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.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

One Year Ago

One year ago today marks the birth of my 5th baby. I've been running memories of that day through my mind...what I was doing one year ago. One year ago at this time I was getting put back together after my baby had been pulled from my body. I'm trying to savor all of those memories...just in case. Just in case I never get to do this again. Just in case that was my last time. Just in case he is my last baby. I'm trying to hold on to the babyhood, his infancy as long as I possible can. He seems to be helping me with that, in deciding he's not ready to walk just yet and preferring to crawl everywhere like younger baby. And I'm holding on to nursing him for as long as I possibly can.

I have a ton of conflicting emotions about this. Some days, MOST days, I feel so overwhelmed by everything that I just can't imagine doing it pregnant, or with a newborn, or going through these stages AGAIN. And I feel horrible for feeling that way, but it's the truth. The toddler stage is NO JOKE, and it's so hard, and I'm older and less patient. And then things calm down and we have a relatively calm day and I soak in my babies and think how I could do it a million times more. Having such a spread of ages I think adds to the stress, because my brain has to bend and balance teenage woes and toddler meltdowns at the same time, and sometimes mom needs JUST A MINUTE to regroup and reframe and focus. And there's never enough money to do all the things for all the people. But unless we were millionaires that will likely always be the case.

I thank God every night I have this life, that He gave me this chance to be these tiny people's mother. It's messy, and stressful, and there is yelling and fighting, and tears, and laughter. And I would be lying if I said it didn't weigh on my mind every single day if I will get to do this again, one last time. I wonder if my body will even let me (and I don't know what my body is doing due to the Domperidone I am still taking to keep me producing milk so I haven't had a period in months now), and if I am a strong enough person to do this once more...to go through another few years of pregnancy, infancy, toddlerhood. To know that I will likely not get to get rid of al the baby weight and have time for myself until I am well into my 40's. And are those selfish thoughts I shouldn't have?? So many questions floating in my head and time marches on and I speed closer to 39. Is it even responsible for me to have another child at my age? But my heart longs for that completed feeling...and I still feel that longing, that space, that unfinished piece.

I guess I will just keep living my life as I have been, and one way or another I will have my answer eventually. I just have to be okay with letting go and not having the answers right now. I won't know until I know.

Tonight we will have Chinese takeout and homemade birthday cake, and sing to my sweet Baby boy a happy First Birthday. And I will try to ignore that small voice in the back of my mind that wonders if this is the last first birthday I will have. And I will cry, as I am right now, for all of it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Where I've Been

Hello Friends! I truly didn't mean to be gone for so long. Shortly after my last post, I went through something I had a hard time dealing with, and I just couldn't bring myself to talk about it. I still can't really. The glossed-over version is that I lost nearly all my breastmilk and my baby wasn't getting enough to eat, and it was a really dark time for me personally. The baby is fine, I worked hard and got my milk back, and maybe one day I will feel brave enough to write the ugly version in case it helps anyone else. But suffice it to say, it was one of those things where my body let me down and it brought up lots of feelings of inadequacy regarding IF and loss.

So the best place to start here is to just update on my life and hopefully get back to regular posting here soon! Let's start with me. I'm doing well. Trying to lose baby weight. Did the 21 day fix a while back and did well, then fell apart. Because I crave Carbs to keep me going and breastfeeding makes me hungry like crazy, and I hate working out. I'm about to kick it into gear though, because I am tired of still looking more than pregnant 9 months later. I turned 38 this summer, and had a moment of freak out about how my TTC days are likey coming to a close. At first I thought I had a timeline down of trying soon, but then I had the issues with my milk and realized how bad I wanted to breastfeed, so I finally made peace with getting this baby through a year of breastfeeding, naturally weaning and seeing what my body will do. I can't be worried about trying to have another baby by 40. And what if it doesn't happen at all? I want to enjoy my moments with this baby boy should he be my last. I don't want to rush time. Plus, it gives me time to get my weight down some which is always helpful.

Baby boy is doing awesome. He is seriously the most happy, chill baby ever. He is super happy to just be here. He nurses and eats like a champ. He loves pretty much anything we feed him. I'm not a fan of jarred baby food, so he has always just gotten whole foods and whatever we are eating. He takes a long morning nap and a short late afternoon one and sleeps 12 hours at night. So I am very spoiled.

The hubby and I celebrated our 16 year anniversary a month ago. We are in a pretty good space where our lives just flow. We still get into spats but it is nothing crazy. We can fuss and be mean to eachother and then it's over. I convinced him to start working out with me at night to help keep me motivated so I hope this works out well for us. We both need to get into shape, so I hope this is what we need.

Toddler boy is...well, he's a toddler! He's every bit of 2.5. He is a sweet and funny little guy. He is SO freaking smart, but most people can't tell because his language is slow. He is saying new things every week, but he is definitely not big to use many words most of the time. He still is screamy and yelling and rather running crazy most of the day. He also finally decided that his little brother isn't so bad and like to kiss him and bring him toys but that's about as far as he goes with it. He loves playing on the iPad so I have tried to put lots of educational apps on there. He has also become a picky and sporadic eater. If I get him to try some off of 2 meals I give him I am lucky. Not worth it to fight over it, this too shall pass.

My teen has had quite the summer. She crashed her bicycle and got a concussion at the beginning of the summer and had post-concussion syndrome. As soon as she got better from that she got her learners permit, and then her wisdom teeth out. She isn't really getting the hang of driving, though. She said she bought it would be easier than it actually is. Oh boy! She is a good kid, but we are still working on some attitude and behavior issues at home. She lost close to 80lbs in the lasts year and because of that and her increased activeness, her cycles are all screwed up, and she went from having them too close together to not at all. Trying to take a wait and see approach and hopefully her body figures it out.

My 10 year old is struggling. He was the baby until Toddler boy came around, and he is just not as mature as the girls were at his age in general. He cries and whines a lot which is difficult to deal with. But he is also a really great kid and big help, and so smart. He loves all things NASCAR so I am learning a lot about that, too. I have been debating changing him to a school closer to where we live now so he can make friends up here, but I also think I want him to have the teachers he will have this year. I'm praying a lot on this. He has an addiction to Minecraft so it's a fight getting him off his iPod to do anything else. I am frequently the bad guy making him give it up at night, or depending on his behavior, all day. I will catch him staying up at all hours playing it and then be tired and cranky the next day.

My Middle Girl got her period a couple weeks ago. So that explains how she has been...up and down. She can get quite mean but, unlike my teen, she is much easier to straighten out and talk out of her moods. As soon as I heard her call my name I knew why she was calling me. She cried like her heart was broken for a good half an hour. She keep saying through sobs how she was too young(she's 11). We sat on her bed once she calmed down and talked about why they say you can't swim, how to get around it, why girls have to get a period, and all those fun things. She had a sleepover the next day so I let the mom know just in case, but my girl is a trooper. And when she found out another girl had gotten hers right after school let out, she was ok. She just didn't want to be the only one.

My pets are all ok. My cat is still happy in the garage, and we put a window A/C unit in there and my husband insulated it so it's climate controlled in there now. Our beagles started getting out of the yard and we realized the invisible fence was broken. Rain had washed the soil down so a part of the wire was above ground and got run over with the lawn mower. It was likely broken for a few weeks before the dogs figured they could get out. My husband was able to fix it and get the line reburied which save some money, as Invisible Fence charges $150 per Hour!! My German Shepard had started hyper shedding and was leaving massive clumps of hair everywhere. I finally went out and bought one of those Furminator brushes and spent about 30 minutes on the deck brushing her out. I could have made another dog with all the fur that came off of her. I guess I am going to have to do this on the regular to keep it under control.

So whats new with all of you???

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

How to plan a fieldtrip

So as a Homeroom parent, or room mom, for my elementary school-aged children, there are a bunch of different things we are responsible for, and of the the biggest ones is planning the spring Fieldtrip. In our school, there are certain trips that have generally been taking every year by each class. Sometimes there have been changes such as when my oldest was in 3rd grade and the usual field trip location closed down. Other times the teacher might decide they want to go somewhere else that year. I have had every combination of things happen as Homeroom parent. When we meet with the teacher at the start of the school year, the Fieldtrip is one of the things discussed. For us we talked about the usual place and the teacher said we didn't have to go there we could pick somewhere else if we wanted. We threw out lots of suggestions and went with the top ones the teacher liked. I researched all of our choices and listed activities and pros and cons of all of them and sent a master list to the teacher to choose from, and from there she picked her choice. For a spring Fieldtrip we usually start planning after the new year, but since I was going to be having a baby I decided to work on it before the birth. I was able to contact the venue and secure a reservation from a list of the dates the teacher gave me. They did not require a deposit so I was all set. If they were to require a deposit I would have filled out a form and sent it in to the treasurer who would send me a check and I would send it to the venue. This procedure would vary depending on what your school normally does.

Sometime after the new year is when you would need to book a bus. Our school has certain companies we always work with, so I started there. I messed up and forgot to do this early. Usually the teacher starts reminding you about Fieldtrip planning and since we had it booked, I didn't get the planning email and I totally forgot. We are going in April instead of May so I had less time and things seriously got away from me. Our usual company was already booked, so I ended up making a bunch of calls and freaked out because the other company prices were too high. I finally found one for around the price we normally pay so it all worked out but I was getting all mad at myself! The bus price is important because it is the biggest expense that can make or break your trip budget. To get your per child cost you would divide the total bus price by number of children going, and then add in the cost of admission and any other fees you have. We add in the cost for snacks on the bus and bus driver tip. I will add those to on to the price of the bus, divide by number of students, then add the admission cost to that total. Since admission can be anywhere from free to $30 depending on where the trip is going, a huge bus cost can make it too expensive. We have a small group of kids that fit on one bus, usually 35 kids or less. They normally tell you 42 people can fit on the buss, so you have to include teachers in your seating. At our school, teachers don't pay for the trip. Most places give you one free adult ticket for every 10 or so kids, or say all teacher are free.

Things you need to figure out are how much additional tickets/admission would be for any parent chaperones. You also need to decide how much of a bus tip to give. If you are making multiple stops then you would usually aim for a little higher tip. If you are providing any drinks or snacks you need to set a budget to figure out cost. I looked at items at Sam's Club to see how much a big thing of juice boxes would be, and estimated the cost of a box of snacks that would be enough for our group. I gave myself a little extra money just in case, because $40 vs $50 on snacks didn't make a huge difference on total cost per child. I ran my numbers a few times to triple check myself and to make sure I wasn't leaving anything out. I also adjusted a bit so I got a normal total to charge. (So it wasn't like $23.37 per kid lol)

I had to get a check for the bus deposit so I filled out that form. I also had to get cash for the tip and money to buy snacks ahead of time, so I requested those amounts, too. The cash for the driver too and money for snacks was written as a check to me that I would have to cash. I just need to save my receipt for the snacks and turn that in with my balance sheet at the end. I sent the bus contract and deposit money in to the company. I make copies or take a picture of everything I send in, just in case.

The next thing I do is fill out the field trip form so the secretary can print up copies to be sent home to parents. I also include a parent letter that provides more detailed information about our trip and let's parents know the cost of they would like to go, and any information I have about transportation/parking at the destination. I also restate the dress code for students and what they need to bring with them as far as a lunch goes. This letter usually gets stapled to the permission slip, but this year there was some miscommunication and I did t know the forms were going out the first day back from spring break. I hurried up and wrore a letter the teacher sent out the next day.

I check in with the teachers weekly about how many forms they have gotten back. When we have the majority of students turn their money in, I will go in and count the money/prepare the checks for deposit. I will also total up how many admission tickets I need. I have to get an idea of this because I have to request one check to our venue for all admissions. Occasional my we will have to pay a couple people in cash, but we try to have everyone's money turned in ahead of time to avoid that. I request a check for the remaining total on the bus to be given to the driver on the day of the Fieldtrip. I fill out the balance sheet and attach it with all the money I collected. I also fill out the master form to the venue which I will turn in to them with a check when we arrive.

The day of the trip I bring the snacks and drinks and arrive early to meet the bus driver. We usually bring a big cooler for everyone to put their lunch in. Sometimes we just use a huge black trash bag of we don't have a big enough cooler. If we are going somewhere that I think most people need help getting to, I will print directions out for everyone. I meet with the driver, settle payment and load all snacks on the bus. I make sure my chaperones know where they are going, and as the classes come out to load onto the bus I get the grouping from the teacher and assign students to parents. This cuts down on confusion when we arrive and makes sure all parents have kids to look after. Luckily this is a small group and most everyone knows each other so it's fairly easy. When we arrive I get off the bus first and get us checked in and handle all payments to the venue. I get our guide for the day if we have one and we get our group going. At this point I can relax and enjoy the trip. I just keep an eye on time for lunch and then boarding the bus back home. When we return I take care of tipping the driver and my job for the day is done.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Micro-Blog Monday: We Let her quit

We let my teenage daughter drop out of her school's production of the spring play Less than 2 weeks before opening night. I know a lot of people wouldn't agree with that choice and instead make their kids finish out their commitment. I will admit I was really torn between forcing her to stay and letting her quit.

She is a freshman, coming from a middle school experience that didn't afford her a lot of good friends or opportunities to spread her wings. Because of this, she wants to try and do everything, which we don't let her do. But she's also a kid with a fantasy of how things are going to be versus how they really are. Try as I may to talk to her and explain situations, I'm only her mom so I don't really know what I'm talking about and everything I say is just stupid and off-base.

The drama club at her school is serious business. Contracts for students and parents alike to sign, production fees to be paid by every member of the cast and crew, mandatory practices, build days, costume days, and tech week that are 12 hours plus (which I am not even sure the legality in enforcing because minors are limited in amount of paid hours they can work, and this is not even paid work) that every member of the production must adhere to, no matter how big or small your role. It's a little sad because it discourages kids that just want to do it for fun as opposed to kids who want to actually have any of this as some sort of career, and cast are supposed to purchase their own costumes and expensive stage makeup. It's really a racket. Parents are also required to put in a required number of volunteer hours as well. Tickets cost $15 a piece. So there is an extreme amount of time and money required for all involved. You were only allowed to miss one practice for any reason (even illness) and then you were given strict warnings.

Cast also have to keep their grades way up, even during the weeks where practices run from after school until 10pm or later and are mandatory for all involved. The stress was building on my teen, even with us letting her off the hook on her chores and responsibilities at home. When she got the email last week about the next 2 weeks of mandatory 12 hours days and the request for volunteers to stay beyond that for various things, and reading that on performance days you were required to be there the ENTIRE day, meaning more 12 hours days, and between weekend shows you were required to stay at school and not leave campus for any reason she had a total breakdown. She skipped practice and came straight home in tears. Talked to me about everything, she had been thinking and feeling for weeks now. Explained how it was taking something she loved to do and making it the most hated thing ever, keeping her stomach in knots. The director, who is also the drama teacher, turning into a complete Medusa yelling at people about "how behind" they were. My daughter also told me how she needed to get a peer tutor for one of her classes but couldn't because of the play and the practices, and was so upset and stressed couldn't even concentrate in class.

My child cried as if the weight of the world were on her shoulders. I calmly explained that she needed to take a breath and realize that in the grand scheme of things, this decision was small potatos. That it was a highschool play production, and her decision wasn't going to end anyone's life or blow up a country. Sure they might have to shift people around, but she was part of a side ensemble and had no speaking part. She didn't know that it was okay to say it was all too much. She actually was pushing my buttons extra hard and acting out hoping I would pull her out myself, as part of her agreement to us allowing her to sign up was that her home behavior be on the straight and narrow.

We let her quit because as important as it is to follow through on your word and what you sign up and agree to do, it is equally important to be able to recognize and acknowledge when you are in over your head and can't handle something, and ask for help or back out when you need to. She also needed to realize that she could talk to us even if she thought we would be mad or upset with her or not support her decision or validate her feelings. She needed to have this happen.

She also needed to step outside and see how some of the other drama girls reacted to her news, making it all about them and how HER decision affected THEM instead of immediately supporting her and her needs. She was rather surprised by that.

Sometimes quitting isn't the easy way out after all.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Life Lately April 2016 Edition

So the very last post I started writing was way back on March 2nd. There has been so much I want to say but when I finally start writing it I just can't. It's hard for me to detail difficult things as they are happening to me, and I just didn't want to relive some of it all over again writing it. Then I was tired and didn't feel like writing and couldn't get my shit together enough to type anything out. So here is my latest attempt for my own sanity to do yet another updatey type post and hope I can do better from here.

•Raising a teenager is HARD. So, so, SO very hard and challenging. I fee ill equipped most days to be doing this. My kid is pretty good as far as behavior goes. It's all the other stuff that goes with it, made infinitely harder by the existence of social media and cell phones. I'm doing the best I can but some days my best is pretty much the lowest level possible; in other words pretty shitty. She struggles, I struggle. Such a work in progress and I pray All The Time.

•Toddler Boy is so thoroughly 2. He is such a loud yell-Y scream-Y boy. He is so sweet and so rough and so silly and so crabby all at the same time. He is definitely not so go with the flow and protests life on the regular. He also is wanting more of me to himself vs. being more independent so I almost never get a moment of downtime, since he also doesn't really nap. He could always definitely use a nap, but it's not with the fight and he always always wakes up worse than when he started so it's like the lesser of two evils. Either way he's a bear. But he is also so damn sweet and silly. His favorite thing to do is sit between my legs with puzzles or toys or books and we cuddle and play. He is so smart it's a little scary. I am currently typing this while he is climbing all over me. A huge part of his problem is that he is a terrible sleeper at night and always has been. So he is extra cranky but trying to set a dedicated nap time doesn't work for him. Some days he makes it all day and he's mostly fine, other days he is just miserable all day.

•Baby Boy is the easiest. Sleeps amazingly well (12+ hours every night!) and is so chill and just so happy to be here! He doesn't complain and is the smileyest baby around. He is a great little chatterbox and has been for a long time now. While he can roll and move he is more content to just lay back and suck on his fingers. Never was there a more perfect baby to be #5. It is so funny how babies can be so very different!

•I have been doing sit of work for my 4th and 5th graders as the room mom for both classes. I actually have one other mom in each class, but since the Christmas Party neither of them have done anything at all to help. One actually emailed me "busy with my kids and stuff" which I just rolled my eyes at and ignored because she has 3 kids and 2 are highschool age and one of them drives. So...telling me YOU'RE busy is just like ok whatever. I am not going to let my older kids miss out because I have other kids, even if they are an infant and toddler. So I made sure the kids had something yummy and awesome and homemade for Easter, and I went shopping for really good fun snacks for Standardized testing week, and I have done every part of the Fieldtrip planning. It means something to my kids that I am involved and they see that and know that and it makes them feel special and happy. And I do it for the other kids in their classes, too. And the teachers, because it takes some pressure off of them and also supports them. It's been a little crazy the last 2 weeks because there has been so much to do for the Fieldtrip that was time-consuming but it all came together.

•speaking of homemade...I make everything from scratch. Even when it's not the most convenient thing to do. My mom always did, and she went so far as to handmade all of our Halloween costumes, too on top of having a job! I don't sew at all, but it is definitely important to me to make things from scratch. I actually love pouring myself into a good recipe and getting the finished product. Once I've done the recipe once before it doesn't take me much longer than a box mix would. I also love that each time it comes out slightly different and it's been a great way to teach my daughter the ins and outs of baking and the slight variations that can alter the final product. It has made my kids food snobs though. They are sure to tell me when sauce comes out of a jar or someone brings in something store-bought to school for their birthday snack. But I am glad they notice that it's important to me to make time to do this. I guess that's how I feel...if it is important to me I make time to do it even if it's not the most convenient thing. Having my kids in a million after school activities isn't important to me, so I don't do it.

•I can't wait for warmer weather. It seems like I have been wishing for warm weather for so long now. We had a week of warm weather a while back, and got a couple days on Spring break that were really good. But it's pretty much been downhill from there and it's just been downright cold here.

•So my days have been on a crazy loop of waking up feeding babies and kids, feeding myself, playing toddler games, trying to do housework and personal hygiene things like shower and brushing teeth, errands, kid pick up, fixing of meals, getting everyone to sleep, more chores, letting dogs out. There are lots of joys and moments of sheer happiness and exhaustion and everything in between.

•My cat needs Prozac. The diagnosis of her peeing on my carpet all the time is that she is very angry with us from the move 10 months ago. She just hasn't adjusted, even though she has more space now. I actually wanted to get rid of her and take her to a shelter as I am not at all a cat person. But the vet and a rescue lady both suggested isolating her to the garage and see how she does. Well, the damn cat is happy. Happier than she has been since we moved. She plays with her toys now, uses her box, purrs when we come see her. Damn cat. The vet actually suggested Prozac so we can reintegrate her into the household but my feeling is if she is fine in the garage, then the garage is where she can stay.

•Our big freezer went up last weekend. We knew it was going to, as the top shelf wouldn't stay frozen but the rest of the freezer had been fine. So a new freezer was over $500. Well, I managed to find a practically new sub-zero commercial freezer on Craigslist for $80!! The people were closing a business and had 2 to sell. It's awesome and huge. So my husband went and got it Tuesday. I love when I can find good deals. I don't generally use Craigslist because people usually way overprice heavily used junk, but this was a lucky find.

•A huge financial thing that had been in the works for a while didn't end up panning out for us, which was a big bummer. As it drug on, I started realizing that it probably wasn't going to work out in our favor so I started trying to make other financial moves. I had to move a bunch of stuff around so that the impact wasn't so bad on us. A few weeks after that a different unexpected financial thing happened to work in our favor, and while it didn't make up for the first thing it certainly helped.

•I got up suuuper early on Easter to go to mass at the hospital. We usually go on Saturday nights but Easter is one occasion where the Saturday mass is a Vigil and very very long. I was working a partial day so I decided to go to the one at work that I have gone to before. I am so very glad I did. The Homily was exactly what I needed to hear, and one that has really stuck with me. One thing the priest said, "Stop concerning yourself with all the worldly things and have your eyes and mind focused upward to Heaven" has really stuck with me and helped a great deal with perspective.

I'm sure there is more but Toddler is making typing very very hard right now. Hopefully I will be back soon!!

Monday, February 29, 2016

MicroBlog Monday's-Nancy

Scrolling through my blog reader today, I came upon Nancy's blog http://thenewlifeofnancy.blogspot.com (sorry,blogger is being wonky and I can't make it clickable or link-able right now) that hadn't been updated in 4 years. 4 years. Has she really been gone almost 4 years?? That seems impossible, and yet there it is. And I began wondering how her husband Tom was doing. And how those beautiful mini-me girls Ella and Allison were, and her little boy Karl who I guess isn't so little anymore.

I miss her. I miss her blog posts, I miss her support. I just miss her. Anyone who knew her still feels the same. She was such a wonderful, amazing, honest, funny human. She had such a colorful life and personality. She truly made the world brighter just by being in it. Her death rocked this community.

Is there anyone out there who has any updates on her family? Just to know that they are all doing ok would be nice. I never did here what happened to take her vibrant soul from this earth too soon. 4 years later, and it still makes me so sad to remember she is no longer here. Not having any real closure with her loss still naggles at me. It feels so unfinished, which I guess it was and always will be, forever frozen in time.

She lived for those kids. You just never know when your last hug is going to be your last. So make every hug count.

If anyone has an update on her family or knows someone who might, please leave a comment or pass this post along. I know many of us who would love to know. Or, just leave a memory about Nancy. Let's put some love out there for her and her family today.

Friday, February 26, 2016

A little Update-y

Let's start with my teenage daughter. Sigh. Just like so many of us with women's issues, the big diagnoses is "We don't know". Every test checked out fine, even the CD3 labs. So. Birth Control pills were prescribed to help regulate her cycle. I am not sure how I feel about that. Not because of the "permission to have sex" thing it sometime can imply for teens. More because it's adding artificial hormones to the mix. But I understand it's the best thing for her right now. Because being in a constant loop of bleeding and ovulating and bleeding some more with no break is ridiculous. It's been a loooong time since I was ever on the pill, so maybe it's better now?? Also, I had no copay for a 3 month supply, so that was nice. No idea how or why, but I'll take it!

We had a clog in our main line sewer, most likely caused by one of my kids. After 2 days last week of not being able to use water, it is fixed. Some water backed up into the basement, but it was thankfully contained to a small area near the laundry. A bit of carpet got ruined, but we were going to eventually replace it anyway. My homeowners insurance will cover the replacement of the entire basement carpeting and some low drywall they had to remove. The adjuster was out a week ago and cut me a check on the spot, which I didn't expect. So now I just need to price out carpet. They only had to remove the carpet by the laundry area, so the majority of the basement is still intact and useable, so it doesn't really look so bad down there. I really wanted to put laminate down, but as I wasn't anticipating doing the flooring right now, I don't think I will have enough insurance money to do that. We are debating waiting to do all the flooring until we can save up the difference, but my kids are making the argument that they like carpet down there better. So we will see.

Last week was nuts because of all of that, and this week has been one of those weeks where every single day I have been at the store. I have 4 stores I shop at for different things. The main grocery store is my lunch meats and a few other speciality things, a discount grocery is where I buy milk and most of my produce, Trader Joes has some snacks I love and a yogurt that is amazing, and I use a Super store for everything else. I don't usually need to visit all the stores every week, but it happened this week was one of them. And because of the little ones, I was only able to do one trip at a time. So every day I have shopped. I have to try to plan that better next time. Luckily all the stores are either a couple minutes from my house, or right by somewhere else I have needed to be so I didn't have to go out of my way really.

I have to do some continuing education credits for my job. I purchased an ebook and the test, but when I went to download I must have clicked run instead of save. I printed off the test, and then couldn't access the text the next day. Read the email again and it has a big disclaimer about limited downloads and know how to use your device, ect. So I had to call and say I'm an idiot and beg for an extra download. Then I get that download saved and all is well until last night when my laptop had a black screen. Google didn't help me fix it, so I was going to take it to a local place. When I called the guy said he was closing his business but was nice enough to give me some tips to try, and I finally got it fixed. I was so afraid I was going to have to call and beg for another free download. Good grief. I need to get this test done before anything else happens.

Going back to work and otherwise balancing my family has been pretty easy. I can tell I am out of practice working long hours on my feet because my body is just SORE by the end of the weekend. Mondays are usually a hang in my pjs kind of day. But I actually went back kind of seemlessly on all fronts, other than getting up at 4am to give me time to shower, dress, nurse, and pump before getting out the door. And it still feels like I am rushing. But I can NOT get up in the 3 o'clock hour, that's just not happening.

My former best friend who went a bit nuts on me and ended our friendship before I had the baby went back to texting me pretty quickly after all of that as if nothing ever happened and said she thought I misunderstood her, which I didn't but whatever. She had even asked to visit me in the hospital, which I declined. I periodically receive texts from her and it's clear she is having a rough go of life and also doesn't really comprehend that all the stuff that happened that she instigated really pushed me away from her. I haven't really said much back because there isn't really a whole lot I could even say. And I am ok with that.

My 2 year old is SO two. It is exasperating, and sweet. He is definitely showing some of that jealousy and regression from having a new baby. It didn't really hit until I went back to work. He is very stuck on me. He doesn't get mad at the baby, he just wedges himself in when we nurse. I hold both of them together ALOT. Sometimes I get a little frustrated by it, but mostly I am really trying to embrace it and be patient because I know one day I will miss it. And man, he is just SO sweet looking at me with his bright baby blues. Melts me.

The baby boy is seriously the happiest, chattiest, laid back little guy ever. He makes it so easy to say I could do this again if I could choose to. Toddler boy was and still is more on the grumpy pissed off, high maintenance side, and so I definitely don't take this for granted at all. The first couple months are always hard adjusting to a new one, but the 3 month mark everything really started falling into place and it's been so nice.

My middle girl is 11. She has recently decided she wants to learn how to bake, which is about the age I started. She helped a ton at Christmas, so I have been letting her try new things. She needed to make cookies for school last week and I wrote down the ingredients (I don't often cook with actual recipes or measurements) and she did it all on her own and cleaned up after herself. The cookies came out very well for her first ever try. It's been fun because I come home from work to all kinds of treats that she tries. My teen is taking a cooking class in highschool, so she uses the weekends to do the home projects. It's not helping me lose the baby weight though. I wanted them to have a special treat tomorrow morning, so I am going to surprise middle girl with a recipe for cinnamon buns and we will work on those tonight.

Speaking of losing the baby weight...I was trying to do the 30 changes thing. I do pretty well with food logging and what I eat. I find I don't have time to do actual workouts. I don't know how to fit them in. Because Toddler can't be left alone, and he no longer sleeps in a crib I can't do a dedicated workout unless he falls asleep. By the time everyone is settled for the night, I have to have some down time. So much time is spent sitting:nursing, playing with toys, reading. I know that will change with warmer weather, so I really just have to realize that this is where my life is right now and give myself some slack. Being depressed/stressed about baby weight isn't going to help. Plus, limiting calories doesn't work because breastfeeding makes me SO HUNGRY. So I eat until I am full, and try to make the best choices I can. As long as I continue to hold steady and not gain I am going to be ok with that for now, and hopefully as the weather gets better and I can be out and about more the scale will move down. Also...stupid Fitbit trackers aren't as accurate when you push a stroller or shopping cart, so that's really frustrating when I know I have walked more than 200 steps in the grocery store!!

I probably am forgetting other stuff I wanted to say, but I just realized I forgot to feed myself lunch, and the doctor called saying she wants more labs done on my daughter, so I have to run out the door as soon as she gets home in 10 minutes.


Monday, February 22, 2016

MicroBlog Monday's:Deja Vu

Every since I can remember, I have always counted the month by my cycle days. It has always been on my radar where I am in my cycle. I have never been someone who would be surprised when AF showed up, completely unprepared. Even in my teen years, I was always acutely aware of when that was going to happen. I knew when I was ovulating based on all my signs, especially in my later teens when I had a recurring problem of hemorrhagic cysts, amoung other things. I became familiar with all things cycle and fertility related very early on, and had my first transvaginal ultrasound when I was 16, my first lap at 18. I have been in some form of TTC mode almost continuously for over 16 years now. It is so ingrained that it's almost subconscious in that I probably could never truly cop to a totally surprise pregnancy, because whether I am aware of it or not, tracking my cycle and BDing accordingly likely always happens. I don't know how to NOT be aware of this and shut it off. No, this post is not some sort of weird announcement, not at all.

Now 3.5 months postpartum in my later 30's, waiting for my cycle to return and see what my hormones are going to look like this time, I find myself thinking about whether we will ever TTC again, and if I can handle all that comes with it once more. Only time will tell, which is what I tell all the ridiculous people who feel the need to ask if I'm done having kids. While I am in my own limbo, I still find myself at the lab, getting cycle day 3 bloodwork, along with a host of other labs as well...thyroid and iron panel amoung others, for my teen. At almost 15.5, her cycles have decided to creep closer and closer together, until they are now under 2 weeks apart. She is tired, moody, and just generally out of sorts. She is getting a crash course in all the things women go through just so we can maybe have children someday. And she is silently thankful I insisted on knowing her CD1s so I can keep track for her and know when there is a red flag. We see her doctor Thursday.

It is a really weird place to be, having a child old enough to have the same hormone imbalances as me, and seeing doctors to straighten them out for two totally different reasons. It is also weird to be thinking so much about this at a time when my own body is on breastfeeding hold and the issues at the moment aren't mine. I also have my other daughter who is close to starting her cycles for the first time. So lots of wonky hormones in my house right now.

My teen just wants to feel better now, which I want, too. But I also want to identify any potential issues now, so that maybe when her time comes she doesn't have to struggle to have a child if she wants one. This is really some of the weirdest deja vu ever. We will see what news Thursday brings. I suppose for the next several years, I will be counting cycle days for all of us.

Monday, February 15, 2016

MicroBlog Monday-Injustice

There are parts of my job that never, ever get easier.

This weekend I had to take care of a newborn in withdrawal. A baby born addicted to everything under the sun. The worst type of withdrawal to deal with. One in which using dosages of morphine only marginally helps. Violent shaking, uncontrollable wailing. My God, it's so hard to see. All I wanted to do was pick this baby up in my arms and comfort him and soothe it away. It made me sad. And so, so, SO angry. Furious with rage for a woman I have never met. A biological mother who did nothing to protect her baby, and only hurt him in the very worst of ways. This innocent child spending his first days on earth this way. He is so beautiful, so innocent. And so very sick.

I know so many people who so desperately want a child and just can't. So many still waiting, so many who decided on a childless life, so many who spent thousands and thousands of dollars trying to reach that goal, some successful, some not. All the years that I tried to have a child and just couldn't. But someone who willingly throws poison into one's body so easily gets pregnant and continues to abuse. It is just so unbalanced and unfair.

Did you know that the majority of these babies get sent back into the situations they came from. Because there are too many of them, and it is too costly for the state to go through the steps to wrangle custody, and there are too many of them and not enough homes. Even though so many people are waiting for babies...just not babies like this then?? If there are, how can they not find each other?

There should be a system in place from the start. If your baby is born addicted, you don't get to have that baby. There should be families waiting for babies like these, so that they get someone right away who can give them the love and the comfort and stability newborns need, so that they are never alone. I know that this isn't the way, and that people deserve a second chance...but isn't part of the problem all the second (and third, forth, fifth??) chances abusers, addicts, rapists, murderers, and criminals get?? Taking a baby and putting them back into that situation because there is nothing better for them??? NO! Someone has to break the cycle. The kids don't ever stand a chance.

The doctor I was talking to mentioned how these babies can still be irritable when they go home, so then you are sending an extra-fussy newborn home with addicts who are barely functioning. What happens to those babies then? It just rips a hole in my heart to think about. This is the best the United States can do for our children, our future? What the hell kind of screwed up world do we live in? I said to the doctor I guess all we can do is pray that these babies get a better shot. That they get placed into better homes. One has to hope, right?

I couldn't get this baby out of my head. I got tears every time I walked by his room and heard him wailing. Saturday night as soon as I was off work I went to my baby and put him to my breast when he cried. I sat in Church with him cuddled against my chest snug in his wrap, my head bowed down kissing the top of his head. And I cried for that baby at work. And I prayed for that baby, and all babies like him. And I prayed for all those still waiting for their babies. And I prayed for a solution to this broken system of waiting families, babies that need real homes and families, a system that fails both of these over and over. And I prayed for the injustice of those that want and so desperately can't, and those that can and do so easily but don't take care of that precious life.

Friday, February 12, 2016

3 Months Later- Baby Boy's Birth Story

Better late than never, right?? I am going to start with the weekend before he was born, which was Halloween. We had gone to the pumpkin farm a few weeks before, which ended up being a windy, freezing cold day. We opted to not do our usual tradition of a hayride, and apple picking was also scarce so we didn't do that either, and decided we would come back on Halloween, because we always get a family picture on the hayride every year. This day ended up being quite a bit warmer, and it being Halloween it wasn't crowded at all. This was the last weekend of the season that the farm would be open and they had one last crop of apples to pick, so we made sure we got to the fields early. We got to get all of the apples we wanted, do our hayride and got a great family picture( although I do look like quite the beached whale on the hayride haha) and we even got to have lunch at the farm as they had food trucks. We took our time and really enjoyed the last big family outing before baby.
After we got home I had to head to the hospital to get my pre-op bloodwork done. I got home in time to make chicken pot pie and get everyone fed before trick or treating. I decided to hang back at the house so I took lots of pictures and sent everyone on their way. The 3 older kids went by themselves and my husband took Toddler Boy, who really wasn't into wearing his costume or cooperating in general really. Just give him some candy and call it a day! So it was probably one of the more relaxing Halloween evenings I have ever had.

The next day we went to church and I got to see a couple friends there and get well wishes for the next day. We just kind of hung out the rest of the day and I threw some more things in my hospital bag. I had decided I wanted my last meal to be ham, so I made a big dinner with a huge ham, mashed potatoes and a veggie I can't remember right now. My mother in law came for dinner as she was staying the night so she could be with the kids while we left for the hospital. We had decided it was easier to keep the kids home from school the next day so she didn't have to run all around doing drop off and pick up while wrangling a toddler. It worked out well because we let the middle two kids camp out in the basement and she got one of their rooms.

Monday morning I got up really early full of excitement. I showerd and got ready, throwing the last couple things in my bag. As I was heading downstairs I heard a lot of commotion. When I got downstairs I found my Middle girl at the bathroom door. Her brother had been gorging himself on Halloween candy (that we tried in vain to hide) and it had acted like a laxative, so he wasn't feeling good. Instead of getting us she was trying to take care of him, poor thing. I had to make sure he was ok and situated back to bed, so we ended up leaving way late for the hospital, but we still ended up making it there by 6:30. We took my husband's work truck, and it was a bumpy ride. So bumpy, I joked he was going to bounce the baby out! Haha My mom was already inside, but the guard wouldn't let her back with us. I told her I would have a nurse come get her once I got to the back. I checked in and a few moments after 6:45 they took me to the back. For the next 45 minutes or so I was getting hooked up to the monitors,going over the medical history, signing forms, ect. When they hooked me up to the monitors I realized my joke of my husband's truck bouncing the baby out hadn't been too far off. While the baby had been on my right side all night and morning, the baby was now completely on my left side, which it never had been before!! I had a ton of people around because it was both night shift and day shift staff there. At some point my mom showed up back there;the guard inexplicably told her to come in back? I don't know it was weird. Since my sister, who has always been with me and in the OR with me and my husband wasn't able to make it, my mom was there in her place. I thought she was just wanting to be at the hospital, but around now I realized she wanted to go into the OR with me too. I was shocked but totally ok with it, we just had to ask like we always do but they are always ok with it. Heck, my doctor thinks the more the merrier and I had my husband, my sister, AND my mom in the OR when I had my first! (More than one support person in the OR is extremely rare almost anywhere.) I also asked about getting my baby right away to nurse in recovery (which doesn't always happen) and they offered to let me do skin to skin in the OR if I wanted. I said I normally get sick right after the baby is out but as long as I could have him in recovery right away I was good with that.

Anesthesia came in next. This is what I was really anxious for, since I know what works for me and what doesn't. There were 3 people, the head of OB anesthesia, the attending, and a resident. The head of OB is new, but the attending has done a couple of my C-sections before. The new head was amazing! She listened to everything I said and addressed my concerns of where we could do better. My biggest issue is I tend to get VERY sick after the baby is out, but I don't want them to drug me so much I am too out of it to hold my baby in recovery. She promised she would do her best. My second issue was pain management afterwards, because I can't have a certain drug in my spinal that they normally use that helps with extended pain relief. She gave me some alternative options and what she suggested kept my pain managed extremely well through my entire hospital stay. She assured me she would hold my hand and take care of me.

I was all done and prepped and signed so we had about a 30 minute wait for my doctor to get there before we could get going. I made sure to tell the resident I wasn't going anywhere without my doctor. Repeat C-sections can be risky and I am only ok with having my 5th one because of my doctor. Period. He got there right around 8am to his usual fanfare. He checked with me that I had anesthesia straight, ok'd my mom being there, asked anesthesia who said "whatever this mom wants" and with that they got me up to walk to the OR. My doctor and husband were talking football, specifically the game the day before my doctor actually went to, and I said "Sorry to interrupt but can I have a kiss before I go?" And my doctor joked "Football is more important!" I got my kiss and on I went.

It is SO weird to walk yourself into the OR. Especially because of my job, I am so used to the OR but on the opposite side of things. I got up on the table where they started the spinal and an extra IV in my hand. The resident stood in front of me holding my shoulders down. I am always SO nervous during this part but my lovely anesthesiologist gives me some anxiety medicine to relax beforehand and it helps so much. (This isn't routine. I was given it once before so I made sure to ask for it!) As epidurals don't work for me, I have learned to help them doing the spinal by telling them which side I feel pressure on and it helps them get it in the correct spot quicker, so I did that this time and soon felt the numbing take effect. They laid me down and got me to work prepping me. I wasn't getting numb quite as fast as I have in the past, so she made sure to do the ice test over and over. (My first baby, I wasn't completely numb before they started and it was a bit traumatic!)

My doctor and everyone appeared. I had my husband right next to me and my mom just to the side of him. And I had this wonderful angel of an anesthesiologist next to me. They started and I talked to my doctor through it. He told me because he was going through scar tissue he was going to have to be a little more rough, so expect a harder recovery. I always ask about adhesions (build up of scar tissue) because my family is prone to them and my doctor joked how nosey I am, that I can't just lay there like everyone else lol. He commented Uterus looks good (always a concern after so many surgeries!) and I asked if I had a window (dangerous uterine thinning over previous incision sites) and he said no at first and then said no, there is a small window. He told me he wasn't even going to have to cut open my uterus because it was so thin in that spot he could just use his fingers to open me up, which would be less bleeding which is always a good thing. And then...

"Fluid is clear" "Dad, tell us what it is" "It's a boy! It's a boy!" I had tears at this point. "Is he ok? How does he look?" "He looks good, he's huge." "Really?" "Yeah, he's huge. But he's fine" I hear him cry. I cry. My doctor mentions that he has a short foreskin. It's some weird genetic thing, I seem to produce boys with no or short foreskin. So no circumcision or very little of one is ever needed. Weird, right? He also notes that he has a thick umbilical cord, and that I still had lots of amniotic fluid left. Totally normal, just noting his findings.

At this point they are starting to try and dislodge the placenta. I start feeling sick from the weird bouncing. I have the baby against my cheek, and my anesthesiologist in my other ear asking me if I want drugs. I nod yes because I feel too sick to talk. She has my hand and is whispering in my ear that the drugs are in and she's got me. Thanks God. I hear things and am not asleep but I'm not there for the next minutes as they finish and close me up. I start to come out of my fog as they are getting ready to get me off the table. My doctor tells me my hematologist will be happy as I didn't lose much blood at all. Just like she promised, I was clear-headed by the time I got to recovery. I immediately got my baby and nursed him and had a lot of skin to skin time with him less than an hour after he was born. I was getting a push of pain meds every few minutes so I was a little loopy but we face timed with my sister at work. Turns out my gown was not covering me so her whole office got to see my boobs and baby but oh well! We tried to talk names but my mom was there and she loves to give her input so we just didn't worry about it right them.

When I was coming down to my last few doses of pain meds, before they hooked me up to my continuous pain med drip, my pain wasn't under control. Because I didn't have the one drug in my spinal, every time they would press on my uterus the pain would increase (and my blood pressure) and we would be starting over trying to get it under control. All of the narcotics made me sick, like always, so then I was sweating and dry heaving. It was around now that they took the baby to the nursery to do all his stuff, and they got me stable enough to move to my room. As they were wheeling me down the hall, an employee who looked familiar said Hi to me with a bright smile but I was way too high to figure out who she was. We did all the check in stuff and I got my baby back. My husband left to go home to our other kids so my mom was there for a little while.

Baby boy was pretty lazy nursing. He would latch and start off great but doze off quickly. I worked super hard in the hospital to keep him awake and feeding him as often as possible to get my milk in and keep him from being jaundice, and get his weight back up. We did skin to skin the entire stay it seems. I never had any nurses fuss at me for keeping him on my chest in bed, even though I know that's not "allowed". They also told me I didn't have to have anyone stay with me in the hospital the first night if I didn't want to, which was different from previous times. (This is supposed to be post-C-section protocol for the first night if you want the baby in the room with you.) I still had my best friend come, she has had 3 c-sections herself and isn't squeamish and can deal with a hospital. Plus I knew she'd be good for not getting much sleep, as her kids are older. My mom wanted to spend the night with me, but as she was watching Toddler boy I wanted her to get real sleep.

Other than having my friend stay that first night, my mil the first day, and my mom, I didn't have any other visitors. I am not one who really likes having a big party of people in and out all day every day. With my first kid I had people who wouldn't leave after I said I was tired and expected me to sleep with them all there, and it bothered me. My husband actually only brought all of the kids the first 2 nights only because it became really difficult trying to deal with that many kids in a hospital environment. The room is pretty small to begin with, and even the older ones create quite a circus. And my Toddler boy was so off from missing me and not having me there the short confined visits made things worse. I did end up turning down a lot of people who requested to come visit, like I always do. So I am sure some people got their feeing hurt. But oh well!

So I had a pretty great hospital stay, really just staying doped up on pain meds, eating 3 hot meals a day, and keeping my sweet new baby on my chest as much as possible. The only weird thing that happened was that I slept weird the second day and had a tight muscle in my neck. Lots of heating packs and Tylenol later it finally loosened up. This time was seriously the best experience ever because it went so incredibly smoothly. I never had to ask for pain meds, we stuck with the drug and dosage that worked the best, and every single nurse I had was amazing. I can't believe this was already 3 months ago!!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

I almost forgot

Something hasn't felt right all week. I haven't felt right all week. Sure, the kids have all been home for a week straight now due to the 3.5 feet of snow we got last weekend, and I hit the 12 weeks post-pardum so my hormones are all over the map, and I am set to go back to work in a couple of days. I have been struggling all week trying to keep my emotions in check with varied success.

This time of year is always hard for me. The post-holiday let down combined with cold dark days always does a number on my moods. I have found it particularly challenging this year with a toddler and a new baby plus the older 3. I definitely am barely holding my life together most days.

A couple weeks ago my middle daughter came home very excited with a paper for the talent show tryouts at school and the fun skit her and her friends had written for it. I sat staring at the paper that night and was transported back 5 years. The day of the talent show my oldest was to be in. I had to put my beloved baby dog to sleep that day, very suddenly. I don't think I have ever cried so hard in all my life. My husband had to meet me at the vet because I just couldn't deal with it alone. That sweet little dog was a shelter rescue and the most perfect creature alive. She slept curled under my chest every night and her soft white fur held rivers of my tears over the years. We had to pick up my daughter from school, bury my dog in my mom's backyard where my father had a crucifix on the ground marking where other pets had been buried. All I wanted was to curl up in a ball in bed, but we headed out to the talent show. The next day I found out I was pregnant. I thought it was a sign or something...you know a new life replacing one that was lost, even though she wasn't human I loved her as if she were. A few weeks later that pregnancy ended in miscarriage. My second one that year. Every year when the talent show comes around, I remember all over again. I wish I could forget.

Tonight I was out and happened to be checking email. In my spam folder was an email for a local bounce house place offering a discount, sent a day ago. Was it still valid? I noticed the date. My heart started racing. January 28. January 28. My mind raced and my stomach dropped. 8 years ago today my dad died. I almost forgot. How did I not notice the date all day I wondered.

When I got home I checked the calendar. There covering 3 squares was a pink post-it note. It read "January 27 Talent show practice after school from 3-4". My middle daughter being who she is knows I don't like anyone writing on my calendar but me. (My oldest is famous for writing big and taking up the entire block of space). I pulled the post it note off and there the date was on a completely blank square: 28. I backed up and leaned against the counter and stared at the date in that blank square and the tears started to fall. As much as I want to forget I force myself to remember just so I won't forget details of that day. If I forget the details I am forgetting him, and that scares me. He was the single most important person in my life to me. No one else has ever come close really. To me, he was perfect. When I lost him, I lost myself for a while. No wonder I felt the way I have felt all week.

I almost forgot. But my heart remembered. It always does, and I always want it to. Even though it hurts.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Scattered

There are so many posts in my head that I can't ever seem to find time to type out. Life is moving at record speed and I am struggling to keep up. When I finally have some time to sit down and write, I am stuck. Everything in my head seems either trivial or I can't remember what I wanted to say. So in leu of anything super introspective or meaningful, I am going to do a recap of life lately. I haven't done one of these in a while anyway.

The holiday season was wonderful, if not a little crazy and weird. I guess that's what happens when you add a newborn to the fold. I managed to get what I wanted accomplished as far as wrapping and baking. But it all get so rushed. I would love to find a way to be truly able to sit and enjoy all the little moments during my favorite time of year.

Breastfeeding really makes everything take a backseat and truly makes you slow down and literally just sit. It is truly a lesson in what's important, that's for sure, and a lesson in patience for everyone else in the house.

10,000 steps is a way harder goal to get to than I ever thought. All the sitting for feedings and playing with my toddler really makes my step-taking take a hit. I end up pacing around my houe or back deck frantically after the little ones are in bed trying to get my steps in...sometimes as many as 5 thousand! I suspect that this will be a much easier goal to reach when we aren't so confined by the cold weather in a couple months. At least I learned about how long it will take me to make up the steps, and that it's doable in a reasonable amount of time so I don't just give up for the day.

All the walking made me realize I desperately needed new tennis shoes. So I ordered my favorite brand in the usual size and I am having trouble getting them to fit and feel right. When my order comes today I will officially have the same shoe in 4 different sizes to test and see what works best. I don't really think my foot changed much because I have several shoes in my normal size by this company that still fit completely fine they are just worn out. So I don't know. But I can't have my feet uncomfortable or hurting, especially for work.

My husband and I pretty quickly worked out our issue regarding that great divide I wrote about a few weeks ago. He settled down and we got on the same page and came to a mutual understanding that We can both live with. How it actually plays out in the extended family dynamic remains to be seen, but as long as he is on my side of things, which he is, I can't really worry about the rest of it. They are our kids and our responsibility and that's teally the bottom line.

I am still on maternity leave. My doctor wouldn't clear me for work until the end 12 weeks, which is what he was saying all along, due to the nature and requirements of my job. Over the holidays it was touch and go about whether I would be paid the additional time off as it falls under disability. The actual company that handles the claims actually denied the request despite notes in my chart saying I needed the 4 additional weeks, but my employer choose to override the decision without me having to argue them or file an appeal. It's still only partial pay but at least it covers all my benefit deductions so I don't have to worry about repaying that once I return to work. I could do an entire post on the ridiculousness of the entire situation of having a baby surgically removed from ones body and having to jump through a million hoops to prove you are still recovering from the procedure.

I am at a point where I am mentally ready to go back to work, I think. I don't want to leave my baby, and I am not looking forward to all the pumping and scheduling my work day around pumping, but it's time for everyone to get back to their regular schedules. I have always worked weekends, for 16 years now. The schedule my husband and I have figured out works for our family with still leaving plenty of family time. It was novel having the entire holiday season with every weekend open, even though we didn't fit in as much extra stuff as I thought we would due to sickness and babies and everything in between. I had grand ideas of what my leave would be like, and of course it was and it wasn't. I did finally finish all the things that were on my to-do list I wanted to complete BEFORE the baby came, so that's something. But the truth is my husband and I don't work well together. We actually clash over how we approach projects, and life, really. Too much togetherness isn't great for us. And that is starting to become where we are now. So yeah. Work.

The two Ts in my house are causing all the trouble. The Toddler is a horrific sleeper (he pretty much has never been a great sleeper EVER yet, despite every damn tip and trick I have ever heard of that we have tried) so it's pretty much a crap shoot how the night is going to go. My husband has been taking the night shift with him, since I have the baby to handle. Plus the Toddler will soon be 2, so he's at THAT AGE. The Teenager is just another thing all on her own. Her own time management is causing most of the issues, along with her attitude. She has always been the kid that turns the house upside down, so that's nothing new. But now there are far too many people in the house for her antics to fly without someone losing out. So I pray, a lot more than I ever used to.

Perspective is everything. I have this coworker/"friend" (In quotes because if we were not coworkers in an environment where we needed to get along, I don't think we would be friends.) who gives off this snobby, entitled vibe, but tries so hard to hide it and act like she is not that way. One of those self-absorbed people who always has drama, but tries to disguise it by always saying "I don't really want to tak about it, but..." And almost never asks how you are doing but constantly goes on about themselves. We only text now because we ended up being cycle buddies last year when we were both doing treatments. I think she ended up being 3 days ahead of me, and we both got pregnant. But every time you talked to her it was all worst case scenario she had every single possible remote issue in the book, the entire time. To the point it got ridiculous, and almost self-fulfilling Profecy. Everything from transfer to betas to every week of pregnancy, to delivery, and now the newborn stage. EVERYTHING is harder for her "because I had to do IVF" "Us IVF patients" and "IVF babies". It is SO MUCH DRAMA. Her DAD went with her for her baby's first vaccines because it's JUST SO TERRIBLE. When, in reality, this girl has not had to go through even a bit of what other people go through, and the majority of her drama is so made up on her head. It's really sad. And exhausting. At least when I go back to work I know I will be too busy pumping to have much time for it. Saving me now is the fact that I don't have to really respond to all the crazy drama-filled texts.

Ok. Weird way to end here but laundry needs to be switched and baby is ready to eat.

How has everyone else been? Say hi in the comments and let me know what's new with you.

Monday, January 4, 2016

MicroBlog Monday-30 Days of Change

I have recently embarked on a new challenge. NOT because it is New Years and I have made some sort of resolution, honestly that's just a coincidence. It's because I am 37, have recently had my 5th baby via my 5th C-section, the baby weight isn't coming off, and I feel generally like crap about my flabby, flubby, completely out of shape body. I feel like my body is wrecked. I don't make any time for myself because I have no time, or the bank account, to join a gym or take a class. The last pedicure I got I had a baby on my boob the entire time.

I have never been skinny. I'm Sicilian. I have a major booty, hips, thighs and boobs. Since puberty. And I am short. I have done All The Things before: Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, belonged to a gym, taken Yoga, owned every type of fitness tape out there, low carb diet, ect, ect, ect. Nothing sticks. I hate dieting. I hate working out. Any weight I did manage to ever lose came right back plus some when I went off it/stopped doing it. I love chocolate. I hate running. I never get enough sleep and I make bad choices because I am rushing around or so tired that I stop caring that I am eating leftover Chinese food at 10pm.

So I came across This Book at just the right time when the holidays (Cookies! Pies! Chocolate! Chips! Rolls!) derailed my good eating and I was feeling particularly down. I need something that helps me learn to actually fix all the bad behaviors I have picked up over the years, not do some fad diet or workout that's temporary. Make one Change a day? Build on the one change and make a new change every day for 30 days? That sounded like something I could do. It's manageable. It's based on the idea that Rome wasn't built in a day. I am familiar with the author. She seems...real. She seems sincere. The advice, the changes...it's all broken down very simply. It's not confusing to figure out what to do. It's almost like a plan for dummies, which is me. you don't have to read forever just trying to figure out exactly what you are supposed to do for the day. The first lines of every chapter are exactly what the challenge entails so you know right away what you're supposed to be doing. Then there's a little more helpful information and real-life stories after that. I only try to read a couple chapters ahead so I know what's in store so that I can prepare myself.

I want to lose weight, sure. But more than that, I want to make actual changes that will carry me throughout life. Nothing brought this home more than my teen daughter who recently lost weight. At dinner one night she was saying how she was just going to continue her exercising and eating right until she lost all the weight she wanted then she could stop. I had to explain to her that when she stopped and went back to her old ways she would gain all the weight back. She hadn't even thought about that. I know it all too well and I don't want to go back to this crappy way of taking care of myself.

The first change is to drink water. That's easy enough. The second change is to keep a food log and exchange it with friends to keep yourself honest and to see the changes you might make when someone else is reading Exactly what you are eating. If anyone reading this is interested in joining me in this adventure please comment with your email or send me an email too muchadoaboutnothingblogger@gmail.com and we can exchange food logs. I actually think having relative strangers reading my food log would be helpful because strangers shouldn't feel worried about calling me out if I've eaten half of a large pizza by myself. So if you are out there trying to get healthier and lose weight and you think this might be helpful for you please email me!! There is power, and safety, in numbers.

Since the changes build on each other and until I get to a place where the changes are second nature I am keeping a dry erase board with the challenges listed down. I've only written down the challenges through the day that I'm actually on So I don't get confused. That way throughout the day as I'm doing the changes I can put a checkmark by each thing to make sure I've done it. I have also been including my teen since she has recently gotten so into fitness and started taking walks with her to get my steps in (10,000 steps is change three) am recruited her to help me with the upcoming exercises to make sure I know how to do them (change 4). Hopefully having her motivation will help me!