My day starts around 6:15am when the alarm goes off. My husband needs to get up, and the alarm wakes me up. I usually jump up to pee before he gets out of bed, then I lay back down while he is getting ready. On a good day, everyone is still asleep right now. Sometimes I will hear baby boy on the monitor, and down the hall I usually start to hear my teen getting up and getting ready. She is pretty good about doing her own thing to get ready and out the door on her own, which is nice.

At this stage in my pregnancy, I try not to have too much scheduled for early mornings, so lately my husband had been letting me stay in bed for an extra 45 minutes. He has been taking care of getting the other kids awake and fed and ready for school. I never really go back to sleep but being able to lay there and rest has been nice. Between 7am and 7:15 I get up and head downstairs. Like clockwork, once I hit the third trimester I started waking up nauseous again, so I take my acid reducer with a few sips of water and say goodbye to everyone.

Lately baby boy has been waking up starving, so by the time I come downstairs he has already been fed. He will take my hand and lead me over to our recliner where we will snuggle and watch some cartoons for a little while. I am thankful for this because it gives my tummy time to settle down. I usually check my phone for emails and do any banking I am able to do on my phone. It takes about an hour or so, but I go from nauseous to starving pretty quickly. This is when we turn off the TV and I get myself some breakfast and baby boy gets his first snack. I usually let the dogs out again at this point so they don't bother me for food.

After we eat, we head down to the basement where the playroom is. My full-size freezer is also down there, so if I haven't already I try and figure out what we are going to have for dinner. I check to make sure the cat has food and water, and sort and start any laundry that has piled up overnight. I do laundry every day. Sometimes there is still a load to be switched from the night before. I get winded easily now so I try and combined trips to the basement and get as much done as I can. Baby boy and I hang out down here for a long time. It's a no TV time, so we play and I will sometimes bring down a magazine to look at in between his playing and my chores.

Starting in the 10 o'clock hour I start keeping track of the time. Sometimes he starts getting tired so I try and watch his cues. He recently switched to taking pretty short naps, usually under an hour. Because of this I have been trying to keep him up until 11:30 or so unless he is in really bad shape. So we do a variety of activities to keep him engaged. If he is playing contently I take this time to make any phone calls and follow up on any paperwork I have, but nothing too involved that I couldn't stop at a moments notice. When I see him starting to really wind down I will get him another snack. Sometimes it is pretty close to noon, so I will feed him lunch instead. We clean up, he gets a change of clothes, dry diaper, and I lay him down. Due to seperation anxiety and me being too tired to fight, I started staying with him until he is asleep. I know it is a horrible habit but it became the path of least resistance because he would spend forever screaming and not sleeping and I just couldn't deal. What happens when Bonus Baby arrives I have no idea, I will deal with that then but for now this works. So I will sit next to the crib and rub his face and arm and usually he is asleep within a few minutes.

While he is sleeping I try and take this short time to grab a shower. Sometimes I have enough time to actually get out, get dressed, and grab something to eat. When he wakes up he is almost always cranky, and will sort of throw a fit. If I have eaten I will sit in the recliner with him with a show on for the 30 minutes it takes him to chill out. If I haven't eaten I will eat while he is waking up, and get him a snack and drink ready to go. I have to be careful of the time because I need to be out the door by 2:30 to go and pick up the kids from school. If I have any errands to run, I try and do them before I pick up kids, which means I am leaving the house at this point. So much depends on how my time management has been, and how well baby boy is cooperating. Occasionally I will have to make a stop after I pick up the kids, but I try not to because even that extra half hour can mean I hit traffic getting back home.

On a good day where we have no appointments or stops to make, we are back home by 3:45. I get the older kids a quick snack, and once homework is done they take their brother out to play so I can start dinner. In the past couple weeks I have been hitting a wall of exhaustion around now. When I fee this way I usually grab a glass of water or sometimes a decaf coffee and put my feet up for a few minutes before starting dinner. My husband is usually getting back home around now so he is great about taking over so I can get myself together enough to make dinner.

I am also lucky that the older kids are pretty good about doing what they are supposed to. We finally got them to a point where they get dressed for school on their own with little fuss, get homework done right away, and can get their own snacks if I need them to. They are also good when asked about helping with baby boy, for the most part. I am always there to supervise and mediate of course, but teaching them to be responsible for themselves is important to me. We also gave them a new job this year of making their own lunches the night before. They know the rules of what should be in their lunch, and they are learning what they pack they need to eat. They are also learning how to portion, so if they come home more hungry one day, they know they need to pack a little more. They also enjoy having their own choices. We are really working on the clean up after yourself part though haha

This part of the day kids are scattered around, so once I have dinner pretty close to ready it is time to try and round everyone up. This can mean simply checking the basement or out front, and often sending someone to the playground across the street to gather up kids. We all sit down to eat together every night, so it is our time to talk about our day, what's ahead for the rest of the evening and next day, ect. One of the 2 middle kids is always the first one done, so once they take their plate to the sink they make their lunch and if it's a shower night they head upstairs to do that. (I try and get dinner on the table early, but it has seemed to be 6:30 by the time I get it together lately. I move a lot slower right now haha)

Baby boy usually gets his bath after dinner, so my husband usually does that. My teen helps clear the table and wrap leftovers. I sometimes try and work on any other bills/paperwork I have to still do, or switch laundry again, or dishes if I feel up to it. Lately I sit and put my feet up watching the front door for kids going in and out. My older son has wanted to be outside at the park every night and since he has done pretty well with being up later and waking up early with no crankiness I let him. The kids know my deal breaker for staying up late(r) is crankiness and whineyness the next day! I finish up as much as I can. A few times a month I have to do budget/finance stuff so that takes all my brain power.

Baby boy goes to bed the same way at night as he does for his naps, so between 7:30 and 8:30 I get him to sleep. The last week or so he has been so tired he is a screaming mess, thrashing in my arms as we say our prayers, but he falls asleep pretty quickly. I head back downstairs between 8 and 9pm after I have tucked everyone in. My teen is on her own schedule so she is usually floating around still. Sometimes my husband and I will watch something and hang out for a little bit. I am tired enough to go to bed right away, but I am bad and don't usually make this a priority which is stupid, because at this point I am way too exhausted to do anything productive anyway. So at some point I go to sleep.

My days are way more productive when I am not pregnant, when it's not so hot out still, and when we actually have appointments scheduled. This week was a fairly easy week, but next week I have things scheduled every single day. I don't know why my schedule works out that way, but I will have a down week, then a crazy one. Next week is dentist appointments and physicals, with early dismissals, a no-school day, and another birthday party to prep for. One child had 2 days off of school this week, I had one meet-up for lunch scheduled, and today I have 2 side dishes to make for a cookout tomorrow. (See the post titled Randomness Glaore for details on that!)