Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I had a baby!

To say I've been neglectful of this blog is quite an understatement. It's been nearly year, well really just over nine months. :) We went to Malta (which I still really want to blog about), we didn't die on the trip, our boys had an awesome time at their grammy and grampy's house, and we brought home a souvenir in my uterus.

She was born on January 25, 2014. Weighed 7 lbs 9 oz, and was 20 inches long. We named her Luciana Marie, a little nod towards where she came from. I've loved the name Lucy since I was pregnant with Simon but Lucy has become quite popular in the past 5 years and we don't like to do popular names, but I still really loved the name. For a while we thought we'd name her Lucia, I really loved Lucia Maria, but Steve was worried it sounded too much like a disease (thank you medical professional for making our baby's name into something like gonorrhea or diarrhea), and he really loved the name Luciana. It's a nod to where we got her: the place of her conception (possibly in Sicily, but definitely in Sicily or Malta), and to her heritage, Steve's family comes from Sicily. Marie is in honor of two things. One is a family friend and previous landlord named Marie who is just the most incredible woman and who took such good of her father, and amazing, attentive, loving, daughter. The other is a nod to Steve's moms family who is very, very, Catholic (so Catholic that more than one of her sisters has the middle name Marie as well as several aunts). I love the name. We do mostly call her Luci. Well among other things, for a baby that is only three and a half weeks old, she has racked up quite the collection of nicknames already. Luci, Luci lu, Lu-lu, Ve-luci-raptor, Luci girl, and Luci-fer (don't judge, this started while she was still in utero and I was having Braxton Hick's contractions regularly every night for weeks and she just wouldn't come!).

What I really wanted to post about though is the labor and delivery, the birth of my little girl. Before I forget it all, and there are so many things I know I've forgotten already, things I don't remember or know because of the pain, the adrenaline, because I had so much going on with my body I don't really remember it happening. So I'm going to do my best, and ask Steve to help me fill in the details since he was more mentally aware than I was. I was just very aware of the pain of it all. Just a warning: THIS POST IS RIDICULOUSLY LONG AND YOU PROBABLY WONT BE INTERESTED IN HOW DETAILED IT IS, but it's something I wanted and needed to record and want to be able to share.

So before I begin completely a little background information. With Simon I had a c-section. The recovery for a c-section really sucks. It's horrible. I didn't want to have another c-section. With Desi I thought I was very lucky to have a doctor that was supportive of a VBAC (Vaginal Birth after cesarean). She lied to us, and failed to even put in my charts that I was going to try to VBAC,we showed up at the hospital the night before I was scheduled for a c-section and I was in labor, luckily after the nurse taking care of me talked to the dr on call from the practice, he decided to let us try. The story about that birth is here: and a bit more here: I just realized that I never wrote a post telling the story of his birth.  I was able to have a successful VBAC!
My due date was officially Sunday, January 26th. (I really, really, wanted to have another VBAC. The recovery after having Desi was so incredibly easy it was really unfair. I tore a little bit, but not a lot, and the dr did an awesome job putting me back together, I even went hiking a couple days after he was born. I didn't want to have a c-section after finding out the ease of a vaginal recovery delivery.) Things were going really well all through the pregnancy. I switched to a new dr at a new practice. He was supportive and encouraging of a VBAC from the start and Steve and I both really like and trust this new dr. At one appointment I asked him if he would want to schedule me for a c-section "just in case" baby didn't come by the due date, he said nope, and that he'd let me go a week overdue with no worries because that is what ACOG recommends and he follows all their rules. I was feeling good about things. About a month before I was due he started doing vaginal checks at my appointments to check my cervix and all that stuff. Around this time he suggested scheduling an induction in case baby hadn't come by the due date. I started to get really nervous, I did NOT want an induction because it often leads to other interventions that often end up leading to a c-section. He wanted to schedule it for the 24th or 25th. It was the weekend before my due date, but for scheduling reasons, he was on call that weekend and would be able to be present for my entire labor. Red flags were going off for me, these were things that I had read about online where people say if your dr says these things they aren't actually supportive of a VBAC, the good ol' bait and switch. It turns out though that my dr actually was supportive of VBAC. My dr is one that wants to be able to take care of his patients though, not leaving them to be taken care of by whatever dr is on call from the practice, and not all the other drs are as supportive of VBAC as he is and might have tried to c-section me out of convenience. After much research, studying, and finding positive VBAC induction stories online I came to terms with the idea of an induction. I was still nervous, but feeling much more comfortable, and I really wanted my dr to be the one taking care of me. If I decided to wait he was off work Monday and Tuesday, and wasn't on call the rest of the following week either, so things weren't looking good for him to be able to attend to me in labor if I went to labor after my due date. Luckily, I didn't have to worry about it too much.
Sorry, that background was really long, but kind of necessary for me at least. So for three weeks before my due date I started having Braxton Hick's contractions every night pretty regularly, I'd go to bed wondering if labor would start that night. It never did, and it was really frustrating. It started to take it's toll on me mentally. I got really sick of people asking me if I was still pregnant, where was the baby, why was I still pregnant. I wasn't even overdue yet!  And I wanted her to be here, trust me, I was really uncomfortable and sick of being pregnant, and so anxious from those dang contractions every night. I started doing what I could to get labor started, looking up old wives tales, trying almost everything: evening primrose oil, raspberry leaf tea, pumping, walking stairs, etc. As my due date approached I got more and more nervous and anxious that she wasn't going to come before my due date, that I'd have to be induced, and that I'd have another c-section. I started to lose hope.
On the Friday the 24th Steve and I went to my dr one last time before my scheduled induction to see if things were progressing at all, and to have another chance to talk things over with him because I was so nervous. He was very kind and said if I didn't want to go through with the induction we didn't have to, but we decided to do it anyways. I was dilated 2 maybe 3, and 50% effaced, the three previous weeks I was dilated 1 maybe 2, so I didn't really take the dilation to mean anything, but it made me feel comfortable with the induction because I had a favorable Bishop's score (which basically means favorable cervix and very likely to have a successful vaginal delivery if induced). So we went ahead and agreed with the induction scheduled for the next day. Friday night/Saturday morning Steve ended up calling in to work so he'd be home and we could get things ready with kids and get to the hospital in time. Luckily he did this, because that night Desi woke up in the middle of the night with croup and Steve had to take him to the ER. They left about 2 am and got home around 5 am. At about 5:30 am Saturday morning I started having contractions! I managed to stay in bed and sleep between them until about 10 when I couldn't handle laying down through them any more. I timed them for a little bit but didn't really want to talk about them or tell Steve, they were about 10 mins apart, and starting to get uncomfortable, but after all the false labor I really didn't want to get my hopes. I tried to ignore it and didn't talk about them. I went downstairs and my dad asked if I was having any contractions, I said yeah, but not a whole going on, just like the previous few days where I'd been having false labor off an on pretty regularly. My parents, Steve, the boys and I all went for a walk and went looking for geocaches. We were out walking for a good part of the day, the whole time I was having contractions pretty regularly but was internalizing them and not wanting to tell anyone else. About every fourth contraction was getting painful enough that I'd have to stop walking and just stand still and focus through it. On the walk home from the park and geocaches Steve wanted me to time them so I did and they were 2 minutes apart. He was shocked because I was handling them so well. We decided we should probably start getting ready to go the hospital. We got home, Steve showered, I leaned on doorways and stopped moving for most contractions. I couldn't even go pee without a contraction starting and me being in pain and feeling like I couldn't sit on the toilet. I told my mom they hurt so bad that I couldn't sit down but I needed to pee, so I ended up getting in the shower and labored in there for a little while before I had to get out so we could go to the hospital. I really didn't want to get out of the shower, but I had to, because I needed to leave so we didn't have that baby at home. Steve's mom came over and got Desi (he had croup and was contagious and spent a couple days over there so he wouldn't get Luci sick when she got home), my dad stayed home with Simon, and my mom came with us/drove us to the hospital because I wanted her to be there and help because she had been so good helping with both of my other deliveries. At this time two of Steve's sisters dropped by not realizing what was going on and gave me a little present before we went to the hospital- they gave me cute slippers and matching pjs so I'd have something new and cute and comfy to wear while I was at the hospital.

We left shortly after 6 pm and got to the hospital at about 6:30, lots of nurses were heading in and we realized we were getting there right at shift change. Also, my contractions had slowed down a lot during the drive to the hospital, so we decided to walk around the hospital and get my contractions going more regularly again and wait until after shift change to head up. At 7 pm we headed up Labor and Delivery and got checked in. I had to sign some papers even though I had preregistered. Having a woman in labor sign papers is a bad idea, I managed my name okay, but put the date as September 26, 2013. I was totally confused and Steve and my mom were like what the heck, September, what are you thinking. I tried to explain that I was thinking that day because earlier we had been talking about how Desi had been born on September 26th and maybe Luci would be born on January 26th and they'd both have bdays on the 26th. It somehow made sense to me at the time, even though it had nothing to do with the date. The nurse told me to just sign my name and she'd fill out the rest of the papers for me. After that they got me into my room, I don't remember which number, maybe 214, that sounds familiar, but Steve does remember that he didn't like the room because even though it was one of the huge suites, it had been dedicated to a woman who died giving birth.

Around 7:15 our nurse Mila came in. We actually had two nurses, Mila was being trained, and the other nurse was moving their other patient from L&D to Postpartum. I was actually comforted by the fact that we had two nurses, not because we had two per se, but because we had one that was training which made me think they didn't think I was so high-risk with doing the VBAC that they wanted someone more experienced taking care of me. Also, they put me in the suite which is the room furthest from the OR, also comforting to me, because when we did the tour they told me I'd probably be in the room closest to the OR just in case. The nurses were a little disorganized. They drew blood from both arms, blew one of my veins, and got an IV started and also started me on fluids. They also got the Continuous Fetal Monitoring on as well as a blood pressure cuff, and pulse oximeter. There were cords and tubes everywhere and coming out of my gown all over the place. The nurse kept wanting me to get into bed, but I couldn't manage my pain through the contractions at all if I was sitting down and really needed to be standing. I labored by the bed for a long time and they even brought out a birthing ball for me to labor on.
Around 8 they finally checked me. I was really nervous for them to check me, I was terrified I'd only be dilated to a 4, if that much and that would mean I'd come to the hospital too early and should have labored at home for longer. I was dilated to a 7 (with a lip, which means almost all the way effaced except for on one side)! At this point contractions were pretty intense and painful, I also needed to poop, so I was able to unhook from the monitors and go into the bathroom and try to poop. It wasn't really successful so I went back out and got hooked back up and labored by the bed. I was starting to get tired of standing but it was the only way that I could effectively manage the pain of my contractions. At one point I coughed and accidentally peed at the same time, except I wasn't sure if I had peed or my water had broke so we called the nurse in and they thought maybe it was just pee but marked it as my water breaking. After a while I went back into the bathroom to try again. I was pooping some, and also having incredibly intense contractions. I was moaning through them to help me stay focused, and between contractions would sit on the toilet, but would have to stand up and arch my back backwards through each one. They started to hurt really bad and I was whimpering through them. Steve came into the bathroom and got in my face (which I needed) and helped me breathe through my contractions. They were hurting bad and I kept telling Steve they hurt, I needed to poop more, and I wanted an epidural because I couldn't handle the pain anymore. He told me I could do it, to just hold on a little more, this was what I wanted and that I would be so happy if I didn't get the epidural, that I could do it and make it and I could handle it. He was awesome. I asked him to look up how to handle back pain, basically just being in the shower- not gonna happen. He started rubbing my lower back/butt for me because that's where it hurt and the rubbing helped. Around this point I was not only feeling the urge to poop but also to push, with every contraction I felt like I needed to push and I couldn't not do it. The nurses wanted me back into the bed and out of the bathroom. I told them I wanted an epidural so they got things going for getting the anesthesiologist up there.
I think around 9:30 the anesthesiologist showed up with her little cart of goodies. Because my contractions were so intense and I was feeling the urge to poop and to push she said I needed to be checked again because she thought it sounded like I was pretty much done and probably fully dilated and ready to push. She was right, they checked me and I was a 10, fully dilated! She told me because I was fully dilated she couldn't give me an epidural, it wouldn't go into effect by the time I needed it. She also couldn't give me anything else because it would affect the baby and probably wouldn't have time to do anything for my pain. So I wasn't going to be getting drugs after all! And it was time to push! At some point my dr arrived, they had barely notified him that I was even at the hospital. Things had moved so fast that my nurse didn't have everything ready that they needed for the delivery. I asked if they had a mirror, and they did, so they brought that out and set it up so I could see. I actually really liked being able to see because it made me realize how effective my pushes were and helped me feel more powerful. While I was laboring on the table Steve and my mom both continued to massage my lower back/butt which was awesome, weird for them, but it was the only thing that helped and it felt so good, and at push time they both held my legs. I started to push and at this point the dr and the nurses could see the baby's head, except it didn't look right, and they realized that my water had not actually broken yet and the baby was still in the sac. So they broke my water because they didn't want it breaking while I was pushing and get mess all over them, and then I kept pushing. I learned pretty quick what ladies talk about with childbirth and the"ring of fire". I had heard of it, but not experienced it with the hour+ of pushing before Simon's c-section, and I must have been to numb from my epidural with Desi to feel it. Sorry to be graphic, but it really does burn. I felt like my vagina had flames coming out of it! I was talking about how much it burned and how bad it hurt and my dr told me to shut up. I really love that man. He told me I was wasting energy by talking and that I just needed to be quiet and take that energy and put it into pushing. He wanted me to push with all I had on the next contraction and I did, I pushed through the burning and probably was yelling that it burned, and Luci's head came out. I pushed through the next contraction and she was out! I pushed in all around 15 minutes, through about 5 contractions.

I got to hold Luci right away, and then Steve held her while I delivered the placenta and got stitched up.When Luciana was born I couldn't stop grinning, I was so happy, so proud of myself, and so in love. I couldn't believe that I did it, that I had a 100% natural childbirth, with no medication of any sorts, and no hospital interventions. It was the birth I had wanted with my other deliveries but hadn't managed to do. I tore pretty good, I remember asking my dr how bad I tore and he said, "It's nothing to brag about." The stitching up part hurt a lot, they had to use a ton of local anesthetic, and it took forever. Then they hooked me up to Pitocin to help my uterus contract and also help it expel anything that was still left. I was on the Pitocin for at least 6 hours and it sucked. It hurt as bad as my labor contractions but I didn't have the reward of a baby at the end of it.
Having a natural birth is such a different experience. There is so much more pain and hurt, but it really was worth it. If I could go back and gotten an epidural sooner like I so badly wanted to, I wouldn't. I really feel like the delivery went so quickly once I started pushing because I could actually feel it this time. With Simon pushing was ineffective because he was positioned poorly and stuck, with Desi I was just so numb from the epidural that I couldn't tell where or how to push, the dr basically just pulled him out once he crowned, but with Luci I could feel everything and the burn, oww the burn, but it was worth it, and call me crazy, but I wouldn't take away the ability to feel that and experience that if I could. I am so happy with how this delivery went. I had so much anxiety and fear beforehand, mostly just worries about getting induced, and luckily I didn't have to deal with that at all. I am so grateful I was able to have this experience and with such great support from my doctor, my husband, and my mom.

This labor was really quite different for me. I wanted it to be more private, I didn't want the pressure of knowing everyone was sitting in the waiting room watching the clock, wanting me to hurry up and have the baby, and me feeling bad because things were taking so long and knowing everyone was out there waiting. I was a lot more private through a lot of the labor too, not really private I guess since I was with my family almost the whole time, but more like secretive with it. I just really didn't want pressure of time restraints. I didn't want anyone to know I was in labor, having contractions, going to the hospital, dilated, starting to push. With my other 2 I wanted the whole world to know every step of the way, not so this time, I didn't want anyone to know except those of us that were there. Even now, since Luci has been born I haven't really talked much to anyone about it, about her birth. I've been kind of reclusive and not very social (but not depressed, no worries there), not really sure why, but I haven't been ready yet to talk about it even though everything went even better than I expected or thought it could.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Updates on us (started out as part of the other post from today, but it was a little long, so I split it up)

In other news, Desi is a little over 18 months now. He is 15% for weight, 45% for height, 75% for head. Guess all the food he is eating is going to straight to his brain, because I just saw the paper from his 6 month checkup while I was digging through the closet trying to find those power converters and he was 50% across the board for everything. He is sure a crazy little kid. Doesn't speak much English yet, but has his own language and he talks a ton. He loves rough and tumble play, loves tackling, flying through the air, tickling, and zerbets/raspberries/flubbers whatever you want to call them. He adores his older brother and loves to copy him, and he loves water. He can and often does spend an hour in the bath. He is almost weaned, and will be completely weaned by this coming Friday or Saturday (maybe sooner, he nursed Friday morning, and then not again until Monday morning even though he still wants to a lot more often than that). Desi also has the cutest smile and laugh I have ever seen, he thinks he is soo funny and runs a round the house screaming and laughing quite often.  He is also the king of mischief (he has learned how to get a cup and get water from the fridge door) and tantrums!


Simon is as sweet ever, is the best story teller I have ever heard (kid or not), has an unhealthy love for video games (especially the lego games- lord of the rings, star wars, indiana jones, pirates of the carribean, but only has the full star wars games the rest are all demos), gets outeaten by his little brother, adores our neighbor Brentt who is 12, and thinks he is much older than 4 (I swear the boy acts like a teenager). He gets frustrated playing with kids that are younger than him (especially if they name call or hit), is very social and is comfortable asking people for help, talking to kids at the park, and even asking store employees where to find things. We recently quickly put an end to a bad habit he learned of lying, and if he goes 30 days without lying he gets a bunny... I think he has not lied since we started that, and I think we are on day 8. He is a pretty calm boy, loves books, legos, and forts, and playing the above mentioned lego games in real life, whether make-believe or with his Legos. He also loves baths, preschool with his Vovo, and being my helper (he will help me cook, water plants, clean, wash dishes, vacuum, etc.) and he also likes to things on his own, and has an incredibly attention span and stay focused on one thing for hours if he wants. Steve and I have tried really hard to foster his independence and teach him that he is capable of doing things on his own, and it is really paying off. Right now he is in the bathtub and just got the shampoo so he can wash his hair by himself, he doesn't want me to help. He also can get himself breakfast, and get drinks for himself, which has been especially nice especially with breastfeeding Desi because he nurses/nursed almost nonstop for about 2 hours in the morning when he wakes up, which makes it difficult to get Simon breakfast in a timely manner. He really is something else, and because of Simon I have unrealistically high expectations of other kids behavior because what I thought was normal behavior because it's what he did, really isn't normal.

I recently came across a website called The Orange Rhino, and because of it had a realization that I really need to stop yelling. I don't yell a whole ton, but still a lot more than I would like to, and any amount of yelling is not okay, and my boys deserve better than that. In theory I am going to try to go a whole year without yelling, but I'm just taking it one day at a time, and just trying to make it through each day. I have messed up a few times and totally lost it, but I'm trying, I'm making a very conscious effort, and I feel like I'm doing a good job. Having kids has made me realize that I'm not nearly as patient as I once thought I was, and I realize more and more that I'm a lot more like my dad than I thought. (I knew we had lots of things in common- as far as interests- especially outdoors and photography, but I have a lot of his personality traits too). I am really enjoying being a mom, feel like I have a good thing going, love our house, have finally got to decorate a few things that I've been dying to do since we moved in (mirror and table in the entryway), and have big plans for the family room (plans Steve played a huge part in coming with- such as painting the brick colored cave yellow which I initially fought, but am now all for), and feel like I have a good grasp of cleaning and keeping up with most of the housework (laundry will forever elude me, and dishes I'm always a little behind) but I vacuum almost every day (stupid dog hair)!
(Not a lot of pictures of me, and most of the ones of me or decorating were on Steve's phone that died)

I have a hard time updating for Steve- I feel like he should be able to edit or tell me to add things he wants, so I'll be brief. Steve works a ton and is still working nights and probably will work nights until he becomes a nurse practitioner. He is almost always tired, and converts to a "normal people" scheduler on his days off so he can spend time with us. He works hard to provide for us and in return I work hard to provide for him. His job is incredibly stressful so I try to make his days off good for him. He loves going hiking, especially now that the weather is warming up, and loves having friends over on his days off for dinner, good company, and video games. He is an incredible man, and puts up with a lot, and I'm grateful to have him in my life forever.

Because when you feel like updating your facebook status 50 times in one day, you should probably blog instead.

That has totally been me today. I don't know if it's the new phone that makes me want to do it, I'm pretty sure that isn't it. I think it is really the fact that we are leaving on a trip soon. That I'm going to be away from my boys for 2.5 weeks. That my husband and I are both starting to freak out a little bit that we are going to die while on said trip. Because I'm pretty sure we are both thinking about if we should be cancelling the trip, but neither of us wants to say those words. Because we've been waiting to go on this trip for 6 years. Because I don't want to cancel it because I am stubborn, and I feel like it is our elusive cursed trip that we will never go on, and we are gonna go dang it, we're going! And this is probably the only time that will work for us to go on this trip until our kids are grown and out of the house. Because it's our honeymoon, finally!
But regardless, I've had a lot on my mind.
I'm very overwhelmed by the thought of getting the boys packed to go to my parents house. I'm overwhelmed by getting myself packed- still can't find those power converters that I'm pretty sure my dad gave me years ago, and I can't find my money belt either. But I do have outfits picked out and coordinated and hanging in my closet, complete with accessories and everything, even the shoes are hanging out below the clothes. I've been buying the little stuff I need-toiletries, etc. I've been tossing things into a suitcase that I'm going to need or bring. I've been making lists. Lots of lists: what to bring, what to do buy, what to pack for me, what I need to send with the boys to my moms house. Mostly just need diapers, wipes, shampoo, conditioner, and detergent. But I'm sure I'm going to forget things. I still should buy a snorkeling mask, but I've waited so long, I can try to look at reviews and hope I find a mask that's good, but I'm going to have to get it at a store here in town, and what if I get to Malta, put the mask on and find out it leaks? That's sure gonna suck. I'm an overpacker, and its hard for me to just pack what will fit in a backpack that is carry-on size. (we are probably bringing an empty suitcase for souvenirs though, but I don't want to carry around a loaded down suitcase while we are being tourists) Just some major nerves going on right now, and Steve is working all week, so I can't even just vent/ramble all my concerns to him. (hence this post) Just super nervous, for the trip, for my boys, for leaving them. The longest I have been away from Desi is about 6 hours. Never even overnight, and I'm going to be away for 2.5 weeks, I think I'm having some separation anxiety!
Another big thing on my mind is do we meet my mom halfway to drop off the boys, or do we drive them up all the way, get Desi settled in, spend the night, and then leave to drive back here the next day? I've been going back and forth repeatedly, meet half way, go all the way there... Desi had a doctors appointment today and I asked the Dr her opinion. She thinks it would be better for us to take him all the way and introduce him to a new place and new people (he's met my parents several times, but is also only a year and a half old, so he doesn't really have a good memory yet). So that is what we are going to do. I think. I just feel nervous about everything, am I making the right decision? Are my boys going to have a hard time? Really Simon will be fine, is Desi going to have a hard time? Are they going to feel abandoned? Are they going to hate me when we come back because we left them for so long? This is a long time to leave kids, should we have brought them with us instead? So many questions, so many things to doubt my judgment and Steve's judgment. Are we being good parents? I've always believed it's good for parents to go on trips without their kids, and we went to Belize without Simon I never felt like this. Why is this trip so different? I really worry we are making the wrong choice and that something tragic is going to happen, either to us, or to our kids.
I'm kind of scared to be on a plane for such a long time. What the heck am I going to do for 12 hours? I'm pretty sure I'm going to just be crying for a few of those hours. I've cried the last few nights putting my boys to bed. I've wanted to do nothing but hold them and cuddle them non-stop. I feel like I'm going to burst into tears any second. Before we go I'm going to record myself singing the boys songs at bedtime, and maybe reading a couple of stories too, but I haven't been able to do it yet because emotionally I can't do it without crying. I want them to have something while we are gone though to help them feel some semblance of a normal routine like we have here at home. But I'm still scared we are going to die- why do I have this fear? is premonition or paranoia? I really want to record the songs for the boys, but there is a part of me that says, oh my goodness, what if you die, and that is all your boys have left of you? just you singing the songs to them to put them to bed? I'm going to write them letters too, just in case. If I can bring myself to do it. I just can't imagine my life without them, and I can't imagine their lives without me and Steve. I'm crying as I type this, I wish I could calm my fears, and my mind, and my heart. If you are reading this before May 7, and especially before April 21, please pray for us. Pray that we will know if we are making the right decision, and if this will be a good thing, or even just a not bad thing. We are having a will made on Wednesday, planning for the worst. Things have discussed with family members, things that most of the family knows anyways, but putting it on paper, so it can be official.
I still feel like this whole trip is surreal, it's the trip that will never happen despite how badly we want to go, despite having plane tickets, and living arrangements. I hadn't started packing yet last time, I was about to start looking for my swimsuit (it was in January and I had just moved) but I hadn't started to pack yet, when we got the news that the financial aid had been dispersed, all our money gone, but we still had tickets, and we had just gotten married, why not go for a honeymoon instead? Nope, no honeymoon, no trip. Prayers are answered, trips are canceled, airlines are striking, and tickets are completely refunded. But this time, I want to go so badly, we've been planning it for months, we have our reservations, our hotels, flights, things to do planned out. I started to try to learn Italian for the Sicily portion, but just wasn't feeling it, there's still been this part of me that doubts if we will actually make it this time, if we'll actually go. I haven't even really looked up what to do, what to see, I mean I have a little bit, but not that much. And I should be looking up tons of information, but I haven't.
So anyways, this is the big thing weighing on me. Have you left your kids for a long period of time? Or even a short one? Did you feel incredibly guilty? How did you cope with it? Did you cope or was it just horrible? Were you able to accept the fact that your kids are with people who love them and are having a really fun time? Were you freaking out that something would happen either to you or your kids while you are away from each other? How did you deal? Any advice, thoughts, opinions, or words of comfort would be very much appreciated. Even if you think we are stupid for going on this trip, I'm sure whatever you have to say, I've already thought, but I still want to hear it, especially the positive stuff. Thanks for sticking with me through my emotional post!

Friday, February 1, 2013

We got a dog!

On January 9th our boys got to go to pre-school for the first time. Our 4 year-old and the just over 1 year-old. My mother-in-law (Steve's mom) decided she wants to preschool with her grandsons every week and this was the first one. I kind of like it because it gives me a break for a couple of hours each week without having to feel guilty about asking someone to babysit. I always feel bad when we get babysitters, it seems like no one ever really wants to do it, but just does it to be nice and because we ask. But anyways, pre-school. Occasionally it even happens on a day where Steve and I can go on a date during it. Since he works nights he typically sleeps during the day, but sometimes his days off fall on a day where we can go on a date during pre-school.
This particular day we went on a date! We went to see Steve's old lady friend that he visits, Rachel, and had lunch with her. Steve bugged me all morning about wanting to go to the pound (just to look) in the morning, but it just didn't feel right to me, and I didn't think we would really have time if we wanted to pick up food and get to Rachel's in time. (We didn't have time, barely made it to Rachel's on time without a stop at the pound to look at dogs). After lunch with Rachel and hearing her stories about traveling around the world, her apartment she had all to herself on the coast near San Francisco, places she wished she could go to again but sad that they will never be the same because they got overdeveloped, and just enjoying her, we headed back to reality to pick up the boys.
As always, Simon didn't want to leave Vovo's house. He loves his Vovo, everyone loves his Vovo, so we stayed until Zane left to go with his dad and then we left too. At this point I felt like it would be an okay time to go look at dogs, I just wasn't feeling it earlier in the day, and it's a good thing I didn't either, or we wouldn't have found the most perfect doggie dog in the whole world. (Slight overstatement but not by much, he really is perfect for us.) We got to the pound (shelter), asked if they had any dogs that would be good with kids, they had like four dogs in the whole pound that might be good with kids, and went on to describe one to us that they had just gotten in an hour before. He was black, with white/gray markings almost like a mane, passed all the "tests" they do with the dogs to check for training, aggression, command response, etc. They told us where to find him, which number kennel he was in, and so we went looking. We could figure out how to get to the group of dogs before his number, and the ones after him, but we couldn't figure out how to get to him without going outside. And it's cold outside, it is January after all, and we had both kiddos with us.
Well we braved the cold and wind and went outside and there was "Kodiak" and another dog just down from him that I liked a lot too but was very fearful of Steve and was probably abused by a man, I was very sad because I liked the other dog a lot, it turned out alright though. Steve went and found someone to get the dog so we could go into a visiting room and visit with him. He was perfect! Didn't jump, did well on the leash, wanted to play ball, liked the kids, didn't bark or growl, wasn't scared of either of us, just overall a good dog. Steve and I were both feeling very nervous about it. We weren't really intending on getting a dog quite yet, we were just going to look and didn't think there would be anything good anyways, we went back and forth a lot with the, "What do you think?" "I don't know, he's a good dog, I like him. What do you think." "I don't know, are we ready for a dog yet?" "I don't know, he seems pretty perfect though." "Yeah, he is really good, I didn't think we would find anything like this, he's just what we want." "He is really perfect, but I don't know, we weren't going to get a dog today." "What do you think?" etc, etc.
Well we decided to go for it. The worker took the dog back to his kennel, Steve went off to fill out paper work, and I took the boys around looking at cats because Simon likes cats and really wants a cat. Finally Steve finishes filling out all the papers, signs for it, they talk to us a little about the adoption, how to care for him post-surgery, kenneling, etc. Finally, we are done, and they bring the dog out, our dog, the new member to our family. Simon got to ring a bell saying we adopted. Everyone in the office area cheered. I almost cried. When they brought him out my heart swelled like I didn't know was possible with an animal. After all, he's just an animal that I had met only half an hour before. But it felt so right, so complete, like he was meant to be with us. We changed his name to Mobius or Moby for short. We don't know what his name was before, he wasn't surrendered, the county picked him up, and no one ever claimed him. He had only been there for an hour before we met him. Just one hour spent in the pound. If we had gone earlier in the day, or even an hour earlier, when we were supposed to leave Vovo's house instead of letting Simon play for a little longer, we wouldn't have found him.
It's amazing how quickly an animal can become part of your family. I understand dog people now. I understand why people spend lots of money on "pets." I totally get why people want their dog in their family picture. It all makes sense now. It's one of those things you just don't realize until it happens to you. Moby is part of our family now. He protects us, and our home. Simon and Desi love him. Simon wants Moby to sleep with him every night, and we let him. It's so cute. He'll let him out in the morning, he has offered to help me pick up poop, he wants to hold the leash when we are at the park, he likes to play with him, and pet him. They are best friends already. The day after we got him I had the sad realization that in about 10 years we are going to have to say goodbye to this dog. Simon will be about 14, and will remember having this dog by his side almost his whole life, Desi won't have any memories without Moby, and then at some point, he will die, and our boys will learn about death in an all to personal way when they lose their best friend. My heart breaks already with the thought of something that is still a decade away. I love this dog and I never realized how special an animal can be. He loves us all, and he loves us unconditionally. He takes care of us, he protects us, he keeps our home safe while Steve is at work. I hope that we can do the same for him.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Avon Advent Christmas Calendar

If you are here searching for the Avon Advent Christmas Calendar, welcome! I was just looking over my blog stats, and I am getting a ton of traffic from my post 4 years when I first bought my very own 1987 Avon Advent Calendar. I grew up with one of those to count down to Christmas every year, and somehow our mouse even survived all those years, 4 kids, and countless moves (my dad was in the Army)! My husband also grew up with one (sadly their mouse did not survive), and so after we were married we bought our very own. Then, my mom decided she didn't want hers anymore, so she gave it to us, and I gave the one we had bought to my little sister-in-law. Turns out those things must be in high demand right now! Looks like they are going on ebay for $30 for ones with no mouse up to $100 for ones with the mouse! I always loved ours growing up and am glad that I get to carry on this tradition with my own family. It is currently the 14th of December (by the time I publish this post) and so far I have moved the mouse every day! It's always been a contest to see who would wake up and move the mouse first each day, and I know that with another sister-in-law who also has one, it has been the same way in her house. Even before she had kids, it was a contest with her husband to see who would move the mouse first. (Although rumor has it that he would go to bed after she did and move it the night before so it would already be moved when she woke up in the morning- Cheater!) I'm afraid my blog may not be the most exciting thing to see, but we enjoy being able to document the happenings of our family, and if you stick around and check back in after the new year, I'm going to be starting a new blog where I do a sketch every day and once a week will post the weeks worth of sketches on my blog! Should be interesting to see what kinds of things I come up with to draw and share with the world. Stay posted!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Quick Update

I have been wanting to publish a new post on here for a while, but haven't really known what to put or say. I also spend most of my internet time on my Kindle Fire, and honestly, I am horrible at typing on a touchscreen and could never do a full post on that thing. But I was just online paying some bills, the boys are in bed, Steve is at work, and I am sitting here at the computer enjoying the glow of the lights on the Christmas tree and listening to Simon read stories to himself in bed. I can't believe the last time I posted was in May! So much has happened since then, and sometimes it feels not much as all. The most exciting thing is that we bought a house! We bought our first house at the end of July right around the time of my golden birthday! (For the many people who don't seem to know what a Golden Birthday is, it's when you turn the age of the date of your birthday, so this year I turned 27 on July 27th, I've been waiting my whole life for this to happen!)
Having a house has been wonderful. We live in a culdesac, have some great neighbors, a small fully fenced backyard, grass instead of concrete, parks close by, even a picturesque oak tree in the front yard. I feel like all that is missing is the picket fence and the tire swing hanging from the tree, and an American flag hanging up. Our next door neighbors have quickly become family friends, and we enjoyed many days this summer just hanging out on the front lawn watching the kids running around and playing and eating girl scout cookies. The kids are girl 10 and boy 13, but they love Simon and Desi (who doesn't!) and they are amazing kids, and play really well with my boys. They also mow our front lawn! Like I said, awesome neighbors and I feel so blessed to have them.
Having a new (for us) house has been fun. I've realized that decorating ones own home is much harder than decorating a furniture store or home decor store. We've only decorated the front room (mostly) so far, and have no clue what to do with our family room. Plus decorating can be expensive, and the cheap projects I have seen on pinterest typically require a lot of time, and my boys keep me on my toes.
I feel like I have gotten a good handle on being a mom lately, which has been nice. I have been staying pretty much on top of keeping the house picked up and just organized the boys toy room again. I know there are some things I will always be behing on (laundry) but that's okay, we wear clean clothes, sometimes they are a little wrinkly, and I stay on top of washing Desi's diapers, so life is good. I am still breastfeeding Desmond. He turned 1 in September. We are also still doing the cloth diapers, and still love them. Simon just turned 4 and he is such an amazing boy. He will get up in the morning, sneak downstairs and get himself breakfast and turn on cartoons. Even when I try to listen for him he sneaks down. Desi is a wild child and I have realized is really just a very normal kid, I got kind of spoiled by Simon because he is such a calm sweet boy, I had no idea until Desi what most kids acted like, I thought they were all supposed to act like Simon did!
We have stayed pretty busy since May with buying the house, painting and moving, Steve working nights, Club Tahoe, swimming at the lake, football season and going to all the Wolfpack games, a trip to Idaho to see one of my sisters and her family and my parents, having all of them come here the week before, went to Elko for Thanksgiving, and have had lots of birthdays and parties. My birthday party, housewarming/jewelry party, first football game of the year party, Steve and Renee's birthday party, Desi-boo's first birthday (cowboy themed for our Buckaroo), Halloween party, Simon's birthday party (superhero themed)... A lot of parties! We love having people over and hosting dinners, parties, and just company in general. It's a lot of fun and a lot of work, but we enjoy it.
So, just a little bit of catch-up about what we have been up to. We also just bought a camcorder, so I look forward to posting some videos of the boys on here soon too. I ought to go now though, Christmas is coming and we are making wooden blocks for the boys, and since it's a Christmas present and a surprise I can only work on it while they are asleep, so I am off to sand blocks now! Here's a few pictures for fun though! Enjoy!

4th of July 


Desmond's first birthday

Dad and sister walking down the Boardwalk in Virginia City after a nightime ghost tour
 Desmond at the pumpkin patch
 Simon at the pumpkin patch
 Simon riding a horse at Apple Hill
 Simon at Apple Hill
 The boys with their Halloween loot
 New house with changing leaves on the tree


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Simon sleeping

Simon falls asleep in the strangest places. Seriously. Places like the bathroom sink, a kitchen chair (not sitting up), the stairs, inside a yoga mat, standing up leaning on the sofa. Strange places. In my quest to post pictures of him in all these places I looked through all the pictures from the past year and a half. My Simon-son is so cute! I ended up with a picture folder in my computer with 74 pictures of him asleep in various places. Granted, some are multiple angles of the same thing, but still, I managed to take 74 pictures of him, just sleeping, in the past year and a half! Here are a few of my favorites...
P.S.- I am very, very, very grateful for his ability to fall asleep in various places and positions and not having to sleep only in his bed at certain times. It has definitely made some of our trips a lot more easy and flexible, and given us some funny memories to look back on.

at Glacier National Park 08/16/2010

                          our sofa 08/05/2011            San Francisco after getting Ben and Jerry's 06/19/2011
 yoga mat on the stairs 08/26/2011
 bathroom sink 09/13/2011
standing up! 03/18/2011

Great Grandma's floor Christmas 2011

Baby brother's swing 02/17/2012

with dad's iPhone 12/18/2011

 kitchen chair 03/15/2012
 in the stroller 05/10/2012
 close-up, love those long lashes!
Like I said there were 74 to choose from, narrowing them down was hard, there were a few classic in the carseat after a long day ones, some other stroller ones, more at the kitchen table, on the sofa, on dad's lap, on the stairs, etc. One of these days I'll make a facebook album for those who really want to see them all.