About Me

Decent wife. Good Enough Mom. (I think, but you’d have to ask my kids.) Sporadic blogger. Crazy person. Chaos Manager. Finder of stray socks and missing shoes. Loves to cook, wishes it wasn’t demanded of her daily. Runs on caffeine.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The in-between

Today I took my kids to the dentist, and before we left I was scheduling our 6-month check-us. The first date they had was my birthday. I didn’t say it, but one of my kids said “Hey, that’s your birthday, Mom.” Silently I thought “wow, that means I am 6 months away from turning 40, I’m halfway there.” Not that there is anything wrong with 40 or that I am scared of it. It’s just that I had it in my head that if we were to have another baby, I would want to have it by the time I turned 40. Which is sort of Ironic, because it used to be me saying I wanted to be done having kids by the time I was 30, but then I went through 8 years of infertility and loss, and didn’t have my next child until I was 35. But now, approaching 40 that door seems like it is closing pretty fast, if it’s not closed already. I am looking for the open window, but right now it’s freezing out and all the windows are shut.


Sitting in Church on Christmas, I was looking around at our church community (of which we still belong, but don’t belong to the school anymore) and it felt so wonderful to be around a community of faves that I recognized, a pastor whose voice was familiar, and the beautifully decorated church (the church near our home looks plain in comparison). As I watched the children’s choir, I felt a bit of nostalgia and sadness...my older kids used to participate in the music and pageantry when they were young, but my younger children will miss out because while we belong, we also are outsiders now not belonging to the school. The school is different now...the nursery and pre-k teachers are no longer there, so it’s not the same, and the school was wrong for us now in many ways. But it made me sad. Perhaps we will find that kind of fitting in closer to home for the younger ones. For now, we are somewhere in the middle of belonging and not.


On Christmas Eve’s eve, my teen and I were sitting at the kitchen table, making trays of cookies to go in the oven. She was telling me all about meeting with the Navy recruiter and all about the steps she needs to take to be ready to enlist in 9 months. This is not news to me; I have long known that this is her plan, and I am behind her for so many reasons. But sitting at that table with her, I suddenly became very aware of what it’s going to feel like to say goodbye to part of my heart and have it missing from our home, and I had to fight away the tears. Once she enlists, she will do her first semester of her senior year of high school at school, and then she goes off to finish with the Navy. I have to not think to hard on this because otherwise I am going to spend the next 9 months crying. And I don’t want to cry about this and upset her and have her change her plans because of me. I will get over it. But right now, in this in-between...it’s so hard.


Over our break I had a task I wanted us to tackle. When we moved in, no one wanted the extra bedroom in the basement because no one wanted to be down there alone, much to our surprise. So it became a storage room of sorts, with extra boxes of mostly clothes. When we moved in, I was pregnant, so I also had some bins of clothing in my closet as well. We also didn’t realize how much attic space we had (because it’s not a pull-down, just a removable door with no stair access) but we recently figured out we have lots of space. So we work d together today after the dentist moving boxes from the basement up two floors to the attic. At some point I stopped to take care of the toddlers, so the kids kept going. I am a saver...I don’t get rid of anything I think we could use again, so I have nearly ALL of the Baby clothes and things we have ever used. Even though my last 3 kids were all boys, I still have every piece of girl clothing. I should just get rid of it, but I felt like as long as I have it, there is hope. (Not for a girl, just for a baby). And if I do get rid of it, I would like it to be to someone I know, who would love it and use it and Cheri’s it the way we did. (Grandkids at this point???) I have been dragging my feet about moving it all to the attic, like out of sight, out of mind or something. And the thought of boxing all the bottles and blankets and small baby stuff just really hurts my heart. But today a good chunk of stuff got put away up in the attic. It started sort of by accident with the older kids just grabbing everything they could after I had to stop directing, but then I went into my closet and pulled out the containers of maternity clothes and extra diapers and Baby blankets and nursing pillows and all the breast milk storage containers and sent it all up to the attic. Not all of it went, though. The breast pumps stayed in my closet to protect them, and there’s still some containers I didn’t try to hard to reach. And I know there are still some nursing clothes and probably some maternity pieces left in my dresser. What’s that saying? The only way over is through??? I’m not ready to move on, and it still hurts, and Inhave no idea where I am going, or what’s next. But here I am, putting one foot in front of the other even though half of what I am walking in is dark.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


—Disclaimer about my last post. So I apparently now suffer from PMD. I get really super down and sad right before my period starts and by day 2 it goes away. My last post was written during said time. Life isn’t as bleak as that, not at all.

The holidays are upon us, and I am trying to enjoy it, because it goes by so fast and hectic if you let it. So here are some recent moments in time that really made my heart happy.

Home life can be so chaotic much of the time. Lots of people and personalities and noise. So I really try and notice when things quiet down.

-I picked up my son from a week away at Outdoor School. Baby boy ran up to him and jumped in his brother’s arms, wrapping his tiny, chubby toddler arms around his neck, grinning ear to ear. It was the sweetest thing, definitely a hero’s welcome home.

-When I rock Baby boy to bed, he likes to “show off” and do a bunch of cute tricks, either repeating a new word he’s learned over and over, or giving me suction-cup type kisses all over my face.

-the look my husband gets when someone says something funny. It’s priceless, and I always look to him for his reaction during a show or when the kids are being weird. Or when I am being weird.

-When my teen gets down on the floor and plays with her littlest siblings. Sometimes they are so annoying to her but it’s awesome to see her playing with them.

-Hearing teenager laugh hysterically to the Chipmuncks movie by herself long after Toddler boy grew bored and left the room.

-The wonderful comfort of being able to lay on the couch with my sister in silence, and having the silence say everything.

-Standing in our front yard in the cold dark together as a family looking at the awesome display of lights my husband set up, knowing we were the first in the neighborhood to have our lights up a full week before Thanksgiving.

-Going to work and being able to be in a place I feel completely comfortable and that O belong. Knowing I am going to talk and laugh my day away, while saving lives.

-Putting a warm blanket on a sick patient. It is nice to be able to provide that kind of comfort, to watch the patient sink into the warmth.

-Having my not-even-close-to-being-a-lap-dog dog jump up on the couch to snuggle, even though she hogs the blanket.

-All the delicious comfort food the Holidays bring.

-For the first time since he died...the memories of my father are becoming more beautiful than sad. Still bittersweet, but I can feel that shift happening. Finally.

-Watching my kids put over 300 ornaments on my giantic Christmas tree on like 20 minutes. Enjoying watching them work together. Especially finding my 3.5 year old being super meticulous and taking his time, working long after everyone else had left.

-Working in the kitchen with my middle daughter. She is a great help in the kitchen fixing meals, doesn’t need a lot of direction, and tells me funny stories about the adventures in 7th grade.

-Sitting by the fire watching a show with my husband after everyone has gone to bed. Even if it’s just for a a little while, it’s so relaxing and cozy.

-coming home late from work exhausted to find my Baby boy who has decided to wait up for me. Who runs around the house like a maniac showing off his new words and skills he learned that day, alternating between jumping in my arms to snuggle to squirming down to run around like mad.

These are the moments of my life that make me feel so happy and lucky. And that tell me everything is going to be ok.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Deep Breath

That is what I keep reminding myself, although it doesn't seem to be working.

I am two hours away from a meeting with my son's teachers. It seems he is not doing well at his new school, at least academically. What I thought was just a meeting with one teacher had turned in to three teachers requesting to meet with us. I am terrified about what I am going to be told. I am also not in an emotionally great place right now, so I fear in my ability to hold myself together.

My baby turned 2 yesterday. It has been a very emotionally draining week for me to have this milestone happen. My head and my heart have finally come to the realization that baby boy is the last baby I will ever hold in my arms that I also held in my belly. And my heart, while rejoicing in all that I have and celebrating his beautiful little life, is also hurting from the loss and ending of never having this again. Of all the last firsts that have happened right before my eyes. Of all the last firsts I didn't even realize at the time that they were truly lasts. That maybe I would have taken better notes if I had realized it. If I would have taken more time.

So many mixed emotions with this realization of this ending. Gratitude that I even got to have them. Anger for the things that loss and infertility took away from me. All the time I lost in those years my body couldn't get it right. All the stress and anxiety and fear and sadness I experienced during pregnancy, waiting to see if my body could hold on. Feeling like I don't know who I am.

I have had to make parenting decisions this week that have broke my mom heart. This parenting gig ain't easy, that's for sure. That first year, well that's just cake
compared to the rest of it.

All of this stress has led to a lot of marital tension and issues. My husband and I aren't seeing eye to eye on some of it, and it is causing me to feel very isolated and alone, and also resentful. But of course I have absolutely no time where I can just sit and work through how I am feeling, so I have cried myself to sleep the past three nights. Today, I look like I have cried myself to sleep the past three nights that no amount of makeup is going to cover up. Between the bags and dark circles, red, swollen puffy eyes, hormonal stress breakouts, and stress-induced fever blister, I look about how I feel inside. I have been crying most of this morning, just feeling like an utter failure.

This week has been hard. Here's hoping things turn around soon.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Where I am

So it's been awhile since I have visited this space. We got through summer and back to school time is off to a good start. Life is completely ordinary, which is ok by me. I felt a little like I was fumbling through the summer...it's no easy feat to get everyone to cooperate and be on the same page to get out the door, especially considering the spread of ages. So I set the bar super low and don't try to be over-zealous in what I think i can accomplish in any one day, and it seems to work much better.

On my mind though, has been my inability to move forward from baby dreams. It's been on my heart so much, and I have been praying hard about it. Praying hard for God to take my desire for another child away. This past month was rough...I haven't felt like myself. I was definitely one rollercoaster of emotions. And then my period came a full week early and I bled heavier than I ever have, and it lasted for nearly 10 days, even overnight. Which is crazy because I don't know how I even had a lining left to bleed, considering my period before that was regular and not light or anything. A couple days it looked like a murder scene in the shower and I know I went through an entire box of super plus tampons. So I called my doctor, because what the hell this was too much blood.

He thinks it's just my hormones are haywire (possibly from extended nursing. My milk JUST dried up this past month despite only comfort nursing here and there for the last several months) but he also did mention scary things like D&C and Andenomyosis from multiple C-sections. Side note: google is not your friend. I went down a rabbit hole of scary shit. So now I am on Progesterone in hopes that it helps regulate things and keeps the bleeding at bay. I have had issues with low pro for several years and was the reason for my miscarriages, so it's not super surprising. Of course google has me paranoid, and given my age I also started panicking that maybe I am perimenopausal. My doctor said an easy solution would be bcps, but that he knows I am not ready to hang up the possibility of another child, which made me think. I would like to come to the conclusion that I am done having children on my own terms and not forced into it by age or otherwise. I know I am on the end of the age spectrum most likely, but I am just not ready to give it up. I don't really know what that means just yet. I am still processing and still trying to figure out exactly what happened this last cycle.

Worried that my cysts have returned amount all the other scary things google told me, I had my Ultrasound girl at work scan me over the weekend. The good news is no cysts or fibroids. My uterus is a normal size, and the endometrium didn't show signs of adenomyosis, and the lining was around 8mm (how I don't have a clue after all the bleeding and clotting I just finished with). She also picked out several follicles on the left side with a definite lead follie, although it definitely wasn't big enough just yet. So I still have eggs. And no pcos. So looking like it's definitely a hormonal issue. I need to get my hemaglobin rechecked for anemia, so I am going to ask for my thyroid to be rechecked as well. I have definitely been feeling a bit more stable since starting the Progesterone so hopefully I can get everything regulated and feeling more like myself. I don't know where we will go from here in the ttc department. I know that my husband was super worried and upset with the bleeding and the thinking our decision was made for us. But I can't see jumping back into treatments either. I will just pray on it and hope the answer reveals itself.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Random Thoughts for Friday

I have so much floating around in my head, so I thought it would be a good time to do a bullet post of randomness to start the weekend.

-On Friendship: Show up. Like seriously, if we make plans a week in advance, and it was YOUR idea, and YOU picked the date, freaking follow through. Don't make me have to chase you down to confirm and then have a b.s. Excuse as to why you can't make it after all. It makes me see how full of shit you are and that you really don't value our friendship. We are all busy...we are all on a budget...we all don't have enough hours in a day for everything.

-Also on old friendships...it kind of sucks when you realize how little you have in common anymore, how life choices and paths diverge so much that you become unrelateable. How much money and privilege play a big role in all of this. And geography.

-On projects: We currently have about 5 different projects that need to be done to our house/yard/property. 3 are bigger, more expensive things, and the other 2 are cheaper but still labor-intensive. Trying to finagle money and time and prioritize these projects is daunting and stressful. Luckily none of them are emergent, yet. But having these things hanging over my head is really bothersome.

-We celebrated our 17 year anniversary last week, and that itself feels like a major Win, since everywhere I turn there are stories of families breaking up. It has been no easy feat to get here, but it is definitely something I am very proud of.

-The current healthcare situation in the political arena has me beyond nervous, to the point I just feel like I need to stop watching the news again. Being in healthcare, I see firsthand all of the problems in our broken system, and some of the changes that are being bandied about don't make any sense for anyone. Granted, the ACA is far from perfect, but at least right now things are relatively stable. On a personal front, I get over $500 taken out of every paycheck, but at least I have some of the best Insurance coverage out there right now. I just don't understand why politicians can't just work together and make decisions that make sense for everyone. I don't give a crap which party you are with, I am with you if your proposals make valid sense, and right now I am not seeing that anywhere. I wish they would get a large panel of healthcare workers together to help guide them. Those of us that work in it can tell them exactly what they need to do to fix this mess.

-I just helped my teen navigate her first major work issue with her immediate manager. Unfortunately, her manager felt it appropriate to leave a highly unprofessional note to her staff in an attempt to bully everyone and not have to do her job, and left on vacation. Mind you, everyone that works under her are highschool kids and she is in her late 20s. I was furious and helped my teen (and by extension all the other teens who work there) go to a higher-up and helped highlight all the ways in which this wasn't ok. Luckily, my teen is part of a union, so there are a lot of strict policies in place to protect her rights and also guidelines for things like this. Also, the lady that hired my teen loves her and knows how hardworking she and the other kids are and so really has her back. But MAN, did I have to go all Mama-Bear. Like hell you are going to bully a bunch of highschool kids because you are bitter that a grocery store coffee shop is your end-game. (I am not implying that there is anything wrong with that job as your career if that's what you do, just that by the note and the way this girl acts you can tell she is stuck and bitter and mean about her situation.)

-My crazy niece is briefly in town with her long-time off and on boyfriend. He is in the military and a few years older than she is. She's 24 but just in the last year gotten her shit together and decided to go to school and do something with her life, and has realized that you can only party nonstop for so long and your parents are only gonna help you out of trouble so many times. This guy has cheated on her before and has also been married, so I really hope she knows what she is doing here. Her parents just met him last weekend, and this will be the first time we will all meet him. She's head over heels for this guy so I hope he continues to show up for her and doesn't break her heart.

-Speaking of siblings, my brother and his family are coming into town next week. We are so different and raise our kids very differently, and we always clash. Our kids aren't close because we don't see them much, and also because his kids act very snobby and my older kids have told me they don't really like to hang out with them because of that. I also hate the way they blow into town (or when my mom goes to visit) and they treat her like hired help. No joke my SIL will give my mom lists of stuff to do why she goes to nap. The week after next SIL will be away and my brother and all 5 of his kids will be staying with my mom. He might be working while he is up here, and I have a feeling he expects my mom will babysit. But she is a month post-op from a total hip replacement so she still can't handle small kids like that. My girls will be in a service camp all week otherwise I would send them over to help. My brother and his wife are very last minute, like all of a sudden they will have plans or ideas, they tend to spring stuff on people so they might get there and suddenly just peace out and leave my mom hanging with 5 kids. If I get involved there will be a fight (there ALWAYS is when I speak up) so I am going to make myself scarce that week. Sad, right? This is when my dad's absence is felt, because he would have none of this ish.

-Life is good. Despite my melancholic birthday post, life really is good. And usually I am too damn busy or tired to focus on how damn restless I can feel. I don't know what I thought my life would be like when I was pushing 40, but it's so crazy that this is it.

-I did get to have dinner with one of my closets friends from work this week. I've known her for 10 years now, and she has seen me at some of my very worst and although she is currently single and never got to have kids due to endo and fibroids that forced a hysterectomy, she is probably one of the most understanding and supportive people in my life. We had a couple drinks and lots of good conversation and food and it was just so nice. She's a cancer, too, so we just get each other. Actually, my work people are some of the closest people to me at this stage in my life, and I am more than ok with that. It makes the hard days less hard, and going to work a nice reprieve from the rest of the world.

-We finally painted my kitchen, after being here for 2 years! It was a canary yellow, but the appliances are black and it reminded me of a bumble bee and was really a harsh contrast. I got this darker gray color called Pewter (Behr) that had primer in it and my husband did it for me over my birthday weekend. It looks awesome. There wasn't a ton of wall space so it didn't take long. I would actually like this color for the master bedroom but there is SO much to paint in there we would need a whole weekend so that will probably be a good winter project.

Ok, that's all I got for now. Happy weekend!!

Monday, July 3, 2017

MicroBlog Mondays: 39

Today is my 39th birthday. The last year in this decade. I have been really having a difficult time in the last month or so, not because of this looming birthday, because I don't really care so much about age and numbers, but because...I don't know exactly. I can't quite put my finger on it.

It could be because for the last 17 years I have been living almost constantly in a loop of trying for a baby, or pregnant, or nursing, and now I have nursed my last baby and have stopped trying. I mean, yeah. Of course, it makes sense...I can't get pregnant on my own and going through treatments at age 39 when I have 5 living children just seems ridiculous. But then...who am I if I'm not trying for a baby or taking care of one???

I have this constant, anxious feeling. It may be time for some new ink or to drastically change my hair. Maybe I can find a way to channel all my energy into actually losing weight. I don't know. But I know that I feel weird and jumpy in my own skin. It is like all at once I feel like I have everything I need, but something is also missing. Or off. Maybe restless, even.

The past couple years have been really hard. I have put myself last for so long, sometimes not even making it on the list. Maybe it's time that changes. I have started by setting up some dinners out with friends. To reconnect. To breathe. To remind myself of who the hell I am apart from everything else.

So this is 39. If feels like such a strange place to be.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

And then there were two

My oldest (but not old) dog passed away over the weekend. It was sudden, and it happened fast. Within 2 hours of her getting sick, and in under 45 minutes of arriving at the emergency animal hospital, she died. We cried ourselves to sleep on the couch together that night. I am in shock, and beyond heartbroken, and just so, so, so sad. My big beautiful gentle giant baby is gone.

She is the second dog in my adult life I have lost. I miscarried and lost my first dog at the same time, so pet loss is especially traumatic for me, as I relive some of the worst times of my life. That is where I have been living the past couple of days.

Rest In Peace, my sweet, beautiful Karma. I love you.

Friday, May 12, 2017


I suppose I should try and cobble together some sort of updates-post type thing to break the silence. That is sort of how my life has felt lately-cobbled together. Smooshing small pieces of one and things together in a haphazard sort of way, all patchwork-like.

Life is good, really good. But also really hard. But as I told my teen yesterday, it is how you handle the hard that matters, and lean on those you love and God. And that is how I have been tying to live. I am not always successful. I could stand to have more calm and perspective in every moment, but I pray hard, and I try!

My teen recently got her first job! I helped her apply, coached her on following up and interviewing, and taking her to set up her own official checking account at the local credit union. I am walking through this with her in hopes that she learns financial responsibility and that just because you have a "magic" plastic card doesn't mean you go swipe-happy. I know I didn't really learn any of these skills at home or in school, and had to learn many things the hard way.

My job is going well. Well, the same as always. It's stable work that I love. Being in health care, there are so many issues that are national problems that all of us in the field can see but that haven't yet been really addressed or fixed by anyone in power to do so yet. All of the bad decisions over the years have led to a trickle down to the bottom, where we are essentially expected to give top notch, high rates care while being understaffed, under-supplied, and most certainly underpaid. Do more, give more, with much, much less. It is not just my hospital, it's everywhere in the US. It is really such a shame, and it is scary. Other countries have proven healthcare systems, I am not sure why the US can't get it right.

I think I mentioned here before that we are switching my 2 middle-schoolers to a different school in the fall. If I ever wondered if I was making the right decision, the school has given me numerous reasons over the past few months to know that I am right to leave. Much of it is political, in which the way they are running things and the decisions they are making. We have been at the school for 11 years now, and it is not the same school we started at. There were always things that could be improved upon, and a couple very poor teachers who just did the bare minimum, but the overall feel of the school is gone. Lots of things this year really fell through the cracks. And parents who were supposed to be in charge of things (think room moms and teacher aides) really dropped the ball and don't do the job they volunteered for, which means kids lost out. I can say that as someone who was highly involved every year in many aspects of the school and committees, from fundraising to room mom, to numerous events. I stepped away this year from doing that because I knew with 2 toddlers I couldn't commit to the time I did last year. I had 2 other moms who signed up to help so it shouldn't have been bad, but they literally didn't help do anything the entire year. The one mom signed up again this year and still has literally done nothing. I don't understand that. Why sign up if you are not going to be bothered?!? For a school we are paying money to attend, there are just too many things that are making me unhappy.

My 12 year old is excited to start the new school. She herself is tired of much of the nonsense going on at this school. For example, there was some issue of vandalism in the middle school bathroom. So the teachers locked the bathroom and said no one could use it until someone confessed. All the girls kept their feminine hygiene products in the bathroom, and were not allowed access because the teachers were too angry to listen. Of course my daughter had her period and needed to get her stuff that day. Dont worry-I took major issue with this. She is excited for all the new opportunities at the new school, and is anxious to be somewhere where the students aren't treated like little children. She has also decided she wants to be an actress and has been practicing her skills making YouTube videos. She would make a great lawyer, though because she likes to argue her case non-stop, and often has some very valid and well thought out points. The latest is that she wants to color her hair, and will be allowed to atbthe new school in the fall, but so far I am not convinced. I feel like that Ian something that can wait until high school.

My 11 year old son just got to go to his first NASCAR race a couple weekends ago. He has become a huge fan and got the tickets for Christmas. He had a ton of fun and has deemed the entire experience "being making my people". He got to stay at the campground overnight with my sister and brother in law, and really lived the atmosphere. His driver didn't win, but he still had an amazing time and we are trying to work out doing this again, though probably not this season. It is expensive and there are no local races so travel is involved. Plus, my sister is the one with a camper, and she lives out of state to begin with.

My smallest babes are good. Toddler Boy has such an explosive and volatile personality that it keeps me on my toes. Baby boy is a climber and in to everything. The dog food dishes and the dishwasher and his favorite things that I have no way to block or lock. We have decided that I will do a home-school nursery school for a bunch of reasons, so I am going to try to implement more structured time, somehow. I'm not good at one management at all. So we will see how that goes. We spend our days reading, playing with lots of different Legos and blocks, climbing and sliding, wrestling with the dogs, and exploring the outdoors and digging in the dirt. I try to do coloring/drawing/painting but Toddler boy will only do that for about 5 minutes before he has had enough, and Baby Boy just like eating and throwing crayons. I spend longer setting up and cleaning up than on the actual project. Toddler boy is a champ at all his puzzles, knows his letters, colors, shapes, and numbers, and can almost totally pedal his bike the correct direction. He is a head strong maniac who dominates all my time. In the best possible way (most of the time!)

With Mother's Day being this weekend, everyone asks me what I want or am going to do. Honestly, the answer is nothing. I would much rather have everyone in my life seem more appreciative Day to day, vs one day of whatever. I often feel overworked and underappreciated, which gets wearisome. I am going to get off work a little early so I can celebrate with my own mother. The following weekend I get to go away briefly overnight to a concert, and although I won't be totally kid-free, this is something that I want to do that I look forward to every year. I am nervous leaving the smaller ones overnight, because nighttime can be difficult if there is night-wakings, but for one night it will be ok. At least that is what I am telling myself!

Our new favorite game to play when it gets dark out is laser-light tag. I stand on the deck and shine the laser into the yard and the dogs and kids try and catch it, chase each other, and play tag with the dogs. It's freaking hilarious!

So that's life right now. The laundry and the dishes are endless. The job feels often thankless. The remotes and cordless phones are always missing, along with my sanity most days. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, so I try to live one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time, trying to focus on the little things.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

My Domperidone Experience: Getting Back to Breast

This story is super hard to write about, and I still carry a lot of shame and guilt over this. To this day the only other person who knows this story is my husband. But I feel like I need to tell it here.

Breastfeeding was going perfectly well right from the start, until sometime in the 4th to 5th month. Despite one wonky weigh-in during his 2 month appointment (which I blame on inconsistency with person weighing and how, sometimes they would say no clothes, sometimes clothes, always a diaper...) baby boy was doing well. He was always a very content baby from the start...Happy to be put down and look around, never complaining. I had seen him roll over both ways a couple times but he didn't seem interested in going anywhere. But during that 4th-5th month he was cutting his feeds short. He wasn't crying like he was still hungry, he only actually cried when I tried to keep putting him back on the breast. When I was at work I wasn't pumping as much as I had been, but I didn't think anything of it really. One day during his 5th month I just started to think he was kind of skinny-looking. All of my breastfed babies were long and lean, but he just looked...tiny. I felt like he had barely nursed that day, so I grabbed one of the sample cans of formula and a bottle...and when he saw the bottle he went nuts, crying and fussing. And he ate a ton. And I melted down. My baby was hungry and I was starving him. I am making light of it here, but trust me when I say it was bad. I was a hysterical, depressed mess for 3 straight days. I had enormous guilt and shame that I didn't notice sooner. What kind of mother was I?? I don't deserve to have these five children. I thought for sure people would judge me if they knew...she has too many kids, she can't handle it, her baby was barely eating and it took weeks for her to notice.

What happened? My best guess is that the bottle my husband was using was from my (at the time) 2 year old, and wasn't functioning properly. The baby was getting suuuuper fast feeds from the bottle, and went on a nursing strike, refusing to nurse after the initial let down of milk. He became lazy and didn't want to work for the milk. I noticed the first time I used that nipple that day that something was wrong, but I never gave him a bottle before that. I never even saw him drink from a bottle, so I couldn't catch it, and my husband obviously didn't. He just thought he was a fast drinker. All this is hindsight, of course. I also realized he had slowed down in his pooping and was pretty gassed, but those were all things that can be normal in a breastfed baby. It took me a little bit to put it all together.

After talking with Lactation nurses and googling everything, I decided I would order Domperidone and use that. Of course it's not approved in the US, but it's not unsafe as our friends in Canada have widely proved so I wasn't worried. And I was desperate. I wanted to feed my baby. I didn't want him to have bottles of formula. I wasn't ready for it to end like this. So while I waited on the Domperidone to arrive from Vanuatu, I basically didn't leave the house for 2 weeks. I nursed the baby, I supplemented with a bottle right after, and I pumped right after all of that, around the clock, usually every 2 hours. I was manic about it. I have no idea how I even found the time, looking back. But I did it. As far as plumping my baby up, I had 2 weeks until his 6 month check-up. I was on a mission to make sure he wasn't underweight. So we made his supplemental bottles calorie heavy with extra formula. I also beefed up any pumped breastmilk he got with formula. I also wasn't picky...we used all the different free cans I had gotten in the mail. He never had any issues with any of it. He visibly plumped up quickly, and had actually shot way up on the growth curve by that 6-month check-up just 2 short weeks later.

The domperidone came within that 2 weeks, and I immediately took a dose. It took me a few days to figure out how much to take and how often, but there is a ton of info online that helped me with this. Within a couple days my breast were becoming engorged again, my pumping output was much better so I knew I had milk. Now I just had to figure out how to convince my baby I had enough milk for him. The goal was being consistent about nursing and pumping, and I was quickly building up a huge freezer stash of milk. It only took about a month before his supplements were all breastmilk bottles. Slowly each day he would nurse longer and take less from the bottle until one day I was just able to nurse him again for a full feed and not need a bottle. I think he was around 7 months when that finally happened. I never would have been able to get my supply back if it weren't for the Domperidone.

About the Domperidone: I am not going to put my dosage on here because I am no doctor and didn't have any doctor in my life tell me how to take it. I was on and stayed on a higher-end dose because I didn't want my baby to go in another strike if he suddenly had to work for milk. It took a lot of work to earn his trust back, I certainly didn't want to jeopardize that. Domperidone works to increase breastmilk by raising your prolactin levels, which is why it can make non-post-pardum people lactate. Raised prolactin levels is actually a side-effect of the drug and not it's intended use. It is actually an anti-nausea medication that works by speeding up your GI system. The first time, and occasionally when I would take it, I would be running to the bathroom. I only had to use some Imodium once or twice. I most often noticed this on the first dose of the day. Another side-effect I experienced was weight gain. I'm not sure how it makes you gain weight when it rapidly empties your stomach (unless it makes you eat more?) but I gained quite a bit, all other things being equal. This happened despite a weight-loss program I had gone on right when starting this medication. I easily gained 30lbs, although it could have been 40. I don't own a scale, but know that I dropped quite a bit in the couple months after weaning down from the highest dose I was on, and I was still almost 20lbs over where I was when I first started taking it. From what I have read weight gain is more likely, and increases, the higher the dose. I also stopped getting my period, and my sex-drive took a nose-dive. Sex was uncomfortable because of the dryness. This doesn't last because every step down I took from the medication, the better things got, and all my "signs of fertility" and beginning to return. I actually think I just ovulated about 10 days ago, after dropping down to the last pill and then stopping completely within a week.

My baby is fine, thriving, and happy. Despite feeling absolutely horrible when all this started, I can now look back at pictures of him during that time and not melt down. He doesn't look like the starved baby I then thought he was at the time. He is still happy and smiling. But I will always hold mommy guilt that I didn't notice sooner that my milk tanked (or was tanking.)

But for anyone struggling, it is possible to get your baby back to breast. It is possible to fix your milk supply if you want to. Domperidone works and, for me, is safe.

Monday, March 27, 2017

MicroBlog Mondays:5 Random things

1.) Parenting a teenager is hard. Like Duh, right?! Everyone says that, but no one tells you just how much it sucks when you have to make tough calls regarding discipline. We just had a major issue to deal with, and I was hoping after it was all over I would have a sense of peace about it. But it just feels shitty. And makes me sad. Even though we made the only right call. It really sucks. I don't think I can apologize enough to my own mom for being such a shitty teenager.

2.) I have caught my third cold in 3 months, one for every month of this year so far. I know it's because of all the toddler sharing of germ-y kisses and cups, no matter how much I try to avoid it. I need to buy stock in Kleenex.

3.) I am impatiently waiting for 2 shows to come back with new episodes on Netflix. One is mid-April, the other m-d-late May. I've binged the first 2 seasons of Kimmy Schmidt, Love, LoveSick, Arrested Development, Chelsea Does, Chelsea, Lady Dynamite, a few indie movies, and a couple stand up comedy specials over the last year. I tried watching Shameless but it was a bit too gritty for me. I was thinking of Santa Clarita Diet or The Crown next. Does anyone have any recommendations?

4.)I am excited to go shopping tomorrow for supplies for the Easter Egg Hunt I will do with my kids on Spring Break in a couple weeks. Even the older ones still enjoy doing this, but I think they stop doing one in school in like 3rd or 4th grade. I buy lots of candy and cool little trinkets to stuff the eggs with. I hate the little plastic eggs because I always find them under couches long after Easter is over but that's OK. Maybe I will do a picture post of this if I can get my ish together and remember. I think I am so excited to do the shopping because I am going after a doctor appointment since the party store is in the same area, and I will be kid-free to take my time and shop without rushing. Or buying a million extra things I don't need.

5.) A couple weeks ago my dearest friend and I met up for happy hour, which was a big deal. We both moved at the exact same time, but moved in opposite directions of each other, and the area where she used to live is the halfway point between our houses now. Also, right after I had baby boy, she went in for weight-loss surgery and has spent the last year recovering from that while I was busy trying to keep my head above water with a toddler and a new baby. We talk often, but phone calls end up lasting hours long and involve a ton of kiddo interruptions, so finally we just picked a half-way point and told our husbands they were on for the night. Other than my sister, she is the only other person who truly gets me and my life, and it was one of those good-for-your-soul get togethers. One reason I love and cherish our friendship so much is because it is so balanced and even. I don't have Snapchat, but she does so we spent a lot of time goofing off at our table taking pictures. Here is one of my favorites from the night.

Stirrupqueens.com for More Micro-Blog Mondays Posts.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Random Thoughts

I experienced more work drama this past week. Luckily, this wasn't personal in nature or having anything to do directly, but I did happen to be involved by default. I didn't do anything wrong, so all is good. But let me just say that people are freaking crazy. People in high positions are especially freaking crazy. Kindness will always rule over nastiness, and I am not sure why everyone doesn't just understand this. ESPECIALLY when it comes to people who are caregivers or those handling your food.

My dryer is still broken. Repair guy came Monday and said he fixed it. Well, he fixed one problem which was no heat, but there were related problems so on the first load it kept shutting down. After a lot of fighting, someone is coming out Thursday, instead of the following Monday. So much headache. And pethair. The dryer does wonders for collecting pet hair out of the blankets and clothes. Hang drying them does not good, so I feel like there is an abundance of dog hair floating around.

Teaching a teenager how to drive is supremely nerve wracking. I have no idea how anyone ever learns how to drive. I really don't have the temperament to sit in a car with a learning driver. I just want to scream and close my eyes. But I can't so it's really hard. I wish I could pay someone to do it for me, seriously.

I am pretty sure I just had my first Ovulation in a year, thanks to weaning off of the domperidone. Unfortunately, that means my milk supply is pretty much gone at this point. Which really makes me kind of sad. I was hoping to keep the nighttime nursing session, but he is rejecting it and I'm pretty sure it's because I don't have very much milk now. He's 16 months, and I had it in my head that I would nurse him until he was totally walking full time, which he now is. But I can't help but be a little sad at this, especially since he acts like he still wants to nurse. And after struggling so damn hard to get him back to nursing and fix my supply 11 months ago, I just feel so very guilty and sad about this. But I couldn't stay on the domperidone any longer. I fee like there should be more fanfare if he was the last Baby I will ever nurse.

Toddler Boy hasn't been feeling well this week, so it's made for some very long and boring days. It finally want too cold or muddy yesterday so we played outside for a while which was nice. Then it's back to cold today. I can't wait until the weather just makes up its damn mind.

My niece turned 22 today. Which is just crazy to me, because I was there when she was born, and I got to cut her cord. I was a junior in high school, and she is about to graduate college. Man that makes me feel so old.

I have a million spring cleaning items I need to do, but I have no idea where to start. I have a desk piled high with papers and other junk. It's the catch-all area, a hidden room off of the den that's part-office, part dumping ground for things that have no place. There's a door so we don't have to look at it. But it's bad and I can't find anything. It's just so overwhelming, and I need a day without toddlers underfoot so I can get it done. My walk-in closet in the master bedroom is also a mess. I have clothes and items that have. When outgrown and out in there for storage, but it's getting a little out of control. And the coat closet is a mess, but until the weather decides to warm up for good, all the cold weather stuff still has to be accessible.

This month is kind of a quiet month with not much going on. April will definitely pick up. We have Easter and Spring break and all the fun activities we do for that, a concert, a NASCAR race, my sister's birthday, and already a few appointments on the calendar. I can't believe we are already looking at the 4th month of the year already. Time is just flying.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

When it rains...

In my last post I mentioned that during a snow event, my dryer decided to break. That's been so. Much. Fun. Because of course we had like 6 loads of laundry that needed to be done, plus all the wet snow clothes. We literally hung clothes and towels on every available surface on my first floor, including cabinet doors and the blades of the ceiling fans. I could have gone to a laundromat or my mom's, but it's been windy and freezing, and the idea of lugging heavy, wet loads out of the house to anywhere just sounded really unappealing. The stupid thing is we actually have a brand new, spare dryer. But it's electric, and we don't have that hook-up here. We got a quote for that when we moved in, but it seemed like a lot of money to me and we didn't actually need the hook up at the time so we didn't have it done. Hindsight and whatnot. I do have a home warranty so I can get it fixed for the nominal service fee, which is awesome. But it also means going through the process and parts are likely to need to be ordered, so it won't be fixed quickly, but it will be (relatively) cheap. My brother-in-law in another state talked my husband through what it would be to run the electrical himself, but my husband has never messed with electrical and it seems...risky. It involves tapping into the main electrical box, and if he makes a mistake could mean a several-thousand-dollar fix by a real electrician, and possible death, so yeah. Plus, the cost of the material needed alone is more than our service fee, and he won't know it didn't work until it doesn't work, meaning we wouldn't be able to return anything at that point and recoup any money. So, we wait.

I haven't been sleeping well at all for the past week. Between totally weaning from the domperidone and the time change, I'm a freaking mess. My hormones are going crazy trying to regulate I think. I'm flashing hot and cold day and night. Nighttime is the worst because I'm like dying hot going to bed and rolling over constantly trying to find a cool spot. Then eventually I start to be freezing cold, but 5 minutes after I pile on the layers I'm sweating again. The thermostat is right where it always is, so it's obviously me. Not sleeping well is making for a very cranky me, so I hope my body gets itself together soon. My gyn is going to love talking to me at my annual visit in 2 weeks.

Today one of my dogs found a way out of my yard. We have a fence, but it's pretty crappy in some spots, which we rigged up when we realized there was a hidden hole she found. We had a company come out when we moved in and they wanted nearly $4K to replace the fence with the same crappy design we have now, which doesn't work for our dogs. To get the type of fence we ideally need, it was $10K. So we opted to get a much more affordable invisible fence. Only at the time we only got 2 collars for the smaller, more mischievous dogs that were going under, around, and through to get out. Our bigger dog never tried to get out, and we figured we were safe because she could easily leap over the fence if she wanted. And we mostly were, until this hole presented itself and she walked right on through. So we rigged it, but the weather must have knocked the piece down. So my poor husband has to come home and trudge through the icy snow to figure out how to fix it again.

On top of the fence business, he is also trying to fix our basement. I wrote a little over a year ago about how we had a sewer back up in our basement. It wasn't bad, but in my foggy post-pardum state decided to make an insurance claim to get the water cleaned up. I just thought that's what you do. Well, I won't ever make a claim again. Not only did they immediately raise my rate, but I got a letter about a week ago asking for proof that we fixed everything. Apparently this is standard before a policy renewal, so they say, but no one I know has ever heard of this. Of course we had not made the repairs. Because. The area that got wet was our laundry area, and for some reason the carpet came right up to in front of the washer and dryer. So the carpet that was cut out was a big square in front and a small portion to the side of that area. They also cut out 3 parts of the lower drywall, about a foot high each. They took out much more than was actually damaged of both the wall and the carpet. This is the area that boxed in the washer/dryer. It is all off to the side of the main room, right next to the utility room. Initially we were going to put down hardwood flooring and get rid of all the carpet, but it's the kids' area, and they balked, saying the carpet made it more cozy. But then they also proved they couldn't not spill stuff and take food/drinks down there, and I didn't want to get brand new carpeting. Then we had water back up a few more times in that same area and realized that carpeting that area again was a bad idea. So life went on and we didn't fix any of it, and really sort of forgot about it. It's a laundry area and looks like it. Plus, kids toys got put in that corner and you couldn't see the walls anyway. So fast-forward to now, we have to have it fixed to provide either pictures or receipts that says the work is done by the 20th. If we don't, I am guessing they won't renew our policy. So we had to quickly think up a plan to make it looked fixed enough for pictures. My husband fixed and cut the small bit of drywall, and we decided since it's a laundry room area we put down those stick-on flooring tiles that won't get ruined if they get wet again. Currently there are a few more tiles to lay, wall to paint, and trim to nail in. Then I can email over pictures of this tiny little area and it will all be good. But man.

I hope nothing else decides to break down this week. It's utterly impossible to get anything done with toddlers around. The littlest one got mobile and so the steps are his favorite place to hang out. And he just figured out to climb up onto the dining room table and literally try and swing from the chandelier. My mom is super-busy doing her seasonal tax job, so I literally have no back up during the day to try and work on any of this. My poor, wonderful husband.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Snow is Yuck.

My Toddler boy who is now 3 was born during a Polar Vortex. It was bitter cold when we brought him home from the hospital. Needless to say, he isn't a fan of cold weather. The first 2 winters he was old enough, I tried in vain to bundle him in a snowsuit and boots and take him outside. This was a futile attempt because he would scream and cry and kick off his boots and yank his gloves off with his teeth and throw himself all around in the snow in tears, despite having older siblings who were bey clearly enjoying the snow and trying to take him with them down the hill on a sled. I have even tried just letting him walk out on our deck and check out the snow, giving him a chance to see and touch it on his own terms without having to get all bundled up. Once he got his hands on the cold wet snow, he had had enough. He loves playing in the water so I even let him go out in tennis shoes to stomp around, but nope. If he made it 5 minutes, that was a long time.

He was the only one of my kids who had never been sledding. I couldn't even find the 3T snowsuit, having never pulled it out of storage because why bother. He was out shopping with my husband on Sunday and when the cashier told him that there was going to be snow coming, he promptly said "I no like snow. Snow is Yuck."

So today we woke up to snow. Not the 1-2 feet like they were predicting when I went to bed last night. We got maybe 6 inches of snow with some ice on top, and that's being generous. We haven't had any other substantial snow all winter so this was our last chance. I got up and told all the kids to get dressed and moving, we were going outside in the snow. My darling 3 year old once again told me "Snow is Yuck." But then he watched our crazy dogs go outside, jumping around kicking and biting and throwing around all that glorious white stuff. He laughed and laughed at them. My husband and I bundled the little guys in too small snow suits (that's what happens when it's freaking March and I pulled out the snow stuff way back in October!) and took them outside. At first little 3 year old winced at the cold wet air hitting his face. But then I showed him the little sleds and a small enough hill to go down that was fast enough for him but easy to climb back up. Then he realized I could just pull him around in the "baby" sled. Then he realized we could kind of make a snow man, and oh look at that I can make a ball and throw it. And I can kick and knock my snowman down. Hey, it's fun to stomp around in the snow! So we played until his clothes were soaked through. After lunch he promptly passed out in my arms.

We went back out a little bit later after a nap and a snack. This time the older kids were just coming back from the big-kid hill and played with us. I actually got to take some video of him sledding and of the sibling snowball fight. I came back in as it started to get dark, only to discover that my dryer broke. So now I have a million articles of wet snow clothes plus other laundry hanging all over my house. School is already on a delay for tomorrow with a possible cancellation, and all I can think of is not having a dryer to properly dry snow clothes. Maybe my toddler was right after all.

Monday, March 13, 2017

MicroBlog Mondays: Favorite Pictures

I love having my phone as my camera, because not only can I capture random, mundane moments I would otherwise miss, but also because I can always have them with me. I can scroll through favorite moments and always have my family close, even when we are apart. I also find gems that my kids take when I'm not looking. Everything from selfie after funny-faced selfie, to the floor of the car, to funny things happening in the background of life. Usually I blog from my phone, and I can't figure out how to quickly pull pictures over to blogger, so I never add any. Today I am lucky enough to be on the laptop, so I thought I would share some of my favorites over the last 6 months or so. I have a million more than I was able to post, but here is a sampling. And since blogger is being dumb and won't allow me to caption individual pictures, these are trees peaking in my backyard, one year old pleased with his destruction of his smash cake, practicing blowing candles out with older brother, getting to blow his own candles out, a rare occasion of a clean room, brother love, my first batch of cookies done during the harried and crazy holiday season (a victory for sure), doggie snuggles, baby sweetness, cool shot from NYC trip, and my favorite room in the winter. In no particular order. My girls are absent from this collection only because I didn't really have any from this time frame that were my favorite or just featured them.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Microblog Monday-Sisters/Siblings

My two oldest children are girls, 2 weeks shy of 4 years apart. They shared a room at one point several years ago, but we had to separate them because it was nonstop fighting and I couldn't handle it. This was probably when they were about 5 and 9. My oldest was often the bossy, bully-ish big sister and not very helpful. There was never a point where I could have left her in charge of her two closest siblings, even for a short period of time. My younger daughter would often try and ask for homework advice, as her sister had all the same teachers and did most of the same projects, but she usually got met with grumpiness and an unwillingness to be helpful. It used to break my heart for my younger daughter, and I spent so much time talking to my older one about how mean and hurtful she was being. Her little sister even stood up to bullies for her, taking no crap and calling them out when she would see her older sister get picked on.

But nature has a way of working things out, or time rather. The older they both got, the better the situation started to become. When we moved to the new area, but three older kids really started relying on each other more. The first summer we spent in this house they spent it together, camping out in the basement together, or exploring the neighborhood together. It was so nice to not have them always fighting! My oldest has taken them to football games and after-game hangouts at the local diner, and they often go either one-on-one or as a group to hang out around the neighborhood together. It's so awesome to see that when one of them wants company, they seek the others out and offer to go do something together. They also will often conspire together to ask for something special from us, or one convinces the other to sneak into the kitchen to whip up a batch of late-night cookies. I think sometimes they figure if they are all involved and not bugging me to do it, I won't balk at the mess (or the cookie sheets that always end up being put away dirty.)

The relationship that has really made me the happiest to watch bloom is the one between the two girls. Because my sister has always been, and will always be, my idol and the person closest to me, the only one I want to talk to when things are crappy, or when things are awesome. She is 9 years older than me, but she has absolutely always been my idol ever since I could walk. She just gets me, and accepts me for me. She is the only one who never asked or expected me to be anyone other than who I was. We live in different states now, but we talk all the time and I still miss her.

When my youngest daughter got her first period, after I comforted her, she wanted her sister. Then she was ok. This past week she had a particularly crappy week, that all came to a head Friday after school. I was given a heads up a little before school let out that it was going to be a crappy time. I knew my oldest wasn't going to be home until later that night. I almost texted her anyway telling her that her sister was going to need her, but I decided not to. After I had held and calmed and talked, shed asked if her older sister was home, and said she needed her. She asked several times that evening when she would be home. She needed her sister. And it made me aware of how much I still need mine, and I called her and immediately felt lighter.

When she wakes up with a bad dream, or there is a loud storm, she goes and climbs in bed with her sister.

Later that night she didn't want to be alone. Despite a lot of recent fighting between them, (thanks, stupid girl hormones) she sought out her brother. They watched a movie together and camped out in the basement for the night. They might be mean and yell and fight, but when the chips are down they all seem to step up.

I grew up with lots of siblings, but we were all spread out. Still, my best memories are the ones with a full house and lots of chaos. I remember being my youngest daughter's age (12) and really relying on my older siblings despite the large gap in age. I remember how close I was to my older brothers, and how I found solace in them in a way I couldn't with my parents. I knew how important those relationships were in my life; I just really didn't grasp how important they are in my children's lives until now.

It's really cool too see my Toddler boy kiss his baby brother on the head, or hand him a toy, or take his hands in his and walk with him the way he sees us do. But it is really something special to witness my older children needing and reaching out to each other, to put aside the fighting and arguing, and come together to lift each other up and comfort each other in a way that no one else can.

And I realize that THAT is where my desire for more children comes from. To do what my Dad did for me, that I never even realized until now. To build this family that will always have each other long after I'm gone. So that they always have someone who lived the same life growing up, that can relate to them like no one else. And also, so they will always have a group of people who will love them unconditionally for who they are, who can share in their trials and triumphs, and who will always have their back. Just like I know that I know that no matter the miles or the time apart, I have a group of people I can pull from. I could show up on a doorstep in the middle of the night and I would have refuge from the storm. I know it won't always be smooth sailing. But family is forever.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

These Days

It's a little after 8am on a Friday. I woke up way early having to pee despite really wanting to sleep straight through after last night. The wind was so strong and intense that the power went out, and the entire house was up. I couldn't get settled until everyone was done waking up in confusion hearing the wind wail in the pitch black. We have a lot of trees, when it's windy it's very noisy on the second floor.

So far this morning we have nursed,sent older ones off to school and Daddy off to work, ended a meltdown, had our morning banana and milk, played a game of catch on the stairs and then included the one dog and we all played catch with her and her toy too, cuddled on the couch, and playing in the living room. It's almost time for me to make breakfast. I've been waking up hungry but waited because the boys need time to play first. Despite the headachey, tired way I feel in the mornings (thanks weather for those things) today things feel relatively calm and serene. Which is often not the case. My mornings are usually very noisy, with older kids arguing for a spot in the mirror, or a missing jacket, and the littlest ones decide they need to add to that and there are tears for attention and breakfast and attention. Those days have a way to make the day start crappy.

Today won't stay like this. There will be moments of meltdowns and tantrums that test my patience and force me to have to do a mental reset. Today is ordinary. We have no special plans, other than to figure out a meatless dinner in this first Friday of Lent. It's cold outside. Very cold. It's germ season, when some really nasty bugs circulate, so we would be avoiding playgrounds anyway. There are already toys spilled all over the floor. There is a ton of laundry to do.

But these are the days and the moments that fill my heart. These ordinary days are the days I am going to miss the most when they are over. These may be the lasts of the firsts I will ever have. I am trying to appreciate all the little moments I have with them, in this life.

I had to take a break writing this because the boys went from happy to hangry in a hot second. We had breakfast, did the dishes, picked up messes, went and played upstairs in the boys room (where I let them pull all the stuffed friends and blankets off the beds and bounce and play), picked up the kids' bathroom, and one of us got to take a nap. I also went through the closet looking for a few smaller clothing items I needed, gathered up the dirty laundry, played dress up in winter clothes, picked up another big mess that required a broom, sliced an apple for a snack, and called in to pay a bill(because they charge you to pay online and I refuse, also I never have stamps), and am getting ready to make lunch.

This life, it's not glamorous. It's not fancy. It's not rich in money. But it's rich in love and laughter, and sticky, slobbery kisses, and big unending messes. But I love it just the same.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Microblog Mondays-I don't know what to even title this post

So yesterday I had the most unexpected, offensive, and upsetting conversation happen at work with one of the doctors in my department. He's a small man in his 60's who probably weighs like 130lbs soaking wet and has never struggled with weighing too much a day in his life. He makes a lot of money (but still dresses cheaply), has a huge house on the water and a boat he likes to throw department parties at, and has an odd sense of humor. The encounter started like this:

Me (carrying a tall styrofoam cup of black coffee not quite 3/4 full) So I made some coffee in the back. Bring your own cup though because I couldn't find any back there.

He looks up: That cup isn't full of coffee is it? That's a lot of caffeine.

Oh, no it's only up to here. I probay won't even get to drink half before it gets cold and I dump it out anyway.

Well that's still a lot of caffeine and you're small...well you're short...are you pregnant again?

Noooo. I wouldn't be...

So when are you going to skinny up??

(Insert shocked expression here) I wish I knew. (Too stunned and embarrassed to have any better answer)

Well, you're so short, and it's bad for your heart. You're so cute. I can tell...you know, I really like you (or some off compliment that was trying to show he wasn't being offensive) what did you weigh in high school?

Yeah, I was never small. I've never been skinny.

Oh, really? Is your mom...

No, my grandma. Once I hit puberty I got the boobs, butt, hips, and thighs. I'm also the shortest in my family so I really got screwed. I'm working on it.

He maybe realized at this point this wasn't maybe the most appropriate conversation to have. I don't know if it was the look on my face or my voice or what. But he started talking about other things that I didn't really hear and after a few minutes I finally said " so there's coffee. Bring your own cup" and walked away.

I walked away feeing like I wanted to tell somebody what he just said, but feeling too ashamed and embarrassed to do so. I felt absolutely horrible. I was shocked to the point of not even believing that had just happened. And I just felt like shit. Like I shouldn't put one more piece of food in my mouth for the rest of the day, although it was only like 10am. I walked back out front and never even touched my coffee. I sat and stared at my computer trying not to cry.

This doctor...I don't know him that well. I've never had a personal conversation with him beyond asking about life in general and taking about our kids. I only see him once every six weeks or so, so it's not even like we work together all that often. I have no idea why he thought it was appropriate to comment on my weight. He probably didn't even think twice once I walked away. But that conversation has totally fucked with my head. I know I shouldn't let someone stupid get to me, but I can't help it. It makes me angry because he is first a MAN who has no idea what it's like to be pregnant and have your body got all screwed up after that. He has no idea if I have some medical issue that's maybe preventing me from being able to lose weight, or could be causing me to gain. He doesn't know if I have any stressors in my life that are going on. He doesn't know anything about my personal situation. He probably assumes I'm just a fat slob that doesn't take care of myself and sits around eating Mcdonalds all day.

When he said "You're so cute I can tell..." I know he meant your so cute, I can tell you'd be even cuter, or more attractive, or even pretty if you weren't heavy. In an age where we are supposed to be teaching that everyone looks different, and people of all shapes, sizes, and colors are beautiful...why are we still back to this. That if you changed c, y, or z THEN you'd be better. Why are we still making each other feel like they aren't good enough as they are? How do I teach this to my children. How do I learn this for myself?

The funny thing is I have worked there for 10 years, and have basically been about the same size the entire time. I've been up and down and pregnant, but I'm still wearing all the same scrubs that I've had.

When I look in the mirror I don't love what I see. But I have learned at accept it to a point so that I can live with myself and whatever size I am so I don't fall into a depression that I am very susceptible to. I will never be skinny, but I try every day to make smart choices and add in extra excercise when I can. I had just recently dropped some weight because I could tell by how my pants were fitting.

But this. Oh man. Now I feel like when I am out in public people don't see me as a mom of 5, as an awesome healthcare worker, as a Child of God, but instead as this fat, overweight ugly personal taking up too much space. And that sucks so much. I've never been a skinny person who could eat whatever I want. I have no idea what that feels like. I have always struggled with my weight, and depression, and depression surrounding my weight, and numbers on the scale, and numbers on the tag of my pants. I have to work really hard to make the scale budge at all, sometimes it taking a month or more being super strict to even get a pound off. It's such a mental thing I don't have time to fight with myself about right now.

I am so embarrassed and ashamed that I didn't say anything to anyone about the conversation. Not even my husband, who has always assured me he loves me no matter what size I am.

But seriously...when did it become ok for people to feel like they can comment on someone's weight? It's like asking someone when they are going to get rid of their acne. I really wish I had stood up for myself to him, but I was just so shocked that the conversation was even happening. It hit a huge trigger with me...the shame, embarrassment, and self-loathing I have experienced all my life surrounding my weight. Even the times when I managed to lose a significant amount, I still always felt like the fat girl in the room. I need to be okay with myself as is, because I might never have one of those weight-loss transformation success stories, and I can't live my life that way...hoping and wishing and waiting for the day when I'm the skinny one. That might never be in the cards for me and I need to be okay with that. But this...I feel like it undid all of the work I have been doing just to be okay with myself.

Part of me wants to do something about the situation. I have thought about writing him an email to address the inappropriateness of it all, or go to a supervisor, or even HR. But there comes that shame. I just want this to go away. I don't want it to be talked about. I don't want any more embarrassment of having my weight talked about. And I have this deep down fear that me bringing up the situation will somehow get turned back around on me, and then the whole thing becomes an intervention about my weight. Gosh, as I write this it must sound like I'm big enough to be on one of those my 600-pound life shows. My weight is not that out of control. But that is how I feel when people see me. And it sucks.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

December Recap

While I sounded really down and depressed in my last post, life hasn't been all that bad overall. Post-holiday let down is a real thing, folks. I am already feeling better and more hopeful, and each day gets a little better as well.

December definitely had its moments, but overall there was much to celebrate. We took a family trip to New York City to see all the touristy, holiday things. Despite it being a wacky trip full of ridiculous shenanigans that really deserves a post of its own, it was a great little getaway and I am really glad we did it. We celebrated my oldest son turning 11 with a trip to the trampoline park and a sleepover where we woke up to a very icy morning. We watched lots of Christmas movies, ate lots of yummy treats, made homemade gifts of pumpkin bread, jam, and cookies. We tried our best to get a picture of all the kids in front of the Christmas Tree, with a little success. We listened to Christmas music, drove around looking at lights, wrapped gifts, and tried our best to really enjoy the season.

The week leading up to Christmas was a cluster of epic proportions that left me not only saying "What else could possibly happen?!" but also supremely frustrated and ready to cancel the entire thing. Not one of my kids wanted to be helpful or cooperative, and things were falling apart at every turn. I tried to space out things I needed to do in hopes I would give myself enough time, but somehow, as always, it came down to the last 2 days and I was non-stop and exhausted. Seriously, the week had everything from illness, to a whole days worth of baking ruined by someone "trying to help", to a potty training toddler smearing poop on every surface of the living room (curtains included) 3 days before the house was to be filled with guests, to a dog dripping blood all over the house after she cut her mouth chewing on tree branches, to a washing machine leaking all over the basement in a fluke event that hasn't happened since, to a 12 year old kicking her 11 year old brother in the nuts so hard he was on the floor for an hour in tears, to me just losing my shit because my kids were acting AWFUL. And at the end of that very ridiculous week I ended up in Walmart on the Friday night before Christmas basically in my PJs because a gift I had bought for someone had the correct size top but 4 sizes larger in the bottoms, which I only found out because we were wrapping the last of the gifts. And I KNOW there were other insane things that happened that week but for my sanity I must have blocked them out. In the grand scheme of things it wasn't the end of the world but in the middle of it it felt like that very famous line in Christmas Vacation where Clark flips out and says "Look around Ellen, we are in the thresholds of hell".

Christmas Day itself ended up being ok, if not a little weird. The older kids are mostly not believing in Santa (although you dare not say you don't believe in my house) and the younger ones are still too little to really "get" it, my husband and I don't do any real extravagant gifts for eachother (and he's not the greatest gift-giver anyway, sigh) and my dad isn't here, and now I'm the adult who has to do all the cooking...so yeah. I love going to mass, though, and celebrating Jesus' birthday, but we do that on Christmas Eve.

The week after Christmas we had nasty germs going around our house so it was a very long week. No one felt well so everyone kept to themselves, except Toddler boy who was really down and out with a fever so he spent hours each day just laying on me. I escaped a couple times to go out for more medicine and juice and other sick day supplies, and managed to get myself together enough to go back to work. After 2 weeks at home I felt weird like I didn't want to leave my family bubble. I remember feeing the same way at the end of my maternity leave. Which is so crazy because I got to work and was like yeah...these are my people, they have my back and I'm protected. Ive mentioned that I've been an emotional weirdo lately, I wasn't kidding!

Maybe soon I will write about our New York trip...our traveling circus is certainly one for the books!

Monday, January 2, 2017

MicroBlog Monday's: Getting Better

I don't do New Years resolutions. I actually really resent the fact that because the calendar year changes, we are expected to make a bunch of unattainable goals and then feel bad about ourselves when we inevitably fail.

But. I have been in a rut and I need to do something starting NOW to get myself out of it. I need a fresh start. I have some lifestyle changes I want to make. I want, no I NEED, to start taking some time to put myself first...or at the very least not dead last to the point of being forgotten.

This last year has been a wonderful blessing, but MAN was it challenging, in a whole host of aspects. Being a mom to a new baby and a demanding toddler is hard; being mom to a teenager is even harder. Trying to juggle all the balls was more than a little insane. Somehow in this last year I have managed to really lose myself. I made myself so unimportant to myself that it rubbed off on those I live with...I started to feel unimportant to them, too. The holidays were very hard. Everything just kind of came to a head...it was like everything I was trying to do for everyone else didn't even matter to anyone. I started to feel like I didn't matter. Like no matter what I did it wasn't ever going to be enough. And I just really lost it.

On top of my fragile emotional state, there is the physical yuck I have been feeling. I gained a bit of weight over the last 6 months, partly from a medication I was on, and partly from putting myself dead last. I didn't take are of myself when it came to eating and getting any real excercise. My clothes don't fit right...even my "fat" clothes feel snug. And I just don't feel well. I feel fat and unattractive and frumpy and just gross.

I am going to be completely honest here and say that I don't get much support at home when it comes to things like this. Basically the general feeling is one of indifference, so long as it doesn't affect the rest of the house. This also doesn't help my emotional well being, but it is what it is. I've shed plenty of tears over this but it's not something that is ever going to change. It does make me feel a little like the love is conditional. Which really sort of sucks.

So, on my own, I am going to try to start putting myself above some other things. I am going to try to get a workout in everyday, and I am going to try to feed myself properly and not be so busy with everyone else that I only have time to grab a sugared up cup of coffee. I am going to work on my mental well being, as well. I can't tell you how much it sucks to be 38 and still feel like crap about your body. How probably now the comparing myself to others nonsense has come back with a vengeance like it hasn't done since middle school. For a long time I was Ok with myself, but something happened to my body image since having these last 2 babies and my self-esteem has just taken a nose dive. And it's all in my head because no one has made me feel that way, I assure you.

So...if anyone out there has any support they can give, I could sure use it. Right now I feel all alone. And it's scary.