Sunday, August 31, 2008

"I'm Back, Baby!" -- Bender (Futurama)

Got back from the Michigan Trip last night about 11:30 p.m. (EST). It was a LONG drive, but the kids were great (both there and back). It worked well to leave on Friday night and then stay at a hotel in the early morning (1-2 a.m.) and then go keep going on Saturday. Willow slept through most of it, was amused by her big brother the other part of it. We made sure to make frequent stops on the Saturdays, and it worked out well. On the way back, we promised Michael we would play Weird Al when we hit Massachusetts--and to see his smile when he heard Weird Al--priceless.

We had a good time and we visited a lot of relatives, but a little more visiting happened than we thought would -- because Husband's uncle died just before he was able to see him. So, part of our time was spent going to the Wake and Funeral. Very sad, but it also allowed Husband to be able to see some relatives he might not have seen. And it made it all the more meaningful for him to spend time with his Grandmother later in the week.

Michael also got to hang out with his cousins, especially N. Michael also had fun playing/snuggling the dogs, especially Spanky. Willow was a super trooper -- she was passed around to tons of adults and was not fussy in the least. She was cuddled and cooed over the whole trip. And she had fun looking at all the different things. We also got a chance to have some adult time--went and saw "Tro.pic Thun.der"(hilarious).

We ended the trip with a hotel room overlooking Niagra Falls. None of us had really seen the Falls even though we had traveled past it all these times going to and from Michigan. This time we had a wonderful view and had breakfast outside our room looking at the Falls. Then we did a few touristy things, walking a strip that included some Haunted Houses (Michael was fascinated by them, but could not get the courage up to go in them). Leaving there about 1:30 in the afternoon, it made a longer day for the adults, but seeing Niagra was a good way to end a good trip.

Here's some pics (others to come).


We all went to Greenfield Village.



Michael and N went into this sweet shop in Greenfield Village.







Michael was impressed with the machinery (got to make a candle holder with a lathe). And especially impressed with the courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law (the floor is the same floor Lincoln stood on--Michael felt the floor and said he was touching the footprints of Abraham Lincoln).


Another thing we did was spending a LOT of time at this video game arcade. It was great fun.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

And Other Disgusting Things...

Random Stuff:

Disgusting things (and no, not talking about diapers here—so far its pretty tame):

Both Willow and I have colds. I don’t want to point fingers—Willow—but someone gave me a cold. And of course, as seems to be the case ever since I have had kids, I get pink eye when they get colds. So, this past weekend I was dealing with Willow with her slight cold and my left eye looking like I was hit in the face—PINK EYE! (okay, am I the only one who thinks of this South Park?)

My pink eye is now gone, I don’t think I am getting a sinus infection like I thought I was—just a damn irritating cold. Willow had a very minor cold and seems to be fine (other than the occasional cough in the night). Michael and Husband seem to have escaped.

Last night, I was holding Willow and kissing her tummy (as I am want to do). I had just finished BFing her ½ hour before, and was chilling with her and Husband while waiting for dinner to finish cooking. As I kissed her tummy for the Nth time—she burped up. On my face. On my hair. On my glasses. Luckily, it did not hit my mouth. But it was gross. And funny. Oh yeah, Willow and Husband thought it was major funny (Michael, who would have probably burst a gut laughing, was outside playing). To show you what type of Mommy I am…I just washed up in the kitchen sink—I did not run for the shower. I have had worse and I know the worse will be coming—wait until your 3 year old throws up on you while you are taking him to daycare, thus insuring you a day off from work with a toddler who may not be sick at all (they tend to sometimes just throw up for no reason, ya know). Oh yeah, fun times are in store.

Speaking of fun times…I may not be too available on the internets this week…we are intending to do something crazy. A road trip to Michigan. Leaving this Friday night, thinking since she is sleeping through the night, it might be the best for her. If any of you out there have traveled on a road trip with a 4 month old, please give me any advice you might give. The trip to Michigan is 800 miles one way, so we are talking 12 + hours with an ADHD 9 year old; a cranky Husband (who hates road trips and travel in general) and a 4 month old – I am doing most of the driving.
We have done this trip before, the last time being when Michael was 6 years old, but never with such a young one. I have a feeling I will need some of that chocolate I packed up for the trip…

Monday, August 18, 2008

Book Tour - Eat, Pray, Love

Someone else pretty much summed up my thoughts on this book. Here are my answers to some of the questions. I found this very self indulgent, even for a memoir.

At the start of the book, the author states that she will not go into the details of her divorce. Could you accept this and move on to the rest of the book, or did this lack of explanation influence your opinion of the entire book?


I had a problem with the fact that she did not go into details in the book. I feel that if you are going to show how you overcame a crisis, I would like to know WHAT the crisis was and how it affected you. The author saying that she had a “disastrous divorce” does not help me to feel any sympathy towards her. A lot of people have bad relationships and divorces. If you are going to write a book about discovering yourself, you need to be able to also reveal your life. Otherwise, I can’t really tell what adversity you overcame.

When my IRL (in real life) book club discussed this we had widely differing opinions on the tone of the book. Some thought it was "all about me, poor, poor me!" and "whiny" while others saw Gilbert's self-focus in as a fascinating journey to becoming a better person. What would you say?

I was wondering if anyone else felt that she was whiny. I tried several times not to roll my eyes as I read. I am sorry, but someone who gets to travel (and LOVES it); someone who gets to do a job that she wants to; someone who is not tied down by family responsibilities and can just go off and “discover herself” for a year—oh boo hoo!

Also, it was hard being an infertile hearing her basically bemoan the fact that she did not want children. I know it is her choice, and I would normally not have an issue—I guess it is just a tender spot for me, and since she did not go into the details of her trauma—except to say that then she had an INTENSE relationship with a hottie—oh gasp! (Okay, so I REALLY couldn’t find her sympathetic).

I am sure she has had a hard time. I did read with interest her struggles with depression, as I have family members who deal with this, and I have dealt with PPD. I felt sympathy for her when she was dealing with being alone in the world. BUT, without her going into specifics of her troubles, I can only assume that things for her are 100 times better than many other people who have dealt with depression and loneliness. She, at least, seems to have means to be able to deal with her needs (like traveling and writing). Maybe it was her writing style, but I did not find her a sympathetic person overall.


Elizabeth Gilbert's spiritual crisis was brought to a head by a failing marriage and the dawning realization that her desires were not nearly on the same track as some seemingly powerful, external expectations about how her life should unfold. What defining 'disasters' have triggered you to course-correct your life? Did the crisis(es) sneak up on you or did you see it (them) coming, but deny it for a while? What expectations did it force you to challenge -- either your own or external ones? How hard was that for you personally (as in, are you the kind of temperament that is naturally rebellious? Or not so much? Do you have a hard time letting go of control? Or are you at ease with improv on a grand, spiritual level?)

I think we have two major crisis’s in our lives. I could see both coming, but I denied them for a while.

The second crisis was dealing with our infertility.

The first crisis was finding out that our son had ADHD and social pragmatic issues. This is something we still struggle with. My expectations for my son and the real issues he faces daily. It is hard to see (and know empirically) that your son is very smart but is struggling in school mainly because his brain does not process things the way that others do. When I first found out he was having issues in school, the first thing I thought was “Don’t all 5 year olds act like that?”
My second thought was that I had failed him as a parent. It took me some time to get over that guilt. I realize in hindsight that at some point we were in denial about his issues. I also realize that at some point our expectations for what we thought our son’s behavior and abilities were had to change. Not that we excuse his behavior issues. But, we have learned when it is necessary to ease up on the control. For example, Michael goes through phases where he HATES tags on things – like his clothes, toys, etc. At first, when he was 3 years old, we thought it was cute (it was mainly on toys at that time)—we called it Tag-ectomies. Then, we realized at age 8 years, insisting on tags being removed from his clothing was something he NEEDED. And I stopped being irritated by it. This is especially hard for me, as I am a person who prefers to control things in my life (and sometimes I would like to know how to wash his clothes, damn it!) I have learned to be at ease with my family and its quirks, and I enjoy them more for them.

Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at Stirrup Queens (http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/). You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: Baby Trail by Sinead Moriarty (with author participation).

One Year Ago Today - Updated with More Recent Pic

One year ago today.

One year ago today, I found out that this:




Would become this.




One year seems like a long time and a short time. It seems like so much has changed in this year, and it has. And yet, there is a part of me that always felt that this would happen. And a part of me that thought it would never happen. I had no idea where I would be a year ago. A year ago I had hope. I also had fear. I had confidence and yet I had none. I knew I was lucky, but yet mourned the fact that I wasn't lucky enough not to have done this "naturally".

One year and it is a lifetime. My daughter's lifetime. I am so thankful for her.

I wish everyone who wants this, gets to experience this:


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Show & Tell #7


Show and Tell



Cthulhu and the Kid

Last week, around 5 a.m., our son came into our bed and snuggled in. He brought his companion, his stuffed Cthulhu. When he went back into his own bed, he left Cthulhu. And Willow got to meet our friend. The first thing she did--put one of the tentacles into her mouth. Good girl, show lord Cthulhu who's boss.





This is not her first encounter with Cthulhu...we also have this shirt for her.

As we learned from our first, its never too soon to start the Geek Pride !

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Obstacle Course

I am not sure if its just normal life or what, but lately, trying to get back into routines has been ridden with hidden obstacles.

My exercise routine.

I have started to get back to not only working out at work, but also biking on the stationary bike in the morning. For the last three weeks, Willow has been going to bed around 9 – 10 p.m. and sleeping until 4-5 a.m. After the first 2 weeks of this, I figured it was safe to start biking. I have been able to have time and energy in the morning to do my 20 mins on the bike, shower and then breast-feed her before I go to work. No sooner had I done this for 3 days in a row (!) then, things Popped Up:
-- Willow gets up at 4 a.m. and doesn’t go back to sleep after a feeding.
-- Michael brings Willow in while I am biking because “she’s so cute when she is sleeping!” (Which, of course, are the magic words to make her wake up!)
-- Have to take kids to their day care/camp because Husband has early morning meeting (this is happening next Monday too!)
-- What do you mean its time to go to bed!?!? (times 2)

-- AND getting a work out at work has interruptions from a company wide lunch meeting; having to leave early (thus skipping lunch hour for work-out) for company BBQ and kid’s appointments, respectively.

Parenting.

Normally, Michael has therapy for his ADHD on Thursday nights. We stopped during the month Willow was born and restarted the next month. And have consistently had to re-schedule, cancel or postpone. Our next appointment is in the middle of September.

My mom meter is close to the danger level when it comes to the amount of time Michael has spent on video games since Willow has been born (and I know I am exaggerating here, its not as bad as I imagine). BUT, I wanted his video game time to get lower so he could spend more time playing outdoors, etc. AND its been the worst summer ever for outdoors time! Rain Rain rain rain…too hot…rain rain rain rain. Weirdly enough, he has had time outside—he even has a tan!

I swore we would do as the teacher had asked (all students) and have Michael practice his multiplication tables every day, practice handwriting and read. The reading I find the most important and I have had him keep up with that. The other stuff—I vacillate from wanting him to have SUMMER down time and wanting to make sure he does know this stuff. And, quite frankly, I only have so much energy left at the end of the day! (Hence those video games!!) I mean, yes, I have had the Super Mom moments of breast feeding Willow while feeding the cat and going over the 6 times tables---its just not happening every day folks!

Willow has a rash on her neck that has become infected and she also seems to be getting a cold. Which means that on top of the normal 3 ½ month old infant care and feeding, we now have to put on a topical anti-biotic three times a day and a cortisone cream twice a day (for a week or so). And she slept in this morning (because she started getting the cold last night), which meant that instead of feeding her this morning, I was pumping (Moo!) Which also meant I missed seeing her awake this morning. ☹

(And Husband said she woke up smiley and everything!)

Dinner

Trying to eat healthier has fallen flat, as most of the time trying to make dinner at home has been hampered by Husband working late unexpectedly, which means by the time he gets home (if he gets home before 9 p.m.), we order out. On a good day, I feel triumphant if I can get home on time, breastfeed Willow, find something for Michael to do, spend time with them both AND make dinner. (Guess which thing gets dropped first).

Sleep

Willow is sleeping quite well. Now, if I could actually take advantage of that. But I don’t go to bed when I probably should. Mainly because after she goes to bed, there is the lunch for Michael to be pack, the dishes to be put into the dishwasher (thankfully, I don’t have to wash them), wash and sterilize bottles, and, oh, possibly RELAX (with or without Husband, who may be working at home on the computer). IF I get to bed by 11:30 p.m., it’s a miracle.

Okay, so there is normal life in a nutshell. Its messy and tiring and fun and joyful and decadent.

Tonight, I add to the mix—we are going to the zoo for a member night event.

Hmmm...I guess sometimes I create my own obstacles

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Show & Tell #6


Show and Tell


(These pictures are pictures of pictures, so excuse the quality)


This is our first family portrait. It was taken around May 2001. Michael was 3 months old. I remember feeling so proud and also so clueless. We dressed up in our finest clothes, and dressed Michael up so pretty. We brought a bottle of formula even. The room was hot. The lights were hot. Michael was fussy. He was tired. His clothes were too hot for him. I insisted on having a clothing change for his pictures by himself. It was a disaster. But, we got some cute pictures anyways and we proudly displayed our family.




Today we went for our first family portrait with Willow. This time, we did not get her out of her pjs until we got there. She was dressed lightly. We gave her intermitten sips from a bottle. And when she did fuss (which wasn't much), we handled it gracefully. We were veterans. We dressed in dressier casual, we relaxed. It was fun. Willow is 3 1/2 months old. Michael, that 3 month old up in that first photo--he's NINE.



Not only did we get some good photos--we got our children's personalities. Miss "Fist in Mouth" proudly displayed her hands.





And Michael showed his cunning.



Something I tend to do is put recent photos in front of older ones. It is always fun to look at the changes from year to year. And the act of doing the family portrait also reminded me about the changes in our attitudes and behaviors. How we are more mellow with this second child. How we are comfortable in our roles as parents. How our son is growing and changing. What will the next family portrait show us?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

One Year Ago...

One year ago we transferred the 2 embryos, one of which became Willow.

I can’t believe that its been a year. 2007 was such a roller coaster ride. It was the year we decided to try IVF. We decided that since our state covered 3 cycles, we would go for it. We knew we would have a 40% chance of success. Compared to the 2% chance without assistance, it seemed so incredibly hopeful. Then we had the first cycle in May of that year. You try hard not to put your hopes on the line. You try, but you fail. And when that negative test result stares at you—your hopes are not just dashed. You crumble. My resolve started to crumble. I worried that maybe we were just not meant to have another child. Maybe one was all we were allotted. Maybe the odds were against us and we should just finish filling in those adoption papers?

And then we picked ourselves back up and did cycle number two. I was far more cynical this time. I went through the motions, but did not hold out any hope. I was certain that this cycle too would fail, and I was starting to wonder what we would do when the third cycle came along. I had already started to make alternative plans.

And then the world changed.

I feel incredibly lucky. I know of other people who have struggled far longer and went through far worse trails than we have and still do not have the satisfaction of a child. I sympathize with their longing and I can only hope that someday they will know what I know now--it is worth every heartache endured. It is worth every needle, every probe, every surgery. It is worth the long hours crying and wishing and longing. It is worth it.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Morning Routine

This morning went so smoothly that I just realized, sitting here at work at 10 a.m.--Willow slept through the night again! She went to bed about 10:30 and was not up until 6 a.m. The fact that I did not even acknowledge this fact, points to two things. One, Willow sleeps through the night quite frequently now. Two--routines are starting to take place. This morning went smoothly (I even got to exercise like I used to!).

This morning, I woke up and grudgingly used the stationary bike for 20 mins. My son was up and had come into our bed 10 mins before I finally decided to quit using the snooze alarm and get my fat ass out of bed and exercise--he's a good motivator, as he pushes you out of bed while he squirms around. I got into the shower. He came into the bathroom and asked me could he wake up Willow, because she was "so cute!" I told him please wait until I was done showering.

Finished my shower (in peace!) and looked through the laundry--started sorting it and waking up the husband. (He's not a morning person--hmm...actually, I am not as much of a morning person as I used to be either--maybe cuz my son is a SUPER morning person--the scum...). Michael got Willow out of the crib (I watched). He wants to hold her and pick her up...but putting her on our bed this morning--it a struggle for him and I realize we have to supervise him a bit more from now on--she is just so wiggly and getting heavier...

Willow smiled her smile. Then proceeded to cry (partially because her big brother was trying to snuggle her and pinch her cheeks--he likes to do that a lot).

We go downstairs, I breastfeed Willow, while husband gets my breakfast (and I try his patience by mentioning that I need more butter and syrup than he put on my pancakes--there is no milk in the house--forgot it because we did a lot of social stuff this weekend--, so now no cereal for me this morning). While eating breakfast, remind husband that Michael needs his medication...also, I need my Pre-Natal vitamin and my medication (I am weaning myself of the Zoloft now).

My conversations with my husband in the morning can become annoying (even to me), as I list off or remind him of the various things that need to be done this morning after I leave for work (I leave before they go, so that I can leave earlier to pick them up). This morning was especially interesting as Michael was going to a different camp for the rest of the summer--a camp that doesn't have lunches there, which means my conversation with my husband went kinda like this:

"Don't forget his lunch that is in the refrigerator." (X 3) [Aside: "Michael, don't forget that you have a lunch in the refrigerator"]

"Oh, and don't forget to let the camp counselors know that this is his first day."

"Oh and don't forget the formula for the daycare provider...she needs more."

"Oh, and don't forget to ask about how much we have to pay for the camp fees."

"Maybe you can ask to pay it when you drop him off?"

"Where is his swimsuit?" "Oh, here it is." "Don't forget his backpack."

[Aside: "Michael? Do you need money for camp?"]

"Please put sunblock on him...(I know he hasn't been doing it, and this camp is outside most of the day)."

"Oh, and don't forget his lunch--in the refrigerator."

and finally, as I rush out (hey, I was running a bit early before, how did I get a little late now?):

"Love ya!" (as he holds Willow while on the couch, son sitting nearby waiting to beg to play a videogame).

UPDATE:

IM from husband:

1)micheal saw [a friend]
I have arrainged for them to be in the same group next week
the pink puma or whatever

2) [daycare provider] has the can [of formula]

3) micheal has his lunch'

4) I put on lotion
he put it on his face (jis insitance)
his

she took a nap this morning 1 hr
micheal sang to her


I love my family! :-)

Ripple Effects 2

"Do you ever feel dead inside?"  -- this is what she said to a teacher in the hallway.  Promptly got a call from a counselor.  For...