Monday, December 23, 2013

The pajama pants from you-know-where

Last year I sewed some matching pajama pants for my husband and daughter.  I meant to sew some for me too but didn't buy enough fabric.  Andrea has LOVED these pants and whenever she sees her daddy wearing the "owl pants" (they have owls on them) she begs to wear hers as well.  Sadly, those pants had some flaws and fit issues (to short and a little snugly in the nether regions) because I didn't use a pattern.  Also, Andrea has all but outgrown hers.  So, this year I thought I would give the whole matching pajama thing a second try.  Using a pattern.  And buying SIX full yards of fabric.

Silly me.

So far, these pants have been nothing but blunder after blunder.  I partly blame it on drowsy sewing.

Public service announcement: Kids!  Do not try this at home!  Falling asleep while a sharp needle rapidly pierces in a downward motion in a close proximity to your phalanges is not smart!

(Climbing off soap box.)

The first of my serious of rather egregious errors was the same mistake I made last year.  I didn't buy enough fabric.  Six yards probably should have been eight.  But unlike last year, I did not want to go with out matching pants again, so Paul and I spent an evening strategically positioning patterns, planning proportions, and pinning the purple panels.  And after much patting of backs and praise, I began cutting.  Sadly, mistake number two was waiting in the wings for its grand entrance.  I cut out Andrea's back leg panel inside out.  When I discovered the blunder I cried out in horror because at this point I'm starting to have deja vu of the pants of yesteryear.  Paul shook his head in shame as I reasoned with myself.  "It's okay," I said.  "These pants were going to be really big on her anyway.  I may not have extra fabric but I can slim these puppies down and cut out a new smaller panel out of the inside out one.  Yes, that's what I'll do!  Precious."  I mumbled like Gollum.  Imagine creepy Gollum hunched over purple owls.  Now add some more hair.  Brown.  Long.  And put clothes on him.  There.  That's what I looked like, wide eyes and all.

When I (assumed) that problem was solved I began sewing and in the process learned that I had cut one half of my pants way too short.  Pajama pants in the front; capris in the back. I considered turning them into shorts right then and there, but I really, really wanted warm PANTS.  I dug through the tiny scraps and managed to get two strips of fabric to add to the bottom.  The owls were sideways but I thought a nice decorative ribbon would make the blunder look intentional. However, when I went to sew the pant legs I discovered that I had not properly lined things up and the decorative ribbon at the bottom didn't match up at the seams and spiraled around my ankles.  Too lazy to unpick and recut, I sewed in a strange side pleat and moved on with life.

My pants (albiet ugly) were nearing completion so I tried them on only to find them to be HUGELY too big and uncomfortable because I thought I was a size that I wasn't.  Apparently, I not only have sewing issues but body image issues as well.  Fantastic.

I needed a break from those horrid pants so I turned my attention to Sam's, which after sewing one seam it was apparent that they were far to small.  I tossed them to the side because I didn't have the energy to deal with that problem.  Besides, his pants were low on the priority totem pole.  I decided to revisit Andrea's.  After sewing the inseam I slipped them onto Andrea's legs, and much to my horror, the revised pattern I used to solve the inside out panel was far to skinny.  They were also too small for Sam.  I again gathered those few and precious scraps and pieced together panels to add to width to the waist and legs of the pants.  Once those were pinned and sewn in place I asked Andrea to try them on again so I could determine how much fabric was needed to turn under around her ankles.  "I don't want to wear those pants," she said flatly.

"Andrea!" I gasped.  "But these are your owl pants!  They're for Christmas.  Don't you want to try them on?"  She again refused which prompted some water works. . . from me.  Because if the three year old I was going to all of this trouble for and spending all this money on didn't even want her pants, THEN WHY WAS I WASTING PRECIOUS BRAIN CELLS AND MOMENTS I COULD HAVE USED FOR A MUCH-NEEDED NAP?!

I have temporarily abandoned the pajama pants from you-know-where.  They are tossed in a corner, collecting dust while I contemplate suicide finishing them.

Next year I'm just buying everyone matching pants.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A scary story


Last night Andrea asked for a scary story. "I want a really scary one," she said. "I can take it."  I gave her a long look. This is the girl who's afraid of The Little Mermaid, and not Ursula either.  She rarely makes it that far in the movie because she finds the storm and King Triton so frightening.  But she looked up at me with her daddy's eyes so how could I say no?   I told her a story about a monster (monsters are scary, right?) who she insisted we call Tiny Tim (too many Christmas movies for that girl).  Little monster Tiny Tim lost his button collection (because what is more frightening?).  His brother had hid them under the bed (I figure under the bed is also on the list of more terrifying things in this world).  Tiny Tim's mom made his brother sit in timeout for taking Tim's buttons (timeout is torture, and what is a scary story without a little torture, amiright?).  Basically, it was the most horrifying thing I'd ever told her and she listened in wide-eyed wonder.  I left the room with a smile on my face because these are the moments I just love what I do.

We've had a lot of sickness at our house lately, hence the lack of postage.  Andrea had a cold that has calmly drug on for weeks.  Then on Thanksgiving Day, I noticed she was particularly ornery and complaining of some unusual symptoms which included pain while using the bathroom.  By evening there was blood in her urine so I took her to the doctor the next morning.  The poor girl had a UTI which explains why she woke up six times that night to pee.  And Sam, my darling son, who still wakes up every two hours, slept for seven and a half.  It was a little miracle sent from a loving Father in heaven who knew I would have my hands full that night.

(He's back to waking up every two hours, thanks for asking.)

Now my little five month old has caught Andrea's sniffles and likes to utilized the healing powers of his mother's arms for relief.  Strangely, I haven't been feeling as smothered lately by the constant stimulation of my children's touch.  Another miracle.  I've actually been enjoying some extra time with Sam.  He's been hitting all sorts of milestones at once.  Sitting up, babbling actual sounds like ma, ba, na, da, la, etc., and pushing up to hands and knees (he's actually been doing this for about a month but whatevs).  I can't wait to see what he does next.

Ooh, I hear him waking up.  Gotta go.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Keys

This month I took my car in for it's yearly safety and emission tests, and I failed both.  Don't be jelly of my skillz.  (That's how the teenagers talk.)  Anyway. . . in order to pass these tests and renew my vehicle's registration, I was forced strongly advised to get new tires for my car, which you can imagine was an unwelcome expense just before the Christmas season.  Thankfully, my father helped me call around and find tires that were within my budget.  What do you know?  Walmart had the best prices.  Whut whut!  (Again, trying to keep my teenage reader interested.) 

Yesterday, after Sam's morning nap and snack, I packed up my children and drove down to the nearest Walmart with a tire shop.  When my car was checked in I bought some lunch, and Andrea and I wandered the aisles of Walmart for two hours drooling over baby Christmas clothes, kitchen gadgets, and all things Dora the Explorer.  Andrea even helped me pick out some presents for her daddy.  This excited her so much she began pointing out everything that made her thing of Paul and begging me to buy them so she could practice wrapping.  Nice try kid.  She did, however, convince me to surprise Daddy with some holiday flavored Oreos with the hope that he would, you know, share with her.

With new tires installed on our little blue Neon, I buckled my baby and then my preschooler and we drove home listening to Andrea's favorite songs.  (Want U Back by Cher Lloyd and Just Give Me a Reason by P!nk, in case you have a child looking for some hip jams.)  Half an hour later I pulled up in front of the house.  Sam was starving and beginning to fuss.  Andrea was ready for a nap and begging to go potty.  I pulled the groceries out of the trunk and just as it latched shut something shiny caught my eye.  It was my keys fading into the darkness of my locked trunk.  My brain shut off and panic took over my body.  I ran around to the driver's seat and pulled the trunk release.  Nothing happened. I ran to the front door and twisted the door knob.  It was locked.  I bolted to the back yard and yanked fiercely on the back door.  Also locked.

I had to keep reminding myself to breathe as I walked back to the car.  Once Andrea was unbuckled she ran to the porch.  "I have to go potty!"  She reminded me.

"You need to hold it, Honey!  We're locked out of the house." I hollered back as I pulled out my phone to call Paul.  He didn't answer.  I tried again.  No answer.  I left a desperate voice mail before searching the internet for his office number.  Unfortunately, the battery on my phone was almost dead and my search was not going well.  Andrea continued to dance around in a rather suspicious manner so I promised her one of Daddy's cookies if she could just hold it a little longer.  She sat down in the grass with an Oreo in each hand and her complaints turned into quiet smacking.  I returned to my internet search but the panic I'd been feeling began to mount as that battery icon flashed.  The last thing I needed was to be locked out with two little children far away from family and friends and no way to contact anyone.  Did I mention I still don't know any of my neighbors?

With tears streaming down my face and the state of my daughter's bladder weighing on my mind, I called my mom.  As I relived the events of my afternoon I felt something wet on the arm I had wrapped around my son.  A yellow streak confirmed that his diaper had leaked onto his clothes and me.  Andrea finished her cookies and began to dance again.  While my mom googled Paul's work she asked me if the back seat of the car could fold down.

Why. Didn't. I. Think. Of. That?

I ran to the car to check and, sure enough,it did.  Holding my poopy boy under one arm I started pulling out car seats so I could crawl into the trunk and paw around in the dark for my keys.  When they were safely in my hands a wave of relief came over me until a little voice again requested a trip to the potty.

While we only sat outside the house for about twenty minutes, it was a rather exciting and unpleasant twenty minutes.  Memo to me:  Keep yo' keys in yo' pocket, you cray cray foo.  (Translate that if you have a teen in your life.)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Complete

I know that last post was kind of a downer.  I don't want anyone thinking that I don't love Sam.  As challenging as he can be, I wouldn't trade him for anything.  I love how he's giving me so many experiences.  He's so different than Andrea and that was immediately evident.  From the moment he exited the womb he was calm.  There was no wail or piercing cry to announce he's entrance into the world.  There was a gentle silence as he looked and studied the blurry faces around him.  Every nurse at the hospital was in love with his sweet spirit and gentle temperament.  And generally, he's still like this when he's rested.

He's so affectionate and cuddly. Andrea did NOT like to be cuddled.  She still doesn't most of the time.  Sam, however, loves to be held.  He loves to hold my fingers and gently run his hands on my skin as I nurse him.  He willingly rests his head against my chest and sleeps when we walk through the grocery store or to the playground.  When I kiss his face he almost always smiles a big open-mouthed grin.  He giggles when I kiss his neck and threaten to eat his fuzzy ears.  He tries to eat my nose kiss me with those drool-soaked lips, and he searches for my face whenever I'm not in his immediate vicinity.  I know Andrea loved me, but I KNOW Sam loves me.  It makes all of this exhaustion a little easier to bear.

Years ago, I stood in my bedroom getting ready to leave for work.  After I brushed my hair and put on my makeup I turned to leave the room.  As I turned I saw a little boy run past me.  Startled, I glanced around to spot the intruder, but the room was empty.  Though I was unsure how to interpret what had just occurred, I was sure of one thing. There was a male spirit connected to me, and I felt as though it was one of my children.  From that moment, I began to long for a son and a chance to meet that spirit again.

When I found out my first pregnancy was a girl I was excited but also a little sad.  I wondered how long I'd have to wait for my son.  I think that made the miscarriage more difficult because I felt so strongly that baby was a boy.  As my body rejected that vessel I became very upset because I was playing the waiting game again and unsure if my wait would lead me into eternity.  But the moment Sam was placed in my arms I recognized his spirit and knew I was finally holding that boy that had visited me years before.  For the first time since the day before May fourth, I felt whole.  He's definitely one of the loves of my life.

Andrea made me a mother, but Sam made me complete

Thursday, October 10, 2013

PPD

When you're out in the world you may run into a mother who's ventured out with her new baby. You may say hello and ask her how life is with a new baby. She may hesitate to answer as she ponders the question because it's been three months+ since she's gotten any sleep and at least four days since she's showered. Spit up adorns the shoulders of her shirt, and her hands are thankfully washed clean of the poop she had to rinse from a onesie after a rather explosive bowel movement. At meal times she searches through the fridge for food she can eat one handed rather than something nutritious. Dinner times are getting later and later as cooking with a baby draped over one arm proves very difficult. Her body seems to shift and morph everyday as it peaces itself back together from nine months of growing a child, and everyday she sees a new image in the mirror. She never has a moment to herself yet she's never been so lonely. She loves her child so much it hurts but by the evening she finds herself so overstimulated and overwhelmed that holding her child almost repulses her and her breath is labored by the battle her muscles face to hold on regardless. She cries herself to sleep because she dreads another night of six or seven trips out of bed to calm the restless infant. Some days the little smiles and soft snuggles are not enough to balance the hormonal ravaging she endures in her mind that bring about so much guilt and shame. She loves her child but wonders when life will feel manageable again. Some days she feels like tearing her hair out because the disconnect between her body and mind make her feel unbelievably crazy, and no matter how much she tries to make sense of all her thoughts she just can't.

In a split moment all those things flood her mind. . . She smiles tiredly and answers the question with a quiet "Good."

If you bump into that new mother you might just have bumped into me. I'm a currently the poster girl for overtired, overstimulated, postpartum depression mothers everywhere. My sweet baby boy who used to sleep for six to seven hours stretches at a time decided to stop sleeping. It began during my stint with mastitis so I chalked it up to replenishing my milk supply, but after a couple weeks I gave up hope my old normal would return anytime soon. Every night I average 2-3 hours of sleep and each consecutive day of child-induced insomnia I become more haggard and depressed. Every day is like swimming through mud.

Because Sam is sleeping so poorly, my sweet and chill little baby has turned into a fussy fellow with a hair-line trigger. I spend most of my day holding him, especially for naps  Then I spend my night in his room rocking and nursing him back to sleep. Because I have essentially no breaks from his constant touch and presence I'm so overstimulated that being touched (by anyone) has become physically uncomfortable. Sunday evening Paul took a turn holding Sam for a bit, and when he tried to hand him back to me I had a full-blown anxiety attack. I couldn't breathe, and between my gasps for air I sobbed.

Sunday night, after being drugged* with gripe water throughout the day, Sam only woke up three times. Monday was wonderful.  Sam played on the floor, napped in his bed,  and hardly fussed. I felt relaxed, happy, rested, and desperate to eat my deliciously sweet baby in the most affectionate sort of way. Andrea finally got some attention from her mom and got to play with her best friend/brother who happily allowed her to hold his hands, hand him toys, ask him questions, and repeatedly rub his head.

Monday night he woke up five times. The next night it was six. Last night I lost count. How I wish every day felt like Monday.


*I gave him the recommended dose, don't worry.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bertha

Because Paul works for an AT&T dealer he gets a pretty sweet deal on phone service.  However, much to his embarrassment, we've been locked into a T-Mobile contract.  Last week, however, our contract expired and he was able to get a new phone with his employers.  I opted to stay with T-Mobile (the deal he gets doesn't cover spouses) and inherited his old phone.  It's my first smarty-pants phone and I got very excited to delete all of his stuff and make the phone my own.  When I noticed how cheap phone cases were I begged Paul if I could buy one.  He laughed and agreed because he knew Andrea would never accept my ownership of his old phone unless it no longer resembled his old phone.  Right away I knew what case I wanted.

Zebra print.  Yeah baby!

You see, the inside of my purse is zebra print, and although my old phone was blue, I could never find it in there.  Occasionally, I would dig and dig and dig through the contents without any luck spotting that blue phone only to call it and find my purse vibrating.  Embarrassing!  But it didn't seem to matter how much or how little sleep I got, I could never find that dang phone.  Pardon my French.  So I'm trying a bit of loosely-defined reverse psychology.  I figure if I couldn't find a contrasting object, I should make the object blend in.  Now that my phone bears the same print as my purse lining I have yet to lose it.  It's actually easier to find.  Who knew?

Lastly, I think the zebra print adds character.  I've named the phone Bertha.  She's an older phone and reminds me of a spunky senior with tacky animal print glasses.  I am loving her!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Storage solutions (part 2)

Last time we delved into the reality of my storage situation I shared part of my solution for the miscellaneous knick knacks previously housed in a linen closet.  But that was only part of the problem.  Not only did I lose a linen closet when I moved here, but my laundry closet went from a horizontal format with lots of high shelving to a vertical format with no shelving.

At Lowe's I found this pantry rack and thought it was the perfect solution.

Paul hung it on the back of the door and I fell in love.  It perfectly fit all of my laundry needs as well as extra hygiene products for the bathroom.  Once I could take these products out from under the sink it freed up some much needed space for towels.

And we have a lot of towels.

Another place we lost storage was the master closet which is a bit smaller than our last one.  Paul put together some wire shelves which we placed high in the closet to take advantage of the nine foot ceilings on the second floor.  Paul also made a tall, vertical shelf and a dresser to house all of our clothes that we use to hang up.

On the back of the closet door we put some hooks for our towels and bathrobes since the master bathroom only has one towel bar.

Our previous apartment had a built-in bookshelf by the master bedroom for books and media, and we had a coat closet for games.  When we moved here we bought some cabinetry from Ikea for our TV that gave us a place for most of these things.

The best part is that most of it is behind doors so we can keep the Rowbabies from making too much of a mess.

Because the DVD's are now above the TV, the shelf that use to house DVD's now houses books.

Another change we made when we moved here was remove most toys from the living room.  I was getting so tired of staring at the toddler clutter in our apartment that I decided to make Andrea's bedroom the main home for toys.  However, I knew that she wouldn't just want to play in her room all day, so next to the media cabinet is a basket for Andrea to put toys she's brought downstairs.  When the basket fills up we take it back upstairs and empty it.  There's also a secret bucket of toys under the couch.

We also have a little nook that we plan on turning into a office area.  So far we've added this cabinet.

It's mostly a home to office supplies and some of the pots and pans that don't fit in the kitchen.

I have a plan for those pots and pans though.  I've got a plan and it involves this wall.

Our old apartment had a row of hooks by the front door that I used for aprons.  We put another set of hooks on the pantry door to store these things out of sight.

It's been so nice to have homes for most of these things and to have them out of sight.  I worried that I the storage situation here would be horrible, but with a little creativity Paul and I have found lots of solutions, and I love living here!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mastitis

This weekend I battled the mastitis monster.  In the entire year that I nursed Andrea I never fell victim and knew little about it other than it was an infection in the breast.  What I discovered this weekend is that the infection is accompanied by a fever of over 101 degrees, convulsive chills, drenching episodes of sweating, aching muscles, a migraine headache, weakness, and skin so tender to touch that my own hair felt like needles.  Thank heavens it struck on a weekend when Paul was home to help me.  I'm happy to report I'm on the mend and think I've identified the cause (a new bra) and can hopefully avoid another infection.

So while I get my health and life back in order, please enjoy a couple of pictures of my children that make me smile.
Sam's first trip to the pool

Frosting goatee

Andrea photography

More of Andrea's photography

And more of Andrea's photography (what can I say?  She's got talent.)

Sleeping Sam

Sleeping Andrea

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cruel

Tonight I hosted a little family dinner.  My parents and siblings ventured up to my little house and I fed them a surprise dinner.  Chicken and waffle casserole and flourless quinoa cake with avocado frosting.  Everyone ate in silence.  I knew the lack of comments meant something was wrong.  Apparently, I seasoned the casserole with an herb my dad hates.  The cake was good, but different, especially the frosting.  You could taste the avocado, and although I had not mentioned the strange ingredient in hopes no one would notice, people began asking questions.  After the plates were empty, I revealed all and received some rather unexcited looks.

What have I done?  I thought.  They'll never come have dinner with me ever again. . . .

It was so good to have them here though.  It was fun to see them sitting on my couches and playing with my children.  I've become so accustomed to packing everyone into the car and spending family gatherings living out of a diaper bag that being in my own home where everything is familiar was actually relaxing.  And I love my new home so much and having it filled with people for whom I care so much felt almost sacred.  It made me want to establish my home as a gathering place.

But after tonight's dinner I may have blown my chances.  Oh, why did I plan such a strange menu?  Why did I have to be so cruel?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bonnie and Clyde

Growing up, my mother use to scold me and my older sister for fighting.  She would say, "You two need to love each other!  I always wanted a sister, and if I had one we'd be best friends."  There was one thing Janell and I did agreed on.  We were pretty sure that was utter nonsense.  If she had a sister, they, too, would fight.  A lot.  Being friends with siblings was just not possible.  Then, years later, my little sister unexpectedly weaseled her way into my affections, and I suppose she proved my mother right.  Tessa and I are Bonnie and Clyde.  She's my other partner in crime.  She's my best friend.

This summer I had my second child and three weeks later moved to Salt Lake City.  These events brought about some lifestyle changes.  There are no more daily trips across a park to see my sister.  She doesn't pop over to play with Andrea and watch our favorite shows together.  We can't walk to the grocery store and drown sorrows over a 30 cent soda on hot afternoons while talking about celebrities and my bodily functions.  Because I have children and am a full-time milk-making machine, Tessa and I don't get much alone time even when I do venture down into her valley.  I miss her a lot.  This last week, through a series of text messages, I began to see how hard this move and my child bearing has been on her.  Though her difficult and messy teenage years her best friend hasn't been able to spend countless hours at the mall with her.  She hasn't been able to join her for concerts and fan girl Zain Tomlinson Styles.  She's not available for frequent weekend sleepovers and late night nail painting.  She's at home scraping boogers off the walls and wiping poopy bottoms.

Watching me mother has even inspired Tessa to wait a LONG time to have very few children.  I guess I don't always make motherhood look very glamorous.  But there is something I want her to know.  Even though I don't enjoy cleaning up throw up or scraping feces out of panties, frequent night wakings make me feel like I'm losing my mind, and I've yet to find anything that compares to the emotional strain my children put me under, this is the best job in the world.

Where else could I receive daily eskimo kisses, hear Andrea's little voice calling my name, view Sam's cheesy grins, and consume such fine dining (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches)?  Where else could I feel the satisfaction of cleaning and dressing my little brood?  And when everyone is clean and calm, there is the joy of reciting from memory an entire collection of children's books over the noise of toddler giggles and baby coos that can't be found in an office somewhere.

Then there is after bedtime when the house is dark and quiet.  It might seem strange that one of the things that I love about motherhood is shutting my children away in dark rooms and sitting by myself with a tall drink of apple juice.  However, there is an indescribable feeling of accomplishment at the end of a long day that comes from keeping two people alive.  Especially when those two people have done everything in their power to provoke homicide.

This little family of mine is hard work, but I know what I'm doing is valuable beyond measure.  I wouldn't give up time with my sister for anything less important.  I hope some day she'll understand.










And something tells me thirty-something miles may make our escapades less frequent, but I don't think it can kill our craziness.

(I hope Andrea will be a good babysitter to repay Tessa for the countless hours she's performed that service for me.  And that way Tessa and I may actually be able to do some child-free activities in the distant future.)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Storage solutions (part 1)

I've mentioned before that our new house lacks a linen closet.  One of the first things I did when we moved here was find a place for all of the miscellaneous things once stored in the rather massive closet in our former apartment.  I purchased an over-the-door shoe bag organizer from Wal-Mart for about ten dollars.  I hung it on the back of the utility closet under the stairs.  I was super impressed by how many things I fit in this thing.

Across the hall from this door is a little powder room.  I managed to put extra hand towels for that bathroom in the organizer.  I also got quite a few cleaning products in those slots.  Notice I put them up high and out of the reach of my two year old.  Since taking this picture I've added Fabreeze and Magic Erasers to the list of things that can fit in these pouches.

 This door opens like so, revealing my secret storage.  And when I shut the door. . .

 It disappears and is conveniently out of sight.

Because there are chemicals hanging on the back of this door, as well as the furnace and water heater in this closet, I've taken the added precaution of putting a lock on the knobs just in case that two year old gets curious.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The neighbors

I'm loving our new house. Being able to put my children asleep upstairs and have the whole main floor for my personal whisper-free use is heavenly.  I've cleaned the kitchen, listened to music while singing along rather loudly, and watched my share of Netflix (not turned down to volume levels only discernible by dogs, mind you).  And once we kick that son of ours out of our room, I'll being able to sleep a little more soundly as the groans and moans of my decrepit mattress will stop waking up this paranoid mama.  But there is one thing that I actually hate about my townhouse, and surprisingly, it's not the lack of linen closet (although I'm still getting use to that).

I'm struggling with my neighbors.

Before we moved to this valley I was excited to meet new people, make new friends, and study the city folks.  Alas, the people here are less than friendly.  Aside from the first week of church where no one would move over for the new family standing awkwardly in the back (aka us), I've found almost all of the people I've encountered living in my complex to be, well, rude.  After living here for a few days, we were approached by the lawn guy and asked to not walk on our grass for three weeks as the sod is new and still taking root.  Since that day, we have noticed streams of people marching though our little plot of earth, taking their garbage to the dumpster (which is in front of our house, not behind).  People walk by so often, Paul and I have started seeing people who aren't even there.  One evening two women stood outside our back window and carried on a full conversation.  How rude!  You would never see this in a traditional backyard!  They call that trespassing.  It's illegal.  I suppose because I don't have a fence my lawn is game for the convenience of my neighbors' garbage runs.  Good to know.

The second horribly rude thing that we've been victim to is pinched parking places.  We have one officially reserved parking place.  It is clearly labeled with our house number.  I have come home multiple times to find someone parked directly in front of our sign.  Obviously the person who parked there is not blind, otherwise they have no business driving.  My husband doesn't seem to care.  We can still park relatively close to our house in an unmarked spot, but this is not about parking to me.  It's about respect, and so far, our neighbors and their guests have demonstrated a complete lack of it.

Paul has given me permission to place some diplomatically-worded notes on windshields if this persists.  I've already conjured some ideas that convey several different approaches.

Kind approach:
To the driver of this vehicle: Please refrain from parking in spots assigned to specific tenants.  Thank you.
To the driver of this vehicle: Next time you visit, kindly direct your vehicle to visitor parking.  Thank you.
Mean approach:
To the driver of this vehicle: Park here again and I'll call the cops!
To the driver of this vehicle: I hate you!  Park here again and DIE!!
 Passive agressive approach:
To the driver of this vehicle: Thank you so much for assisting me in my goal of daily exercise by allowing me to carry my screaming toddler, my newborn in a car seat, diaper bag, purse, and a weeks worth of groceries exactly one invigorating block as you are in my assigned parking spot just steps away from my front door.  My biceps and quads thank you.
Sassy approach:
To the driver of this vehicle: Since it is apparent by the sign in front of your car that you have moved into my home, I'll like to extend a hand of welcome.  Also, I'd like to confirm that your rent will be $400 a month (utilities included).  If you'd like to decrease this amount you may share a room with one of my children and assist them in their nighttime wakings.  This will reduce your rent to $200 a month.  Another way to  reduce your rent would be to STOP PARKING IN MY FREAKING PARKING SPOT!!!  Let me know which option appeals to you most and I'll try to be as accommodating as possible.  Thank you!
Hopefully things get better soon.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Some SLC firsts

Night number one in the new house: I sat on my bed in my second story bedroom high above the quaint street below. My back nestled into the green pillows, and Sam nursed eagerly. Sun light streamed through the panes of the windows and warmed the skin on my arms. It felt like magic, soft and tingly. Such romantic scenes weren't possible in our gloomy basement apartment. My shoulders slumped in exhaustion and my feet ached from the manual labor of moving, but my spirit soared from joy and negated any physical discomfort. Between the solar energy dancing about my room and the soft infant in my arms, my eyes closed automatically as if savoring a gentle kiss. I opened them again and tried to memorize the unfamiliar silhouette of the Salt Lake valley mountains. Grey clouds rolled down from the north and drizzled light rain on the pavement. I stared down the street at the gabled roofs of my neighbors and felt transported to the stereotyped streets of suburbia England. Whistling the theme song from Harry Potter may have crossed my mind, but instead I serenaded Sam with a vintage tune from a soda commercial.

First shopping trip: After a few days of living in the new house I found myself without the internet I'd been promised. New to the area and with no smart device that could direct me around town, I was housebound until my husband came home with his phone. The refrigerator was empty and echoed when I opened it for a drink of water. The closest grocery store was a Reams a few blocks down the street. Although I'd never been to a Reams I was eager to check out my local options for supermarket excursions. With my Rowbabies safe in the arms of my husband, I ventured out alone so the motherhood fog about my head could clear. My blue car pulled into the Reams parking lot, and I surveyed the building. It was short, small, and old compared to the Orem stores to which I was accustomed. But it had produce and milk so I stepped into the shady lot, locked the car, and hurried inside as a light sprinkling of rain fell from the deep gray clouds. Once inside, the smell of decay weaved its way into my nostrils, and a bearded stranger eyed me grumpily. I was oddly comfortable as the outdated d├ęcor and elderly employees reminded me of the small towns of the Midwest. This was a jewel inside the big city, and as I picked out berries for Andrea's breakfast I felt my mouth pull up into a smile.


First breakdown: Thursday morning began with a slightly feverish toddler who refused to eat breakfast. A hour later she began to complain of some nausea. I sat beside her, with a nursing newborn in one hand and a barf bowl in the other, praying her stomach would hold until I could put Sam down on the floor. When he finished eating I laid him on his play mat and tried to address Andrea's needs. I fought the urge to call my mom. I stopped my fingers from texting my sister. What could they do forty miles away? No, I was alone-- alone in my pseudo-British community just down the street from a small town store. All the charm in the world could not erase the homesickness that was attacking my lungs and constricting my airways. While Andrea and I sat on the couch snuggling away “the pukies” I choked back tears and asked my little child if she would say a prayer with me. We knelt on the floor and through an episode of ugly blubbering I begged Heavenly Father to help my child feel better or give me the strength and ability to properly care for both of needy children. We said amen and the blue eyes of my sweet toddler penetrated my soul as she studied my face. She smiled a crooked grin and hesitantly asked, “You happy now, Mommy?” And leaning on her perfect faith I was.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Thoughts

I wish I had the words to articulate my current feelings about life.  I sometimes try to explain them to various people but as the words exit my mouth I'm already thinking, "No, that's not quite right."  The mounting frustration over the inability to express has caused me to stutter more than I'd like to admit.  I have very few moments of quite reflection and, depending on the intensity of my hormones and the amount of sleep I've had, the mood of the moment varies greatly.

Right after bringing Sam home from the hospital I sat on my bed nursing the newborn.  I stared down at his beautifully fuzzy noggin and sweet, pink cheeks and was sideswiped by a desire to never nurse again.  Apathy filled my chest and I didn't care about the benefits of breast milk or oxytocin or the calories burned.  I just didn't want to be sharing my body with anyone anymore.  Call it claustrophobia or postpartum depression, but whatever it was, it felt like I'd been shocked by a taser.  Stunned and confused, I pulled the thought down for analysis and worried it around until I felt confident enough to discard it.  I kept nursing.  I'm still nursing.

On the second of July Paul was late coming home from work.  I knew that the holiday would mean extra load of auditing duties for him that week, but I found myself annoyed that I had to be home alone with the kids for so many hours.  Unable to get my two week old to nap I spent the afternoon carrying around a crying infant while the two year old begged me for food, affection, and a little peace and quiet.  When Paul walked through the door and spent a whole minute opening the mail before relieving me of the hysterical baby, steam whistled from my ears and the pressure of holding back a snippy comment caused my temples to ache.  Meanwhile, I took that snippy comment and, like a scientist, tested it for rationality and reason.  When the results came back negative for both, I took a deep breath and blew the remaining steam out of my mouth as I forced the ugly thought into my mental trashcan.

Most days I feel this disconnection from my thoughts.  It's as if they are being placed there by some hormone fairy with a twisted sense of humor.  Yet, the amount of effort required to combat these cognitions is almost more than my sleepless self can handle.

Tomorrow is moving day and between packing, crying/attention-starved toddler, hungry and wailing baby, and all of the coordination required to insure appliances, a truck, and helping hands, I think I might have a meltdown.  Wish me luck!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Baby

Samuel Paul Rowberry
Born June 19, 2013
7 lbs 10 oz
20 inches long

Delivery was short and recovery has been easy.

I'll write more later.  I'm currently taking it easy, for once.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Four

There is nothing like writing to soothe my soul.  Unless I'm suffering from lack of inspiration.  Then there is nothing more frustrating than trying to concoct coherence from my thoughts.  This is how I feel at this moment.  Incoherent.  Frustrated.

And impatient.

You see, I made a mistake.

I made this mistake once before back here.

I swore then I'd never do it again because I'm too self-aware to be put back in that situation by my own consent.  Then I found myself at my midwife's office, undressed from the waist down, waiting for a lady with a kind face to examine parts of me that no person should ever have to examine.  "My goodness!" She exclaimed as I laid back on the table.  "You are already dilated FOUR centimeters!"  My heart floated out of my chest.  Four centimeters?  That's nearly halfway, I thought.  With my first pregnancy I was already admitted to the hospital before I reached a four.  As my hopeful heart drifted back down into my self so did a sweet hope that by the end of the week I'd be holding my baby boy.

That night I had a panic attack.  I had not packed the hospital bag.  I still hadn't sewn crib sheets.  I had no mattress for the crib.  The house was a mess.  I wasn't ready.  I tried to sleep away the worry but was awoke several times to the fear of my water breaking in bed.  Feeling too fragile to move, I laid in bed until the pain of my position prompted a very slow shift to my opposite side.  Paul shifted as well, placing his pillow over my face and readjusting his head above mine.  I gently pushed him away and gasped for air as my head emerged from beneath his pillow. I hate night time.

The next morning and every subsequent morning after I crawled out of bed, aches and pains wracking my body, and made a rush to the bathroom as usual.  As I washed my hands I looked at the mirror and see visible relief and disappointment in the creases of my forehead.  I had made it through another rough night, but I was still pregnant.

Today I let them check me again.  Still four centimeters.  Four stupid centimeters.  Four centimeters of false hope and agitation.  I may have finally learned my lesson.  I'm never letting them check me again.  Emotionally, I can't handle it.  I let you know next week if I hold on to my resolve.  Unless, of course, I actually deliver this baby before then.  Fingers crossed!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Homeless and homesick

As I observe progress on our townhouse the impending move is beginning to seem more real.  I've started purging, organizing, and making purchases (shower curtain, hooks, rod, etc.) for soon-to-be-occupied rooms that lack basic necessities.  The more I look at videos and pictures of my future house, the more I emotionally detach from my current domicile.  Yet, my future house is still not complete and having not slept underneath it's roof or broken in the oven with a good batch of cupcakes, it does not feel altogether mine yet.  So, while I have a current and future residence, I find myself feeling just a little homeless.  Emotionally.  Sentimentally.

A couple of weeks ago my mother went back to the Midwest for a work conference.  While she was there she was able to visit her family in Southern Illinois.  Hearing about her experiences visiting graveyards, being trapped at the grocery store while tornadoes threatened outside, and being caught in a Midwest torrential downpour that makes Utah's storms laughable has me feeling rather homesick for the place of my childhood.  I often see pictures of my cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandmothers, and feel so isolated from their world by this Rocky Mountain divide.  I yearn to go back.  Perhaps being on the cusps of delivery (13 days till my due date) my pregnant instinct is to return to the place of my birth where I found so much joy and comfort, hoping to pass on such pleasantries to my son.  Or maybe it's just because I feel homeless.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Hey June

May has been a long month.  Between potty training and a lack of school work to keep me busy, I'm spent many sore hours waiting out my days for the month to end.  June comes with promise though.  Promise of a new house, new baby, new trials, and my 24th birthday.  I feel like I'm staring down tomorrow with anticipation, dread, and utter excitement.  My nesting instinct (sorta) kicked in today, but due to the sheer exhaustion and soreness inspired by my watermelon belly, my attempts at organization have led me to spread chaos wherever I go while throwing away things I probably shouldn't.  Heck, I'm ready to throw it all away and start over.  There are so many things I packed away when I got married that I thought would prove useful and sentimental that even survived the move to our current apartment almost three years ago.  Now I'm glaring at a toy mouse, hamster eraser, and a Pocahontas cassette tape (just to name a few miscellaneous items) wondering what possessed me to pack these around for so many years.  I didn't even remember I had them!  Out they go.

I'm also fighting the urge to discard the majority of Andrea's toys as I'm sick of picking them up/tripping on them.  Because of the pain I've been experiencing in my hips and lower back, bending over has become rather cumbersome and I admit to staring down an object cast carelessly on the carpet for days before gathering up the strength to actually pick it up.  Yes, I blame it on pain, but there is another factor that comes into play.  Grunting.

Why don't books and websites mention this rather embarrassing manifestation of maternity?  As I shift and move throughout the day, my uterus presses on my diaphragm and out of my mouth emerges some rather strange noises.  It very much reminds me of when Pinocchio is turning into a donkey and heehaws sporadically.  I may or may not have even woken myself up in the middle of the night by a hefty grunt as my body rolled from one side to the other.  You can imagine the noises that tear from my throat as I attempt to tidy the living room.  Andrea, the ever-enthusiastic helper than she is, has started to imitate me.  She spots a block placed precariously on the rug and begins a series of contorted moans as she bends slowly to retrieve the yellow square.  She stands up quickly, her mouth spreading into a wide grin, and runs to the bucket that houses blocks.  She proceeds to toss in the toy with another token "ugh!"  When she's had her fill of grunt cleaning, she climbs onto the couch and rather matter-of-factually states, "My hips hurt.  I just sit here for a little bit."  I join her because, well, I'm out of breath, a little embarrassed, and my hips think that couch looks mighty comfy too.  She looks up at me with those deceptively-innocent blue eyes before scanning the half-picked up living room with pride.

Sigh.  The girl is too adorable.  What am I going to do when a second pair of eyes looks up at me with that same honesty and purity?  I fear the heat of June and my boy's baby blues will have me completely melted before July.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Andrea says. . .

I am so amazed by some of the things that spew out of my two year old's mouth.  This month has produced these little gems:

Andrea: [After kissing Paul goodbye in the morning] No!  Daddy doesn't want a kiss from you!

Andrea: [After pulling up in front of our house] No!  I don't want to live here anymore!  Grandma's house!!!

Andrea: I need to go talk to Daddy.  No, Mommy!  Don't come.  I need to do it myself.  DADDY!  I made three plops! (Plop is the sound poop makes, fyi.)

Andrea: Mom?  What nice thing should I say it of?
Me: What?
Andrea: What nice thing should I say it of?
Me: What does that mean?
Andrea: What nice thing should I say it of?
(I finally figured out she was asking how to say something in a nice way.  We need to work on her grammar. . . . .)

Andrea: Mom! I have a booger!
Me: A booger? Do you need a tissue?
Andrea: No, don't worry. I ate it.
Me: Oh! We're not suppose to eat boogers. They are for tissues.
Andrea: But I liked it!

Andrea: [After following me to bathroom during the early stages of her potty training] You can do it, Mommy.  Be brave.  I hold your hands while you make pee pees because I'm a superhero.
Me: Thanks, but Mommy isn't afraid to put her pee pees in the potty.  Using the potty is fun!
Andrea:  No, it's not fun!  It's scary!  Give me your hands.
(She's finally stopped making me hold her hands every time I use the restroom.)

Andrea: I need something else with my cheese. (Translation: I have no intention of eating this cheese.  Bring me something else)
Me: No, please eat your cheese first.
Andrea: But, it's been sitting a little while.  It's kinda hard.  I go throw it in the trash.
Me: No!  It's fine.  Step away from the trash can.

Andrea: Mommy, you taking your mighty-yums? (Translation: mighty-yums=vitamins)
Me: [As I pour a spoonful of fish oil] Yup.
Andrea: What's that mighty-yum?
Me: It's fish oil.
Andrea: Fish oil?  Fish oil helps baby Sam be smart like me?
Me: Yes, it's helps his brain grow.
Andrea: My head has oil all over inside.  So much oil, want to see?

It's so hard not to just laugh at her all the time, especially when she's completely serious.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Bad romance

Paul and I have never been the kind of couple to sit and stare into each others eyes over a candlelit dinner while cupids swooped around our heads.  Our idea of romance is putting Andrea to bed and watching Next Generation reruns on BBC while we snack on Cheerios we dug out of the couch.  Although I believed I was perfectly fine with this definition, after last night's anniversary date I'm beginning to wonder if we deserve a bit more than this.  You see, last night's date was not only the celebration of the fourth anniversary of our nuptials, but it was also the annual renewal of our awkward love and nontraditional romance.

For our first anniversary, Paul asked me months in advance if I'd like to go to the restaurant where we held our wedding luncheon.  I thought it was an inspired idea.  Shortly thereafter, I found out I was expecting our first child.  When the day of our wedding anniversary arrived I not only had been scheduled to work an evening shift but was also deep into the morning sick phase of pregnancy.  Not wanting to ruin the day for Paul, I told him we could have a lunch date and I was sure I could handle going out to eat.

For the record, I could not.  We sat in the lobby waiting to be seated, and the spicy Mexican-scented air twisted it's way into my nose and became trapped in my throat.  My gag reflex triggered and I coughed inconspicuously to relieve the sensation.  Paul looked at me with those sweet, concerned eyes.  I smiled back, but could tell I was fooling no one.  A waitress called our name, showed us to our table, and took our orders.  She poured some horchada for us to drink as the chefs prepared our meal.  The cinnamon essence was soothing to my nauseous stomach, and I drank it slowly as if it was the last beverage I would ever consume.  When my beef enchilada was casually slipped beneath my nose and the steam began to rise in my nostrils I picked up that glass of horchada and began to gulp vigorously, begging my stomach to settle.  The waitress brought me a refill.  I took alternating swigs of the sweet rice milk and small nibbles of the beef.  When the waitress returned to refill my glass again she glanced at my hardly eaten meal and asked if everything was okay.  I explained my pregnant predicament and she graciously boxed up my food and sent us on our way with a large to-go cup of horchada (on the house).

Our second anniversary fell on Mother's Day.  It was not super romantic.  It wasn't really even about us.  We focused on our mother's and ignored our anniversary.  And I bought myself a hot glue gun.  Again, my idea of romance.

Last year May 8th arrived just days after I had my miscarriage.  I was still experiencing some bleeding as my body purged itself from the no-longer living tissue.  Also, my mom went in for surgery that morning, so despite the fact we had a babysitter for Andrea and a scheduled date, the mood that evening was melancholy.  I don't remember what we did or what we ate, but I remember sitting in the car and crying as Paul held my hand and listened.  This, I'm sure, is what every man dreams of for an anniversary date.  You are welcome, dear husband.

That brings us to this year.  Our anniversary was on Wednesday, but without any available sitters we celebrated on Friday.  My mom came to my house to keep on eye on Miss Tinklebell so Paul and I could escape to Salt Lake.  Despite my attempt to ward of car sickness with some tried-and-true Dramamine, the A/C in Paul's car decided to cease working, and I was nauseous before we made it to the freeway.  I spent the next half hour fighting back the lump swelling in my throat, but when we pulled on to the off-ramp close to our under-construction townhouse, a bus belched some putrid exhaust that was promptly sucked into the car and blown into my pregnant nose.  I felt my mouth get hot and came to an unpleasant conclusion.  I reached behind my seat for the bucket that typically sat there but found nothing.  "Pull over," I said through clenched teeth.

"What?" Paul hollered over the radio and blasting air.

"Pull over as soon as possible!"  I pinched a pressure point known to help nausea as I tried to stall the eruption forming in my esophagus.  The car rounded the corner, and just a block from our soon-to-be home I purged the entire contents of my stomach in the gutter.  I know, queen of romance.

Happy Anniversary, Paul!  Stick with me, and I promise many more anniversaries laced with tears and puke.

 On a positive note, we got see progress on our townhouse!  So excited!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A little honesty

Two days ago my mother-in-law called and asked how potty training was going.  "Today. . . was not a good day," I sighed.

"Say no more," she said, relieving me of the burden of reliving the tragic events.  "I wish I could offer some advice but I actually have no memories of potty training," she added.  No memories?  How is that possible? I thought about that for a while.

When I got pregnant the first time and was morning sick, mothers reassured me that I would forget the trauma of pregnancy and delivery.  I'd be aware that it happened, but my body would release the trauma during the final stages of labor.  Otherwise, very few women would repeat the process.  I found this to be absolutely true.  I remember being sick and nauseous and achy, but when I read back on blog entries I wrote during that first trimester I am shocked by how much I seem to have forgotten.  My mother-in-law's insight has given me hope that potty training, like pregnancy, delivery, and a sleepless newborn, is a trauma my body will forget.  That way, in two to three years time when I have a little boy ready for diaper liberation, I can again tackle this feat without a full-blown anxiety attack.

When I started this blog four years ago I was a newlywed, suffering (in denial) from medication induced-depression, and wondering why I didn't feel like glowing and giggling all the time like the other newlyweds at work.  I tried to put up a front for a while because I was afraid exposing my fears and weakness would result in a confirmation that I was alone in those thoughts.  After all, every blog I followed at the time was full of roses, pictures of picnics, and long declarations of love for perfect spouses, marriages, and lives.  Sometimes I resented those blogs for lying and not exposing the trails of life alongside the blessings.  I made a decision to avoid negativity but to also be honest about life as a wife, employee, student, and mom, and the highs and lows that came from transitioning in and out of certain roles.  I hoped someone would read my words and feel less alone as a few of my raw and unglamorous notions resonated with their current perceptions.  I prayed that they could find comfort in some of the places I found comfort so their burdens could be lifted a little.

I've sat down many times to write out some of the disheveled details of the ugliness sweeping through my apartment so parents potty training by the book who don't see consistent success in a day, three days, or even a week will know they are not alone.  Parents who realize their battle in the bathroom with a three foot tall pillar of stubbornness has become about power and not poop need to know they are not alone.  But I can't be that voice.  I'm hoping to forget this experience someday, and have no desire to relive it by writing about or reading back on it in the future.

So to conclude this chapter of trauma I will say this: potty training is still a work in progress.  I made it to a point where I thought Andrea and I were both so traumatized that I put her back in diapers so we could heal our relationship before we try pushing this at a later date.  That lasted about twenty-four hours before she peed in the potty to show me she could handle big girl undies again.  I'm trying to be patient and Andrea is trying to be brave.  We both are learning, making mistakes, having successes, but we're doing it together.  Hopefully, the final result will be deeper love and understanding for one another and consistently dry panties.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Lucky to be cute

(Sorry in advance for the negative rambling that's about to ensue.)



Potty training rocked my parenting world beyond what I expected.  I mentioned in my previous post that day one was full of messes but day two was vast improvement.  Day three was accident free, but frustrating.  Each time she told me she had to use the potty, she would sit on the potty for an hour before she'd finally relieve herself.  Additionally, she realized that as long as she was in the bathroom she had a captive mommy audience.  If I tried to start dinner, load the dishwasher, fold laundry, or use the bathroom myself, she would suddenly declare that she had to go potty, and the next thing I knew I was sitting across from her for an hour waiting for a tinkling noise.  If I suggested returning to the living room and trying again in a few minutes she would assure me that she was indeed about to pee.  "Fine!" I'd conceded  and then we'd sit longer, singing songs and putting on miniature productions with various bath toys.  By the end of the night I realized she was playing me like a violin because despite the fact that she only relieved herself three times, she had trapped me for six hours in our tiny bathroom!

I decided day four to start setting a timer.  If Andrea felt the need to potty, we would go in the bathroom and sit for a certain number of minutes.  If she couldn't produce any bodily waste during that time we'd take a little break and try again later.  I wanted her to know that we could still play together in other rooms in the house and she didn't need to use the bathroom as a means of stealing my attention.  This move backfired.  Instead of increasing her success rates and reinforcing what she was learning, it became a battle for control.  She refused to use the potty, and when I made her sit on the toilet to practice she'd scream until she was gagging.  When she was calm and it was time to get off she would start screaming again.  Unfortunately, these fits were not limited to the bathroom.  If I asked her to wipe her face after a meal, read a story with me, dance to a song on her favorite show, or eat the apple she begged for, a fit was sure to follow.  She felt out of control-- I could see that, but I didn't know what to do about it.  I tried to explain that potty training meant she would be in charge of her own body, but my words fell on deaf ears.

Day five was worse.  I couldn't relax for a minute as I nervously watched for Andrea's "potty dance."  No matter how many times I sat her on the toilet, she began finding creative places to relieve herself once she was out of the bathroom.  Although all the books and websites I read said to remain calm in the face of accidents, I no longer felt like she was having "accidents".  She was having "on-purposes," and I began to take it personally.

Saturday morning I went grocery shopping without Andrea.  She was devastated   Paul explained that she couldn't go to the store until she used the potty.  While I was gone she used the bathroom for the first time in three days.  Paul said she came to him without any prompting.  That ended up being the first of many successful toilet trips that day.  I kept dancing around the house as if these successes signified the end to a rather emotional week.

Today I was pulled back down as Andrea had only made it to the potty once, had one accident, and mostly just refused to pee at all.  It seems each day her attitude changes so drastically that I don't even know how to handle her anymore.  I'm so frustrated I keep breaking down and wishing I could run away.  It could be hormones.  I hope it's hormones.  I'd like to think were I not eight months pregnant I'd be feeling more level headed.  But for whatever reason, I hope Andrea and I figure this out soon because I feel like I'm drowning in a yellow sea of inadequacy.  That girl is lucky to be cute.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Things that start with the letter P

Potty, panties, pee, poop.  That's what we've been dealing with at our house lately.

Andrea has been talking about using the potty for months.  At first she would mention it while watching me go, then it transformed into contempt for her diapers.  After every diaper change she would tell me how twisty the wretched thing was and when I'd mention big girl Dora panties it seemed to give her hope that her discomfort was coming to an end.  Despite her constant pleas for panties and demands for no diapers, I kept putting off potty training because of my schooling and all of her sicknesses.  At least, that's what I kept telling myself and others.  Last week I wrapped up my finals, and all that talk I'd done caught up with me as questions started arising from friends and family.  Monday, I committed.  Monday I will pull the trigger.

I didn't sleep Sunday night.  I was not merely nervous for potty training but absolutely dreading it.  Because I have a strong-willed little girl I was acutely aware of the potential battle ahead of me.  Additionally, I have control issues and I knew that a lack of diapers meant placing my security and control into the hands of a 28 month old.  This, more than anything, scared me the most.  If she was using a big girl potty I could no longer take her on errands adventures anytime I felt like it.  If she soils herself in a diaper I have the option to change it at my convenience   But now. . . I'm going to have to be aware of public bathroom locations (*shutter*), which are places I personally avoid if possible.  I'm going to have to figure out ways to convince Andrea to use toilets other than her own.  I will have to constantly watch the clock to give her periodic reminders and figure out ways to minimize public accidents.  And if I do all of these things, I still will not be in control!  I will walk the aisles of Wal-Mart staring at Andrea's little face, watching for the moment where I will be cleaning up a mess or running to restroom.  I live with enough anxiety that I wonder if I can handle one more worry.

I laid awake for hours Sunday night thinking about all of this until I told myself to focus on getting her trained at home first. Monday morning I got up with two hours of sleep under my belt and began the process.  After one accidental poop in the potty and a whole lot of peeing in her pants, day one felt like a bust.  This morning was painful.  Andrea continued to have accidents, and I was starting to lose my mind.   Every time I found myself scrubbing pee from the carpet I wondered what I was doing wrong as a mother.  I thought with all of her enthusiasm for panties she'd be doing better than she was, so it had to be me who was messing things up.  When she woke up from her nap and I heard her little voice on the baby monitor I burst into tears.  I just didn't want to keep going.  Then I retrieved her from her bed to find her nap pull-up dry.  I put Dora panties back on her and we proceeded to have three successful trips to the potty.  I danced and sang and cried and rewarded her for each success.  Her triumphs were my triumphs too.

Now she's asleep and I'm trying to have positive thoughts for tomorrow!  I think we can!  I think we can!  I think we can!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A belly picture and the RhoGAM

I can't help but feel rather big these days.  I've received a few comments about how small I look for how far along I am.  Such comments make me laugh because, well. . . see for yourself:

Me right now at 31 weeks.

Me with Andrea at 40 weeks.

Lumpy belly for the win.

Two weeks ago I went to the hospital and did my glucose test (which I'm assuming I passed since no one contacted me about the results).  I also got my RhoGAM shot for my negative blood type.  Positive and negative blood types don't mix, so women with negative blood types can potentially create antibodies to attack a fetus with a positive blood type.  Since Paul has a positive blood type there is a 50/50 chance each of my children could be positive as well.  Every time I am pregnant or miscarry I will have to have this shot to keep my body from potentially killing my babies.  Lovely, huh?  My great grandmother was RH negative and lost three of her four children, so I'm extremely grateful for this technology that makes my own pregnancies less stressful.  However, there is one downside.

If you've never had a RhoGAM shot I'll let you know they shoot you in the tush.  A sweet nurse comes into a room, kindly asks you to pull up your shirt a bit and then pull down your pants.  She directs you to lean over a table or bed and then. . . POKE!  The pain is very slight, but then she puts on that dreaded band-aid which you get to rip off later in the comfort of your own bathroom.  That part always hurts worse than the shot.

My first RhoGAM experience was a little awkward.  I was taken into a bright exam room.  A wall of windows greeted me, and the mid-afternoon sun streamed in to calm my nerves.  The nurse entered the room and had me lean over a table overlooking the picture window and front lawn of the hospital.  "Alright," she said sweetly.  "Let's just get your pants out of the way."  I tugged at my layers of clothing until I had exposed what she was looking for.  I leaned back over the table and my eyes met a mother and son approaching the hospital.  The boy stared at me with terror, probably wondering if he was going to suffer the same fate.  Distracted by the embarrassment of being on display during a rather personal moment, I barely remember the shot itself.  Next time I'll ask them to close the window, I thought.

The second time a RhoGAM shot was administered to me was the day I miscarried last May.  After spending the afternoon being poked and prodded and crying in waiting rooms, I was finally sent to the hospital for the dirty deed.  I was taken into a long hallway with curtained stations.  The nurse asked me to expose the appropriate spot, and while she swabbed and prepared the injection site I attempted some lightheaded small talk to ease my own discomfort.  "Yeah, RhoGAM shots aren't that bad," I casually commented.  "If it were up to me I'd get all shots in my--"  I didn't have time to finish the sentence because at that moment I felt the nurse stab me so carelessly that I actually jolted forward.  She quickly bandaged the injection sight and then threw opened the curtain as she walked away without a word.  I tugged at my clothes and tried to cover myself as a male nurse or two walked past.  Paul repositioned himself to allow me some more privacy during the re-tucking of all of my many layers, but he was not fast enough to save my pride.  I had just lost a pregnancy, was shot in the butt, and then mooned some strangers.  I insisted Paul buy me some chocolate on our way home.

For this pregnancy the RhoGAM experience was much more pleasant.  I managed to be in a real room with no windows and assigned a gentle nurse who allowed me all the privacy a person could ask for when getting a shot in the bum.  Andrea watch inquisitively but didn't seem too disturbed by the scene.  This is good because I passed down my negative blood type to her.  In twenty-someodd years she may find herself leaning over a table feeling a draft and a poke.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Are we there yet?

I'm taking a break from homework to blog a little because I feel like I'm losing my mind.  As I was showering this morning I felt the random urge to cry, and since I was essentially alone, (I'm never really alone as I live with a three foot tall peeping Andrea) I decided it would probably be a great release to allow some tears to mingle with the water running down my face.  It was rather exhilarating until I tried to resume singing which seemed to drag me straight back into sobbing episodes.  I thought it was perhaps my choice of music so I experimented with some Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree and Wheels on the Bus.  No matter how goofy the song, the results were the same: me singing/laughing/blubbering/looking like a fool.  I am so ready for this semester to be over.  Just two more weeks, I tell myself.  Are we there yet?

I have a list of things to do that probably spans from here to Denver, but I know until all of my papers are written, my biology assignments are submitted, and my tests have been studied for and taken, I am at the mercy of UVU.  And UVU doesn't care that I'm having a baby, planing a move, or taking care of a commonly sick toddler.  Nor does it care the the dust bunnies under my bed and behind the couch have names as they've grown large enough to become sentient life.

Wilbur and Helga
UVU merely wants me to rise the occasion, so that's what I'm trying to do.  Thank heavens for my hubby who has been super dad too many times to count. . . and for my parents for letting me steal a corner of their kitchen table for an occasional Saturday homework marathon.  Oh, and thank heavens for my little sister who, on multiple occasions, has arrived at my house for what she thought was fun and frolic only to find herself babysitting so I could take a test.  Opps.

As hard as this educational pursuit feels sometimes, I'm so grateful that I have the opportunity to study at a university level.  I have learned so much about the world and about myself as I've written papers about topics that challenged my views and studied societies that lived and believed differently from what I've chosen.  I've learned that several of my limitations are only concrete if I choose see them as such.  The efforts required these past two semesters have forced me to break through invisible barriers I had built for my personal comfort, and as I did, confidence began to replace fear.  I know that I have not had to do any of this alone.  Divine hands cared for me and my family.

Having said all that, I am still looking forward to taking a year off to regroup and rededicate some time to my home, that man I love, and my little Rowbabies.  I bet they are just as excited.