Holi-Daze

Is it me or do the holidays come whooshing in as a whirlwind of chaos?

I already feel the pressure of perfect presents, new and exciting holiday recipes, and fitting in ALL THE THINGS between Thanksgiving and New Years.

But me and P-Daddy are ON IT this year.

We are done with our Christmas shopping.

Aside from the 3056 incidentals that will inevitably come up. 

We took our holiday family photos this morning.

Sadie was kind enough to reserve the fall-out tantrum for the second we opened up the door to leave. 

Thanksgiving food prep is underway.

Hope I don’t eat all those roasted sweet potatoes before Thursday! 

Both kids are napping and I’m rummaging through the cabinets for the rum.

Rum. 

Yum. 

I had one of those surreal moments the other day where I slowed down enough to really look at Reese and I suddenly realized that she is 5 months old.

She’s also a TANK.

Thanksgiving rolls for daaaaaaaays on that little nugget’s legs.

Its funny how in five short months, Reese has become so ingrained in the fabric of our family, that I can not even imagine life without her.

She always has a big, big grin for me in the morning (even when she was up all night screaming in my ear!).

And I’m also fairly certain she’s got some teeth starting to poke through.

I know this because she spends most nights wailing to me about it and then gnawing my finger off.

Even though the long, long nights have me in a daze for days, I think we’ll keep her.

5 months!

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If you don’t live under an internet rock, you’ve probably heard a lot of these buzzy words lately:

Intentional

Self-care

Mindfulness

Journey

Progress

Blah, blah, blah.

But I get it.

They are buzzy for a reason.

Before having kids, I was getting good better at the self-care game.

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I would go for long walks through the woods, bike rides around the city, read for an hour before bed each night, prep and cook my food for the week on Sunday, and do yoga at least three times a week.

I tried to make those things fit into my life after Sadie was born, but it was either exhausting to do them or I felt bad about myself for not getting them done.

When Reese joined the crew, it was obvious that I was going to have to rethink what self-care looks like.

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Gone are  the days that I can listen to a podcast for two hours while I peddle my bike through Amish country.

But I could still manage to sneak in podcasts in the shower (if I get up before everyone else to do it, and yes, it is COMPLETELY worth the 20 extra minutes of missed sleep to enjoy a hot shower by myself).

I stumbled upon the Thought for Food Podcast which had a show with an author who wrote  a book called Raising Healthy Parents.

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The episode was life changing.

It was the reframe I needed to discover how to be more flexible in this season (another buzz word!) of my life.

So what does self-care look like for me now?

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Mostly a hot, interrupted mess but I’m so mindfully intentional on my self-care journey that I know it’s about progress, not perfection.

See what I did there? 

Self-care with a 2 year old and a four month old: 

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Squats at my desk after I’m done pumping at work.

In another life, a workout didn’t “count” if it wasn’t at least 45 minutes long.

10 minutes of yoga, if both kids are asleep by 7:30

In another life, I would laugh at the suggestion of just 10 minutes of yoga. But those 10 minutes literally restore my soul. 

In bed at 7:45 (if the kids are asleep)

We went over this last week. Adequate Sleep is my number 1 self care item.

15 minutes of reading in the evening

BUT I WANT AN HOUR!!

A  sip of hot pumpkin spice coffee before I talk to people

Excuse me while I have a mindful moment. 

Waking up early to take a shower by myself (sometimes that means 4:30 AM on the weekends). 

SO WORTH IT.

Taking short cuts from the grocery store and using more prepackaged foods

The perfectionist in me cringes. The new me says “EFF OFF and just get the kids fed.” 

Eating the same meals in heavy rotation

The secret to healthy eating when you have no time? Find your staple healthy foods/meals and eat them on repeat. And then repeat. 

Eating REAL food and eating enough of it to keep up with the energizer bunnies children.

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It’s non-negotiable. I HAVE to eat enough REAL food (not sugary cereal and granola bars) to have enough energy to do my job as a Mom. I’m quite happy with my progress on this one.

Becoming “Un-busy”

I’ve always liked an Un-busy life, but I felt bad about it. I felt like I should be doing more. Now I’m embracing the slow movement and letting go of unnecessary guilt.

Listening to podcasts that make me think about what I want my life to look like. How can I be more positive and productive? 

When Facebook became a political nightmare around the elections, I realized that it is up to me to surround myself with things that make me happy or make me a better person. Listening to podcasts exposes me to ideas and philosophies that get my brain thinking in new ways. As a lover of learning, it quenches that academic thirst. 

I HIGHLY recommend the book Raising Healthy Parents because it has nuggets of wisdom that will help anyone looking to find a way to make changes within themselves that are both realistic and attainable.

But I bet you’re just here for pictures of the babies.

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Reese is four months and a bundle of fun!

I say a bundle because we still put her in her straight jacket swaddler on a pretty regular basis.

She’s learning to:

Lean on her side (I can not in good conscience call it rolling over)

Grab clumps of big sister’s hair

Sleep all day and party all night

Pick pumpkins

Gain weight like an MMA fighter (12 pounds!)

And Sadie is THE BEST big sister!

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She loves to hold up objects and tell Reese what they are

Bring Reese her favorite toys

And tell everyone “It’s not that serious” when we have our mad faces on.

In the end, the buzzy cliche is true.

My kids make me a better person.

But they better not interrupt my shower.

Just kidding.

No I’m not.

 

Rhythm and Blues

This post is only a month late. I’d say we’re doing pretty good! 

We’ve been dancing the infant dance for three months now, and I think we finally have a rhythm.

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Babies laugh in the face of schedules (to my horror) but sometimes they don’t mind slipping into an improvised slow dance.

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It all usually hits the pot around 5:00 PM.

It does not escape me that “Happy Hour” and the “Witching Hour” occur at the same time.

Bartender, please pour a glass for me.

But we are light years ahead of where we were just a short month ago.

I didn’t think I was going to make it.

The sleep deprivation was chipping away at my soul.

Thankfully, some better and more predictable sleep habits (please, please don’t let me regret saying that) have somewhat restored me.

That and going to bed at 7:30 PM.

My 20 year old self would laugh at the ridiculousness of such an early bedtime, but the truth is that I know that I need adequate sleep to function as a somewhat reasonable human being.

Nursing 2-3 times a night or waking up with a cranky baby mean that bedtime comes extra early and not one ounce of me feels bad about that.

Its my goal to hit the hay as soon as the toddler sings her last show tune before bed.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

That’s pretty much the gist of life, eh?

Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t?

Look at me getting all philosophical because my brain is working today.

I’m getting a little emotional though too.

In a few short weeks, my maternity leave will come to an end and I will have to go back to work.

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I like my job so part of me is excited to see my colleagues and dive back into the world of counseling but the other part of me is going to miss being able to stay home, take care of the kids, and do inane things like look up natural household cleaner recipes (now I can clean with the vodka that I bought for happy hour! Winning!).

When Sadie went to daycare for the first time, I was totally able to compartmentalize it and think of all the positive aspects of having full time care during the day.

I’m having a harder time doing that this time around.

I feel like I am somehow abandoning my duties as a mother .

I will probably never, ever have multiple months at home taking care of my kids again.

UNLESS a school district would like to hire a highly motivated mental health counselor?!?! Pretty please?!?!?!?

Even though I sometimes feel sad (and the toddler feels all the big feels ALL THE TIME), I can’t help but feel grateful for so many things.

1. Free Grocery Pick Up: This service literally saves my life every single week. So grateful.

2. When Sadie sees me and P-Daddy hugging and just has to jump in. The smile on her face is priceless.

3. When Sadie has a tantrum and in the middle of the scream fest, we ask her if she needs a hug and she runs to give us one.  Project “Time-IN” has been pretty successful!

4. We are finally able to understand and sometimes predict what Reese needs. “Oh, it’s 5:00 PM and you need to be swaddled and Mom needs a martini? Let’s do this.”

5. I had a full conversation with P-Daddy, no interruptions. I think I also fell asleep in the middle (two birds, if you ask me).

6. Reese is SO smiley! I can almost always count on big, big smiles in the morning. After 5:00, we just aim for no shrieking.

REESE -THREE MONTHS:

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Likes white noise and being swaddled for sleep (finally)

Takes longish morning naps (finally)

Loves when big sister plays with her

Is growing increasingly impatient with the carseat

Grasps for toys (and her toes!)

Is fascinated with her left hand

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Is growing so fast (I swear she’s about to catch up with big sister!)

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SOS

May day, May day!!

The big kid is sick.

Like, puke-y sick.

Like, I could identify exactly what she had eaten for the past 12 hours.

Then I wanted to be sick.

Parenting is hard, y’all.

I imagine seasoned parents look at newbies and laugh.

Or cry for them because they know the struggle.

Juggling two is a heroic feat.

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There’s hitting.

There’s tantrums.

There’s incessant whining.

There’s endless rocking to sleep.

There’s food that gets prepared, looked at longingly, and then thrown away.

There’s night terrors.

And that’s just the parents.

Sometimes the kids have, say, some challenging behaviors.

During marathon nursing sessions, I read all these inspirational motherly articles and I’m like “I got this shizzle! I’m a freaking behavior therapist. Let me just show you how it’s done.”

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Then the kids simultaneously erupt into a Mount Vesuvius of cries and I crumble like a cookie that I used to actually have time to bake.

And eat.

But darned if they aren’t the cutest little tornado volcanos that you ever did see.

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It is literally what is keeping them alive.

What’s that you say?

You’d like to see a picture?

That would require time and hands with which to take such picture.

Plus, the two year old stole my phone.

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Like, legit stole it and calls all of our relatives.

And some people from college that I met once at a party.

Ah, college parties.

How I miss thee.

It brought back the fondest of memories when the big kid hurled all over the living room floor three times and then asked for a snack.

Perhaps she’s in training?

Perish the thought, Twister Sister.

You are going to trade school.

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Or joining the Peace Corp.

We do believe in choices after all.

Pardon the rambling tangents.

I haven’t slept in 62 days.

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May day! May day!

While the big kid sleeps off her hangover stomach bug, I’ll update you on the baby bug.

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2 months:

AKA: Reeses pieces, Reese Cup

Likes: Staring at the ceiling, listening to bathwater run, walks in the stroller

Dislikes: Sleeping, Staring at the ceiling for too long, walks in the stroller if she’s awake

Milestones: She smiles! Although I’m pretty sure she’s just laughing at me trying to wrangle the big kid. 

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See you soon! 

 

Happy BIRTH day!

Here’s how I know God exists:

“To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children” Genesis 3:16

He wasn’t joking.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Or at least the last place I left off.

The last month of pregnancy was challenging.

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My legs, ankles, and feet were swollen four times their normal size, my back and hips were in a constant state of pain, I developed a hacking cough, and I couldn’t sleep at all.

I could barely do anything at all because I was just so uncomfortable.

But I was comforted by the fact that it would be over soon.

I didn’t have any intuition about when the big day would be but I just wanted it to be AFTER my Mom got here.

We had arrangements made for Sadie, but I knew I would worry the entire time I was away from her unless she was with my Mom.

And a girl just needs her mom, ya know?

Thankfully she arrived the week before and all we had to do was wait for the big day!

I really slowed down that week.

It felt like all I did was sit (uncomfortably) on the couch or try to float my pain away in the pool (it didn’t work).

As the week progressed, so did my back pain.

Mom, using her spidey-mom senses, said that it was probably back labor and baby would be here soon.

I wasn’t so sure.

I had no other indicators other than extreme lower back pain.

By Wednesday night, the back pain became incredibly painful…..but at intervals.

Were these contractions?

Was this it?

I wasn’t sure but I started timing them anyway.

At one point, they got to 7-10 minutes apart so I decided to call the midwife around 1:00AM.

She told me it was still too early to come in and to take a warm bath and call back when the contractions (are they contractions??) got closer together.

Frustrated, I hung up the phone and crawled around the living room floor every time a contraction hit for the next 6 hours.

And then they stopped.

Like, nothing happened for the entire day on Thursday.

I spent the day in bed exhausted and wondering what labor really feels like, since that didn’t seem to be it.

When would this baby freaking get here?!?!

Like clockwork, the contractions started again the next night.

Knowing they wouldn’t bring me into the hospital until the contractions were 5-7 minutes apart and regular, I tried to ride them out at home.

I took 4,557 warm baths but the pain was becoming unbearable.

It was  still all in my back and felt like someone was smashing the back of my pelvis together with a vice grip.

All I could think of was the women who described labor as being torn in half, and I definitely didn’t have that feeling.

It felt more like someone was trying to crush my bones together for 30-60 seconds every 10 minutes or so for hours. 

When they finally got to 5-7 minutes apart around midnight, I called midwife again and described my pain.

Since I had zero abdominal discomfort, she advised it was still probably early labor and told me to keep taking warm baths and try to get some sleep.

I almost cried.

Instead, I got in the damn bathtub again but the pain was now excruciating.

I got in and out of the tub two more times before I couldn’t stand it anymore.

I had googled every possible labor related question 525 times in the last 24 hours and had an inkling that my water had broken.

(I’ll spare you the details)

This time, it was the wee hours of Friday morning and I woke John up and asked him to call the midwife again. I was in too much pain to even talk.

The midwife told us to come in to the hospital so I could get checked.

After the long car ride and longer walk through the  hospital, we finally made it to the labor and delivery floor.

They told me to have a seat in the waiting area.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

For the love of God, please just get me a bed and a  nice muscle relaxer!!

After an eternity, a nurse came to get me to check the progress.

A quick test revealed my water had in fact broken and I was 4 centimeters dilated.

They were admitting me to the hospital.

I can’t lie.

I felt sort of smug given the fact that the midwife thought I was still in early labor just a couple of hours earlier.

And maybe I was, but now it was really, truly time.

This kid is coming today!

YAY!

They set me up in the delivery room we got down to business hooking up the IV and answering all the standard questions.

I finally got that muscle relaxer and felt a hazy, sleepy feeling wash over me.

After my muscles being in a constant state of tension for months and being in some sort of labor for two days, that muscle relaxer felt like the most delicious thing in the universe.

At that point, I was hoping that would be the only medication I needed for the remainder of the delivery.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I spent the next couple of hours falling in and out of deep, glorious sleep.

When I would wake up, I would wonder how much I had progressed and smile knowing that baby could be here any minute.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

After a few hours, the midwife informed me I was still at 4 centimeters.

She wanted to start Pitocin to get things moving.

Early in the pregnancy I was told Pitocin would not be used since this was a vaginal birth after c-section (VBAC) and it can increase the chances of a uterine rupture.

Now I was being told that it was perfectly safe at a low dose.

I asked the midwife if I could have more time to move around naturally and hopefully progress on my own and she agreed to give me an hour.

I bounced around on a birth ball and enjoyed a couple of episodes of House Hunters.

So far, this labor thing wasn’t bad at all!

I finally got some good sleep, was hanging out on a bouncy ball, and felt all nice and loosey goosey thanks to the muscle relaxer.

This was great!

Unfortunately, I didn’t dilate any further and they strongly recommended starting the Pitocin.

I reluctantly agreed.

Several hours later, the doctor checked and informed me I was only 2 centimeters dilated.

IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE??

And so began the increase in Pitocin until I was at the max dose several hours later.

So much for the minimal medication.

Why don’t you go ahead and top me off with some epidural?

K, thanks.

By now it was early Friday evening, and I was bored and frustrated.

It was hotter than Hades in the room and I had been there all damn day.

After that, all I can remember is watching all the HGTV and being irritated.

Could we move this along already?

Around midnight (nearing 30 hours of labor for those that are counting), the nurse asked me if I was ready to push.

Huh?

We can just start pushing whenever I feel like it?

Hot damn, let’s do this!

She explained how to position myself and how to do the pushing.

Ok, I got this.

This should only take 15-20 minutes, right?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA.

Oh, did I forget to mention that cut off the epidural an hour before that?

Apparently it can prolong pushing which they wanted to avoid because of the whole uterine rupture risk and blah blah blah.

So I was feeling all the feelings.

I didn’t care.

I could do this.

Holy crap, this was hard.

I don’t think I can do this.

It felt like I was doing the hardest workout of my life.

I was sweating profusely and panting heavily between pushes.

I was nearing exhaustion and we had only just started.

It felt like I was running a marathon that I didn’t train for.

We tried a few different labor positions, including one on my side, and I thought I was going to die.

It felt like someone was shoving a rod into my hip and for the first time, I felt like I was going to cry.

(Please proceed reading if you’re ready for some real talk)

Finally, I tried laboring on all fours and it felt like a tremendous relief.

The urge to push was more obvious and I could feel the baby in the birth canal.

The back contractions were still strong but now I was focused.

So focused that I ripped my IV out and didn’t notice the blood bath that was shooting out of my arm.

I had no concept of time.

I had no idea how long I had been pushing.

It felt like seconds and hours all at once.

And then all of a sudden the head was out.

I thought I had more rounds of pushing, but before I knew it, they were handing me a baby.

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I remember feeling this enormous sense of relief.

I had finished the marathon!

I was so, so exhausted.

All I wanted to do was lay there with the baby and rest.

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There was a little lingering pain, but I was mostly just tired and ready to snuggle this 8 pound 8 ounce purple faced nugget.

Things got lively after that though.

Overhead light were quickly flipped on and nurses were in and out tending to baby and me.

Then they called the doctor in.

Apparently I had a third degree tear that needed to be stitched up.

The doctor assured me that it was common and not to worry.

What they don’t tell you is how bad it freaking hurts for WEEKS after you TEAR the most sensitive part of your body.

But, no problem, just need a stitch stitch here and a stitch stitch there.

After having a c-section with Sadie that had me sewed up from the inside out in less time than it took me to eat breakfast, I figured this would be a fast procedure.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

This is the stuff they don’t tell you.

They don’t tell you that your legs will be up in stirrups under bright surgical lights with all your lady parts on display for all to see.

And it took for-fricken-ever.

I swear it took longer than an entire c-section.

Doctors and nurses were in and out of my lady bits stitching, sewing, assessing, and reassessing for what felt like hours.

You might be wondering why I’m telling you this.

BECAUSE NO ONE TOLD ME.

I was naive, or maybe just hopeful, that the pain ends when labor ends.

There is so much that happens to the body after birth that I’m convinced it could be the next birth control method that should be taught in high school health classes.

Everything was so, so, so swollen (thanks 24+ hours of fluids and birth trauma) that I hardly recognized myself.

It was difficult and incredibly awkward to sit, stand, or walk.

Going from the bed to the bathroom was an exhausting undertaking that required skilled maneuvering.

But it was cool because VBAC recoveries are sooooo much easier than c-sections.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Recovery was so much more painful and took so, so much longer than I expected.

The thing with c-section recovery is that they give you really, really good drugs.

The only thing I got this time was some crappy ibuprofen that kind of,  sort of dulled the pain.

And the pain lasted lasted for weeks.

My naivety had me believing I would be back to normal activities after a few days (like with my c-section) but the reality is that at five weeks postpartum, I am just now starting to feel human again.

The hardest part was feeling like I was too tired and too sore to take good care of my kids.

Sure, I could sit (uncomfortably) on the couch and nurse, but I felt like I had nothing left to give my 2 year old (who turned two four days after her sister was born!)

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THANK GOODNESS for family that swept in to save me.

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They cooked, they cleaned, they played endless games with the two year old, and provided me with the time and rest I really needed to recover.

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Which gave me time to focus on keeping the new bundle alive.

It took a lot of time (literal and written) to get here, but we could finally celebrate this little nugget!

THE STATS: 

NAME: Reese Adeline 

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BORN: 6/17/17 at 1:47AM

WEIGHT: 8 pounds 8 ounces

LENGTH: 20 centimeters

SISTER TO: Sadie Jane 

HAIR: Lots of dark hair

DISPOSITION: Angry at the world for being too cold and too bright.

PARENTS: Feeling blissfully blessed, loved, and complete.

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And since it took me so long to write this, here’s your one month update!

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LIKES: Fuzzy blankets, staring at the fan, snacking all day long, and binge watching tv in the middle of the night.

Dislikes: Being hungry.

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And, finally,  here’s how I know God is good:

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world-John 16:21 

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WELCOME HOME REESE ADELINE!

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s the Boss?

Me: Are we there yet?!?!?

Baby: No. Ask me one more time and I will turn this uterus around. 

Me: Can you at least vacate my right rib?

Baby: I don’t do negotiations. 

Me: You’re grounded.

Baby: I’ve effectively grounded you for the last eight months. 

ME: ONE MONTH TO GO……… 

Pain in the……

Pregnancy has literally become a pain in the arse.

With Sadie, I was able to exercise normally and regularly right up until her scheduled c-section.

That included lots of walking, yoga, and even 5 mile hikes on the weekend.

With this nugget, a 20 minute strength workout and a short dog walk has me laid up for days.

My back, legs, and glutes are literally on fire.

I feel like I’ve run 10 miles at the end of each day.

It’s so frustrating!

So here are the things that count as exercise now:

Walking up the stairs.

Walking up the stairs with a 23 pound toddler.

Walking anywhere (slowly)

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Construction WorkIMG_2347

Swimming

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Hunting for Easter Eggs

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Having a stomach bug (“burned” a lot of calories that day!)

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Gardening (I hear it’s a great workout!)

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Walking the beach

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Nesting Cleaning the Garage (5 hours of manual labor)

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I can tell that you’re wondering why these photos of me “exercising” don’t actually have me in them.

It’s called a partner workout.

So shut it.

I also wear a weighted vest all day to increase the muscle burn.

Just kidding.

I just carry around a bunch of extra baby weight.

Speaking of baby, she’s apparently all snug in her home.

Heartbeat ticking away normally and kicking Dad when he tries to hug me.

At 36 weeks, we’ll start checking to see if she gets into position or stays stubborn breech like her big sister.

8 months!