Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thankfulness

Last year I tried and mostly succeeded on spending the month of November writing each day something I'm thankful for.  It was an exercise to get me used to regularly blogging, and also very healthy for the soul to actively take time to appreciate what is good.

I've noticed on facebook quite a few people are repeating the trend this year.  Lord knows I could use the reminder.  With a husband who is TDY and now 2 opinionated, demanding, tantrum-throwing toddler/terrorists attempting a mutiny every day I have had significantly more time spent focusing on the bad.

But if you've also noticed it's 11 days in and I haven't made any posts. While a good number of my choices are strongly rooted in laziness, this is actually by design.  When I thought about trying to do it again this year, I really began to think what could I be thankful for. And November 2013 could pretty much be a carbon copy of November 2012.  Probably with the exception of Notre Dame football.  What happened this year, guys?

I'm off topic.  The point is I'm SUPER GLAD that this is my situation. As much as trying this experiment would be good for me, I'm quite content re-directing y'all to last year's life and saying "it's the same; guys! guys! it's the same!"

So much of our lives, as is with a lot of military families', is ALL. ABOUT. CHANGE. We've lived in more cities than years we've been married. We had a bonus babytm completing our first (and hopefully only) set of Irish twins. T has changed AF career fields 3 times. You see where I'm going here.

Things that have changed this year:
  • I now have 3 wonderful godchildren

  • I've joined MOMS club which is a lifesaver

  • Through that I've made some of the most amazing friends, including a couple more who have been unwittingly added to the "you are stuck with me for life" list

  • Women I love keep popping out babies that I get to snuggle and love and eat and think are the best ever.  And now Kinley & Caris are added to the group of babies that make my ovaries scream "moar babbehz 4 you!" 


Let's do this, next year! May we be in this same spot next fall. Because if I have to be "stuck" not moving forward, this is a pretty good spot to be -- full of warmth, love, and babies that aren't mine.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween

We spent this halloween away from daddy but we definitely weren't alone.  We crashed on friends' neighborhood for some dinner and trick-or-treating festivities.  Which, by the way, my kids were terrible at trick-or-treating. H was just sooooo slow and B only wanted to be carried or running down the street yelling 'aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh'.  But we had such a good time.



Everyone loved her Einstein costume.  And honestly the majority of people got it without being told.  I spent the first half of the night coaxing her into getting candy for B (read: me) and we spent the second half of the night with strangers not understanding her desire for more candy saying "I need B[****]'s candy. I need to put in his bucket."




Along the way we ran into a very special princess and also got hop into her house and meet her new little sisters!  I can't wait to get my hands on them for longer this weekend!!



(I don't know why I can't rotate this. Probably an issue with the import from my phone. 
Just turn your head.)


I do have to thank my friends.  It took 5 adults and 7 children to take me from a "I don't want to trick-or-treat or dress up or leave the house or deal with people or do anything other than sit here sad and lonely and frustrated" to having so much fun.  Before going to bed last night I saw their candy buckets.  And I just could not stop smiling. I was overcome by love for them.  Which is still a treat for me, from postpartum difficulties to getting consistently overwhelmed when I have to play the single mom role as I am now.

T is TDY.  H & B are a handful.  But we are loved. And looked after. And we really have the best people.


Plus I pretty much get an endless supply of cuddles from this little snuggly girl which is also great therapy!




Happy Halloween everyone!  Time for turkey :)





Wednesday, October 9, 2013

14 months, 3 days.


That's how old B was yesterday.


That's also how old H was when B was born.  I just cannot get over the difference between the kids.  I know, I know, I say ALL THE TIME how I'm amazed at their differences.  When I'm not talking about how I can't remember if they did something differently.

But I just keep thinking about if things were reversed.  If I had brought her home to him at this age.  I think I'd be in an institution.



Having them close together was not without it's challenges.  That picture accurately described me on occasion as it was.  But she's always been such a miniature grown-up, and when we brought B home she was much more a child.  He's still a baby.

The only thing they have in common it feels is that they both walk.  She had about 25 signs and was putting multiple ones together to tell us what she wants.  He only knows about 5 and it seems like he can only use one per day all day.  Everything on Monday was "all done".  Yesterday everything was "please".  I KNOW YOU'RE STANDING AT ME SAYING PLEASE BUT PLEASE WHAT!?!?

I just can't imagine trying to keep him happy and his neediness tended to while also having a newborn. H was so independent and communicative.  I feel like even though she was 1, we functioned as though she were 2 or 3.

I wonder if it's just because they are inherently different.  Or if it's due to the environment she had when it was only her.  I'm sure it's a combination of both.  And I'm sure I'm remembering this with the rose-colored glasses & clarity that come with hindsight.  I do remember not leaving the house with both kids by myself for months.  I remember the crying baby-toddler and the pooping newborn.  I remember the lack of sleep and energy and wondering when oh when will they be able to play with each other and leave me alone!?!?!?

Either way, I'm glad we're not bringing home a newborn into this situation.  And despite your best efforts, Kirin, it must stay that way.  Andrew & Alexis and Harper & Kennedy, too, for that matter -- although they are much less of a threat since I can't snuggle & smell them whenever I want.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

AF Ball

Last weekend, we attended the Air Force Ball.  I had never been to one before - only a handful of Dining Outs.  We love getting dressed up, and our last dining out was in '09 back at Wright-Patt.  That's actually where our bio pictures on this blog are from.  The tickets were expensive, but then we looked at the menu and there was going to be a MAC & CHEESE STATION!! Three different kinds of mac & cheese.  Wear a gown & eat fancy macaroni? I didn't care about the rest of the night, I was sold.  Plus T would be in mess dress which never hurts :).



We got a sitter and headed down to South Point Casino.  In years past, I guess it was at the Bellagio, but they were trying out a new venue.  There was still some kinks to work out, but we still had a great time.

There wasn't enough room in one ballroom so we sat in the back-up room and watched everything on screens.  The speaker was fine - a little on the boring side, but most at these events are.  They did incorporate everyone making a paper airplane




which was fun, but it turns out it was to throw at a cake and the one who came closest won a prize. We weren't even in the room so that wasn't happening, haha.

We ran into a couple we met during training back in Texas and sat with them & some people from their squadron.  We never really got to know them back then - she was finishing school & they don't have kids - but they always seemed really fun. They definitely didn't disappoint, and we laughed and drank and danced all evening.

The night was very similar to a Dining Out will all the formal business to take care of, but instead of people just making small talk and bolting after the meal, the booze flowed strong and the party was on!  They had a great cover band called The Spazmatics and the dance floor was hopping.



The party went until midnight and I hear they had to turn the lights on and kick people out! We ended up leaving about an hour early.  T had to drive us and he was getting tired.  I got halfway through my last glass of wine and hit a wall.  I needed to put it down and get to bed, haha.  We're definitely getting old, but we were happy with our choice when the kids got up in the morning.  Fortunately for us, the babysitter must've worn them out because they slept in until almost 8 the next day and we were grateful for that blessing.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Stuck




I can't believe I got here!  Although if you think about how long I've had this blog up, 100 is pretty pathetic.  BUT it takes 5 seasons of a standard TV show to reach 100 episodes so there's that.  It's all about perspective. . .




Anyway, I've felt like this post should be celebratory.  It's a milestone for a blog and I want to recognize it.  Unfortunately that means it's been sitting here in edit mode for weeks.  Putting everything else on hold because I can't publish another.  Then this would be 101.  It wasn't really stressing me out, but things are happening in our lives I actually feel like I could share and I can't.  Because this one was in the way.  And the more that happened, the more I struggled, the more it felt like this post had to MEAN SOMETHING.  When I searched for pictures and thought about it, the start was like 'okay no biggie, acknowledge the milestone, make myself laugh and get back to posts'.  But then it lingered.  Taunting me.  Why haven't you finished me yet, blogger?

Then, what to say?  I could talk about this.  Or that.  Or the other thing.  But then all of a sudden it was like but why is X event more special than Y?  Why can't Y be 100th post?  Is it fair?  I have to talk about both kids, I don't want to play favorites.

You get the picture.  Hope you enjoyed the little field trip into my neurosis.  Poor T.  I don't give him enough credit for navigating those pathways.  Usually I focus on how well (read: poorly) he tries.

The point is, getting stuck happens.  And a lot of people get like me where if your stuck long enough you just can't seem to get anything going again.  So I'm going to jump into Yesterday.  Yesterday was a bad day.  Emotionally, more so than actual stuff happening.



B has been having a rough time lately.  I want to say teeth, but it takes so damn long for them to break the surface from the time he actually starts the chewing & the excess drooling I feel like I'm wrong by now.  He's grumpy and constantly signing to eat but the refuses to eat anything we put down.  Even fruit lately.  So he's perpetually hungry, but not understanding he's the problem.  He's regularly on 1 nap per day.  But half the time he's choosing to make it 1hr or less.  So he's always tired, but not understanding he can also solve that problem.  There is a swell under his gums so there's got to be some pain some of the times.  And I know growing pains and all that.  The point is I don't know.  So I can't fix it.  And it's making me crazy.

H is 2.  Terrible Twos.  Enough said.  She really is a great kid.  But she's also sassy.  And defiant.  And bossy.  And pretty much anyone who's seen her a few times knows she can throw a tantrum like nobody's business.  Plus she loves me and that's awesome but she wants my attention.  All. The. Time.

T's hard drive crashed and lost some of our financial records, so after lunch I was trying to replace the last few weeks worth of stuff.  The kids were fine, as usual, until I need to focus on something else.  At 12:45pm, our playroom consisted of B bawling a foot away from me, me lying on the floor sobbing, and H crying while saying "Mommy, you need to calm down".  I scared her.  She told me all the things we tell her.  She told me to take a breath.  She told me I could go in the other room. I started to control myself and she said, "mommy I kiss you and you be happy."  Which only made me cry harder because it was so sweet and so so sad.

And then the I'm a terrible mom overwhelmed me. I lost my patience. I can't seem to comfort my son no matter what I try.  And I scared my daughter.  How do you move on from that?  How do you just pick them up and pretend like you didn't just lose your s-h-i-t?

By 12:50 we were all huddled in a snot-covered hugball in the middle of the playroom.

I think they've moved on, but I'm not sure I have.  I want to shrug it off and say "tomorrow is another day".  But I'm stuck. I want to be perfect for them. And I can't. And then I feel guilty that I can't.



Tomorrow is another day.  100 is just another post.




Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mr & Mrs. . .

We just got back from a little jaunt to Ohio to participate in the marriage of two wonderful people.  They were kind enough to ask me to be in their wedding party and I was really touched.  I mean, I was coming to the wedding come hell or high water but it was nice to be wanted ;-P

Due to changing of T's orders and training schedule we had to do some flight finagling and ended up coming in on the red-eye Wednesday night to Thursday morning.  The kids actually did a pretty good job.  B was not having any cuddles or sleep as long as the cabin lights were on, but as soon as we took off and and they dimmed it, he passed out!  H was in her car seat and it took her a bit to fall asleep, including me holding her hand sometimes.  I think she was just unsettled and a little scared.  But she slept through the landing and lights and everything.  I woke her up when I got her out of her seat and she rubbed her eyes saying, "I need to sleep, mommy".  It was cute.  But as soon as we got her walking with her monkey backpack and reminded her she was going to see Papa she was all chipper.

I slept for maybe 20 minutes on the whole 4 hour flight.  I have a hard time sleeping in the best of circumstances, so traveling with kids I wasn't expecting much.  T, however, can sleep anywhere so I sat in the middle and held B.  Every time I got close to dozing, B would shift or sleep spasm so I wasn't too rested.  My mom didn't have to rush into work so she played with the kids while T & I both napped.  She took 'em on a walk (and didn't lose Bunny this time, haha!).

We actually adjusted pretty well.  I ran errands (read: got a wedding pedicure among other quick stops) while the kids napped.  We took family pictures on Friday and then Saturday morning was off to Cleveland for us!  The kids stayed with Ming-ming on Saturday and then ReRe & DeDe on Sunday.


The wedding weekend started like this:


And it ended like this:

With a lot of fun packed in the middle!


We got there in time pretty much to go straight to the rehearsal. The wedding was at a historical society in their beautiful garden.  We did the standard rehearsal procedure and then headed off to Great Lakes Brewing Company for refreshment before heading out to the suburbs.



Katie had chosen to do their rehearsal dinner as a BBQ at her parents' house outside of the city and it was absolutely perfect!  The food was fabulous (good job, Anna!) and the atmosphere was really casual and relaxed - absolutely representative of this couple.  It gave the wedding party and families time to really meet and chat, which of course helps the reception be a better party because you know people.  Being a caring bride who both knows her groom well and loves him, she surprised him with a U of M groom's cake.
 
It started as a joke, but we all agree his face when he saw the cake was more priceless than when he first saw Katie, lol.  



Naturally, after he got over his shock, appreciation, and thank yous to his wife & mother-in-law,  the next thing he wanted to do with his Michigan cake was to shove it in my face.  Not just make sure I ate it, but force feed it to this ND alum.   Normally, I'd have refused to do anything with the cake just out of spite.  But it was his wedding so I obliged.  Plus it was red velvet.  




The big day began bright & early for the ladies up in their bridal suite.  We had hair & makeup come to the hotel, and again that was fabulous!  The other weddings I've been in, we've gone to the salon - including my own.  They were all lovely and very fun mornings.  But if I could do my wedding all over again, I would totally do this.  It was so convenient and we all basically got to hang out comfortably all morning.  After finishing getting dressed, I'd say we all clean up pretty nice! 



(thanks, Amy, for the picture)


Katie & Dave did a "first look" so they made sure to capture that moment and then we had time to get some pictures taken at the ceremony site before everyone arrived and the wedding commenced.  It was cloudy and rain was definitely moving in.  We got a little sprinkled before the ceremony, the clouds parted for 98% of the ceremony and the rain started as Bob pronounced them Mr & Mrs.  

I didn't get any pictures during the ceremony, obviously.  I thought T would have but he either forgot or wasn't in a good spot for it.  I'm going to cut him some slack and say he didn't have a good angle ;).  Afterwards, we got into the limo and drove around Cleveland for a bit to take pictures.  The rain mostly held off.  There was one downpour moment that the bride, groom & groomsmen got stuck in. 

(Another great shot I stole by bridesmaid, Amy)

The couple had an umbrella and the photographer had dismissed the bridesmaids back to the limo.  Ladies first and all that.  We all arrived back at the hotel safely, with lots of what I think are going to turn out to be fabulous pictures, and nearly dry.  The couple had their first dance, were nice with the cake, 

         


 and we heard the toasts.  There was the traditional MOH & BM toasts, of course.  But instead of a bouquet toss, Katie passed a bouquet down to her little sister & MOH.  She recently got engaged and is getting married next year so Katie passed down the torch. It was really touching.



And then, in full Miami fashion, they had a Green Beer Day toast.  It was really cute. 

    


With duties over & food in our tummies we were all free to kick back & party!  Enjoy some more photos and once again, Best Wishes & Congratulations Katie & Dave!!!!

Erin & me, pre-reception cocktail hour

we were all really rocking

This was meant to be a candid of getting to dance with the bride but then everyone posed. It's instinct at a wedding I suppose. 

We managed to nab a quick picture of the four of us. 

All during the picture taking, when the photographer wanted us to fake acting natural I wanted to stick my face in the bouquet. It smelled amazing, but I refrained for the professional shots.  So I made T capture the memory post-reception. 








Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Picnic Day!

So the stormy season is upon us out here in Vegas.  Or at least a stormy week.  But it's so nice!  Yeah, the humidity is a bit much now that my body has gotten acclimated to the dryness.  However, the temperatures are cooler, the breeze is up and the sun is covered up by clouds.  Plus I love love love the rain.  The smell & the sound is so soothing.

On Sunday, T came home from his midnight shift headed into his weekend and then leave for a wedding this coming weekend.  He decided he wanted to try and stay up a bit - have breakfast together, play a bit, then take a nap to get through the evening but keeping so that he'd still be tired to go to bed like a "normal" person.  We wanted to take advantage of the fact that it was breezy and 85 so we decided to have a picnic lunch.

I went to the grocery store to grab some quick sushi.  If you recall, H has been introduced and is a fan




But holy crackers, B can put away a roll like nobody's business!  He begs for our table scraps like a stray dog - even though he refuses to eat off his plate when it's the EXACT SAME THING.  I digress.  We found out that he loves sushi, too.  H is still pretty tentative about everything but the rice & tempura. But B will shove a roll in his mouth and grab his next one.






He ate 7 roll slices.  SEVEN!  The kids pack had 15 pieces in it.  We had 3 leftover at the end.  I love it!  It's just ask quick and easy as other fast foods, but healthier.  It makes me feel good about being too lazy to prepare lunch.  Rices & veggies & fish that my kids think is a special treat? Sold!  I'm hoping to go out to a Japanese restaurant with my parents when we're home for the wedding.  Maybe Papa seeing the 1 year old down sushi will give him the courage to actually try it ;).


Since our last picnic was Father's day and the pictures were all about Daddy, I thought I'd get in some this time.


After eating our lunch we decided a rest in the shady breeze was the obvious choice.



B & mommy selfie! There's too much technology these days.  Don't worry, I judge me too.  

Friday, August 23, 2013

Flashback Friday: Birth Story 2

A major event that I just sort of skipped over was B's birth!  Now, not everyone thinks that makes for good conversation, but in keeping things fair I told H's story here.  Last time there were no gory details, which I promised up front.  I'm sticking to that promise. . .  mostly.  But just how you shave your legs before every doctor's visit the first time, you care a little bit less with the next one. 

It was Sunday, Aug 5th.  My mom was arriving on Tuesday so she could be with H when it happened.  My due date was the 12th.  And at my check-up a couple days before I wasn't even close!  The doctor started discussing their induction policy for late babies -- this is how not even started I was. 

A little after 3 in the morning, I woke up, groggy, but really really feeling like I was going to pee myself.  So I made it to the bathroom.  But it felt different.  I remind you with Hailey, my water breaking was a tiny leak.  I wasn't even sure it had broken 5 hours later when we went to the hospital. So I tried to stop.  Advice from our Lamaze coach the first time was try to stop the flow.  If you can, your water is probably not breaking.  And I could.  Phew! False alarm.

False false alarm.  I'm just about back at the bed (in our tiny TLF, remember?) and it's like it happens in the movies.  T woke up pissed at Piper because he thought she was having an accident on the floor.  So we call fellow classmates who very generously offered to come take care of H if anything happened before my mom got there.  They came to our room with pillows.  Stephen was very happy the bed was still safe for sleeping, haha.

We got to the hospital and it was so much better than Wilford Hall.  They encouraged everything I felt comfortable doing instead of strapping me to the bed.  They did come in to monitor baby & my vitals once per hour.  But the rest of the time I was allowed to walk, use the birthing ball, use the shower, etc.  I was already in a better place.  Maybe it was because one of the midwives (Mary) was on duty instead of the doctors, I don't know.  I really liked Dr. Montoya at all my checkups, but in general midwives tend to have a more free-spirited approach to labor.

I wanted to try to go without medication, as was my wish before, but was unable to with H.  I had hoped without the Pitocin intervention & the freedom to practice what we had learned in Lamaze I could handle it this time.  Plus they say 2nd babies come more quickly.  When things got harder & toward the end of Active Labor they told me to come get them if I felt the urge to push.  I did.  They checked me.  7cm.

I held out for a little while longer and had them check again. 9cm.  They stayed in the room.  It was only going to be a few more contractions.  Hang in there.  At this point it was time for T to shut up because how in the ever living hell did he know if I was doing a good job?  The nurse & midwife were much more qualified to tell me that.  4-5 awful contractions later, still stuck at 9.  They were sternly telling me it wasn't time yet.  I would tear if I pushed.  Mary left, the nurse stayed.  I was crying.  I told her that I couldn't stop it anymore.  He was pushing himself out and I needed to help.  She looked and she could definitely see his head.  But I was at 9cm.  It seemed my body wasn't going or B wasn't waiting 1 more cm.  You'd think 1 cm wouldn't matter when the head going through it was 37 cm wide, but it was apparently a slight medical concern.  This part is probably the most TMI of the post.  I'll put it indented in italics if you want to skip it.
If he had forced his way through I could've severely torn it leading to intense bleeding and possibly surgery to fix it.  And destroying the chance to have another vaginal delivery.  So in her quick thinking, she reached up and gently pushed my cervical tissue behind his head. Now I was in the clear to push him the rest of the way out.

A few pushes later and he was out. 

I couldn't help feeling like a failure.  I know complications happen all the time which is why the caretakers are trained & practiced enough to adapt.  But I couldn't get over not being able to not push.  Not being strong enough.  The hospital staff sent a congratulations card with personal note from Mary & my nurses about my strength.  It might be a standard thing they write on every one, but it really made me feel better.  I still have it and I don't think I'll ever be able to throw it away. 

This time only took 12 hours, so cut in half from H's labor.   Let's keep this trend up for Clark #3 hopefully coming your way in 2015.  I think I can do 6 hours.  But I'll be up for anything because next time I'm getting all the drugs!  I'm glad I did it medication free.  I know myself and I know I'd always wonder what it's like and if I could do it.  So the unknown would be a regret for me.  But now that I know, I can 100% say it is not worth it. Any future birth plans will be: get that epidural and let the the doctors be your guide. 





Friday, July 12, 2013

Flashback Friday: White sands

I know I dropped the ball updating our New Mexico adventures.  So I thought to add some spice into our usual boring [as far as blogging goes] weeks - playdates, pool, errands & hanging around the house - I'd introduce Flashback Fridays!  This will give me the opportunity to share pictures and stories that have long since passed, and get me more excited about posting at least once/week. Here goes . . .

We did not take full advantage of all the nature New Mexico has to offer.  Partly because we're not really outdoorsy people.




Mostly because H was just around 1 and I was crazy pregnant.  So no, I do not want to hike up the mountain, k thanks.  But we were so close to White Sands National Park and we went there a few fun times!  We didn't go as often as others because it was summer and so hot.  See: 1 year old & huge pregnant lady.

We went with Jenn & Dan before they moved on.  We had a few BBQ/picnics with the other families in T's class, which were so fun.  We took a lot of pictures the first time because we weren't sure if we'd come back.  But then they offered free year pass to military members and we were able to go more often!  It was a good way to just get out of the TLF for a bit.   The sad part is we made these subsequent visits without taking hardly any pictures. 






We had a BBQ with other TLF families on 4th of July 2012





And a farewell BBQ with another couple before heading out of Alamogordo


As you can see, even Miss Piper got in on the fun








Love & Hugs