Thursday, December 8, 2011

When The Child Becomes The Parent, another casualty of Cancer.

There really is no experience I've ever gone through that is like this. When your parent becomes ill, especially with cancer, and the role shifts from child to caregiver it is almost too much to handle. I'm just not ready for this phase of life yet... I guess... but are you ever??

My brain is just on overload these days. Has been for quite some time, there's just a lot going on in my life, a lot for one mind to process. I've been plugging along, a lot of times on auto pilot, but tonight I finally lost it, broke down in tears over a skillet full of rice and turkey. I know there were a lot of things prompting it, in fact I actually broke down in tears sitting on the bathtub earlier this afternoon over the potty training trainwreck attempts but that's a story for another day...

The culmination came tonight when my Dad came over to discuss his appointment with the oncologist. For those just tuning in, my Dad has/had (I dont even know how to put it anymore) cancer. He went through 6 rounds of chemo and then a massive surgery, more complicated than open heart surgery to remove his bladder, prostate, lymph nodes and reconstruct a new bladder out of his small intestine. It sounds like complete sci-fi because it is... it's crazy what they can do these days. After a week in the hospital, my Dad was back home and has been flying in his recovery ever since. He is one stubborn ass curmudgeon, and proudly so, you couldn't knock him down if you tried. So I can't say that I'm surprised at how well he has done through this whole escapade, but I also know him better than anyone else on this planet and I know that it hasn't been as easy for him as he lets others think...

So he's been recovering for the last 3 weeks and had a follow up appointment with the oncologist the other day. He comes in tonight to tell me that basically the oncologist thinks that he should undergo 2-6 more rounds of chemo treatments just to be on the safe side. Incase any cells had broken off and traveled through the body this may or may not help in counteracting it.

Long story short he flat out refuses to do any more chemo. One of his concerns is that the insurance wont pay for the $10,000 ea. treatments and his other main argument is that he asked the oncologist if doing the chemo would guarantee that he wouldn't get cancer in the future and of course the oncologist's answer was no. There really is no way to know whether or not the chemo would help, there's no way to know if there are any cancerous cells floating through his body, it's all kind of a toss up. My interpretation is that the oncologist is erring on the side of caution, and covering his own ass, and basically trying to stack the deck. He has no crystal ball to know whether it's necessary or not, or whether it will make a difference or not but statistically speaking it's probably a good idea.

My Dad, on the other hand, thinks that there's no reason he should undergo any more "torture" when there's no guarantee for it all... and this is my mental dilemma. I understand where the oncologist is coming from and I also understand where my Dad is coming from. I can easily say that if I were in his shoes I'd just go ahead and do the extra chemo but I have NO CLUE what it was like to go through that... I have no idea how hard it was on him, so who am I to tell him what to do.

This entire experience I've had to balance the whole concept of being optimistic and realistic, there's a very fine line... You can't be a strong support system for someone with cancer and be blatently honest with them, you just can't, they NEED that unequivocal confidence that it is going to be ok if they just follow the steps. They're relying on you to be that beacon of hope and strength, and I took that role very seriously for my Dad. He has always been there for me, through thick and thin, unwavering in strength so how am I supposed to say "Dad you know, I'm scared for you, I'm scared that you may die and not be here any more and so ANYTHING that could possibly help I demand you to do, because I dont want to lose you.... I can't imagine my life without you yet... I refuse to let you give in...." I can't say that to him, I can only say it to myself and walk away when the tears begin to fall so that he doesn't know how bad this whole experience has shaken me to the core.

My Dad values my opinion above anyone in this world, I know this, and it broke my heart to talk with him tonight. I had to play the devils advocate and tell him that I wouldn't just dismiss the chemo idea, I would get all of the info and then weigh my decision whether or not to go forward with more treatments with a clear mindset. I had to tell him that my interpretation of his pathology report was not exactly what he was thinking, it wasn't as optimistic as he has convinced himself to believe. I had to be a tad bit more realistic with him but I caught myself. I realized that I was being selfish, I wanted him to do whatever the hell it took to make sure that he was around as long as possible with us, I didn't care if it meant he was miserable through more chemo rounds, that he couldn't be around his beloved grandkids for even longer for fear that he may get severely ill with his compromised immune system, I didn't think about HIM at all. So I finally said that I understood it was his decision and I will have a conversation with him later to make sure he knows that I support his decision 100% and that I will never judge him for the route he decides to go.

But it literally devastated me, as he walked out the door I realized that all he wanted to hear was for me to laugh along with him "geeze stupid doctor WHY the heck would you need more chemo, you're CURED!!that's why you've gone through all this crap, the chemo, the surgery, that was supposed to be it".... that's what he wanted me to say.... and I didn't. All he wants to hear is for someone to tell him he's finally DONE with this. That he can start to LIVE again.... he just wants to know that this horror is over and the oncologist (and subsequently I) basically crushed that for him. As easily as he dismissed the idea, despite what I was saying to him, I know that he took a lot of stake in what I had to say and it destroyed him inside, I could see it in his face and I just lost it...

I feel like I just failed at being his pillar of strength, like I just shot someone's puppy right in front of them. It's so easy for anyone outside to say what they'd do if they were in his shoes, but really none of us knows what it's like. I can't blame him for not wanting to relive the past 3+ months of chemo.. Exact words out of his mouth were "I know I didn't complain much or act like it was a big deal but that kicked my ASS and there's no way I want to do that again" And the worst part is that I know how true that is... there's no way he would ever let on how hard this has been for him... he's way too proud, one of the qualities I admire most about him.

So I guess there really is no point to this post other than to vent about how a cancer diagnosis is the most AWFUL experience I've ever had to go through in my life... the only thing I can imagine being worse is if it were my child. And that just when you think you're at the end of the tunnel you get thrown another curve ball. This has tested my inner strength to the MAX and I'm still trying to figure out why we have all been forced to go through this... it's just another reminder of how precious life is and to stop wasting it on the insignificant BS because in the end none of it matters.

Read more!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Baby Dude Gets The Shaft

So the moment I found out that I was pregnant with my little nugget I felt an instant sense of excitement and then nearly burst into awful sad tears. I was almost devastated in a way for my older son, I felt like I was ruining his life and that I'd be taking all of the attention off of him from this moment until forever. It was a good few days of this horrible feeling until I finally started to see the positives of what a little brother would bring to his life rather than the doomsday approach I found myself in.

I vowed to make sure that he NEVER felt slighted, that I would go out of my way to make sure that everyone paid just as much attention to him after the baby arrived as they did on a normal basis. I just felt like I had to make sure that his life didn't change in any negative way and it wasn't until I hashed this over in my head that I finally gave myself permission to be happy about our upcoming addition.

If I only knew then what I know now...

Just the other night I was shopping for xmas presents and had picked out a whole cart full of things for HL, I was nearly skipping around the store going OH he would LOVE this, and AHH Mickey Mouse yep gotta have that, etc. I finished and looked down and realized that I hadn't picked out ONE thing for my little nugget... not a single thing. Not only that but I hadn't even thought about him while I was shopping. It was like someone slammed me in the face with a bat and I almost wanted to cry. It wasn't the age, not like it's less fun to shop for a 6 month old rather than a 2 year old... I dont know what the heck has happened! I was so so excited to take HL to get his picture with Santa last year, drove an hour to do so, and it's not the same this year... it makes me so sad. I know we're much busier now, we have 2 kids needs to meet, yaddi yadda... but it's no excuse.

It turns out that I really should've been more concerned with my BABY dude rather than my big boy because in all reality it's the poor baby that gets the shaft. A toddler demands your attention whether you want to give it or not, they're mobile, they have mouths, and attitudes so you have no choice. A baby on the other hand sits in a bassinette cooing to themselves (well at least a good majority of the time) and it's often easy to forget about them. Granted little nugget has definitely figured out a way to assert himself in our family and I have a feeling this contributes to his 'needy-ness' and high demanding personality.

I mean the poor guy gets really no new clothes, they're all hand me downs. All of his baby gear has been half destroyed already broken in. Toys are similarly 'well loved' already. The only shiny new things he has are pretty much his crib and his Wubbanub.

Then we move on to the pictures... I filled an entire external hard drive with photos of HL before he was a year old. Hundreds and hundreds a month. On the contrary, I have maybe 500 total pictures of my little nugget including his birth!

And the experiences... as much as it pains me to say it isn't exactly as exciting to experience all of the milestones the second time around. Dont get me wrong, I anxiously await them and I LOVE watching my baby dude grow and learn about his world, I really really do! But I will admit there is a little tiny bit of less enthusiasm this time around. I'm not up all night researching which baby foods to try first and how many wet diapers I should be seeing a day, or religiously scrapbooking every giggle and sneeze. For one thing I don't really have the time anymore with a wild and crazy 2 year old and a needy little baby. But I really have to stay on myself to stay in the moment and relish these baby days since I know all too well how fast they go by.

It's a double edged sword really... as I've come to find out is true of a LOT about parenting...

Thankfully after my Christmas shopping episode I got a huge wake up call. I put back half of my cart of presents and headed over to the baby aisles and submerged myself fully into finding special things that my nugget would love and it felt really good to focus solely on him for a moment. And if nothing else it's all given me some interesting insight into baby dude's super needy personality. It's like he's there to remind us not to forget about him amongst the chaos. And thankfully kids dont remember these times in their life... it's like a grace period for parents to get their shit together without ruining them for life ;) Read more!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Our First Family Turkey Day

So this will be our first thanksgiving doing our "own" thing. Which means that we wont have to wake up at the crack of dawn, get both kids bathed, dressed, fed, and in the car, scream out the door to house number one, socialize, eat, drink, pack up and zoom to house number two, and repeat, then off to house number three, and sometimes a fourth house for pie and dessert. Can you hear my zen-like "ahhhhh" as I take in the idea that for the first time we will have a relaxed Thanksgiving... woo saaah...

Anyway, thought I'd post some of the recipes we'll be using in case anyone else out there is navigating their first turkey dinner like ME. I love to try new recipes, so I've scouted through dozens to pick the ones I think will be awesome rather than just boring side dishes. We'll be frying one turkey and baking another so we have lots and lots of leftovers which I think are just as good as Thanksgiving dinner itself! I have some family recipes and staples that I'll be relying on but I found some amazing recipes out there that I can't wait to try out tomorrow.

Pioneer Woman's Mashed Potatoes- taters should be the simplest thing to make but I want them to be To.Die.For. and I'm pretty sure these will be!

Peel apart no knead dinner rolls! Super simple recipe, and they look so pretty. Must make ahead to allow time for rising.

Paula Deen's Sweet Potato Bake. First off it's a recipe that comes from the queen of cookin, so I'm sure it will be absolutely delcious. And I think I'm going to switch up the topping and add the traditional marshmallows on top.

Old fashioned pumpkin pie. I'm making my own pumpkin puree from our pie pumpkin delivered in our organic produce this week. This recipe looks really simple, and classic, which is what I wanted. No need to mess with a good thing!

Creamed Onions a la Emeril. One of my favorite side dishes, I could eat onions every single day and I put them in everything!

Cranberry Sauce by Bobby Flay, I am doing a twist on our family recipe this year and adding in fresh cranberries rather than canned. So I'm using this as a guide to cook the fresh cranberries...

Homemade custard apple pie. Sweet & to the point with a few twists

Read more!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My little "Nugget"

He came into this world in almost a perfect way. I was able to into labor naturally as I had always wished. He came out 100% healthy after just a handful of pushes. It really couldn't have gone much more smoothly. And then we came home and it has been anything BUT smooth.

Before I get too far, don't get me wrong, Baby D is awesome. He is the sweetest, cutest, squishiest little thing you've ever seen. He's growing like a weed, about 16 lbs now at 5 1/2 months. I am absolutely in love with this little guy.

But DANG this kid is high maintenance. Baby D is testing all of my parenting abilities, my patience, my ability to function with total sleep deprivation.

He is now 5 1/2 months old, he still eats every 2-3 hours all night long, he does NOT nap and he is not very happy unless you are holding him all day. I thought he had colic when we brought him home, just like big brother, but his demeanor hasn't really changed since. He is just as needy as he was day 1.

D is the polar opposite of HL at this point. With big brother I was able to get him onto a feeding schedule almost immediately, he was sleeping 5 hours at night at maybe 1-2 weeks old and he fell right into a nap schedule. His day was predictable and after his own 3 months of colic he was a breeze. Baby Dude has apparently not received the memo. I have done everything I can possibly think of to try and get him onto a schedule and it still fluctuates all the time. He refuses to take more than a 15 minute nap. Instead of eating 7 or so ounces per feeding and then going 4-5 hours until the next meal he will only eat 4-5 ounces and then is starving again barely 3 hours later. Nighttime is the same story, there's the 10:00 feeding, the 12:00am, the 3:00am, the 6:00am, and 8:00am - that's 5 feedings before big brother is even awake! We haven't even been able to move him to the PACK N PLAY in our room because of how often he gets up (there are paci cries & blanket cries in between the hungry cries) so he still sleeps in bed with us at almost 6 months old!

Craziness I tell you. Craziness. By this time HL was sleeping at least 8 hours at night...

All I can think is that Baby D wants to make sure we dont forget that he's here. It's like he came out of the womb proclaiming I HAVE ARRIVED and is making damn sure we know that he is in charge. I find it laughable because I was/am adament about having a child on a schedule with a routine of normalcy, I dont know how other families function otherwise, yet here I am with my hands tied pulling out my hair to get this kid on some kind of a schedule and he is flat out denying me.

The sleep deprivation is insane, I have never experienced anything like this in my life. We're going on 6 months of up ALL.NIGHT.LONG. literally, and the toddler is bright eyed and ready to go first thing in the morning so there is no 'catching up on sleep'. Oh and the whole "sleep when the baby sleeps" is a joke too because of his refusal to nap longer than a few moments at a time.

Ahhhhh Nugget.... boy you are testing me. You really are. But there must be a reason and if I can survive 6 months, I can survive 6 more... and 6 more... and we will learn this together. I won't give up on you if you don't give up on me. As long as you keep giving me smiles and "deet deet deet's" babble talk I will make it through xoxo

Now for the good moments, despite as nuts as it sounds there are a lot of great moments. I love how he interacts with big brother, he is in LOVE with big brother! I love his big fat cheeks and the fact that he is hugantic. He's already wearing 12 month clothing because he is so long! It is crazy to think that HL just stopped wearing these things maybe 6 months ago! He isn't too big on the wubbanub, so that may prove beneficial later on. I love his smile and big beautiful blue eyes that melt EVERYONE'S heart (and he knows it). I love his hair, he has much more than his brother did at this age. His babbling all day is awesome... blowing raspberries, oohing and ahhing at toys. He drools like it's his job, I keep waiting for teeth, none yet so we shall see. I love that he is pretty much an identical twin to his big brother and daddy, they sure look cute together.

Mainly I just love my little Nugget, wouldn't trade him for the world, and am thankful for all he is teaching me right now.

And here is the rest of it. Read more!

A little thing I call Blissful Chaos

Well it's no wonder that I just can't seem to find the time to post these days. As I write I have a wild toddler zooming around the house with his new birthday toys knocking things off of the coffee table... I guess he forgot about how I JUST asked him to be quiet because little brother is trying to sleep. And then we have the little brother... he's supposed to be sleeping but that is laughable. This kid is a hybrid and requires no sleep, so he thinks. He is laying in the bassinette next to me wailing his head off. My attempts to hold him, rock him, play with him, et al have failed today. I finally just broke down and gave him Tylenol because I can't think of any other reason for him to be this big of a wreck unless he's in pain... maybe a tooth... maybe a headache from being whacked with a race car earlier in the day.. who the heck knows!

This is pretty much my typical day now.... blissful chaos, things NEVER slow down, there is NO sleep in our world, it is a challenge and a joy all at once. I will elaborate in individual posts because I want to remember all of these details, so much to catch up on. I guess in order for me to catch up on posts I have to catch up on LIFE HA!! I'm starting to think that this is not going to happen.

I love my two boys, I am so proud of both of them and so happy to have them both here, but yes it has been a rough adjustment. The only reason I say that is because little Baby D is a bit high maintenance, if he had come into our lives as easily as the big brother life would be smooth sailing but I suppose one is naive to think that any two babies are alike!

So without further ado, next up is a post all about my little "nugget", baby D. It is long over due that I update about how much he has rocked our world :) Read more!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cancer free.

I don't even know how process these two words at this point in time...

Cancer. Free.

After 3 rounds of chemo the follow up CT scan concluded technically, from a physiological standpoint that my Dad is cancer free...

No signs of lymph involvement which was questionable before, they couldn't even find the initial tumor!

You must be kidding me... dont get me wrong I am elated.. beyond words, there actually are no words to describe any of the feelings I've experienced along the way here. But I am, in all honesty, in shock. I was not expecting such positive news. I'm sure it comes from being hardened by memories of traveling this road more times before than I'd like to count. But my best expectations were that the the tumor had remained stable and no evidence of metastatis had crept up in the meantime. I never expected to hear the words cancer free especially this early in the game so I am absolutely ecstatic.

At this point he is set for surgery, that will be hurdle #2 of all of this. Major surgery = major recovery = major stress & anxiety while we wait. I can finally take a deep breath but I will admit I am still guarded because we still have a long road to hoe. Thank you god for the best news we could've ever heard and may my Dad's angels continue to fly with him throughout the rest of this journey. Read more!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Oh.. you're JUST a stay at home mom.

Oh another blog post about the world's perception on "stay at home moms"... and I use that title loosely for myself since I technically work from home in a lot of ways. I just can't wrap my mind about the fact that people honestly think we sit around on the couch all day popping Ferrero Rochers while drinking chilled Pellegrino in a martini glass. I mean really? It's like we are a completely insignificant species in society, we contribute nothing to the household besides wiping booty.

I'm going to just lay it out here for you folks, actually for the aformentioned folks. You need to shut your mouth when you don't know what you're talking about. So let me save you from looking like a complete asshat while I explain my personal circumstance in stay at home mommy land...

I am a freelance writer which started as a venture in mommy blogging, because of my ramblings about puke poop and colic I earned myself the opportunity to write for some big people. I make money doing that, money for our household to buy things like beer so that I stay sane and hubbs stays happy. Because I have been published in some awesome places I also enjoy the opportunity to test out and review lots of products from dog food to baby swings. And for this I get compensated in some way with anything from free diapers to Walmart gift cards, while nominal these things nicely save us on grocery bills and add up after a while so I continue to take the time to do it.

Moving on to one of my 'real' jobs... I went to school for quite some time to become a nurse and currently in the fall and winter I am a traveling nurse with a government immunization company. It's no ER or all that exciting by any means but it's a paycheck when we need it and it works with my ever busier schedule these days. One day life will slow down and I'll get back into the scrubs full time... for now this is extent of it.

Then we move on to my other job as an entrepreneur and business owner. I retail maternity and child clothing and goodies and hand sew crib bedding and baby essentials. Since 2007 I have been growing this company all by myself and it is now keeping me busy enough to be a full time job in itself. 40 hours a week would be an understatement, I'm up until midnight most nights and pretty much live at the post office. I honestly have been looking into hiring help for a few months now because it's killing me but I love it and won't stop.

More freelance works puts me in tradeshows, golf tournaments, calendar shoots, events and the like as a model and brand ambassador for companies like T-Mobile and others... it's usually good hours that work with my hubbs schedule so he can watch the kids and it pays a lot better than nursing, go figure. When I get the opportunity to do these events I jump on it!

Oh yea and then there's the fact that I "stay home" with a 2 year old and a 4 month old. If this was my only job for the day I'd be more than exhausted. It's full time sun up to sun down of making bottles, cooking meals, cleaning messes, soothing owies, fighting for nap times, zoning out tantrums, changing butts, giving baths, picking up toys, reading books, preschool teaching... it goes on and on and on. There are no breaks, there's no 'time off'. When you're sick and puking your guts out the job goes on. God forbid you catch the flu, I highly recommend becoming a hermit because being sick with babies to deal with is utter torture. Oh and did I mention the hours of this job are 24/7?? The wee one still eats every 1 1/2- 2 hours at night and the toddler is bright eyed and bushy tailed by 8 am if you're lucky. While doing all of this I also manage to keep my house relatively clean, stay on top of the dishes, sweep my floors 3 times a day, and put home cooked meals on the table.

I may spend my entire day in pajamas, my house may not always be spotless, my laundry may not get folded and put away very often,  and my car may be covered in crackers and an occasional dirty diaper but I think I do a pretty darn good job of managing my life. And I contribute a whole hell of a lot to our household and family not only financially but clearly in several other ways. I'm not writing this to get a medal or to hear people say "oh my gosh how do you do it", truth is those people are few and far between. What I expect is the common courtesy and respect for people to reserve their judgement and sarcasm until they've walked a mile in my barefeet shoes. Because until then you have no idea what my life is like, you have NO clue how very hard it is to do what I do, what we all do, despite the fact that you think we plop down on the couch with soaps all day. I'd like anyone to come in and take over my life for 3 days and then see what they have to say.

Now if you'll excuse me I have 2 humans to raise, dinner to cook, and orders to fill.... Read more!

Extreme Couponing!

Well I have to say I'm getting pretty dang good at this (like 100% savings good) ... so good that I finally had to break down and get my very first stockpile shelf. The cupboards, pantry, and laundry room were overflowing! Not gonna lie, I was super excited about this. I filled the thing up in 10 minutes and still need more room. I started 'couponing' in April, took a few months off after D was born and am back at it again. The amount of things I've stockpiled so far is amazing and the amount of money we're saving is even more amazing. In just two weeks of couponing I had already saved us $480... I can't wait to one day walk down into my basement and have shelves wall to wall full of goodies, it will happen... call me a hoarder I wont care because you know deep down you're totally jealous of my mounds of toothpaste, razors, cleaners, pasta, soda, cereal, crackers, and laundry detergent. Especially when you know that I paid a big fat NOTHING for them :)

And for the skeptics that think you can only get junk with coupons here's a run down of what's on my shelf.

Hunts Pasta Sauce
Tons of spaghetti noodles of all kinds
Yakisoba Noodles and ramen type noodles
Mountain Dew
Full Throttle energy drinks (I can't function without these)
Soy sauce, ketchup, mustard, relish
A ton of bbq sauce and Lowry's marinades (for our grilling/bbq addiction)
Pickles (pretty much a food group for me)
Natural peanut butter galore
Pace salsa
Honey Bunches of Oats, Capn Crunch, and lots of other cereals
Hamburger helper
Crackers and snack food
Crest toothpaste adults and kids, tons of toothbrushes, floss
Deodorant, hand soap, ivory soap bars
Right guard body wash
Tampax and other girlie products
Garnier Fructis and a billion other shampoos and conditioners
Gillette Proglide and 10 years worth of other razors
Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo and lotion
Airwick and Febreeze smelly good things
Clorox, Comet, and tons of other household cleaners
Scrubbing bubbles toilet cleaners
.....and that's just one shelf :) Read more!

The Dudes. You've Got A Friend in Me.

They make every day of my life worth living. I smile all day long because of them. And they are growing more and more into best buddies.

When the road looks rough ahead, and you're miles and miles from your nice warm bed, just remember what your old pal said. You've got a friend in me.

Some other folks might be a little bit smarter than I am, bigger and stronger too maybe, but none of them will ever love you the way that I do. It's me and you and as the years go by, boys our friendship will never die, you're gonna see it's our destiny. You've got a friend in me.
Read more!

Chemo Letters- Round 2 Day 2

**A little bit of reality, a little bit of inspiration, and a whole lot of love. Letters for my Dad as we travel this journey together, packed into his chemo bag along with treats like black licorice and hot rod magazines**
Team Dad!
In every life we have some trouble, when you worry you make it double…
Don’t worry, BE HAPPY!!

Love this song, love the message. When you have no control over a situation there’s no sense in worrying about it because it isn’t going to change anything, it’s just going to make you even more miserable along the way. I’m also a big believer in the power of thought and when you focus on positivity and surround yourself with things that make you happy it only brings more of that to you.

Life is here to teach us that I think… one of the hardest things to finally realize and then live. To appreciate what you have, to rid yourself of negativity and people that bring you down, to not sweat the small stuff. Life is a gift and a learning place, hopefully by the end you finally get the message and if you’re lucky you pass it on to future generations so that they may realize the message sooner. Like I’ve said before, it seems that we usually have to experience bad things so that we know and appreciate when things are good. It would be nice to just go from point A to B without going through the ‘school of hard knocks’… and maybe that is yet another reason we are all experiencing this…

I can see that light at the end of the tunnel now Dad. We’re getting there, and you’ve done it so far with flying colors. I’m glad to be here to share this journey with you not only for you but for myself… it has taught me a lot… a lot about control, patience, love, life. I’m ready to continue to surround myself with things that make me happy… like you, and my boys, and pickles.

So no worries… Keep focused on that positivity, good news, health, and happiness… cause when you worry your face will frown and that will bring everybody down, so don’t worry… BE HAPPY!

Love you Dad,
Baby Cakes
Read more!

Chemo Letters- Round 2 Day 1

**A little bit of reality, a little bit of inspiration, and a whole lot of love. Letters for my Dad as we travel this journey together, packed into his chemo bag along with treats like black licorice and hot rod magazines**
Hanging with Grampa getting his drip


“Get up and fight another round…”
That was perfect Dad, couldn’t have said it better myself. I’d been searching for a long time for a good phrase to symbolize life, and that was it. You know I look back at all of my tattoos and they each represent a very significant time in my life. This new one is no exception. Cancer affects everyone in the family and I guess that’s a good and bad thing. I mean you know everyone is there fighting right alongside you and that means you have truckloads of support but on the other hand it means that we are wrapped up in the rest of it all too. The fear, the anxiety, the anger, the disbelief, the helplessness… There’s no shielding anyone from the gravity of cancer. But you know the more I thought about it I realized that it isn’t too uncommon about life in general. You never know what tomorrow will hold and sometimes life deals you some low blows, and as you said when that happens you stand yourself up, dust yourself off, look life square in the face and fight another round.

I now know what people mean when they say that cancer brought their family closer. This entire year has brought a lot to our family, I think it’s stripped us down to the core and now we have the opportunity to build things back in a better way. Communication, empathy, humbleness, gratitude… I think we’re all learning some valuable lessons out of it all. A lot of people describe cancer as a blessing in disguise… I guess that’s one hell of a way to get a message in life. But if it means that I wake up everyday and thank whoever is upstairs for one more day with my family I’ll take it. If it means that I stop and remind myself that life is about the bigger picture rather than the little stuff, I’ll take it. And if it means that Holden and Declan will learn how to be strong and brave men in the face of adversity thanks to GramPa’s “owie”, that they learn to get up and fight another round… I’ll take it.

I love you more than you’ll ever know Dad,
Baby Cakes
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

When life knocks you down

"When life knocks you down.... you get up and fight another round"

This is what my Dad said at his latest chemo appointment.

He was a boxer.

I'd been waiting for the right words for a looooong time, the perfect quote or phrase. Literally been searching for over a year for the right saying to symbolize life... living... a lot of things.

This was it. Perfect. And with me now forever. This one means a lot to me... and I attempted to explain why in another Chemo Letter to my Dad.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Chemo Letters- Round 1 Day 2

**A little bit of reality, a little bit of inspiration, and a whole lot of love. Letters for my Dad as we travel this journey together, packed into his chemo bag along with treats like black licorice and hot rod magazines**

                                                                                                                                   Aug 19, 2011

Here we are, round 1 day 2. “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” One chemo day down already and you’re doing good Dad. This is going to be one hell of a journey that’s for sure. But as you’ve seen you are strong, you’re like a chemo rockstar! I just want to make sure you’re not afraid to ask for help if you need it. You don’t have to fake a smile for anyone, we understand that this isn’t easy. There will be ups and there’s definitely going to be some downs but the one constant is that we’re here for you.

You just remember that guy with one leg at the cancer event any time that you feel like it’s too much. Your body and mind can handle a lot more than you think. And you have an amazing support system of people that love you who are pulling for you just as hard as you are yourself. Give us some of the burden to carry, we are willing with open arms.

I want you most of all to know how much I love you Dad. You’ve always been my foundation of strength, shown me how to suck it up and stand tall, it’s interesting how the tides turn as we get older but I guess that’s life. Now it’s my turn to take care of you. You never truly appreciate all that your parents have done for you until you have kids of your own. Now I understand the sacrifices and what it means to be completely selfless, to want more for someone else than you do for yourself… that’s what I meant when I said I’d take this all on for you in a heartbeat if I could, if it meant you didn’t have to go through this. I’d do it Dad, I really would. But I can’t, so I’m trying to find the lesson we’re all supposed to learn from this… I know for one it’s taught me so far a lot of appreciation. Appreciation for what you’ve done for me in my lifetime, appreciation for each breath we’re given every day, appreciation for the bad things because without them we wouldn’t know what good is.

I know it sucks for now, all the tubes, the medicines, the aches and pains, the million appointments, but it will be a faint memory before you know it. Try to focus on the positives and take it all in stride. You keep your eye on that finish line!

Love you Dad,
Baby Cakes
(and a special hello to GramPA from HL) Read more!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Toddler Time Warp- 21 months

You like that, how we warped from 18 months to 21 months *that* fast?! And really people it does happen THAT fast. It should be no surprise that the time is flying just as quickly as usual... moreso now with the addition of Baby D (who is almost 3 months old already whaaat?!)

Mr. HL is quite the spunky little character, nothing new there, but dang this kid is smart. And as usual, I say that in the most unbiased way possible, my kid's a genius ;) But really he is super smart, my jaw drops at least once a week at some profound thing that he does. Like the other day when I'm making an afternoon snack and hear HL messing around in the fridge rambling on about something. I finally hear something about "free... daddies" and I turn around and see him pointing at beer in the fridge (aka 'daddies) and I say 'what did you say?' And he goes "momma, count... free... daddies" as he points to the 3 cans of beer in the door.

Come again??

When did he learn to count?!! I mean we've worked loosely on numbers and we try to show him 1... 2... moreso identifying what they look like but to really grasp the concept of counting??! When did that happen?

Or like the other day when I took Baby D's mobile off the crib which is quite the contraption. Simply, there's a piece with a rod and a hole and another piece that screws on over the rod to the hole. Well I pull it off the crib and have it sitting on the ground when HL walks in the room, keep in mind HL has never seen me do this before, he's never even noticed the mobile at all before. And out of no where he walks into the room, picks up all the pieces and instantly puts them together and assembles the mobile. An engineer in the making? ha!

He does things like that and I think, dude, you are one smart cookie... too smart for your own good!

He watches everything like a hawk, the most observant kid ever. I mean he will find buttons on things in this house that I've owned for years and never knew buttons existed on. He will yell out 'Uncleshell' (a universal term for his Auntie & Uncle) the moment that he sees a Tahoe driving by (their car). Doesn't matter what color it is, doesn't matter what year, he somehow knows that it's a Tahoe and starts yelling Uncleshell Uncleshell Uncleshell!!! He's very detail oriented, for example he can differentiate between daddy's car keys and mommy's car keys and will spend an hour sorting things by size or color or shape. He's a gadget freak, any type of gadget or gizmo will hold his attention for more than 5 seconds, the more buttons the better.
Egg chalk = awesome fun

What else is my little sponge up to... He's starting to speak in full sentences now which is really pretty cool. It's really fun to see someone put a language together and realize that they can communicate with you. I am really big on developing words and communication because that helps immensely with the tantrums and fits. I think 90% of toddler tantrums are because they can't communicate their needs to you, and I guess this is an even bigger problem for boys which leads to anger outbursts and such, so if we work on words and communicating then we eliminate some of that. Whenever HL starts to throw a fit and squeal about something I interupt him, bend down, and say STOP! What do you need? What do you want? And he'll say something as silly as "truck" while he points at his truck stuck under the couch... simple problem to fix, no need to scream ;)

His favorite songs right now are twinkle twinkle Shots by LMFAO... lol and Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas. Wish I was making that up... but no, they are his absolute fave. The moment he sees mommy or daddy's phone (where the music comes from) he starts dancing and goes "boom boom booooom" "shot shots" and prompts you to put the songs on for him.
Outdoor fun extravaganza!

He still has some rockstar dance moves. He still eats a ton of fruit and an occasional carrot only if it has "dunk" on it. He says "peese" and "tank u mommee" He loves his books and bathtime is still his absolute favorite time of day. The kid lives to be outside, doesn't matter what he's doing as long as he can be "sowside".

Said 24 month clothing
I've started doing a lot of pre-school teaching activities with him which I will chronicle at some point, and he really enjoys that. I love watching him learn... such a rewarding experience... to see him grasp a new idea and figure out the world, it's soo cool!

He's as awesome as usual! I think he's up to about 24 or 25 lbs, wearing a size 5 shoe and size 4 diapers, can still fit into 12 month clothes and the random 6-9 month shirt or something. But mostly is up to 18 month and 24 month clothing... oh my god. True story, I go into the stores to find PJ's for him and grab the 24 month ones and laugh out loud going that is WAAY too big but I guess he'll grow into it, I bring it home, slap it on him and it literally fits like a glove.... when did this happen??? He's starting to sprout up and I guess my perception is just skewed because I still see a cute little baby, NOT a soon to be little man. I mean I'm getting ready to plan his 2nd birthday ::::gasp:::: ::::gulp:::

The Dudes.
Most importantly he is the greatest big brother EVAH! There really hasn't been an ounce of jealousy and if anything he is starting to realize more and more that little D is his best friend. He shrieks for him in the morning when he wakes up and is all "I want to be ON you" all up in poor D's business all the time, but it's adorable. He has NO concept of what it means to be quiet... he'll run over smashing pots and pans while yelling "D... SLEEPING!!" And he doesn't understand that the babe is fragile, smothering with love and hugs occurs at least once an hour. He likes to share with him, like the one day I look over where the two boys are sitting and see baby D smiling with a baby carrot shoved right in his mouth. HL has the right idea... just needs a little tweaking ;)

If you have any shortage of laughter in your life you can borrow my kid... I have never in my life smiled so much, laughed as often, or cried more tears of happiness... it is everything I dreamed of and more to be his their mommy.

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A big 18 month old otherwise known as The Dude.

*I'm a little behind... clearly... this is the 18 month update that I wrote before Baby D was born. I was holding off posting until I had pics to go along with it, um yah lesson learned, just post it because life just continues to fly on and it will never happen otherwise.
some sort of cranky face but amusing mom with ONE picture

My little dude... ahh I love this kid :) Ok with no particular organization to this post here's a spewing of what's new with the dude.

So stats first: 23 lbs 12 oz. (20%) and 32 1/2" tall (57%) pretty sure he's going to be the next Shaquille O'Neal ha.

I get a huge kick out of decifering his toddler language, dont get me wrong the kid is a huge talker, he chats up a storm very well but he definitely has his own language for certain words.
I know I'm not supposed to play with
this buuuutt maybe just for a minute?

Sooey = cereal
Baf = bath
Saba = strawberry
Syco = motorcycle
Unnuh = thunder
Si = outside
Sis = kiss
Maamaw = grandpa/grandma, it's universal
And my newest fave 'sausage', he says it perfectly clear but he screams it at you, it's hysterical.

That's just a sampling of some of the new ones. Other than that he is a complete sponge, he knows 90% of his alphabet letters but, just like most things, he will only indulge you on his own terms. Otherwise he tricks you into thinking he doesn't know them until you spy him in the corner alone pulling them out and announcing them all one by one. "W" is his favorite. He knows all of the animals and their respective noises, obviously chickens aka "bok boks" are a big hit, especially since we got our 2 new baby chicks! And he knows his colors and shapes with "di-ang-o" being his fave. We'll start working on numbers and counting next.
All boy. Always zooming around
with trucks and climbing on things
Helping prepare little brothers room!

He lives for water! I bought him a sand and water table figuring he'd enjoy it but my goodness, the kid will stay outside and play with it until he's shaking and purple and screaming at you while you wrestle him inside when it's only 50 degrees. And then we discovered the sprinkler... oh the squees of joy when daddy turned on the sprinklers! And the bath, we LOVE our "bafs" and our new favorite activity is blowing bubbles in the tub. He dunks his face under the water and blows bubbles just like daddy showed him (baths are usually daddy and dude's special time).

I think he may be a fruit bat. The kid is obsessed with fruit, can't say I'm complaining... wishing he'd get on the veggie wagon too but we'll take baby steps. But yah, fruit, any kind (except the grapefruit that I tried to claim was an orange... did not go over well ;) The good thing about him eating so much fruit is that it makes ME eat fruit and I've never been a big fruit person, I'm all veggies.

Disciplining a toddler... well that was inevitable and I never really knew how we'd go about it or when we'd have to. Surprise, our child is a bit hard headed and strong willed for some strange reason ;) and we've had to implement some semblence of "discipline" since he was about a year old! Right now we do time out when he really tests his limits. He clearly knows that he shouldn't do or behave a certain way (which is obvious by him saying "nonono" the whole time) and if he doesn't stop or listen he gets to go sit at the end of the hallway for a minute or two. I stand there with my back turned to him and after his time is up I bend down and say "what did Mommy say?" and he responds "no, no, no!" at which point I bring him back to whatever activity he was doing to get in trouble... like smashing the tv with a golfclub and I say "this is a no, no, we don't hit the tv" and I tell him to say sorry and then he gives me a kiss. It's a good routine for now, whether he truly gets the entire message or not it's a way to interupt his bad behavior and re-direct to something positive and it keeps me from losing my mind. win win.

Gosh what else... I suppose I could ramble on and on about how awesome he is because really this kid is awesome. I love it when he kisses my belly and says "hi baby", he's going to make the most awesome big brother! I'm just soaking in our Mommy & Dude time, just the two of us, until the newest dude arrives.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Chemo Letters- Round 1 Day 1

**A little bit of reality, a little bit of inspiration, and a whole lot of love. Letters for my Dad as we travel this journey together, packed into his chemo bag along with treats like black licorice and hot rod magazines**

                                                                                                            Aug 11  2011

Well I’m sure you never guessed you’d ever be sitting here hooked up to wires getting chemo treatments… you and me both Dad. No one saw this one coming, not quite something you plan for your life. I hate that this is happening to you and that I can’t fix it, I wish I could close my eyes and make it go away. I’m so sorry that you’ve been chosen for whatever reason to endure this and if I could take on the burden myself I’d do it in a heartbeat. You deserve the world Dad… not this… definitely not this. But sometimes life deals you a shitty hand. It’s just another bump in the road, one that we will look back and laugh at, at least maybe a little bit.

I want you to know that I’m going to be here Dad, you’re not in this alone. I’m fighting right alongside you. I vow to do everything in my power to make this journey easier for you. When you’re tired and afraid I hope you can look to me for energy and strength. When you’re wondering ‘why me’ I hope you realize that you didn’t do anything wrong. When you’re afraid of what the future holds I hope you can trust that it is all going to be ok, if anyone can take this on it’s you. You have the courage of a lion, remember that. When you feel completely alone and that no one understands I hope you know that you’re never by yourself, because I’m right here, right here with you Dad, no matter what. You’ve always been there for me, through thick and thin, always my center of strength and I will do all that I can to give that back to you now.

There’s no playbook they hand you with a diagnosis of cancer you’ve just got to roll with the punches. This will not take you down, it IS going to be ok. You are one very special man and this cancer picked the wrong special man. If you taught me one thing it’s how to stand up and fight, so we’re fighting. And that’s it. Chin up soldier, time to keep marching forward.

I love you always and forever,
Baby Cakes
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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Dad Has Cancer.

Didn't think it'd be that hard just to write a post title. It's been quite the rollercoaster of a year so far and this has just topped it all off. Talk about a shot to the gut. We've been on this merry-go-round nightmare ride a few times already with other family members, may they be my Dad's angels from heaven and pull him through this. And yet we find ourselves here again... it really makes you wonder how much one person can take on their plate. So needless to say the mommy blogging has taken a slight turn for some time. I'm busy raising babies and being super mom and I'd love to tell you all about it but I dont have the motivation at the moment, still working my way through being depressed and processing this and therefore the only thing I have motivation to write about right now is cancer. You awful beast from hell. UGH I hate this.

Cancer. You must be kidding me that this is my life right now, it's one thing to experience it with other family members and to lose loved ones but this time its so close to home... I hate that this is happening. I hate that my stoic father has to be brought to his knees by something completely out of his control. I hate that he lives in a constant state of 'why, what did I do wrong', I hate that he is in pain, I hate that his mortality is the first thing on my mind each day when I wake up and probably his too, I hate watching him fight back tears and try to be brave when he is afraid, I hate that HL talks about 'grampa's owie' now, I hate that this is happening to him, and I hate that I can't fix it, I'm a nurse, I fix people, and I can't fix this.

I HATE it.

My Dad wants this to remain relatively private, I absolutely understand, but I need an outlet, I need to vent and say things that only exist in my mind that I dont have the courage to acknowledge outloud or to say to 'real' people. So I say it to the interwebs and hope that if he happens to stumble on the blog someday that he understands. And regardless I'm pretty positive that no one from his everyday life coincidentally hangs out here, if they do the cats out of the bag, hopefully they'll respect his wishes and let him share on his own time.

The doctors are highly optimistic about his condition, they use the word cure in consultations and that weighs heavily on my heart. As I've had the unfortunate position of watching cancer take several loved ones lives in the past I realize that you just never know... But given his particular cancer, health, and treatment options I am very confident that we will get through this, I mean you have to adopt that mindset no matter what.

I say WE because cancer and illness affect everyone in the family. We are all in this together, we are all fighting, and when his strength and optimism falls I will be there to pick it up. So WE are fighting the fight of our lives right now, and God willing, with our special Angel's help we will prevail.

Cancer will NOT win this one. It is NOT welcome here.

Chemo starts tomorrow. I've made it my mission in life to be his right hand man through all of this whether he wants it or not. I came by my stubbornness honestly. He may not want to ask for the help but I will be dishing it out. I will be at every appointment, I will become the worlds expert on everything cancer related, the disease, the surgery, the chemo meds, everything. I'll be his nurse and remind him to take his meds, I'll be his personal chef when he doesn't feel like eating, I'll be his walking buddy when it's time for fresh air, the main point is that I'll be there. Because I know he'd do the same for me. And he's my Dad, the man deserves it.

He sure as hell doesn't deserve this.

There's something about this feeling of helplessness that I just don't do well with. I'm not sure that anyone does. And it all just seems so unfair but sometimes things just happen and there is no explanation, all you can do is roll with the punches. Isn't that just a stupid cliche... all of these things we tell people and ourselves to make a crappy situation seem better, it's all bullshit. But we say it because what else are you supposed to do. No one has a crystal ball to know how the cards are going to fall.

But here's what I do know, we are a family of fighters and we are not going to go through this quietly, it's going to be one knock down fight to the finish, this cancer picked the wrong guy, the wrong family. It can kiss it's ass goodbye.
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Giveaway: Seventh Generation Free & Clear Diapers


Well it sure has been a while since I've hosted a giveaway but I am loving this one. First off a mom of two can't turn down free diapers! But the fact that these diapers go right along with the eco-kick I try to stay on makes it even better.

We try to be a relatively eco-friendly fam, I am pretty serious about eating healthy, trying to buy organic when I can, I'm an avid gardener, I make my kids baby food... we're a bit granola-y sometimes. But we could use a little work on the whole recycling front by using more ecoconcious products. And these diapers do just that.

From them- What Seventh Generation leaves out is just as important as what they put in. Free & Clear diapers do not include chlorine processing, fragrances, latex and petroleum based lotions. In an effort to contribute less overall landfill waste and continue to ensure a premium standard of absorbency, the new Free & Clear diapers have been redesigned with a lighter-weight core. With processed chlorine-free wood pulp in Free & Clear diapers, Seventh Generation also makes certain that no chlorine is released into the environment during the totally chlorine-free (TCF) whitening process of the diapers and training pants.

Seventh Generation has also reduced the size of the diapers’ plastic packaging, meaning that each pack now contributes even less overall landfill waste than before. In fact, Seventh Generation Free & Clear diaper packaging can now be recycled at local supermarkets where plastic bag recycling collection boxes are available.

Now I'm pretty picky about our diapers, we are a full fledged Pampers family, I make it no secret that I HATE Huggies, I hate their fit, the tabs, etc. This is one of the few products that we are extremely brand loyal to. But if I were to switch or incorporate any other diaper into our use it would be one that has such a great impact on the environment. As for the Free & Clear diapers, I will say that they look pretty awful, they're plain, no images, kind of look like a brown paper towel but really who cares if your kids undergarments have Elmo on them right... The only other thing I dont like are the tabs, they are exactly like Huggies, huge flimsy tabs. Other than that I LOVE that they have NO smell, that is the one thing I despise about our Pampers, the awful "perfumey" smell. That alone counts for a lot in my book. And they worked just fine, no leaks!

So here's the deal, you can win your package of diapers and get a sneak peek at Seventh Generations new packaging. And for the couponers out there here's an awesome $2 off of ANY one Seventh Generation baby product (diapers, training pants, wipes) over here

If you'd like to learn more about these diapers and the whole "free and clear" process, check out these links. The whitening process
The role of pigments in diapers

TO ENTER: (leave separate comments for each)

Just leave a comment telling me what you think about eco-concious baby products.

For extra entries:
1. Tweet this giveaway using #myblogspark and @SeventhGen
2. Like Seventh Generation on FB
3. Like us over on FB!
4. Give us a vote over at Top Mommy Blogs by clicking the button down on the right over there :)

I was provided with product and information by Seventh Generation via My Blog Spark, to see my full disclosure please visit the Disclosure page.
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

A few of my faves from the holiday

A small picture update, we spent the 4th at Glendo Reservoir camping in our new 5th wheel. It was awesome! HL had a blast, I mean lake, sand, fireworks, smoke, dirt, what more could a boy want... and can I say how absolutely adorable baby footprints are in the sand ::::awwww::::: DMac just chilled the whole time, and he slept in the bassinette in our master closet ha. Love spending this kind of time as a family. Love.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Updates, there will be updates!

There are lots of things to update and say when I get some spare moments. Things like how my new little guy is sure testing my mommy patience and abilities when he refuses to adapt to any type of schedule or routine for anything. Or when his little colicky monster rears it's nasty head and he fusses and cries any time that he is awake. Or how all of the above plus the rambunctious toddler are taking every last ounce of strength, sleep, and patience that I have in me. Or that despite ALL of that I am beyond happy with my kids and my life and am loving every minute I have with my 3 dudes. There will be updates on how my husband is my saving grace and how I couldn't do any of this without him and how this whole experience has made me realize just how much I need and love him and has strengthened our marriage even more. There will be updates on how my big boy HL is still blowing my mind with how smart he is and how he still amazes me on a daily basis with his awesomeness. I'll put it all out there and write about the good and bad of having 2 under 2 so far and how it's influenced our plans of having future children. And of course there will be pictures, lots of pictures. But for now I have lots of diapers to change, bottles to make, baths to give, toys to clean up, bedtime books to read, baby laundry to do, and quality time to spend with my baby daddy, so bear with me. Read more!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday, my new life as mom of 2

My new life...

Two boys...

Feels good :) Read more!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Why I will keep blogging... a virtual time capsule

So there have been so many times that I've considered giving up the blog, usually when weeks pass without a post you can assume that I'm considering throwing in the towel. But I have a nagging feeling everytime that I'm letting people down, 'I must get on and do another post' But it's just a lot to keep up with and life gets busy...

So after the birth of D, I really considered taking it all down. I just thought who cares, one less thing to worry about, and I'm pretty sure the world won't come crashing down if there were no more Momma Maven tales.

And then I put HL down for a nap and snuggled D on my chest and began to open up all of my old posts. I sat for a couple of hours re-living my first pregnancy, the birth of my very first baby, the month to month updates and photos, the videos of firsts like crawling and walking...

oh the tears, happy tears.

Gosh it seems like just yesterday that I was still getting the hang of how to buckle a newborn into a carseat and look at me now... It was so surreal to go back through all of those posts and the one and only thing that kept running through my mind was that I am SO GLAD I DID THIS. I am so glad that I decided to start blogging, I'm so glad I recounted my experiences as a new mom, and documented my pregnancy, and posted pictures and videos of this time in my life. SO SO SO GLAD.

It's my virtual time capsule. And after all, that's the reason I started the blog, not to do product reviews and co-author articles and to be featured in magazines and online forums, but to document my new journey as a mom. To commemorate it all because it goes by so fast and I want to remember and cherish every moment.

I have roughly 350 posts of memories in my time capsule... and as I re-lived every moment of my precious first son growing up into the big boy he is now I vowed that I would do the same for baby D. I want to look back years and years from now and watch the succession, I want to watch myself grow as mom alongside my boys, and then I want to preserve all of these posts and memories to pass on to my kids. So that they can see the amazing journey we went through together as a family.

So life... and this blog... continue
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Monday, June 13, 2011

My first trip alone with my duo

Well my first outing alone with the boys was a pretty comical experience, I have to pat myself on the back for making it through without breaking down. We all headed out to D's 2 week check up. We played the horse and pony show getting in and out of the car, got checked in, and finally got called back to a room at which point HL decided to go bonkers. He was running in and out of all of the exam rooms, just as I'd get him redirected to our room he'd dart to the next one. It took both the nurse and myself to coaxe him into the right room. Then we were instructed to get D undressed. So while my hands were full HL exercised his right to reak havoc on the entire room, yanking magazines out of the racks, digging in the trash can, climbing on the exam table and then it was time for D's weight and measurements. Of course our wonderful pedi only has ONE infant scale (wth?!) so you have to go out into the hallway to weigh the baby, and what does this mean.... it means that my hands are once again full with baby and toddler now has free run of the whole place while I attempt to get a diaper off of D and get his weight without him peeing all over the nurse. So yes, HL took off down the hallway and at this point the nurse was looking at me like I was nuts and offered to go and find "something to entertain him"

Then we headed back to the room to wait for the doc... and wait... and keep in mind we were literally the ONLY people at the office, seriously the only ones. Finally she came in and of course that meant more holding of Baby D while HL was getting increasingly restless and continuing to try and find obnoxious ways to entertain himself in the boring exam room. There was a lot of "No!" "HL don't climb on that" "Hey! Get back over here" And ultimately the doc left the room and told me to get baby dressed and wait for the nurse. As I'm getting D dressed, obviously requiring both hands, HL decides once again to clammor all over the exam table and manages to slip and fall off of the footstool onto the floor and slice his leg wide open in the process. So with one hand on D I scooped HL up... tears all around... screaming from both kids that echoed through the building... and now blood all over mom.

And with the worst timing on the planet, D decided he was ready to eat. Again. So here I am trying to soothe and carry HL who, at this point, refuses to be put down and I have to pick up D carry him over to his carseat, scour the dark abyss diaper bag for a bottle, prop a bottle for the starving munchkin while I search the room for supplies to clean up HL's leg. Finally get everyone calm and the nurse shows up to do the heel stick. Managed to get through that without HL flipping out, calmed D back down, and the nurse exits the room saying "Ok, well take your time!" I think we horrified her and pretty much convinced her never to have children. Ever.

Oiy! But we survived. I didn't lose it. Yes there were tears and screams and even some blood but hey we made it! I guess for being my first solo outing it could've been worse but I did immediately get on my cell phone and call hubbs to tell him that I was never doing that again by myself ;)
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Saturday, June 11, 2011

And then there were 2... A birth story and the subsequent early weeks with 2 under 2

Introducing the newest little dude!

What's new... well now we have 2 oooey gooey squishy little boys to love on... that's all! I finally have a snuggly newborn again :) ahhhh how I have missed this feeling, nothing quite like it. That's what we've been up to, having our newest addition "D Mac". The stork nicely dropped him off May 24th and he weighed in at a large and in charge 6 lbs 7 oz 21" long. Needless to say we are sleep deprived, a bit comatose at times, and baby drunk in love starting to get the hang of life with 2.

I am amazed at how easily this labor was compared to HL, all of my worrying for nothing really. Trying to make a long story short... I had been to my 39 week appointment and had made no further progress so the doc (unwilling to let me be overdue because of my blood disorder stuff)gave us 2 options for induction dates. I was nearly devastated at the thought of having ot be induced again, all of the horror from HL's delivery came flooding back, my stomach was in knots just thinking that we were having to do this all. over. again. All I had wanted from the moment those 2 lines turned pink was to have a nice normal pregnancy and a nice normal delivery. Well apparently Baby D was on the same bandwagon because the day before we were scheduled for induction he decided to make his grand entrance, WOOOOOT!

Snuggly little peanut!

I woke up that morning with the same annoying braxton hicks contrax that I'd had the entire pregnancy but this time they were crampy, and after trying to go back to sleep and ignore things I realized that they probably weren't going to stop so I should really start getting prepared, "alrighty then, today is the day" I thought. So I quickly got up and got showered before HL woke up and started getting things in order, putting the last things in our hospital bags, getting HL's things ready. I was kind of running around like a crazy person... I was sweeping and mopping the floors, I threw food on the stove to start making some last minute freezer meals, I cleaned the kitchen,and did the dishes, got the toddler up and dressed. And then I called the hubbs at work. I told him it was definitely time so he should start heading home. Ironically one of his coworkers whose wife shared my same due date happened to go into labor that same morning! So naturally things were a bit hectic at his office ;) good timing D!

From the moment I woke up at 7:00am the contrax were about 7-10 minutes apart and by the time hubbs was home and we were headed to the hospital at 10:30 they were 4 minutes apart and pretty painful. Checked in the hospital at 11:00 at 3-4 cm which I was psyched about. My doc showed up and broke my water per my request rather than starting Pitocin. I also requested not to receive any fluids which meant one less cord to be attached to and less trips to the bathroom. Held out to about 5.5 cm and finally asked for my epidural... Unfortunately it only worked on half of my body AGAIN! Soooo frustrating but they were able to give me enough boluses of meds so that my pain was definitely manageable, not comfortable but manageable. And then wham bam, I went from 5.5 cm to 10 in about 2 hours and it was time to push, it was SOOOO fast I couldn't believe it. About a half hour before I started pushing they dosed me up again and that made delivery a piece of cake, seriously it was NOTHING. I pushed for 4 contractions and voila, baby. The best part of the delivery was that my doctor actually had my husband deliver Baby D, like full out scrubbed in sit at the bottom of the bed the whole time deliver the baby! My doctor actually held my leg while the hubbs sat at the foot of the bed for the entire delivery, it was soooo cool and so special. She told him that she'd knock him out of the way if she needed to otherwise it was all him :)

Next up was meeting the big brother... the pictures speak for themselves... HL was, and still is, in total wonderment of his little brother. The first words out of his mouth were "kiss" as he leaned in to give him kisses. My heart has never been so full or proud as it is holding both of my boys.

After a short hospital stay we're all home and settling in. All 4 of us are doing really well! D Mac is an incredible eating machine, he wants to eat every 2 hours, sometimes every HOUR, and has taken up to 4 oz at times already.... he's insatiable (up to 7lbs 4 oz at his 2 week check up!)... and that is wearing us out for sure! We've tried really hard to get him onto a feeding schedule but with this appetite it isn't going very smoothly like it did with HL so we're being patient. He's also starting to show signs of colic... my ultimate nightmare... I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't get worse, right now it's half way manageable that's all I can say for fear that I jinx myself. HL is doing SOOOOO good with his little brother, better than I had hoped for. We had a few days of super clingyness, some wubbanub theiving, and a whack in the face (poor D, I guess it's preparation for his future) but now after a couple of weeks he is awesome! He actually shares, has stopped theiving the wubby and even gives it to baby D when he cries. The first words I hear every morning are HL calling for his brother. He loves to stare at him and help rock him in the swing. Even trips in the car have been completely uneventful, I've been so pleasantly surprised! They are already best buds and his favorite thing to do is love on his baby brother... melts my heart.

Life with 2 so far is crazy and also a joy. I am in love with my boys but I won't lie, the logistics of everyday life are definitely chaotic. The sleep deprivation is no joke, since little dude refuses to eat on any kind of schedule we are up allll night long with him, add the colic and gas issues and it can be overwhelming. I get up and have multiple diapers to change, multiple bottles to make, jammies to change, swaddles to fix. Someone is usually always crying, someone always wants to be held and usually it's both at once. I have learned to hold/change/feed one kid while rocking another with a breast pump attached to my boobs and manage somehow to answer phone calls in between crying fits and check email. It's multi-tasking at it's finest and I think it would prove the most amazing birth control on the planet if a camera crew were in my house. There are multiple loads of baby and toddler laundry to be done, 2 diaper pails to be taken out, 2 sets of sippys and bottles to be washed, everything times 2! Thank god that HL still takes a morning nap, that's the only time I have to pump uninterrupted, to sweep the floors, pick up the house and clean the kitchen.

I am still leary of leaving the house, that is the major breaking point, it's nothing short of a circus. You have to hold a toddler's wandering hand and help them up and down steps to get to the car while holding an infant in the carrier... fyi toddlers are slow and babies in carriers are heavy. Then it's a calculated move on how to get both into the car, baby first or toddler first... ideally the mobile human goes in first while the non mobile one hangs out but believe it or not it usually depends on how big the parking space is! I'll paint a picture for a moment- I get HL out of his seat, carry him to the other side of the car (because lifting the infant carrier over the toddler seat is next to impossible) I pin him in between my legs and the car and car door so he can't run off while I lean over to the middle of the car and break my back getting the infant seat out, then you adjust, lock car doors and put keys away, grab toddlers hand, close the car door with your hip and hopefully have an uneventful sllllooooww walk to the door of your desination hoping that toddler's shoes/sandals don't fall off in the parking lot. If they do, mommy tears are close to follow. When all else fails you pick up toddler and infant carrier, a mere extra 60 lbs with diaper bag, and carry everyone into the destination hoping someone opens the door for you.

And I'm sure there will be many more struggles as we navigate the two under two world but honestly so far we are still alive and there are lots of good moments and giggles and wonderful newborn smells and snuggles to enjoy. It's all an adjustment and I'm very proud of my little family of 4, we are doing great :)

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